The Skirrid ‘Mountain’ Inn
The village of Llanfihangel Crucorney, just off the A465 to the north of Abergavenny, might possess the oldest and most ‘haunted’ inn in the principality of Wales. At one point, the inn doubled as a courtroom and the earliest record for the Skirrid Mountain Inn is said to date back to 1110AD when a man named John Crowther was awarded the death sentence for stealing sheep. He was executed in the inn, by hanging, from one of the beams. This was just the beginning as far as we know, for during its time there were approximately 182 executions at the inn, with last one occurring in or around 1658. Also, during the 15th Century it is said that Welsh Prince Owain Glyndŵr (c. 1349 or 1359 – c. 1416) rallied his forces around the inn during the Welsh revolt against King Henry IV (Born possibly 3 April 1366 – Died 20 March 1413), before they ransacked the nearby settlements that were sympathetic to the English Crown.
It is thought that the first floor of the building was the courtroom, and the prisoners holding cell (now a store room) is found off a landing halfway up the stairs. Popular belief states that the executions (by hanging) were carried out by throwing the noose over a wooden beam above the staircase.
According to the brochure at the Skirrid, people were very superstitious centuries ago, and it tells of two rituals that used to occur at the Inn each night. Firstly, the innkeeper would pour a jug of ale for the ‘Devil’ and set it on the mantelpiece so that he could join the rowdy crowd at the inn. Then, when the last guests had left for the night, the innkeeper would set a Pwca (Welsh (fairy folk Goblin)) on the doorstep to ward off evil during the night.
Apparently, the Skirrid Mountian Inn is said to be haunted. It has actually become famous for its mysterious happenings.
The alleged phenomena that have been reported at the inn are as follows:
1) Visitors to the inn have felt like there was a noose being slipped over their heads and tightened around their necks. Apparently, marks have been left on the skin around their necks for days afterwards.
2) It is said that a regular ghost is often heard but never seen by the staff. It is said to make a rustling noise, like a long ladies dress would do, as it passes by, and it then leaves a cold chill in the room.
3) There have been reports of soldiers being heard in the courtyard of the inn.
4) There have reports of people hearing cantering horses outside the Skirrid Inn.
5) The sighting of a ghostly apparition nicknamed the ‘White lady’.
6) Father Henry Vaughn, an ex local clergy man is alleged to haunt the inn.
7) The ghost of a woman known as Fanny Price is said to haunt inn, apparently being most active in room 3.
8) Sometimes there is a powerful scent of perfume in the inn.
9) Glasses have been said to fly off the bar unaided, apparently ten to fifteen glasses are broken like this every week.
10) Guests have allegedly been overcome with dizziness, nausea, and fear whilst on the stairs.
11) Guests have allegedly reported an invisible presence passing them on the stairs.
12) Paper money, weighted down with coinage has allegedly been seen to levitate and float around the bar before falling to the floor.
13) There are apparently unexplained footsteps heard all over the Skirrid Inn.
14) Peculiar knocking sounds have been reported to have been heard in the inn.
16) There have been numerous cold spots reported in the inn.
17) Faces have allegedly been seen at the windows.
18) A dark figure has allegedly been seen standing at the bottom of a bed at the Skirrid Inn.
19) A shadow has reported to have been regularly seen walking up the stairs and along a corridor.
20) Apparently, a guest taking a bath in a room on the second floor came down the stairs, dripping wet, screaming “She tried to drown me! She tried to drown me!”
The ghost hunting company ‘Eerie Evenings’ hold regular séances and vigils for the paying public at the Skirrid Inn.
The Skirrid Inn has also featured on paranormal television programmes, namely ‘Extreme Ghost Stories’ (Episode 1, 2006) and ‘Most Haunted’ (Series 2, 2003).
You might read from other sources that the notorious hanging judge, George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys of Wem, (Born 15 May 1645 – Died 18 April 1689) is associated with the sentencing of the criminals at the Skirrid Mountain Inn. This is a misconception since he would only have been youth when the last person was executed at the Skirrid Inn at around 1658, and there is no documented evidence to suggest that he ever sat as a judge there. The misinformation may have arisen after comments made by Derek Acorah, a former star medium of ‘Most Haunted’ when he was filming a show at the Skirrid Mountain Inn.