The Flower Pot Inn
25 Tavistock St, Bedford, Bedfordshire
This is a pleasant Victorian style pub that houses an evil character from the 17th century; Highwayman ‘Black Tom’, authorities hanged, for his crimes in 1607, yet still haunts this pub with the town itself. Locals call him ‘Black Tom’ because of his swarthy complexion with coal-black hair. After execution, the authorities buried him with a stake through his heart. This burial site is at the junction near the Flower Pot. The gravesite is now a roundabout with silver birch trees growing on it. It is still, locals knew, as ‘Black Tom’s Grave’. His ghost haunts this inn. However, the last sighting of him in broad daylight was in 1964. A number of witnesses watched a man with a blackened face, staggering along Union Street. Reports say his head was lolling about as though authorities hanged him. As they watched, the shape faded with vanished. Since the 1840s, Black Tom, witnesses have seen, in company with another ghost who had also, authorities executed, on the site of the gallows nearby. The pub name is also from the 17th century. This was when proprietors named some after saints. The pub showed the flower for that saint on the inn sign. In the case of the Virgin Mary, it was lilies. Because the Puritans loathed such practice, proprietors called their pubs the ‘Flower Pot’ with the flowers of their religious conviction on the inn signs.