The story of a ghost that came to show how he got the Inn
Standing atop the hills above the old Ship inn at Satlburn, you can see why it was a smugglers hideaway, the hills around are steep, and anyone trying to catch you would be easily out run.
It was there that an eerie experience happened a while ago. I was standing watching the bay, with its shallow beach strewn with pebbles, when I noticed what I thought was the sea mist rolling in. but this was different to the usual sea mists as it was a lot mores dense. I was just about to go and investigate, when a hand I felt up on my shoulder.
‘Tha don’t want to go down there laddy.’
Turning I saw and old man, with a grizzled face wearing a sailors cap and an old rope knit sweater, as they used to at sea long ago.
‘What do you mean ?’ I gingerly asked.
‘You think, yon mist is from the sea, well if you look and listen, you will find out.’
‘I did wonder why it looked more dense, and grey than any mist I had encountered before.’
Listening carefully I could hear what at first sounded like a roaring tide, but having been told to listen carefully I opened my mind.
‘Am I right, sounded like cannon fire now ?’
‘Tha’s right there young man, now watch and I will tell you the story later.’
As I stood watching, 2 ships came around the headland, one flying a strange flag, the other flying the flag of the excise men of the King.
With cannons firing the King’s ship was forcing the other one further into the shallows, knowing how treacherous the beach I waited.
And there it was, the sound seamen hate, no matter what country. The sounds of your ship running aground, and the timbers tearing apart, as waters flood the lower decks.
As I watched, from the smugglers’ ship; I assumed it was smugglers, otherwise why would they have been run aground; 5 men came running ashore, wading slowly through the waters.
The King’s ship sent 2 longboats ashore to chase down the men.
As the men stumbled up the pebbly beach, feet slipping on the wet rocks, they were met by a hail of musket fire, from the soldiers of the crown, all 5 lay dead on the rock strewn beach, blood washing to and fro in the water.
‘Finally got you, Will Harrison.’ the captain of the guard called.
Turning around to go back to the longboats, the soldiers were met by a volley of pistol fire from the inn, the ensuing fire fight last only a few minutes, as the men inside were not going to expose themselves to musket fire, and the soldiers could not possibly take the inn, without a siege as it backed on to the steep cliffs behind, and the men inside had a clear field of fire, any assault was just madness.
‘That was the end of that.’ the seaman said.
‘How do you know it so well ?’ I queried
‘I ran the inn for the next 40 yrs, and my ghost is still here.’
‘So you are… ‘
‘Yes. None other than John Andrew, ‘Big Jack’, ‘King of the smugglers’, the most feared of all smugglers in the area.’