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Dylan Jones

Llancaiach Fawr Book
The Ghost Tour of Wales
Haunted Holidays



On the northern outskirts of Newport lies the Roman fortress town of Caerleon with its impressive Roman remains including baths, amphitheatre and barracks. Take junction 25 off the M4 and travel along the B4596 to reach this historic town.  Caerleon was the site of one of Britain's three Roman Legionary Fortresses and many believe it to be the location of King Arthur's Camelot.  In 830 AD Nennius listed Cair Lion as one of Britain's 33 cities.  Nowadays it's a thriving town where past and present combine to delight both visitors and residents.



The University Campus

The accommodation at the Caerleon Campus of the University has long had reports of ghostly centurions wandering about. Could this be due to the fact that it is built in 1912 on the grounds of the former Roman burial grounds? Students have reported that their beds have moved during the night... with them still in them! Also the ghost of a former matron has been seen patrolling the corridors. Is it the matron who allegedly fell to her death from a stair well in the campus? Or is it all the result of too many drinks on a student night out?


Mystery of Big Bertha's ghost

The ghost of a six foot tall matron who roams the corridors of a university campus is being made the subject of a new book.  The spectre of Bertha Ramsey is said to be a familiar sight to staff at the University of Wales College Newport's Caerleon campus since her death in 1962.  Now, a student at the college is writing a book about the spooky sightings at the college.


"Bertha Ramsey was found dead at the foot of the stairs in January 1962," said Rosemary Rawcliffe, 61, who is studying for an MA in Historical Landscapes. "The 60-year-old matron, nick-named Big Bertha for obvious reasons, had apparently plunged to her death after toppling over a banister on the second floor.  There was some speculation at the time about whether she had fallen or been pushed.  Since her death, there have been numerous sightings of her ghost roaming the corridors near her room on the ground floor.  There is a real mystery about her death.  Because it happened during the Christmas holidays, there were no students staying at the college so there was no reason for her to go upstairs.  Why did she go up there? And what caused her death?"


During her research into Big Bertha, Ms Rawcliffe said that despite searching, she still has not found a death certificate or Bertha's grave.  She has also discovered that even after her death, the formidable figure of Bertha still managed to startle people who knew her.


"She (Bertha) told no one that she had an identical twin sister, who turned up for the funeral and went into the principal's office, giving him the fright of his life," said Ms Rawcliffe.  "He thought it was Big Bertha come back from the dead," she added.


Big Bertha's ghost, described as a woman wearing a brown overall with her hair pulled back in a tight bun, is a well-known phenomenon among security staff who patrol the campus at night.  Many claim to have heard strange noises and seen pictures knocked crooked while making their rounds. Security officer Tim Jones said: "Several of the security staff have heard strange sounds a night and sometimes, in the early hours of the morning, the lift will come down and when the doors open there is no one inside it.  When that happens we all say, 'Here comes Big Bertha',"


Ms Rawcliffe is hoping that more people with stories about the phantoms of the Caerleon campus will come forward with their tales.


The Priory Hotel


The Priory Hotel is situated on High Street.  Originally built in 1180 on the site of old Roman stables, the hotel has recently been sympathetically restored preserving the original flagstones.  The 'Oak Room' with panels and stained glass dating back to 1622, form part of the dining room.


The ghost of a mild-mannered monk allegedly haunts this splendid hotel in the town. Visitors, who have shared a ghostly encounter, have stated that the face of the monk is "serene and happy". Obviously there is nothing to be frightened of... fancy booking a room to find out?


The Hospital

Staff at St Cadocs Hospital have reported that a figure has been seen running down one of the ward corridors, only to disappear completely. Nurses have gone to check mysterious sounds heard on their ward at night, only to find that a bed has moved into the centre of the room... with their sleeping occupier still in them!


The Amphitheatre

The amphitheatre stands just outside the Roman walled area of the town.  It once could seat a whole legion - up to six thousand spectators.  Nowadays it is sometimes used for open-air events and re-enactments.  Entry is free (except for special events) and there is free parking nearby in Broadway (off High Street).  At the site of the amphitheatre, the sound of Roman soldiers' footsteps have been heard on occasions.




Please read “Ghosts of Gwent” by Alan Roderick and visit the excellent site at

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