Tour Locations | Haunted Chester: A Spooky Stroll around the Roman-Walled City
St John's Church
You are now at the eastern side of St John's Church, on your left. It's the oldest place of worship in Chester, dating from the 7th century AD. Stop here for a moment.
This was the original monastery in Chester and, wherever you step right now, you will be trampling on the graves of monks and holy men who have made Chester a place of spiritual retreat and learning for centuries.
We know St John's as "the thin church", not a reference to the spindly ruins that now loom over you, but the place where the line between our world and another is at its thinest point. It's easy here to step across the divide from our world to another dimension ...
Now look up on your left-hand side. Can you pick out a dark shape embedded into the wall high up towards the ruined roof?
This is the mysterious coffin in the wall, marked with the words "Dust to Dust".
Could anyone really be buried here in this small tapered oak coffin?
Maybe, an errant monk denied burial on the consecrated ground? Maybe an ambitious fryer who wanted to be closer to heaven?
It's a Chester mystery.
Let's keep moving. Facing the church, make your way along the right side of it, tracing a path round to face the opposite facade of the church, where the bell tower fell down on Good Friday 1881.
On the way, you may notice some ancient runes projected onto the facade of the ruined church as part of a light installation. These are particularly visible at night.
And they offer a further clue to the next story, which awaits on the opposite side of the church.