9 Haunted Castles in the UK
Stewart | On 25, May 2017
Portchester Castle, Portchester
It’s said that the Keep of the castle is haunted by the ghosts of French prisoners from the Napoleonic wars.
Visitors to the castle have reported seeing a ghostly apparition of a monk in the castle grounds as well as wandering around the outside of the castle’s walls.
They described the ghostly monk as wearing a black or brown hooded robe.
He typically disappears into thin air as soon as he’s spotted!
A frightened member of staff once witnessed a phantom black horseman galloping towards her one late summer’s evening.
About a year later a young boy showed her some video footage of the castle in which he had captured the sound of a horse galloping but no horse.
During the Victorian era it’s said that a mother called Charlotte White had tragically drowned in the castle’s moat when she tried to save her baby which had fallen into the water.
Her ghost is said to haunt the castle in the form of a White Lady.
Some witnesses have seen her ghost on the battlements and throwing herself from the top of the Keep!
The ghost of a Roman Centurion has been seen by witnesses standing on guard near the outer gates of the castle.
Both members of staff and visitors alike have also reported seeing a large ghostly black figure at the castle.
The ghostly apparition of a dark haired lady has been seen searching for something in the graveyard of the 14th century St Mary’s Church which is situated in the castle’s grounds.
Southsea Castle, Southsea
Visitors to Southsea Castle have reported seeing a ghostly apparition wandering around the castle.
The ghost is not of a military person as you would have thought but surprisingly of a little girl.
The ghostly girl is believed to be the spirit of the daughter of a lighthouse keeper who was housed in the castle.
It’s said that she caught scarlet fever and tragically died from the disease!
Hadleigh Castle, Hadleigh
There have been myths and stories over the centuries suggesting that Hadleigh Castle is haunted by a demented woman.
Locals have often reported hearing a woman crying and wailing amongst the ruins in the dead of night!
They believe that the woman haunting the castle is the woman in white.
There’s a local story about a Castle farm milkmaid called Sally.
Early one morning she stumbled upon a ghostly woman who ordered her to come to the castle ruins at midnight.
Sally was pretty shaken by her weird encounter with the ghostly woman.
Fearing the worst she understandably never went to the spooky rendezvous… she was too scared!
Unfortunately, the next morning she bumped into the ghostly woman again.
The old hag was not too happy with her.
She was so angry with the milkmaid for not meeting her that she smashed her around the head so hard that poor Sally nearly dislocated her neck.
After the ghostly violent assault Sally was cruelly known by the locals as Wry-Neck Sal!
Do you know about the Black Shuck legend?
Well, in East Anglian folklore the Black Shuck is a massive ghostly black dog with glowing eyes that roams around the countryside.
Some say that the sighting of the Black Shuck is an omen of death.
Whilst others believe that it’s more of a protective animal guarding you whilst you travel.
Hadleigh Castle has had quite a few sightings of this massive black creature…
One sighting of the Black Shuck was by a couple of dog walkers who notice a massive black creature when their own dog started to behave oddly…
The Shuck was in a field below them but they didn’t realise the huge size of the animal until it disturbed some nearby cattle…
It was the size of a cow!
In the 1980s a group of kids where playing at the south-east tower of the castle when a giant black dog crept out of an adjacent field towards them.
They described the dog as massive with red glowing eyes and foaming at the mouth!
Apparently it growled and snarled at them but never physically attack them.
The children fled and the police were called to search for a dangerous rabid black dog…
But, no such dog was ever found!
I’m afraid that this disturbing story doesn’t have a happy ending…
It’s said that all the children who witnessed the Black Shuck later suffered from terrible illnesses or worst, they died tragically in accidents!
Colchester Castle, Colchester
The Grade I listed Colchester Castle is a fine example of a complete Norman castle.
The castle was ordered to be constructed by William the Conqueror in 1069.
It’s built on the foundations of the Roman temple of Claudius which dates back to AD 60!
Now, you would think with its Norman and Roman roots, that the castle’s ghostly tale would be from one of those eras…
In fact, the castle’s ghost story involves a Quaker!
In 1656 a Quaker called James Parnell was arrested and imprisoned in Colchester Castle for an incident which happened in Coggleshall Church…
You see at this time in history Colchester Castle was used as a county prison.
Well, the story goes that James was praying in Coggleshall Church when a commotion ensued resulting in him being arrested for blasphemy and other offences.
He was acquitted of the charges but the Magistrate still fined him £40.
Now, this is where it starts to turn from bad to worse for poor James.
He refused to pay the fine which resulted in him being returned to the prison at Colchester Castle.
Nicholas Roberts was the gaoler at the castle at the time and he was a nasty piece of work.
He was infamous for his cruelty to the prisoners put in his care.
And poor James was no exception!
He forced him to climb a rope to get his food.
Well, one day the inevitable happen.
James fell from the rope and was badly injured.
For then on he couldn’t climb the rope to get his food resulting in his health deteriorating quickly.
On 10th April 1656 he tragically died.
It’s now said that his poor tormented ghost haunts the castle to this very day!
In the 1930s a local man took on a foolish bet for £200 that he couldn’t stay the whole night locked in the haunted Colchester Castle…
The bet was that he would be locked in the castle from 8.00pm until 8.00am the next morning.
At 8.00pm he was locked in the castle and left alone to spend the night there.
A couple of hours later a passer-by noticed a distressed man running around on top of the castle’s roof trying to get attention.
The fire brigade were called and the man was brought down in one piece.
The poor man was a total gibbering wreck!
In fact, he was in such a distressed state that a doctor was quickly called to sedate him.
He was taken to Severalls psychiatric hospital where he sadly died a few months later.
Bramber Castle, Bramber
Situated in the village of Bramber you’ll find the remains of the Norman motte-and-bailey Bramber Castle.
