Statues of tragic children returned to Bridgnorth beer garden

By Dominic Robertson | Bridgnorth | News | Published:

Statues of two children tragically drowned after being accidentally locked in a Bridgnorth pub cellar have been returned to their rightful place in the venue’s beer garden.

Landlord Nick Bevon with the statues

Busts of brother and sister Charlotte and William, who died in the cellar of The Magpie – now the Bassa Villa – had been removed for their safekeeping.

The pair were supposed to have died in the 1600s, with their distraught parents then commissioning the statues which were displayed in the garden up until around eight years ago – when someone was spotted scoping the sculptures out to steal them.

Now Nick Bevan and Sadie Cannon, who run the Bassa Villa, have welcomed the statues back where they belong.

The Magpie, near right, with the Lion Inn beyond leading up to Bishop Percy's House in Cartway

The gruesome history is commemorated with a plaque in the pub, and staff and residents have spoken on numerous occasions about the venue being haunted by the children’s grief-stricken mother – a ghost named ‘The Lady in Black’.

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The two children are said to have been playing hide and seek in the cellar when they somehow got locked in.


“No-one knew they were there and the river subsequently flooded, burst its banks and drowned them both,” said Bridgnorth local historian Clive Gwilt, who has written a booklet about the history of Magpie.

One of the statues

“Sounds of the children crying and banging on the door have been heard on several occasions."

Nick, who has been at the pub since February 2015, said they were pleased to have been able to bring the statues back.


To ensure their safety the busts have been sealed in a large concrete trough, which will sit looking over the pub’s award winning beer garden.

Nick said: “They have been in the owner’s back garden. They have been wanting them to come back, we have wanted them to come back, but it was about finding the right place for their safety.”

One the two children busts

Customers have routinely asked when the statues will be returning, with Nick saying he has fielded 'weekly' questions over their location.

He said: “There is a big plaque in the pub which explains about the history and the mother that haunts the pub and about her children who drowned.”

Nick said both he and Sadie have had personal experience of the ghost – with his coming around 13 years ago when he worked there under different owners.

“It was late at night and she just walked past me. I just saw this grey figure walk past me. I was one end of the bar and she walked out the other end of the bar by the garden," he said.

“So many people have their own stories about it."

A postcard from the collection of the late John Dixon showing the Magpie House Cafe. Handwritten on the back is 'Ted by car. Sun Jun/16/74. Stormy afternoon tea.'

Nick said Sadie had also encountered the supernatural goings-on, while they also have video footage of glasses flying off the shelves for no reason.

Asked if the ghostly presence had tempted him to reconsider working at the pub he said: “No, you just get used to it.”

“We are just pleased they are back where they belong," he added.

"They are meant to be here so it is nice to have them back.”

Have you witnessed spooky goings-on at the Bassa Villa? Let us know in the comments section below.


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