The Haunting of the Lord Eldon.
The Lord Eldon…. A small public house in Knutsford has apparently been the seen for paranormal disturbances for quite some time. The incidents there were brought to our attention by a local newspaper article in the (Knutsford Guardian) back in July of last year. The article read:
The Strange and eerie affair that haunts Beryl the barmaid. There are ghostly going on at the Knutsford Lord Eldon pub. Barmaid Beryl Kidgell is certain the place is haunted, and now she reckons she might have the evidence to convince doubting regulars. Last week workmen found part of a cross engraved RIP under the pub’s floorboards along with a chilling note that read :
“What a price to paye for having affairs. Ending ye days under ye stairs”.
Says Beryl: ‘This could be a hoax, but we definitely have a ghost here’. ‘While I have been serving behind the bar, I have often felt a cold hand on my back, only to turn around and find no-one there’. She says there is an eerie coldness in one part of the pub and claims bottles and glasses have smashed for no reason. Beryl also believes the ghost may be pictured in the pub. ‘We found an old photo of a woman in the pub and no-one knows who she is. We framed it and put her on the wall, but she is still a mystery. It could be her’. But Beryl, 57, of Ashworth Park, says whoever the ghost is, it is always friendly. ‘It’s not frightening, but it certainly makes itself known’, she says. One day, pub owner Gaynor Qualter put a guitar against her bedroom wall. When she came back it was in her bed’. But many pub patrons remain unconvinced by Beryl’s arguments. One wag said: “I think she’s had one too many”. But Beryl, who has worked in the Eldon for nearly seven years, hit back: ‘There are always having a laugh at me here, but I am teetotal and I know what I have seen and felt. ‘It would be interesting to find out if anyone knows about the cross, the note or the photograph’.
The Lord Eldon was contacted by our investigators, who met with the new owner Mrs. Laura Scullion. Investigators interviewed the landlady regarding the disturbances. An interview took place and some interesting facts were obtained… On one particular morning two individuals noted that all the pictures hanging on the wall on the left of the bar were all leaning at 45%. This was thought to be associated with the paranormal disturbances. The landlady claims to have witnessed a ghostly apparition of a woman dressed in 1800s clothing. Cold spots have also been felt along with strange sounds and glasses falling from shelves and even exploding. Electrical interference has been reported and bar staff have complained of being touched by a cold hand and only to turn around and find no one there. Personal items have gone a-miss and turned up in the most obvious places sometime later. Most of the incidents take place at night which has involved the pumps turned off and gas canisters turned on in the area of the cellar.
Lights flicker, bulbs blow, batteries fail quickly. The activity could well be associated to renovations that have been carried out at the public house over the years. There has been some slight structural damage to the property over the years and part of the cellar was filled in.
Apparently, two gentlemen who stayed the night at the Lord Eldon had reported rather disturbing incidents such as, a heavy feeling of pressure on their neck and chest area and awaking to see the face of an apparition up close to theirs. The land lady believes that the disturbances are caused by a female spirit that rather dislikes men. A cook that once worked at the property claimed to have witnessed a pet cat floating through the air as if being carried by some unseen force. The Lord Eldon is over 300 years old and is referred to as Location 9 by the brewery. The pre-conclusion at this time was that some type of Localised Interactive disturbances were taking place.
The Mysterious Photograph.
The photograph that hangs on the wall inside the Lord Eldon was found a number a years ago in a separate section from the pub, inside a outhouse structure that once had a pigeon loft and now converted as an office. There is no evidence to suggest that this particular photograph has any association to the paranormal disturbances that have been witnessed. The photograph depicts a young woman. Her clothing, hair style and the use of hair pins indicates that the photograph was from the 1920s - 1940s. The photograph was black and white and was at one time thought by some individuals to be a woman known as Sarah Anne Politt, a may queen who was said to have had some association with the building during the late 1800s. Some may even believe the photograph is of the very same woman who's apparition has been witnessed inside the Lord Eldon. However, the apparition seen is said to be of a woman who's appearance matches those around the 1900s and not the 1920s, 1940s. We also have confirmed that the photograph is not Sarah Anne Politt. On May 29th 2000, investigators received a telephone call from a Mrs. Mary Jackson Bloor from Bowden.
Mary informed us that she was the only living relative of Sarah Anne Politt.
