haunted pubs and inns haunted pubs and inns

Haunted Pubs

For centuries pubs and inns have been at the heart of communities, places to meet and greet, or simply places for the lost or weary to rest up and shelter for the night. Many have been witness to historic or horrific events, and some would have us believe that many of those momentous events have left their indelible mark on those buildings. Britain has a great tradition of ghosts and hauntings, and listed here are just a few of the more notable ghostly haunts from our pub directory.

So if you have a taste for the macabre, or want to find somewhere with a little more "atmosphere", try one of these venues...

If you have experienced ghostly goings on, or been scared witless in any of the pubs listed in our guide, why not share your tales and leave comments for the pub concerned...

Ye Old Ostrich Inn, haunted pub

Bloodbath and Butchery at Ye Old Ostrich Inn

The bloody and barbarous past of this Inn was featured in UK Living TV's Most Haunted television programme.

This 15th century inn stands on the site of a previous inn, and is thought to be the 3rd oldest inn in the country.

The grisly legend of The Ostrich Inn dates back to the 14th century when it is said the landlord Jarman and his wife killed and butchered wealthy travellers who took shelter at the inn overnight. The guests would be shown to a luxury bedroom directly over the kitchens. The heavily drugged and sleeping guests would be dumped from a tilting bed operated by a lever, through a trapdoor, into a huge vat of boiling oil. In total some 60 guests were murdered in this horrible and sadistic way before the landlord and his wife were caught and hanged.

It is thought that the troubled souls of these butchered travellers still roam the floors of the inn, looking to recover their stolen possessions, and to seek vengeance on those who murdered them. Witnesses have seen various figures and apparitions moving around, shutters opening and closing, and electrical disturbances. Often noises and movement can be heard from unoccupied rooms and corridors.

The Royal And Ancient, haunted pub

Fire and Malevolence at The Royal And Ancient

Sat on what was once the busy main thoroughfare between Barnsley and London, The Royal and Ancient now nestles off the beaten track, amid the dark satanic mills of Huddersfield. It is these same mills that give colour to the background of this pub.

In January 1818 there was a catastrophic fire at the local Atkinsons Mill, in which 18 children aged 9-18 lost their lives. It is said that the shift supervisor had locked the girls in, as was common practice, and that working in the cold dark conditions, a candle had been dropped into a basket of wool. The charred and horribly disfigured bodies were laid out in the cold cellar of this pub, which served as a temporary mortuary until the bodies could be interred at the nearby Kirkheaton cemetary. It is thought that the restless souls of these children now play mischief on visitors to the pub. The fire was instrumental in the introduction of The Factory Act, and standard working hours enforceable by law.

Incidents experienced by customers and residents have included trays of glasses shattering, light fixtures being torn from the walls, and furniture being moved around the bar. Members of staff have been afraid to work alone in the kitchen, the beer cellars or to use the ladies toilets where the hand dryer seems to have a life of its own.

In October 2004 a local ghost research group held an all night vigil at the pub, and though the night was largely uneventful, one member of the group suffered vicious scratches to his neck in the cellar from the malevolent "Mr Black", thought to be a large aggressive former landlord who beat and mistreated his staff, and who was potentially involved with highwaymen. The same malevolent force was thought to unsuccessfully attempt to possess another member of the group.

The Red Lion, Avebury, haunted pub

Murdered Amid Stone Circles

Avebury's only public house was first built in the early seventeenth century but did not become a pub until 1822 when it was granted a licence. This pub is unusual in that it is built within a stone circle in Wiltshire, lending it a supernatural air, and making it very popular with crop circle investigators.

Said to be haunted by the spectre of "Florrie", a former landlady reputed to have been beaten and thrown down the well of the pub by her murderous husband. Unable to claw her way out she died screaming to be helped out. She has been witnessed passing through the bar area, her blue dress rustling as she moves, passing through locked doors. The well is still there, now covered with glass.

Other tales tell of invisibly ghostly carriages clattering to a stop outside on windy nights but with no sight of either horses or carriage.

Rooms are available for the brave or foolhardy to stay overnight.

The Ship Inn, Oundle, haunted pub

Giving Up The Ghost at The Ship

An old coaching inn with low beamed ceilings, and a charming ingle nook fireplace, The Ship Inn is situated in the picturesque town of Oundle, near to Peterborough.

