King and Queen Public House
The ghost which it is said haunts the 500 year old King and Queen is supposed to be that of a hunchbacked monk who is dressed in white robes. The pub was once a monastery and the ghost probably dates from that time. It is thought that the monk was killed when it was discovered that he had broken his chastity vows and there have been many sightings in the pub yard where he walks towards the old stables. At other times he is seen around St Michaels church.
During 1968, the landlord at the time was woken by his dog whinning. He went into the yard to investigate and was confronted by the sight of the ghostly monk standing motionless looking at him. Thinking at first that he had disturbed an intruder he let his dog loose but it just stood there, rooted to the spot. Undeterred, the landlord approached the figure himself, but it just moved away and glided through a wall.
At other times in the pub itself, sounds of footsteps have been heard coming from a corridor on the first floor above the bar. They have been heard on more than one occassion walking towards a room which was used in the 19th century as a courtroom which saw many people sentenced to death. However, when anyone goes to check the corridor and room they are found to be empty.
A story related in 2001 states the the King and Queen Public House has been subject to flickering lights, mysterious shadows and sudden drops in temperature for quite a number of years.
The landlord at the time said that a number of unexplained events had left him wondering whether the tales of the ghost of a monk sentenced to death in the old courtroom upstairs and hung outside in an alleyway may be true. But its not only the landlord who has experienced strange events. Many regulars also talk about a man who went to use the toilets outside and came back as white as a sheet. He couldn’t tell them what had happened but afterwards said he had seen an apparition.
The landlord also said that “sometimes it is very warm here and the temperature can suddenly drop and you get a cold shudder. There have been flickering lights and sometimes when you turn all the switches off at night you come down in the morning and a light has come back on.
Apparently two men even asked to stay in a particular room to try and see the ghost. Unfortunately, whether or not they were successful is not recorded.
We will leave the last words of this story to the landlord. “I don’t think it is time for an exorcist, but it is an intriguing part of the history. I am the most sceptical man in the world but I know there is something there. The pub was an old coaching inn and the stories say a monk was once hung in the alleyway outside for stealing a loaf of bread. I am sure being a coaching inn there have been a lot of unscrupulous people coming through these doors.”
A slightly different version of the above story was published in 2004. The ghostly visitor was still showing itself in many weird and wonderful ways. On many occassions a freezing chill descends on some rooms and glasses mysteriously smash.
The landlord (the same person as in the above story) was still talking about the lights coming on during the night after the pub had closed. He also said that there was a local regular customer who, “brings his dog in and it just sits in the corner and growls.” he went on, “And just a few years ago when we let out bedrooms a guest woke up one morning covered in thin scratches. Sometimes people who had booked in for a few weeks would come down after a couple of days and check out. There have even been guests who said they heard footsteps coming from the attic which runs above the bedrooms. But no-one ever goes up there. It hasn’t been touched for 150 years and still contains horse hair and hay from when it was used as a stables.”
The pub’s barman also believes there is something strange going on although he hasn’t seen the ghost himself. The most recent thing he witnessed occurred while he was talking to a customer in the bar when two pint glasses suddenly smashed. In his own words, “They just seemed to explode. It wasn’t as if they had just come out of the dishwasher and cracked. It was weird. No one was hurt and I don’t think the ghost is out to get anybody.” He went on to say, “About a month ago my dad was cashing up one night and saw what he thought was the landlord, but when he came down from the office he was told he wasn’t even in the pub.” He also stated that the office is freezing even when the heating is turned on.
The pub has established a long and interesting history in it’s 500 years. Underneath the building runs a series of cellars and tunnels that it is said connected the church, monastery, public houses and other prominent buildings in the town. The entrances to most of these have now been sealed, but no doubt these would have their own stories to tell!