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The Talbot Hotel Oundle Ghost Hunts

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The Talbot Hotel
Oundle, Northamptonshire

OVERVIEW

The Talbot Hotel is a Grade I listed former coaching inn built in the early 17th Century. Once a place of religious housing rebuilt into a Jacobean guest house and inn, and with rumoured connections to Mary Queen of Scots, what ghosts and spirits haunt this incredible historic building? Join us at this Brand New Location to find out!

 

HISTORY

The Talbot Hotel was built in 1626, but parts of the location can be dated back to the early 1500s. Prior to this place being a coaching inn, the building was used by the Guild of Our Lady of Oundle, where monks would've lived and traded with merchants. Such local Guilds were endowed with considerable amounts of property and cash by wealthy citizens, and the income from the assets was used primarily to pay for the livelihoods of priests who prayed for their patrons’ souls at chantries. As the number of subscribers to the Guilds increased, so did their assets and income. Spare money was invested into schools, hospitals and almshouses for the poor, but also in more property, creating an upward spiral of wealth.

The Tabard or Tabret as it was called, would've been a particularly lucrative asset for the Oundle Guild. However, following Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries, the regency council of the boy-king Edward VI, seized the assets of a whole range of other religious bodies, including Guilds like the one at Oundle. All its lands and buildings were taken by the Crown in Easter 1548, and sold on the
3rd April 1550 to two London property dealers, who then sold the buildings on. The earliest evidence that the Inn was among the Guild properties featured in these transactions is found in a survey completed in 1565, known as The Oundle Terrier. In an entry listing titled 'Bury Street', Thomas Power is stated as owning a guest house or tenement called 'Le Tabret'. He held possession of the house until his death in 1572, when it passed on to his wife Susan. In his Will he states he owned a place 'cawled the tabard, now in the occupation of Wyllym Dynnys'. There no later references to either the Le Tabret or The Tabard, and so we don't know which was the correct name during this time.

The first introduction to The Talbot name was written in 1617 in a decree of the Justices to the High Constables of Corby, where the citizens of Oundle were ordered to deliver 100lbs of butter to The Talbot for the King's larder. The next mention was in an order by the High Sheriff of Northamptonshire, that proclaimed that wealthy citizens who had failed to pay a fee to the Crown in lieu of military service, were to meet with the King's commissioners on the 17th September 1631 at the sign of The Talbot in Oundle.

In 1626 The Talbot Inn was rebuilt extensively and expensively. The stunning façade alone is worthy of Pevsner's praise for its immaculate style. However, the most interesting aspect of the rebuilding is viewed from the courtyard where much of the structure is said to have been taken and used from the nearby Fotheringhay Castle, once a medieval beauty and royal palace. It was at Fotheringhay Castle that Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded in 1587. When Mary's son James VI of Scotland ascended the English throne in 1603, he sold Fotheringhay into private hands. The castle was still intact by 1625, but was left abandoned. It was gradually demolished and elements of the building's fabric were reused in various other buildings, including the rebuilding of The Talbot Inn according to tradition. Despite no records of materials from the castle being purchased and reused for the rebuilding of The Talbot Inn, one story claims that the developer William Whitwell obtained the windows of the castle's Great Hall, as well as the oak staircase which is said to be the same staircase Mary Queen of Scots walked down to her execution. Historians believe the windows are indeed from the Great Hall of Fotheringhay Castle, but the oak staircase? They aren't completely convinced, as it resembles more of a Jacobean design than a royal grand staircase. But that hasn't stopped the stories of her connection to The Talbot Hotel, from her ghostly apparition seen standing on the stairs, to the imprint of a royal crown on one of the upper staircase posts said to have been made by Mary herself with her signet ring, as she walked down the stairs to her execution in anger. Another legend has it that her executioner stayed at The Talbot Inn the night before her death, and dined on pigeon pie. The rebuilding of The Talbot Inn is accredited to William Whitwell, who is said to have rebuilt most of Bury Street, and renamed it to the more fitting New Street.

Very little is known about The Talbot Inn during the 1700s. In 1755, some of The Talbot Inn's guests came from Ireland, and were likely horse dealers who came to English markets. They left their mark on the Inn with love messages scratched onto some of the 500 year old window panes in the South section of the building, and they're still visible today, with the names of Fanny Nunn of Enniscorthy, County Wexford, and Polly Winter of Cork. It's not clear who owned The Talbot Inn around this time, but we know that the innkeeper was a man called Thomas Ellis, who prospered well here in the 1780s. However in 1790, the freehold of The Talbot Inn was advertised for sale by auction in the local press, featuring a garden and stabling 'near one hundred horses'. About 20 years prior, a wealthy man called John Smith resided in the town and at the age of 30 he built a brewery. It's likely that due to the sale of The Talbot Inn that he became new the owner of the establishment. In 1791, a passenger-coach operator in Oundle called George Smith (possibly related to John Smith) launched 'The Brothers', an elegant coaching business that he ran with four other Oundle gentlemen, with one being Thomas Ellis the innkeeper at The Talbot Inn. It ran between Oxford and Peterborough three days a week, with one of the stops being at The Talbot. In August 1796, Stephen Hodges who ran a rival coach company became the new innkeeper of The Talbot, but fell back into possession of the Smith family once more up until 1922.

One afternoon in November of 1829, Oundle had a huge surprise, when the Duke of Wellington stopped at The Talbot Inn to changeover horses on his way to Woburn Abbey. At this time he was also the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Another surprising figure who was given a hero's welcome was Lieutenant General James Thomas Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan. He was a member of the Light Brigade who fought in the Crimean War. He arrived at Oundle Train Station in January 1855 and was given a great reception at The Talbot Hotel, with then owner John William Smith reading an address of appreciation on behalf of the community.

