IT'S one of Hampshire’s most historic pubs, with its own resident ghost.

The Eclipse on The Square in Winchester was the final night-stop of Dame Alicia Lisle before she was beheaded outside in 1685 for treachery to the crown and staff say there have been many ghostly goings-on in the pub that can’t be explained.

Owners Michelle and Jason took over The Eclipse in March 2018 and since then have re-worked the menu with manager Terri and chef David to include lots of delicious home-made food as well as a selection of Pieminster pies. Even the ham is baked on the premises and the popular Sunday Roasts (£14 and available again in May) are so well-loved they’re regularly sold out.

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There’s a great selection of draft lager and beer on tap – as well as guest beers, which this month include Doom Bar, Timothy Taylors and Dom Bok from Alfred’s Brewery in Winchester.

The gin list is quite something too with Winchester Distillery’s Winchester Gin on offer alongside an impressive list of 30 other Hampshire gins.

Pork scratchings are among the bar snacks and are made by a company just down the road.

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Michelle said: “I’ve always loved the Eclipse and its part in Winchester’s history so when the chance to buy it came up, we jumped at it.

"It was rather tired when we took it on, but we’ve changed things so that it’s welcoming to all and with our strong foodie offering, we’re attracting a much wider clientele.

“We’re one of the few pubs in Winchester with a lot of pavement seating outside so we re-opened as soon as we were allowed to.

"We have an upstairs private dining room complete with a suit of armour and a painting of Lady Lisle which is a fantastic space with a sloping floor and old beams. It’s free to hire for exclusive use so it’s always really popular for groups of family or friends. We’re already taking bookings for May. Customers are fascinated by the building’s gruesome history.”

When the inside of The Eclipse is open again, you’ll find candles on the tables after dark, which really add to the atmosphere.

Outside, there’s plenty of pavement seating for al fresco eating and drinking. The pub is just a stone’s throw away from The Cathedral grounds.

As for the ghost – staff say that things move sometimes overnight – and there’s definitely a chill in the air in the manager’s office at the very top of the historic building.

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“I think Lady Lisle is here to stay,” says Michelle. “We all rather like her and the fact that The Eclipse is embedded in Winchester’s history too.”

The Eclipse is the Daily Echo's pub of the week this week.

  • Our weekly feature in paper and online on Friday aims to support Hampshire locals as they reopen following many months of Covid closures. If you'd like your watering hole to feature, click on the link below.