Book Haunted Inns and Hotels in North Devon

Rolle Quay Inn

Rolle Quay, Barnstaple, Devon

One wicked little phantom has made his earthly home here. It appears from time to time to frighten the customers. He is often seen in the pub by locals and strangers, with dressed as an 18th century sailor. The MP for the area from 1747 to 1754 was Thomas Benson, a successful shipper and merchant. He also ran the smuggling gangs. Benson built his illicit trade in tobacco and spirits from Lundy, an island offshore. He had a contract to run convicts to America. However, instead he shipped them out to Lundy, where they built warehouses to store his illegal merchandise. His business thrived until July 1752 when one of his ships, the Nightingale carrying 15 convicts capsized off Barnstaple. Although many survived, several drowned. Their bodies were taken to this pub. Reports claim it that the ghosts at the Rolle Quay pub are those drowned men, with a man severely beaten by Benson’s enforcers who died at the inn. Captain Lancey, of the Nightingale, authorities hanged, with then laid out on the foreshore where three tides washed over his body. His ghost is reputed to haunt that beach.