The Golden Fleece, Pavement

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York resident and regular contributor. Fascinated by this historic city and always keen to promote local, independent businesses. The man taking the photographs and tweeting from @Jorvik

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Mentioned in the York archives as early as 1503 and known as an Inn since 1656, though not licensed until 1668, The Golden Fleece is one of York’s oldest and most haunted pubs.

A high class medieval Inn and coaching house, the Golden Fleece was once owned by the nearby Merchant Adventurer’s Hall. Situated on Pavement, which was the place to be at the time. Businessmen from all across the Country would travel to York by horse-drawn coach, partake in board and lodgings at the Golden Fleece, park their coaches and stable their horses in what is now known as Lady Peckett’s Yard, before negotiating deals with local wool traders, a staple trade in York from 13th to 17th century. This is from where the name of the pub originates.

Later, the Lord Mayor of York, John Peckett owned the pub, the yard at the rear of the property taking the name of his wife, Lady Alice Peckett . That was not the only legacy she left, as she is still rumoured to haunt the pub today, as one of five resident ghosts.

The five ghosts of The Golden Fleece:

Lady Alice Peckett – Said to be found roaming the endless corridors and staircases, loud footsteps have been heard in the early mornings.

Geoff Monroe – After a night of heavydrinking, the Canadian Airman was said to have thrown himself, or have been pushed, out of the window of room four, located on the third floor. Guests have reported being awoken in the middle of the night, having seen a dark figure in full military uniform standing over them.

One Eyed Jack – Mostly sighted in the bottom bar, One Eyed Jack is said to be dressed in a red coat, wig, tri-cornered hat and has been seen pacing up and down the bar carrying a flintlock pistol. There are no records corresponding to who Jack may be but he is thought to have died here.

Grumpy Old Man – Again sighted in the bottom bar, this time crouched in a small alcove. Some say he is silent, others say the small, grey figure utters mumbled grumbles but ceases when any members of staff approach.

Small Child – Immediately behind the entrance to the pub is where the youngest of the ghosts has been most commonly sighted. Dressed in Victorian clothing, this young boy is thought to have run out of the pub and been killed accidently under the hooves of one of the dray horses.

Although these five ghostly hauntings are the most common sighted and are accepted here as resident ghosts, up to fourteen different ghosts are also believed to have been sighted and you don’t have to look too hard to see why.

Dead bodies in the cellar

Felons on their way to be sentenced at the nearby prison would travel to York and stay at the Golden Fleece the night before their sentencing. Many had committed horrendous crimes, some were sentenced to be hanged rather than imprisoned but if that was the case it wouldn’t be the last time they stayed at The Golden Fleece. Those sentenced to hanging were hung at Baile Hill and then the corpses would be stored in the cellar of the pub until the family of the deceased came to collect them.

The Golden Fleece Pub, Pavement

Not only the executed stayed

The famous beheading of Thomas Percy, a Tudor rebel, took place in 1572 on Pavement, just opposite the pub and was carried out by Edward Blackwell, who travelled to York especially to do the deed.

York was a strong Catholic city at the time and Thomas Percy was also a devout Catholic so it was thought wise that the deed should be done by somebody from outside of the city. A competition was held, the details of which are not clear, but Edward Blackwell, known as Black Eddie won. His prize also included money and free bed and board at The Golden Fleece.

Guests who spend the night at The Golden Fleece can look forward to footsteps in the night, icy prods awakening them from their slumber, as well as bedding being pulled from the bed and clothing being thrown on the floor. The cellar is also said to be home to several Roman soldiers, the pub residing on what was once their barracks. Finally, in the back bar look out for a suspended ceiling. If you look above it you will find a hook fixed into the brickwork, to which it is claimed one of the previous landlords tied a rope from which he then hung himself.

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