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Chester Ghost Stories: What's the eerie background behind Chester's Pied Bull?

It's one of the oldest pubs in the city... and has more than one ghost!

The Pied Bull, Chester

It may be centuries old, but Chester’s Pied Bull is still one of the most popular and respected pubs in the city.

It’s got its great food and ales, but did you also know that it’s steeped in history, dating back to the 11th century, with a fascinating story behind it?

Reputed to be one of Chester’s oldest licensed houses, the Pied Bull on Northgate Street used to be a coaching inn where guests would stay as a ‘stop off point’ when they were travelling up and down the country.

Once known as the Bull Mansion, a handmade wooden staircase which was installed in the pub almost 500 years ago is still there today, but eerily that’s not the only thing from the past that still lurks in the Pied Bull.

Apparently, a couple staying at the pub once decided to take some photographs of their room. When they developed the film later, they discovered one image of the wife standing by the fireplace with a blue misty human size shape beside her.

The Pied Bull hotel, on Northgate Street pictured in 1900

 

This might have meant nothing to the couple, if not for the legendary tale of the hotel’s most famous ‘ghost’, John Davies who was on his way down to the pub's cellar to fetch some beer in 1690 carrying an empty jug and a knife, when he slipped on the stone steps and landed at the bottom with the knife firmly in his stomach.

John occasionally makes his presence known in the cellar, and in 2008 when the pub was the focus of Whines and Spirits, a show about haunted UK pubs, the landlord said: “I was in the office working when I thought someone had come in. I went up to get something from an open drawer in the filing cabinet but not only was it closed, it was locked as well.

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“It doesn’t really bother me at all, except for the cellar. It is the one place in the pub that gives you the creeps. One former member of staff refused to go down there.”

But John isn't the only ghost to be found in The Pied Bull.

"A stableman fell asleep in the stables attached to the pub and burnt to death in the fire caused by his lit pipe and he still makes his presence felt in the ground floor rooms," explains Mary Ann Cameron, the author of Chester: A City of Ghosts.

"Current staff have never heard John, but they have seen a man in the cellar reading a paper. They have also seen a young woman dressed as a Victorian chambermaid in the upstairs bedrooms," she said.

What do you know about ghosts in Chester? Let us know in the comments below.

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