The Old Ferry Boat Inn in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, has the most beautiful riverside views, comfortable rooms, and perhaps a ghost or two.
The cause? One could speculate the fact that there is a grave under the bar might have something to do with it.
Staff and customers continuously report lights refusing to switch off and mysterious noises that come as evening falls.
Let’s go back though, to what many think is the beginning of this tragic tale. On March 17, 1050, a local girl who was only 17 at the time, fell passionately in love with a forester called Tom Zoul. Sadly, Tom didn’t return her love and heartbroken, Juliet hung herself from a tree near the Inn. Many think this was a last effort to show Tom the depth of her love as he would pass by this tree every day for work.
Other locals recall another version of the story, in which Juliet drowned herself in the River Ouse.
Regardless, Juliet was buried in the unhallowed ground close to the Inn. Her grave was marked only with a plain stone slab. Personally, we think this fact corroborates the original story as in the 11th century suicide was filled with stigma and gossip. It would make sense for people to leave her grave unmarked if she took her own life.
Ever since that day, the ghost of Juliet Tewsley is rumoured to rise every year on the anniversary of her death. The reason? We aren’t too sure; however, it is clear she makes her presence be known one way or another.
How did the Inn Get Haunted?
Now, we know what you are thinking, what does this have to do with the inn? Well, as fate would have it, over the years the pub was developed and extended. Eventually, Juliet’s grave slab become part of the interior…fashionable.
Jamie Toms, former team leader and duty manager at The Old Ferry Boat Inn, spoke to CambridgeshireLive in 2019 about some of the experiences he encountered while working in the pub.
He said: “There’s a lot of things which go on at the pub, which people can’t really explain.
“Like sometimes the lights just won’t go out unless you say ‘goodnight Juliet’. Or menus will just appear on the floor.
“Sometimes when you’re here on your own you’ll hear things too like bangs and noises of doors opening.
“We’ve never seen an apparition but some guests and customers have said they’ve felt someone watching them in the bar or have felt very cold even when the heating is on full.
“Sometimes it can make you feel nervous but I’m pretty chill about it, we know we’ve got to respect the building and remember that it’s her building.”
Speaking of the day Juliet died, Jamie said: “The week leading up to the day is usually worse than the day itself.
“In the days before the lights will pulsate or get brighter without anyone touching the controls.
“Or guests will come down in the morning and say they’ve had a really bad night’s sleep – if that happens we always ask if they’ve walked over the grave which is in the restaurant. I’ve been a manager here for eight weeks now, and I still won’t walk over it”.
These situations are truly unexplainable. Juliet seems like a heartbroken spirit that demands respect and attention. Whatever you do, we recommend not walking over her grave and avoiding visits to the inn during the week leading up to March 17th. That is if you are not in for a good spook.