Heading into the 20th Century, the Smith family ownership of The Talbot Hotel began to spiral downwards. Within the first 5 weeks of World War 1, Jack Smith the owner's son was killed at the Battle of Marne aged just 25. His grief was amplified when his younger brother Edmund Percival Smith was killed at Gallipoli on the 1st May 1915, aged 51. 9 months later, Jack suffered a heart attack and died suddenly on the 14th February 1916, aged 57. His widowed wife Mary took control of the business, but with no male heir she knew the building had to be sold off.

As of 2009, The Talbot Hotel is run and owned by The Coaching Inn Group, a company focused on refurbishing and revitalising historic coaching inns for the modern age, whilst keeping the historical aspects intact.

GHOSTS & HAUNTINGS

The Talbot Hotel is a brand new location to the paranormal scene, but with a recent private investigation taken place here, and with a few reported hauntings from staff and hotel guests, this amazing building certainly has a few resident ghosts.

The prominent ghost is that of Mary Queen of Scots. Guests have been stunned to see before their eyes a White Lady standing on the Oak Staircase dressed in 16th Century clothing, before vanishing into thin air. These accounts can be backed up by an incident that took place in the early 2000s, where the assistant manager's mother stayed over one night in Room 102, known as the Mary Queen of Scots room. She woke up in the middle of the night, only to see a White Lady dressed in Elizabethan clothing at the bottom of her bed. She refused to sleep here again afterwards. Does Mary Queen of Scots really haunt this building?

Poltergeist activity has also been reported here, with one account of the present assistant manager pouring some coffee into a cup on a table in the Westgate Suite. He filled it halfway, when he looked up and noticed a shadow walk by. He went to see if it was another member of staff, but when he returned to the table, he noticed the coffee cup had moved onto a different table, still half full.

The presence of monks or priests have been sensed here by our team mediums, with them visualising their cloaks and even casual attire. They have also picked up on the names of John and Mary without knowing the history of the property, something that we find intriguing.

Other paranormal activity reported here includes taps, knocks and footsteps heard throughout the building, including areas like the Snug, the Whitwell Suite and the upstairs bedrooms.


 

YOUR GHOST HUNT EXPERIENCE

Your night of ghost hunting with Brookes Paranormal is guaranteed a fun, safe and spooky one. Experience this historic location with exclusive access after dark, as you explore the eerie rooms and areas in search for the ghostly spirits that haunt here. Here at The Talbot Hotel, you will get to investigate the Whitwell Suite, the Westgate Suite, the Snug, Room 101, Room 102 and the Oak Staircase where the ghost of Mary Queen of Scots allegedly appears. Time permitting we may investigate the Bar area as well.

Our team are friendly, professional, approachable and knowledgeable with paranormal investigating, and we will guide and support you to make sure you get the most out of your investigation. We welcome everyone from all walks of life, as our events are a safe space for all who love and enjoy the thrill of ghost hunting. Whether you're a paranormal novice or an experienced investigator, you'll be well-looked after and treated like family.

This is an honest ghost hunting experience, so there won't be any fakery or trickery during the night. We believe that if activity happens, it happens for real.

On your ghost hunt, you will be split into smaller groups to give you the best, personal experience possible. You will also get hands on with various pieces of ghost hunting equipment and participate in interesting paranormal experiments.
​ While we encourage everyone
to get involved in the night's vigils, you don't have to partake in experiments like Ouija Boards and the Estes Method if you don't
want to, we have plenty of other equipment for you to use.


You will also have a couple of breaks throughout the night, where we provide you with unlimited refreshments and snacks.
 

YOUR EVENT INCLUDES

  • Group photo of all guests which gets published to our page

  • Small group extended vigils

  • Refreshments and snacks like teas, coffees, hot chocolates,
    bottles of water, biscuits, crisps and chocolate bars

  • Full use of ghost hunting equipment like K2s, EMF Meters,
    REM Pods, Mel Meters, Spirit Boxes, Motion Detectors,
    Dowsing Rods, Laser Grid Pens, ITC Apps and SLS Cameras

  • Paranormal experiments like Ouija Boards, Glass Divination,
    Table Tipping, S
    éances, Estes Method and Human Pendulum

  • An introduction to ghost hunting equipment and techniques
    for guests new to the paranormal

 

PLEASE NOTE BEFORE BOOKING

  • All attendees MUST be 18 years or older

  • Heavily pregnant women are NOT allowed on these events

  • This location is NOT wheelchair accessible

  • This location HAS sleepover facilities - extra cost with the Hotel

  • We operate a STRICT No Alcohol/Drugs Policy on our events, and if caught or believed to be under the influence of any alcohol or drugs, you will be removed from the event immediately and banned from all future events - No refunds

  • All attendees MUST bring a torch to the event, as we will be investigating in dark areas and low light conditions

  • This is an active and working Hotel, PLEASE RESPECT other members of the public staying over here on site

  • Sensible footwear is required for the location's environmental conditions

  • In the colder months we advise to wear warm layered clothing, and bring a warm coat with you as the night will get cooler as the event progresses

  • History tours are NOT provided at this location, but we will talk briefly on the location's past

  • Ouija Boards are brought to events at this location, however we don't force you to take part in them

  • Please ensure you are able to attend this event; deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable, and full payments and remaining balances are non-refundable and non-transferable
    four weeks prior to the event date

ADDRESS, EVENT TIMES & PARKING

ADDRESS: The Talbot Hotel, New Street, Oundle, Northamptonshire PE8 4EA

EVENT TIMES: 9:00pm - 3:00am (arrive at 8:45pm and wait in courtyard for a team member to register you)