top of page

1979: Haunted Rose & Crown

Is the Rose and Crown haunted by a sailor and a lady singing? This story lists the strange goings on there.

A couple of miles down the road from The Sarge [Sergison Arms, Haywards Heath] In the village of Cuckfield is the Rose and Crown. It Is rumoured to have ghosts - one a sailor who frequently appears at a window and the other named Martha, a lady who enjoys singing.

When Frank and Lynne Kelly took over the management of the pub last fall they heard rumours about It being haunted, but they accepted them as nothing more than local folklore and moved In.

It wasn't until six weeks later that they had their first encounter with the 'ghosts'. Lynne, who hadn’t been able to sleep one night, said she heard someone singing about 5:40am. ThinkIng someone had left the radio on downstairs, she bent down to listen at the floor but the sound didn’t come from there. She opened the door of the guest room but everything was quiet. The singing again sounded very distinctly as she went down the passage to the spirit store (no pun Intended). She said it was a soft voice and a pretty song. It was then she felt a freezing cold but gentle hand on her shoulder. It felt, she said, as if it might have been a woman’s hand. The next morning Frank said he found lights on in the bar although it has a burglar alarm and It hadn’t sounded …

Sailor ghost

The Daytona Beach Morning Journal article

… The Rose and Crown was built In the mid-1600s as a coach house and, although much has been altered, the passage to the spirit store is part of the original building. The sailor ghost, it is said, appeared so often at the window that previous tenants had it boarded up.

In spite of its ghosts, locals crowd into its timbered Interior, which is decorated with coaching horns and pewter tankards. During the winter a log fire burns in the old fireplace which is surmounted by a beam bearing the date 1688. It has a paved garden, the central feature of which is the tallest weeping ash tree in southern England.

No matter where one travels In Britain, there are interesting, history filled pubs to be visited and a visit to the Isles wouldn’t be complete without a tour of these beautiful, sometimes quaint and always fascinating spots.

Daytona Beach Morning Journal 10 Sept 1979

But just how much truth is there in this story? Are the landlord and lady's names correct, did the yokels spin this tale to please the tourists? Have you heard these stories before? Can you add anything further? Let us know.

UPDATE 27 June 2021: Hayley Woods commented on this story on Cuckfield Gossip Facebook group:

My family and I lived in the Rose and Crown for many years from 1989. We too heard of the haunted rumours, but we were told that the window was boarded because the lady (Martha) fell from it and died - coming back to haunt the pub.

We had several ghostly encounters, but I don’t remember any singing.

There was one time when my brothers and I found our yo-yo’s rolling down the hallway in the upstairs flat, totally unaided. There has also been banging heard from the boarded window.

I cannot clarify any names though.



Composite photograph by the author using early postcard c1900, merged with a photograph of lightening by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash.

Article found in the newspaper featured in Google Books

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.


bottom of page