Medieval Halloween at Brockhampton

black and white view of timber frame manor house

Discover the medieval origins of Halloween celebrations today. Revealing a time when faith and superstition were intimately connected as autumn turned to winter.

Chapel ruins at Brockhampton
Ruined Norman chapel at Brockhampton with moat in foreground

Step back in time at Brockhampton to the spooky world of medieval Hallowe'en festivities.
Discover how the Dumbleton family that founded the estate once celebrated Hallowe'en and kept restless spirits at bay.

View of Brockhampton timber framed great hall from minstrels gallery
view of timber framed great hall from minstrels granary

Back in medieval times religion and supersition were closely linked. As autumn turned to winter and the dark nights drew in thoughts turned to restless and wandering spirits on All Souls Day, a religious festival on 1 November. All Hallow's Eve was the day before All Souls Day and this is where we get the modern festival of Hallowe'en from.

Offerings were left for the dead to keep the spirits at bay. Soul cake was left for the ancestral spirits. It was thought that spirits, ghosts and ghouls would play tricks on the living. This is the origin of our modern tradition of trick or treat. The idea was for the living to trick or distract the undead spirits to prevent the living from being tricked by the dead.

This is also where we get the tradition of dressing up as a spooky character- in medieval times this was more of a disguise to protect the living from the wandering spirits that walked the earth on All Hallows Eve.

Apples hanging on a bough
red apples on bough

Visiting Brockhampton at this time of year gives you a glimpse into the spooky world of medieval beliefs. Take part in the October half term family trails to discover all the weird and wonderful spooky traditions once practiced here.

Or simply soak up the atmoshere in the ruins of the Norman chapel near the manor house. Delicious warming refreshments can be enjoyed in the granary shop and kiosk at Lower Brockhampton to ensure that your spirits don't drop.