Sarah Anne Politt came from a family of ten and that her mother had two sets of twins which did not survive. Sarah eventually married a gentleman by the name of Edwin Jackson and together had a daughter called Jessie, who married a man called Wilfred Catlow and lived in the Feathers Inn that was once situated on Tatton Street, the very same street the Lord Eldon resides. We were also informed that Sarah Anne Politt (Sarah Anne Jackson) was buried with her husband (Edwin) at the St. Johns Church in Knutsford, opposite the Marshall Sales Rooms. The grave was situated near the perimeter wall.
Mrs. Mary Bloor (which is a farmers name) was sent the photograph to identify it. She told us that this photograph was not Sarah and that she thought that the photograph depicted the era of the 1920s - 1940s. The very same thing that we had suspected. As for who the photograph depicts is a mystery and one which seems to be extremely difficult to solve. Attempting to find out who owned the Lord Eldon public house during the 1920s - 1940s is not as easy as we first imagined. The woman in the photograph obviously must have had some association with the building at some time or another for her photograph to have been found there. To date, we have had no reply from Entrepreneur. A final attempt to obtain further details may take place. Details regarding the photograph and where it was found has been in the local Knutsford Guardian newspaper a few times along with a request to the readers, to see if anyone had recognised the photograph.
Unfortunately, there was no response. The photograph can be found at the Lord Eldon and may be one day, someone might just recognise the young woman in the photo.
The photograph was compared for resemblance with many other photographs that were taken in Knutsford from the 1800s to the 1900s. Even though we did find a few interesting Comparisons, there were no identical matches. So.... The photograph seems to have no significant association with the paranormal disturbances and until proven so, should not be thought to be related. A copy of the photograph is to be kept on file along with the details of this investigation.
The piece of wood with the words RIP on it.
This strange piece of wood remains a mystery. Why should someone carve the letters R.I.P. (Rest In Piece) in it. There are a few reasons why this may have been located at the Lord Eldon public house :
1. That the wood is part of a cross indicating where a body was buried. however, we do not believe such a body has been located and that it is not often bodies are buried in properties, especially when indicated by a cross. Some bodies are found in properties when presumed that they we murdered or never found etc. We do not believe this is the case, however it is an option that we had to attempt to research. We f~ no information suggesting that this theory was corect.
2, That the wood represented a personal item belonging to someone who took the wood or manufactured the words in it as a representation of their loss. A reminder of their loved one who had died etc. Of course it could be exactly this, but why should it be found in the place it was (underneath the staircase area). Even though it's a good theory, we are unsure at this time.
3. During the-early 18009, some individuals would create such signs and place them in remote locations as a form of curse. This was done when certain people disliked or hated others and wished ill fortune on them. This seems to be the most appropriate theory at this time. Of course, all three theories may be incorrect due to the lack of information we have at this time.
No analysis has been carried out by ourselves due to the piece of wood and letter not being located. As to the where about’s of these items remains unknown.
The letter which stated "What a price to paye for having affairs. Ending ye days under ye stairs", was wrote in old English and represents times in the 1800s. The letter is seems to be directly associated with the piece of wood, and indicates theory three as a possible correct one. The individual that marked the wood and placed it under the staircase more than likely was responsible for the letter and by writing the words "What a price to paye" referred to himself or herself and the next bit "for having affairs" indicates that he or she may have been cheated on and was most upset, thus having a motive to create the R.I.P. in the wood, place it somewhere where people would not locate it along with a letter.
Finally the words "Ending ye days under ye stairs" possibly indicates that only the manufacturer knew of this event and where to place the items. Simply, it could be that a person found out about being cheated on and was so upset and annoyed that she wished ill fortune on the other individual associated with his or her partner and created the items as a mean of getting back or revenge, placed under the staircase for no-one to find.
This action would also fit better with a female as during the 1800s~ females still we treated differently and had to know their place along side their husbands, yet many a man was said to get away with such actions very easily and a woman's actions thought to be more severe. What ever reason behind the creation of these items, it is one that alludes us at this time…
1. Two men staying at the Lord Eldon public house have had rather bad experiences, which leads to landlady to believe the activity to be associated with the haunting of a female spirit etc. She said in her own words that 'woman tend to have different experiences, not as bad as the men's'. The two men that stayed the night at the public house awoke in the early hours of the morning, with a terrible feeling of pressure on the neck or chest area and also seeing a face of an apparition right up close to theirs. They had also reported that they felt that they could not move at all at the time of the experience, hence a form of paralysis. Obviously not a very nice experience to have.
2. Women and bar staff have reported feeling a tapping on their shoulder and turned around to find no-one there. These incidents may also involve tugging and touching etc.
3. Objects have said to have been seen to move or brake, such as glasses etc. On occasion, a shelf of glasses will suddenly drop to the floor and some are even said to simply explode.
