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.
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.
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.
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.
POSTED – MARCH 2021