I do love me a good haunted pub, and The Ancient Ram Inn is so preposterously haunted you could stick it on rails and call it a ghost train. Tucked away amidst the higgledy-piggledy streets of the quaint market town of Wotton-Under-Edge (not to be confused with Waltham-Over-Bono or Woodbridge-Slightly-To-The-Left-Of-Adam-Clayton), the Ancient Ram has a well-earned reputation as one of Gloucestershire’s spookiest spots.
Now a Grade II-listed heritage site, the Ancient Ram Inn was first built in the early 12th century, likely as a place to house the workers beavering away on the nearby St Mary’s Church. It became an inn not long after, and remained as such all the way up to 1968. It’s now a preserved historical site, and a popular pilgrimage destination amongst seekers of the strange and the supernatural. Let’s find out why, shall we?
Right off the bat, the place was built on the spot where two ley lines converge. Originating from Stonehenge, ley lines supposedly form a countrywide network of mystically significant places, connecting each one through a series of straight lines. They’re imbued with mysterious, magical energies, and are thought to be the source of many paranormal phenomena. As if that wasn’t enough, the ground on which the Ancient Ram resides is also home to a 5,000-year-old pagan burial site.
I mean, really. They were just asking for it, weren’t they? And my word, did they get it. From succubi to poltergeists to demonic sacrifice, the Ancient Ram has got it all.
Tales of ghostly shenanigans at the Ancient Ram date back to at least the 1500s, when a woman accused of witchcraft hid out in one of its rooms. She was soon discovered and promptly burned alive, but her (slightly charred) spirit returned to haunt the place in which she sought fruitless sanctuary. Ever since, visitors to the ‘Witch Room’, as it’s very creatively known as, have reported seeing and hearing many unsettling things in the dead of night.
Heading upstairs, the Ram’s cramped and claustrophobic attic is home to another 16th-Century phantom. An innkeeper’s daughter was said to have been murdered up there during this time, and anyone who ventures inside is hit with an overpowering sense of fear and despair. Even more disturbingly, those staying in the Bishop’s Inn, the room directly below the attic, would often talk of being woken up by the sound of a body being dragged along the floor above them. Although, as we’re about to see, I’m surprised they even found the time to notice such a relatively minor scare.
As far as haunted rooms go, the Bishop’s Inn is a sumptuous buffet of ghoulish horror. Ghostly monks milling about? Check. A 17th-Century cavalier chilling out by the table? Sure. The unbearable screaming of a man who was murdered by getting his head rammed into the fireplace? Of course! You can also get molested by the resident succubus in this room, as well as hang out with a weird, wraith-like shepherd who turns up every now and then with his equally weird, wrath-like dog. Cos, you know, why not?
Seriously, what is this place? The setting of a Garth Marenghi novel? That’s not all though. Elsewhere in the Ancient Ram you can meet the ghost of a Roman centurion (complete with spectral horse), get chucked around and pushed down the stairs by invisible hands, and even enjoy the soothing sounds of children crying in the spot where small skeletons were discovered with ritualistic daggers lodged in their ribcages.
Well, there you go then. What a charming establishment. Probably a good thing it’s not a functioning pub anymore, really…