Shropshire Star

The ghostly stories behind one of England's bloodiest battles that took place in Shropshire

You may already know why Battlefield in Shrewsbury is called Battlefield - named for the Battle of Shrewsbury that took place there centuries ago.

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The site of the Battle of Shrewsbury as it appears today, peaceful but bleak.

But have you heard that the hundreds who lost their lives fighting there were supposedly buried in a mass grave, or that, if the light is just right, you might see the spirit of some lonely soldier still wandering the battlefield to this day?

The battle between King Henry IV's forces and those of the rebel House of Percy in 1403 left its mark on the land.

Battlefield Church is said to have been erected over the site of the mass burial pit dug there - though archaeological investigations in the intervening years have been inconclusive.

Re-enactors on Shrewsbury's battlefield

Amy Boucher, an authority on Shropshire folklore enthusiast and history teacher in training, said: "The battle of Shrewsbury was an important event in British history for a number of reasons. It was the first battle in which English archers fought each other on English soil, and it solidified the effectiveness of the longbow, as well as ending the Percy threat to King Henry IV of England.

"It was also the site of much death. Indeed, chroniclers argued that it was one of the bloodiest battles ever fought on English soil, and though difficult to predict decisively it’s a fair estimate that anywhere around 3,000 casualties lost their lives on that field.

"Such a scale of loss cannot leave the land unmarked, and many found themselves in a mass grave, not too far from the scene. And, a mere two years after the battle, the dead were seen again.

"There are a number of accounts of ghostly sightings, of ethereal groups of men, women and children moving across the battlefield, only to disappear into the mists. Perhaps this is an example of collective memory, or manifestations of collective trauma from such a monumental event.

"However, there have also been modern day sightings of similar entities, as well as solitary apparitions still wandering that bloodstained battlefield, suggesting that though we cannot know everything about the battle, the land remembers."

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