Former Ruthin courthouse

Former Ruthin courthouse, St Peter’s Square

This building, now home to NatWest Bank, was previously the main courthouse of the Lordship of Dyffryn Clwyd (the Vale of Clwyd). There were cells in the basement, and the remnants of the gallows – where convicts were hanged – are still visible just below the eaves.

The last person executed here was probably Father Charles Mahoney, an Irish Franciscan who was shipwrecked off Pembrokeshire in 1678 but managed to swim ashore. He made his way to North Wales in the hope of completing his homeward journey to Ireland, but was arrested near Denbigh. Convicted of being a Catholic priest, he was killed in 1679 by being hanged, drawn and quartered.

The courthouse probably dates from 1421, the era when many Welsh towns were rebuilt after being burned by the forces of Owain Glyndŵr. His dispute with Reginald Grey, Lord of Dyffryn Clwyd, sparked a revolt which spread across Wales and lasted from 1400 to 1410. In 2004 tests on timber from the courthouse by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales established that it was felled in spring 1421. Carpenters used freshly cut timber, rather than having it seasoned (left to dry) first.

There are tales that the building is haunted by the ghosts of people executed here. Some people have reported hearing a wailing sound while they use the cash-dispensing machine, which is close to where the gallows were.

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: LL15 1DW

Other HAUNTED HiPoints in this region:
The Bull Hotel, Abergele – ghost in motorcycling leathers
Lletty Hotel, Mostyn  – will you feel fingers pressing on your back?
Telford Inn, Trevor – black and white dog in the function room
Owain Glyndŵr Hotel, Corwen – woman whose affair with a monk ended unhappily

More about Father Charles Mahoney at the Last Welsh Martyr blogspot

Website of NatWest Bank