All posts tagged Castle

Newhaven Fort. East Sussex

New Haven Fort Naval gun Firing

The year 1066 saw the last successful invasion of Britain, since then our coasts have been guarded by a succession of forts and castles strategically located all around the country.

Seaford Bay and the port of Newhaven in East Sussex have always been the most desired of landing zones for the enemies of the Britons. British history of the area dates back to the Bronze age when a large enclosed fort was built on the cliff top. It has remained an important strategic location and continues to be so even today.

The current Newhaven Fort structure was built around the 1860’s and is believed to be the largest work of defence ever constructed in Sussex. It was also considered a vital element in Britain’s coastal defence through both World War 1 and World War 2.  Following its abandonment as a military fortification, Newhaven Fort suffered years of neglect and dereliction; almost in ruins, it has now been restored to provide an award-winning visitor attraction to both the locals of Sussex but also to the many visitors to the area.

Ghostly Happenings

There are numerous reports from visitors to the Fort, when walking into the main tunnels, of being pushed, seeing dark figures slipping into the shadows and multiple orbs have been caught on the security cameras and monitoring systems, other reports include sounds and smells, people have reported the noises of chains clinking. Some believe it is the ghost of a woman called Martha who committed suicide at the fort. Other occurrences happen in the magazines and laboratory.

The forts numerous exhibitions are also a hot bed of activity. People have reported hearing the sounds of footsteps and shuffling, moans of suffering have also been heard and reported on numerous occasions. for more information on visiting newhaven fort can be found here

Ghosts of Windsor Castle. Berkshire

The ghost of King Henry VIII has been seen walking the halls of the castle and his footsteps and agonising moans have been heard by castle visitors.

For over a 1000 years Windsor Castle as stood, it is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and the Official Residence of Her Majesty The Queen. Standing in the county of Berkshire, it is also the home to many a Ghosts and tales of supernatural haunting.

Windsor Castle has numerous ghosts and paranormal activity. Built in the reign of William the Conquerer, and dating back to the Middle Ages, many people, both royal and common folk alike have died within the confines of the Castle walls and grounds.  Some of many reported ghosts of Windsor castle are listed below.

The Ghost of Henry VIII

The first of the famous Windsor Castle ghosts is King Henry VIII. Henry VIII was the Tudor King who ruled England and Wales during the 16th Century, Henry VIII  famously dissolved the monasteries and broke away from  the Papacy in Rome and established the Church of England, initiating the English Reformation.King Henry is reputed to have been heard in the Cloisters, wandering the castle halls and corridors and is heard groaning and seen dragging his ulcerated leg which was the eventual cause of his death on 28th January 1547.

King Henry is buried at Windsor Castle, in a vault in St. George’s Chapel with his third wife, Jane Seymour. In the same vault are the  remains of King Charles I who has been seen in the Canon’s house . On the rare occasions where King Henry VIII has been witnessed his ghost is described as a large anxious, angry man pacing furiously and occasionally shouting as well.

The Ghost of Anne Boleyn

Whenever Henry VIII is mentioned, tales and stories to his his executed wife Anne Boleyn follow shortly after. The ghosts of Windsor castle is no exception to the rule, The wife to Henry VIII and former queen of England.  Before her execution in 1536 Anne Boleyn; King Henry claimed that she had used witchcraft to make him fall in love with her. Interestingly she was never charged with being a witch, and witchcraft did not end up among the charges used by the court which ultimately found her guilty of treason and adultery. Anne Boleyn was beheaded at the Tower of London, her body and head were buried in an unmarked grave in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula which adjoined the Tower Green.

Anne Boleyn body was one that was identified in renovations of the chapel under the reign of Queen Victoria.  Anne Boleyn final resting place is now marked in the marble floor. The ghost of Anne Boleyn is alleged to haunt the Dean’s Cloister at Windsor Castle. Her ghostly form has been seen peering from a window with a sad and distressed faced and occasionally weeping.

The Ghost of Elizabeth I

The youngest daughter of Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, haunts the Royal Library, the sound of  her high heels have been heard on bare floorboards. Elizabeth I has also been seen on numerous occasions by several members of the Royal family and staff. Her ghostly spectre has been seen at a window in Dean’s Cloister where she always wears a black gown with a black shawl over her shoulders.

