SAMUEL SHIRO wonders what will happen to Wexford’s Wilton Castle’s ghostly residents if the property developers move in
Wilton Castle, which is not to be confused with the castles baring the same name in Yorkshire and Herefordshire, is a castle in County Wexford, Ireland. Like many castles that date back as far as the 13th century, it was abandoned at some point, but it wasn’t abandoned by some of its previous owners. The Alcock Family.
The Alcock Family, under William Alcock in 1695, were actually the first individuals to change the name from the Keyer (the original name) to Wilton Castle as we know it today. And they were also to leave the estate’s most lasting legacy.
Colonel Harry Alcock is the subject of the ghostly legacy of these crumbling blocks and weather-beaten walls, though. In 1840, Harry Alcock died and then the haunting began. It was said that each year on the anniversary of his death a ghostly carriage could be seen driving away from the castle gate at sunset.
Whilst it sounds far-fetched, many people can attest to it. One local blacksmith came forward and claimed that he actually spoke to the spectre of the fallen Colonel. These sightings even became so common that crowds of people would stand outside the estate to watch for the carriage in earnest.
Harry Alcock isn’t the only individual to haunt the ruined estate, though. Things just become even spookier as a friend of the Alcock Family, Archibald Jacob also haunts the ruins.
The story of Archibald Jacob begins when he was a magistrate in the local area. But this magistrate was famous for his cataclysmic temper and his slight tendency to flog and torture the denizens of the parish when he was upset about something. He wasn’t the most loved man in the community. Justice was done, though, because in 1836 he was slain when the horse he was riding on became unstable on the Black Stream, close to Wilton Castle. Jacob was thrown from his horse and had his neck broken.
Ever since that fateful incident his ghost has been seen within the walls of Wilton Castle and in the grounds of the ruins. On occasion, people have been known to see him wandering as far as the Black Stream between the castle and a place called the Clough Mills.
While the story itself is very interesting due to the fact that these two incidents are so closely connected through friendship, what’s particularly exciting is the future. In 1923 the castle was destroyed in the Irish War of Independence; supposedly by the IRA. For over 80 years it’s remained in ruins with visitors occasionally turning up to sample a piece of Irish history. But if the history of building over Native American burial grounds has taught us anything it’s that you don’t mess around with a location where restless spirits congregate.
However, developers are intending to do just that as Wilton Castle is undergoing redevelopment as we speak. The question is will things start going wrong as the ghostly inhabitants are disturbed, will walls start falling, and will ceilings begin collapsing? Only time will tell as the shimmering spectres of Harry Alcock and Archibald Jacob plot their next moves.
SAMUEL SHIRO is a full-time freelancer from Leeds who spends his time working for his many clients. Outside of his freelance work he writes creatively and has had his work published both online and in print. Recently, he has opened his own book publishing company called Tranquillity Publishing that now employees a multitude of people on a freelance basis. In his spare time he listens to pop music from the 80s and lends his skills for various charity projects. His websites are www.mrshiro.com and www.tranquillitypublishing.com