Sunday, 12 July 2009
Plaque indicating point of execution
The Debenhams department store in Salisbury is said to be haunted by the ghost of Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, who was beheaded in Market Square on the 2nd November 1483, having been found guilty of treason against King Richard III. His execution took place immediately outside the Debenhams store, which was formerly the site of the Blue Boar Inn (later to become The Saracens Head Inn) where it is said Buckingham spent his last hours locked in an attic room, which is immediately above the aptly named Blue Boar Restaurant situated at the rear of the store.
In 1838, a report appeared in the Salopian Journal that stated during excavations of the yard at the Saracens Head Inn (the point where Stafford was thought to have been executed) a skeleton had been found beneath the floor missing its head and right arm. A slapdash examination by some of the locals claimed the remains must be those of Henry Stafford. It is unlikely however that this is true, for Richard III was noted for offering to have buried those that had met their end at the hands of the executioners axe in Grey Friars Salisbury.
Wherever Stafford has been laid to rest, it would appear that his spirit is anything but for he has been seen in the sportswear department and the ladies changing rooms, where he is quite partial to popping in and ‘hissing’ at its occupants. He has also been seen walking from the attic to a small enclosed yard at the back of the store, where it is suggested he met his Waterloo.
Some years ago a telephone engineer was working alone in the attic when he felt a cold hand grasp his shoulder, he fled the attic vowing never to return, someone else had to go back to retrieve his tools.
The haunting has become so well known for is frequency, that the Duke of Buckingham’s ghost has now been renamed ‘The Duke of Debenhams‘.
The ghost of a little girl in Victorian dress is said to haunt immediately outside the store where she will happily greet visitors, show them to the entrance then vanish.