If you’d like to encounter a very different type of spirit, head down to one of the Sevenoaks area’s reputedly haunted hostelries and see if you can spot one of these paranormal punters…
Spook spotting should be fairly easy in and around Sevenoaks, given the number of ghost stories that surround the town’s watering holes. The Chequers in the High Street has a rich history, being a part 12th century building that once housed the Petty Sessions courts. When a criminal had been condemned to death, they would be brought from the cells at the nearby Dorset Arms and hanged on a set of gallows next to the Chequers. Rumour has it that one day, an unfortunate woman looked out of an upper window of the pub to see her own son being hanged. Her cries of anguish still echo through the building to this day, despite that window having long since been closed up.
Dating from the late 1500s, the Harrow Inn at Knockholt has seen plenty of dramas, but a crime that took place in the early 1700s left a permanent mark on the place. One day an insouciant highwayman strolled in, relieved the drinkers of their valuables and stole the pub’s cash. He only made it as far as another nearby pub, however, before being brought back to the scene of his crime and hung at the Harrow. Determined not to be turned out, his ghost still strolls through the pub, wearing the distinctive riding boats, long cloak and three-cornered hat.
The Five Bells in Church Road, Seal, is reportedly still watched over by a former landlord, ‘Ratty’ Williams. Having earned his nickname because of his additional work as the local rat catcher, the late Williams presided over the pub in the 1950s and is believed to toil there still.
Meanwhile, over in Westerham, the 17th century George and Dragon also lays claim to a number of apparitions. When Lord Stafford was on his way to his public execution (in 1644 or 45) he stayed at the pub and perhaps the beer was not to his liking, as his spectre has been spotted lingering in the building centuries after his death.