Thursday, May 25, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 300

 Black Horse Pub, Pluckley, Kent, England

This postcard with a charming watercolor picture of the Black Horse Pub in Pluckley, Kent, England, recently arrived in the mailbox.  Friends who had taken a trip to Paris and then made a day trip via the Chunnel to gather some family history information in Pluckley sent it.   England Pictures produced the card and the artist is identified as Dian Setek.  Mrs. Setek is well known for her pen & ink and watercolor paintings of English countryside, cities, towns, scenes and historic buildings. 

Situated approximately 5 miles or 8 km west of Ashford, Pluckley is located on the edge of a well-drained plain.  Pluckley is a village with a population of around 1,000 individuals.  It is said to have at least 15 ghosts and is labeled “Britain’s most haunted village.” It is also mentioned as a top destination for paranormal investigators.  These supernatural events include a wide range including noises like those heard in the Screaming Woods; apparitions, such as re-enactments of a deadly battle, a gypsy lady who accidently burned to death, a horse and coach, various suicide victims, and figures roaming some of the buildings, women who lost children wandering in the graveyard looking for their babies; and missing items.

Black Horse Pub is said to harbor a poltergeist that pilfers items, usually clothing and then returns the items several days later but will sometimes also move glasses and dishes around the pub.  Many customers have also mentioned seeing or feeling the ghostly presence of a small child.  Originally built in the 1470s, it was farmhouse belonging to a prominent local family, the Derings.  It has a surrounding dry moat.  When the Dering family sold the estate in 1928 many former tenants were able to buy their own homes.  Today it is an inn and public house.  It is advertised as dog friendly with rambling (hiking or walking), cycling, coach tours as well as welcoming paranormal investigation groups. 

Trivia:  An old Roman villa was discovered nearby at Little Chart.  The existence of Pluckley as a clearing or small village has been known as early as the time of the survey or census called the Domesday Book completed in 1086.  At that time there were 16 villagers, 7 smallholders, and 8 slaves for the 12.5 acres of land and caring for 140 pigs.  It was considered a thriving community.  The Black Death or plague in the 14th century decimated the population.  Survivors retreated to higher ground believing that the lowland was unhealthy.  The Dering family grew in importance during the reign of Henry II.  The first baronet is famous for creating a huge library of books, maps, charters and manuscripts.  Among the collection is a manuscript text of the Shakespearean play, Henry IV.  Scholars think the Dering manuscript copy represents a version prepared around 1613 perhaps for family or amateur theater.

The stamp is an orange, Queen Elizabeth II, profile.

As always with many thanks to friends for sending the card.

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