It has also served as a courtroom, with many of the criminals who were condemned to death having their sentence carried out within the buildings walls. Little wonder this place is apparently very haunted!
Court and Place of Execution
The earliest history of the Skirrid Inn is not completely known, as records of the Inns existence are patchy at best. However, around about the year 1110 there is record of two men standing trial at a hastily assembled court in a new alehouse called 'Millbrook', at the foot of the Skirrid Mountain. If it is the same place, that makes the Skirrid Inn about 900 years old.
The two men who were on trial were brothers – one had been arrested for 'violent robberies' the other for sheep stealing. What is most interesting is that it was the sheep stealer who felt the extreme penalty of the law – he was hanged from a beam at the Inn – the other offender received nine months imprisonment.
The last hanging took place at the Inn in the mid 1600's, with that execution also being for the crime of sheep stealing. Once a criminal learned of their fate, they were taken to a holding cell located half way up the stairs from the ground to the first floor. Here they waited for their punishment – a simple act of being bound and walked a few steps to the stairwell visible from their cell door.
This cell is still on site today, however it no longer holds condemned prisoners, but is rather used as a store room.
With 180 plus executions, it is little wonder that the Skirrid Inn has a ghostly reputation.
For those who stay overnight at the Inn one of the most common occurrences is the sensation of being strangled – either waking up to the feeling in the middle of the night, or it slowly building up, starting out feeling dizzy and light headed, and slowly building till the strangulation, hard of breathing and panic sets in.
The unexpected smells of perfume are often encountered, as are moving cold spots accompanied by the sounds of a heavy dress rustling, as if women are moving past.
A working woman at the Inn is also said to be seen going about her business, and making her presence known to anyone who stays overnight in room no.3. She died of consumption at a relatively young age; her ghost still carries out the work she did in life.
Finally, several of those who were hanged at the Inn have also been seen, several psychics learning of these apparitions identities.