The Pied Bull: Guide To Chester’s Spookiest Pub

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Chester’s Pied Bull pub echos with ghostly phenomena from times long past, says RICK HALE

The Pied Bull Pub in Chester: Many ghosts have been seen within its walls.
The Pied Bull Pub in Chester: Many ghosts have been seen within its walls.

Located along the River Dee, not far from the English-Welsh border is the historic walled city of Chester. One of the oldest cities in this region, founded in 79 CE as a Roman fort during the reign of Vespasian, this charming cathedral city is home to several examples of medieval buildings.

And the walls that surround Chester have grade I listed status.  Sitting at the center of it all, The Pied Bull, Chester’s most haunted inn.

Built in 1159 CE, the Pied Bull in Northgate Street proudly boasts its status as being the oldest licensed house in this ancient Roman town.

For many years the Pied Bull served as a coaching inn and was a stopping point for weary travellers who needed a bed to rest in and a meal to eat before making their way into the Welsh countryside.

In 1533, the inn was known as the Bull Mansion, and the owner installed an attractive handmade wooden staircase that is still standing and admired today.

Apart from that not much in the way of historical significance transpired at the Bull.

Nevertheless, this building does have its fair share of ghostly residents. Ghosts that the owners have come to embrace.

The Ghost Of John Davies

Our first ghostly resident of the Pied Bull is one that was the result of a tragic, and somewhat clutzy, accident.

John Davies, was a man who worked at the Bull centuries ago when it was a coaching inn.

One day, John was walking down the stone stairs that led to the cellar carrying a knife. Suddenly, he lost his footing and tumbled downstairs into the inky black depths of the cellar.

The next day, his lifeless body was found at the bottom of the stairs in a pool of blood.

You see, it wasn’t the fall that killed him, but rather the knife sticking out of his chest.

It’s possible had someone found Davies sooner, his life may have been spared. Sadly, he died alone.

Perhaps this is why his ghosts is said to be present even after meeting his fate centuries ago.

Taking a trip into the dark, dank basement is not really something employees of the Pied Bull are  keen on doing.

When they get to the bottom of the stairs they have reported being greeted with a gust of bone chilling wind and the uncomfortable feeling of being watched.

A few have even claimed to catch a glimpse of the blood stained John Davies lurking about the shadowy corners of the basement.

Typically, tragic ghosts like John Davies stay in the place where they died. Not so with this particular spectre.

Davies has also been seen in the Resident’s Lounge quietly reading a book and oblivious to anyone who sees him.

The Stable Hand

Our second ghost comes to us from around the same time as John Davies. The terrifying phantom of a badly burned stable hand.

It’s believed that while he was working in the stables, the stable hanf unwittingly knocked over a lantern into a pile of hay.

Before he could act the fire got out of hand and although he bravely tried to put out the flame, it quickly overwhelmed him.

The stable boy perished in the flames. Since then the badly burned ghost of the stable boy has been witnessed floating through the corridors of the Pied Bull.

The Chambermaid

As is common in many old British inns and hotels, the Pied Bull has its very own phantom chambermaid.

This busy spirit is regularly seen going about her chores cleaning rooms 7, 8, and 9.

According to eyewitnesses she wears the apron and frilled hat of a bygone era. She silently walks from room to room never interacting with guests or staff.

Local ghost hunters believe she is nothing more than an echo of an age long since passed.

Room 9

The phantom chambermaid isn’t the only entity witnessed in room 9.

Several guests brave enough to stay in this haunted room have spied the unnerving image of a man standing in the corner.

A number of guests have reportedly taken pictures of the room and later discovered peculiar images and strange lights floating about the room.

Although the Pied Bull has many of its features dating back to it’s earliest times, including tall open fireplaces.

The Pied Bull offers tastefully decorated rooms and all the amenities you would come to expect from a modern hotel.

When you’re out exploring the surrounding town, Chester has a number of haunted places and buildings of great historical significance. Including a popular ghost walk.

And if the great outdoors is your thing, the Cheshire countryside is a great place to take a walk and reconnect with nature.

The Pied Bull in Chester is a wonderful place to find rest, relaxation, and maybe even a few ghosts.

Have you seen any ghosts at The Pied Bull? Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below!


  1. I’ve stopped atThe Pied Bull a few times in various rooms when we went to the races. I cannot remember the number of the room but it was a big room, it had a couch and a big fireplace in the room. The windows looked out towards the entrance. We got back late and fell into a deep sleep. I woke up boiling hot but all the windows were open. I could hear a rustling sound in the room and movement. I thought a pigeon must have got in, so I got up. I looked around the room and the noise stopped. No sign of a bird at all. I settled down again only to be woken up by the same sound.
    I spoke to the waitress at breakfast and she said that it was probably the chambermaid who had never left.

  2. We stayed at the Pied Bull last night 12th October 2022 in room 27 (four poster bed, sofa, deep bath in the room and a sperate bathroom with shower and all mod cons). Sad to report, we encountered no apparitions. Notwithstanding that disappointment, the buildings simply oozes history, without doubt a place to experience, ghosts or not.


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