The castle dates back to 1070 when it was first built by William De Braose.
He built the castle on a natural mound overlooking the River Adur together with a Norman church.
Bramber Castle remained the family home of the de Braose family until 1326.
After that date, the history of the castle is a bit sketchy.
It’s known that during the English Civil War in 1642 some minor skirmishes took place at the castle.
Today, all that’s left of Bramber Castle is the remains of the Gatehouse tower, a section of the curtain wall and a small church opposite it.
Legend says that William De Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber had upset King John I.
As a reprisal, it’s said that the children of William De Braose were captured, imprisoned at Windsor Castle and starved to death!
The ghosts of those poor children are said to haunt the ruins of Bramber Castle to this very day.
Witnesses have seen their ghostly apparitions dressed in rags and begging for food in the castle’s grounds!
Arundel Castle, Arundel
The most well-known ghost at the castle is that of a former kitchen boy.
Spooked witnesses have reported hearing the phantom sounds of somebody cleaning pots and pans in the kitchen.
Many believe these phantom noises are created by the kitchen boy ghost going about his daily work!
The library at the castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of a cavalier from the English Civil War period.
Witnesses who’ve seen his apparition say that he seems to be looking through the library books!
Nobody knows exactly who the cavalier ghost is or why he haunts the library.
The Hiorne Tower is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young lady.
Legend says that she committed suicide by jumping from the top of the tower after a love affair went bad.
Over the years many shocked witnesses have reported seeing her ghostly suicide re-enacted from the top of the tower.
The final ghost at the castle is of the feathered kind…
You see, in the past a phantom white bird has been seen flapping against one of the castle’s windows.
The ghost bird is an unwelcomed sight as it’s said to be an omen of a death in the household, normally the head of the family!
Castle Rising, Castle Rising
Castle Rising was built in 1138 by William d’Aubigny II.
The castle remained within the family until 1243 when Hugh d’Aubigny died childless and the castle was passed onto Roger de Montalt.
The castle then stayed within the Montalt family until Robert Montalt sold it to the Crown in 1327.
At that time, England was controlled by Roger Mortimer and Queen Isabella of France who was ruling as regent for her young son Edward III.
Isabella briefly fell from power after her son Edward toppled Mortimer in 1330 but later enjoyed the status of being the King’s mother.
Edward granted her several royal castles including Castle Rising which she used as one of her main residences until her death in 1358.
Local legend says that at the end of Isabella life she became insane and died alone.
The upper floors of Castle Rising are said to be haunted by her mad ghost.
Shocked visitors to the castle have reported hearing Isabella’s hysterical screams and manic laughter coming from the upper floors of the castle.
Local villagers have also reported hearing her ghostly cries and mad laughter coming from the castle on quiet nights!
Today, the castle is run by English Heritage and is well worth a visit.
Chris Halton from Haunted Earth visited the castle and produced an interesting video about Castle Rising which you can view on YouTube.
Whilst filming Chris’s team mate Sean Kim was left alone in the castle where he heard some ghostly goings-on…
He could hear a man talking on the upper floor of the building and phantom footsteps walking across the wooden floorboards.
But upon investigating he couldn’t find anybody else in the castle.
At the end of the day’s shooting the Haunted Earth team concluded that the Keep forebuilding is the most active area within the castle.
They heard a ghostly woman’s voice and an unexplained tapping on the window.
Plus they smelt a strong smell of tobacco and Sean was touch by unknown entity.
Framlingham Castle, Framlingham
There’s been a castle at Framlingham since 1148.
The original castle was a Norman construction but this was totally destroyed by Henry II after the revolt of 1173-74.
Soon afterwards, the powerful Earl of Norfolk Roger Bigod built a replacement castle on the original castle site.
During the First Baron’s War in 1215, King John took the castle from Roger Bigod without a fight.
The castle was then later returned to the Bigod family but was passed onto the Crown after the death of the 5th Earl in 1306.
During the 15th and 16th centuries the castle was owned by the powerful Mowbray and Howard families.
In 1636, the castle was given to Pembroke College who built a poorhouse within the site.
They later gave the castle to the Commissioner of Works in 1913.
Today, the scheduled monument and a Grade I listed castle is owned by English Heritage.
I’m glad to report that English Heritage has opened the castle to the paying public.
Now with such a long history, it probably won’t be too much of a surprise to you that the castle is rumoured to be haunted…
Phantom footsteps, spooky screams and ghostly apparitions of faces have been reported by terrified members of staff and visitors alike in the old rooms of the castle.
In 2013, shocked visitors to the castle reported hearing the eerie sounds of phantom children playing in the castle’s empty courtyard!
Bungay Castle, Bungay
In the middle of Bungay there are the remains of the 12th century Bungay Castle.
The original Norman castle was first built by Roger Bigod of Norfolk in the 1100s.
His son, the powerful Earl Hugh Bigod built a large square Norman keep on the site in 1165.
But it was besieged and destroyed in the Revolt of 1173–1174.
In 1294, the castle was restored by Roger Bigod the 5th Earl of Norfolk who built the impressive twin towers you see today at the castle site.
After his death the castle was placed in the hands of the Crown but soon fell into disrepair.
Today, the castle is owned by the Bungay Castle Trust.
With such a strong link to the Bigod family you probably won’t be too surprised to discover that the castle remains are said to be haunted by Hugh Bigod.
It’s said that his apparition sometimes takes the form of a black dog!
The legendary Black Shuck is also said to roam around the ruins of the castle.
Whether the apparition of the black dog witnessed at the castle ruins is that of the spirit of Hugh Bigod or the Black Shuck itself I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
One thing for certain… the locals avoid the castle ruins at night like the plague!