The Ancient Ram Inn - Haunted...Or Not?
I swung by the village of Wotton under Edge, as I was in the area, to take a look at the infamous Ancient Ram Inn. One of many old buildings vying for the title of"Britain's most haunted place", the reputation of this old pub is well-known in paranormal circles and has hosted visiting "investigators" from all over the world.
I couldn't gain access inside but I did have a very enlightening chat with the owner of the wheelbarrow to the left of my picture, a fellow who was carrying out some work to the very front of the building. Suffice to say, I'm taking some of the claims regarding paranormal phenomena here with not a little salt!
Known previously simply as The Ram, the building was used as a hostel for the stonemasons and labourers working on the nearby Church of St Mary the Virgin, completed and consecrated in 1283. It then seems to have been the vicarage for a short while, then after that the early building functioned as an inn for centuries, but survived two calamitous events in Wotton's history.
The village was burned down in 1216 during the First Baron's War, then sacked and burned again as a result of a curious footnote in history. A "private battle", the very last of its kind, was fought between the 2nd Baron of Berkeley and Thomas Talbot, Viscount of Lisle, the local bigwig who felt cheated out of inheriting Berkeley Castle. Could they have not just fought a duel over it? No, the two forces met at Nibley Green, a mile from Wotton, with Talbot killed in the first charge by an arrow fired by a "Black Will", an archer from the Forest of Dean. Berkeley's men headed straight for Wotton, with the Ram being trashed and burned as it was then owned by Talbot.
None of this amazing history is reflected in the phenomena reported at the Ram today though. Instead, the hauntings are blamed on a "pagan burial ground" that the previous owner claimed the Ram was built over, discovered when a group of teenaged "investigators" were allowed to hack at will at the floor in search of a hidden cellar. They apparently discovered a pair of skeletons with some iron fragments alongside them, touted as "child sacrifices" with "ritual daggers" thrown in with them.
Bristol Museum could only comment that the iron "could have been" daggers and that a ritual sacrifice "was possible". There are Neolithic burial chambers and later Bronze Age mounds nearby at Uley and Nympsfield so a boarding house being built at such a site seems very unlikely. If anything, the church would have been built there but even in such cases it is usually later henged sites that had early Anglo-Saxon churches plonked on top of them.
The Ram was filled from top to bottom with every kind of occult and witchcraft paraphernalia you can think of by the previous owner and I think this influenced visitors into sensing an atmosphere in the building. When the "Scream Team", a Living TV paranormal show, spent the night at the Ram in 2002, one of them said it was the best night's sleep he'd ever had!
Has anyone ever been on an "investigation" at the Ancient Ram Inn? I'd love to hear about it.