Some of these are spectres from The Mermaid Inns colourful past. An Inland base for 18th century smugglers, a refuge for Catholic priests fleeing the reformation and a Cinque Port favourite of sailors and ship-hands ever since it opened, history is etched-sometimes literally- into The Mermaid Inn’s ancient walls and wooden columns.
It is not surprising, then, that the pub has its fair share of ghosts. Though there have been incidents throughout the building, many of the sightings are confined to 6 of its 32 rooms.
In Room 16,, there are reports of guests waking up to a duel being fought by the bedside. The combatants, both of whom are dressed in doublets and hose, fight to the death with rapiers, with the loser thrown down a secret staircase to what is now the bar.
Other guests in room 1 have reported seeing a lady in white, sat by the fireplace. Despite the lack of pipes or windows nearby, guests who have laid their clothes on the chair overnight claimed to find them soaking wet by morning.
This may or may not be the same Lady in White made famous in Room 5 for stopping at the foot of the bed on her way across the room and through the door, nor is it necessarily related to the rocking chair in room 17, which is known to start creaking back and forth, entirely of its own accord.
As varied as they are spooky, The Mermaid Inn’s ghosts are the stuff of local legend, with no shortage of mediums, psychics and amateur ghost hunters lending credence to its incorporeal credentials.
But , for owner Judith Blincow, who has run The Mermaid Inn since 1993, the spectres come part and parcel with the property. She ain’t afraid of no ghost.
She said: “I’ve never had a bad feeling here, so if there’s anything really there, it’s accepted me.”
She is also keen to emphasise that The Mermaid Inn is more than the sum of it’s sometimes otherworldly parts, trying not to take its spookier residents too seriously. She said: “It’s just a lot of fun. We’re all very tongue in cheek about it.”
Since as she says, “the same stuff that happens in the same rooms” guests who want to ignore all that humbug about ghosts and enjoy the hotel’s seasonal food, famously warm service and palpable sense of countryside history, are, according to Judith, always welcome.
To find out more about The Mermaid Inn and it’s colourful past visit www.mermaidinn.com
To book one of the 32 rooms or a table at it’s rossette recognised restaurant, call up on 01797 223065.