A familiar sight just before the road from Fixby begins its steep descent towards Elland, the building which now operates as the Pinfold Guest House was originally constructed in 1840 as the Black Bull pub. The establishment was forced to close in 1909 by the 1904 Licensing Act, which sought to restrict the number of “beerhouses” across the country and so reduce alcohol consumption. It was then divided into two private dwellings for many years before opening as a bed-and-breakfast. However, despite it being over a century since the Black Bull closed, the pub evidently endures in the local folk memory as the adjacent Pinfold Lane is still sometimes known as Bull Lane by long-term residents of the area.
In the mid-Seventies, Mrs. E. Parker moved with her husband into one of the houses in the building and almost immediately began experiencing uncanny disturbances, which she related to Terence Whitaker for his 1983 book, Yorkshire’s Ghosts & Legends. As soon as they set foot over the threshold, Mrs. Parker claims to have felt a “presence” and on their first night, after retiring to bed, they heard footsteps on the stairs. Her husband was convinced that a burglar must have gained entry and went to investigate, but predictably found nothing. The nocturnal footsteps persisted and were soon accompanied by a mysterious knocking from a certain section of wall in the sitting room, which would often respond to any answering taps.
One night, after they’d been in the house a while, Mrs. Parker had a vivid dream in which a fair-haired woman in a blue dress entered her bedroom and beckoning, led her into the cellars. Here, the apparition pointed to a loose stone in the wall and indicated that she should remove it. Mrs. Parker claimed to have always been afraid of the cellars since moving in and so the following day, her husband accompanied her down and sure enough, they discovered a loose stone in exactly the place revealed by the dream. They realised that the spot lay directly below the area of wall from which they often heard the unexplained knocking at night. Nonetheless, they removed it as instructed and left it abandoned in the middle of the cellar floor.
However, Mrs. Parker soon came to regret acting on the advice of the phantasm in her dream, for the haunting only seemed to intensify. Now, footsteps were heard all the time in the cellar, whilst their dogs would growl at the cellar door and refused to remain in the house alone. Then, one morning when Mrs. Parker was lying late in bed due to sickness, she heard footsteps ascend the stairs and a voice beside her bed say in a pitying tone, “Oh dear, oh dear.” At first, she thought it must have been her husband, thinking his sympathy odd because he rarely showed such an emotion. However, she later discovered that he had spent all morning out of the house, milking the cows.
That was the first incident which led Mrs. Parker to believe that the spirit, or whatever it was, must have some sort of “affinity” for her. Later, when her marriage was experiencing difficulties, she would often sit crying on the stairs where she’d most regularly heard footsteps and would feel a comforting presence envelop her. However, the ghost’s attachment clearly extended to sabotaging her attempts to leave. When Mrs. Parker found that it was all getting too much, a friend called round to offer her a place to stay. At this moment, she claims a coat hanger came hurtling across the room and struck the friend in the face. You suspect that with the constant turnover of guests at a bed-and-breakfast, the spirits will have had to learn to be less clingy.