King George III, who spent many lonely nights at Windsor Castle, once claimed to have conversed with a ghostly woman dressed in black, who called herself Elizabeth and claimed to be “married to England’. Over a hundred years later, Edward VII is also alleged to have confided in one of his mistresses about a strange ghostly encounter he had had in Windsor Castle with a woman in dressed black, who resembled the great Tudor queen.

The appearance of Queen Elizabeth’s are said to be linked to the advent of war. George VI, is said to have observed the ghost of Elizabeth I  on several consecutive nights, during the opening days of the Second World War, its not know if he had a conversation with his ghostly guest or not.

The Ghost of (Mad) King George III

King George III was born on the 4th June 1738. And faced  several years of military conflict all over the globe during the early years of his reign. In his later years the King suffered from several spells of mental illness, which resulted in his royal executive powers being transferred to his son George, the Prince of Wales. During the King’s periods of ill-health and mental instability he often would be taken away from public view.

Windsor Castle was regularly used to clam the King and provide a retreat away from the pressures of public life and the prying eyes of those who looked to make advantage from his ill state. During his periods of ‘madness’ he was confined to a room below the library, it is here, often that the ghost of George III has been witnessed since the Victorian era, mournfully peering through the Library windows and door way. Military Guardsmen have occasionally been startled to see his face still looking out through the window whilst on sentry and duties. King George III died on the 16th February 1820 and is buried in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle

The Ghost of Queen Victoria

Clearly Queen Victoria was “not amused” by the alterations made to the Castle grounds by her great grandson, Edward VIII. Although Edward only reigned in theory, the errant King quickly set about modifying the grounds of Windsor Castle following his father’s death. When his lover, Wallace Simpson, requested the removal of a family of spruce trees planted by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, he was quick to oblige. The work was hampered however by a number of inexplicable phenomena. Workmen in 1936 even claimed to have seen the ghostly figure of Victoria striding towards them from the Castle, waving her arms and moaning loudly.

The Many Haunted Rooms and Locations within Windsor Castle

The Deanery is haunted by the ghost of a young boy who shouts, “I don’t want to go riding today”. It is also reported that sound of the ghostly boys footsteps can be heard crossing the building.

The ‘Prison Room’ in the Norman Tower is apparently haunted by a former Royalist prisoner dating back to the times of the English Cilvil War . The first Civil War dated (1642–46) and second (1648–49) was between the supporters of King Charles I against the supporters of the Long Parliament, while the third war (1649–51) saw fighting between supporters of King Charles II and supporters of the Rump Parliament. The Civil War ended with the Parliamentary victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651. Both Children playing there have seen the Royalist prisoner whilst many adults visitors have felt him brush past their persons.

In the Curfew Tower, ghostly footsteps are heard on the staircase, the tower bells on one occasion where said to have swung on their own while the ambient temperature of the bell room became cold without warning. Moving over to a kitchen in one of the buildings which make up the horseshoe cloisters, the kitchen is haunted by the ghostly figure of a man and horse. They walk straight through the wall. The history records for Windsor Castle state that the cloisters were once the cavalry stables.

In 1873, a night-time visitor to the castle noticed an interesting new statuary group had been erected near St. George’s Chapel: three standing figures, all in black, and a fourth crouching down. The central standing character was in the act of striking with a large sword. The sentry knew nothing of this artwork and when the visitor returned to re-examine it, it had gone!

One of the most reported sightings at Windsor Castle is the ghost of Herne the Hunter. Herne the became the favoured huntsman of King Richard II when he saved the monarch from being mauled to death by a cornered stag. Being wounded in the process, there are accounts that he was later healed through witchcraft and the wearing of the stag’s antlers. Although this may likely just be an interpretation of a reward by the King for his act of valour.

Do to the favour shown by King Richard II, and mounting jealousy within the ranks, Hern took his own life after being framed for theft from the King, by hanging himself from ‘Herne’s Oak in the Home Park . On several Wild Hunts, Herns ghostly spirit has since been seen many times rushing across the Great Park what he is racing for is not known, some suspect he is looking for any lost souls wandering the land.

