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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.

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