A 15th century misogynist ghost has been barred from the Church House Inn in Churchstow.
Francis, who had been causing mischief at the bar for several centuries, met his match when new landlords, Glen and Suzi Chadwick took over the pub in January.
Suzi explained: “There are many stories from people who have lived and worked here over the years. I thought it’d be interesting to get someone along to see what is happening. So Paula Wratten, a medium paid us a visit.”
As well as Francis, Paula discovered numerous ghosts living in the 13th century inn, including several monks, a dog, a lady in black named Margaret, and a girl from the 18th century who had been in a tragic accident.
Paula explained: “When I walked in, I could see a man sitting at the bar in spirit form, he was very drunk and very aggressive, he didn’t like females, he was very anti-woman. When he was alive, he loved alcohol and he would jump into other people’s bodies so as to experience the taste of alcohol and the feeling of being drunk again.
“The man’s name was Francis, he was from the 15th century. He was causing a bad atmosphere, throwing glasses around. The way I removed him was by getting Suzi to pour him a glass of whiskey and put it on the bar.
“Suzi put her hand over the glass and the challenged him. She said: ‘We’re in the 21st century now, women don’t like being pushed around, so I’m afraid you’re barred and this is the last drink you’re going to have here.’
“The energy changed and Francis left.”
Paula continued: “In the back of the pub, I found Margaret, a very religious woman from the 18th century, carrying a Bible - she was linked to the church in someway. She moved on when I explained that there’s another job for her elsewhere.
“There was also a young girl, Mary, perhaps aged between 17 and 19 from the early 19th century, and she had been involved in a big accident. She was sad about her passing, but she left really quickly, the trauma had kept her trapped.
“She was beautifully dressed, clean, with hair tied back,” Paula continued.
“She was perhaps the daughter of a local farmer, and had been in a serious accident, she was very confused and didn’t know what had happened to her.
“I also negotiated with monks from the 13th or 14th century. We agreed they could stay but they must not interfere with the living.
“The Church House Inn was very interesting, like reading a book, with different time periods bleeding into each other,” Paula added. “I loved Churchstow, you can feel the history.”
There’s a legend in the village that there’s a secret passage that goes from the well in the hallway of the pub into the church across the road. According to Paula, the passageway exists - the monks were smugglers so used the passageway to hide their contraband.
Suzi explained that numerous members of her family had had strange experiences in the months preceding Paula’s visit: “Our godson Will has been staying with us and he feels like somebody’s been following him down the corridor and that someone’s sitting on the end of his bed!
“My sister-in-law stayed here and heard footsteps down the corridor. And my daughter arrived here late at night and saw a person wearing a tweedy fabric in the pub. We think that might have been one of the monks.
“Our granddaughter, who is 22 months old, appeared to be having a conversation and waving to someone, and when questioned she said ‘he’s gone now’.
But Pete Thomson, who has been the carvery chef at the pub for 28 years, has never experienced anything at the pub.
He said: “I’ve been here in the depths of winter at 6am in the morning when it’s dark it’s cold and I’ve experienced nothing at all. That’s not to say there isn’t something here, but personally I haven’t felt anything.”
Daphne Langman, now retired, who worked as cook at the pub for 23 years, had many strange experiences at the pub. Over the years, she saw strange shadows and reflections, as well as glasses flying off the shelves behind the bar.
“My son used to work behind the bar,” Daphne said. “One evening, he suddenly heard water running and then a bottle of Cointreau exploded for no reason!”
“Everybody thinks this is sleepy old Churchstow, but we’ve got loads going on!” Daphne laughed.