THE SCHOONER HOTEL
The Schooner Hotel & Bar is a Grade II listed 17th century coaching inn and hotel located at 8 Northumberland Street in the coastal village of Alnmouth, Northumberland, England. The hotel lies on the main High Street and is recognizable by its whitewashed walls and black painted shutters.
According to a number of articles The Schooner has been voted the most haunted hotel by the Poltergeist Society. However, the Poltergeist Society does not exist. Claims have also been put about that such notables as King George III, Charles Dickens, Douglas Bader, John Wesley and Basil Rathbone are former visitors to the hotel. We cannot verify this without having access to old Guest Registers, which may no longer exist, if they ever did. We personally believe that it would be more likely for such notables to be the guests of the Duke of Northumberland or some other such personage if they were ever actually in the area. As for John Wesley, it is most likely that he avoided such places as The Schooner and would have instead stayed at one of the many private lodging houses that were available at that time or simply stayed with a family of similar religious convictions.
Another point of note, approximately a year ago Cindy and Colin, two of the founders of API, were invited to participate in an investigation at The Schooner by another North East team. While conducting a vigil in the entry foyer, where a fireplace is situated, Cindy could sense a female child with a burn on her face and a woman sitting on a stool. She also got the strong impression of weeping and screaming. Upon mentioning this, one of the host team members began to lead Cindy alleging that many years ago a woman had been sitting by the fire waiting to hear news of her husband, a fisherman, holding a female infant in her arms. While the woman sat waiting, the door suddenly burst open and someone came in and told the woman her husband was dead. In her shock it was claimed the woman accidentally dropped the infant into the fire. Cindy then stated that she had the impression of a female child, not an infant. The story was then told to Cindy that a little girl had been running past the fireplace, had fallen, hit her head on the hearth and then rolled into the fire!? Cindy, who by no means considers herself psychic, still maintains strongly that she did pick up on a female child, a woman on a stool, weeping and screaming. However, at no time did she get the impression of an infant accidentally thrown onto the fire or that a female child had fallen and hit her head on the hearth. These were ideas that another was trying to impress upon her. Cindy strongly suspects that many such stories have been made up by others without any strong foundation for their claims. Some portion of these stories may actually be true, but Cindy will not entertain them until she is able to access old documents and newspaper accounts for the area.
Another story that was printed in The Journal, Newcastle, 25 June 1999, makes claim that a Hans Schmidt (John Smith) was executed as a spy on the hotel’s grounds. If this account were true, certainly the London Times would have also printed the story? A German spy in the little village of Alnmouth during WWII would have been big news. Cindy has searched the London Times editions for 1944 and nothing appears for a Hans Schmidt, except for in one instance in the Memoriam section of the news, dated 2 May 1944. It mentions a woman named Sylvia Page-Blair, passed away 2 May 1942, and her father Hans Schmidt, who passed away 16 February 1944 in Zurich, Switzerland. Even a Google search turns up absolutely nothing about this account.
“Parson Smyth” is another ghost alleged to haunt the Schooner Hotel. Research into old parish registers and census records has failed to yield up this name.
Many have simply regurgitated the same articles and information about The Schooner over and over again, “Most haunted hotel”, “32 rooms and over 60 ghosts” etc. API researchers prefer to source actual documented accounts to substantiate any claims. Until such time when we are able to access archival material we will make no claims of knowing something to be a fact, unless it is something that we have personally experienced during our investigations. Even such personal experiences cannot in themselves be asserted nor accepted as proof of paranormal activity. We can only make a determination based on the information and experiences we have so far. We are currently unable to access the Northumberland Archives at this time due to restructuring and relocation of records to Woodhorn. However, once these archives are made available we intend to conduct extensive research into the history of The Schooner, as is our practice.
Researching the history of the Schooner Hotel will take some time, Currently, the Northumberland Archives records are not available due to restructuring and moving of the records to Woodhorn. As a consequence the history will remain sketchy until further research can be conducted.
In 1828 / 1829 The Schooner Hotel is listed in Pigot and Company Directory. William Brown is listed as the innkeeper.
In the 1841 census Isabella Jamieson is listed as the innkeeper.
In the 1851 census there are no innkeepers listed, so it is hard to determine who was at the Schooner during this time. However, Isabella Jamieson is still alive at the age of 72.
In Slater’s 1855 Directory Jane Brown is listed as the innkeeper at the Schooner.
In the 1861 census we find George Tate now listed as the innkeeper at the Schooner.
In the 1871 census George Tate continues to be the innkeeper at the Schooner.
In the 1881 census Eli Bailey is now listed as the innkeeper of the Schooner.
In the 1891 census Thomas Binks is now the innkeeper at the Schooner.
In the 1901 census Thomas Binks is still the innkeeper at the Schooner.
The Land Valuation Book for 1910 lists the Duke of Northumberland as the owner of the Schooner, with Thomas Binks listed as innkeeper.
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In 1914 Kelly’s Directory lists Thomas Binks as the innkeeper at the Schooner.