A Haunting at Berry Pomeroy
by Allison Whitehead
Compared with the few other castles in Devon, England, Berry Pomeroy must be the most haunted among them. The privately owned Norman castle is notorious throughout England for its history of murders, and the mysterious fire that left it in ruins at the end of the 17th century. The bravest sightseers are best advised to visit during weather reminiscent of the traditional horror film.
The de la Pomerai family, owners until 1548, lent their name to the castle and have left a reminder of their connection with it. Henry de Pomerai, responsible for the murder of a herald, subsequently committed suicide and has haunted the ruins ever since. Lady Margaret’s Tower is home to the ghost of Margaret de Pomeroy, who reputedly died of starvation at the hands of her jealous sister. Dogs, believed to be susceptible to ghosts and psychic phenomena, have been known to shy away from the Tower and refuse to enter it.
There is a worldwide belief that some ghosts will only manifest themselves before a disaster of some kind – ranging from a death to a national disaster. Berry Pomeroy castle has one such ghost. She resides in the woods, and was the mother of an illegitimate baby. Legend has it that she murdered it, being that it was the son of her own father. She is seen cradling the baby when a death is about to occur. The castle is also the proud owner of a wishing tree, though the beech that stands there now is almost certainly not the original.
Much has been written about the castle in recent years. Its notoriety has made it a worthy place for visitors, considering its demise in what was a century rife with witchcraft. Well worth a look if you happen to be in the area… assuming your nerves can stand it.