This friendly pub is said to be the location of a former landlord’s suicide. The distraught owner threw himself from the window of a bedroom and broke his neck as he fell into the road outside. Since then his restless, tormented spirit has appeared many times to alarm and terrify previous licensees and guests.

The Great House, Elland, haunted pub

Ghostly Goings on at The Great House, Elland

Starting out as Great House Farm, this pub was long known as The Fleece until 1997. The building was an old coaching inn which served weary travellers and provided a place to rest and obtain refreshment. It is said that a traveller (later dubbed "Leathery Coit")was murdered at the inn in the early 19th century, and that his body was dragged down wooden steps leaving a trail of blood which could not be cleaned away by any amount of scrubbing. Soon afterwards people started reporting a phantom carriage which would burst from the stables and tear past with a violent clattering of ghostly hooves.

Licencees have reported noises in the bar and living quarters, and sounds of people moving about in empty rooms. Ghostly images and distortions have been caught on film in the upstairs apartment. During a ghost vigil a man had his neck viciously scratched by an unseen assailant - all the more notable since he was sat at the bottom of a flight of stairs, with his back to the wall.

The apparition of a weeping young girl has been witnessed by multiple people standing half way up a flight of twisting stairs in the function room, and it is believed that she was a serving girl who was thrown to her death, and broke her neck in a fall on the stairs.

The Royal Oak, St Neots, haunted pub

The Royal Oak, St Neots

The pub history involves an exorcism which does not appear to have been entirely successful. In the 1960's a seance was held to contact a spirit which had been manifesting by way of a horrendous stench, which wafts around the pub, and comes and goes quite suddenly.

The New Inn, St Neots

The older part of the New Inn is haunted by the ghost of the Earl of Holland, who was arrested by Parliamentary troops and imprisoned there for a short time before being taken to London, where he was executed at the Tower. Several of his fellow-officers, captured with him, were killed by the Roundheads near the New Inn.

Several customers have expressed a feeling of great unease when standing at a certain spot in the bar, reputed to be the spot where the Earl has materialised several times.

The Golden Fleece, York - said to be York's most haunted pub

Brutality at The Golden Fleece, York

The Golden Fleece claims to be the most haunted pub in York, with regular sightings of a Victorian woman, Lady Alice Peckett who even in death, is terrified of her brutal and violent husband.

Other visitors have reported the spirit of a mischievous young boy, who tugs at the legs to get their attentions.

There are rooms available for overnight stays for those who are brave or foolhardy.

The Punchbowl, Stonegate, York, hanuted pub

Consumed by Fire at The Punchbowl, Stonegate, York

The Punch Bowl on Stonegate also has at least three ghosts, including a former landlord who was burned to death in an all consuming fire, and who is still sometimes heard stalking down the cellar steps. There is also the flitting ghost of a young woman, killed by a drunk when she refused his advances. She can be heard running from room to room, her shoes clattering on the floorboards, trying to avoid him.

The pub’s third ghost is a grey lady, who is said to have committed suicide, and now comes back tormented, looking vainly for her lover.

The Angel Hotel, Lymington

This pub used to be an old coaching inn for travellers, and was much used by local shipbuilders as a hostelry. It is reputed to be haunted by the phantoms of two despairing souls. One is the tall, imposing ghost of a seaman, dressed in his naval coat, and the other is thought to be that of a coachman who is seen materialising and looking out of the kitchen window, frightening passers by.

Things That Go Bump in the Night at The Bell Inn, Hedingham

This is a charming, likeable and vaguely eccentric pub, situated in the heart of a beautiful medieval village, complete with a ruined 12th century castle. One of the rooms at this inn is said to be haunted by the lost and lonely ghost of a child - a young girl with black hair who appears at the foot of the bed and terrifies guests. Her identity is not known, but the building has a 300 year history.

Poltergeist Activity at The Old Black Lion

This old pub has experienced a whole host of supernatural activity from lighting problems, beer barrel moving around of their own accord, a mysterious mist and violently rattling doors.

Several years ago one of the licencees saw the figure of a man accompanied by a large dog in materialise his bedroom. He was alarmed at the presence, and at first thought that the visitor was a burglar and so he told him to , "Get out of here. Who are you?" At this both the figure and his phantom hound vanished.

During an overnight investigation from local paranormal research group, a peculiar flickering light was witnessed in the cellar and an unusual shadow was seen. Also the distressing sound of a baby crying was heard. Historical documents show that in 1892 Andrew McRae, a former owner, was sentenced to death for murdering his mistress and their infant child.

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