Magic Carpet Journals
Ghosts and Legends in Wales - Queen's Head Hotel
Ghost hunting in Wales takes us to Monmouth's 16th century coaching inn the Queen's Head Hotel
Lunch found us at the Queens Head Hotel, a sixteenth century coaching inn, in Monmouth. This inn is reputed to be the third most haunted Inn in Wales.
History tells us the inn was frequented by Oliver Cromwell, leader of the Parliamentarians or Round Heads, who came within a whisker’s hair of becoming king. He considered this a safe place. However, on one occasion, when he was hiding out there, an unsuccessful attempt was made to assassinate him. I will pass on the story as it is told on the wall in the old coaching inn:
“It is said that when the land was much troubled by civil warr in 1642 secret hiding places be made in the walls of ye Inn – and in ye cellars a passage most secret was dug – hid by a cask half filled – a secret door within, on ye 15 May 1648 Oliver Cromwell was harboured at ye Inn – and that on ye 16 May as he slept a Royalist Cavalier did enter ye Inn through ye secret passage in ye cellare, and did go to Cromwells bed-chamber on intent of murder, but was chased downstairs into the parlour by a Roundhead and shot by the fire.”
As I sat with my friends in that room, munching on a sandwich, I looked around trying to picture the scene that took place there 368 years before.
The owner, Neil Bell declined to tell us any ghostly tales, claiming, “I’m a skeptic really.” He went on to tell us though that he had employees who refused to work in the Inn after midnight. Bell said, “Several of them claimed to have seen someone in a war type uniform sitting by the fireplace. They would only see him from the knees up though; as the floor used to be that much lower many years back.” Could that have been the ghost of the Royalist Cavalier still haunting the place where he died?
When Neil’s daughter, Kirsten Weller arrived, pushing her baby, Findlay in his stroller, she was not reticent about divulging her ghostly experiences. She told us she had seen a small girl, probably about four years old, wearing a little dress, roaming about the building. She claims to have seen this child more than once. “On at least three occasions I have seen an old man who walks about in the halls upstairs,” she also told us. He also turned out to be an apparition. Late one night, Kirsten came down to the bar to get a drink for herself. When she went behind the bar, she spotted a chap, sitting by the fireplace, across the room. She told us “My first thought was that someone had mistakenly locked him in when they closed for the night. When I went to speak to him, he suddenly vanished!”
The Skirrid Inn is the next story in our quest for ghosts and legends in Wales
Story and pictures by M. Maxine George
Last Updated on November 02, 2011 by M. Maxine George editor.
© 2010 Magic Carpet Journals. All rights reserved