Nestled on the outskirts of Hampstead Heath in North London, The Spaniards Inn stands as a legendary haunted pub that is linked to history and horror, says RICK HALE
Situated near the edge of Hampstead Heath in North London, is one of the city’s most legendary pubs, the unforgettable, The Spaniards Inn.
To say this Grade II listed pub played an important part in English literature would be somewhat of an understatement.
Built in 1585 and forming the entrance to the Bishop of London’s estate, The Spaniards Inn played host to some of the greatest literary minds ever to grace British history.
The Spaniards Inn made an appearance in Bram Stoker’s immortal tale of bloodlust, Dracula.
And it was immortalised in Charles Dickens’ debut novel, The Pickwick Papers.
Although these respected men of letters were regular patrons of The Spaniards Inn, its country setting so close to the city attracted a, shall we say, less than savoury lot, the dreaded highwaymen.
These cutthroat villains would stop here for a pint or two as they sized up wealthy travellers as they made their way out of London.
It’s even believed, The Spaniards Inn was the birthplace of the king of the highwaymen, the ever deadly, Dick Turpin.
Locals say this is backed up because at the time of Turpin’s birth, his father was the landlord of this storied pub.
Although the Spaniards Inn is coming up on its fifth century as a popular drinking spot in a very modern city, the Spaniards has retained it’s old world charm.
As you and your friends and family enjoy it’s generous menu of some of the finest ales in London, you can peruse it’s collection of literature.
As well as the Dick Turpin artefacts, it has held onto long after the legendary brigands demise.
But, old books and artefacts aren’t the only things that haunt this ancient pub. The Spaniards Inn, according to many, is home to a small handful of ghosts. Including Turpin himself.
History of The Spaniards Inn
Most London pubs have unique names that set them apart from the rest, but many wonder how this north London pub received its name.
Well, that comes from two Spanish brothers who owned the building. And a tragic story of jealousy and love that brings us to our first haunting.
According to local legend, the pub was owned by brothers, Francesco and Juan Porero.
The brothers came from Spain and were known to be inseparable. They were the best of friends and nothing could tear them apart. Except for a woman.
Francesco and Juan fell in love with a beautiful local woman and the two viciously fought over her.
Until one day, Juan challenged his brother to a duel just outside the pub they owned. When the shots rang out, Juan lay dead and was buried near the Spaniard.
Ever since that fateful day, Juan’s distraught spirit is regularly seen wandering the Spaniards Inn forever regretting losing his brother and his life over jealousy.
The White Lady
As with many haunted locations throughout Britain, The Spaniards Inn has its very own white lady.
The apparition of a woman in a filmy white gown is witnessed in the garden. It has been offered the spectral lady is the very woman the Porero brothers fought over so many years ago.
Moneylenders weren’t exactly the most popular people throughout history. Oftentimes they would engage in shady practices to lend and regain their money. Even in Black Dick’s case, as cruelly as possible.
So, it wasn’t any great tragedy when a local moneylender known as, Black Dick was trampled by a horse and carriage outside the pub.
Black Dick did find his way into his favourite pub, but in ghostly form.
This curiously named phantom is rarely seen but often felt. Black Dick is known to tug on patron’s arms when he feels they have had one too many.
And lastly, the haunting of the Spaniards Inn wouldn’t be complete without the ghost of the vicious thief, Dick Turpin.
Of course, many places in the region lay claim to the ghost of the infamous highwayman, but here at The Spaniard he is regularly seen.
Turpin has been witnessed by numerous people riding his trusty steed, Black Bess, up to the front of the Spaniard. He dismounts and walks through the front door before vanishing from view.
The Spaniards Inn in North London is an integral part of both the history and hauntings that make this ancient town great.
So, stop in and have a pint or two in this friendly pub and you just might be lucky and witness one of its many ghosts.
Have you seen a ghost or experienced the paranormal at The Spaniards Inn? Tell us about it in the comment section below!