RICK HALE takes us to the Chequers Inn in Kent – a country hotel haunted by Britain’s most famous highwayman, Dick Turpin

The Chequers Inn
Smarden, Ashford
TN27 8QA

“Your money or your life.” Were words spoken by bloodthirsty highwaymen when they jumped from the shadows on lonely country roads to relieve travelers of their gold.

And no Highwayman was more famous than, Dick Turpin. The infamous thief believed to haunt The Chequers Inn, a hotel in Smarden, Kent.

History Of The Chequers Inn

The Chequers Inn in Smarden is considered to be one of the oldest buildings in Smarden, having been built in the 14th century.

Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, The Chequers was one of three public houses in the village.

As the town grew and prospered, the Chequers Inn grew in popularity and attracted many wealthy guests.

The Chequers Inn remained a quiet country Inn until the 1730s, when Dick Turpin joined a local gang and frequented the Inn. Bringing with him a sense of danger.

Eventually Turpin was apprehended and faced charges of being a poacher, a thief and a murderer.

Following a swift trial, Turpin was found guilty of all charges and swung by the neck from the hangman’s noose.

The often romanticised rogue didn’t stay long in his grave. He returned to the Chequers Inn to haunt. And, Turpin’s ghost is not alone.

The Ghost Of Dick Turpin And Company

Since becoming a hotel, the curious figure of a man has been witnessed throughout the hotel by staff and guest alike.

He’s been described as being a roughly handsome man dressed in green velvet, a tricorn hat and riding boots.

This spirit, believed to be the infamous highwayman Dick Turpin, has also been seen sitting at a writing table writing a letter with a feathered quill.

The spirit of Turpin is not just seen within the walls of the Inn. Turpin has been seen riding off on his trusty coal black stead, “Black Bess.”

No doubt off to commit some nefarious crime.

The spirit of notorious highywayman Dick Turpin is said to haunt the Chequers Inn in Ashford, Kent

The spirit of notorious highywayman Dick Turpin is said to haunt the Chequers Inn in Ashford, Kent

Dick Turpin isn’t the only spirit to call The Chequers Inn home. The other ghost said to haunt the Inn was a soldier from the Napoleonic wars.

According to one of the many stories told at the Inn, the soldier was awakened in the middle of the night by a thief rummaging through his personal belongings.

When the soldier confronted the intruder, the thief got the better of the soldier and stabbed him to death.

The solemn ghost of the soldier has been seen in the room where his untimely demise occurred many, many years ago.

He is said to stand in the middle of the room clutching the blood encrusted knife that ruthlessly took his life.

Why stay at the haunted Chequers Inn?

The atmospheric Chequers Inn located in the Kent countryside, is an award winning hotel and popular destination.

While a small hotel, it offers all the modern amenities while retaining its charm as a 14th century coaching Inn.

The hotel has a restaurant in a quaint barn that is situated on the property. And can host up to 100 guests in the garden.

If it’s culture you desire, there are a number of castles and cathedrals you can visit. No doubt with their very own ghost stories.

And you and your family can visit The Wildlife Heritage Foundation, to appreciate the big cats that once roamed the countryside.

The haunted Chequers Inn, is another charming country Inn with a history of being haunted by the ghosts of its past.

If you have ever stayed at The Chequers Inn, we invite you to tell us about it in the comments section.

Rick Hale
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