Visiting Windsor Castle
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Frendraught House. Aberdeen

Mysterious Fire at Frendraught House Aberdeen

The Ghost of Frendraught House – a fire that killed several members of one fraction.

Frendraught House lies about 6 miles (9 kilometres) to the east of Huntly in the centre  of the extensive Bognie estates. Its foundations date back to 1203, though additions were made to it as recently as the 1840’s. It’s main bulk – containing the inner walls is around 9 feet (2.7 metres) thick – was built between the 14th and 17th centuries when it was both a home and a fortress to the Crichton family.

During those three centuries the Crichtons, along with their cousins and neighbours the Gordons and Leslies, controlled the north-east of Scotland. They were often in embroiled in bloody feuds and disagreements.

In the spring of 1630 Frendraught was occupied by Sir James Crichton. He had made a good political marriage to Lady Elizabeth Gordon, eldest daughter of the Earl of Sutherland, and she took an active part in her husband’s continual disputes. As one Victorian commentator put it, she played a role somewhere between that of Medusa and Lady MacBeth.

The 1630 dispute over boundary lands was between Sir James Crichton and Gordon, Laird of Rothiemary. Sir James settled it in typical fashion by shooting Gorgdon dead. The Marquis of Huntly, the local High Sheriff who was himself a Gordon closely related to both sides, fined Sir James heavily. This ‘blood money’ was paid to the young John Gordon, the new Laird of Rothiemary, and honour seemed satisfied.

By midsummer, however, Sir James was fighting again, this time with Leslie of Pitcaple. Matters came to a head when Crichton shot Leslie through the arm with an arrow. Again the Marquis of Huntly heard the case and this time ruling in favour of Sir James. The wounded Leslie rode off in a fury, openly swearing revenge on the house of Crichtons. Sir James therefore took the precautions of assembling an armed party to escort him back to Frendraught. Surprisingly this armed party included young John Gordon of Rothiemary as well as the Marquis of Huntly’s son John Melgum Viscount Aboyne. The party arrived in the dusk of an October afternoon. Lady Crichton, perhaps relived to see her husband home safe and well, pressed  even the unloved Gordon kin to stay the night. The guests were put in the old tower.

Lor Melgum was given a room separated from the upper story by a wooden staircase. John Gordon of Rothiemary was on the second floor, and the other guests and servants were above him. Spalding a contemporary chronicler , tells what happened: ‘ About midnight that dolours tower took fire in so sudden and furious manner, and in one clap, that noble Viscount, the Laird of Rothiemary, English Will, Colonel Ivat and others, servants, were cruelly burned and tormented to death’

Death by Design

An event of this magnitude cast shadows far beyond north-east Scotland, and the Privy Council in Edinburgh became involved, setting up a commission of bishops and neutral peers to investigate. The commission sat at Frendraught House on the 13th April 1631. The Bishops merely declared that the ‘fire could not have happened accidentally but designedly.’ There the mystery of the fire remains unsolved to his very day. However, local opinion of the time laid the blame squarely on Lady  Frendraught. An anonymous ballad written a few months after the fire said of Rothiemary’s final moments.

When he stood at the wire window
Most doleful to be seen
He did espy the Lady Frendraught
Who stood upon the green.
And mercy, mercy Lady Frendraught
Will ye not sink with sin
For first your husband kilt my farther
And now ye burn his son.
Oh, then it spake Lady Frendraught
And loudly did she cry
It was great pity for Lord John
But none for Rothiemary
But the keys are sunk in deep
draw well, Ye cannot get away.

To the Marquis of Huntly there was only one way to avenge the death of his son. Laying aside his High Sheriff’s impartiality, he recruited a small army of highlanders and raided Frendraught, carrying off 60 cattle and several dozen sheep.

Crichton appealed to Edinburgh, and the privy council came down in his favour. Huntly was fined and Sir James received damages.

