In common with many other eleven year old girls, my granddaughter Isabelle-Rose is fascinated by ghosts and, as a special treat and an opportunity to take advantage of The Mermaid winter offer, we booked to stay for a night. Isabelle was very enthusiastic, I was slightly apprehensive once I had learned the details of the many reported hauntings.
Often considered one of the most haunted sites in England, The Mermaid Inn has a history dating back to the 1100s, although the structure you see today was the result of a renovation in the 1600s. Among the many spooky stories and ghostly sightings are figures walking through bedroom walls, rocking chairs moving on their own, rooms turning cold, and the spirit of a former chambermaid appearing throughout the property.
The Mermaid is mentioned on many ghost sites on the internet and included in Condé Nast Traveler’s 37 haunted hotels around the world you should definitely stay at. It also has a significant presence on YouTube with films of scary supernatural happenings filmed by hotel guests.
Isabelle had researched the most scary room to stay in and concluded it was room 17 “Kingsmill”. When we were shown in to this large and beautiful room, with a four poster bed, I was relieved to find it warm and welcoming with a large en-suite bathroom where I could leave the light on and the door open.
Apparently Kingsmill has on occasions appeared to go terribly cold and the rocking chair has been known to start rocking for no apparent reason. I had to make sure the rocking chair was no longer in the room, although Isabelle wanted to sit in it and try it out.
When the rocking chair is rocking on its own the chambermaids will only clean the room in pairs as they do not like to go in there by themselves. Kingsmill has sealed up passages through the fireplace to the Inn’s south wing to the “Rye Royal” room.
Isabelle was very excited to stay at the Mermaid and repeatedly told me she wasn’t frightened. She is a very brave girl. By the time we had finished a wonderful dinner and retired to bed I felt quite terrified.
There is do doubt The Mermaid is very atmospheric, and the ancient timber structure, lattice windows and wattle and daub all add to the experience. You cannot but be aware the building is ancient, and it creaks everywhere and the sounds of footsteps and voices carry in the night.
I kept having to remind myself it was only the other guests walking to their rooms. Isabelle slept soundly and never suspected our room was full of the sounds of other guests. Or was it?
Image Credits: Mags Ivatts .