The Kings Head Hotel, Cuckfield
The Kings Head Hotel is no longer open for business and the building has been changed into a residential mews (Kings Mews). However, this hotel which dated from at least 1832 (when Pigot’s Directory of Sussex showed James Webber as the landlord) had a reputation of being haunted by a ghost known locally as Geranium Jane.
According to tradition the young girl known as Jane dated from the 19th century and was having an affair with the landlord of her time. Jane fell pregnant to the landlord and following an argument he silenced her by dropping a flowerpot planted with geraniums on her head as she walked under one of the supper story windows. Hence the reason she is referred to as Geranium Jane. She is said to be buried in the local churchyard.
Her apparition, when seen has been described as having make-up streaming down her face. It is also suggested that the smell of geraniums may accompany the ghost, though I am not sure whether this has been confirmed. Other reported experiences include cold spots, an “intensification of atmosphere” (Sheila Wakeham, former employee), the switching on and off of lights and dogs are said react to haunting by raising their shackles and growling.
It has also been suggested that she is meant to be a bedroom invader, supposedly shaking the beds of those having extra marital affairs.
Below are a list of the Kings Heads landlords during the 19th century, taken from census returns, Pigot’s Directory and the Post Office Directory.
1832-1834 James Webber
1851-1871 Edward Jenner
1881 Charles Callow
1890 E Dumsday