The Skirrid Mountain Inn is one of the oldest pubs in Wales with a history dating back over 900 years.
Legend has it that the inn was used as a rallying point for local supporters of the Welsh Revolt against the rule of Henry IV, the uprising being led by Owain Glyndwr. In the early 15th century he is said to have personally rallied his troops in the cobbled courtyard before raiding nearby settlements sympathetic to the English.
It is believed that the first floor of the inn was once used as a Court of Law and over the period of a great many years, as many as 180 prisoners were adjudged guilty of crimes serious enough to warrant the sentence of death by hanging, a sentence that was carried out at the inn itself, the last case of capital punishment purportedly taking place sometime prior to the death of Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658).
It also claims to be the home of several ghosts or spirits as well as the scene of numerous supernatural occurrences or paranormal activities. Indeed, the reputation of the inn is such that it has merited the attendance of many paranormal investigators over the years, including the Midlands’ Ghost Hunt company, Eerie Evenings, who have gone on record in the past to say that it is one of the most paranormally active venues they have ever investigated.
The inn has been featured on TV’s Extreme Ghost Stories and Most Haunted with Yvette Fielding. Possibly as the result of comments made by Derek Acorah, a former star of the show and a professed Medium, while filming was taking place at the inn, a popular belief has arisen that the infamous Judge Jeffreys heard cases at the Court.
There is no readily available documentary evidence to show that Jeffreys ever sat in judgement at the inn, however, during his career he did deal with cases in the area from Chester to as far south as Montgomeryshire (now part of Powys) and within a few years then dealt with cases on the Western Circuit including the county of Somerset. Both territories being within relative proximity to Monmouthshire, it is possible that on his travels he may have stopped at the inn or may even have heard isolated cases at the inn if conditions so dictated.