The Skirrid Inn is believed to be the oldest pub in Wales, nestling within the shadow of the Skirrid Mountain in Abergavenny.
The History of The Skirrid Inn
The oak- beams contained within the Skirrid Inn are believed to originate from ships timbers which boast the original peg holes, and the paneling in the Skirrid Inns Dining Room comes from the 16th century.
Between 1100-1485 the Inn was used as Memorial Courts, with Church Courts, Assize Courts and in later centuries it is thought the Skenfrith Petty Sessions Court. It is believed around 182 people were hanged at the Skirrid during the 12th -17th centuries.
The beam where the hangings are said to have taken place is situated across the joist of the staircase, where you can still see alleged `rope marks` preserved on the beam. The slab on which the dead bodies was placed can also still be seen at the foot of the stairs.
It is believed the first floor of the Skirrid Inn was the area used as a court room, with a cell in an area halfway up the stairs, being used to house prisoners before and after their trial. This cell now used as a store room.
The infamous Judge Jeffries is said to have carried out most of the sentences at the Inn, who was Recorder of London and in 1683 became Lord Chief Justice. In 1110 a man named John Crowther was sentenced to death for stealing sheep and was hanged from the `hanging beam` dangling by the neck over the buildings stairwell. John Crowther is reported to have been the last man hanged at the Inn.
During the 1530`s the Inn belonged to the Baron of Abergavenny conferred on Edward Nevyle. On the death of George Nevyle in 1535, the third Baron of Abergavenny, the ownership of land went to his successors where it remained in the family until 1900, when the most Honourable William Marquess of Abergavenny sold the property to a professional Innkeeper by the name of David Lewis.
Harry Price, the (in)famous paranormal investigator, is reported to have also owned the Skirrid Inn for a time during the 18th century.
The Ghosts of The Skirrid Inn
It is hardly surprising that with such a sinister history that The Skirrid Inn boasts many a ghostly tale. The spirits of those executed here, often make themselves known in a rather unnerving way. Several people have felt the very real sensation of an invisible noose being slipped around their necks and panic as they start to feel it tightening. What appear to be rope marks have also been reported on peoples necks after these experiences which stay for several days afterwards.
Judge Jeffries is said to still linger in the upper floors of the Inn, along with the hanged John Crowther who is reported to be very active throughout the building.
Fanny Price is another `active` spirit it the Skirrid Inn, especially in room 3. Her husband is reported to have owned the Inn during the mid 18th century. Fanny is said to have worked at the Inn and originally lived in the village. It is thought she died of consumption at the age of 35 years in 1873.
A malevolent spirit thought to be the hangman is said to be present on the stairs, and a more benevolent soul in the form of Father Henry Vaughn, thought to have been from a local church, is also said to be grounded here and has no intention of leaving the Inn.
Other reports include soldiers which have been heard in the courtyard, glasses which have been seen to fly off the bar for no apparent reason, and a £10 note which had 3 coins on top has been witnessed travelling across the bar. Unexplained knocking sounds, doors slamming shut on their own, doors shaking before opening by themselves, alarms going off with no cause found, footsteps heard and cold spots have also been witnessed.