The Spaniards Inn
Dating from 1585 the Spaniards Inn on Spaniards Road is a listed building and was built to accompany a tollhouse on the boundary of the Bishop of London’s estate. It is said the father of famous highwayman Richard (Dick) Turpin (1705 – 7 April 1739) was landlord of The Spaniards Inn and that Dick spent much time here, probably watching the road for potential coaches to rob.
It is thought that the Inn’s name may have come the Spanish Ambassador visiting it, or perhaps from two early Spanish landlords Francesco Porero and Juan Porero. According to legend Francesco and Juan fell deeply in love with the same woman and fought a duel over her. Juan was killed and buried near the Inn. It is thought that Juan’s ghost haunts the pub still. There are however two other ghosts often associated with the Spaniards Inn, a woman in white reputedly seen in the garden and a figure thought to be Dick Turpin haunting the road outside.
In The Haunted Pub Guide (1985), Guy Lyon Playfair was not convinced this pubs claims: ‘As you stroll across Hampstead Heath from Kenwood House you may or may not be overtaken by Turpin and Black Bess (his horse) as they hasten towards their favourite safe house. And late on a quiet evening you may be lucky enough to hear the sound of Bess’s hooves as they vanish into the night. This is in fact the only phenomenon to have been reported here. The Spaniards Inn is a delightful place……but it is far less haunted than it is generally thought to be’.
(If anybody knows anything to support the claims of a haunting at The Spaniards Inn please do register and add your comments below).
Many famous people are thought to have frequented the Inn, including:
- John Keats (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) (poet)
- Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson (13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) (novelist and poet),
- George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (Lord Byron) (22 January 1788 – 19 April 1824) (poet)
- William Hogarth (10 November 1697 – 26 October 1764) (painter)
- Sir Joshua Reynolds (16 July 1723 – 23 February 1792) (painter)
- John Constable (11 June 1776 – 31 March 1837) (painter),
- Mary Shelley (30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) (novelist)
- William Blake (28 November 1757–12 August 1827) (poet and painter)
Bram Stoker’s Dracula mentions the Spaniards Inn, as does Charles Dicken’s The Pickwick Papers.