Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The Stags Head Dunster

The Stags Head

Dunster is one of England’s best preserved medieval villages, with a history that dates to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. It’s probably best known for its late 12th century fortified Anglo-Saxon castle which stands on a Tor overlooking the village.

When we visit Dunster, something my good lady and I try to do as often as possible, we invariable stay at the 15th century Stags Head - without the apostrophe. The original Stags Head was recorded in West Street in 1830 where it remained in business until 1904 when application for renewal of licence was refused on the grounds that it was in poor condition. It eventually became a private house (now demolished) but retained the name Stags Head with the addition of ‘House.’ In the early 20th century, The New Inn, further along West Street adopted its name and became The Stags Head Inn, contrary that is to a local legend that in 1963 saw a wild stag rampage through the pub destroying all in its path until it was eventually cornered and shot dead. Its antler trophy still hangs in the lounge and makes for a colourful if not fanciful tale of how the pub got its name.

Waitress and housemaid - Pepper, agreed to impart some of the ghostly tales which have been reported by staff and visitors.

Guest Bedroom 1
A ghostly maid has been seen to glide through a wall here before pausing beside the bed as she inquisitively looks down on its terrified occupants.

Guest Bedroom 3
In this room, a wall mounted television has an irritating habit of switching itself on, often at the most unsociable of hours - the dead of night. Pepper told me the television became such a nuisance that the landlord was forced to install a new one. However, the new installation proved just as unreliable and continued with its inappropriate and spontaneous broadcasts. On one occasion Pepper witnessed the television’s antics at first hand, it was following the death of her dog the previous night, she had been scheduled to work the following day so rather than sit at home and mope she decided to work. As she entered room 3 to prepare it for guests the new television suddenly switched on. Pepper is of the opinion this may have been a "spiritual moment." As far as I’m aware there have been no further instances with the television since that day.

On another occasion Pepper had placed a rocking chair against a window to clear the area for vacuuming. She popped into the en suite for a few minutes, on her return she was surprised to find the rocker had mysteriously moved back to its usual position. There had been nobody else upstairs and there were no other guests in the pub, if anybody had entered the room she swears she would have heard them.

The Kitchen
There are two storerooms here, one of which has a door with a mind of its own, for it will often open of its own accord, even though it is secured by a latch. Pepper has witnessed it opening accompanied by a noticeable drop in temperature. It is not unusual to open the door and find boxes upturned, their contents scattered across the floor. Pepper is of the opinion “that something in there does no like being shut in.”

The Bar
Around 9.45pm, on some nights the front door will open and close as if someone has entered the bar. These odd occurrences seem more prevalent during the winter months. In fact when we were there only recently with friends we all witnessed the front door open and close of its own accord.

Several weeks ago a couple were dining at table 1, which is situated immediately opposite the door. They both noticed it open and close but nobody came in. Shortly after Pepper approached the table to check if everything was to their liking. A somewhat anxious lady asked of Pepper “do you have anything here, only I have just witnessed a figure standing directly behind my husband, though my husband saw nothing?”

No comments: