Berry Pomeroy Castle – Romantic Ruin, or Just Plain Spooky?

Berry Pomeroy Castle - Romantic Ruin, or Just Plain Spooky?

Berry Pomeroy Castle has been described as one of the most picturesque and romantic ruins in England, but it has also been described as one of the most haunted castles in England as well!

The village of Berry Pomeroy lies just a couple of miles east of Totnes and gets its name from the Pomeroy family whose first owner was Ralf de Pomaria, a Norman knight from La Pommeraye near Falaise. He was given the manor by William the Conqueror, but it was another four centuries before the castle was built. Neither the precise date, nor the reason for its construction is really known, but it was most likely at the end of the 15th century, and possibly because of the family’s involvement in the War of the Roses. Whatever the reason, it’s pretty certain that it never saw any real military action.

The First Floor of the Gatehouse

In December 1547, due to a shortage of finances, Sir Thomas Pomeroy sold the estate to Edward Seymour, the 1st Earl of Hereford and the 1st Duke of Somerset. As unbelievable as it may sound, Edward Seymour was the richest and most powerful man in the land at the time. He was the brother of Henry VIII’s favourite Queen, Jane Seymour. Jane, his third wife, died just after giving birth to Henry’s only legitimate son, Edward, and when Henry himself died in early 1547 Edward Seymour became Lord Protector of his 9-year-old nephew, who was now Edward VI of England.

Without going into all the Seymour family history, the castle was turned into a Tudor mansion; but by 1700 everything had fallen into disrepair, and what we see today are the remains of both the castle and the mansion.

The Elizabethan House

Ghost stories have abounded ever since and most have been disproved but there is one about the ‘White Lady’ which seems to still stick around. It’s the story of Elinor Pomeroy who was jealous of her prettier sister’s attraction to the man that she loved. The story goes that she left her sister Matilda for dead in a dungeon below the chapel. The name Matilda seems to have changed to Margaret for some reason, but the basement of St. Margaret’s Tower is supposed to be the dungeon where Margaret (or Matilda) was supposedly starved to death.

The Curtain Wall and St Margaret's Tower

Come here on a nice sunny day and it’s easy to see why the castle is regarded as a romantic ruin, but if you would like to find out how strong your heart really is, then I recommend you come here on a foggy day when nobody else is around, and see if you think it’s romantic then.

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POSTED – MARCH 2021

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22 thoughts on “Berry Pomeroy Castle – Romantic Ruin, or Just Plain Spooky?

  1. Toonsarah

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Berry Pomeroy Castle, despite this interesting reputation for hauntedness! I think I’d quite like to visit in the fog – to see if I felt anything, and because it makes the photos look so atmospheric 😉

    Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      You would be in your element with your camera on a foggy day I reckon Sarah, as long as if the feeling you get isn’t a stranger’s hand on your shoulder 🙂

      Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      Thanks AOC. There are certainly no shortage of castles to visit in Europe that’s for sure. Lovely sunny day here, hope it is where you are.

      Reply
        1. Easymalc Post author

          Not necessarily. I’m not sure of the numbers, and of course it depends on what constitutes a castle. The country with the most castles as we know them per head of population is Wales. The UK in general has hundreds. France, Spain and Portugal all have large numbers of castles as does Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria, but there are so many scattered throughout the continent, and I wouldn’t like to say which country had the most.

          Reply
          1. Americaoncoffee

            No, I am not an expert. I do love castles. But for me the keep up would be an enormous housecleaning chore ( I don’t like servants). I have never visited the uk, Germany or Austria. But what I have heard about Austria’s castles, got my attention. Castellology (?) could be an interesting resolve any of my misinformation and curiosities. Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

            Reply
  2. bitaboutbritain

    Well, this caught my eye having visited and written about it myself. Enjoyed that, Malc, and loved your photos – we didn’t have time to walk right round the outside of the castle when we were there. It certainly has something of a spooky reputation.

    Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      I’ve just taken a look at your post Mike, and just as I expected, it’s excellent.

      Reply
  3. Francisco Bravo Cabrera

    Splendid post! What a castle and what history! I think I would prefer to take a stroll there on one of those gloomy days and have a look at the ghost! Well, on second thought…a smashing writeup Malc and lovely pictures. As always a pleasure to read and enjoy. All the best to you and a happy weekend ahead!
    FBC

    Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      And it’s always a pleasure to read your comments Francesc. Thank you so much. Any sign of the vaccine yet?

      Reply
        1. Easymalc Post author

          It’s a shame that you’re not a Spanish princess but at least there’s light at the end of the tunnel

          Reply
          1. Francisco Bravo Cabrera

            😊 yes, but you’re right, there’s light for sure…I think that if the vaccines continue to arrive and if the European Drug Agency approves the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, things will go faster. Right now we’ve inoculated approximately 4% of our population…

            Reply

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