Joycelyn Neve couldn’t let Halloween pass by unnoticed in Downham village during the 400th anniversary of the famous Pendle witch trials.
Especially during her first year at the historic 18th century Assheton Arms, in the shadow of the mysterious Pendle Hill. So she decided it was time to resurrect Old Chattox as the village inn prepares to celebrate the witching season next week with a hubble and bubble fancy dress competition.
Joycelyn decided to set the pace with her own take on Old Chattox – who the 1882 book of “Lancashire Folklore” was described as “a very old, withered, spent and decrepit creature... a dangerous witch... her lips ever chattering but no man knew what”.
“That might have been said once or twice,” joked Jocelyn, “but I don’t think I’ve been called a withered old witch before... not to my face anyway.”
Now she hopes Ribble Valley folk will turn up in force at the Assheton Arms in fancy dress next Wednesday evening to mark Halloween. There will be prizes for the best costume for under-eights, under-16s and over-16s.
Joycelyn and executive chef Antony Shirley re-launched the Assheton Arms as a stylish gastro-pub after a £400,000 restoration programme earlier this year.