Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Tales from Two Pubs

In Narrowgate, Alnwick, sits a whitewashed public house called Ye Olde Cross (NU185134). You can’t miss it. And when you find it, take a look in the shallow bay window to the right of the entrance, and you will find a curious little display of glassware together with a note which reads:-

These bottles have been here for over 150 years.  Whilst putting them here the man collapsed and died.  It was said that if anyone tried to move them they would share the same fate.  They have never been touched since.
The man in question was the pub’s landlord, who is supposed to have cursed the bottles as he endured his death throes. It was his widow who issued the fateful warning – ignored, apparently, by some poor unfortunate several years later, who similarly perished.

The display has lain untouched since and is covered in cobwebs, giving the pub its local nickname of ‘Dirty Bottles’.

Not too far away, on Northumberland Street, Alnmouth, can be found The Schooner Hotel (NU247104), the “most haunted hotel in Great Britain.” The title, twice bestowed by the esteemed Poltergeist Society, has stuck, naturally, if for no other reason than to attract a bit of attention from passing tourists.

However, we are assured that the place has been “thoroughly investigated”, and is “listed on record as having over 60 individual ghosts”. There are many tales of accidental death, suicide, and even mass murder surrounding the hotel – though solid evidence is sadly lacking. Living TV’s Most Haunted called in in 2003, after which it was given a most favourable rating. Room 28 is the spookiest, they say, the setting of the mass murder of a French family by a gypsy for their belongings three centuries ago.

The Schooner’s reputation hasn’t deterred the famous from staying over. Charles Dickens, Douglas Bader, and King George III have all spent the night there – as well as John Wesley, who was aware of the village’s reputation for “wickedness”, though this was probably a reference to its smuggling history more than anything else.

So if you ever have the chance of staying there, well, remember, Room 28 is the one you should insist on.

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