Ghost of Mrs Baines in Penzance

Chapel Street, Penzance

Chapel Street, Pezance today

The Ghost of Mrs Baines

In the 1800's Mrs Baines was a widow living in a fine house with an large orchard at number 20 Chapel Street, the oldest street in Penzance, and was proud of her orchard at the back of the house and abundant supply of apples and other delicious fruits. Unfortunately, the locals and children continued to scrump (take without permission) the lovely apples and fruits and Mrs Baines became obsessed with protecting them from being taken. She asked her servant to keep watch over the orchard during the night but Mrs Baines was soon convinced he was sleeping through most watches therefore not looking after her apples.

When she crept out of her house one night in a nightgown and bonnet she couldn't find him so she shook a tree so it would look like the apples were being stolen when he was not there. The servant was asleep in the bushes but woke up with a start at the sound of the rustling branches and the apples falling to the ground, and immediately fired a shot from his blunderbuss (shotgun) in Mrs Baines's direction. Mrs Baines died shortly after she was accidentally shot.

For sometime afterwards, a ghostly form of an old lady in a lace bonnet and nightclothes was often seen walking through the orchard or under the tree where she was shot and nobody would go into the orchard after dark. Her house remained empty for many years and a local vicar was asked to exorcise her spirit as the local people were becoming increasingly concerned at her repeated appearances. This was not entirely successful and the old lady's ghost was frequently seen walking in several places near where the orchard was, particularly in the Turks Head - the oldest tavern in Penzance. She could even be seen through the windows of the empty house by persons walking past outside in Chapel Street. It was believed that Mrs Baines was still trying to protect her apples after her death.

The ghost of Mrs Baines was eventually banished to the sandbanks nearby by a parson where it was to remain for one thousand years. The house in Chapel Street is now the Artist Residence, Georgian House Hotel.

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