|Arundel Castle at sunset|
(photograph by the author)
I took this photo on a walk along the towpath in Arundel a while ago now, but it only just recently caught my notice. Although, much to my dismay there is no great legend, like King Arthur, surrounding the castle, there are still stories that go around of haunted rooms, amongst other things.
The castle itself was built nearly 1000 years ago, at the end of the 11th century, by Roger de Montgomery- the Earl of Arundel. Female heiresses, rather unusually, have passed down the castle almost directly (the only exceptions were when it was occasionally reverted to the Crown.) Unfortunately, a large proportion of the castle has been updated, apart from the gatehouse and the motte, which is the oldest part of the castle having been constructed in 1068. The Motte is over 100 feet high from the dry moat, one of the most impressive features of the castle itself, and leading to Arundel being Hillside.
Following up on my earlier reference to ghosts, I think there is nothing better than some supposed ghosts. In total there are seven ghosts that haunt Arundel Castle, some with more tragic tales than others.
1. Earl Roger de Montgomery- It is believed that his ghost keeps a watchful eye over his beloved castle, and simply never left. He has been sighted in the Castle Keep, wandering, watching everything go past.
2. A Broken Hearted Young Woman- Legend tells of a young woman becoming so stricken with grief that she could not bear it any longer. She climbed to the top of one of the towers and then jumped to her death. The woman stull wanders the top of the tower searching for her love, dressed in a white robe, always crying.
3. The Blue Man- He has been seen ever since 1630, floating around the library as he browses the books- he is the most friendly of the ghosts.
4. A Cavalier- Relatively little is known about this ghost, with some suggesting it is just the Blue Man.
5. The Kitchen Boy- He lived at the castle over 200 years ago, and as stories go, he was treated so badly that one day he was beaten to death. He haunts the kitchen and can be seen still scrubbing pots and pans.
6. The Small White Bird- According to Legend, if you see the white bird it means someone closely connected to the castle is going to die. This follows a tradition that if one family member dies, as white bird is seen fluttering at one of the windows.
7. The Ghost in the Servant Quarters- This ghost was last seen by a footman in training in 1958. He was walking down the ground floor corridor towards the main switch box (he had to turn off the drawbridge lights off that night), when he became physically aware of a presence. He could only see the head and shoulders of a young man, roughly 24 years old, who was wearing light grey tunic with loose sleeves, with long flowing hair. The appearance was for only around half a minute, and the ghost has never been seen since.
So, are these ghosts a hoax, or is Arundel Castle full of the Supernatural?