A historic pub said to be haunted by the ghost of a highwayman has to be rebuilt brick by brick after being demolished without permission.
The former Punch Bowl Inn, in Hurst Green, Lancashire, is currently in ruins after it was illegally bulldozed by its owners in June last year.
Nine months before a developer’s application to accommodate caravan sites on the site was rejected by the council.
Now Ribble Valley Council has ordered that the 18th century pub be rebuilt to original plans, which will have to be done based on architectural data.
The Punch Bowl Inn, pictured here before demolition, is said to date from the 18th century
The original building is said to date from the 18th century, with a plaque above the door saying it dates from 1793.
But locals say it predates that, to the 1730s, when it gained a reputation for being haunted, with folklore claiming that highwaymen Dick Turpin and Ned King resided there.
According to a local legend, the two criminals visited the pub during their journey from Essex in 1739.
It was demolished ‘without permission’ by its owner in June last year, nine months before a planning application to convert it into a caravan site was rejected
It is alleged that Turpin traveled on to York, while King stayed and catered to travelers in the Ribble Valley with the help of the pub’s landlord, Jonathan Brisco.
King’s reign of terror ended, however, when he was captured by the army in 1741 and hanged from a tree outside the pub. According to local legends, his ghost haunted the pub while it was still standing, reports the Lancashire Telegraph.
The Grade II listed pub had been vacant for years before demolition, and the site was put up for sale in 2013.
The council subsequently rejected several building applications from Blackburn-based developer Donelan Trading Ltd.
These include refurbishment, partial demolition and extension works for holiday rentals and a cafe, while the most recent application, in March 2021, sought permission to build 15 mobile home pitches on the site.
This only appeared before the planning committee in March of this year, where it was subsequently rejected.
The cafe, which had been given monument status in 1983, had already been demolished for nine months.
Historic England said it was “sad” that the late pub was being demolished “without permission”.
In reports from planning officials, written before the pub’s demolition, they said the proposed caravan development would be detrimental to the area surrounding the Grade II listed inn building, open countryside and the Forest of Bowland area.
The owner has now been commissioned to rebuild the pub brick by brick based on the original plans for the site
The zoning department has received numerous appeals, one of which states that the owner should not “be entitled to do anything with this land until a full investigation into the illegal destruction of the Punch Bowl Inn is completed.”
The local parish council also objected, citing factors such as overdevelopment, road safety and the inn’s demolition.
A spokeswoman for Historic England said the organization was “sad to learn that the heritage-listed Punch Bowl Inn was being demolished without permission.”
‘Dating back to the late 18th century, the building was a local landmark along Longridge Road,’ she added.
A spokeswoman for Ribble Valley Council confirmed that an enforcement notice had been sent demanding that the pub be rebuilt.
She added that she understood that the owner had appealed the order to rebuild the pub or other planning issues related to the site.
How a Lancashire pub ‘was chased by a notorious highwayman’
Local legend says the infamous highwayman Dick Turpin stayed at the inn with accommodation Ned King
The Punch Bowl Inn is known to have stood on the slopes of the Ribble Valley since the 18th century.
While a stone above the door dates the building to 1793, locals say the building dates from earlier in the century.
A local legend suggests it was used as a resting place by two notorious highwaymen – Dick Turpin and Ned King.
According to folklore, the couple arrived in 1739 after driving from Essex, with Turpin deciding to move to York while King stayed behind.
It is alleged that the pub’s owner, Jonathan Brisco, helped King when he robbed travelers on nearby roads.
Legend has it that he was eventually caught by a group of redcoats, who surrounded the pub, murdered Briscow and captured King.
However, the highwayman would not be granted a reprieve as the ghost hunters claimed he was hanged from a tree outside the pub, leading to the pub becoming haunted.
Life in the pub continued, with an extension in the mid-19th century, and it was given listed status in 1983.
However, its fortunes deteriorated and it was put up for sale in 2013.
It has been vacant ever since and successive urban planning applications to re-open it have been rejected before it was seemingly prematurely demolished in June last year.