Location: Ye Old Salutation Inn, Nottingham
Date: May 2009
Inside Temp: 10 c
Investigators Phil, Nicola, Andy, Paul and Louise
A Plaque near the Maid Marian Way entrances states:
“The present house was built c.1240 on the site of the 13th century Ale House known as ‘The Archangel Gabriel Salutes the Virgin Mary.’ During the first Civil War 1642-1646 part of the house was used as Recruiting Rooms for both Factions. The original still existing Cave Systems was probably Saxon Farm, latter used for Servants Accommodation and Brewing”.
Originally called the 'Salutation' this ancient inn is known locally as 'the Sal'. 1240AD is displayed on the exterior of the pub, but it is believed that at that time the building on the site was a tannery, and records from 1440 show a private dwelling on this site. Therefore, the exact date that there was first an inn here is disputed by some. In 1992 Nottingham University’s Department of Archaeology’s tree dating labs put a date of the oldest timber (the inner ring) in the pub as being circa 1360. It is understood that in those days timber was not left to season so that date is probably an accurate estimate as to when at least part of the current building was actually built.
An idea exists that this inn may have been the guest-house of either the Carmelite or Franciscan friary of Nottingham, as the signage depicting the saluation was sometimes associated with inns belonging to religious houses. However, following the Civil War, once the Puritans came to power they formed the Commonwealth Government and did not approve of the religious implications suggested by the then pub sign – the Archangel Gabriel saluting the Virgin Mary – so the landlord was ordered to take it down or re-paint it. Not wishing to totally change the sign, nor wanting to lose his license, the then landlord renamed the pub ‘Soldier and Citizen’. 1660 saw the Restoration of the Monarchy and the old innkeeper brought back the name ‘Salutation’, but let the pub sign of the ‘Soldier and Citizen’ remain until it fell apart which was then replaced by a picture of a handshake.
However, before this area had any buildings on it, it had buildings under it. The Sal has an impressive cave system underneath it that is believed to date back to the 9th century and it is thought that their first purpose was to serve as a Saxon Farmstead. Since Saxon times the caves have also been used for brewing ale, as servants quarters, and there are even suggestions of a more sinister purpose as a clandestine meeting place for a secret society.
As you might expect with such an ancient and interesting location, there are claims of several resident ghosts. One such ghost is thought to be that of a small girl, around 4 years of age, affectionately known as Rose by staff at the pub. It is claimed she makes herself known often, in both the caves and the pub itself. Poltergeist activity in the bar areas has been reported, with objects being moved and reappearing elsewhere and also stone throwing takes place in the caves. People often report uneasy sensations and fearfulness and some even refuse to enter certain areas of the building.
Other phenomena experienced at 'the Sal' are unexplained noises, light anomalies and cold spots.
This building and its fascinating caves are a truly wonderful location for an investigation. Well worth a visit and and steeped in history.
We entered the main part of the caves and switched off the lights. It was so dark we couldn't see our hands in front our faces. We started to call out and ask for signs that we were not alone. After about 30 minutes of silence we started to hear stones being thrown nearby, on demand. This continued for some time until a stone hit the wall directly behind me just missing my head. No stone could be found later after the lights had been switched back on.
We continued the investigation upstairs in the function room where a seance was conducted and some of the team tried their hand with dowsing rods and pendulums. No substantial evidence was collected from these experiments. Nicola and I continued the investigation back in the caves where we'd previously had activity. We set up voice recorders and IR cameras but on review no other evidence was caught.
The investigation ended at 0430 and we made our long journey back to Cheshire.
Overall a great location. We could have spent much longer investigating the numerous caves underneath the pub. PRUK did not collect enough evidence on the night to say that 'the Sal' is definately haunted but we think its only a matter of time before some really interesting evidence is captured.