Thursday, July 20, 2017

Bamburgh Castle

Here we have the story of the haunted Bamburgh Castle for you. On the coast of Northumberland, England, there is a massive basalt outcrop which had been built and rebuilt on for centuries. The first fortification was Din Guarie. This was the royal seat of the Britannic kingdom of Bryneich. In 547, it was captured by the Anglo-Saxon King Ida of Bernicia. In 590, his son, Hussa, lost it briefly to the Britons before retaking it later in the same year.

Photo of Bamburgh Castle

Photo 1 of Bamburgh Castle

Ida’s grandson, Adelfrip, gave the fort to his wife, Bebba. Thus, the name was changed to Bebanburgh, which, over time, became Bamburgh. In 993, the Vikings destroyed it. Later the Normans built a new castle on the site. After much modifications and extensions, this became what is now Bamburgh Castle or Bamborough Castle. This castle is privately owned by the Armstrong family but is open to the public.

Besides its colorful history, Bamburgh Castle has also some colorful ghosts.

Bamburgh Castle Ghost of Green Jane

One of them is Green Jane. It is said to be the ghost of a young lady named Jane. She lived in the nearby village. Her family was poor and she went to the castle to beg for food, cradling her baby in her arms. At the castle she was treated badly by the guards. Then she was sent away. Weak from hunger, and probably with eyes blinded by tears, she missed her footing and fell down the stairs. Tumbling down the steps with her baby hugged tightly to her bosom, both mother and child ended in a pitiful lifeless heap at the bottom. All the while, the heartless guards just watched and even laughed at her misfortune.

Her ghost has been sighted walking down the steep steps of the clock tower. It has a bundle in its arms, presumably her baby. Then the ghost would re-enact its fatal fall down the steps. It would stumble and cry out as it tumbles down the narrow stairway. It would disappear before it hits the bottom. The mocking laughter of the heartless guards can also still be heard from the castle above. The ghost is named Green Jane because it is always seen with a bold green cloak.

The Haunting of the Pink Lady

Another colorful ghost of Bamburgh Castle is the Pink Lady. This is said to be the ghost of a royal princess but her story is no less pitiful than that of the commoner Green Jane.

She is said to be a Northumbrian princess. She fell in love with a young man who was a commoner. Her father, the king, naturally, disapproved. He thought of a ruse to separate the young lovers without too much hue and cry, or so he hoped. He announced that the young man must first prove his worth. He ordered the young man to set sail across the seas and not come back for seven years. If, at the end of the seven years, said the king, the young man came back still single, then he can marry the princess.

Full of hope, the young man left the shores, most probably after bidding a heart-touching farewell to his tearful beloved waving from the beach. The king made sure that the two did not get in touch by any means. He hoped that, as time passed by, his daughter would forget about the young man.

Time passed. The king’s hope grew fainter and the princess’s yearning for her young man grew stronger. She lost all the bloom of youth as she sank deeper and deeper into depression. Presumably she even lost weight until she was just a frail shadow of her former self.

As the years added up closer and closer to the mandated seven, the king became more and more desperate. Finally, he thought of another lie. He told his pining daughter that his spies had brought him news of the young man. He said that the young man had found someone new on some distant shores and was already happily married. Then to cheer her up, he ordered a brand-new gown for her. It was made in her favorite color, pink.

When the gown was ready, the love-lorn princess put it on. Then she climbed up to the highest battlements. From there, she flung herself to fall to her death on the cold rocks below. Not long afterwards, her young man returned, still single. Naturally, he was heartbroken by the news of what befell his beloved. There is no data about what happened to him. However, the ghost of the princess is still haunting the Bamburgh castle.

Once, every seven years, it would return to the castle. It has been sighted dressed in shimmering pink. The ghost would wander forlornly through the corridors of the oldest parts of the castle. Then it would glide down the rocky path that leads to the beach. There it would stand, on the cold wet sands, gazing out to sea, looking for a sign of the return of her young man.

Bamburgh Castle

Photo 2 of Bamburgh Castle

Other than lady ghosts, there are also apparitions of the other gender to be found haunting Bamburgh Castle.

The Specter of John Sharp

Dr John Sharp was a village curate. In the 18th century, he started the restoration of the castle. He renovated the Crewe Room which was then turned into a school. Today, this room is used as a museum. Dr John Sharp also noted that there were numerous ships wrecked along the nearby coast. He then established the first lifeboat station in Britain. This led to the setting up of a series of lighthouses along the coastline.

Apparently the good man still cared about the Bamburgh castle even after his death. His ghost has been sighted often in the Gallery area. Some people have seen a misty apparition there. Later, when they saw a picture of Dr. John Sharp in the museum, they noticed the resemblance and realized that they had met the ghost of the curate earlier.

Bamburgh Castle Ghost Soldiers

The ghost of an ancient soldier has also been reported. It has been sighted clanking its way around the castle grounds, fully dressed in armor. A ghostly soldier of more recent vintage, so to say, is said to also haunt the castle, too. This ghost has been sighted at the bottom of the stairs in the Tapestry Passage. It is said to be that of a young man who was recuperating from his wounds, at the castle when it was used as a hospital during the Second World War. Apparently, he got news of the death of his girlfriend and, overcome with grief, committed suicide by shooting himself.

Ghostly Music

Someone among the numerous previous tenants of Bamburgh Castle must have been a lover of music. Visitors to the castle have often heard a piano being played when there is nobody at the keyboard. So far, no one has been reported as trying out a duet with the spectral pianist.
Visitors to Bamburgh Castle who are also fans of movies set in medieval times may find the castle to be familiar. This is not surprising because the castle has been used as the setting for a number of movies like Ivanhoe (1952), El Cid (1961), Macbeth (1971), King Arthur (2004) and Robin Hood (2010). Visitors interested in medieval ghosts will also find Bamburgh Castle a very appropriate setting.

Photo 1 image credit Wipeout Dave
Photo 2 image credit chengkiang

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