It’s no secret that Cornwall has a haunted reputation; over the years much has been spoken of ghostly goings on around the Duchy, with reports of haunted hotels, paranormal pubs and ominous old homes.
And the best part is, all of these places can be visited during your autumn break – at your own risk of course.
Warning: Sinister stories ahead.
Built in 1779, Bodmin Jail saw over 50 public hangings before its closure in 1927. Many of the past prisoners have curious tales about how they ended up incarcerated, with Selina Wadge being one of the most famous.
In the late 19th century Selina was an unmarried mother, and was promised by her boyfriend that he would marry her if she were to get rid of her illegitimate son, Harry. Selina was sent to Bodmin Jail after Harry’s body was found at the bottom of a 13 foot deep well shaft, and although pleading innocence, she was eventually hung for her crime in 1878. Her last words were “Lord deliver me from this miserable world”.
Although much of the site is now in ruins, the remains have been opened to the public, telling the stories of the prisoners who inhabited the jail. It is open all year round to explore, or if you’re brave enough you can visit the jail ‘After Dark’ with their Resident Medium on a night-time tour.
Jamaica Inn was built in 1750 as a coaching inn – the 18th century equivalent of a modern day service station for weary travellers; although some of the travellers were less respectable than most and used the Inn to store smuggled items.
There are more ghostly tales from the Inn than we can count but the most common is that of a strange man haunting the grounds. Many years previously he sat at the bar enjoying an ale. He left his half-finished drink, stepped outside, and this was the last time he was seen alive. His body was found the next morning with the identity of his assailant still remaining a mystery.
Previous landlords and guests at Jamaica Inn have claimed to hear the man’s footsteps around the bar, suspecting that he is coming back to finish his drink.
Nowadays the Inn is open as a bar and hotel, with ghost hunting tours available to book.
Parts of Pengersick Castle date back to the 16th century. It features one of the few towers of its type preserved in Britain, and also a ghoulish past.
Back in the 1500s, Sir John Milliton attempted to murder his wife by having her drink from a poisoned challis. Suspecting his intentions she switched the drinks but the devil was all too happy to take them both to hell. Rumour has it that the ghosts of Milliton and his wife still haunt the castle, with many guests claiming to have woken up to be confronted by a female figure clutching her stomach in pain.
Tours of the castle can be booked, and night time ghost hunts are held regularly.
The Ship Inn
Just down the hill from us here at Trevalsa, the 400 year old Ship Inn is the setting for an eerie tale of a Guardian Angel watching over the pub.
More recent than our other tales, this story begins in 2012 when a photograph of former Landlady, Lil Barron, disappeared having previously taken pride of place above the bar for as long as locals can remember. Since the photo’s mysterious disappearance, the Ship began to flood regularly.
After the photograph was discovered and reinstated to its place above the bar, the pub has avoided three potential disasters when the rest of Mevagissey flooded yet the Ship Inn remained unscathed.
Prideaux Place, an Elizabethan country house in Padstow, has been home to the Prideaux family for over 400 years. The house is built on old monastery land, and is widely thought to be one of the most haunted houses in Britain.
Of all of the apparitions seen at the house, the ghost of Honor Fortescue is said to be the most prominent. Honor, the wife of Humphrey Prideaux, was said to be so tormented by her husband’s early death that she threw herself from a balcony; although many mediums have picked up on a theory that she may have been pushed by someone else…