Friday, June 17, 2022

Howard Marks at the haunted Prince of Wales Inn

The haunted wall of the Prince of Wales Inn at Kenfig makes another appearance, thanks to a tip from a reader.

In 2007 Wales on Sunday interviewed the late Howard Marks, who had somehow contrived to become a celebrity drug smuggler, at this very pub:

"This pub’s got a talking wall, do you want to come and see?”


"It’s haunted. Shall we see if the landlord will show us?"

Not exactly a seamless way to change the subject but, hell, let’s hear what the wall has to say.

Howard shuffles towards the bar and landlord Gareth Maund takes us up the stone stairs to a room once used as a courthouse.

Howard is clearly fascinated as Gareth recounts chapter and verse about the bar.

And doubtless he’s happy to be out of his interrogator’s hands.

It's amazing how many supposedly haunted pubs are claimed to have been courthouses.

When he died in 2016 his Guardian obituary began:

Howard Marks, who has died aged 70 of cancer, was Britain’s best-known and most charming drug smuggler, and also a successful author and raconteur. 
He translated a lifetime of international cannabis dealing and a long stretch in an American jail into a bestselling book, Mr Nice (1996), and a career as a stand-up performer.

And went on to record that:

After seven years, he was freed, receiving maximum parole, and returned initially to Mallorca and his family. He set about writing Mr Nice, a frank autobiography which has sold more than 1m copies. 
He also started doing one-man shows, telling anecdotes, joint in hand, to sell-out theatre audiences, many of whom had not been born when he was. arrested.

"Mr Nice" was one of the many aliases he used in the course of his smuggling businesses and also, many agreed, a fair description of his character,

Marks was born at Kenfig Hill, a mining village a couple of miles inland from Kenfig, which overlooks the Bristol Channel.

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