Llandoger Trow: Bristol’s Haunted Pirate Pub

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Llandoger Trow is a haunted Bristol pub with 15 spirited ghosts, where literary history and supernatural encounters intertwine, writes RICK HALE

Llandoger Trow, Bristol

Near the southwest tip of Britain, along the River Avon, can be found the historic city of Bristol. For well over a thousand years since its founding in 1020 CE, Bristol has been an important hub of trade and was home to a mint that produced silver pennies. 

And of course with trade violence and bloodshed would soon follow.

Forty seven years after its founding as a village, Bristol managed to repel a violent attack by an Irish raising party and would later become the home of Diarmit Mac Murchada, an Irish king who was overthrown following the Norman Invasion of Ireland.

Bristol has seen much violence and bloodshed and at the centre of it all is Llandoger Trow, a public house that boasts 15 ghosts. And many of them, of course, are quite terrifying.

History of Llandoger Trow 

This curiously named drinking establishment was constructed in 1664 and was originally three row houses. 

And was named after the town of Llandalo in Wales and the Trow was a flat bottomed barge commonly used to transport goods from Wales to England.

Although not much in the way of murder or bloodshed occurred in the pub, the building is significant to English literature.

Llandoger Trow was a favorite of famed author Robert Louis Stevenson being a frequent visitor. 

It’s believed the pub gave him inspiration to write about the Admiral Benbow Inn is his immortal swashbuckling classic, Treasure Island.

And writer Daniel Defoe allegedly met Alexander Selkirk one day while drinking at the pub.

Llandoger Trow: Bristol's Haunted Pirate Pub 1

Selkirk was a famous privateer and Royal Navy officer who spent over four years marooned on a deserted island.

The chance meeting inspired Defoe to base his character and book Robinson Crusoe on the castaway who barely made it off the island with his life.

Literature wasn’t the only maritime connection with Llandoger Trow. 

The dreaded pirate and scourge of the high seas Blackbeard was a regular patron of the Trow when he made landfall in Britain.

Of course, he kept mainly to the shadows so as not to attract any prying eyes who might report his presence. However, I’m sure fear of the bloodthirsty pirate caused many to look the other way.

Apart from it’s importance to English literature, the only other notable occurrence was the building suffering damage during World War II.

Fortunately that damage was minimal and the pub was able to continue with business as usual.

Years after the war Llandoger Trow was awarded Grade II status in 1959.

Haunting Of Llandoger Trow

This favourite Bristol pub is unique, setting it apart from other notoriously haunted pubs, Llandoger Trow was not necessarily the scene of tragedy, crime, or episodes of murder. 

So how did this seemingly quiet pub get to be so haunted? In fact, according to its staff and regulars, the Trow has 15 highly spirited  ghosts, who have no problem making themselves known.

Llandoger Trow: Bristol's Haunted Pirate Pub 2
When Spooky Isles founder and editor, David Saunderson, visited the Llandoger Trow in December 2022, he was told by bar staff this ancient wooden statue was central to hauntings at the ancient pub.

The Little Boy

Of all the ghosts said to call the Trow home, it is a little cherub faced boy who appears to be the most active.

The ghosts of a young boy with a painful limp, who goes by the name Pierre, is regularly experienced in the pub.

Pierre is believed to haunt the pub after being murdered in the pub, some say his disability had a part to play in the cruelty he endured in life.

Pierre, has been seen wearing leg braces and he is regularly heard wandering the building late at night after all the customers go home and staff is left to close the pub for the day.

The Other Ghosts

Unlike Pierre, the other ghosts of Llandoger Trow are more often experienced than seen in the pub.

Cold spots are regularly felt in the Jacobean Room along with mysterious disembodied voices that speak in hushed tones whenever the living is present.

The cellar is another notable area of the pub. In 1962, a series of subterranean tunnels were accidentally discovered under the pub.

The tunnels have long since been destroyed but that hasn’t stopped the shadowy apparitions that appear to have been awakened by their discovery.

Two apparitions have been captured wondering the building and a poltergeist is known to cause occasional chaos by breaking glasses and plates against walls.

Llandoger Trow is a haunted pub that truly embraces its reputation as being an extraordinarily active building

Public ghost hunts have been held in the pub since 2009. Llandoger Trow enjoys his ghostly reputation as well as a popular meeting place for those just looking for a good time.

Have you experienced anything strange at the Llandoger Trow? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

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