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|The Three Nuns Inn, Mirfield West Yorkshire|
|The famous three nuns|
Is the Three Nuns Inn really haunted by a poltergeist or have the locals just had one too many spirits?....
Although the current building is not the original, a hostelry by this name has stood on the site for centuries and enjoys something of a rich history. The original structure was built in 1497 and following the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 it gave refuge to Katherine Grice, Joan Leverthorpe and Cecilia Topcliffe, the last three nuns at Kirklees Priory, from whom the establishment’s name was later taken. A local tradition claims Grice was seduced by one of Henry VIII’s commissioners and upon discovering she was pregnant, she committed suicide by drowning herself in the adjacent stream known as Nunbrook.
It is said that Oliver Cromwell stayed at the inn in 1644 en route to his victory at the Battle of Marston Moor, whilst in 1812 it was used as a meeting place by Luddites prior to their ill-fated assembly at the nearby Dumb Steeple and the subsequent attack on Rawfolds Mill. A collection of their weapons was discovered hidden in the ceiling in the 1920s. Sadly, despite its venerable history, the building was allowed to fall into dereliction and it was entirely rebuilt in 1939. The foundations of the original Three Nuns now lie hidden beneath the car park of the current one. Certain fixtures and fittings were transferred, however, including much of the oak panelling.
A haunting at the Three Nuns was first reported in the Evening Courier on 15th June 1983 during a period when the pub was closed for renovation work. Site manager Ian Thompson told the newspaper he had been disturbed by poltergeist phenomena such as cold spots in the cellar, slamming doors and beers taps turning themselves on unaided. On one occasion when he’d been waiting alone for his colleagues, he’d heard mysterious footsteps coming from a room above but a thorough search of the building revealed it to be completely deserted. Meanwhile, other workmen there described the touch of icy hands and even witnessed the apparition of a veiled figure.
Thompson believed the trouble had started with the discovery of a finely-carved ram’s head hidden on the reverse side of an oak panel over a fireplace, which they’d subsequently removed. However, the landlord at the time dismisses such an origin, pointing out that the carving was merely a motif used by Ramsden’s Brewery, who’d owned the pub prior to Tetleys. Nonetheless, the panel was later returned to its original position and the phenomena allegedly came to an end, bolstered by an exorcism in 1991. However, Stephen Wade in Hauntings In Yorkshire writes that many years later, the landlord received a complaint from a guest who claimed he was being watched by a tall grey figure with a beard, who subsequently disappeared. Perhaps the spirits have not been laid fully to rest after all.