The Black Nun of the Bank of England

One famous ghosts in England is that of Sarah Whitehead – the Black Nun that haunts the Bank of England since 1811.

The Bank of England was founded in 1694 to act as the Government’s banker and debt manager. Formally the Governor and Company of the Bank of England, it is the second oldest central bank in the world.

black nun
The Black Nun that haunts the Bank of England (The Sleuth Journal).

Phillip Whitehead, Sarah’s brother worked in the Bank’s cashier’s office.  The Bank caught Phillip of forgery and swindling. The offense was punishable by capital punishment and Phillip was hanged for the crime. The death of his brother drove Sarah out of her mind but did not stopped her from coming back to the bank.

Stories held that Sarah frequented the bank for the remainder of her 25 years. Some days, she would politely asked for her brother but on other days, she would be verbally abusive. There were times that she would accused the bank of taking her money. Until her death she wore full mourning dress – long black gown and full black veil, thus the nicknamed Black Nun.

Sarah was buried in the churchyard of St Christopher le Stocks just behind the bank. The Church was demolished to give way of the bank’s expansion. The bodies were transferred at Nunhead Cemetery. The former graveyard became the gardens of the bank.

black nun
Sarah Whitehead’s restless soul wanders along Threadneedle Street (WICKERGIRL).

People reported seeing Sarah’s restless soul inside the garden. Accounts told that she was seen walking while groping her way. She would fall to her knees, cried while shaking violently before she disappear.

Reports also claimed that a woman dressed in black wandered along Threadneedle Street. The woman believed to be Sarah would stop at unsuspecting person and politely asked ‘Have you seen my brother?’ When the unsuspecting person would answer No, she would turn away and vanish from sight. The person approached by her testified that they felt intense feeling of sorrow and loneliness.


Source: The Haunted Palace   Historic UK   Mysterious Britain & Ireland

Further Readings

True Ghost Stories

Guide to the World’s Supernatural Places

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