The building takes its name from its most famous resident, Guy Fawkes. It is said that he was born close by.
In fact, this is very much disputed, but it has not stopped the owners this inn using it for their commercial advantage.
All we know is, Guy Fawkes was born in the Stonegate area of York, and that his parents were registered at living in a small cottage where there is currently a beer garden. It is assumed that this means Guy was born and possibly lived here for the first four years of his notorious life.
In fact, we don’t even know when exactly Guy Fawkes was born, other than he was baptised on the 16th April 1570 at the St Michael le Belfrey church, which is almost exactly opposite the entrance of of the inn. It was quite typical that a baby would be baptised within four days of being born, so that would likely mean that he was born possibly around the 12th Apri.
The current building would not have existed back when Guy was born, and instead this area would have looked a lot different. What is known however is that Guy went to school just up the road from here at St Peters, so he would most definetly have known the local area well, and this would have been his patch.
Guy is a major historical figure in British politics. Guy’s father died while he was still young, and his mother married again, to a catholic man, meaning he would be taken to church quite often and brought up in the catholic faith. Guy would later go abroad and fight for Catholic Spain in the wars against the Dutch. While England wasn’t involved, they were still technically at war with Spain.
During a catholic rebellion, Guy would be heavily involved in a gun powder plot to assassinate the protestant King James. He plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliment by hording barrells of gun powder below it. He had a team of associates: Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy, John and Christopher Wright.
They rented a room below parliment, and started filling it with gun powder so that it would blow up on November 5th when King James was giving his speach above.
Security sweeps of the building didn’t notice anything, but only a tip off lead to the men being caught. The rest is history. Guy was executed, but avoided being hanged drawn & quartered by jumping from the gallows, meaning his neck snapped, killing him quickly. Since then, British people have been encouraged to celebrate the death of Guy by burning bonfires and effigies of him, and later on, fireworks.
So does Guy Fawkes haunt the inn named after where he COULD have been born? Some people believe spirits can haunt places that mean something to them. I would question whether this applies to a building that he didn’t live in past the age of four, as he probably cannot remember it.
However, that has not stopped the legends. In the years after Guy died, the people of York often refused to celebrate Bonfire night, as they saw him as a one of their own. It is said that a group of students at St Peter’s school threw en effigy of Guy onto a bonfire, and as they did so, a fire broke out at the building now known as The Guy Fawkes Inn. When the fire was put out, there was said to be a charred outline of a face on one of the back walls that resembled Guy Fawkes.
Did this really happen? Unlikely, but this is a story regularly told on the official Ghost Walk of York.
This is an old building, and most of its hauntings seem to come from people who lived here when this was residential. Children are often heard playing on the stairs, causing guests to comlain about the noise, only to be told that there are no children staying there. I spoke to one member of staff who said that this happens so often, that they’ve all been briefed about the story of ghost children.
Two children did die in this building of cholera.
A lady called Ann is said to haunt the building after she died here during childbirth. A priest who lived here in the 18th century is also picked up regularly by mediums.
The Belfry Suit on the top floor of the building is said to be the most haunted part of the building, and that is where we filmed the investigation.
York is a stunning city to visit. I’ve been so many times, and its a place I have my eye on doing many more investigations in. It is said to be the most haunted city in the UK.
When staying in The Guy Fawkes Inn, get the Belfry Suit. It is expensive but it is the most active part of the building, as I would find out. You also get stunning views of York Minster from the bedroom window!