England's Gate Inn - 'A ghostly figure lurking in the mirror'
With refreshing views and a timbered architecture dating from 1540 when the Inn was then a farmhouse this ghostly country pub looks very much inviting to the visitor passing through the country village of Bodenham.
The Inn's separate outside building is the original Stables, above these Stables is a large room which can be entered by long steep and unsafe stone stairs to the side of the building, unfortunately the floor in this room is falling apart and is not in use for anything. The stables are in fine tact but are also left unused.
Inside the Inn is old and cosy and with an old fireplace, many wall paintings and the old wooden beams on show sitting inside this pub makes you feel right at home.
It is unknown where the Inn got it's name, however the name has strong historical connections. This part of the Welsh border country was named the Marches and it was here that many battles between the Welsh and Normans were fought, the name England's Gate could refer to the large common arable field which is to the east side of the Inn as this field is named ' inland' which England is a corruption of, the gate could easily refer to the gate that leads into this field.
England's Gate Inn really is soaked in history and has a number of known ghost stories connected to the building, the first owners of the building were the Baker family and they probably built the building as a private dwelling. At that time the building was a farmhouse which housed many farm animals such as cattle, horses, sheep ,chickens etc. Horses would of also been housed in the outside stable.
In 1713 Philip Baker and his son William Baker were residing at the building and as they were Shoemakers by trade part of the building would have been used as their workshop where they would make and store shoes. The building was later made into a Public House in 1717 . By 1775 when William went to make his Will he was described as a 'Maltster' which can suggest that at some point he made part of the building as a Malt House.
The building has been passed through many hands over the Centuries including Sir Richard Arkwright who bought the Inn in 1827, Richard owned several local properties around Bodenham at the time including the beautiful Hampton Court which is situated just down the road.
Many changes and alterations have been made to the pub over the long years to it's advantage most of these changes were made between 1820 to 1900 when part of the old building was moved which stands to the south side of the Inn. Many locals enjoyed meeting in the club room in 1869 which was percivectly for the friendly society which was known as 'Court Arkwright' where they would spend their evenings indulging in games and drinking plenty of ale.
Although the Inn brings pleasant thoughts it is also known to have had a few tragedy's the most known was of the sudden death of Mr. Allen Duncan who was a local farmer of the moor, he died suddenly in a fit whilst at the bar of the inn, however after this shocking incident the pub continued to make successful service .
In the 1950's Francis Chilman was landlord whilst at the time the pub was also the local Post Office, mail would of been collected from the pub by Postmen using their mail cart and they would soon later deliver the mail around the village, at this point in time The England's Gate Inn stood at a crossroads and it was later by-passed in the 1960's.
The Inn has been in the reigns of an endless amount of people, the above to name a few so it is no surprise that it as it's fair share of its ghostly guests.
The most frightening experience that took place there was when a woman took a trip to the ladies toilet, whilst checking her appearance in the mirror she saw a ghostly man stood behind her in a coat and hat, she sharply left the toilet not to return. A picture seems to move on it's own in the bar area and the kitchen staff also seem to hear the ghostly knocks and bangs from the back kitchen door. There is also ghostly animals that appear around the Inn, the owner has seen the ghost of a spaniel dog.
So from apparitions to knocks and bangs and on one occasion a ghostly voice this Inn is definitely worth a visit.