Historic places with stories all their own are some of the most popular vacation destinations around—but add a haunted past, and these creepy spots become rife with morbid tales; eerie vibes; and myths that take on epic proportions, embedding themselves in the pop culture imagination until they are virtually indistinguishable from the truth.
The Ancient Ram Inn in England is one such place—known to many as the ‘most haunted house in Britain,’ its bizarre and fascinating history dates back to 1145, making it the oldest building in the otherwise charming and innocuous Wotton-Under-Edge in the English countryside. Ancient Ram has a plethora of ghost stories all its own, and its various incarnations throughout the centuries have only added to its eerie (and sometimes disturbing) mystique.
An Ancient And Mysterious Origin Story
The legend of the Ancient Ram was born even before the inn itself was built. Formerly the site of a 5,000-year-old Pagan burial ground, the wetland area was also the location of two intersecting Ley Lines—often thought by many to contain paranormal and concentrated spiritual energy associated with ancient sites like England’s famed neolithic landmark, Stonehenge. Due to these paranormal beginnings, the inn’s history began on a mysterious and haunted note; a reputation that only increased after its construction in 1145.
The Inn itself was built to house workers, masons, and slaves who were tasked with building the nearby St. Mary’s Church. Area streams then had to be subsequently diverted around the church’s site, onto the site of the Ancient Ram. Many believe that this redirecting of the village’s streams to the Inn’s site ‘opened up a portal for dark energy’ believed to be used in Pagan rituals. Thus, the Inn’s eerie past was, as early as the 12th century, paving the way for a future riddled with odd and bizarre events.
'The Past Lives' Of The Ancient Ram
Following the construction of the church, the workers vacated the home, which, according to legend, later became the home of a witch who was eventually executed. During the 1500s, these so-called witches faced all manner of government-sanctioned persecution—the worst being public executions and burning at the stake. Many people believe that this 16th-century witch who called Ancient Ram her home still haunts the building to this day. According to legend, shortly before her death, the woman hid in one of the Inn’s rooms in an effort to avoid capture. The room has been known as ‘The Witch’s Room’ ever since.
20th Century Ghosts
As the centuries passed, the historic inn found itself facing destruction—but it wasn’t until the late 1960s that it got a new owner, and the stories of haunted happenings began again. John Humphries purchased the Ancient Ram in 1968 and made the inn his home; and as early as his first night there claimed to experience the inn’s ‘angry ghosts.’ Sources say that Humphries was ‘grabbed by the arm by demonic forces that dragged him from his own bed.’
Determined to protect the historic inn from destruction, and hellbent on preserving it, Humphries spent the next several decades living there—despite finding evidence of ‘ritual sacrifice and devil worship.’ Humphries' own wife and daughters refused to live at the inn because of its paranormal, haunted, and sometimes even terrifying, atmosphere.
Humphries claimed until his death in 2017 that he was still haunted by the violent and terrible entities living at the inn—and at one point, he even found skeletal remains of children under the staircase—further reinforcing his claims that the site was used for unholy sacrifices in the past.
But it’s not just John Humphries who has claimed to witness hauntings and ‘violent entities’ at the Ancient Ram Inn. Stories abound about the former innkeeper’s daughter and her violent end in the attic; exorcisms and sacrifices taking place throughout the centuries, and the presence of strange lights and paranormal visitations that make the site a popular spot for would-be ghost hunters.
Perhaps the most haunted room at the inn is ‘The Bishop’s Room,’ where past bishops are said to make regular appearances. There was even a report by local plumbers of a Roman Centurion riding on horseback through the walls—and it’s these tales and more that keep the haunted reputation of the Ancient Ram Inn alive to this day. Between phantom shepherds and their ghostly dogs; the spirits of evil monks; and the inn’s overall vibe which visitors describe as oppressive and disturbing.
Today, the Ancient Ram Inn is owned by John Humphries’ daughter Caroline, who opens its doors to everyone from archeologists looking to study its ancient history to paranormal enthusiasts and would-be ghost hunters and tourists looking for a good scare. Despite its haunted history, there are still plenty of visitors willing to brave its ‘feeling of intense melancholy’ and ‘dreadful foreboding’ for a chance to witness the 12th-century inn’s many ghosts—and here, in the quaint village of Wotton-Under-Edge at the Ancient Ram, they certainly do not rest easy.