Wednesday, 4 August 2010
The Jilted Lover of Dymchurch, Kent
The pub dates back to the 16th century and the old part of the building is riddled with hidden cupboards and at least one secret passage. This was discovered in 1988 when the wallpaper in the lounge was stripped to reveal a hatch. Behind the hatch was a tiny room from which ran a passage that snaked around inside the thick walls. At one time this probably gave hidden access to the different rooms. No doubt it was of great use to the smugglers attempting to evade the revenue men. Many visitors are puzzled by the layout of the pub. It has its back facing the High Street and its front facing the sea wall. This is because the original main road ran along the old sea wall. In 1886 the sea wall was improved and a new road built along the backs of the various buildings.
The ghost of the Ship is not, so far as we know, connected to smuggling. Andy Sharp, “the Guvner of the Ship” as he calls himself, knows all about the phantom.
“One evening when I had gone to bed and I was just falling asleep when I heard a creaking of floorboards right outside my bedroom door. My bedroom is situated in the attic of the building facing the Channel. I assumed it was my eldest daughter getting up to go to the toilet, but I listened and realised that the noise was not going away. It sounded like someone was out there walking around in a circle as each floorboard creaked a bit differently. I stayed in bed until I worked up the courage to see what it was. As I opened the door the noise stopped. Nothing was there. To this day I have not heard the same noise again. My room is above one of the bed and breakfast rooms we use for letting out and some have said that, this being an old building, people moving downstairs were causing the floorboards on our level to creak. A good theory, but we did not have any guests that particular evening.
“A few weeks back I had a couple of mediums stop here for a drink. They told me that they had spoken to our lady. They said she was very happy here. ”
So who is this walking ghost? The story that accompanies the haunting is that many generations ago a maid at the Ship was jilted by her lover shortly before their wedding day. The distraught girl ran home and committed suicide in her room in the attic. Since then she has been heard walking around upstairs and, sometimes, has been seen on the upper floors. She is dressed in a long grey dress which reaches to the floor.
“Don’t worry about her,” was the Guvner’s advice. “She appears friendly.”
This is an extract from Haunted Places of Kent by Rupert Matthews.