Pendennis Castle in Cornwall has been the centre of many violent events over the centuries. No wonder it’s one of England’s most haunted castles!
The entrance to the River Fal has been long guarded as a key strategic position in Cornwall. No doubt, a number of fortifications have stood there over the years, but the structure we see today at Pendennis Castle near Falmouth was built by Henry VIII as one of several castles designed to guard this location.
Unsurprisingly, then, the site has been a point of contention throughout the various wars and centuries that ensued after its construction. That leaves us, in the modern world, with no shortage of hauntings and paranormal tales from the castle over the years.
Like many early modern sites in England, it became a particular point of contention during the English Civil War. In fact, Pendennis was the last of the Royalist castles to fall to Oliver Cromwell’s forces, after a five-month siege beginning in March 1646. During the siege, around a thousand people were trapped inside—soldiers and civilians, alike.
Though it is hard to know the details for sure, reportedly, the commander surrendered some 155 days after the siege began. At this point, well over 100 people had died to starvation. There are various rooms in the castle where it is believed these bodies were kept, and visitors and staff report feeling overwhelmed with sadness and even terror when in these rooms. Some have even described the sensation of a dark presence in the room.
Hauntings of Pendennis Castle
It is unsurprising that many of the stories of hauntings at the castle involve many disembodied voices or footsteps, rather than individual ghosts. Children’s laughter is commonly heard, emanating from all corners of the castle. The clanking footsteps of soldiers marching up and down the walls. Countless souls passed through these walls over the centuries.
One part of the castle where visitors are not typically able to view is an Old Tudor kitchen tucked away in the castle’s basement. The kitchen connects directly to the governor’s quarters via a winding staircase, and one spirit that frequents this area has become known as Maud. It’s hard to miss her, most of the time; she stomps up and down the stairs and is believe to be a serving maid who would have carried food up and down this staircase. It is believed she fell to her death on this treacherous staircase.
But the woes of the kitchen staff did not end with Maud. Though it is not entirely clear where or when they died, a former head cook has also been known to wander the castle or the kitchens aimlessly, with no more meals to prepare.
The castle’s governors, no doubt, came and went over the years as the castle went through not only the Civil War but the Napoleonic War, too. Many report seeing the ghost of some long-dead lieutenant governor in or near where his chambers may have been.
Pendennis, like so many English castles, is potentially overflowing with pained and wandering spirits. Though Maud and the head cook are sites to behold, the shrieks and laughter that fill its halls are just as chilling.
Have you been to Pendennis Castle in Cornwall? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below!