Shropshire Star

'Phantom Cavalier' set to make a poetic return to Shropshire pub on 331st anniversary of his death

A Ludlow pub will be the scene of a Christmas ghost story as the 331st anniversary of the Phantom Cavalier's death looms.

Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert of the Rhine, nephew of King Charles I, was a Royalist general in the English Civil War with many other strings to his bow.

According to ghostly folklore in Ludlow ever since Price Rupert died in 1692 his ghost has been a regular visitor to the Old Street Tavern, which is a recent new addition to the town but with history going back longer.

The tavern is now run by landlord Roger Bowles, and "local legend" has it that Prince Rupert's ghost always appears outside the premises shortly before midnight on the date of his death, November 29, sitting proudly in full armour aboard his trusty steed Diabolo.

Old Street Tavern has a newly unveiled sign above the doorway which depicts Prince Rupert who was also an admiral, scientist and governor of Canada, after whom an earlier version of the pub was originally named.

Intrigued by the tale, pub worker Peter Hayter recently commissioned local poet, playwright and actor Gareth Owen to write a piece in honour of the Phantom Cavalier.

Gareth, nationally renowned poet and former presenter of BBC Radio’s Poetry Please programme, will present his poem, entitled Prince Rupert’s Ghost, at the Old Street Tavern on the evening on Thursday December 14, after which, as long as the ghost does not intervene, it will be printed and hung on the wall of the pub.

Gareth said: "My friend and fellow actor Peter Hayter, who works at the pub, told me of the story of Prince Rupert’s ghost and asked me to compose a poem about him.

“I’m looking forward to presenting it in the pub.

"If Rupert is there on the night and he likes it maybe he’ll give us a sign. If not I’d prefer it if he didn't.”