The Ancient Ram Inn
Built in around 1145 over a 5000 year old pagan burial ground, The Ancient Ram Inn is the oldest building in Wotton-Under-Edge. No wonder this building is a National Treasure. Life at the Ram started in the early 11th century but not much is known of its history prior to 1145.
From 1145 it was a Church House for an unknown period. The time between 1145 and 1350 is a little speculative but the known facts are it was predominantly a Church House and Housed Masons for constructing the near-by St. Mary's Church, completed in 1325 with the first recorded vicar Gerinus, and possibly housed Slaves and/or children for the same purpose.
In 1350 The Ram (not known by this name yet) was bought by Maurice De Bathe. Tenants Peter Le Couk and his wife Margaret resided there for an unknown period and the property stayed in the name of Maurice De Bathe for 171 years.
The Ram changed hands frequently from here right up to 1968 when John Humphries purchased the property alongside many uninvited guests. Bought for £2,600, John lived here right up until his death in 2018.
From 1350 to 1820 it was known mostly as "Tan House" or "The Tan House" but records show the name "The Old Sun" crop up a few times but details of when it may have been known as this so far remains unknown. From 1820 onwards the Ram was Brewery Property with various Brewers and Landlords.
The former Bishop of Gloucester Rt Rev John Yates is said to have tried and failed to exorcise the Inn stating
‘It is the most evil place I have ever had the misfortune to visit’
The Ram lies on the intersection of 2 Ley Lines fed according to legend by the energies from Stonehenge.
It is believed that the redirecting of water to make way for St Marys Church opened up a dark Portal of energy to open up on this site.
John’s 1st night here was spent sleeping over the grave of a mother and Child. He was physically attacked and pulled out of the bed and thrown across the floor by a succubus along with its male counterpart the Incubus these are described as a sex demons.
“That’s where they found the little children’s bones,” John used to tell us. He referred to a group of ghost-hunters from nearby Swindon, who in June 1997 were given permission to tear up parts of the concrete floor while searching for the entrance to a sealed cellar. Instead, they found a grave – containing the remains of a woman and child, buried along with broken iron shards.
The pieces were analysed by Bristol Museum, who concluded that the signs may point to ritual sacrifices using an iron dagger. The ghost hunters, meanwhile, suffered a car crash on their way back home. Was this a coincidence or something more sinister?
There is a claim of the existence of a secret tunnel leading from the fireplace of the Men’s Kitchen, connecting to the crypts of the nearby church. Again, John believed the story but he said he’d chosen not to investigate further, for fear of waking up further dormant spirits.
There are reports of two ghosts seen either side of the bars fireplace and the ghosts of children and the unexplainable sound of a crying baby.
The ghost of the lady in Blue, called Elizabeth, is said to have been murdered here by highwaymen.
Many people have remarked that Johns eclectic clutter was not random, but rather, a preoccupation with the occult. I think this is a bit of an unfair statement, although John always used to proudly show objects that he had discovered himself within the building as items that would have been used in satanic practices.
One 18-year-old ghost hunter had previously claimed to be thrown to the floor by an unseen force in the Mayflower barn while John himself has seen strange lights here, and been pinned against the wall while the dividing curtains were torn apart.
A father and son team once fled the space after witnessing ‘a ghost rising from the floor,’ while a tall, seven-foot shadow has been sighted rushing through the barn and out through the door.
Poltergeist activity is frequently reported in this area.
Some visitors, John has reported, had been thrown down the stairs by unseen hands. In 1999, an image captured by paranormal investigator Julie Hunt appears to show a pillar of white mist ascending the staircase, however in my opinion this image is nothing more than a camera strap over the lens out of focus see my example below.
Meanwhile Mike Driscoll, from the group UK Paranormal, reports having been shoved down this staircase by invisible forces on no less than three separate occasions.
“See that grandfather clock?” John told me always in his excitable manner, “Well, that’s haunted too.” The story with the clock was that a human face had been known to appear on the clock face.
