CHRISTINE MILLER reviews Great British Ghosts episode two: Gloucestershire’s The New Inn Hotel and Chavenage House
The New Inn, Gloucester
Michaela is in Gloucester High Street to visit The New Inn which, far from being anywhere close to new, dates back to 14th century, where it was originally used to house pilgrims visiting the nearby cathedral.
The history connected with the building is quite impressive – William Shakespeare himself once performed here and Lady Jane Gray stayed in 1553, just one year before her beheading.
Over the last 10 years, there have been more than 100 paranormal reports from staff and visitors alike to the hotel, making the building one of the most active places in the UK.
All manner of activity has been reported here – from staff members being pushed and shoved in the cellar, to ghostly children playing in the courtyard, to the most famous incident which was caught on CCTV – a pint of beer that flung itself off the table and onto the floor in front of a group on stunned onlookers.
Michaela states that having watched the footage, she can understand why some people believe it to be fake, to which a witness of the event categorically denies the possibility of this not being genuine paranormal phenomena.
In almost every corner of the hotel there is a ghost story attached to it. The owner takes Michaela on a tour of the hotel, starting with the infamous Oak Suite (which boasts a secret priest hole) where there is a heavy atmosphere as though “something” is in the room with you.
One report from the room has been the sighting of a man in dark attire who looks around the room and stops in the middle of it, as if unable to move any further. Other activity in the Oak Suite includes: sparkly lights seen to dance throughout the room, the drapes on the beautifully eerie four-poster bed move as if someone is tapping on the bed, and items being moved in the bathroom by unseen hands.
Chillingly, one man who stayed in the Oak Suite felt someone get into bed with him. Still half sleeping, it took him some time to realise that he wasn’t at home, and therefore the form beside him was not his wife, he jumped up in terror.
Elsewhere in the hotel, one staff member living at the hotel believed she heard someone talking in the middle of the night to her little girl. As the woman went into her daughter’s bedroom to check on her, the muffled voice which she believes was that of a young child, suddenly stopped.
Michaela and her guide move to the loft area, which is the oldest part of the building. Here is said to be the ghost of a man who is quite menacing.
Likewise, in the cellar there is another intimidating male spirit who frequents this area. When living, it is said he got a number of females pregnant, and upon hearing the news, disposed of them by throwing them off the balcony of the building. There is a story that their bodies may be concealed behind the walls of the cellar.
Michaela now leaves the New Inn Hotel to travel to the stunning Chavenage House which is said to be the home of a number of spooks, not least a headless horseman!
Oliver Cromwell once visited the house, but today it is a private family home with many of its original 300-year-old features still intact.
George Williams, the owner, shows Michaela around the building, starting with the Cromwell Room which boasts the original bed that Cromwell slept in during his visit in the 17th century. Over the course of later centuries though, George explains that no one has slept in the room – largely due to the fear surrounding it being haunted. It is a room which is always cold, even on a hot summer’s day.
Once during filming in the house, an electrician was tasked with running wires through the Cromwell room. As he bent down, he became acutely aware of a force pushing down on his back with so much force that he ended up being pinned to the floor. Once freed, he ran out of the house, never to be seen again.
In the tapestry room a strong presence is often felt. The family’s ancestors had the room blessed such was the uneasy feeling in the room, but clearly it had little effect.
The most famous haunting occurs out in the courtyard. The story goes that one night in the mid-17th century, a headless coachman rode up to the door and carried anyway with him the body the former owner, who had just expired due to illness.
The owner tells Michaela that when he was a young boy, him and his friend decided they would spend the night in the garden camping out. Having had an uneventful night, the boys awoke early the next morning, and upon opening their tent, saw a dark figure of a horse with a man on it, wearing a black hat. Terrified they quickly zipped their tent back up and didn’t move until a family member came to check on them later that morning.
The chapel attached to the chapel boasts its very own ghost – that of a spectral monk. Once, when one of the family entered into the chapel, he noticed the monk kneeling at the altar deep in prayer. So engrossed in his prayers, the man thought it best to leave the monk to it and left!