Coventry has its fair share of ghost stories and paranormal tales, but one of the most intriguing relates to a pub in the city.
The Phantom Coach on Fletchamstead Highway has a name that suggests a connection to the paranormal – but most people don’t know the tale behind its name.
In fact, it comes from a spooky incident that is said to have happened in the 19th century, at the height of the coaching era, when a coach travelling in Coventry met an unfortunate and mysterious end.
Legend has it that the coach disappeared one night without trace and the pub that is now there commemorates the fact and the strange events which are said to have followed.
The ghostly coach has reportedly been seen by many over the last two centuries and the sound of horses’ hooves and the wheels of the coach are said to be audible in the area on dark nights.
As with many such ghostly tales rooted in a historic event details are scant and there are different versions of what happened.
It has been said the Phantom Coach stands on the site of an old coaching inn on the route between Coventry and Cheltenham and that the ill-fated coach it is named after departed from the inn on the fateful night in question.
It is said that the coach crashed in nearby marshland and sank without trace – killing all those on board.
Other stories tell of the ghost of the coachman, who in some versions has been named as Charlie, haunting the Phantom Coach pub.
The ghostly event is sometimes said to repeat itself on dark night s.
It is said that before the crash the coachman drove at speed down the highway, lashing his horses with all the passengers on-board screaming in fear.
The pub also has its share of ghostly goings on, according to our reports, including banging and other strange noises which can be heard after closing.
It’s also claimed that staff there believe it could be the coach driver from the fatal accident.
Some years back CoventryLive reported on the landlord of the Phantom Coach claiming that the coach driver, nicknamed Charlie, had taken to bothering staff.
The then publican Pete Bains said Charlie had a penchant for playing tricks on workers – such as disconnecting barrels, hiding things and rattling bottles.
Mr Bains said the spooky mischief had kept regulars coming back for years and brought in visitors from across the country.
And to be on the safe side, when Charlie’s old chair was removed from the cellar during a £200,000 facelift, Mr Bains replaced it with another one – just in case.
He said: “Everyone knows about Charlie and loves the fact we might have a ghost – apart from some of the bar staff who won’t go down to the cellar alone.”
Speaking at the time, Chris Bennett, aged 46, of Canley, who first went to the Phantom Coach as a teenager, said: “I’ve been down in the cellar once and, although I didn’t spot Charlie, it was a little bit eerie.”
Strangely one of the most in-depth discussions of the Phantom Coach and ghostly goings-on started on the netmums website eight years ago.
In January 2012 Jen37ywh posted: “I am originally from Coventry. When I was younger there was a rumour going round that a pub called the Phantom Coach was haunted.
“A few years later I asked my mum if it was and what was the history behind the pub, why was it called what it was called.
“The pub is on a very busy highway in Coventry, called the Fletchamstead Highway (A45)
“Named after a spectre that sometimes repeats its fatal crash when the coach (pulled by horses) left the road and sunk in a marsh, killing all on board.
“The pub is also haunted by an entity which could be the coach driver – he has been heard moving around after lights out in the old building.
“I then got told some night if you listened you could hear the horses’ hooves and the coach’s wheels on cobbles travelling around the area.
“It still puzzles me to this day whether this story is true and whether the Phantom Coach is actually haunted.”
Footage below of paranormal investigators visiting Britain’s mist haunted house in Warwickshire
She added: “I personally have been there once, for dinner with my parents last summer.
“It defo had a ‘spooky’ atmosphere about it!
“You would get cold patches around the place and particularly at one spot at the bar my dad said – and he doesn’t believe in this sort of thing.
People responded to say they thought the pub was haunted and some shared family tales of ghostly sightings and experiences nearby.
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Ber33nuk said: “I am from Coventry and lived just down the road from the Phantom Coach.
“It is true, it is haunted. Well at least the area outside it is. My dad has heard the hooves himself.”
Lisa S (1282) wrote: “I’ve always lived in Finham in Coventry, just a couple of miles from the Phantom Coach.
“I was always told that the sound of horses and hooves could be heard in the Charter Avenue area.
“I’ve only ever been in there a handful of times – never liked the ‘feel’ of the place – maybe that’s why!”
Posting in 2014 Dav84ojt recounted an eerie family tale from the 1920s.
He said: “My granddad spent one night out with his friend at Canley Ford when he was a teenager back in the 1920s.
“Apparently there was a coach house where the sadly missed milk bar used to be and the coach crashed into the marsh while traversing the ford.
“My granddad and his friend had spent most of the night watching the ford and it was nearly dawn. They were cold, bored and just about to leave when there was a clatter of hooves and they jumped with fright as a ghostly carriage and horses sped past.
“They looked up in terror and saw a ghostly figure shaking the reins. They both screamed and ran all the way back home and never went ghost hunting again!
“I think that it was a great story and I’d love to believe it was true.”
More recently in 2018 Michelle R (1127) posted: “Going back a couple of years ago my brother travelling along a dual carriage way in Coventry saw horses pulling a stagecoach up ahead – the men were dressed in black wearing top hats.
“He thought there must be an event taking place nearby. Although it was odd it was on a busy dual carriageway and despite travelling at 60mph he never seemed to catch up with the stagecoach – it was always just in the distance until he eventually headed off the dual carriageway for Canley.
“As he travelled on he eventually saw the Phantom Coach inn and stopped off for something to eat.
“He mentioned the sighting to the landlord, still thinking there must be an event. But no one knew of any event taking place and he was told there has been many sightings of a coach that crashed into a marsh many years ago and that is possibly what he saw.”
Have you got any paranormal tales of the Phantom Coach pub, or the events linked to it? If so email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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