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On the 20th October 1396, Thomas Arundel, Archbishop of York, in the reign of Richard II, made over the Escheat of the Saracens Head which then acquired constitutional status. It was patronised by a number of monarchs. The ambassador to the French King Louis III stayed at the Saracens Head as in later years so did the poet Byron and the writer Dickens.
The unfortunate King Charles I entertained the Scottish Commissioners for dinner at the Saracens Head the night before surrendering to the Commissioners at Newark Castle. Charles believed he had secured sanctuary from Cromwell and the Parliamentarians. The Scottish Commissioners betrayed the King and handed him over to the Parliamentarians for a substantial fee.
The hotel has seen many different roles over the years. As Court Baron for the Archbishop of York, as Court for the Enclosure Commissioners and the Land Tax Commissioners. In later years the Saracens was a coaching inn for the Manchester to Newark stagecoach, and an auction house for Crown Derby pottery.
Two ghosts are recorded, one a cavalier and one a lady who is reputed to sit on the bed in room 4, gently rocking the bed until the sleeper wakes. In the King Charles Suite, where Charles I spent his last night of freedom and in the Bramley Room, Elizabethan wall paintings adorn the walls. Executed around 1590, they were only discovered in 1986 after a planned refurbishment of the hotel. Today, full conservation work has ensured that the remarkable condition of the painting is maintained for generations to come.