Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Inn Revels in Spirited History; It Seems That Captain Swayze May Never Have Really Left the Site of His Favourite Watering-Hole

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Inn Revels in Spirited History; It Seems That Captain Swayze May Never Have Really Left the Site of His Favourite Watering-Hole

Article excerpt

Byline: David Ellis

WITH the Americans lobbying cannon balls about them and the British and Canadian protectors of the besieged village of Newark in Ontario answering back with their own cannon and carbine, Captain Colin Swayze of the Canadian Militia decided it was no time for retreat, but one for red-blooded action.

So he went to the pub.

And there he engaged in one last passionate fling with his lady-love, the beautiful barmaid Euretta, before insisting she flee lest the Americans sack the place.

He remained, fighting hand-to-hand and dying heroically of bayonette wounds in the cellar of the Harmonious Coach House Inn as the retreating Americans fired the Inn and most of Newark (which was later rebuilt and re-named Niagara on the Lake.)

But while Captain Swayze may have died in May 1813, his legacy and that of his militia mates lives on in the-now Olde Angel Inn that was built in 1816 over the remains of the Harmonious Coach House, and is today Ontario's oldest-operating inn.

For Captain Swayze and some of his comrades appear never to have really left the site of their favourite watering-hole.

Guests over the years have sworn to seeing apparitions resembling the red-coated Captain passing through the inn's bar, outside the cellar and in upstairs rooms- and some have signed affidavits of hearing the sounds of fife and drums and marching feet in darkened courtyards, boisterous male laughter long after the Inn has emptied for the night, and the clinking of glasses in the Inn's vacant 'snug.'

Others have testified to seeing chairs propelling themselves across the room, and one of the Inn's owners tells of 'hearing a terrible thrashing in the corridor outside my room', and on opening the door 'finding the darkened corridor empty but for a heavy horseshoe I'd nailed to a post, ripped down and laying on the floor, six metres away'.

And ladies using the powder room that's next to the cellar in which Captain Swayze died, swear to seeing a red-coated man in the mirror, but on turning finding the room empty but for themselves.

And there's a further fascinating mystery, because legend has it that so long as the British Union Jack flies over the front door of The Olde Angel Inn, no harm will come to it or its occupants. …

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