The Crown, Bildeston
The Crown 104 High Street, Bildeston, Suffolk
The Crown sits beside a country road in the village of Bildeston, mid way almost between Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Colchester. This is an area which was extremely important in Anglo-Saxon and Medieval times, but which never suffered the ravages of the Industrial Revolution as did other parts of England; because of this it retains a lot of what has been lost elsewhere. East Anglia has more than its fair share of ghosts and The Crown has been known as ‘the most haunted inn’ in the country. The Crown mostly dates from the Fifteenth Century and has plenty of exposed oak beams and open fires. It was a coaching inn in the days before the railways. Peter Underwood reports a visit he made there in about 1950 following reports of mysterious footsteps being heard. They had also been heard by the local policeman.
There were also stories of guests being touched by invisible hands and loud hammering sounds would suddenly break the silence. One landlord thought it was local youths winding him up by banging on the front door, so he waited with a poker. The knocks came and he ran to the window, peering out so that he could see the front step and the road. There was no one to be seen. Legend has it that the pub actually has four ghosts: a lady who hanged herself; an old man who sits in the lounge and two Victorian children who walk silently through the lounge. Another story tells that one of the old locals saw a man in an old coat with a strange hat standing in the corner of the bar. He nodded to the landlord and asked who the man was but when he looked round, the man had vanished into thin air.