Moat House is Tamworth's most haunted
HAUNTED TAMWORTH - CHRIS ARNOLD: The Moat House, located on Lichfield Street, is one of Tamworth's oldest surviving buildings.
Although built in 1572 by the Comberford family, medieval records show a large building on the site as far back as 1369.
The Moat House: Although built in 1572 by the Comberford family, medieval records show a large building on the site as far back as 1369. PB8684-4968TH and inset, in 2007 the Herald reported how a carpet fitter had fled the Moat House after being spooked by odd goings-on.
A zincograph, drawn and engraved by E B Hamel in around 1828, showing the view of the Moat House from across the river.
The future King Charles I stayed at the Moat House in 1619.
The future King Charles I stayed there in 1619 and it remained a private residence, surviving the English Civil War until 1815 when it became a hospital for the mentally ill (then known as a 'lunatic asylum').
In 1950 it was offered to Tamworth Borough Council free-of-charge.
Bizarrely, they declined, so it was sold privately and converted to a pub and restaurant, which it remains to this day.
Given its history, it is perhaps unsurprising that The Moat House is said to be extremely haunted.
Folklore has it that the third floor has a resident ghost by the name of Emily, a young girl who many visitors and staff alike claim to have encountered over the years.
In the restaurant, the apparition of an elderly, cowed gentleman has been witnessed, walking on the spot in the raised gallery area.
The old tower, now virtually inaccessible due to its condition, is known as one of the paranormal hotspots in the building.
It was reported in this paper, a few years ago, how a contractor working at The Moat House fled the building in fear after hearing someone walking around on the top floor of the tower.
In the interests of rationality however, I must add that I visited this area several days later and found a couple of pigeons happily roosting up there. It is, therefore, probable that this is what the gentleman in question had heard that day.
In the beer garden, a shadowy figure has been seen rushing towards the river and back again.
I was contacted several years ago by a lady who believes this apparition may be that of her aunt who drowned there in the 1920s. She was employed at the asylum and although the official verdict was suicide, her family have always disputed it, believing foul play may have been involved.
Is this why her spirit still roams the grounds of The Moat House?
I have been lucky enough to take part in several paranormal investigations at The Moat House as part of South Staffs Ghost Club, a Tamworth-based group which have been active for more than five years, and have been privy to some rather strange experiences.
During a vigil on the third floor, a group of us heard, and captured on camera, the sound of a door with a latch being opened and closed.
Upon further inspection we were surprised to find that the few remaining doors on that floor (most have been removed completely) couldn't possibly have made the sound due to them not having a latch of any description.
Several of us have also heard disembodied footsteps on this floor on more than one occasion, especially in what is reputedly 'Emily's Room'.
However, my most memorable experience in The Moat House occurred on the ground floor at around 3am while I was sat with another member of SSGC in the restaurant.
The rest of the night had been very quiet, with no apparent paranormal activity at all and we were about to wrap the vigil up when the peace was shattered by a terrific bang emanating from the location of the carvery counter.
It sounded to all intents and purposes as if a metal pan had been thrown with force against a wall or floor.
There was, however, nothing out of place and absolutely no clue as to what could have caused the noise, and although we have analysed the footage from our camera over and over again, the noise is unexplained.
I remain puzzled and unnerved by the incident to this day!
● If you have any experiences you'd like to share, or know of somewhere of paranormal interest, you can contact Chris by emailing email@example.com, including name, address and a contact number.