Month: October 2012

Top 5 Most Haunted Pubs on BITE

Happy Halloween BITE Readers… There comes a time in every patrons pub-life, when the night grows still, usually during last orders, all you can hear is the ticking of the wall clock, or the gentle smudging noise of the barman cleaning a glass or two. It’s in moments like this that the old bar-barnacle or even the landlord himself decides is a good time to mention “the pub ghost”. We’ve all heard a dark tale of resident pub ghosts, trapped spirits (clean the optics) or mysterious happenings in our favourite locals. Below we have rounded up our choice of the top 5 most haunted pubs on BITE. Have you been to any of these spooky boozers? We invite you to share your pub-ghost stories with us on our Facebook page, do it before midnight though – else you’ll turn into a pumpkin!

1. The Ancient Ram Inn, Wotton Under Edge, Stroud

The Ancient RamThe physical ground that the Ancient Ram resides on was once a Pagan burial ground, it is suggested that two ley lines cross beneath the pub and through this natural energy spirits, apparitions and ghosts have managed to traverse the realms of reality into our own. Built in the 12th Century the Inn has played host to a great many stories and tales that many would describe as unnatural.  Devil worship, poltergeist activity, strange mists, black ghostly shapes of men hung from rafters, dramatic temperature changes and a deviant resident Incubus (women be warned).  Unfortunately no longer a public house, the current owner of the Ancient Ram is an approachable fellow and open to operate small group tours around this once fabled watering hole, you will not want to be alone for a minute, even the surrounding village and countryside is creepy in the dead of night. Take a torch! In fact take a few…
Visit the Ancient Ram Pub Page | Map link

2. The Ostrich Inn, Colnbrook Berkshire
The Ostrich InnOne of the oldest pubs in Britain, once used as a refuge by the notorious outlaw Dick Turpin, this venue’s tale seems to take a leaf or two from the Sweeney Todd fable.  In the distant past many, many travellers have been murdered within these pub walls. Wealthy visitors to the area would often disappear after spending a night at the Ostrich. The legend tells of the greedy, murderous Jarman family who once lived and worked at the Inn.  During the night whilst the weary traveller slept, the landlord would pull a lever and the unsuspecting guest would find themselves falling through a trapdoor dropping them into vat of boiling liquid and sealing their fate. The gruesome landlord and his wife after confessing to what they had done were hung for their crimes after a victim’s horse was found wandering the streets of Colnbrook alone and raised suspicion with local police. Today the Ostrich is known for poltergeist activity, the ghosts of trapped spirits who died in the pub, or the residual energy of the nefarious landlord himself? It’s hard to tell, despite the Ostrich Inn being a jolly good local these days, its cold, murderous past will leave you chilled to your dregs.
Visit The Ostrich Inn Pub Page | Map link 

3. The Old Bull and Bush, Hampstead
The Old Bull and BushFor centuries, banging and knocking in the night can be heard, sharp temperature drops and a ghostly, dark and shrouded apparition in Victorian clothes has been seen moving between rooms, these are just some of the stories to chill patrons whilst visiting this pub. Recent and extensive renovations to the building may have unearthed the reason why. Behind one of the cellar walls a skeleton was discovered surrounded by Victorian surgical instruments. Whilst the bones have been laid to rest, the tale of how this person met their demise remains unsolved, and so, their uneasy spirit still resides.
Visit The Old Bull and Bush Pub Page | Map link 

4. Spaniards Inn, Hampstead Heath
Spaniards InnWith a trio of apparitions, this pub once belonged to the father of Dick Turpin, and the highwayman himself used the Inn as a hideout during his escapades. The outlaw himself ‘Dick Turpin’ is said to haunt the upstairs rooms, banging, rattling and knocking can often be heard, whilst outside the spirit of Turpin’s horse “Black Bess” can sometimes be heard galloping away from the car park. Also, with a rather unfortunate name, the spirit of “Black Dick” haunts the bar itself, once a local moneylender he was run down in the street by a coach and horses, his spirit though, never left the pub.
On a different trivia note, did you know that many pubs named the “Black Horse” are a tribute to Turpin’s horse Black Bess, who in 1737 made the ride from London to York in a single night, a story of fiction, around which the legend was forged.
Visit the Spaniards Inn Pub Page |  Map link

5. The Ring O’ Bells, Middleton, Manchester
Ring O' BellsEdward was a Royalist, dressed in full Cavalier military gear when his life met its fateful end. Edward, the son of a Local Lord, used the Ring O’ Bells as a secret Royalist meeting place in a Parliament forces held town during the English Civil War. One fateful evening Edward was hacked to pieces by Roundheads whilst trying to escape,  now his sombre spirit lingers on within the pub walls.  The pub grounds date back to the Saxon times, and are also rumoured to have been the location where ancient sacrificial victims were offered to Gods.  What an ideal place to erect a pub! It’s been reported that Edwards ghost can manipulate objects, throwing them across rooms. Patrons have recorded a number of times when they have felt a firm hand on their shoulder or back only to turn and find themselves all alone.  It is said that anyone who dares sit in the “Cavaliers seat” will feel an icy chill and wandering sadness.
Visit the Ring O’ Bells Pub Page | Map link 

The Decline of Pubs in the UK

You can’t beat a British pub. They are the cornerstone of many villages up and down the land, often housing a unique blend of décor and home-grown beer. Many pubs are steeped in history providing an important role in the community. Pubs are a meeting place in every city, and the “go-to” after a long week at work, they are still a common place we consider when needing to unwind. However, with the government enforcing budget cuts to remedy the recession, the pub has become an unlikely victim to these difficult economic times. In the last ten years the average price of a pint has risen by 43%. In 2002, an average pint would cost you £2.02, in 2011, you would expect to pay £2.90, the main increase in price is partly due to the 30% added tax.

With the increase in price, inevitably the profits have suffered too, with individual barrel prices having dropped by a staggering 28 million barrels over the last ten years. Produced by, listing pubs for sale across the UK here is an infographic highlighting just how tough the last 10 years have been for publicans and what you can do to show a bit of love for your local pub.

The Decline of Pubs in the UK

If you’d like to download and share this information there is a PDF version available here. Don’t forget you can join in the conversation on our Facebook page.

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The Big Brew Up 2012

Big Brew Up 2012

If you’re head is a little fuzzy from enjoying too much of National Cask Ale week, here’s a jolly good idea, check out this Big Brew Up map for the nearest Big Brew Up near you, pop your coat on and get out there and support our Great British Armed Forces with some solidarity tea drinking and chin wagging!

The SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) is an organisation that provides financial, practical and emotional assistance to those people working in the armed forces or those who have been injured in the line of duty as well as their families. The SSAFA is holding it’s 15th Big Brew Up, to raise awareness and funds for the charitable organisation SSAFA Forces Help. Some folks may quaff that it is the government neglecting their responsibility to look after our troops, some folks may sneer that we shouldn’t be positioning ourselves as world police, in fact there is lots of reasons to have a moan, but there is no reason not to support your fellow countrymen and women. We stick together, that’s why we are the United Kingdom, and we’re one of the greatest nations on the planet, that’s why we’re Great Britain.

If you’re keen to hold a Big Brew Up there’s still some time to register your event, or as we mentioned check out the  Big Brew Up map for the nearest public event in your area. Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.