The garrison church at Fulwood Barracks dates from 1847. It is haunted by a soldier, thought to be a former Chaplain who lost his life in the First World War. He was seen quite clearly in full light of day by the verger of thirteen years, who turned from her work to see ‘a soldier in full dress uniform’ standing quite still, his hands resting on his sword. The Padre, to her surprise, believed her without question. He explained that a soldier guarding a coffin in the church would quite naturally be wearing full uniform and would be leaning on his drawn sword, just as she had seen.
In recent years a TV crew came to investigate the story of the haunted church and their sophisticated camera panned around the church until the pulpit area came into view – the spot where the ghostly soldier had been seen. The camera promptly malfunctioned. Several times.
The old Officers’ Mess also has its own ghost, which is well-documented. An officer stationed there in 1910 wrote his own account. His own room was on the ground floor of the Mess and was clearly an original part of the building, as it still boasted a marble mantelpiece. One night, the Officer retired to bed as usual but was much disturbed by a gale and, later, a single clap of thunder. He opened his eyes and saw, to his surprise, a luminous figure between the bed and the fireplace. He spent the rest of the night in another Officer’s room…
The Officer was teased about his experience for days but was vindicated about three weeks later, when a certain Lieutenant Walmsley, newly arrived at the Barracks, mentioned in conversation that a friend had told him of his experience there. The soldier had slept in a room with a marble mantelpiece, he said, on the ground floor. He had seen something, he said, in that room.
A couple of years later, another Officer, Lieutenant James, was returning to his room in the same block when he saw something in the passage so clearly that he instinctively drew his sword and took a swipe at the shape, hitting only the wall.
Legend has it that the ghost is that of a cavalry man, stationed at the Barracks in the early days, who had died in that very room, the one with the marble mantelpiece. Private McCaffrey had been sentenced by Captain Hanham to a fortnight’s confinement after the relatively minor offence of failing to apprehend some stone-throwing children. McCaffrey was furious at this sentence and furious with Hanham, who had a long reputation for bullying. One day, he saw Captain Hanham walking across the parade ground with Colonel Crofton and he raised his gun and fired, killing both the Captain and the Colonel with a single bullet.
Private McCaffrey was sentenced to death by hanging.
Finally… the old Roman Road, Watling Street, passes through the parade ground at the Barracks. It is said that a legion of Roman soldiers can sometimes be seen marching along this road.