Despite their vindication by the Privy Council, both Sir James and his Lady seemed changed by the terrible fire. Three years afterwards he gave a silver chalice, said to have been one of 11 brought north by Mary Queen of Scots, to nearby kirk at Forgue. Today the chalice, the oldest know piece of hallmarked silver in Scotland, lies in a bank vault at Huntly.

Lady Frendraught, took her three daughters and went to live as a recluse at Kinnairdy on the River Deveron. Born a Catholic she was excommunicated  when she signed the Solemn League and Covenant supporting the Presbyterian-ism. Turning back to her old faith, she was rebuffed ‘I refuse absolutely to see her’ wrote Father Blackhall, ‘because she was suspected to be guilty of the death of Lord Abboyne…’ When she died, it was without benefit of clergy, on an unrecorded date. She was buried with her husband in an unmarked grave.

Recent Times

‘According to local opinion and the direct testimony of tenants, guests Frendraught is haunted by Lady Elizabeth Crichton, who is bound there because of her guilt. The recorded sightings of a ‘dark woman in white dress’ at Frendraught go back at least to the 18th century when a Victorian clergyman-writer claimed that the ghost had been seen in the house and among the great beeches around it.

The first modern sightings on record occurred in 1938 when the house stood empty and locked The Late William Thomas, former manager of Glendronough Distillary on the boarders of the Bognie estate was in his early teens at the time. One autumn afternoon he was out shooting crows behind the house. Looking up, he saw a pale face surrounded by dark hair, watching him from a window overlooking the courtyard. He called a keeper who also saw the ‘intruder’. Armed with their shotguns, the two broke in through the kitchen window and made their way through the house, searching from top to bottom. There was nobody there, and no sign of forcible entry but their own.

Nearly 10 years later, Mrs Yvonne Morrision encountered the ghost. It was October 28th I remember the date because my husband was away with the Canadian reserve Army and left the day before. I was completely alone in the kitchens in the basement of the house, the oldest part. Suddenly in the silence I heard footsteps coming down the staircase from the top of the house. I was terrified, but something made me go to the bottom of the stairs where they eventually entered the kitchen. I peered up into the darkness and remember thinking very strongly ‘Well, come on then, if you exist show yourself’ I may have even spoken this aloud. The sound of the footsteps stopped at the top of the stairs kitchen stairs and i saw and heard nothing else.

The footsteps where to heavy and clear to be that of a mouse or rat, in fact Mrs Morrison claimed that rats had never been seen in the building. ‘I knew all the creeks and groans of the old place It was none of these.’

Twice the Morrisions had guest who cut short their visits because of mysterious disturbances. On both occasions the guests were level headed people. One was an old army colleague who had been in the thick of the fighting with Mr Morrision during the Italian campaign. In both cases the stories of the separate guests matched in every detail despite that both sets of guests had never met. Mrs Morrision explains.
‘It was quite funny at first. The guests were a bit embarrassed and it became clear as they thought that my husband and I had a furious fight during the night. When we pointed out that the walls between to the two bedrooms was at least 8 feet (2.4 metres) thick and totally soundproof, they became alarmed. They said that they heard the most dreadful cries for help, with the sound of crashing, like heavy furniture being moved thrown about, and screams. They had been too terrified to investigate.

Several guests and subsequent tenants at Frendraught had described seeing a dark lady in white dress edged and decorated in gold. She was usually standing or walking on the main staircase or the back of the stairs.

Appleby Castle, Cumbria

The castle is said to be haunted by the Ghost of Lady Anne Clifford

The castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of Lady Anne Clifford

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Ludlow Castle. Shropshire

Haunted by the Ghost of Marion - Haunted England

The castle is reputed to be haunted by Marion de Bruyere. She was on the side of the castle garrison who were holding out against a besieging force.

Bruyere’s lover was on the opposing, attacking side, she allowed him to climb a rope to her chamber. However after visiting her one night, and in his passion, the man forgot to pull up the rope. Consequently his fellow soldiers were then able to climb it and take possession of the castle. Upset at her lovers betrayal she killed her lover with his own sword then threw herself from the Battlements. He spirit walks the Hanging Tower of the castle. Other ghosts also haunt Ludlow castle, a grey haired lady who walks the rectory and churchyard.

More Information About Ludlow Castle