Three Pilchards Pub in Polperro has spooky smells, cheerful ghosts and a history of other hauntings, says RICK HALE

Along the south west coast of Cornwall is the town of Polperro. It’s a quaint fishing village with a history stretching back to the 13th century.

Read more about Cornwall’s most haunted pubs here!

Since the 20th century, tourists from across the United Kingdom and the world have flocked to this sleepy seaside town to walk the scenic South West Coast path between Dorset and Somerset.

And, as you pass through Polperro you may want to stop for a pint or two in the town’s most haunted inn, The Three Pilchards.

History of The Three Pilchards

Although the inn was established in the 16th century, not much is known about the history of the Three Pilchards building.

Nevertheless, if Polperro is anything like other seaside Cornish villages, chances are it’s seen its fair share of piracy, smuggling and most definitely, murder.

Of all the colourful people that walked through the doors of the inn, the most colourful was Charles Joliff.

Joliff, a former landlord in the 19th century, may have appeared to be nothing more than a harmless local businessman.

However, appearances are often deceiving and many in the town knew that Joliff often engaged in criminal enterprise.

Charles Jolliff, one time landlord of the Three Pilchards Pub in Polperro, Cornwall.
Charles Jolliff (1808-1887), one time landlord of the Three Pilchards Pub in Polperro, Cornwall.

Joliff was a prolific smuggler and if someone needed tobacco, contraband alcohol and other forbidden things, Charles Joliff was the man to see.

It was said that if Joliff’s horse was saddled outside the Three Pilchards Inn that was the signal Joliff was open for business.

The Haunting of The Three Pilchards

According to staff and patrons of the inn, the ghosts that haunt the inn are numerous.
And are known to range from the merely pleasant to the tragic.

And nothing is more tragic than an entire family of ghosts that haunt the inn. And the domestic violence that forced their souls to remain for all time.

A Family of Spectres

According to the inn, a troubled family owned the Three Pilchards pub from 1856-1870 are regularly encountered in the building.

The owner of the pub had a violent temper and his drinking only fanned the flames of his explosive anger.

One late night, after a day of heavy drinking his wife made some kind of unforgivable error and the man flew into a blind rage and beat her to death.

When their teenaged son walked in on the grisly scene, he attempted to fight his father.

Sadly, like his mother, he too met an untimely death.

Since that horrific night well over a century ago, the sounds of a struggle and a woman’s screams of anguish have been heard coming from the second floor of the Three Pilchards.

Old Photo of Three Pilchards Pub in Polperro.
Old photo from the 1860s showing street life surrounding the Three Pilchards Pub in Polperro, Cornwall.

Whenever someone goes to investigate the noises, nothing is found but an eerie silence and a sense of dread.

And it’s not just the sounds of the former landlord’s maniacal rage and murder of his family that is experienced.

The apparitions of a battered woman and a boy have been reported standing at the top of the stairs.

They appear for only a moment and fade away leaving the witness with a sense of overwhelming sadness.

The Milk Maiden

While drinking and having a laugh with friends and family in the garden, patrons have reported a curious sight that defies logic.

The ghostly image of a young girl milking a phantom cow suddenly appears.

Then vanishes almost as quickly as it appeared.

The Cheerful Old Man

The apparition of a cheerful old man makes an appearance near the end of the bar.

He is known to have a smile on his face as he nods to the patron who looks his way. He then vanishes from sight.

A Pleasant Scent

According to parapsychology, psychic smells are a commonly reported supernatural manifestation.

The Three Pilchards has such a manifestation.

The strong odour of violets, even when out of season, has been reported filling the inn with its pleasant scent.

The flowery smell wafts in on a breeze, hangs in the air for a few minutes and dissipates.

Three Pilchards Pub in Polperro
The Three Pilchards Pub in Polperro is a delightful place to visit while in Cornwall to maybe catch a glimpse of a ghost or two!

A few people have theorised this may be a psychic manifestation of the woman brutally beaten to death by her husband.

The Three Pilchards in the picturesque town of Polperro, Cornwall is well-known for its family friendly environment.

There you can sample a wide selection of beers and some of the best seafood meals in Cornwall.

All while you dine and drink with ghosts of The Three Pilchards Inn.

The Three Pilchards can be found at Quay Road, Polperro PL13 2QZ, England.

Rick Hale
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