Dating from the late 16th century or early 17th century*, the Grade II listed Minerva is Plymouth’s oldest serving public house. Found at 31 Looe Street, the Minerva was associated with Plymouth’s Press Gangs and many a customer in the 17th century were tricked into service aboard Navy vessels.
Fitzford House was the seat of the Fitz family from the 15th Century. It was demolished during the 1800’s, though the gatehouse, which is all that remains of the mansion was rebuilt in 1871. There is a story relating to Fitzford House involving a phantom carriage, a black dog and Lady Mary Howard (nee Fitz)
In his ‘English Fairy and Other Folk Tales (1890), Edwin Sidney Hartland gives the following account of a ghost story and buried treasure in the Tavistock area.
In his ‘The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain’ (1897), John Ingram gives the following account of the ghostly carpenters encountered by Mary Anne Hunn, probably around 1791. ‘Amongst the innumerable multitude of buildings which have the reputation of being haunted, it will be noted that by far the larger number are haunted by strange noises and mysterious sounds only,
There is a tradition dating back to the 17th century in Ottery St Mary, where tar soaked barrels lighted and carried through the Devonshire town. Only those who are born and lived within the town are eligible to carry one of the seventeen barrels which begin their journey from outside the local pubs.
The following account of a strange experience by a young Joseph Wilkins in 1754 is taken from ‘The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain’ (1897) by John Ingram though the case has also been mentioned in several books including ‘Phantasms of the Living’ edited by Edmund Gurney, Frederic William Henry Myers and Frank Podmore.
Out of the dark, supernatural depths of Victorian England one name stands out. Jack.
Not Jack the Ripper, but a more supernatural fiend – Spring Heeled Jack!
Once upon a time there was, in this celebrated town [Tavistock], a Dame Somebody, I do not know her name, and as she is a real character, I have no right to give her a fictitious one. All I with truth can say, is, that she was old, and nothing the worse for that; for age is, or ought to be, held in honor as the source of wisdom and experience.
According to Raymond Lamont Brown in his ‘Phantoms Legends, Customs and Superstitions Of The Sea’ (1972), a ghostly 500 ton landing craft was seen off the Devonshire coast in October 1959. The phantom vessel was flying the World War II flag of the Free French and seemed to be in some distress.