In the North-East of England there are hundreds of public houses, but only a minority claim to be haunted, I explore the drinking houses that have had hauntings for many years. Rich in humour and hauntings, I detail North East Ghosts and Spirits that still dwell in the pubs of this area.
The Old Silent Inn, Stanbury, West Yorkshire
Near the Bronte’s village of Haworth, nestled snugly in a valley is the Old Silent Inn. Standing just outside of the village of Stanbury, the inn gave shelter to Bonnie Prince Charlie who had to make a dashing escape when his pursuers discovered his whereabouts.
Prince Charlie does not haunt the inn however; it is the shade of a previous kindly landlady that likes to stroke the foreheads of sleepers. The old lady used to feed the many wild cats that used to roam the moors and to alert the cats to their food she would ring a small bell. Local people and visitors to the Old Silent Inn have reported that they have heard in the distance a soft and gentle tinkling of bell.
The Lady Le Gros, Beverley, East Yorkshire
This East Yorkshire pub is one of the most haunted pubs in the UK, or it used to be at least. With the ghosts of a Victorian Gentleman, a Cavalier and a little girl haunting the pub, the landlord the late Mally Talbot announced that he would become a “ghostbuster”. After researching local records and checking the details of the sightings, Mally came to the conclusion that the Victoria Gentleman was in fact a previous landlord. Samuel Peacock was the proprietor of the pub in the 1870s and matched the description of sightings of a man reported by staff and customers.
Mally’s wife Sue regularly saw Samuel, during an interview she told how he would walk across a room and disappear through the fire door. Sue also believed that the ghost was mischievous and often played tricks on men in the pub. The ghost seemed particularly interested in Sue even when she was cleaning.
“Sam likes to help me. If I go through the door with the vacuum cleaner the door opens for me and stays open until I’ve walked through.”
Mally sadly passed away in 2001 and a new landlady took over The Lady Le Gros. The new proprietor wished not to speak about the ghosts but assured me that they were now gone. A friend of hers, who was a psychic, was able to “lay” the ghosts and bring a whole new atmosphere to the pub.
The Green Dragon, Stockton, Co Durham
The landlady at the Green Dragon frequently encounters a frisky ghost. Sharon Hancock was told by locals that the pub was haunted but it was only after an encounter with it in the cellars she believed their stories. During changing a barrel of beer in the basement of the pub she felt something walk past her, brushing her side as it passed by. Sharon just thought it was another member of staff. She turned around quickly to talk to the member of staff – but no one was there.
Many incidents have occurred and her dog refuses to go near the cellar.
The Mallard Inn, Ilkey, West Yorkshire
Several of the staff at the Mallard claim to have seen more than one ghost. Above the inn, a female presence haunts one of the bedrooms and on numerous occasions, another female ghost has been seen in the bar. The pub dates from 1708 and used to be a jailhouse. The staff claim that the “bar ghost” is trying to reach a recently discovered cell under the hair salon next door.
Other spooky incidents include stored glasses being found in triangular formations around the bar and the men’s toilet hand dryer switching itself on when no-one is around.
Marden Grotto, nr South Shields, Co Durham
In 1782, displeased with the high property rents in South Shields, “Jack the Blaster” moved his family in to caves found at the bottom of 112 feet cliffs in Marsden. This generated a great of deal of interest and brought many sightseers to the caves, Jack the Blaster spotted an opportunity and began selling ale.
Thirteen years later after Jack’s death Peter Allan moved into the Grotto and enlarged the caves sufficiently to make 15 rooms.
The ghost of The Grotto is that of John the Jibber who was a member of the Marsden Gang, a group of smugglers who operated out of the Grotto. John had long been suspected as an informant and was finally caught when coastguards were waiting to arrest the smugglers on their return. The Marsden Gang were able to escape and offloaded their goods at Souter Point.
The gang for informing on them sentenced John to death. They decided to give him a slow, agonising death and pushed him into a barrel and then hoisted it high into the roofs of the cavern to die of hunger. For the last two hundred years, John’s deathly groans have been heard echoing through the caves and Grotto. More recently poltergeist activity has been reported in the pub.
The Manor Castle Inn, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Built amidst the ruins of Manor Castle that date from early in the reign of Henry VIII, Manor Castle Inn is comprised of much of the original building that stood there. It was opened as a beerhouse, run by Joseph Walker in 1919.
In 1983, Jack Wright and his family took over the pub only to move out three weeks later, driven by events that had begun two days after their arrival. That night Jack had seen a white, human-shaped figure in the bedroom; the dog also saw the figure and began to bark, whereupon the ghost disappeared into the wardrobe. Jack’s three-year-old daughter Francine, saw the ghost several times and described it as ‘wearing gaiters and a plumed hat’.