Worstead’s New Inn will now be known as The White Lady, celebrating a chilling legend about a ghost said to haunt the neighbouring church on Christmas Eve.
The White Lady with Diane. St Mary's Church, Worstead. August 1975
The name change is part of a major refurbishment of the 19th-century Grade II-listed building, Worstead’s only pub, by its new owner, Dennis Gilligan, who has bought it from Punch Taverns in 2011. He employed village craftsmen to revamp the kitchen and carry out other work, and has taken on staff from the village & local area including chefs Antony Eagleton, son Henry Gilligan and Brandon Cole-Jewell who pride themselves on cooking dishes using seasonal local ingredients and suppliers. The pub also sells Norfolk beer such as Woodforde’s.
Mr Gilligan decided on the name change because he felt New Inn sounded “very 1960s” and found inspiration in his own home, which had once been another Worstead pub, the King’s Head.
An old newspaper cutting left there told of the White Lady legend and said that a man staying in the King’s Head with friends one Christmas Eve had decided to test the legend of the ghost’s appearance and went to the church. His friends later found him “gibbering with fright,” repeatedly saying: “I have seen her,” before dropping dead.
A beautiful conservatory restaurant is located at the back of the bar area leading to an outside decking area. Five bed and breakfast rooms are located upstairs with five beautiful self catering cottages outside, a sixth is currently under construction (2020).
The importance of the White Lady to its community is officially recognised by Worstead Parish Council as a community asset.