Chagford is a historical town on the north east edge of
Dartmoor in Devon. It was one of 4 stannery towns in Devon; taken from the
Latin word stannum, meaning tin. Stannery towns were where tin miners took
their tin, where it was weighed, stamped and duty was paid on it.
Chagford became a prosperous town due to this and after tin
was no longer mined from Dartmoor, the town became known for its wool trade and
had several mills that produced cloth and other textiles. All of this brought
affluent people to the town, who went on to build buildings that are still used
in the town today.
I was lucky enough to spend time in this village and it
was only after I booked an inn to stay, that I looked up if the inn I was
staying in was haunted. And it was! There are 2 ghosts that are said to haunt
The Three Crowns. One of these being a poet who fought as a Cavalier in the
civil war and his name was Sidney Godolphin. The other ghost is said to be Mary
Whiddon (some reports state her surname was spelt Whyddon), who, after going
through her wedding ceremony in the local church (St Michael of archangel), was
shot by, it is said, a jealous ex-partner, as Mary and her new husband exited
The Three Crowns building played a part in both of these
untimely deaths of Sidney Godolphin and Mary Whiddon. It used to be a town home
for a wealthy family when first built with Dartmoor granite then it became an
inn called The Black Swan at some point in the late 1600s.
It was this building that Mary’s body was taken when she
was shot and sadly died. Her ghost has been witnessed in The Bishops Room and the
Mary’s story may sound familiar to you. It is said that
the author R D Blackmore based his romance fiction book, Lorna Doone on Mary Whiddon
but based it in and around Exmoor rather than Dartmoor.
(I actually have a spooky photo on the website that was
taken in the church that was used in the book- you can have a look at it here-