The Ostrich Inn
The parish council would like to thank Gary Flint (www.postcards-from-slough.co.uk) for given permission to use this information
The landlord Jarman
The Ostrich Inn harbours a rather gruesome past. At some time in the inn’s past it was run by a landlord named Jarman. One of the guest rooms, the ‘Blue Room’, was the best presented in the inn and was reserved for lone wealthy travellers.
Jarman was a carpenter and he built a trapdoor in the floor and fixed the bedstead on top of it. In the kitchen below was a cauldron which was for boiling alcohol could be used to boil any fluid.
While the guest was asleep, pins would be removed from underneath the trapdoor and it and the bed would swing down. The guest would fall helplessly into the boiling cauldron below and the poor soul would be killed before he could scream. After disposing of the body, Jarman and his wife would then steal the traveller’s possessions.
Some sixty or so such murders are said to have been committed by Jarman. The occurrence of the murders is disputed across a wide range of years from perhaps the 12th to 15th centuries.
Jarman and his wife’s final murder was of a wealthy traveller named Thomas Cole. They were found out when Cole’s horse was found wandering the streets nearby and this caused a search for his owner which led to The Ostrich Inn. The couple were hanged for their atrocities. The Cole murder story is told in the aforementioned book Thomas of Reading which actually puts the number of murders at nine.
Cole’s body was found dumped in a nearby brook and some say that Colnbrook got its name, from a corruption of ‘Cole-in-the-brook’. I think that this is unlikely as in 1107 the village was recorded as Colebroc which may have meant ‘cool brook’.
As to the validity of the story, the Blue Room is above the kitchen but has no evidence of its horrific history. The floors have been renewed over the years and at time of writing the room was being used as a storeroom. I can’t that help wondering whether one day someone will restore it to its former gory (not a typo).