The earliest surviving board for the game Nine Men's Morris, which appears carved into a stone inglenook is dated to 1540.
John was always proud to explain his predated the one in Gloucester Cathedral!
One popular legend surrounding the Ancient Ram Inn is that of the witch burned at the stake. She was burned at the stake in the 1500s. It was the prosecution of people who did not believe and practice Christianity as sanctioned by the government. A lot of people believe that the woman’s spirit still haunts one of the rooms of the house to this day. It is believed that the woman took refuge in one of the rooms of the house before she was captured and killed. Today, that room is called “The Witch’s Room”.
There are dark shadows seen moving in this room and also the ghost of a small crippled child witnessed by countless people waving from the window at passers-by.
Some interesting footage was taken way back in 2006 by a group in this room which shows a camera bag that appears to be manipulated. Watch the video below.
It is interesting to note that while clearing out the Ram Johns Daughter Caroline and her husband have discovered the mummified remains of a cat. Could this be the familiar of our witch?
Entry to this room is via a ritual with a wooden crook, John would always knock three times on the door with the crook and shout ‘IS ANYBODY THERE’ he would repeat this two or three times and enter the room making the sign of the cross. John told me he had devised this ritual to stop the violent bangs and tremors from within the room.
The stories surrounding this particular room are many. It is supposed to be the most haunted part of the building, and during the Ram’s time as a functioning inn many guests would refuse to stay in the room. Others unwittingly checked into the Bishop’s Room, only to run out screaming in the middle of the night. There were reports of furniture flying about the room on its own, and one time a medium is reported to have been thrown down the corridor on attempting to open the door.
Spectral monks have been witnessed here as well as the story of a plumber who came face-to-face with the ghost of a mounted centurion.
A cavalier has been seen, appearing by the dressing table before walking across the room.
There are reports of a young woman hanging from the ceiling beams, a shepherd with his dog, and the disembodied screams of a man who at some point, supposedly, was killed by having his head thrust into the fireplace.
Those who spent the night here would sometimes tell of a presence that climbed into bed alongside them, before pinning them down and interfering with them could this be John’s legendary succubus.
John claims that tame dogs have suddenly attacked their owners in the room, and that two investigators who spent a night here later had to visit a vicar in order to be exorcised because they were so traumatised by their experiences here.
John had discovered in the chimney space a round block of wood with wedge cut out, and a small iron horseshoe both of which had been sealed inside the brickwork for over 200 years. John used to explain that they were fetishes used in rituals of devil worship, the small horseshoe having been crafted to fit a goat’s cloven hoof.
THE WEAVERS ATTIC
John’s daughter Caroline lived up here at one stage, and she would often hear the sounds of something heavy being dragged across the floor. Visitors to the building have echoed the same story, particularly those sleeping in the Bishop’s Room directly beneath the open attic.
According to some, the Weavers’ Attic is haunted by the ghost of an innkeeper’s daughter: murdered here in the loft sometime in the 1500s, and named by one visiting medium as ‘Elizabeth.’
I have visited the Ram Inn many times often calling in to say hello to John and have spent well over 15 nights in the building on investigations. John was a lovable eccentric character who was very much part of this historic building and I shall miss hearing his wonderful stories first hand. I wish Caroline every success in keeping her dads legacy going and if you are lucky enough to visit the Ram shout out a hello to John. You never know he may answer back.
For any of you who have read this far I was recently astounded to hear that while John was in his nursing home his treasured bible was stolen from him. Also people who claim to be paranormal investigators who have spent the night at the Ram have stolen artifacts from the house namely the broken daggers that were unearthed here. If anybody has any information on the whereabouts of any of these items please contact me anonymously if you wish via my contact form and I will pass on the information.
To watch the episode of Great British Ghosts with Myself and Michaela Strachan, featuring the Ancient ram Inn please click here.