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The Volunteer, Baker Street

The Volunteer public house on Baker Street (so named as it recruiting up station during the war) is reputedly built upon the site of a large 17th Century house that was once owned by the Neville family. This building burnt down in 1654 and the Nevilles were lost in the flames. However, Rupert Neville is said to haunt the pubs cellars.

The case is mentioned in The Haunted Pub Guide by Guy Lyon Playfair; ‘It was seen on a number of occasions in the 1960s by landlord Joseph Gardiner as well as by some of his customers, and according to Andrew Green it is thought to be that of a former resident — not of the building itself, but of the site.

Gardiner himself did a good deal of research into his own case, his interest aroused by a very clear sighting of a figure he saw lurking in the cellar not long after some rebuilding work had been completed. Footsteps were heard at around the same time, lights went on and off inexplicably, and on one occasion the power failed.

Apparently the entire Nevill family died in 1654 when their house near by caught fire, and Gardiner reckoned that the clothes his ghost was wearing were appropriate for that period. According to him, therefore, the ghost is that of Rupert Nevill.

But we have a slight problem. The pub was not built until more than a century after the Nevills’ death. Apparitions have been seen wandering around the buildings that were not there in their time, but what about those footsteps? Rupert Nevill can hardly be expected to walk around a building that did not exist in his time.’

The cellars of The Volunteer are said to be the original cellars from Rupert Neville’s house. When the apparition has been seen it is generally described as wearing a surcoat, breeches and fancy or lavish stockings.

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