Jersey’s pirate past can be felt in the haunting atmosphere of The Old Smugglers Inn in St Brelade, says RICK HALE
The Old Smugglers Inn, St Brelade, Jersey
The Parish of St. Brelade, in the southwest of Jersey, is a quaint community well known for its rural fields and stunning coastline.
With a history dating back as far back as the sixth century, the tourist cannot help but get a sense of that history. Including peace and solitude as well.
Despite what you may experience in modern St. Brelade, this seaside parish was once a haven for buccaneers.
Pirates who sailed the high seas taking whatever fancied their eyes, oftentimes taking it by the edge of a sword.
The Old Smugglers Inn on Ouaisne Bay was the place they came to not only rest, but also to hide out when the heat was on.
You may think the ghost of one of these bloodthirsty cutthroats haunted the Old Smugglers Inn.
However, a much different ghost is said to haunt the inn, the ominously named Woman in Black.
History of The Old Smugglers Inn
According to historical records, the foundations of the inn were established in the 13th century, and served as a cottage for fisherman as a place for them to rest after a hard day bringing in the nets with fish to feed the island.
Centuries later, the cottages served a much different seafaring gentlemen, pirates.
It was a place for them to hide their ill-gotten gains until they could sail on to the mainland.
In the early years of the 20th century, the old cottages were enlarged and refurbished with the original masonry, wooden beams and fireplace being incorporated into the structure.
Following the Second World War, and the Allied forces liberating the islands from Nazi occupation, the inn was further developed into the favourite inn it is today. Including its oftentimes unwelcome guest.
The Haunting of The Old Smugglers Inn
With such a long and voluminous history of pirates and Nazis, you might think the inn was crawling with ghosts.
Not so at the Old Smugglers Inn. According to patrons and staff only one ghost is said to call the inn home. And in the case of the Old Smugglers Inn, one ghost is more than enough.
The Woman in Black
For many years throughout its recent history, both patrons and staff have reported encountering the mysterious figure of a ghostly woman in a black dress.
When she appears, she is said to have a stern look on her face as she wanders about the inn and then vanishes leaving patrons bewildered by what they witnessed.
Footsteps on The Stairs
The stairs leading up to the second floor appears to be a favourite haunt of the woman in black.
The unmistakable sound of hard soled shoes walking up and down the stairs is frequently heard.
As well as the sensation of a cold breeze rushing past people as they walk up the stairs.
Residents and visitors to the area have reported seeing the shadowy image of a woman glaring down at them from a second story window.
They watch curiously as the stern looking woman slowly backs away from the window, until she vanishes from view.
As for the identity of this black clad woman, who she may have been has yet to be ascertained.
Nevertheless, all who work at and visit the Old Smugglers Inn, are certain she is very much a part of the old building.
The Old Smugglers Inn in St Brelade, Jersey has become a favourite stopping point for tourists exploring the island.
At the Old Smugglers Inn, you can grab a bite to eat and enjoy their fine selection wines and ales sure to satisfy the most discerning of tastes.
And be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for the mysterious woman in black.
She reportedly appears when you least expect it.