All posts tagged English Civil War

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
For More Information on Windsor Castle 

St. Nicholas Churchyard. Birmingham

Witnessed back in 1977, was a ghostly figure of a woman in the graveyard in Cardworth.

Witnessed back in 1977, was a ghostly figure of a woman in the graveyard in Cardworth.

Described as a tall ghostly figure in a long flowing green gown, she is believed to be the spirit of a woman buried in a mass grave after a battle during the Civil War.

Lanhydrock House. Cornwall

Lanhydrock House was nearly destroyed in 1881

A strage unearthly shape is said to roam several rooms of Lanhydrock House. Continue reading →

Sedgemoor Battlefield. Somerset

The battle between one ‘rebel army’ led by James, Duke of Monmouth and the other ‘royal army’ led by Lord Faversham

The battle between one ‘rebel army’ led by James, Duke of Monmouth and the other ‘royal army’ led by Lord Faversham, took place on the 6th July 1685.

The ‘Royal army’ prevailed and even ruthlessly slaughtered wounded soldiers on the other side who survived the skirmish. Monmouth was captured 2 days after the clash and executed in London. Ghosts of horsemen have been seen galloping over the battleground. Disembodied voices are heard and the ghostly figure of Monmouth is said to reinact his attempted escape every year.

More Information About Sedgemoor Battlefield

Scarborough Castle. Scarborough

Scarborough Castle dates from the 12th century.

Scarborough Castle dates from the 12th century.

It was severely damaged during the English Civil War but remained usable long after as a prison and then a military barracks right up until the end of World War I. It is still home to a 14th century spirit. In 1312 a favorite of King Edward II named Piers Gaveston was captured at Scarborough Castle and taken to Warwick Castle where he was held prisoner and then executed. It is said that the headless spirit of Gaveston returns to Scarborough Castle to haunt the ruins. In fact he is said to lure people over the edge of the castle down the cliffs to their deaths. There have been countless reports from the public of feeling like they are being pushed or shoved, some have even reported hearing an unusual laugh!

Abbey Ghost Hunters have looked into many of these reports and found that most have been reported to have happened on the outside wall of the castle rather than inside, even local tales are reported to have happened outside the castle mainly at two specific locations. Gaveston was reported to be a joker and often hid in the dark along the castle wall and would push and shove Barons and Earls who had decided to stroll along the wall late at night.

Edward II (1307-28) was thought to be incompetent and frivolous by his father and his people. He was thought to be largely under the influence of his favourites, especially the Gascon squire, Piers Gaveston (and later Hugh le Despenser and his son).

Edward II was not as politically astute or as militarily capable as his father and soon lost many of the strongholds taken by Edward I during his campaigns. Throughout his reign as King, Edward II struggled with discontented barons, who particularly objected to Gaveston’s influence – he was widely considered the king’s lover.

In 1312, the barons seized Gaveston and executed him at Kenilworth. Edward II’s wife, Isabella, (daughter of Philip IV of France), left Edward, and took their son (the future Edward III) to France. In 1326, she returned with her lover, Roger de Mortimer, to depose and murder Edward.

A Gascon by birth, Piers was the son of Sir Arnaul de Gabaston, a soldier in service to King Edward I of England. As a boy he entered the royal household, where he became a companion of Prince Edward in 1300. Prince Edward was delighted with the bold and witty Gaveston, and gave him many honors and gifts. This did not sit well with the king, who did not approve of his son’s choice of such a low-born companion. When Prince Edward asked to bestow Ponthieu upon Gaveston, the king flew into a rage. “You wretched son of a whore!” cried King Edward. “Do you want to give away lands now? You who have never gained any? As God lives, if not for fear of breaking up the kingdom, I would never let you enjoy your inheritance!” Then he grasped Prince Edward by the hair, flung him to the floor, and kicked him until he was exhausted.

King Edward then banished Gaveston, with the intention of punishing his son more than Gaveston. He forced Prince Edward and Piers to swear an oath never to see one another again without his permission. Then Piers set sail for France, loaded down with many rich gifts from the prince. But as soon as his father died in July 1307, the new king recalled his “Brother Perrot” and endowed him with the county of Cornwall.
Gaveston was married to Margaret de Clare a granddaughter of King Edward I and was created Earl of Cornwall by the king. He was made guardian of the realm when Edward had to leave the country in 1308 to marry Isobella of France Gaveston was unpopular with the new queen as well as with the nobles, and the two men, who were approximately the same age, are believed to have had a homosexual relationship.

Following his bungling of the coronation arrangements, Gaveston was sent away to Ireland as regent. He returned within the year, and made more enemies, the most powerful of whom was Thomas earl of Lancaster a cousin of the king, whom Gaveston defeated in a tournament. Lancaster led opposition to Edward, forcing him to send Gaveston into exile yet again. When he had the temerity to return, he was captured and executed by his rivals. He would shortly be replaced in the king’s affections by Hugh le Despenser.

More Information About Scarborough Castle