The following article appeared in the ‘Citizen’ on Monday, October 10th 1983.
An inn with plenty of spirit… by Beverly Belben.
There seems to be more to the spirits at the White Hart Inn, Maisemore, than mere alcohol… and some of the things which go on would be enough to make even a teetotaller think he had one too many. Bottles shoot off shelves and break on the floor, glasses fall off tables and an ashtray has been known to zoom across the room. Music blares out when the juke box is switched off, the pumps at the bar seem to have a mind of their own, and as for the knocking – that’s just plain spooky.
These strange occurrences, according to landlady Alma Gough and her regulars, are blamed on a ghost called Charlie, who visits the pub at all times of the day and night. Charlie seems to be a friendly ghost, content to throw things around and play tricks with the draught beer. Footsteps have been heard walking across the floor of the room above the bar – when investigation has found nobody there – strange knockings and bangings have come from the ladies toilet, when they have been empty, and on one occasion, alone in the cellar, a barmaid felt sure she was tapped on the shoulder.
The apparition has apparently appeared at least twice. Once as a ‘transparent thing’ in the cellar. And the second time on New Year’s Eve when a group in the pub had their picture taken. When the photograph was developed a mysterious bright object appeared on the print. The picture was enlarged and something like an old woman appeared to be behind the group of people. “It was quite frightening really. We tried to place whatever it was, but thee was nothing that could have been in that particular spot. It was weird,” said Alma. “Of course, it could have been the camera, but with everything else I just don’t know.”
Charlie has ‘haunted’ the White Hart for more than 16 years – he was passed on to the Goughs by the previous tenants. “Before I came here I did not believe in ghosts. Now I am not so sure what to think. I don’t take much notice, but if I was touched by it then I think that would frighten me,” said Alma.
Although the part of the pub particularly prone to the ghostly antics dates back more than 400 years neither Alma nor her customers know of any dastardly deed committed there which would explain a reckless spirit like Charlie. But one evening a woman walked into the White Hart to have a drink. The conversation had not turned to the subject of ghosts but the woman, who was apparently interested in poltergeists, announced that the place was haunted. She just felt it. She asked if there was a well and, when told it was blocked up, she suggested this was the reason for the wandering spirit. The well should be unblocked to allow the ghost to go back inside.
There has even been a séance, but this ended in disarray when a glass fell off the bar and broke and the letters spelt out the words ‘PACK IT IN’. Janine McQuire, who was there at the time, said: “It was my glass which broke. We were nowhere near it. It just slid off the bar, which is perfectly flat and safe, and broke on the floor. It was weird. The same night we had the séance we heard music coming from the old part of the bar. It was sort of hurdy-gurdy music, but there was nothing on to play it,” she said.
Factory worker, Tony Beasley, who has seen things fly off shelves and heard the juke box turning itself on, said: “If it happened near closing time I would put it down to the drink, but it doesn’t. I don’t believe in ghosts but there does not seem any reason for half the things that go on here.”
Bob Allen, a local sales executive, has heard Charlie knocking. “It was always three knocks. About two or three weeks ago we heard it coming from the ladies’ toilet. We went in but there was no-one there. Nothing could have made the sound. Two minutes later, I had just reached for my pint, and the knocking came again, so we dashed back immediately, but still did not find anything. All the windows were secure, no doors banging, no-one outside the toilets throwing stones or anything. Very strange,” he said.
Alma said: “One evening the bathroom walls were wringing wet and hot as if someone had been having a bath, but no-one had. A plumber was in the bar at the time and had a look but could find no reason for it. And on another occasion when the knocking was heard our old dog ran straight from the bar as though he was mad.”
Ghosts or no ghosts there’s something most peculiar about the White Hart Inn – when photographer Steve Taylor and I called there his camera refused to work properly, and his pint of beer was cloudy – only minutes after a clear pint had come out of the same barrel!
This page will be updated with the licensing details, lists of landlords etc.
Landlords at the White Hart Inn include:
1983 Alma Gough