TRUE GHOST STORIES FROM GLOUCESTERSHIRE
THE PUESDOWN INN
Compton Abdale, Gloucestershire
The Puesdown Inn’s origins are said to stretch back to1236, and for most of its working life it has operated as a coaching inn.
Its remote location (it stands today on the A40’s highest point) also made it a favoured haunt of highwaymen, many of whom doubtless sat here incognito, quaffing their ale whilst eying up their next target.
Indeed, the old inn’s most persistent spectral visitor is said to be one of these ‘gentlemen of the road’ who, having being shot in the course of his nefarious business, staggered back to the inn, where he banged hard and long upon the door.
When the landlord eventually answered it was too late. As he opened the door, the highwayman’s lifeless body came crashing towards him, flinging his spirit across the threshold where it has remained in residence ever since.
Ghostly knocking is often heard on the front door. Phantom footsteps heard crossing the lounge, and then ascending the stairs, have disturbed the peace on more than one occasion.
One landlord claimed he was woken by strange sounds outside and, climbing out of bed, was astonished to see a ghostly coach pulling into the inn’s yard.
Other people looking out of their windows at dead of night have spied a dark figure galloping away on a horse.
An Australian couple were lying in bed one night when the husband awoke to find that an invisible ‘something’ was slowly tugging the bedclothes off the bed.
And finally, inexplicable wet patches have been known to appear on the upstairs carpet – although whether these are connected to the ghost is unrecorded.
YE OLDE BLACK BEAR
Dating back to 1309 and occupying a riverside location, The Olde Black Bear has the distinction of being the oldest inn in Gloucestershire.
It is a wonderful place of beamed, panelled corridors and creaking floors, across which a headless figure has been known to stroll, dragging his chains behind him in true ghostly fashion!
His deficiency in the head department has made identification impossible, but since his fashion sense appears to be that of the 14th century it has been suggested that he might be the one of the Lancastrians whose army was defeated by the Yorkists at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471.
Many of the vanquished soldiers headed for Tewkesbury, and a fair number of them sought shelter at The Olde Black Bear.
Perhaps he is the shade of one of their number who was decapitated in the heat of battle and who, not realizing he was dead, followed his comrades as they fled the field, and pitched up at this ancient place where he has remained ever since.
There is something slightly dark and mysterious about Snowshill Manor, located in one of the Cotswolds most timeless and remote villages.
Once owned by Catharine Parr, the last of Henry V111’s six wives, it was bought in 1918 by Charles Paget Wade, who proceeded to restore the manor and then fill it with what must surely be the most extraordinary and eccentric collection of curios, ever amassed beneath one residential roof.
He gave the house to the National Trust in 1951 and visitors can now enjoy the fruits of one man’s scholarly searches for the interesting.
Each room is dedicated to a particular subject and every conceivable quirk of fad and fashion from the past four hundred years is paraded in rooms with names such as Admiral, Dragon, Nadir, Seraphim and Seventh Heaven exquisitely painted above their doors.
Guides working at the old house, have often heard footsteps pacing across the floors of rooms that are known to be empty, the general consensus being that it is simply the ghost of Charles Wade returning to check up on his unique collection.
BELAS KNAP LONG BARROW
Nr. Winchecombe, Gloucestershire.
Belas Knap is a truly impressive Neolithic long barrow that dates, is around 178 feet long by 60 feet wide, and stands as a proud and enduring monument to the architectural skill and cultural erudition of our distant ancestors.
It boasts a false entrance at the North end and four burial chambers.
The remains of nearly forty people were found in excavations carried out at the site between 1863-1865 and again between 1928-1930, along with other remains including part of a boar's tusk pendant.
The word barrow, incidentally, comes from the Anglo Saxon word beorg, which is related to berg, meaning mountain.