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Queens Head Inn

Located at number 1 St. James Street, Monmouth, is the Queens Head Inn. It is a Grade II listed building which dates back the 16th Century. It has previously been known as the ‘Queens Head Hotel’ and the ‘Queens Head’. During the English Civil War, an attempt to take Oliver Cromwell’s (25 April 1599 – 3 September 1658) life by a cavalier assassin occurred while he was staying at the inn. The Royalist was unsuccessful and was shot dead by the fireplace of the inn by a roundhead as he tried to make his escape.

The story is told as follows, by a plaque in the inn, and it relates to a secret passage in the cellar and hiding places in the walls.

“It is said that when the land was much troubled by civil warr in 1642 secret hiding places be made in the walls of ye Inn – and in ye cellars a passage most secret was dug – hid by a cask half filled – a secret door within, on ye 15 May 1648 Oliver Cromwell was harboured at ye Inn – and that on ye 16 May as he slept a Royalist Cavalier did enter ye Inn through ye secret passage in ye cellare, and did go to Cromwells bed-chamber on intent of murder, but was chased downstairs into the parlour by a Roundhead and shot by the fire.”

The Queens Head Inn is allegedly haunted. The following phenomena have been reported.

1) There have been reported sightings of a ghostly male figure in the bar area, sitting by the fireplace.

2) The ghost of small female child of about four years of age wearing a dress has been seen in the inn on more than one occasion.

3) The ghost of a man is said to walk about on the landing upstairs.

Simon Topham

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