Berry Pomeroy Castle is a haunted ruined castle in the wild countryside at Berry Pomeroy, Devon, England. The brooding ruins are said to be inhabited by at least three ghosts. A strange atmosphere pervades the grounds and leaves visitors with unexplained feelings of terror and foreboding.
According to legend, the hauntings trace back to the original owners of the castle, the de la Pomerai (Pomeroy) family, which owned it from the time of the Norman Conquest (1066) until 1548, when they sold it. Stories of hauntings are said to have circulated for hundreds of years, but did not become widely known until they were publicized in the late 19th century in the memoirs of a well-known physician, Sir Walter Farquhar.
Farquhar related how he was once summoned to the castle to attend to the ill wife of the castle’s steward. While he waited in a room, a beautiful young lady in white entered. She was in distress and was wringing her hands. She walked across the room, mounted a staircase, then looked directly at Farquhar and vanished.
The following day, Farquhar was once again attending the sick wife of the steward, when he remarked on the strange appearance of the woman in white. The steward became distressed, and explained that Farquhar had seen one of the family’s Death Omens: the ghost of a lady in white who preceded the death of someone closely associated with the castle. A few hours later, the steward’s wife died.
According to family legend, the ghost is that of a daughter of a former owner of the castle. During life, she supposedly was cruel. As punishment for her sins, she is doomed to haunt the castle. The ghost also allegedly appears outside the castle, luring people into unsafe places where they might have accidents.
Another ghost said to haunt the ruins is that of Lady Margaret de Pomeroy, who loved the same man as her sister Eleanor. Out of jealousy, Eleanor imprisoned Margaret in the dungeon and starved her to death. Margaret’s ghost, clothed in fl owing white robes, is said to rise out of the dungeon on certain nights and walk the ramparts.
A third ghost is that of a woman in a hooded blue cape. By some accounts, she is another Pomeroy daughter, who murdered her baby by smothering it. The baby’s ghostly cries are said to haunt the castle as well.
- Loy, Sandra. “Go Ghosthunting.” Herald Express (Torquay, Devon, England), July 27, 1991, n.p.
- Underwood, Peter. A Gazeteer of British Ghosts. Rev. ed. London: Pan Books, Ltd., 1973.
- Whitaker, Terence. Haunted England. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1987.
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