Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Haunted Pevensey Castle

The haunted Pevensey Castle is on the south coast of England, about fifty miles from London. It is guarded by an outer ring of stocky walls, twelve feet thick and thirty feet high, enclosing an area of about ten acres. The ruins of this medieval castle stand in one corner of what was once a Roman fort constructed in about 290 AD. This inner moated castle dates from 1088 when it was owned by Count Robert of Mortain, who received it as a gift from his half-brother, William the Conqueror. In 1925, the incumbent lord of the castle, the Duke of Devonshire, presented it as a gift to the State. Today it is a Scheduled Monument in the care of English Heritage.

Haunted Pevensey Castle

Photo of Pevensey Castle - Courtesy of Leigh Harrington

The coastline near the castle was a landing spot favored by smugglers. During the time when sail power moved ships across the sea, vessels from France, under the cover of night, would creep stealthily into these waters carrying contraband, cigars, brandy and spirits. Spirits of the other worldly kind also creep, sometimes not so stealthily, in the vicinity of the haunted Pevensey Castle.

The Ghost of the Smuggler

At the nearby parish of Westham, there is a church nearly as old as the castle. A few years ago, the Vicar was working late in this Church of St. Mary the Virgin. The doors were all locked. All the lights, except one, were switched off. Around midnight, the good man of the cloth was rudely disturbed by violent hammering on the heavy oak door. The door was hit so hard that he could see it shake. Hastily, he ran to the door. As he put his hand on the lock to open it, the noise abruptly stopped. Warily, he opened the door and looked outside. There was no one in sight. The coast, so to say, was clear. There wasn’t anything nearby where anyone could have hidden.

There has been much speculation that this is the ghost of a smuggler. There was a time when the customs officers, being God-fearing men, would regularly attend the same church service every week. Once they were inside the church, the smugglers would quickly get to work moving the contraband around the area.

Eventually, the customs officers found out what had happened while they were performing their religious duties in the church. So they changed their church-attendance schedule and went to church at different times. The smugglers followed suit by changing their tactics, too. First, they would check to make sure that the customs officers were already inside the church. Once that was confirmed, they would get to work moving their booty. It seems that one of them is still checking on the church even after he has moved on to the other world.

Haunted Pevensey Castle Chamber

At the Mint House, there is a ghost with a gory past: In 1342, the Mint House was built on the site of the original Pevensey Mint, right opposite the castle. In 1586, a Thomas Dight came from Sussex for a hunting holiday. He stayed with his mistress at the Mint House. One day, he came back earlier than expected and found someone unexpected in bed with his mistress.

He ordered his servants to tie up the pair of lovers. Then he took a sharp knife from the kitchen and cut out his mistress’s tongue, leaving her to bleed to death. The man was tied in chains and suspended from the roof beams over an open fire. He was slowly roasted to death, watched by the dying woman.

Now, one room in the Mint House is called the “Haunted Chamber” because her ghost had been sighted there. Once, when there was no one in the house, someone stayed there for a dare. He heard scratching noises on the diamond-shaped window. Then he saw a young woman dressed in Elizabethan era attire, with a close-fitting bodice, a very full long skirt, a small ruff around her neck and a head dress of starched lace. She was looking in from outside the window.

The ghost drifted right through the wall into the room and came right up to the man’s couch. It turned around and disappeared back through the window. This apparition has been sighted many times. Its pale face has been spotted gazing out of a window above the entrance to the Mint House of the haunted Pevensey Castle.

The Specter that appears in broad Daylight

At the Westham Churchyard of the haunted Pevensey Castle, there is an apparition dressed in a gray jacket, gray trousers and carrying a walking stick. This specter has been sighted by a few people. Interestingly, it appears in broad daylight, in the afternoon, walking up and down the path between the church door and the gate. Once, a visitor saw what he thought was a “dapper little gentleman” and even held open the churchyard gate. As the figure passed by him, he cheerfully said.“Good afternoon.” Imagine his horror when the “dapper little gentleman” dissolved into nothing right before his eyes.

Haunted Pevensey Castle Child Ghost

Next to the church, there is a black and white Elizabethan house. About two hundred years ago, a young girl was murdered in the house. During the 1970s, a family lived in the house. They used to see a child dressed in Victorian era attire walk across the landing and through the wall at the end. This ghost appeared at exactly 11 pm every evening. The family was not exactly thrilled by its regular evening walk. So they called in an exorcist and the ghost appeared no more.

Haunted Pevensey Castle Ghost Soldiers

Some ghosts at the haunted Pevensey Castle are of much older vintage, so to say. There have been sightings of a Roman centurion marching on the battlements. Outside the southern walls of the haunted Pevensey Castle, a Roman legion has been sighted marching past. However, they only appear from the waist up as the ground there had been much lower in Roman times than it is today. Apparently the ghostly soldiers had not been updated on the latest changes in the landscape.

Sometimes, below the castle walls, a spectral army can be heard in full battle. At other times, the sounds of marching soldiers and the screams and moans of dying men could be heard coming from the direction of the site of the 1066 Battle of Hastings.

Anyone visiting the haunted Pevensey Castle looking for paranormal phenomena will certainly have a lot to choose from. Whatever their choice is, there will never be a dull moment when they spend a few days, or a few nights, at the castle.

Back to part one of Pevensey Castle.

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    1. […] People with an interest in paranormal activities may want to try their luck at Pevensey Castle. Perhaps if they are persistent enough, they might be able to bring back documentary proof of a ghost or two. Until then, more spooks can be found in Pevensey Castle Part Two. […]

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