Lancashire boasts many drinking dens whose spirits don’t necessarily come out of a bottle.
Barry McCann finds six to sample:
The Eagle, Weeton
Built in 1585, The Eagle (until recently The Eagle and Child) in Weeton is one of the oldest public houses in Lancashire and steeped in history. It was reputedly a hiding place for Oliver Cromwell during the civil war, with secret passages apparently running from the cellar should the need have arisen.
Unsurprisingly it is said to have a resident phantom known as Bleeding Ears Murph, who is heard chattering in the bar area away through the night and thought to be a highwayman who fled from London to evade capture.It seems old Murph is not alone. One licensee was closing up one night when he heard someone moving about but no answer when he shouted out.
Then he heard footsteps and a tall, soldierly man with white side-whiskers marched past him and right through the locked door. His description was recognised by some locals as a Sergeant from the local army camp who used to frequent the inn.
Another reported ghost is the White Lady who walks the upstairs hallway. It is not known who she may be, but being the residential part of the building she may be a former resident or guest. So should you ever visit Weeton’s Eagle think twice before ordering a White Lady.
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Eagle and Child, Leyland
Dating back to 1763 and originally called The Holy Lamb, this Eagle and Child is not as old as its Weeton namesake, but the building structure dates back earlier and, like the White Bull in Ribchester, had been a courthouse. Judge Michael Livesey, one of Cromwell’s right hand men who signed King Charles I’s death warrant, is thought to have presided there when he came to Lancashire on legal business.
The pub had a long-standing reputation with reports of objects moving and glasses being thrown, until landlady Linda Roach decided to bring in investigators. The team attempted Ouija and the first response came from a young girl called Emilie who died several hundred years ago and could not spell.
Then a woman called Betty came through who claimed to be looking after the girl, before the glass moved wildly which the team interpreted as ghosts speak for wanting to be left alone.
The third messenger identified himself as male and made it clear the team were unwanted, spelling out “Sentence to death” and other choice words.
It is thought this could be the puritanical Judge Livesey now resenting his courthouse now being used to serve liquor, hence the flying glasses.
The Sun Inn, Chipping
In the graveyard of St Bartholomew’s Church at Chipping is a headstone bearing the legend “Lizzie Dean 5th of November 1835.” And legend is she haunts the nearby Sun Inn.
Lizzie was a beautiful maid seduced by a local man who she fell in love with, only then to be spurned when he decided to marry her best friend instead.
On the day of the wedding, Lizzie hanged herself in an attic of the Inn which had a clear view of the church.
The suicide note in her clenched fist read “I want to be buried at the entrance to the church so my lover and my best friend will always have to walk past my grave every time they go to church.”
Lizzie has made her presence known in the Sun Inn many times since.
One of her most intriguing appearances was to a visitor to the village enjoying a late morning pint in the pub’s snug bar.
Sat alone, he suddenly felt a temperature drop and turned round to see a female figure sat in the corner with brown hair in ringlets and a dress of mingled colours.
He wished her a “Good morning” but she took no notice and instead got up and walked straight past him into another room.
The pub and its mysterious inhabitant have been featured on national radio and TV, attracting visitors and investigators as a result.
Given the additional trade she has brought in, Lizzie is proving a loyal employee of the Sun Inn.
The Ship and Royal, Lytham
Located on the town’s high street, The Ship and Royal appears home to a number of spectres. One has been known to move paperwork and place unauthorised orders for meat by telephone.
On another occasion the internal phone rang one night after the building was closed, but when answered there was no one on the other end. The other receiver was located in an office fully locked up.
These incidents have been blamed on a tall gentleman sighted on the second floor nicknamed Charlie, and believed to be Squire John Talbot Clifton, a regular at the inn who died in Tenerife in 1928.
Another haunting is thought to be that of a mother and son who made a suicide pact by drowning themselves in one of the upper floor bathrooms.
The 20 former hotel rooms are out of use and the plumbing to them long since removed, yet the sound of a running water tap has been heard in the dead of night.
Lower Buck, Waddington
The Lower Buck at Waddington was built in 1760, and in 1820 gained a landlord in William Southworth.
He was later killed in a brawl and his wife kept the pub for 40 more years, during which time she and others experienced William’s continued presence.
Tales of ghostly happenings led to female staff at the pub having a sleepover one evening and the supernatural did not fail to rise to the occasion. Barmaid Jenny described the events that followed.
“First, we lit candles and asked if anyone was present and we immediately heard scratching and banging noises coming from upstairs.
“Chloé (another member of the party) then saw a man in the doorway of the front bar and shortly afterwards, we took a picture as the room had gone cold.
“We were amazed to see what looked like separate images of a man and a girl in two different pictures.”
The spirits concerned were generous in more ways than one.
The girls’ sleepover raised £300 their chosen cause.