Arundel Castle, A Heritage Of Ghosts And Hauntings

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Arundel Castle in West Sussex, like many English castles, is filled with tales of phantoms and things that go bump in the night, says RICK HALE

It is believed that most castles across the United Kingdom can boast at least one ghost.  A lost soul cursed to walk it’s drafty corridors for all time.

However, none are quite so active as the phantoms said to haunt the ancestral home of the Dukes of Norfolk, Arundel Castle.

Arundel Castle in West Sussex
Arundel Castle in West Sussex

This beautiful example of mediaval architecture located in Sussex, dates back to the 19th century.

But, the present castle sits on the foundation of a much older structure. It is this earlier structure it’s many ghosts call home.

History Of Arundel Castle

The original structure upon which Arundel sits was founded on Christmas Day in 1067 CE.

In those ancient days, Empress Tilda briefly lived in the castle as she made her journey to claim the British throne.

Following the death of William d’Aubigny, Henry II, spent a considerable amount of time and resources restructuring the castle.

After the passing of Henry II, Richard the Lionheart held court in its lofty throne room.

Centuries later, the castle was reopened to the public as a museum and the ghosts of Arundel became apparent.

The Haunting Of Arundel Castle

Since reopening as a museum, dozens of ghosts have been witnessed wandering the castle by staff and visitor alike.

There are four restless spirits that appear to be more active than all the rest. And they do not shy away from presenting themselves as they see fit.

The First Earl

According to the many people who have encountered Arundel Castle’s ghosts, the ghost of the first Earl of Arundel is said to be the most active.

The first Earl is the nobleman responsible for the building of the original castle.

He is said to walk the castle keeping a jealous eye on the castle he so loved in life.

If the ghostly Earl witnesses something he finds offensive, he makes his displeasure known by causing accidents and loud disruptions.

Love and Loss

No castle in England would be complete without at least one haunting brought on by love and tragic loss.

The story goes, early in the castle’s history, a young woman was involved in a love affair that didn’t go the way she had planned.

Broken hearted and stricken with soul crushing grief, she made her way to the top of Hiornes Tower. The tallest point of the castle.

As endless tears streaked her lovely young face, she leaped to her death, ending her promising young life.

Her act of desperation appears to have left a psychic imprint on the stones of the castle.

The distraught figure of a young woman has been seen climbing the stairs of Hiornes Tower only to vanish as she jumps.

Arundel Castle
Arundel Castle in West Sussex

The Blue Man

A third active ghost encountered in Arundel Castle is an entity people have dubbed, the blue man.

He is called this because of a bright blue tunic he wears as he wanders the halls and corridors of the castle.

It’s believed the blue man was a cavalier in service to Charles I. Since 1630, he has been witnessed quietly reading a book in the library.

The Servant Boy

Perhaps Arundel’s most tragic ghost is the apparition of a little boy seen in the kitchen furiously scrubbing dishes.

According to staff, the boy fell victim to an abusive overseer who beat him to death.

His egregious error and name has been lost to history. He is commonly seen in the early morning hours. The time of day when he lost his life centuries ago.

The Footman’s Fright

 A curious tale of Arundel’s ghosts occurred over 60 years ago in 1958.

A young footman, who just began working at the castle was ordered to go out to the drawbridge and put out the lights for the night.

As he stood at the entrance, a dense fog suddenly forming around him, the footman saw a peculiar sight.

A lone figure with long hair and a grey tunic approached him from out of the shadows.

The footman demanded the figure identify himself immediately, otherwise he would contact the authorities.

The young footman became increasingly fearful as the figure ignored his demands and drew closer.

Before he could run, the figure inexplicably vanished, undoubtedly putting quite a fright in the footman.

Today, Arundel is no longer the home of the Dukes of Norfolk, or any member of the nobility.

The castle is open daily for tours and if you’re lucky one of its many ghosts may appear to say hello.


  1. Arundel Castle is utterly breathtaking both inside and out. The Duke and his family do still use a suite of rooms in the castle and it’s the venue for charitable functions that they host during the closed season. It’s closed to the public in the winter. The beautiful gardens were created by the current Duchess I believe and opened a few years ago by Prince Charles.


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