Berry Pomeroy Castle is hidden in a deep wooden valley outside of Totnes this is a romantic ruin with a colourful and haunted history.
It began life around 1560 and was made larger circa 1600. It was hoped to be the most impressive house in Devon but was never completed, eventually abandoned in 1700. However many generations of families lived here - from fabulously famous to the now relatively un-known.
Historically it is known as a Tudor mansion but it was actually built within the walls of a much earlier castle, built by the Pomeroy family who had owned the land since the 11th Century. Sadly in 1547 they were forced to sell everthing to Edward Seymour due to financial problems.
Edward Seymour was the 1st Duke of Somerset (Lord Protector to the young King Edward VI) who was eventually beheaded on a charge of treason in 1552, upon which all his lands were forfeited to the Crown. Interestingly, Edward was also the brother of Jane Seymour, third wife to Henry VIII.
Four years later, his son, by some clever land negotiations, regained the castle and it stayed in the Seymour family until it was eventually abandoned in the 17th Century - however its history is filled with life and death!
Ghostly Goings on
One of the ghosts is known as the White Lady. She haunts the dungeon and there is a clear sensation of depression, fear and even malevolence around it. She has been identified as the ghost of Lady Margaret Pomeroy. Her sister Eleanor was said to be insanely jealous of her beauty and imprisoned her in the dungeon to avoid any love rivalry after Lord Pomeroy left on a crusade leaving her in charge! It would have been a slow, cold death through starvation. It is told she rises from St Margaret's Tower to the castle ramparts, where she has been seen beckoning to witnesses (as recently as 1987).
A second ghost is known as the Blue Lady, and she has been seen as far back as the 1700s; dressed in a blue cape and hood it is claimed she lures men to their death. It is said she was the daughter of an early Norman lord who raped her and the Blue Lady then strangled her own child. At various times, the cries of the murdered infant can be heard throughout the castle. Interestingly, if a member of the Seymour family sees her it is supposed to be portent to their death!
There are many more tales but you should visit to discover them all!
- Parking - Plenty
- Accessibility - Good
- Toilets - None
- Refreshments - None
- Dogs - No dogs
Historians and ghost hunters. We recommend getting the audio tour so you can get all the gruesome and fascinating facts.
Look out for
The White and Blue Ladies !
The original wall painting, discovered behind thick vegetation in 1978, it was believed to have been painted in 1490.
It's a fact !
English Heritage guidebook, describes Berry Pomeroy as "reputed to be one of the most haunted castles in Britain".