NIA JONES gives us a rundown of Conwy’s most haunted places to visit
A site of outstanding medieval architecture, built for King Edward I around 1283-87AD Conwy Castle has a long and bloody history of battles and struggles, the beautiful castle still stands after all its years of turbulence and is always filled with visitors. Once upon a time it is believed there stood a holy monastery near the castle in Conwy, two spectral hooded and robed monks have been reported appearing within the castle walls and standing along the turrets, sometimes even spotted nearby on the quayside. The monks seem stationary, hanging in the air with no feet; they have no real facial features just pale outlines with dark craters for eyes.So strong and terrifying is the presence of these ghostly monks, dogs have refused to be walked by their owners within the castle grounds, dragging back towards the castle gate in frenzy. Some say that the appearance the monks are an omens that foretell a disaster about to befall the area.
Plas Mawr, Elizabethan Town House
Plas Mawr translated as ‘The Great Manor’ was built for influential squire Robert Wynn between 1577-1580; the legend goes that Robert Wynn was away, his heavily pregnant wife and infant son waited in the tower for his return. The tower became too cold and Lady Wynn ventured downstairs holding her son, she slipped, both were badly injured and taken to the Lantern Room. Their usual doctor was unavailable so a less experienced doctor came that couldn’t treat them, but the servants locked him in the room with them. When Wynn arrived home he rushed to the Lantern Room to find his wife, son and new-born child dead, the doctor nowhere to be seen. Beside himself with grief and vengeance he vowed to hunt down the doctor, he never did find him as he had escaped via the chimney and died there. Robert Wynn, Lady Wynn and the doctor is said to haunt Plas Mawr. Strange noises are often reported coming from the Lantern Room, footsteps are heard, misty faces are seen in windows, doors swing open and the smell of tobacco fills the air, also a ghostly black cat has been seen darting across the floor.
Parts of Aberconwy House are the oldest in Wales, they date back to the 1300s, and the upper storey was completed the early 15th century. The house is decorated in three different styles, Jacobean, Georgian and Victorian. The house belonged to many English merchants who were forbidden to live with the walls of Conwy. Staff refuse to go up into the loft, since many have complained about being prodded by an unknown force, they also experience a strong scent of flowers. Doors rattle then open and slam shut, floorboards creak, plates on the display are moved every evening. Evan David the first owner wife is said to be a permanent apparition at the property, usually seen near the fireplace in the great loft. Between 1850 and1880 a Mr Jones and his much younger wife lived in the house, he died on the day his seventh child was born. It is believed that his ghost haunts the Victorian style corridor; spotted in Victorian attire; he was followed by an employee, but soon vanished into the wall.
The Smallest House in Britain
Situated on the quayside at Conwy, measuring 72 inches across, 122 inches high and 120 inches deep, the smallest house has only two rooms. Upstairs there is a narrow bed, a dressing table, washstand and small cupboard. Downstairs, a settle doubles as a coal bunker, there is a water tap and there was an open fire for cooking food. The Smallest House in Britain was built in the 16th century and was lived in until 1900; the owner Robert Jones, a six foot three inches tall Conwy fisherman lived in the house for fifteen years, it is said his feet came out the window when he was in bed at night, it has how been officially declared too small for human habitation. Margaret Williams, the present owner of the house who has experienced the strings of her apron being untied and pulled while standing in the doorway; she has also been greeted by an unusual and strong smell of salt water and fish when she opened up in the house for visitors in the morning.
The Liverpool Arms Pub
The Liverpool Arms is a popular public house on the Conwy quayside, always packed with people in the summer months, but the spirits the building possesses are not only of the alcoholic variety. The pub is said to be haunted by a man who is described as six and a half feet tall with a small child perched on his shoulders, they are seen walking in and out of the bar. These apparitions are suggested to be a previous landlord and his young son who allegedly drowned in the Conwy estuary in the 1930’s. A female cook in old fashioned clothes has also been seen drinking in the snug, many have smelt the aroma of roast beef cooking and a potent scent of vanilla, which was believed to be associated with the cargo carried by ships in times gone by. But the most disturbing vision connected to the Liverpool Arms is a sinister monk seen floating behind the pub building; he is regarded as an omen of impending bad luck or death. There has been plenty of poltergeist activity reported, objects going missing and reappearing in odd places and a bed in the attic space has been seen shaking violently.
NIA JONES is a freelance writer. She has written pieces for The Guardian Community Film Blog’s Clip Joint, Inside Media Track and Reader’s Panel. Follow her on Twitter @niaserenwib