Is this pub haunted by a tortured cavalier?
The Three Tuns Hotel, in Sutton Coldfield is an interesting place indeed. This 16th century coaching house is said to be haunted by a Cavalier, who has been seen roaming about the cellars.
The cellars are reputed to be part of a network of tunnels spreading underneath the High Street. One of these tunnels is now bricked up and was supposed to lead from the medieval church of Holy Trinity to the dark, dank cellars of the Three Tuns.
One of the many rumours associated with the maze of tunnels was that of monks. Could the tunnels have been a route for escape from persecution, or perhaps a retreat?
Much speculation has arisen over the years about the Cavalier.
Why does his lost soul apparently haunt the cellars of the Three Tuns?
Was he murdered there, or wounded and later died within the building?
No-one really knows, but eye-witnesses describe him as being somewhat kind and jovial.
He has been seen wearing a blue velvet suit with a ruffle at his neck. He has long black hair and a handsome young face and has been known to shout out in military fashion to unsuspecting visitors: "Who goes there?"
The history of the area can tell us a lot. and perhaps answer a few questions regarding the Cavalier.
We can say due to the description given by eye-witness accounts that he belongs to the 17th century and according to his dress style and colour that he was a Royalist.
Sutton Coldfield was barely affected by the English Civil War, although there was military activity at nearby Aston Hall, where King Charles once stayed. Prince Rupert, King Charles's nephew, did pass through the town after fighting a battle at Kemp's Hill, now known as Camp Hill.
Birmingham, of course, was Parliamentarian and was noted for its intense Puritanism. The city suffered greatly at the hands of Royalist soldiers and, on the orders of Prince Rupert, Birmingham was looted and set ablaze.
Oliver Cromwell is believed to have stayed at the Three Tuns at some point.
It could be that the Cavalier was, in fact, a Parliamentary soldier iin disguise - trying to infiltrate, and spy upon, the Royalist enemy situated en route as he journeyed towards Sutton.
He may have been followed after his disguise failed him, was then set upon and tortured before dying, perhaps even being shackled to the cellar walls.
According to one local story, the Cavalier's body was put into one of the tunnels, and was then bricked up, denying him a Christian burial in consecrated ground.
Birmingham Ghosts and Hauntings conducted an investigation there last year after more sightings and strange goings-on were reported to us.
It was our first visit to the Three Tuns and we didn't know what to expect, if indeed anything at all. We were aware of the many stories associated with the pub and being investigators of the paranormal it is essential to remain neutral and open-minded.
The team split into smaller groups allowing for all areas to be investigated and monitored at the same time.
There would be four of us in the cellar - two at one end and two at the other. The rest of the team, along with the pub staff, was upstairs covering the bar, the lounge, toilets and courtyard.
The equipment was set up and it was at this point that all lights were switched off. The investigation began.
Noises were heard in the cellar every now and then. They were not disembodied voices emanating from the tunnels, but sounded more like a movement of some sort, a shifting of feet or dragging?
As we approached the area, the noise stopped. We decided to wait awhile at the place where we had heard the noise, hoping for it to come again - but it did not and we didn't hear it again.
Rats, you might say? Well, if it was they must have had very big feet!
We know and understand that noise travels, although at the time we did feel that this sound was unusual. You would have had to have been there to fully appreciate why I make such a statement.
The upstairs vigils did produce some interesting sights and sounds that do warrant further investigation. I cannot reveal too much about what was captured due to the nature of the content and confidentiality.
It's the criteria of any investigations that we attend to observe and analyse. We work effortlessly to rule out any obvious (and not so obvious) causes of sounds, lights, voices, shadows and movement before we can consider the possibility of any event being of paranormal origin.
The Three Tuns does offer some anomalous data, particularly in the cellars, but as a research group we would need more evidence to substantiate whether or not the Three Tuns Hotel is haunted.
The mystery of the Cavalier remains, at least for the moment.