Blue Lion
Haunted Pub

A Haunting History

The Blue Lion at Cwm is the centre of several hauntings...
Blue Lion
Blue Lion

The Ghost of John Henry

The Blue Lion at Cwm is the centre of several hauntings. The most famous involves John Henry and his possible murder by his father and brother.

John Henry lived with his brother and father at a farmhouse in the village, now the Blue Lion Inn. At some point during the 17th century, possibly 1646, neighbours heard a terrible argument taking place, and were so alarmed that the authorities were called. This says much about the argument itself, since minding your own business was something of a way of life at the time. The authorities arrived at the house, only to be persuaded that the argument was over and that matters were at rest. However, several days later, another argument was heard and once again the authorities arrived. This time, however, only the father and one of the brothers were to be seen, and John Henry was nowhere to be found.

The two remaining men managed to persuade the authorities that John Henry had left, taking his things and gone to start a new life, perhaps abroad. They admitted the arguments had led to John’s leaving, that they were sorry for it, but that it had been his decision in the end. Curiously, this vagueness did nothing to elicit suspicion on the part of the authorities, but, perhaps unsurprisingly, the community at Cwm saw things differently. Almost immediately, tales of John Henry’s murder became common, but no body was found, and the father and remaining brother continued their lives in the village.

Today, the Blue Lion is reputed to be haunted by the wandering ghost of John Henry. Rattlings and bangs are to be heard, along with heavy footsteps on old floorboards. In the 1960s, the landlord’s wife claimed to often see a young man, dressed in old fashioned outdoor clothes. He would stare at her for a moment, before leaving with a curious ducking movement, as if avoiding a low level doorframe that no longer existed.

Curiously, during the 19th century during the mass Victorian refurbishment of the churches throughout England and Wales, a grave at the Church of St Mael and St Sulien was moved, and atop the coffin was found the skeleton of what is believed to be a young man. Unusual, certainly, but while no information was found about the body, the story of John Henry and his disappearance was remembered. Was this the young man’s body, buried without ceremony in the churchyard, perhaps in an effort to give him some semblance of a Christian burial? If so, it would seem not to have given him rest.

Fairy Procession

Fairy Procession

If ever you should come across a procession of dancing Tylwyth Teg, and should they ask you to join them, the consensus of opinion is that you should politely decline. The many stories from North East Wales that tell of fairy dancing suggest joining in will lead to dire consequences for the mere mortal. The example of a young boy of Cwm is a case in point, told to Elias Owen by a Mrs Morris of the vicarage at Cwm.

Sent on a domestic errand by his mother one morning, the young boy failed to return. Search parties failed to find the lad, and it was believed by his family, friends and the community that he had been abducted, or worse murdered. Many years passed and the boy was largely forgotten by all but his family.

However, one day he returned, clutching the item that he had originally been sent to collect. However, so many years had passed that he was no longer the boy who had left his mother’s house, but an old man, frail and grey haired. This it appears was a complete surprise to him, since he believed he had only been absent a short while and needed convincing of his great age. He claimed to have heard delightful music played by delightful people and followed a while and unknowingly, it seems, become part of a fairy procession.

On realising what had happened, the old man became quite distressed and, perhaps realising that his loved ones had long since passed on, decided to return to the land of the fairies from whence he had wandered. He spent his last years searching in vain for a way back to Annwn, and died disappointed.

Table Reservation