Simon Entwistle tells a spooky tale of a ghost that haunts a pub in Chipping...
The Ribble Valley is undoubtedly one of the most scenic parts of Lancashire... in the year 1974 a huge chunk of the West Riding of Yorkshire was given to Lancashire on a plate, and the Ribble Valley was formed. I am told that there is nothing more painful to a Yorkshire man or woman, than to lose their heritage to the county of Lancashire.
In the Hodder Valley there are some truly beautiful little villages - Slaidburn, Newton, Dunsop Bridge and the award winning village of Chipping. This village was a runner-up in the Britain in Bloom competition a few years ago, and a visit to the village is like going back in time, as many of the buildings date back to the 17th century,
You will find three excellent public houses, a fantastic cafe, a coach and car park... and Chipping boasts something else - the most haunted pub in Lancashire, The Sun Inn, and the ghost of Lizzie Dean.
Lizzie was a scullery maid in the year 1835, by all accounts a pretty and pleasant young lady, she liked to dress in colourful clothing. In that year the poor girl had the misfortune of meeting a local lad, who told her he loved her deeply. He played a cruel trick on her by proposing to her, in the hope that he could have his wicked way with her. After he had conducted his plan successfully, he informed poor Lizzie that he no longer wished to marry her. Lizzie's heart was broken in two. You can imagine the pain she must have felt, to add to her heartache her ex-lover proposed to her best friend, and she, against Lizzie's wishes, agreed to marry him.
On the day of the wedding at St Bartholomew's Church, Lizzie made her way up to the pub attic overlooking the church yard, she calmly wrote a suicide note and placed a rope around her neck, and died in the Sun Inn's attic.
In her clenched fist was the suicide note, it read "I want to be buried at the entrance to the church so my lover and my best friend will always have to walk past my grave every time they go to church."
If you visit the church today you will see her grave very clearly situated near the old entrance, the words on the tombstone are "Lizzie Dean 5th of November 1835."
This story is very famous in the village and beyond. No one seems to know the name of her ex-lover but I think its fair to say he was a real rotter. I do take coaches on Ribble Valley tours and Chipping is one of the most popular venues. As a ghost walker I find it truly amazing just how many telephone calls I have had relating to Lizzie Dean sightings. Some of these calls you can tell are from persons having a bit of fun.
I did have a call from a gentleman from Edinburgh, his story was indeed a classic Lizzie sighting. It was a Tuesday morning in June 1999 when he drove in to Chipping and was impressed with the architecture. He entered the 1758 Sun Inn, made his way to the bar, ordered a pint and made his way to the snug bar. He noticed that he was the only person in the room, he stoked his pipe and lit up had a sip of beer, glanced at his watch, it was 11.45am.
He suddenly felt a temperature drop, he turned round and in the corner of the snug bar he noticed a very colourful female figure with brown hair in ringlets and a dress that looked like it had been in a washing machine many times and the colours had mingled. "Good morning" he shouted but the figure took no notice and walked straight past him and through the snug bar room. This gentleman had never been to Chipping before, and this is what made the story genuine to me.
I have had many conversations with ex-landlords, who all mention Lizzie's colourful appearance. I understand many ghost hunters have tried to catch her, and indeed the pub has been featured on national TV and radio.
The one thing Lizzie has done is to bring a lot of custom to Chipping, may the poor girl rest in peace!
Article sent in by website user Simon Entwistle
The views expressed on this page are those of the contributor and the opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the BBC.
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last updated: 20/05/2008 at 12:16
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