The Ghosts of Warwick Castle
Who doesn’t love them?
No, seriously, do you know anyone who doesn’t love castles?
If you do, send them my way and I’ll have a word!
From the Middle Ages to today's world, planned communities and system of the social order of medieval life have become romanticized, transformed into a time of honor, chivalry, and other knightly virtues. Castles represent power and strength, safety and protection. They represent an era long gone, and legends of old that to this day capture our imaginations.
In three words…
Do you know what else castles are?
Can you guess?
I’ll give you a hint: it’s transparent, and it can pass through walls.
You’re starting to see it, right?
Yep! Castles are breeding grounds for all kinds of ghost stories!
Hundreds of years old, the walls of castles are drenched in history and in the memories of the people that lived within them. Coupled with secret corners and squeaky noises after dark, it comes as no surprise that many people “see” all kinds of ghostly apparitions in the corner of their eye.
But we’re not here to talk about every castle today.
No! Today we’re here to talk about one specific gem of a fortress and its eons-old but very much “alive” tenants!
Welcome to Warwick Castle!
Warwick Castle, which proudly displays more than 1,000 pieces of arms and armor in the Great Hall, possesses an extensive history spanning more than 1,000 years. Warwick Castle was associated with various historic events including the Norman conquest of England, Hundred Years' War between England and France, and the War of the Roses. Following the War of the Roses, a peaceful existence began at Warwick Castle. Moreover, it served as the home to the mighty Earls of Warwick.
It does sound like the perfect place for a ghost, doesn’t it?
And this castle houses at least a few of them!
Roger de Beaumont
In 1088, Roger de Beaumont was made the 2nd Earl of Warwick. Later, in 1119, he established the Church of All Saints within the walls of Warwick Castle. However, the Bishop of Worcester was not very keen on the idea of a church being in a castle and had it removed in 1127; an act that pitted the nobility against the established Church.
In 1153, the wife of Roger De Beaumont made a huge mistake when she gave the castle to the invading army of Henry of Anjou—later Henry II—after they convinced her that her husband had been killed.
In a bizarre turn of events, a not-yet-dead De Beaumont died from shock upon learning what she had done.
Most inhabitants of Warwick Castle that followed after reported seeing the frustrated spirit of Roger, wandering the halls and lamenting his losses.
Sir Fulke Greville
Sir Fulke Greville was granted Warwick Castle by King James I in 1604. At the time, the place had been unoccupied for 14 years and was in a ruinous condition. Fortunately, Greville, as well as a being a fine poet and playwright, was a rich and influential man, who slowly converted Warwick Castle into the most princely seat within the midlands part of this realm.
Seven years later, thoughts of his own mortality led Greville to draw up a will. He had never married and had no children, so he decided to make slight provision for his servant, Ralph Haywood. Haywood was not impressed with the paltry bequest and, in a fit of rage, stabbed his master while helping him dress at his house in London. It took the unfortunate Greville a month to die, his agony compounded by the surgeon's insistence on packing the wound with mutton fat.
He was brought back to Warwick Castle, and his tomb can still be seen in nearby St. Mary's Church. Greville's ghost returns to the castle to walk the room that was once his study. Here witnesses have reported catching fleeting glimpses of his sad shade staring at them from the dark corners, or feeling his presence.
The Curse of Moll Bloxham
According to legend, Moll Bloxham was a witch who placed a curse on Warwick Castle.
After being caught stealing from the Earl, Bloxham was captured and sentenced to endure a publicly humiliating torture where she placed a curse upon Warwick. Soon after Bloxham was gone, a great beast began to prowl the grounds of the castle. The beast has been described as being a great black dog with piercing red eyes. The beast was eventually defeated after being coaxed into the river where it perished, yet Bloxham’s legend continues to live on. A ghost named the Lady in Gray who materializes throughout the castle grounds is believed by some to be Moll Bloxham.
The Haunting of the Dungeon
In the coldness of the castle’s depths rests its former dungeon. While haunted by the tortured souls who met their demise while imprisoned within these depths, a different kind of spirit is responsible for the majority of ghostly activity. A dark and aggressive presence in the dungeon is thought to be that of a former jailer. This sinister ghost has been sighted behind a metal gate in the dungeon and is responsible for poltergeist activity, growls, scratches and forming into a shadow figure.
In 2009 it was decided to build a new feature to the castle and that was the Dungeon attraction, where the idea was to create a torture chamber where workers from the castle dress up and basically scare the socks of the visitors.
During its construction Site manager Paul Woodfield was left petrified when he spotted a strange figure in the hallways at the site. He was so scared he immediately upped tools and ran away in fear.
It seems like Warwick Castle has a long and tumultuous history, and the ghosts to prove it!
Care to visit? 😉
Written by Emma Linfield