Other pubs such as The Black Swan and The Red Lion have moved into places built even earlier, and have their own oddly appealing ghost stories, plus parts of medieval bars such as House of the Trembling Madness are tracked back to the 1100s. York’s spooky happenings continue into more recent history, and the city’s connection with the dead also spreads into nationally famous folklore.
Two well known villains of the past are not forgotten by pubs that stand on landmark locations in their lives and deaths. The Blue Boar may now be a resting place for York’s locals and visitors to sit down and sup up after a hard day working or touring the city, but it is better known as the ultimate resting place for Dick Turpin. After being sentenced to execution for horse theft, the notorious highwayman’s body was displayed to the public in this very cellar, and far from hiding this truth, The Blue Boar unveil the space as an enjoyably grizzly spectacle to this day.
The Guy Fawkes Inn is nowadays a nicely run and admirably comfortable thirteen room hotel and public house, but it certainly remembers remembers its 5th of November status. The pub is built on the birthplace of Guy Fawkes, modern day bonfire starter and infamous for trying to blow up parliament in 1605, who appeared on this exact spot of earth in 1570, and the pub continues to tell the anarchic tale of his 35 impactful years.
But York is not only about the ghost stories and haunted histories, for there are other intriguing yet grim goings on besides, that evoke much interest amongst current visitors. The King’s Arms, for example, is in what seems like an enviable position next to the River Ouse, with a sun-soaking beer terrace; but in a city where the rivers regularly break their banks, that also means it is at danger of flooding. Rather than focus on the problems that come with that, the pub has turned it into a positive, by chronicling the times that York has flooded on a plaque of water level markings up the wall.
Indeed, all of the above are showcasing their own unique story, turning their potentially unpalatable pasts into the star attractions, and alongside the character, charm and tradition that each exudes, provide an irresistible reason to go.