THE ENTOMBED GREY LADY
In St Leonard’s Place resides the York Theatre Royal, which as a theatre dates back to 1744. However, the fabric of this Georgian and Victorian structure incorporates parts of the old Medieval Hospital of St. Leonard which was administered by a strict order of nuns. It is said that one of these women fell in love with the son of a local aristocrat, who, finding her to have a delightfully calm and pleasing demeanour, returned her affections and secretly visited the surroundings of the Nun’s residence in order to meet her for their not infrequent assignations.
However, over time the lovers became careless and, inevitably, they were found out. The Mother Superior was incensed by her behaviour. Having broken her vow of chastity, the Nun was ordered to be imprisoned in a windowless room which was straight away bricked up to form the poor woman’s living tomb!
The place where this cruel and gruesome event took place is now said to be a room behind the dress circle which, even today is said to have a cold and disturbing atmosphere. Nonetheless, this ghastly event does not seem to have affected the pleasant nature of the Nun.
Although she herself often appears in faded grey, walking the corridors and rooms of the building, the Nun is always peaceful and friendly and it is claimed that sightings of her apparition herald great success for the theatre’s current production.