Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The White Lady of Berry Pomeroy, Devon

The massive ruins of Berry Pomeroy Castle are among the premier tourist attractions in this area of Devon. They manage to combine mighty medieval solidity with a charm and quiet atmosphere that is most endearing. They are also very haunted.

The castle was built by the family of Sir Ralph de Pomerai, a Norman knight who was given the manor of Berry by King William the Conqueror in 1067. Sir Ralph had fought on the winning side, that of William, at the Battle of Hastings. The former ownerof the manor, Alric, had fought on the losing side, that of King Harold, and been robbed of his estates in consequence. In the later 16th century the castle was remodelled by the Seymour family, who bought Berry from the Pomeroys. An elegant Tudor mansion was built within the forbidding medieval walls. After 1700, the house and castle were abandoned and both now lie in ruins.

The most famous of the many ghosts of Berry Pomeroy is the White Lady. She dates back to medieval times when the Pomeroys inhabited the fortress. It is said that the Lord Pomeroy of the time had two daughters, Lady Margaret and Lady Eleanor, both equally beautiful and both infatuated with the same dashing young knight from nearby Totnes. Unfortunately one of the girls was not as good as she was beautiful. Lady Margaret locked her sister in a dungeon, deep beneath a tower and left her to rot while she, herself, successfully wooed the young knight. When she was released, Lady Eleanor was too ill to survive long. She walked the ramparts a few times, then died.

But she did not rest. Lady Eleanor returned to Berry Pomeroy in the white wedding dress she never wore when alive. The White Lady, as she is now known, climbs the stairs in one of the towers and walks around the ramparts. She is seen several times each year by visitors or staff and never varies her routine.

from "Haunted Devon" by Rupert Matthews

No comments:

Post a Comment