The name Skirrid is derived from the Welsh word ysgyryd, a shiver. Legend says that in the hour of darkness after the crucifixion of Christ, the mountain shuddered, shivered and broke in two; hence Ysgyryd Fawr (Great Shiver), the Welsh name for The Skirrid mountain with its dramatically ‘slipped’ profile, and the nearby Ysgyryd Fach (Little Shiver).
The first floor of the inn was used as a court of law for centuries. The first record of this dates back to 1110 when two brothers, James and John Crowther, were tried here. James was sentenced to nine months for robberies with violence, and John was hung from a beam in the inn for sheep stealing.
The stone mounting block outside the inn is thought to have been used by many kings, including Owain Glyndwr (1359–1416).
The present building is Elizabethan. Local stories tell us that Bloody Judge Jeffreys (1644-89) presided in the courtroom during the religious persecutions, and 180 rebels from the Monmouth Rebellion were hanged in the inn in 1685. Prisoners were kept in a cell halfway up the stairs, and hangings were carried out in the stairwell – scorch and drag marks said to have been left by the ropes can still be seen on the beam.
Today, the Skirrid Mountain Inn serves real ale good, hearty meals, but for many visitors, its chequered past is the main attraction. Some say it’s haunted. People who are interested in the supernatural often come here in the hope of witnessing something unexpected, and the inn hosts Ghost Hunt nights from time to time.The Skirrid Mountain Inn, Llanvihangel Crucorney, near Abergavenny NP7 8DH, Wales, tel 01873 890258.