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Shire Hall, Monmouth South Wales Ghost Hunts 

Ghost Hunts at Shire Hall

The haunted and eerie Shire Hall is situated in Agincourt Square, Monmouth, Wales, This building is is a prominent Grade I listing situated in the town centre.

It was built in 1724 and was formerly the centre for the Assize Courts and Quarter Sessions for Monmouthshire. An epicentre of incarceration, justice and injustice, crime, punishment and executions.

The building is said to be home of many wandering spirits, many people believe that this building is haunted by a former judge, Known for his harsh and cruel sentencing, he has been witnessed on many occasions from both staff and visitors. There have been many reports of unexplained doors slamming shut, cold icy breaths felt in the cells, and reports of being grabbed in the courtroom by unforeseen hands. Many people who visit this building have reported a strange feeling of being uneasy some believe this is the ghosts of a family said to be hanged for stealing. Over the years there has been numerous reports of strange ghostly figures and dark apparitions from Guardsmen dressed in period clothing small girls running through the endless corridors. Spend the night in total darkness seeking for the many lost souls that are said to haunt here. Spend the night here on a real ghost hunt. 

History of Shire Hall 


The current building was erected in 1724, and is at least the fourth building on the site. It had earlier been the site of an Elizabethan court built in 1536, which in turn was replaced in 1571 by a timber-framed construction. The timbers from the original building were used in the construction of the Shire Hall, which provided an open trading area on the ground floor with rooms above. The building, described in Buildings of Wales as "a mighty affair", is constructed of Bath stone ashlar and was designed by a little-known architect, Philip Fisher (d. 1776) of Bristol at a cost of £1700. The Courts of Assize were transferred to the building in 1725, with the court room itself located on the first floor above the open arches which were used as a market area. The clock in the pediment was made by Richard Watkins in 1765.

The interior of the building was remodelled in 1828, and a new exterior stair tower with a glazed lantern was added, enclosing a grandiose new staircase. Thomas Hopper was involved with improvements to the Shire Hall under "Royal assent". He was involved for many years with improvements to Penrhyn Castle, near Bangor. He and Edward Haycock, Sr. extended the Shire Hall building along Agincourt Street, creating room for a new staircase and larger courts. Hopper took up residence in Monnow Street in Monmouth while this was happening.

The sculpture of King Henry V, in a niche above the front entrance and below the clock, is generally considered to be of poor quality; variously described as "incongruous "rather deplorable", "decidedly-bad" and "pathetic. Like a hypochondriac inspecting his thermometer". It was added in 1792 by Charles Peart, a professional sculptor who had been born at nearby English Newton The inscription reads: HENRY V, BORN AT MONMOUTH, AUG 9TH 1387. The carved birth date is now thought to be incorrect.

Trial of the Chartist leaders

The County Gaol was located a short distance from the court rooms. It was here that the Chartist leader Henry Vincent, who had sought the right of all men to vote in parliamentary elections, was imprisoned before being tried at the assizes. Vincent was convicted, but the unpopularity of the verdict led to protests that eventually led to miners being killed in a clash with the military at Newport on 4 November 1839. John Frost was arrested in Newport shortly after the riot, followed by other leaders of the group. A Special Commission opened at Shire Hall on 10 December 1839, and an appointed Grand Jury considered what charges to bring against them. The Grand Jury included Lord Granville Somerset, brother of the Duke of Beaufort; John Etherington Welch Rolls; Octavius Morgan; and four Members of Parliament, Joseph Bailey, William Addams Williams, Reginald James Blewitt, and Sir Benjamin Hall. Frost, William Jones, Zephaniah Williams and five others were duly charged with high treason, and their trial began on 31 December. It has been described as "one of the most important treason trials in the annals of British law" The judges were the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Nicholas Tindal; Sir James Parke; and Sir John Williams, who was notorious for sentencing the Tolpuddle Martyrs to transportation in 1834. Counsel for the Crown was the Attorney General, Sir John Campbell; Frost's counsel was Sir Frederick Pollock.

While the trial was taking place, measures were taken to protect Monmouth against Chartist insurgents. Troops were billeted at the White Swan, and some were stationed at the gatehouse on the Monnow Bridge. Granville Somerset and Benjamin Hall spoke in Frost's defence, and, in his summing up, Lord Chief Justice Tindal drew attention to the complete certainty needed for a conviction, suggesting his desire for an acquittal. All eight men were found guilty, but the jury added a recommendation for mercy. On 16 January 1840, the judge sentenced Frost, Jones and Williams to be hanged, drawn and quartered; they were the last men in Britain to be sentenced to that punishment. The other five men were sentenced to transportation. On the day before they were due to be executed, 29 January, the Cabinet under Lord Melbourne took the advice of Lord Chief Justice Tindal, and asked Queen Victoria to reduce all the sentences to transportation. On 2 February 1840, the prisoners were escorted to Chepstow, and put on the steamer Us for Portsmouth, where they were transferred to the ship Spithead with over 200 other prisoners and taken to Van Diemen's Land.

Recent uses 


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