Berry Pomeroy Castle: The Hauntings and the History
Berry Pomeroy Castle is about two miles away from Totnes Bridge and is considered to be one of the most picturesque castles in Devon. However, behind the stone walls and stunning scenery is a dark history and more curiously, a series of hauntings.
Built in the 11th century, Berry Pomeroy Castle gained its name from Ralph de Pomeroy, who was a keen follower of William the Conqueror and appears in the Doomsday book of 1086. The Pomeroys were an extremely powerful family in their time and somehow managed to keep the Castle within the families’ possession for around 500 years. Despite this, the family were in danger of losing the property at one point due to the treachery of Henry de Pomeroy. This particular Pomeroy was a supporter of King John during his rebellion against Richard the 1st (or Richard the Lion heart). Of course, when King Richard returned from the crusades and crushed the rebellion Henry de Pomeroy was forced to flee the castle. He held out at the rock of Mount St. Michael until eventually he committed suicide by allowing himself to be bled to death in the roman style. As Henry de Pomeroy was never tried or condemned, King Richard allowed the lands to stay with Henrys two sons.
The Castle eventually ended up in the hands of the Seymour's, the most famous being Lady Jane Seymour who wed the notorious King Henry the 8th. This family decided to renovate the old Castle to bring it up to the current Tudor trends. A large luxurious mansion was built within the Castle walls, at the cost of 20,000 pounds. Five generations of the family continued to live in the mansion, but the Civil War, violent storms and general wear and tear over three hundred years has left the castle in its current grand, but dilapidated state.
There are several supposed hauntings in Berry Pomeroy Castle of which I will try to list hereon. A woman in a long blue cape has been seen around a particular archway and is said to be a Pomeroy daughter who murdered her own illegitimate child.
Photographs have been taken in the area by separate tourists who later discovered the figure of a man in a tricorn hat and a lady in dark clothes who weren’t apparent when the photos were taken. The Castle also boasts its very own “White Lady” who appears in the castle dungeons and upon the ramparts. It is said she is yet another of the unfortunate Pomeroy daughters, who was placed in the dungeons by her jealous sister and left there to starve slowly to death. Also, a child’s cry can be heard from the archways of the castle and visitors have described the site as having a ‘… feeling of absolute desolation, even stark evil…”.
It seems that Berry Pomeroy Castle has an interesting group of hauntings and perhaps it is worth the team at Haunted-Devon to investigate. I’m sure the people who said the place was “stark evil” were exaggerating …
Ralph de Pomeroy
Was at the Battle of Hastings. His home domain was at La Pommeraie in Bayeux, Normandy. Earthworks of his Castle still remain near Falaise called the Chateau Ganne. Granted 60 manors by Duke William, many in Devonshire. His chief domain in Devon was at Berry Pomeroy. Joselin Pomeroy succeeded him. Through Henry, his son, they retained their estates in Normandy at the Castle of Pont-Antou. Either this same Henry, or his son, supported King John (of Magna Carta fame) and held the Castle Pomeroy at his disposal and garrisoned it. The wealth of the Pomeroy estate was large and in the Exon Domesday he held many livestock in the northern part of the county. In the mid sixteenth century the castle and estates went to the Seymours, Dukes of Somerset and the main line became extinct. Junior branches were at Ingeston and Sandridge, and in southern Ireland by the Viscounts Harberton.
Manors: Ash (Bradworthy), Ashcombe, AunkBerry Pomeroy, Radworthy, Brendon, Clyst St George, Curtisknowle, Dunsdon, Heavitree, Highleigh, Huxham, Keynedon, Lank Combe, Mamhead, Peamore, Sheldon, Smallridge, Southweek, Stockleigh Pomeroy, Strete Raleigh, Tale, Upottery, Washfield, Weycroft, Yeadbury, Great Torrington, Bruckland, Caffyns Heanton, Cheriton (Brendon), Dunkeswell, Dunstone (Widecombe in the Moor), Gappah, Holcombe, Mowlish.