A TWELVE-hour birthday bash will be held this weekend to celebrate the 375th anniversary of a historic Bromsgrove pub.
There will be a variety of activities taking place at Ye Olde Black Cross between midday and midnight tomorrow (Saturday).
Among them will be a host of stalls in the garden, a bouncy castle, a karaoke, raffles, a tombola and a live band in the evening.
There will also be a host of refreshments, including a pig roast from 6pm, an ice cream van and a burger van.
The old coaching inn, built on the crossroads at 70 Worcester Road, dates back to 1640 and has links to King Charles II.
It is thought to have once been a place of public execution with prisoners being held in the cellar before being put in a noose at the back.
The hanging spot, according to one source, is where the current beer garden and lounge are and those killed are said to have been buried in unconsecrated grounds by the crossroads.
With regard to its royal links, it is believed King Charles II came to the town in 1651 when he fled the Battle of Worcester.
Following the conflict, which brought the curtain down on the English Civil War, the monarch was hunted as a fugitive and his escape took him through Bromsgrove. He was disguised as a servant of Jane Lane, the sister of Royal Col John Lane.
Upon arriving in Bromsgrove with his party, one of the horses needed re-shoeing and Charles took it to the local blacksmith – that occurrence was even recorded by Samuel Pepys. The site of this blacksmith’s shop is thought to be where the garage of Ye Olde Black Cross is now.
Landlady Lucille Harrison, who has been at the pub since October 2012, said it was a fantastic place with an enthralling past.
“We want to make it a really big event for a really big occasion for the town and we are hoping Bromsgrove residents will come and help us celebrate the momentous occasion,” she added.
No building of that age would be complete without a resident ghost and Ye Olde Black Cross is said to be haunted by several.
One is the spirit of a Royalist soldier which reportedly walks between the bar and lounge along a passageway.
Others suggest the kitchen is haunted by the ghostt of a young girl said to have been murdered on the premises.
The kitchen, which was part of a Victorian house, and two of the pub’s bedrooms are also thought to have apparitions frequenting them.
And landlady Lucille said she had seen her fair share of spirits in the last two-and-a-half years.
She said: “There have been lots of strange happenings since I have been here – I feel things walking past me all the time and I have seen a little boy walk into my bedroom.
“Only yesterday, there was only two of us here and we had the jukebox on loud and someone shouted ‘switch it off’.”
“But it is not just me – we have a woman come in regularly with her son and he always wants to ‘speak to the man in the corner’ even though there is no one there.
“And we had one girl say she had been pushed over in the toilets by another little girl but when we went in there was no one there.
“I don’t mind, because at the end of the day, they have been here longer than me and, like I always say: ‘it’s not the dead you’ve got to worry about, it’s the living’.”