Haunted Sutton Coldfield

Sutton Observer artists impression of the "Glass Man"

Ghosts are dotted throughout Sutton's history. The (Sutton) Observer's most recent spectral brush came in 2003 when a Boldmere couple recounted a 30 year history of bumps becoming bangs in the night. It started with a child's innocent, breakfast time conversation starter. "Mummy a glass man with a funny hat came to the end of my bed last night", the youngster said, and would repeat weekly for several years. Ten years on from that first spooky utterance and the couple awoke to the sound of nails being hammered into wood. After a welcome hiatus, the noise made an unexpected 21st century return. After consulting old maps and deeds, the family discovered that one of Sutton's oldest relics, the gibbet, or hanging stone, was just yards from their garden. It was the site where, in the 18th century, highwaymen, murderers and even petty thieves were put to death, before being left to hang for all to see.

Another persistent tale is that Yew Tree Walk, at New Hall Hotel, plays host to voices and the noise of a horse drawn carriage said to contain a Cavalier making his escape from Roundhead pursuers.

Yew Tree Walk, New Hall Hotel

The Civil War is also rooted in the story of arguably Sutton's most famous apparition - the ghost of a young Cavalier drummer boy. Supposedly he has haunted the cellar of High Street's Three Tuns Hotel (dating from 1500) since he was murdered in the stocks and dumped there by Roundhead troops. (The Three Tuns is supposedly the oldest surviving building in Sutton Coldfield - mk). Staff have, through the years, reported various degrees of unexplained "mischief" but recent, repeat visits by investigators have yielded nothing; the Observer also leaving disappointed after an overnight stay on Halloween 2001. In 2004, one such team took with it a medium who concluded that the centuries old pub had no resident ghost but a visiting phantom "who comes in for a couple of pints at one or two in the morning". She added that she sensed a degree of "history energy" a sense of people enjoying themselves there since world War Two but nothing before that. Shortly thereafter, another psychic researcher recounted his experiences of the cellar some twenty years previously. The building is actually 2 houses knocked into one at a date later than the English Civil War.


Three Tuns

Amid reports of scared pets, unexplained knocking and mysterious footsteps, the man ventured under High Street and, he said, soon sensed two individuals, a parson and a gent with buckled patented shoes who was thought to be linked to the pub's coaching past. The researcher speculated whether, with reference to the parson, a tunnel could exist between the Tun's cellar and nearby Holt Trinity church. But the longstanding rumour of a subterranean network was finally debunked in 2005 following investigations by the Observer that included physical exploration beneath High Street. And with bumps, bangs and flying triangles among the remaining mysteries, it could be a long time before any more are solved. The Three Tuns ghost had supposedly been seen some 19 times since 1955. The most popular story to account for the presence of the ghost concerns a ‘Royalist Drummer Boy’ who was captured by Parliamentarian troops and installed in the town ‘Stocks’ where he is said to have received a considerable beating. His broken body was later removed to the cellar of the Three Tuns where, perhaps thankfully, he inevitably drew his last breath.

"A Cavalier Doth Haunt This Place,

Tis Here His Body bled,

Oft People See His Sad, Young Face,

As He Haunts In Silken Red,"

While the apparition associated with the ‘Three Tuns’ does indeed hail from the English Civil War period, the above verse, appropriate in almost every aspect, does slightly fall short of the truth in-so-much as our particular phantom has only been reported as appearing in ‘Blue’ garb.

Former Three Tuns manager, Jimmy Trigg, speaking to the ‘Sutton News’ in October 1983 recalls his personal encounter with the phantom:  “I was down in the cellar one morning at about 10 am, with my Doberman Pincher ‘Jaffa’. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned round. There, as clear as you are standing in front of me now, was a fine looking 17 or 18 yr old lad who said ‘Excuse me’. As I looked at him, he disappeared before my eye’s. The figure was dressed in a beautiful blue velvet suit with a ruffle at his neck and black patent shoes with large buckles. He had long black hair and a young face. He shocked me at the time, but he wasn't a frightening figure.”  As you can see, various people with various different stories about one drummer boy. Oh, I think he is there alright, but people see what they want to see. I think Jimmy Trigg's tale is the most accurate.

A theory once put out about 'ghosts or spirits' that I read was that, if you imagine TIME as a long playing record (the old LP) - and each time epoch is inside one of the grooves circumnavigating the disc. Occasionally there is a tiny gap and those with the 'sight' can see across the 'wall' of the groove into the next groove. OR these images leak from that groove into the next etc etc. It is feasible but personally I simply do not know as interactivity has been known so can these spirits actually physically cross the time line? I read in a newspaper many years ago about a lady, in the USA, who was tormented by a male spirit who kept pulling the covers off her bed and trying to have sex. She got that fed up she issued the 'spirit' with an ultimatum - only when I say yes! Apparently the ghost agreed and they continued their joint lives in a happier vein!! I suppose theories come free with Corn Flakes and although I believe it is possible to see ghosts and that they exist, as I have never seen one then I have to say simply - I do not know for certain.