Waking the ghosts in old Kirton pub

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People have seen a Victorian lady at the top of the stairs at the Old King’s Head in Kirton.

That in itself is spooky, but it becomes chilling when linked to tales of people being pushed down those stairs by “unseen forces”.

Former resident Luke Gill did see the lady, but says he never felt there was anything sinister going on, despite once being thrown into darkness in the cellar.

Luke, who lived in the old pub as a boy with his family in the late 1990s, had gone down there to switch on the pump as the cellar tended to flood after rain. When the lights went off he assumed a bulb had gone – until he climbed the cellar steps and discovered not only that the door had been shut, but the light switch had been turned off. Luke was alone in the house at the time.

He said: “These things did happen, just silly things and bumps in the night. If you were downstairs you could always hear floorboards creaking upstairs, but it was nothing malicious.”

During the 17th century it was relatively common practice for people to protect themselves and their homes from evil spirits and witches by scratching marks such as crosses or a double ‘v’ into door and window frames or fireplace beams to ward off evil, and occasionally shoes and cats were placed in walls and voids.

As the King’s Head was standing at this time, Kelly Appleton, Project Conservation Officer for Heritage Lincolnshire, believes it is quite possible that something of this kind will be uncovered when work begins to renovate the old pub.

The old King’s Head – located opposite the church in the centre of the village conservation area – has been bought by Heritage Lincolnshire. Once restored, the building will be used as an artisan cafe with bed and breakfast accommodation.

Luke was able to point the conservation team to something he and his brothers discovered when exploring their large family home.

It wasn’t an old shoe or markings,but three old bottles hanging by string in the loft space: the boys looked, but didn’t move the bottles.

Luke says: “They were put there for a reason so we left them there.”

A medium was invited by Heritage Lincolnshire to visit the old pub – and Luke was astonished when she could identify his bedroom from the six possibilities.

Luke says: “I can’t wait for it to be done up. It was a brilliant place to live as it has so much character.”

Tours of the Old King’s Head (now full) are included in this year’s Heritage Open Days festival this weekend. Visit heritagelincolnshire.org for a full list of open sites, but Holbeach Cemetery Chapels Trust is open on Saturday (10am-4pm) – see page 30 for more.