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Haunted happenings in South Cheshire pubs

Boot and Shoe Pub

IF YOU were wanting a compact, pretty, historic town with lots of shops and good eateries, then Nantwich in South Cheshire fits the bill perfectly. 

Festivals ranging from jazz to food, and a wondrous annual commemoration of an English Civil War battle give the town a vibrant buzz. But, beneath this lively hubbud, Nantwich seems to have a lot of 'undead' activity. Numerous pubs with active spirits count among a high number of haunted happenings. 

One of these pubs with activity is The Boot and Shoe on Hospital Street. A survivor of the Great Fire of Nantwich in 1583 (having been built only four years previous to then), the pub has some interesting hidden heritage before any alleged spiritual activity. The aforementioned fire spread across Nantwich fanned by strong westerly winds. Much of the street had been consumed by this point, with the premises beginning to be well devoured by the inferno. 

The capriciousness of the weather favoured what was left, as the westerly wind failed. There was enough of the infrastructure of the pub for it to remain as the frame about which to reconstruct the building. There are timbers in the loft which offer testimony to their being torched. 

Another interesting occluded item is an ancient tree stump. Situated within the wall just to the left as you enter the front, this arboreal antiquity obviously predates the pub by some considerable time. There has been occasional chatter about a perspex viewing screen being put in. Unlike the ghostly happenings, old stumpy sits quietly in the bricked up corner. 

The first activity to note is mentioned in The Crewe Chronicle in 1988, and cites two ghosts. The then landlord, Nick Crossley says there is "one in the bedroom and one in the cellar. Ive never seen them, but our dog sits in the bar and barks at the same place at different times every night, and you cant see a thing. He walks all over the pub and upstairs but he will not go down into the cellar. The previous tenant had a dog and he would never go into the cellar."

Since Jan and Nigel Cullen came in to the Boot and Shoe over seven years ago, the activity hasnt been so much of a phantom nature but more akin to poltergeist shenanigans. (Though one regular said an unseen presence walked through the bar about 10.10 each evening, in keeping with clock changes!) 

Packets of peanuts lifted up by themselves and fell to floor, witnessed by a member of staff and two customers. If you wonder, these weren't from the more fruity kind of peanut holders you can get! The focus of the happenings has centred upon the above-bar shelf, where glasses throw themselves off without explanation. On occasion these have actually elevated, rotated and then been projected through the air. There is no frequency to these events, and they can happen in front of staff and customers, or in the dead of night. 

You can find out more about The Boot and Shoe at www.thebootandshoe.com

It also features on The Nantwich Ghost Tour, details via www.historyandmystery.co.uk or phone 07905 597 242.

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