LOCALS could have been forgiven for thinking they had drunk one too many pints after spotting an old man’s face in a pub wall.

Until the weekend none of the regulars at the Cross Lanes Hotel in Marchwiel had seen the eerie impression in a panelled area of hallway.

Regular Peter Edwards was the first to spot the face, which resembles famous depictions of Fagin from Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist.

Speculation is now growing that the imprint could be many centuries old.

The panelling in the hallway originally came from Emral Hall in Worthenbury, which dates back to the 14th century.

Manager Ian Chapman said: “Peter, who is one of our local customers, spotted it in a bit of wood panelling. We couldn’t believe it.”

Emral Hall, demolished in 1936, was home to the Puleston family for 700 years.

Its 17th century barrel-vaulted plaster work ballroom ceiling, featuring The Labours of Hercules, was installed in the town hall at Portmeirion by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis.

Other parts of the historic home ended up in different buildings, including, it would seem, the Cross Lanes Hotel.

The hotel, built as a private property in 1872, was converted to its present use in 1959 and has been owned by Michael Kagan for the past 23 years.

Ian said: “I’ve worked here for 15 years and never noticed it before. It seems to have materialised from nowhere but it must always have been there.

“When I first heard about it I sort of dismissed it really. But you look at the panel and there is certainly a face.

“Nothing has happened to the panelling – it is certainly in the wood itself.

“It looks like a male and if I had to guess at the age I’d say 60s.

“Who knows, it could date from the 14th century.”

Do you have a theory about the face in the wall? Call the Leader newsdesk on 01978 355151 or email news@leaderlive.co.uk