Learn some beguiling fireside stories at Wales' oldest pub, an easy reach from our Brecon Beacons holiday cottages and a must place to visit in Mid Wales. qualitycottages.co.uk/brecon-beacons/brecon-beacons-cottages.
Skirrid Mountain Inn is reputed to be the oldest public house in Wales, with a history that can be traced back as far as the Norman Conquest.Once a court house, it is now an utterly charming pub with a landlord happy to share its great tales. A place full of cosy, happy times with a dark side that involves the landlord placing a pint of ale outside each night to appease the devil and a noose that plays homage to its history as a courthouse!
Our roving reporter Polly met with the charming landlord, Geoff on a perfect winters night to hear his tales from this ancient pub. It is the kind of pub we all want to stumble across whilst on holiday in Wales and one we hope guests staying in our Brecon Beacons holiday cottages will visit.
The Skirrid Mountain Inn stands in the shadow of the Skirrid Mountain, sometimes called the Holy Mountain, which, according to legend , broke in two at the time of the crucifixion of Christ during a violent storm. In the forecourt of the Inn Owen Glendower rallied his troops before marching on to Pontrilas. Halfway up the magnificent square spiral staircase stands the cell, now used as a store room, where many a prisoner spent his last night before being sentenced to death by Bloody Judge Jefferies. The last person to be executed here was hanged on the instructions of Oliver Cromwell; the crime - sheep stealing.
The skirrid Inn is the oldest public house within the borders of Wales and among the foremost claimants to the title of the oldest pub in Great Britain. Many of the contenders listed in the Guinness Book of Records are not original structures, being newer buildings on old foundations or have been extended or restored over the centuries. The Skirrid Inn however has stood for nine centuries.The main rivals for the title of the oldest inn in Great Britain are Nottingham's "Trip to Jerusalem" ( 1070), the "Fighting Cocks" at St. Albans (11th century structure on an 8th century site), the "Godbegot" at Winchester (1002). The "Bingley Arms", Bardsay near Leeds is recorded as the Priests Inn (AD 905), while "Ye Old Ferry Boat Inn" at Holywell Cambridgeshire claims an origin as early as AD 560.
In 1110 is first recorded the existence of the inn known for centuries as "The Skirrid".
"The Devil rode abroad in these early days of ignorance and as the night wins howled in the black night, inside the walls of the Inn, the Innkeeper solemnly poured out a pot of "Devils Brew" for His Satanic majesty - and placed it upon the shelf above the fireplace hence "to sip with the Devil"The Innkeeper may have also left a jug of "pwcca" on the Skirrid doorstep when the last of his customers disappeared into the night, to appease the evil or mischievous spirits of the darkness."
Shakespeare is thought to have got his idea for Puck of Mid Summer Nights Dream from "y pwcca".
Quality Cottages is a family owned holiday company with some fabulous cottages near this inn and indeed across the whole of Wales. Our selected Welsh cottages offer the opportunity to experience wonderful rural and mountain scenery, perfect locations and quality cottages for couples, families, friends and outdoor enthusiasts.