The past three years have been hard for Caroline Humphries, owner of the Ancient Ram Inn in Wotton-under-Edge.
The building has a reputation as one of the most haunted in England, and also possibly the oldest house in the country, but the global pandemic meant all visits by paranormal investigators abruptly stopped.
“Finances have become an issue because of COVID. Luckily, I was able to take film crews which kept us in business, but only just. For two years we made a substantial loss,” said Caroline.
Last October ITV’s This Morning presenter Josie Gibson filmed at The Ram, and it has featured in many national and international paranormal investigation shows.
The Ram gained its reputation as a paranormal hotspot after Caroline’s late father, John Humphries, bought the former pub: “Dad wanted a project to work on and also for the family to run as a guesthouse. We bought it in 1968 and it was a guesthouse within a couple of years.
“It became a paranormal event location by accident, really. Some of the guests had experiences there, which you cannot explain, although Dad suspected it was haunted, so then it kind of evolved into an event location for paranormal activity.”
The Ram dates back to the 15th century, and is possibly even older than that, and a building of that age demands constant care and attention.
“Every single penny gets invested into maintenance of [the building]. I’ve had some of the walls not rebuilt but maintained, and work done on a chimney, but I need all new windows. All the walls really need to be repointed inside and out. There’s a lot of work to be done in the garden, and that’s still not even started.”
Caroline is increasing the number of open days she holds throughout the year (the next on May 20th) and would ultimately like to reopen it as a pub or restaurant and even involve the town’s schools.
“If money was no object, I’d turn it into a community asset – I’d get the kids down from the schools to learn about history.
“I do more open days and it could be a going concern, I don’t know, as a pub or a restaurant here – it could be so many things – but it needs to be the hub of Wotton, basically.”