In part three of this series we focus on England’s most notorious haunted castles. The previous batch of haunted castles, covered here, were from various European countries. You can start by reading a good introduction about castles here.
Hampton Court Palace — England
Hampton Court was originally built for Cardinal Wolsey, a favourite of King Henry VIII. When Wolsey fell from favor, the palace was passed to the King. During the Tudor period, the palace was the scene of many historic events. In 1537, the King’s much desired male heir, the future Edward VI, was born at the palace and the child’s mother, Jane Seymour, died there two weeks later.
Four years afterwards, the King learned of his fifth wife’s adultery. The Queen, Catherine Howard, was dragged away screaming and executed. Her ghost is said to haunt it the castle and she’s known as the Screaming Lady. With modern day technology and the tight security specific to Britain, ghosts are now being recorded by CCTV cameras. This one has been named Skeletor.
Berry Pomeroy Castle – England
Berry Pomeroy Castle is haunted by the ghosts of two women. Some say it could in fact be just one woman. Either way, if you see her, don’t follow her to the tower. She is known to lure people to the tower, making them fall to their death.
The ghost known as the White Lady is Margaret Pomeroy, the sister of Eleanor Pomeroy. Eleanor was jealous of Margaret’s looks and locked her in the dungeon, starving her to death. The Blue Lady wanders about mourning the loss of her babies. She was allegedly raped by her own father, and then gave birth to children who were strangled by him. Legend says that having a vision of the Blue Lady meant imminent death.
Castle Lodge – England
The Castle Lodge is famous for being the residence of Catherine of Aragon during her marriage to Prince Arthur. Castle Lodge was also the location where scenes of the film Moll Flanders (1965) were shot.
Visitors keep reporting the sighting of a teenage girl wearing Tudor costume who walks the attic corridors and visits the nursery. One guest was shocked to witness a young woman approaching him and then disappearing through a closed door. People believe this is Catherine, returning to the castle where she was once happy.
Chillingham Castle – England
Chillingham Castle was originally a monastery in the late 12th century. Then, from the 13th century until the 1980s, Chillingham Castle was the seat of the Grey family and their descendants, the Earls of Tankerville.
The most famous ghost of the castle is the “Blue Boy”, who used to haunt the Pink Room. Guests reported seeing blue flashes of light above their beds after hearing a loud wail. It is claimed that the hauntings stopped after renovation work revealed a man and a young boy inside a 10-foot-thick wall. When the remains of the boy were examined, experts found the bones of his fingers had been worn down. This has led people to believe the boy had scratched at the wall trying to escape that he destroyed his own fingers.
Tutbury Castle – England
Tutbury Castle lies now in ruins, having been destroyed by Prince Edward in 1264 after the rebellion of Robert de Ferrers, 6th Earl of Derby. Apart from the 12th century chapel the ruins date from the 14th and 15th centuries when the castle was rebuilt. Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned in the castle in the 16th century.
Tutbury Castle is said to be haunted by many ghosts. One is the ghost of a soldier wandering the parapets. Another is of a drummer boy who can be heard playing his drum near the North tower. He was killed by an arrow while drumming the warning that the castle was under attack. It is believed that hearing the drumming is a good omen. An old woman has been seen outside the great hall and floating outside the Hall’s window. The ghost of the white lady appears in the window of the Tower. There have also been many sightings of Mary Queen of Scots herself.
Arundel Castle — England
Arundel Castle has been in the family of the Duke of Norfolk for over 400 years. It was first built in 1068 during the reign of William the Conqueror as a fortification for the mouth of the River Arun and a defensive position for the surrounding land against invasion from the Continent. The original structure was a motte and double bailey castle. You can read more about the architectural evolution of castles here.
There are said to be at least four ghosts at Arundel Castle. There is the ghost of a young servant boy which is thought to have worked in the kitchens where his master frequently beat him. His ghost has been seen many times cleaning pots and pans and scurrying around the kitchen. A ghost of a young woman has also been seen, dressed in white and wandering around on moonlit nights. Is is believed that she committed suicide by throwing herself off the tower due to the loss of her lover. The spirit of a Blue Man has been spotted in the library, searching through books. Also, there’s the ghost of a small white bird flying around the castle. On all occasions it was seen, the sudden death of a resident of the castle followed.
Last, but not least, one of the most famous castles in the world.
Windsor Castle — England
Windsor Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and, dating back to the time of William the Conqueror, is the oldest in continuous occupation. Windsor is one of the many homes of the present Queen of England. One of the spirits haunting this place belongs to a Saxon hunter named Herne, who, as one of the Royal keepers for King Richard II (1367-1400), saved the King’s life while he was hunting. In the last 250 years, hundreds of people have claimed to have seen his spirit, often accompanied by his pack of hounds.
Many royal heads haunt this castle as well: King Henry VIII has been seen walking the hallways of Windsor castle. One of his wives, Anne Boleyn, has been seen standing at the window in the Dean’s Cloister. Queen Elizabeth I has been seen in the Royal Library or walking from one room to another. She is always dressed in a black gown with a black lace shawl draped over her shoulders. King George III can be seen looking out the windows located below the Royal Library where he was confined during the recurrence of his mental illness. The first Duke of Buckingham, Sir George Villiers, is said to haunt one of the bedrooms of Windsor castle. King Charles I has been seen many times in the library and the Canon’s house. Although he had been beheaded, his ghost appears as a whole.
So, if you’d like to mingle with royal heads, go to Windsor. Don’t let the fact that some of them have been beheaded deter you.
More in this series:
- World’s Most Famous Medieval Castles — Europe (I)
- World’s Most Famous Medieval Castles — Europe (II)