West Stour, A30, Gillingham, Dorset
In 1750, this was a quarried stone coaching inn, providing accommodation for travellers and pilgrims between Salisbury and Sherborne as well as Exeter and London. It is an imposing building. It was the last stop to change horses before the steep hill up to Shaftesbury. At one time, the inn people used for storing smuggled goods. The press gang would search for ‘volunteers’ from Nelson’s navy. The authorities housed Prisoners on their way to Plymouth in the oldest part of the inn that still has an old water pump and a bread oven. This bar exhibits ghostly manifestations. These include a ghost dressed in a long black cloak. It has a penchant for banging doors in the night. One of the rooms hosts a young man. Reports say that he expired during a violent struggle. It was to avoid being conscripted into the Royal Navy by the press gang.