LIAM CANTY tells us about Chillingham Castle, one of the most haunted places in the UK
Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, is a medieval citadel originally built as a monastery during the 12th century. In 1298 it is said that King Edward I (Edward Longshanks) stayed at the castle while on his way north to Scotland to prepare for battle against a Scottish army led by none other the William Wallace. The castle itself is located on the border between England and Scotland which meant its position was of strategic importance during these times of war. The castle was used by the English as a staging post for their armies before entering Scotland. This also meant that the castle was attacked on several occasions by the Scottish during their own raids on England. In 1344 the castle underwent construction to allow full battlements to be built which upgraded the building from a stronghold to a fully fortified castle.
Since the 13th century the castle has been in the ownership of the continuous blood line of the Grey Family. It is recorded that eighteen members of the Grey Family were knights. Even though members of the family served Kings over the years some were not so keen to serve the crown and eight family members are known to have been executed for crimes including High Treason. Some of the executions were performed by the convicted being hanged, drawn and quartered. It was also members of the Grey family that built the dungeons and torture chambers within the fortress. There have been many members of royalty that have stayed at the castle over the years, including King Henry III, King Edward I and Charles I before he was imprisoned at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight, as well as the controversial Edward VIII. Members of the Royal Family to this day still continue the tradition of visiting the Castle.
With Chillingham Castle’s lengthy history of war, treason and bloodshed it is of no surprise that the castle is considered to be one of the most haunted in Britain to date. There have been numerous reports of ghostly sightings and sounds in the castle, some of which include a figure of a pale frail lady in white begging for water who has been seen in the pantry of the castle. It is said that in some of the chambers of the castle there is a dark chilling feeling of oppression that takes over. In the chapel which is located beside the great hall, witnesses have claimed to hear often a conversation between two people, however nobody is seen and when someone tries to engage the conversation would suddenly turn to silence.
Chillingham Castle’s most famous ghosts…
Two of the most famous ghosts said to haunt Chillingham Castle are The Blue Boy and Lady Mary Berkeley. is The apparition of The Blue Boy has apparently been seen in what is known as the pink room. He has been given the name as he appears as a radiant blue light or orb at midnight while he is heard to be crying. It is of interest to note that the bones of a young child had been found within the walls of the castle during renovation work which as carried out in the 20th century. Since the remains were discovered and reburied, sightings of The Blue Boy appear to have ceased. The spirit of Lady Mary Berkeley is said to roam Chillingham Castle. Lady Mary was the wife of Lord Grey of Wark and Chillingham. It is believed that Lord Grey cheated on his wife and left Lady Mary for none other than her very own sister. Lady Mary was left heartbroken in the castle to look after herself and her baby. She wandered the halls of the castle awaiting the return of her husband, but sadly but this was never to be and she passed away lonely and broken hearted. Her ghostly presence is known to be felt throughout Chillingham as a rustle of silk is heard and an unnerving chill creeps over you and makes your spine tingle. This begs the question can somebody die of a broken heart and will they never rest in peace?
If you choose to go and visit this amazing, historic and haunted castle you may hear the rustle of a silk period dress or feel a chill across your body. Don’t worry, it may just be Lady Mary checking to see if her husband has returned home to her.
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