THE MAN who was at the centre of one of the world’s most well-known ghost sightings has died.

Harry Martindale’s account of witnessing a Roman legion apparently marching through the walls of the cellar of York’s Treasurer’s House has become one of the city’s most well-known ghost tales.

Mr Martindale was 18 when he saw the ghostly sight in 1953, while working an apprentice helping install heating in the cellar of the historic property next to York Minster.

He kept largely quiet about his sightings for fear of ridicule until the 1970s, when he was interviewed by a group of academics for television.

Mr Martindale accounted how when working in the cellar he reportedly heard the sound of a horn coming from the walls, which continued to get louder. He continued his work until a large cart horse reportedly came through the wall.

While he crouched, terrified, in the corner, he watched a group of Roman soldiers appear to march dejectedly through the wall and across the room.

He said he could only see to their knees. It was only later that it was confirmed the Via Decumana Roman road ran about 15 inches underneath the Treasurer’s House – perhaps accounting for why they appeared only at knee-level.

His descriptions of their clothing of green tunics was also later to found to be historically accurate, as later evidence was uncovered to suggest Roman troops stationed here had used a local dye on their clothes when supplies from the Roman empire in Europe dried up. Many have speculated whether it was the ghosts of the 9th Roman Legion, who went missing without trace.

The story has captured the imagination of many people and his sighting has brought countless visitors from around the world to the Treasurer's House, eager to visit the famous cellar of the National Trust property.

But Mr Martindale remained modest and low-key about his sighting and maintained he wasn’t sure if he believed in ghosts, saying “I only believe in what I saw”.

He went on to work as a policeman in York for 30 years.

He died, peacefully at York Hospital, aged 79,after a long illness. His funeral will take place on Wednesday at St Giles Church in Copmanthorpe.