Haunted Shrewsbury : The Dun Cow Inn
The Dun Cow is one of the oldest public houses in the UK. Built by Roger de Montgomery, First Earl of Shrewsbury circa 1085 as a hostel for the highly skilled masons and master builders bought in to supervise the construction of the St. Peter and St. Paul (later to be known as The Abbey). The Dun Cow was historically a hostelry with its own brewery in 1105 and probably existed before that.
During the late Tudor period The Dun Cow was in need in repair, but by this time the good Shropshire oak which was used in original constuction was at permium. Thus the steward a Mr Dun Fow (an interpretation of whose name later gave the pub its present name) was obliged to purchase spanish oak from Bristol. The oak came from the breakers yard where the Armada galleons routed by Sir Francis Drake had in earlier years been dismantled. The ships timbers were bought to shrewsbury on a sail barge and can now be seen clearly in the walls of the inn.
Prince Rupert chose The Dun Cow as his billet when in Shrewsbury. On one occasion one of the Prince’s stewards a certain Sir Richard was murdered in the inn kitchen by a Dutch army officer. The Netherlander was immediately court marshaled, found guilty and ordered to be hung by the neck until dead. On the scaffold in the stables of The Dun Cow he made a short speech, “it is grossly unfair ” he said ” that I a Dutchman should be executed for killing only one Englishman”.
In 1980 Mrs Hayes, wife of the then land-lord awoke suddenly one night. In the room was a hooded figure, wearing the habit of a monk, though dotted with bright colours. Though the sight of this phantom was chilling enough, the long dead monk was bent over the cot of the land-lady’s infant daughter.
Disturbed, the phantom father disappeared, but later visited the child, now aged two, again. She awoke frightened and screaming at the mysterious man in her room. Mr Hayes, the land-lord also saw the apparition and guests have seen shadowy figures in the night disappearing though walls.
A ghost wearing the uniform of a Dutch cavalry officer of the time has been seen on the permises, the last recorded sighting being as recent as 2003.