Former Angel Inn, Caernarfon

Former Angel Inn, 22 High Street, Caernarfon

This building was the Angel Inn, also known as the Angel Vaults or Angel Tavern, in the 19th century. The licensee was a William Evans in the 1820s to the 1840s. Wine merchant John Jones converted the Angel Tavern to a wine vaults in the late 1870s.

Thomas Jones, the Angel’s licensee since the late 1890s, injured his head injury when thrown from his carriage in January 1907. Having partly recovered, he ventured to the stables in early February, slipped on ice and fell, reopening the previous headwound. He died the following day.

His son Thomas had also died accidentally, while working as coachman to Samuel Sandbach of Malpas, near Newport, Monmouthshire. In October 1902, one of the horses in the stables kicked Thomas in the abdomen. He died in severe pain, aged about 27.

The Angel Inn was one of 10 Caernarfonshire pubs which lost their licences in July 1909, as Welsh magistrates clamped down on drunkenness. In the previous year, 127 people had been punished for drunkenness in Caernarfon, a town which then had 37 pubs (one per 243 residents).

The “Wine & Spirits Establishment” sign was rediscovered in 2014 during refurbishment as part of the conversion of the next-door property (once offices of Arfon Borough Council) into the Tŷ Dre townhouse, operated as part of the Black Boy Inn.

One of the strangest tales in the Angel’s history concerns the disappearance in February 1880 of former quarryman John Jones. Soon after leaving the Angel Vaults one evening, he was last seen walking in Market Street with a “dynes ddrwg” (bad woman), despite being aged 75. Police arrested a male murder suspect and searched a possible burial spot with bloodhounds, to no avail.

The case was cold when Caernarfon’s police received a telegram in 1894 from police in Pontymister, near Newport. There a man had voluntarily confessed to killing Mr Jones about 13 years earlier and throwing the body into an acid vat in a Caernarfon tanyard. Police found no human remains in the vat, to the disappointment of the hundreds of onlookers, and the man was released.

Postcode: LL55 1RH     View Location Map

Website of the Black Boy Inn – for booking a stay at Tŷ Dre townhouse