Friendly ghosts return to Sheffield’s oldest pub

Mary Queen of Scotts (Laura Alston from Greystones) at the Old Queen's Head on Pond Hill, Sheffield
Mary Queen of Scotts (Laura Alston from Greystones) at the Old Queen's Head on Pond Hill, Sheffield
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A FEW friendly ghosts turned up to celebrate the relaunch of Sheffield’s oldest domestic building - The Old Queen’s Head pub.

The Earl and Countess of Shrewsbury - George Talbot and Bess Hardwick - along with Mary Queen of Scots herself, were among those who turned out to reopen the 500-year-old pub, following a major makeover.

Local historians, led by ‘professional Sheffielder’ Ron Clayton, came together for the ad hoc event at the pub on Pond Hill.

“This is a fascinating building with a fascinating history and we thought the refurb would be a great opportunity to bring groups of local historians together on this famous site that, even now, not enough Sheffielders know is here,” said historian Ron.

“This is a real celebration of the city’s heritage and medieval Sheffield.”

The Friends of Manor Lodge, Sheffield Castle, Wincobank and Bishop’s House all gathered at the pub, originally built around 1500 and believed to have been used as a banqueting hall on the Earl of Shrewsbury’s estate.

It was later used as a residence before finally becoming a pub in the late 1800s. The building was given Grade II* listed status in 1952.

Its interesting history includes its name, believed to be a reference to Mary Queen of Scots, imprisoned in Sheffield from 1570 to 1584, and the underground tunnel in its cellar which is rumoured to lead up to Manor Castle.

Owner Zuzana Barincova said the building was badly in need of a facelift.

“It hadn’t been done for years and urgently needed freshening up,” she said. “We stripped wallpaper, repainted and changed furniture. We didn’t leave anything out and it looks so much better.”

Zuzana, who has run the pub for five years with partner Michal Lapal, added: “Owning such a historic building is a responsibility.

“It’s important to the people of the city and I was really eager to return it to its full potential.”

Ron added: “It’s a beautiful building, half-timbered with intricate carvings, and one that Queen Mary would have known when she was here.

“It’s had many spruces over the years and it’s lovely to see Sheffield taking care of a piece of its history in this way.”