4. A kitchen attendant also claimed to have seen one of the pet cats floating past, outside the window as if being carried by an invisible force.
5. Cold areas or spots have been reported occasionally throughout the building and the electrical bills seem to be higher than they should be. Bulbs are also often replaced.
6. The landlady claims to suffer from excessive body electricity (E.B.E) and has had several extra-sensory perception (E.S.P) experiences since being a child, usually consisting of precognition, a knowledge of future events.
7. Objects have been reported to have disappeared and re-appeared in strange or odd places, along with electrical and mechanical interference. One such possible affected item is the till, which has faulted several times.
8. The alarm to the building has also gone off for no apparent reason, usually between the times 3.00am - 4.30am. There is a very slow subsidence to the building and part of the cellar has been filled up, possible because of the subsidence.
9. The cider has also been said to have been turned off and the gas cylinders turned on. This I would presume is in the cellar
10. The apparition seen was said to be female in a long grey dress, amorphous and smoky in appearance. The landlady also mentioned that her perception seemed to change when watching the apparition. She did not see it out of her perennial vision, and described a sensation only known too well as a form of perception shift, often reported at times when seeing apparitions.
11. Pictures in the public house have been found to be hanging crookedly in the morning. The most activity is said to take place at night and the bar and cellar area seems to be the two focal points where activity takes place, sometimes accompanied by strange sounds.
The Lord Eldon public house is apparent over 300 years old and we have been informed that it very well may have been the first public house in Knutsford. The Lord Eldon public house is apparent over 300 years old and we have been informed that it very well may have been the first public house in Knutsford.
The Lord Eldon was first known as the Pack Horse, then the Duke of Wellington until 1832. Annie Pollitt, also referred to as (Sarah Ann Pollitt) was the daughter of Mr. James Pollitt who was the land lord of the Lord Eldon public house at the time and Sarah use to live a few doors away from the Lord Eldon in the Feathers Inn. Sarah eventually married Mr. Edwin Jackson and became Mrs. Jackson who had two sets of twins that both unfortunately died. However they did have a single daughter called Jessie who went on to marry Mr. Wilfred Catlow. Sarah moved from the Feathers Inn to Stanley Road in Knutsford which was next to a hospital.
Sarah Ann Pollitt was initially thought to be the woman in the photograph which was found at the Lord Eldon public house. However we quickly realised the the photograph was not of Sarah as we did have it identified by the only living relative of Sarah Ann Pollitt. Also the photograph depicts a different era than when Sarah was alive.
Sarah Ann Pollitt had attended the Knutsford May Day Jubilees and had been crowned herself as May Queen back on Monday May 2nd 1864. The same year the Lord Eldon was so called.
Details regarding the name - 'The Lord Eldon' :
The name of the first publicity minded landlord to hang out a sign for his pub is lost in the mist of time. But certainly the Romans believed in advertising, and used pictures of vine bushes to advertise their taverns - hence the saying 'a good wine needs no bush'. In the days when most people could not read (even when sober!), a sign was the best way for a tradesman to advertise his wares.
Gradually competition increased and all traders used signs to promote their services, often cluttering up the busy main streets of towns. After the great fire of London, King Charles 11 passed a decree ordering that signs should not be hung in the middle of the street but only against walls or balconies. This failed to curb the excesses of the more enterprising traders and in 1712, four people were killed in London when a sign fell down and brought a house wall down with it.
Knutsford Historian : Joan Leach was contacted and asked to assist. She informed us that if we were looking for the graves of Sarah Ann Pollitt and her husband etc, we should check the census around 1861 and to check local parish churches.
Eventually after a lot of visits to local churches we eventually located Sarah Arm Pollitt's grave at St. Johns Church in Knutsford.
At this time, there is no evidence to suggest we know who the apparition at the Lord Eldon public house is, only speculation that it could be Sarah Ann Politt. We do know she did have an involvement with the building, but that's all.
Therefore the identity of the apparition remains unknown.
As for the disturbances, they are low frequency and low severity and the landlady is not bothered by the incidents, she feels that what ever it is or whoever it is means no harm. The case has been concluded as an authentic haunting (localised and interactive).
The phenomena may continue for many years and sometimes be provoked by modifications, renovations, extensions and alterations.
May be if you visit the Lord Eldon yourself, you might just meet the phantom visitor youself...
For now the case is shelved until more information comes to light.
I would like to express my appreciation to the Knutsford Guardian, local historians and Knutsford Museum as well as all investigators for their time and assistance...
Compiled by Steve Mera.