Old Mary of the Dover Castle Inn
Being on the busy A2 road, in our sister village of Lynsted, the Dover Castle Inn is much used by people who are travelling to and from the Continent. Some are in Britain for business, while others are tourists like a German couple who booked in one night a few years ago. The pair were given a room and later feeling very tired after a long day of travelling retired to it.
The next morning they came down to breakfast and the landlord Ray Hitch enquired of them whether they had slept well. "Very well", came the reply, "except we were woken once by the lady who came into our room in the middle of the night. Who was she?" Ray Hitch smiled to himself - the Lady in Grey had been seen again. Ray who has been the landlord of the Dover Castle since 1975 is quite used to his customers reporting strange incidents happening at the inn. "Sometimes", he says, "someone will tell me they heard a strange woman's voice speaking to them while they were in their room and when they looked to see who was talking there has been no-one there!
Others have reported seeing a woman in the Gents. toilets!" She seems to have been seen and heard in every room of the inn, although for some reason she frequents the Public Bar less than anywhere else. One time however she did let her presence be known. After closing time one evening a barman was on his own cleaning up the bar when suddenly he saw a beer glass which was standing on a table at the far end of the room, rise by itself into the air, and then hurtle across the bar and smash on the opposite wall, just missing him. The Woman in Grey or Old Mary as she is sometimes called has been described by those who have seen her as being a tall woman wearing a long grey dress. In her long blonde or grey hair she has a flower.
Ray told me he had seen her a number of times. "I remember one particular occasion when I saw her", he said. "I was returning back home after taking my two dogs for a walk. It was a summer's evening and I was walking through the orchard which lies behind the Inn. Suddenly the dogs, who had been running on ahead of me, stopped dead in their tracks. They froze, eyes wide open and staring ahead. After a few seconds they both turned and ran away. Wondering why they were acting so strangely, I was just about to call them back when the atmosphere turned very cold and then I saw just ahead of me Old Mary walking towards the Inn. I followed her and saw her walk through the outside wall of the Public Bar!" One of Ray's barwomen, Mrs. Insell, remembers the time she heard Old Mary. "I was in the Ladies Toilets", she said, "I never saw anything but I felt the atmosphere go cold and then I heard this strange woman's voice. I didn't hang about I can tell you! I soon got out of there."
There seems to be quite a few people who have witnessed strange happenings at the Dover Castle, like the businessman who took a room one night and was amazed to see a mirror that was fixed to a chest of drawers raise itself away from the chest and hurl itself against one of the room's walls. No-one seems to know who Old Mary was. A former landlady, Mrs. Willard, told me, "In all the years I was there, I never saw or heard anything which made me suspect there was a ghost in the place." So the Lady in Grey has only recently made herself be known. Why has she suddenly appeared? Perhaps some of you readers have theories about Old Mary. If you have or if you know of any other village ghost why not write to Teynham News and let us know what they are.
Colin C Baker