The Skirrid Mountain Inn, Llanfihangel Crucorney


The Skirrid Mountain Inn, Llanfihangel Crucorney

This ancient pub dates back to the mid 17th century. Its frontage was altered in the 19th century but replicating styles from two centuries earlier. Originally there were three windows on both sides of the entrance. Outside, notice the mounting stone – installed to help gentlemen climb onto their horses. Inside, look out for the 17th century staircase and the oak beams above the ground-floor rooms.

The pub was known for centuries as the Skirrid Mountain Inn, after the mountain to the east with its distinctive landslipped hump. According to local legend, the mountain split when Christ was crucified. The Skirrid (Ysgyryd Fawr in Welsh) was also known as the Holy Mountain, and a chapel was built near the summit. Another story is that a wizard called Jack o’ Kent caused the landslip when he leapt from the Sugar Loaf to the Skirrid. He features in various local legends in Monmouthshire and Herefordshire, often outwitting the devil.

Large numbers of worked flints were found on the slopes facing the valley, suggesting that the area was used for hunting in Mesolithic times.

Cadw, the Welsh historic monuments authority, says there is no evidence that the Skirrid Mountain Inn goes back earlier than the 17th century.

In August 1914, a labourer called Thomas Irons was fined 10 shillings for a road rage incident between two cyclists outside the Skirrid Mountain Inn. On 13 August, days after the First World War began, he had followed the victim along the road from Pontrilas, calling him a “German”. When the pair were passing the inn, he shouted: “Stop that man. He is a German.” A labourer helping at the inn thought the cyclist in the rear was a policeman and stopped the innocent victim, whom Irons then assaulted. The local police soon received confirmation that the victim wasn’t German but the son of a Macclesfield police sergeant.

Two months later, Charles Powell, of the Skirrid Mountain Inn, was one of three pub landlords fined £5 each for stealing a black spaniel from Mrs Attwood-Matthews of Llanvihangel Court. He left the inn a few months later, after selling his farm livestock, furniture and other effects.

Stories abound of ghosts at the inn, which has featured on television shows about the paranormal including Extreme Ghost Stories (ITV) in 2006. One friendly spirit is said to be that of Victorian landlady Fanny Price, who died aged 35 and is buried in St Michael’s churchyard, close to the inn. Other ghosts are linked to the legend that a court was held on the first floor in medieval and Tudor times – and some of the convicts were hanged in the stairwell.

With thanks to Gill Wakley, of Abergavenny Local History Society

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: NP7 8DH

Other HAUNTED HiPoints in this region:
King’s Arms, Abergavenny – woman in black on staircase
Hunter’s Moon, Llangattock Lingoed – abuts a churchyard cemetery but the ghosts are friendly
Old Court, Llangattock Lingoed – a terrified guest once fled from his bedroom at 2am