Historic, Possibly Haunted English Pub Has to Be Rebuilt Brick-By-Brick

A district judge ordered the developers to rebuild the Inn brick-by-brick. And he means that literally.

The Punch Bowl Inn at Hurst Green

Rude Health / Creative Commons

It takes a lot to rattle Simon Entwhistle — he runs a ghost tour, after all — but what he saw in the summer of 2021 left him “shocked.” Entwhistle told the Lancashire Telegraph that he was telling a tour group about the spirits that supposedly haunted the Punch Bowl Inn when he saw a woman directing some heavy-duty machinery toward the historic property

Entwhistle said that he watched as “mechanical diggers were reducing the building to rubble” and was gobsmacked by seeing “all that history destroyed forever.” 

The Punch Bowl Inn was believed to have been built in the 1700s and had also developed a reputation as one of the most ghost-filled pubs in northwest England. Regardless of whether those spirits exist, the Inn will haunt the property developers who have been ordered to rebuild it. Last year, a magistrates court found the five of them guilty of illegally demolishing the pub, and they have since been ordered to pay a combined £70,000 ($85,000) in fines and court costs. 

Last week, The Guardian reported that District Judge Alex Boyd ordered the five of them to rebuild the Inn brick-by-brick, and he meant that literally. Per the ruling, the developers will have to work with a team of experts to go through what’s left of the pub and to determine what pieces could be used to reconstruct it. They have been given a year to reassemble the Punch Bowl. 

Nicola Hopkins, the director of economic development and planning for the Ribble Valley Borough Council, said that the verdict “sends a clear message” to the owners of recognized historic buildings that they couldn’t “do whatever they want” with the properties. “We are determined to protect the built environment and will not hesitate [to take action] against those undertaking work on listed buildings unlawfully or without the proper consent,” she told the Lancashire Telegraph

The defense attorney for the property developers said that although it may have been a historic pub, it was also empty and in a state of disrepair when it was demolished. “It had suffered years of neglect,” David Lawson said. “Their intentions were good, irrespective of the prosecution in this court case saying they were reckless.” 

Who knows whether or not the alleged ghost stuck around. (“It is unclear how the demolition may have affected the spirit,” LancsLive helpfully added.) According to legend, the notorious highway robbers Dick Turpin and Ned King supposedly spent three days at the Punch Bowl in 1738. Turpin moved on, while King stayed and continued to hold up travelers on the roads near the pub. King was later taken into custody at the Inn and hanged nearby, and sightings of his ghost have been reported for years. 

The Punch Bowl Inn’s sign even featured a painting of a menacing, mask-wearing highwayman. We’d guess that piece might have to be restored too. 

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