The Mermaid Inn in Rye, Sussex, is more than 860 years old, and so has more than a few hauntings in its tale, wries RICK HALE
Mermaid St, Rye TN31 7EY
For many years The Mermaid Inn in Rye, East Sussex has been known as a haunted hotspot in this South-Eastern English town.
Numerous researchers and investigators believe that it’s many active spirits are directly related to its turbulent history of violent smuggler gangs.
Let’s take a look at the hauntings that have made this hotel so famous.
A History Of Lawlessness at Mermaid Inn
The Mermaid Inn is a Grade II historical Inn situated along Mermaid Street.
It’s believed the Inn is one of the oldest continuously operating hotels in England, having been established in the 12th century.
The current building dates to 1420 with Tudor additions made in the 16th century.
The Mermaid Inn stayed relatively quiet until the infamous Hawkhurst gang of smugglers seized it and used it as a stronghold in the 1730s.
This gang of notorious smugglers had a nasty proclivity for violence and didn’t care who their victim was.
During this time, the simple act of walking down Mermaid Street was considered a foolish venture.
For those foolhardy enough it meant taking your own life in your hands. You ran the risk of being kidnapped and forced into labour. Or killed outright.
Many Ghosts. Many Haunted Rooms.
Perhaps this history of violence is why the Mermaid Inn is so haunted.
To say the Mermaid Inn is haunted would be the understatement of the century, as several rooms have a ghost or strange supernatural activity.
Since there are so many haunted rooms for the courageous lodger to experience the inexplicable, we’ll examine each room separately.
A grey lady has been seen in Room 1, the James Room, quietly sitting in a chair gazing into the fireplace.
Whomever this phantom is, she does not appear to be aware she is being watched.
The spirit of Room 10, Fleur de Lys, has a reputation for being somewhat more frightening.
Several guests have watched as a rough-looking man with a sinister scowl walks through the bathroom wall into the main room.
He is said to promptly vanish, leaving in his wake a feeling of dread and anger.
Something wholly peculiar has been witnessed in room 16, otherwise known as The Elizabethan Room.
Two men dressed in 16th garb have been seen locked in what could only be described as a duel to the death.
Swords are heard clashing in the room right before one of the men is run through by his fierce opponent’s blade.
The victor then drags the dead man’s body into an adjacent room and tosses it down a trapdoor that leads to the dungeon.
The ghost of a chambermaid has also been witnessed in the room going about her daily chores.
The ghost of the wife of George Gray, founder of the Hawkhurst Gang, is believed to haunt room 17, Kingsmill Room.
She has woken up many guests in the middle of the night rocking in a chair.
The disturbance became so unnerving, the owner removed the chair hoping that would end the appearance of the phantom.
Unfortunately, this has not stopped her from waking people up while standing at the foot of the bed.
Lastly, the spirit of a noble-looking gentleman has been encountered in room 19, The Hawkhurst.
Guest so frightened, he had to sleep in another room!
One guest, an American, was so terrified when she woke up to see the gentleman sitting on her bed, she slept the rest of the night in an adjoining room.
When she was discovered by the hotel staff, she had the covers firmly pulled up over her head and when she told her story she was shaking like a leaf.
In 2002, the cast of the wildly popular TV show, Most Haunted paid a visit to the Mermaid Inn and experienced the paranormal activity that has made this hotel so famous.
The Mermaid Inn in Rye, East Sussex is a charming hotel to spend the night in. You are instantly transported back in time to old England and it’s turbulent seafaring past.
And as always, we invite you to tell us your ghostly tale in the comments.
Tell us in the comments section if you’ve stayed at the Mermaid Inn!