The Ghost At The Ship

A Memory of Dunwich.

My parents owned and ran The Ship Inn from 1960 to 1975. My father a retired soldier and wartime paratrooper had taken early retirement to buy the business, then called The Barne Arms Hotel after the estate. The new Inn sign was based on the Blue Peter logo from the BBC Children's programme (from whom he'd got permission to use a similar but not identical design). As boys, my brother and I shared an attic room. Shortly after I had left to go to the Army in about 1969/70 my brother had experienced a ghost in the attic room. Waking, he'd found what he described as a woman sitting beside his bed, grey in colour. As he woke, she'd risen, turned and seemed to walk through the wall beside him. Of course no-one believed him. Years later, in about 1998, my wife and I stayed with the owner, Annie Marshlain, at The Ship. She'd been a friend of my parents, having come over several years with friends to work there in her summer holidays, and had eventually bought it a few years after my father's death in 1975. She gave us a guided tour, and I was astounded to find that another room now opened up off the old attic bedroom. Annie explained that it had been noticed that there was an extra dormer window on the roof adjacent to our attic bedroom window, and so they had looked behind the plaster of the wall in the room, to find a sealed-off door. Behind was an empty but fully functional, floor-boarded room. It transpired, all this time later that the woman my brother had seen 20 years earlier had actually walked through the now exposed doorway, that none of us had had any idea existed. The pub, dating back to Tudor times and once a smuggling pub with secret passages in the concealed cellar was full of history and intrigue, so it's anyone's guess what must have happened there once, and why the room was so thoroughly concealed.

Added 22 November 2007


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