The Strugglers Inn
The Strugglers Inn stands in the shadow of Lincoln Castle in the city’s Bailgate area. The pub’s name and sign both give clues as to the grisly history of the place – the pub sign shows a man being forcibly held at a gallows by two other men while the noose dangles menacingly next to the prisoner’s head. The Strugglers Inn was the pub where prisoners were traditionally taken for their last drink before they were hanged at Cobb Hall, one of the towers of Lincoln Castle, in full view of the city’s populace. One can only guess how many wretched souls passed through the doors of the inn before being led to their deaths. At one point, the Strugglers was even run by the famous hangman Albert Pierrepoint.
One of the men brought to the Strugglers Inn for a last drink was William Clarke, a poacher who had been sentenced to hang for murdering a gamekeeper. Clarke’s faithful lurcher dog followed its owner to the the Strugglers. Following Clarke’s execution, the dog was given a home at the pub, where it lived for the rest of its days. The animal was stuffed and kept in the pub after its death, and can still be seen today in the castle museum.
It is said that the ghost of the dog can still sometimes be heard scratching at the door. If the scratching is ignored, it soon turns into barking until the door is opened. Patrons have sometimes claimed to have seen the phantom dog in the bar, and others claim to have felt it brush past them.
By P A McHugh