Treasures hidden in the caves, a restless ghost of a pirate and an endless murder mystery location: The Burgh Island is continuing to serve as a place of mystery to the visitors.
“He thought: Peaceful sound. Peaceful place…. He thought: Best of an island is once you get there—you can’t go any farther … you’ve come to the end of things…. He knew, suddenly, that he didn’t want to leave the island.”
— Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None
Burgh Island is today most known through Agatha Christie’s murder mystery novel “And Then There Were None’ and tells the story of a group of people stranded on an island with a murderer in their midst. And considering the story of the Island on the English coast, it is understandable it had to be this place that inspired the crime queen herself.
It is a tidal island on the coast of South Devon with two of the most famous buildings being the Art Deco Burgh Island Hotel and the pub, the Pilchard Inn. Now it is a cozy place to enjoy the fresh air of the coast, have a few beer and solve the murder mystery evenings the hotel puts on, but it didn’t always use to be a nice getaway place for the bored.
The Pirate Hideout
In the 14th century the coast of Devon was infamous for its piracy. It was great to use as a hideout place as the island is cut off by the tide twice a day and was an easy place to defend against those trying to bring the pirates to justice.
Today the island is known for hosting extravagant guests where the likes of The Beatles, Agatha Christie and Churchill have stayed. The building that stands today was built in 1929, but the history of this inn comes from a much more scandalous and illegal beginning.
Tom Crocker was a famous pirate known to have used the Pilchard Inn Pub as well as the island’s southern caves as a hideout for his smuggling business when the island was known as Burr Island.
The Pirate Ghost
But Crocker’s days as a pirate finally came to an end and he was hanged in the third week of August in 1395, some setting it to the 14th or the 15th of August, but the year however is not confirmed and it could be much later.
This was not the end of his time on the island though. He is said to haunt the Pilchard Inn Pub where he used to spend his time when he was not at sea. Some even say this is the place he died as he was shot. However which year or of what killed him, it is here he makes his appearance on the anniversary of his death.
He has been seen rattling doors and walking all over the island, supposedly to search for his hidden treasures, and who knows, perhaps there really is one about?
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