Brakspear’s large collection of establishments have lived through centuries of scandals, murders and grisly accidents, some of them even resulting in some ghosts taking up residence.

Discover the haunted histories hidden in our midsts; the ghosts of the members of the Hawkhurst Gang at the Star and Eagle, Tom and his stomach issues at the White Bear or the friendly old lady at the Queen's Oak.

Do you dare meet what goes bump in the night at your favourite local?

Bull & Butcher, Turville

With the Bull & Butcher, set in the very picturesque and scenic town of Turville (the set for The Vicar of Dibley and some Midsomer Murder episodes), appearances may not always be what they seem. This pretty pub has rather a gruesome history, one which is reflected in its spine-chilling ghostly apparitions. In the 1940s, a murder took place in the pub that claimed the life of the then-landlord’s wife and, legend has it, the wife appears crying and is dressed in brown. During the night, visitors also have claimed to hear the sound of beer barrels rolling around the cellar, but, upon further investigation, the beer barrels have not been disturbed.

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Bull on Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames

The historic pub, the Bull on Bell Street, has gone through many changes over the centuries, from brewery to travellers’ inn to trendy pub. However, the Bull on Bell Street has another, spookier, side story to add to its portfolio. For those with a keen sense of smell, the smell of snuffed candles at one of the bar counter tops in the pub has been noted although this claim was last upheld several years ago. In addition, in the rooms above the pub that are now used to house some of the members of staff, one weary traveller reported to have been woken up with a cowled figure leaning over him as he slept, apparently that of a young woman.

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Bull, Wargrave

The cosy interior and prints of Old Wargrave make the Bull seem as though it never left the 15th century. The Bull is home to the ghost of a former landlord’s wife in the 1800s who was chucked out by her husband after it was revealed she was having an affair and fell pregnant. She is a friendly ghost and frequently moves tables, flings glasses from their shelves and even taps the shoulders of guests. According to the landlady, there is also a ghost cat that roams the pub and is often seen. The housekeeper, having cleaned the rooms, cites seeing cat indentations in the bed linen, even though she closed the door on taut and clean sheets.

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Catherine Wheel, Goring-on-Thames

The Catherine Wheel and its 350 years of hospitality have cemented this pub as a ‘must see’ in the local area but the building that gave way to the current site was the scene of a deadly accident. In 1674, a boat returning from the Streatley fair capsized and 45 people and a horse drowned in the Thames. The bodies were held at the inn whilst an inquest was carried out and since that time, the Catherine Wheel has been rumoured to have had ghosts. These have included a woman who has been described as wearing a long white dress, having soaking wet hair, not to mention the sound of screaming and crying children throughout the building.

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Crooked Billet, Stoke Row

This renowned pub is a local foodie favourite. However, back in the day, the Crooked Billet also liaised with the scandalous figure of Dick Turpin, the notorious Highwayman and robber from the 18th century, who was in love with the landlord at the time’s daughter, Bess. From this, it is unsurprising then that this picturesque pub has some skeletons in its closet. It is said that the sound of rolling barrels echoes throughout the pub in the middle of the night, joined by loud swearing. Some nights the noises are so perturbing that new staff, unsure of the origins of the noises, sleep in the same bedroom to feel safer.

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Duke of Wellington, Twyford

The Duke of Wellington is the home to the ghost of a Highwayman in the commuter town of Twyford, a label that was still apt in the Victorian and Georgian periods when this pub was a travellers’ resting inn. The Highwayman was on the run from the police and attempted to hide in the upper rooms of the pub whilst the police carried out their search. It is not clear from that point whether the Highwayman died climbing out of the window and falling or being shot by police. Regardless, pub regulars testify to seeing the face and silhouette of a figure in the very room the Highwayman fell from and has become something of a local legend.

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Little Angel, Henley-on-Thames

The Little Angel, across the Henley bridge and on the border of Berkshire and Oxfordshire, is a charming pub on the hill into the Henley-on-Thames town centre. However, whilst this pub is now known for its rustic interior and good food, it was actually the last refuge of Henley's favourite and famous murderess, Mary Blandy. Blandy was convicted of poisoning her father after her lover suggested she slip him a 'love potion' so that he approved of their relationship but the potion turned out to be a concoction of arsenic. She is said to haunt the upper rooms of the pub, now staff accommodation, and can sometimes be heard to cry in the staircase.

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Porch House, Stow-on-the-Wold

The Porch House inn, once known as the Royalist due to Stow’s importance during the English Civil War is said to be the oldest inn in England which some of the building dating back to 947AD. The Porch House is Brakspear’s most haunted pub by far, with 5 ghosts said to haunt its corridors. Visitors staying in Room 5 have reported frequently that they've been visited during the night. The first ghost is of a young man, the next two are supposedly a pair of Victorian children who create tapping noises in the hotel, and the third is a lady wearing a long dress. The influence from the Civil War is shown in the last ghost who is reported to be a knight dressed from head to foot in black armour.

Queen's Oak, Finchampstead

Nestled away in the rural paradise that is Finchampstead, surrounded by flowers and trees, the Queen’s Oak is a quaint pub that is continually and loyally visited by locals and tourists alike. Much like its charming exterior, its interior and its accompanying ghost are an equally charming experience. In a dramatic contrast to our other haunted venues, the Queen’s Oak is actually called home by the ghost of a friendly old woman who used to frequent the inn back in her day. The old woman sits at what used to be her regular spot at the bar when she was alive, smiling at patrons and the proprietor before disappearing abruptly into thin air.

