Haunted pubs in England are like Starbucks coffee shops in the U.S. – there’s one on every corner, you see some strange things in them – (especially at night) and there’s no way they ever go out of business. Well, one haunted pub in Bristol became the exception to this rule. Despite being one of the oldest and most haunted pubs in England, it closed down in 2019 – and not due to the coronavirus. Fortunately, new owners have been found. Will the ghosts – who have had free run of the place for a year – object? How did your pets feel when you started working from home?
“They don’t come much more famous a Bristol pub than this, and it’s something of an unspoken scandal that such a landmark building is currently empty and needing a new owner with deep pockets.”
The Llandoger Trow has been on King Street in the heart of Bristol’s publand since 1664, and on the market since March 2019, when the owners gave up keeping it in business (complaints included poor food and worse service). While locals mourned the death of such a famous local institution, campaigns sprang up to save it and the owners, figuring that someone might pay bot the price and the high fix-up costs, listed it for £1million ($1.267 million US) with estate agent Graham Clifford at Christie & Co, which estimated it needed an addition £2million to renovate. Why would anyone spend that kind of money on the Llandoger Trow?
Let’s start with some name-dropping: Robert Louis Stevenson and Daniel Defoe. Llandoger Trow is believed to have been the inspiration for the Admiral Benbow Inn in Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Daniel Defoe supposedly met Scottish sailor and alleged castaway Alexander Selkirk there, inspiring him to write Robinson Crusoe. Speaking of inspirations, the pub’s name was inspired by Llandogo, a small village in south Wales, and trows — cargo boats with collapsible masts so they could pass under bridges.
Yeah, yeah, yeah … what about the ghosts?
You mean the 15 ghosts (and counting) that have been living high on the haunted hog since the pub closed? According to Mysterious Britain & Ireland, many have heard the sound of something dragging followed by a stomp and believe one of the ghosts walks or floats with a limp. One possible identity is that of a child named Pierre who wore leg braces and apparently died in the pub. A former bartender told the story of being tapped on the back while working in the cellar. When he removed his shirt, he found a bruise there. Apparitions have been seen on CCTV cameras after hours in the bar and another room – images that were real enough to convince employees to check them out immediately, thinking they were customers who didn’t hear “last call.” Of course, no one was there. The Llandoger Trow has been featured on “Most Haunted Live!” and was a stop on ghost tours and hunts.
Will the ghosts welcome the new owners and the old customers?
“We have not sold Whitbread’s leasehold interest in the Llandoger Trow. The report in Bristol247 is incorrect.
To that end, colleagues have been working closely with Bristol City Council – the building’s freehold owner – to bring in a suitable new occupier and ensure that the iconic building can be restored to a positive future use.”
Oops. The new owners thought they had bought the Llandoger Trow, but a late-breaking report denied a deal. What does “restored to a positive future” mean? Something other than a pub? Something without 15 ghosts? Did the ghosts disapprove of these buyers? Is a haunted pub with the storied history and near-record ghost population really a blight on a street that is already considered to be the pub row of Bristol?
Let’s hope the Llandoger Trow stays a pub and the limping ghost gets to stay. Who wants to spend the rest of eternity haunting a Starbucks?