DUNOTTAR is one of Scotland’s finest castles and Langley Castle, just over the County Durham border near Haydon Bridge in Northumbria, is said to be the only fortified medieval castle hotel in England.

Sadly, due to the lockdown, it is closed at the moment, but it’s only current resident has been in the headlines this week. She is the Grey Lady, one of the North-East’s most famous ghosts, who is regularly seen sobbing uncontrollably as she glides through the corridors towards a high window. She looks back with a tear-stained face, and then jumps and disappears…

The hotel makes much of its spooky occupant and has previously named her as Maud de Lucy, who was watching from the highest window for the return from battle of her husband, Sir Thomas. When she heard her brave knight would never be returning, she flung herself from the portal.

However, genealogical research shows it can’t be Maud. She was actually Sir Thomas’ daughter, born in 1350. It is true that her first husband, Sir Gilbert de Umfraville, died in battle – at Neville’s Cross near Durham in 1381 – but she was not so distraught as to take her own life. In fact, she remarried and lived happily with her second husband until her natural death at St Bees in Cumbria in 1398.

The ghost cannot be Sir Thomas’ first wife, Margaret, as she died before 1350 when he built the castle – he constructed it using the proceeds from his fighting in France with King Edward III as a bastion against the Scots.

Therefore could it be his second wife, Agnes de Beaumont? No one knows how or where she died, so she is in the frame – but Sir Thomas himself died in 1365 without being killed in battle, so she didn’t fling herself from a window on his behalf.

And so the mystery of the ghostly Grey Lady gained valuable column inches for hotel in last weekend’s Sunday Times, which noted that the weepy spectre was so famous that it had inspired JK Rowling to create Moaning Myrtle and Grey Lady which both haunt Hogwart’s.