The east London church that is ‘haunted’ by three separate ghosts, including a famous highwayman

It seems that Wanstead is a prime ghost hunting location

St Mary's Church in Wanstead is apparently home to several spooky visitors
St Mary’s Church in Wanstead is apparently home to several spooky visitors

Any believer in the paranormal knows that London is practically a playground for our ghoulish friends. Considering the number of spirits that must have been released in the city through the centuries, it’s surprising that there isn’t a ghost occupying every single street corner.

There is one spot in East London, however, which reportedly has more than its fair share of phantom occupants. St Mary’s Church in Wanstead, which was built more than 230 years ago, is apparently home to three separate apparitions.

Each one has its own eerie and desperately sad back story and the most famous ghost is that of notorious 18th century highwayman Dick Turpin.

Turpin started life as a butcher, but later joined a gang of deer smugglers in Essex before becoming a highwayman. He was known to frequent Epping Forest, using it as a hiding spot in between robbing innocent people throughout London.

He was eventually executed for horse theft, but is thought to have returned to the church in Wanstead in spirit form. He’s been spotted in the graveyard, where his rumored uncle, Thomas Turpin, is laid to rest. Then there is the sad story of the church’s second ghost, a lady in grey, who has been seen aimlessly trawling the grounds of the church in search of her husband, who she lost shortly after their marriage.

The third ghost also appears in the churchyard in search of a missing loved one. This apparition, a skeleton, apparently wanders around the churchyard pushing a cart with a coffin in it. The skeleton scours the grounds in search of his wife, whose body was supposedly stolen by grave robbers centuries ago.

The church isn’t the only prime ghost hunting spot in Wanstead, as the local park is also reportedly home to a spirit or two. Catherine Tylney-Long, who used to own and live in the great Wanstead House before it was demolished, is said to roam through the park, upset and unable to rest due to the way she and her home were treated by her husband.

He was a gambler who spent all their money and eventually left the house to be knocked down. Next time you’re in the Wanstead area, we recommend keeping your eyes peeled.

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