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30 September, 2009

My visit to the Skirrid Inn

I recently became fascinated by the haunted history of Skirrid Inn, which lies in the small Monmouthshire village of Llanfihangel Crucorney, in south-east Wales. When I realised a recent day trip would take me very close to the inn, I couldn't resist a detour to the location.

We arrived at sundown, finding  the sleepy, rural village bathed in a pinkish-purple glow.

We drove through an archway into the pub's car park, and settled in the beer garden, as I had my dog with me. Within a minute or so of sitting, I got an overwhelming sense of misery and despair.

I reasoned with myself - I know a lot about the inn's bloody past, and that knowledge was probably clouding what I was sensing. But the feelings of utter despair simply grew more intense, to the point of being oppressive. I felt doomed, and as if I would never leave the place. Intrigued, I left the dog outside with my companion, and decided to explore the interior of the inn.

As I approached the low doorway, obscured in the above picture by a folded parasol, I got the distinct impression that what is now the rear of the inn, was in fact, its original facade. As I entered the doorway, I felt some of the gloom and oppression lifting from me. Within moments, I got my first glimpse of the spot where almost 200 convicts were executed.

After taking the above shot, I paid a visit to the bathroom. This is when things got a little stranger. It suddenly felt icy cold and I had a sense of someone repeating over and over to me, 'I didn't do it, I didn't do it'. Was this my imagination playing tricks? I had a further impression that the person was a young boy, maybe no more than 14 years old. Where the heck was this all coming from? As soon as I left the bathroom, it stopped, although the chill remained.

I returned to the corridor where the hangman's noose was located. The rope isn't the original, but it's suspended from the original beam, which bears impressions from the original rope.

I suspect the original rope may have been somewhat shorter than this one, because the noose is only about a a metre and a half from the floor - unless people were considerably shorter in the days of Hanging Judge Jeffreys than they are today.

Here's a closer look at the original hangman's beam - I wish I could have got a better shot.

I decided to climb part of the way up a flight of stairs to my left, to get a closer look at the hanging rope and beam. I spotted an ancient, wooden door at the top of the stairs, and decided to investigate.

As I drew closer, the temperature began to change, at a spot roughly half way up the stairs. I stood sideways on the stairs, and realised that my left side, facing upwards towards the door, was rapidly warming up. My right side, facing the rope and the bathroom, was still very cold.

I got a sudden sense of benevolence and welcoming, coming from the direction of the upper floor. I also got a sense of fussiness, like someone was bustling around, doing their best to welcome me and put me at my ease. At this point, I decided to leave, because I was a little spooked. This welcoming sense was definitely coming from behind that door. Why was I spooked? Well, this is what the sign on the door said.

The sign may be a recent addition, but it commemorates the fact that condemned prisoners were held in this room, a makeshift cell, prior to being led to the gallows. Was I being welcomed by a benevolent spirit, or  being enticed by the hangman said to stalk the upper floors? Or did my imagination simply go into hyperdrive?

I decided to step outside, and take my dog for a walk around the front of the inn, before we left for the long drive home.

I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw this character standing at the inn's front entrance, next to the ancient front door.

Fortunately, it was just the publican's idea of a joke. Phew. Before I left, I decided to grab a shot of the mountain which gave the Skirrid Inn its name. I found the Skirrid Mountain, bathed in the last rays of the setting sun, just as eerie as the inn itself.

Despite sensing a number of anomalies at the location, if I'm honest, I cannot be sure if, or how much, my previous knowledge of the Skirrid Inn's haunted history, coloured my experiences. That said, my own experiences don't seem to correspond with reports I've read made by other visitors to the inn, so maybe there was something more than an overactive imagination at play. I will definitely return to the Skirrid at some point, to try to get a better feel of the place.

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Jeremy 5 October 2009 at 08:13  

Definitely looks like an interesting place to visit. Nicely-written article. Thanks.

Eva 2 January 2010 at 18:03  

Very interesting blog you have!

WaverlyHillsFan 2 October 2012 at 00:12  

Great post! I look forward to visiting Skirrid Mountain Inn.

Unknown 15 April 2018 at 16:37  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 16 April 2018 at 16:00  

Us locals grew up hearing ghost stories of the angry spirit that overheard a new barmaid dismissing the notion of ghosts, only to find herself suddenly unable to breathe, a sensation of being choked over come her. Patrons that were in the bar bore witness to bright red welts and distinctive finger marks appear around her throat. The barmaid was sure to never to voice any doubts about the existence of the spirit again. Glasses have been known to move and launch themselves across the room and the footsteps of soldiers can be heard on the cobled court . On a more factual note, Owen Glandwr is said to have led his troops from here . The Inn dates back to the 1100's where it was a court , where it tried and hung criminals ranging from sheep rustlers to rapists and murderer's. The original hanging beam can still be seen in the stairwell , baring the original rope marks of around 200 hangings that took place. It maintains plenty of original features, well worth a visit.

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