The Boat Inn, Chepstow
The Boat Inn, The Back
An inscribed date in this building suggests that it was erected in 1789. The original character has survived in many of the interior features, such as the low ceiling and stone flags on the floor. At one time the inn was known as the Chepstow Boat. From around the Second World War to the 1980s the building was a private home. Inquests were held in the building in the 19th century, often into the deaths of people recovered from the river.
The inn was built alongside a dry dock, where ships’ hulls were repaired until the mid-19th century. This waterfront area is known as The Back, an old word for quay or wharf. Previously it was known as “Hell’s acre” because of the rowdiness and fights were common when sailors hit the bottle in the dozen or so pubs in the area.
In 1880, four men who held “respectable positions” in local society, were tried for hauling a fishmonger called Thomas Scott from the Boat Inn and throwing him into the river on the evening of the Chepstow boat races. The defendants said Scott had reneged on a bet. They were fined 30s each, plus costs, and told they were lucky not to be on trial for manslaughter.
The area was once the hub of Chepstow’s maritime activity. There were two slipways, and officers kept watch from a Custom House to ensure the correct duties were paid on incoming goods. Timber was one of the main commodities which passed through. Tourists boarded pleasure boats here for trips on the river Wye, and in 1840 Chartists who took part in the Newport uprising of 1839 departed from here after being sentenced to transportation to Australia. Light industries thrived in the vicinity, including a blacksmith’s forge, a sawmill and a bobbin factory.
One area of the Boat Inn, in the section to the right of the entrance, is said to be haunted. A notice painted on the wall advises customers: “While sitting here you [may] experience a sudden shiver or catch a fleeting glimpse of a figure from times past …”
Postcode: NP16 5HHWhere is this HiPoint?
Other CRIME HiPoints in this region:
Chartist protest site, Newport – 22 killed and ex-mayor John Frost sentenced to death
Abergavenny Castle – Norman lord massacred the Welsh guests he’d invited for Christmas dinner in 1175
FOOTNOTES: Licensees of the Boat Inn