Monday, 19 August 2013

The Bridge Inn - Horton

The Bridge Inn at Horton (Horton - an Anglo-Saxon word meaning ‘wet place’) takes its name from the adjacent grade II listed bridge which spans the Kennet and Avon canal. The Inn lies within the Parish of Bishops Cannings on the edge of the Vale of Pewsey; a designated area of outstanding beauty.

The Inn's beer garden is well situated, overlooking the picturesque canal. A recent extension to the restaurant has made the Bridge a popular eating establishment. Locally brewed ales and a fine selection of wines complete the package.

It is likely the property was once owned by one of the many affluent wool traders who prospered during the Wiltshire wool boom of the early 19th century.

The Inn's reputation for being haunted is no secret, so when chatting with former bartender - Stuart some time back, the subject of its ghosts inevitably came up. What follows are a few of Stuart's spooky encounters told in his own words.

"The majority of my ‘experiences’ have occurred in the lower of the two bars and in the vicinity of what was once the front door but is now sealed and acts as a specials board. I had several experiences during my time at The Bridge Inn, I am not saying any of them were paranormal but they were certainly odd. I recall one time retrieving something from a cupboard behind the bar, when out of the corner of my eye I noticed what I thought was the mother-in-law’s golden retriever. I peered over the bar to check where the hound was making for as he had no business being in the bar in the first place. You can imagine my surprise to find no dog."

"A few days later, I was chatting to one of the locals and tentatively recounted my dog story. I was surprised to learn that a dog matching my description had lived and died at the pub many years previous. Spooky I thought, although I was not altogether convinced, locals do like to spin a yarn, especially my lot but having said that he did seem quite sincere."

"On another occasion but in a different part of the pub, Sarah, one of the kitchen staff, was working at the sink with her back to the kitchen. All of a sudden she claimed she felt what she described, as a presence behind her and the sensation as if someone were blowing in her ear. Thinking it was the chef messing about, she turned around expecting to see him but she was quite alone."

A feeling of being watched, especially in the kitchen, has been reported by many of the staff.

"Another experience I had happened one morning whilst getting ready to open up. The cleaner was about her normal duties mopping the floor in the upper bar this time, when suddenly she felt a presence behind her. Thinking it was me (I had been in the bar only moments earlier) she asked what I was doing. At the time I had been in the bottle store getting stock. When I appeared moments later, she told me she was convinced there was someone else in the room with her."

"There have been several less memorable occurrences, but one that sticks in my mind took place on the 26th of November 2009. It was near closing time and I was in the upper bar chatting with a couple of customers. I just happened to glance to my right to check on the CD player when all of a sudden I saw the figure of a girl, probably early twenties with curly mid-length hair, looking in my direction from the lower bar. This would not have been unusual had the lower bar been occupied but I had checked it only moments earlier and it was empty. Doing a double take the way you do, I looked straight at her but she was gone as suddenly as she had appeared. I immediately went through to where she had been standing, from there I could see into the lower bar and restaurant, there was no sign of her. At the very same moment, one of my customers who I'd been chatting to, claimed he had seen a light in the same area momentarily shimmer, as if someone had walked past it."


Nikki Softley said...

I have more ghostly experiences to report about The Bridge Inn at Horton. My name is Nikki, I was landlady there for 3 years from April 2008 to Jun 2011. I agree that the kitchen was one area popular for strange goings on. One day the chopping boards came tumbling down off a shelf for no reason as they were securly held in a rack and another day the lid of the plastic dustbin went flying across the kitchen. I used to tell Mrs Sloper to get out of my kitchen as I believe it may have been her. She was the landlady from at least 1881 to 1916 when she died. A friend saw a lady in a grey dress walk across the lower bar towards the site of the old doorway, this was at a time when the pub was closed, he was visiting and therefore there was nobody else in the pub. A kitchen assistant heard someone walking down the stairs to the cellar, she looked up to see who it was and there was nobody there.
Stuart's wife Helen saw a short lady in the cellar and on the decking outside when she was doing her laundry, at first she thought it was her daughter Charlotte but it wasn't. A customer sensed the spirit of a lady with her hair in a bun, wearing a grey dress. The spirit was distressed and wished a space in the pub to be opened up, this was very important to her that it be opened up. The customer asked me if there was a space or room in the pub that was closed and would be about 6ft square. I couldn't think of such a space but my husband remembered that he had often wondered what was in the space behind the toilets and between the bottle store. The customer asked to go there, she touched the wall and said "Yes this is the space". My husband knocked a few bricks out of the wall to view what was behind, it was just an empty space with a vaulted brick ceiling. We showed the customer a photo of Mrs Jane Sloper and she agreed this was the spirit. There were no other sightings or experiences after this time but it would be interesting to find out if anything has occurred since we left the pub in 2011!

Willow said...

Thank you Nikki for your comments, interesting stories. The current landlord and landlady have not experienced anything unusual as yet.