Back in July 2014, we had been out and about exploring in Lincolnshire, and after visiting a castle and a number of churches, we were weary travellers in need of a hostelry. So as soon as we saw The Lea Gate Inn, we made a beeline for the door, as it was getting quite late for lunch. Happily they were still serving lunch, but only just, so we sat at a table and waited.
There is a lot of history in this building and you can feel it in the old beams and wooden floors, the place oozes with it. After we had a really lovely meal, and a drink, we took our leave. I wandered around the outside to take a few photos and found a ancient notice board, ha no wonder you could feel something. Next to the Inn there is Gibbit Nook Close, it was the site of the gibbet or gallows used for the public execution of criminals. The bodies were left hanging as a warning to others who might think of breaking the law. In the main lounge of the Inn, above the fireplace, is an engraving titled the “Last Supper” where it is believed that the last rites were given to the condemned souls. You can go through the gate, which you can see in the photos, and have a look, but the feelings had been so strong inside the Inn, I gave it a miss.
The Inn is one of the oldest licensed premises in the country, dating from 1542. It was the last of the Fen Guide Houses that provided shelter before the treacherous marshes were drained. To think that it was built before the Fens were inclosed and is possibly the last one of its kind, makes it quite a gem of a building. One thing I did miss, was the priest hole, its above one of the large inglenook fireplaces, a good reason to go back.
I have since found out that like all ancient buildings, the Lea Gate has a ghost or two. The resident ghost is Jack Cooper, now it is not known if Jack is one of the executed criminals or a local, but he sits near the inglenook fireplace mumbling away to himself, he is most often seen on a quiet winters afternoon. From the way he is dressed, he could well be a tradesman from the 16th century, probably a barrel maker as the name indicates. There are some, that have also seen a Cavalier figure near the fireplace, maybe someone from the nearby Tattershall Castle.