Monday, February 17

A Sighting Of The Bank Of England Black Nun Ghost

Bank of England
The Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London
First an email I received:

"Please don't publish my name or details  but I saw what I believe to be a ghost in Threadneedle Street, London.

I was on a short visit to London and was walking alone in the late evening along Threadneedle Street, near to where the Bank of England is positioned.

Suddenly, without warning, this lady was walking towards me, I don't know where she had appeared from. One minute she wasn't there and the next minute she was.

The lady looked strange and was dressed all in black in what I thought looked like the style from the 1800s. She was wearing a black bonnet with a long veil and her dress was long and full.

I could see her face through the veil and she looked sad. As I passed her she glanced up briefly and asked in a soft voice, "Have you seen my brother?" I muttered, "No," in reply.

Almost immediately afterwards I turned round, to have another look at her, but she had disappeared. There was no one behind me other than a couple walking in the same direction as me.

I've since read that the Bank of England has a ghost known as the Black Nun. I wonder if this is who I saw."

As I often say, I accept stories and emails in good faith. But the Bank of England is said to have a ghost, a woman called Sarah Whitehead.

The story goes that Sarah's brother, Philip Whitehead, was employed in the Cashier's Office at the Bank of England but he appears to have had sticky fingers. So much so that he was found guilty at the Old Bailey of forgery.

They didn't muck about in those days and in 1812 Philip was duly hanged for his crime.

Black Nun ghost Sarah Whitehead
As strange as it sounds nowadays the death of her brother was kept from Sarah for a long period. But you can't keep such things hidden forever and one day she went to the Bank of England and asked to see her brother.

The person she was enquiring to told her of her brother's crime. This had a dreadful effect on Sarah and virtually sent her mad. She couldn't accept that anything had happened to her beloved brother and started visiting the bank every day in search of him. She was also convinced that the bank owed her substantial amounts of money.

Day after day she would cause a disturbance at the bank upsetting staff and customers. In 1818 the bank realised they had to do something about this and offered Sarah a substantial amount of money. There was one condition and that was that she must never visit the bank again.

Sarah kept to the conditions and never returned to the bank - until, that is, she died.

Following her death she was often seen at night, still dressed all in black, and enquired to people she met, "Have you seen my brother?"

Sarah came to be known as the Black Nun or the Bank Nun.

Formation of Bank of England in 1694
Formation of the Bank of England in 1694
Other Ghost Story Posts:
The Ghosts Who Haunt Bodmin Jail, Cornwall: 13 Exclusive Photos
The Ghost Of A Nun Was Herself In A Previous Life
Kate Says She Has Sex Regularly With A Ghost

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  1. Suzie10:24

    I would be scared if I saw a ghost like this. Maybe this is why I have never seen one. Interesting post.

  2. Wow, fascinating story. I think I would have creaked out. As I was reading it, though, I wondered if the woman was a time traveler who had somehow slipped briefly into her world.

    1. A time traveller? Maybe, but there is a history of people seeing this ghost and saying the same thing,

  3. Anonymous17:40

    Chances are good you would not know it if you saw a ghost. People dress in period costumes for various reasons.

    1. I think there would be a difference in appearance between someone in period costume and a ghost,

  4. Awww it's a sad story....poor ghost. :(

  5. Anonymous17:47

    I think I've seen once a ghost - a man running in front of me. I was on a bike, late in the evening and maybe the shadows conspired, or maybe it was a ghost, but suddenly there was a person running in front of me. I tried to tell him to take care, thinking we were too close. The sense of urgency was real.
    The next second there was nothing in front of me.

    So, maybe when you see a ghost you wouldn't know it until later. I believe the email by the way it is written.

  6. I would probably bet money on it being a regular punter aware of the urban legend and thus, dressing for the occasion to scare visitors for a laugh.

    1. Could be but I think you would know if it was a 'regular punter'.

    2. Mentioned in today's Mail of English ghosts by Thurston-Hopkins seems a good read (1953)

  7. Mentioned in Mail today- coincidence?! ( 1953 book on ghosts by R.Thurston-Hopkins looks a good read)