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Reformation, Gallowstreet Common

The widely celebrated Reformation pub in Gallowstreet Common near Reading forms part of our collection of anomalous venues that, rather than having a ghost, has a set of chill-inducing supernatural sightings and suspicions. The landlord has reported that the paranormal activity is kept exclusively in the kitchen area of the Reformation, where items have apparently fallen off kitchen work tops and counters without being touched or handled by the staff. Chefs and floor staff have also cited a chilly draft that runs only through the kitchen, even when all doors and windows are shut.

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Row Barge, Henley-on-Thames

The Row Barge, located only a few minutes’ walk from the centre of Henley, is one of the town’s oldest coaching inns that still maintains its excellent hospitality reputation now as it did then. Because of its long and rich history, it certainly has some spooky stories! Although the origins remain unknown, many previous landlords and staff members have described falling mirrors and slamming doors when no one has been in the upstairs portion of the inn and its bedrooms. There have also been reports of an unknown growling noise in the cellar when, on inspection, has revealed nothing - just an entirely empty and tidy cellar.

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Running Horses, Mickleham, Dorking

Thought to have been built in the 16th century, the Running Horses in Mickleham, Dorking has an astounding history. Situated on the Old London Road (the main route between London and Brighton during that time), the inn was a prominent coaching inn and highwayman hideaway, with ladders being discovered in the upper bedrooms thought to have been a method of escape. Interestingly enough, however, their ghosts have little to do with this unsavoury past. The pub is said to play host to the ghost of a local farmer who died mysteriously in the 1800s, as well as the ghost of a woman dressed in a white cap and a 1920s style of domestic uniform.

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Star and Eagle, Goudhurst

The 14th century Star and Eagle was once the headquarters of the notorious Hawkhurst Gang, around 100 outlaws who terrorised the local area. In 1747, ex-army corporal, William Stur formed a militia to disband them and after an explosive battle, the gang was defeated. To this day, the bricked up entrance to the stone cellars where the gang hid their loot is home to many spooky occurrences. Those who died in its tunnels can be heard screaming in pain and a ghost of one of them haunts the pub wearing breeches and carrying a pistol. The ghost is said to be harmless and a brief “Good morning” will send it away – however, any visiting dogs are not happy to be in this pub because of the ghost!

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Three Tuns, Henley-on-Thames

Whilst not having any scary sightings in the Three Tuns, this quaint pub in the heart of Henley has some unsolved mysteries instead. Underneath the pub, in their cellar and behind a set of wine racks is an unopened door with an unknown space or tunnel behind it. It is thought that the door could have been part of the network of tunnels and passageways that were under Henley in the last few centuries under the town square. Moreover, before becoming a pub, the building used to be a mortuary that used a pulley system to move the bodies around the premises – a stark contrast to its now jovial and hospitable reputation!

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Unicorn, Kingwood

The Unicorn and its staff are on good terms with their ghost and treat him like a member of the family. The ghost, Albert, apparently died at the age of 48 and lost part of his leg whilst serving during a war, possibly World War I. According to the landlord, Albert does not like Americans in the pub as he associates them with those that tried to flirt with his wife at a nearby army base during war-time. He is your classic poltergeist ghost who likes to hide things around the bar, move glasses and even interacts with staff and customers. There is a second ghost on the premises called Emily or Emma who is a much quieter presence but still frequently moves items around the bar area.

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White Bear, Warlingham

The White Bear in the small hamlet of Fickleshole has its fair share of paranormal activity. The 16th century inn and Grade II listed building supposedly has up to three ghosts, all with different stories. A team of ghosthunters investigated the premises and found the spirits of a young girl and a man called Tom, complaining about a stomach problem of which he died. The third ghost apparently met his grizzly death on the establishment’s ground when he was caught in a man trap – it is not known if he was attempting to burgle the inn or whether he was caught purely from bad luck. There is also reports of a solid black shape that appears sporadically, moving slowly only to disappear abruptly shortly afterwards.

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White Hart, Nettlebed

Nestled in the Chiltern Hills in the sleepy town of Nettlebed, the White Hart is the only inn left in and that serves the hamlet. Now with a great reputation for food and a good night’s sleep, in the mid-19th century the White Hart Inn was tenanted and run by the then-innkeeper, Henry Giles. In 1845, Henry’s wife Charlotte died in the inn and it has been thought that her ghost haunts the Butterscotch room, the name of one of the upstairs bedrooms. Bizarrely enough, the name Catharine rather than Charlotte has been linked to this ghost but further details on the subject remain unknown.

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The Tale of Mary Blandy

Mary Blandy is Henley-on-Thames' notorious murderess ghost whose dramatic past has led her to become an infamous spirit who haunts Henley's streets.

Mary was an aristocratic and well-to-do daughter of Francis Blandy, lawyer and Henley-on-Thames Town Clerk, who advertised a dowry of £10,000 for the man who married his daughter. The Honorable Captain William Henry Cranstoun presented himself to marry Mary and the two fell in love but a problem quickly rose between the two when it was revealed that Cranstoun was already married to an Anne Murray in Scotland. Francis Blandy quickly disapproved of the match and so Cranstoun asked Mary to give her father a ‘love potion’ to help him approve the match which was, in fact, arsenic.

When she realised what she had done, she ran across the bridge to seek refuge at the Little Angel Inn in Remenham but was arrested shortly after. She was hanged for murder in Oxford Castle and is now said to haunt the Little Angel, the Catherine Wheel in Henley and the Kenton Theatre.