THE boss of an historic Winchester pub has spoken of the spooky happenings at the venue that he has experienced since taking over.

The Eclipse Inn is known for its cosy atmosphere, great food and friendly staff, but the pub also holds great mysteries among customers and staff members.

Hampshire Chronicle: Eclipse co-manager Elliott FearneEclipse co-manager Elliott Fearne

Pub co-manager Elliott Fearne recently spoke about his experiences with the ghostly sightings within the pub.

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He said: "Lots of strange things have been happening. Everybody was telling me about all the different ghost activity that goes on. It's not something I believed in when I first arrived until lots of strange things started happening."

The pub is famous for the tale of Dame Alice Lisle, who was accused of harbouring two dissenters after the 1685 Battle of Sedgemoor at her house and sentenced to decapitation, where she was held overnight at the Eclipse Inn. A scaffold had been built outside the building and on September 2, 1685 she walked out of an upstairs window where she was decapitated with an axe.

Hampshire Chronicle: The Eclipse Inn, WinchesterThe Eclipse Inn, Winchester

Elliott said there have been many sightings of the Dame Lisle, also known as Lady Lisle, by customers, staff and paranormal investigation teams.

He said: "I was by myself and I was about to lock up, I was having a cigarette outside and I could hear banging from inside the pub which freaked me out.

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"There was another time when I was on the top floor and from another room, I could hear things being moved around me. It was really quite strange.

Hampshire Chronicle: The Eclipse Inn, WinchesterThe Eclipse Inn, Winchester

"The next day, along with my co-manager, the room was really heavy. The day felt really strange and there was a really heavy vibe in the pub.

"More recently, my chef came out of the kitchen and said 'do you need all these fridges and freezers open still?' I'm like, 'Steve, I've not been in the kitchen to open them!' I still can't prove it, but the truth's the truth."

Elliott, from Glossop, Derbyshire has recently experienced a growing wave of paranormal activity within the bar.

He said: "Our top shelf gin lids keep popping off. It's happened more recently.

"Nobody believed me until I was on with another colleague and it happened to her and then a customer stood there. It happened again but this time the bottle lids landed at the back of the shelf rather than the floor."

Located in The Square, Winchester, the spooky pub has had many paranormal investigation teams from across the world visit.

The 28-year-old pub manager, who has been working at the Eclipse since summer 2021, said the strangest experience happened when he was showing a couple round.

He said: "This one was quite strange. I had a couple come in for a ghost tour.

"I took them around the building and told them about the history and also about where people see Lady Lisle the most, up on the corridor and near the ladies toilets.

"Another couple came and sat on the opposite side of the room. They weren't a part of the conversation before. They didn't know each other.

"This lady walked in, her husband bought drinks, she went to the toilet then sat own and said she had a conversation with a lady upstairs.

"I knew nobody had been up so I interrupted and said: 'Are you telling me that you have just seen a lady upstairs?'

"She said 'yes' but I involved the other couple and said 'has anybody been upstairs? They said 'no.'.

"Everyone looked shocked."

However Elliott is not put off by the spooky events and he has no plans to quit.

He said: "It's all a bit strange. It's particularly freaky at night time when you're locking up. The light switches are on one side of the bar so you've got to rush around in the dark with your light on to try and get out as quick as you can because you don't want to see any ghosts."

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Kimberley Barber