'By the look of you, you’ve seen the Romans!'
Many people have reported seeing the ghosts of Roman soldiers in the cellars of Treasurer's House.
The best known account comes from a retired policeman, Harry Martindale.
Before he joined the police Henry worked as an engineer.
One day, aged 18, he was installing a central heating boiler in the cellars at Treasurer’s House.
Soldiers emerge from the wall
Suddenly, he heard the sound of a trumpet and saw the top of a soldier’s helmet apparently emerging from the wall against which he was working.
He leapt from his ladder, watching in disbelief as behind the trumpet player plodded a horse, and about twenty soldiers walking two abreast. They were carrying lances, round shields and short swords.
According to Harry, the men looked tired and dirty.
Terrified, he shot upstairs. He bumped into the curator who said, before Henry could utter a single word: 'By the look of you, you’ve seen the Romans!'
Interestingly, Henry’s account of the men carrying round shields was at odds with contemporary ideas about how Roman soldiers were equipped. They were generally believed to have only used rectangular shields and some used this ‘fact' to discredit his story.
However, later research has revealed that during the fourth century AD the Sixth Legion was withdrawn from York and replaced by troops that carried distinctive, round shields.
In addition, later archaeological research revealed evidence of a Roman road – 18 inches below the current cellar floor.