Though spectral dogs are commonplace in British lore, it is not often that one is interpreted as the actual ghost of a named dog, with a story to explain the haunting. But such is the case at Hanley Castle, according to local contributors to The Worcestershire Village Book compiled by members of the Women’s Institute in 1988.
During the Civil War, the castle belonged to Thomas Holroyd, a zealous Royalist, and after the battle of Worcester in 1651 it was sacked by the victorious Parliamentary army. The local tradition explains that Holroyd owned a fine but one-eyed bulldog, which he had named Charlie in honour of the king, and that when the Roundheads rampaged through the castle they hanged the bulldog from an oak, simply because of its name. Holroyd was charged with treason against Parliament and forfeited much of his estates, though these were returned to him after the Restoration. But nothing could restore the bulldog, whose ghost has haunted the village ever since.