|The Ringlestdone, By kind permission of Jane Horder|
The Ringlestone Inn is in Harrietsham in Kent, and it dates from 1533 when Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon was annulled so he could marry Anne Boleyn. Since the pub is so old, it's unsurprising there are so many sinister occurrences. This lovely old building was once a hospice giving assistance and shelter to monks who were fleeing the dangers resulting from Henry's dissolution of the monasteries.
The Boy in the Cellar
A boy, claimed to be a previous Ringlestone landlord's son, crept out at night and stole a sheep from a farm. He wanted the sheep to feed his hungry family, but that was no excuse, as the penalty was imprisonment or deportation. Unfortunately, for him, he was found out, and so his mother and father decided to hide him. They bricked him up in a cavity in a fireplace in the cellar, and as they erected the front wall, they left one brick out so they could feed him.
It worked, and the young boy was never found by the authorities. Eventually, though, he stopped taking the food and his parents assumed he'd died. So his father replaced the last brick in the opening, and then he and his wife moved away. It's thought that one of the child presences in the pub might be the ghost of this little boy.
Child Ghost Playing Tricks
The Ringlestone Inn child ghosts are always making mischief, moving toys around, taking keys from one place and putting them somewhere else. One grandchild of a landlord found that all her favourite toys disappeared through a wall. Later, it was discovered that a door once stood at the point where the toys vanished. A subsequent finding was that a small boy had died in the upstairs living room.
An Odd Old Couple
An elderly couple haunt the corner bar. In life, they loved the pub and the roaring fire in the snug, and just can't bear to give up their visits - even in death. Many people encounter them and say how much they like them, as they are always happy to gossip and pass the time. This old couple seem absolutely normal but then - in an instant - they disappear.
Ghostly footsteps stomp up the cellar steps. Then all is silent, before the clank of a boot tossed onto the floor. Strangely, this ghost only ever takes off one boot. No one knows why that is, nor do they know the identity of the owner of the ghostly footsteps.
A highwayman called Elias Shephered once used the road outside the pub to lie in wait for coaches running between Faversham and Canterbury. The crossroads near the Ringlestone Inn are called the Black Post Crossroads, because many highwaymen were hanged there. People thought that criminals were in league with the Devil and, therefore, couldn't be buried in holy ground. Elias was eventually captured and hanged at Penenden Heath in 1765. People claim the Black Post Crossroads are haunted by his ghost.
The Lady with the Third Eye
In November, 2004, a customer told the pub manager that while she was sitting alone, several presences passed by and disappeared into the wall, one after another. The lady claimed she had the "third eye."
A Ghost with Issues
Ghosts, it is claimed, disapprove of modern changes to their territory. The Ringlestone Inn ghosts show their objections by banging and crashing about in the downstairs bar. Staff rush downstairs thinking a burglar has entered the building, but everything is always fine, with no sign of intrusion.
Adapted from Haunted Kent, Janet Cameron, Tempus Publishing, 2005.
With thanks to Jane Horder for additional information.