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Ghosts of York

Murder & Betrayal
Minster Yard, York

Life was hard in 16th century Britain and the situation in York was no exception. Many young lads, down on their luck, found a life of crime to be an easy way out of the gutter. Pick-pockets and cut-throats were common place amongst the small alleys and snickelways of the city: even within the Minster Yard.

On a dark still night, two brothers, desperate to boost their meagre earnings, lurked with malicious intent in the shadows near their lodgings at St. William's College. Their victim was to be a wealthy priest from the nearby Minster. As the poor man came into view, the two sprang upon him, slit his throat and made off with his purse and the jewels about his person.

The younger brother had never really wanted to take part in such drastic action and, later that night, racked with guilt, he shut himself and his booty in a closet in the College. The elder, fearing his sibling would break down and confess their crimes, decided to report his brother to the authorities. The young brother was immediately arrested, tried and hanged for murder. He never knew of his brother's betrayal and kept his involvement quiet.

It was now the elder brother's turn to feel the guilt and he paste his rooms at the College both day and night. Over the next few years, he neglected his health totally and soon brought himself to an early grave. His disquiet spirit still paces the upstairs corridor and rooms of St. William's College even today.

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