Monday, 2 April 2012

Bamburgh's Pink Lady

A-Z Challenge 2012 - B

Bamburgh’s Pink Lady

Bamburgh Castle stands on a massive rock on Northumberland’s North Sea coast.

Bamburgh Castle (Nesfield)

The castle site may have been a prehistoric settlement but the first reference to a castle was in AD 547. Built by the Normans, besieged unsuccessfully by William II in 1095, targeted by the Scots, Bamburgh Castle was the first English castle to be defeated by artillery during the Wars of the Roses in 1464.

The Forster family had been governors of the castle for 400 years before the Crown granted them ownership. In 1700 Sir William Forster died bankrupt and the castle was sold to the Bishop of Durham. During the 18 and 19th centuries various owners undertook restoration of the castle. It was the wealthy Victorian industrialist, William Armstrong, who is credited with bringing the castle to how we see it today.

Bamburgh Castle (Bowman)
But what of Bamburgh’s Pink Lady?

We are told that the father of a Northumbrian princess not approving of the boy she loved banished him overseas for seven years. Forbidden to exchange messages with her love the girl became more and more depressed. Finally the king told his daughter that the boy had married someone else. To cheer his daughter up after this news the king ordered the castle seamstress to make the princess a fine dress in her favourite colour – pink.

Still distraught, the girl climbed to the highest battlements and flung herself to her death on the rocks below – wearing that pink dress.

Her lover returned from exile, unmarried and was heartbroken by the lost of his love. What happened to him no one knows.

Every seven years Bamburgh’s Pink Lady, the princess clothed in shimmering pink, wanders the castle, glides down the rocky path to the beach and stands on the sands – gazing sadly out to sea, waiting for the return of her lost love.

Another legend linked to Bamburgh Castle is that of the toad-queen said to live in a cave beneath the castle. Supposedly the doors to the cave open very seventh Christmas Eve. The toad-queen will not return to her normal shape until some hero arrives…..

The Spindlestone
The Childe of Wynde, son of the King of Northumbria, tethered his horse to the whinstone pillar near the town known as Spindlestone before going off to fight the Laidley Worm. This fearsome creature terrified the people of the area. In reality it was the king’s daughter turned into a dragon by her stepmother. Childe set out to fight the dragon not aware it was his sister – the Worm refused to fight. The refusal broke the spell on her; the princess resumed her normal shape.

The queen was changed into that toad-queen, waiting for some hero to unsheathe the Childe of Wynde’s sword three times, to blow Childe’s horn three times and finally to kiss the toad.

  • Bamburgh Castle; Oil on canvas date unknown; William Andrews Nesfield; public domain.
  • Bamburgh Castle; author Glen Bowman; Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License
  • The Spindlestone (2007) at Spindlestone Heughs as included in the legend of the Laidley Worm; author Wayne Phillips; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License


Anna L. Walls said...

I can understand the wandering ghosts but where do the other tales come from? What generates such fantastic stories? I believe there is always some grain of truth to these stories, but most times what it might be eludes me.

DW96 said...

Timely post, Bob. I used Bamburgh as part of the settings in one of my novels (but disguised it as Bramham).

I always figured it as a spectacular piece of architecture.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob .. great historical post - I visited Bamburgh many years ago - and loved the setting etc .. great pictures with myth and legend for us to mull over ..

It's a great castle ...

I've linked your A - to my B and I'll do similarly tomorrow .. we haven't snapped yet!

Love it - thanks .. cheers Hilary

Bob Scotney said...

Anna - apparently there is an old English fairy story about the Laidl(e)y Worm; it was too long to include so I just made the link because it connected with Bamburgh (allegedly).

Grammy said...

Hi, I loved it! I really get into stories about the past, especially those that originated in England or the British Isles.
Thanks for the interesting read.

Tonja said...

I love the first picture especially.

Simon Kewin said...

Fascinating again! A castle I have been to.

Thanks for dropping by mine.

Jess said...

Very informative. Thanks for a great post that has me curious to learn more. :)

Bish Denham said...

Sad and terrifying tales. Love the history behind them all!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Bob
I came over from Hilary's, she said you were doing castles. I love them, have never seen one, but I'm always curious. Amazing what stories people invented about their royalty.

beccabooklover said...

Great pictures especially the first one. I love castles so your theme is perfect for a lover of history like myself! Such tragic, fantastic tales.

I'm your newest follower! I'm looking forward to your other posts throughout the challenge :)


Stopping by from A to Z blog challenge. I love castles! There's one in Napa that my fiance and I visited. It was amazing. But I'm sure it's not like the one you posted. Thanks for sharing this great post.

A Ladybug's Life


Sarah Pearson said...

I can't say I'm too surprised nobody has kissed the toad-queen, she sounds downright mean!

Editor and Publisher Shelly Burke said...

I am fascinated by castles so enjoyed this! Checking in from the A to Z challenge.

Rosalind Adam said...

This is a castle that I have visited though I never saw any pink ladies or slimy toad Queens. Must have been looking in the wrong direction, right?

Filip Demuinck said...

How much fantasy and expression an artist can put in a painting.


A.M. Swan said...

Love it. Haunted castles...or anything haunted is just my thing. This is a great post.

Anonymous said...

The Pink Lady - how sad. Such fascinating tales associated with castles. That first photo is haunting - a fantasy castle.

I came over here from Hilary's because like so many others I'm fascinated by castles, probably because they look so "romantic" and there are so many "tales" associated with them.
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

Martin T. Ingham said...

I'll have to add Bamburgh to my list of sites I'd like to visit someday. It may be some time before I dare dream of taking such a journey, but the pictures are nice to look at in the meantime.

thelmaz said...

Loved the castle stories. Signed up to follow.

Nicole said...

What an attractive castle! I never heard of this one before, though. Thanks for sharing the history on this building. It would be cool to be able to visit the place :)

Blog: The Madlab Post
@MadlabPost on Twitter

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Bob! This is such a wonderful post; I learned so much. Sad about the interfering father who blew it all to heck for the princess and her man.

Kathy M.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob, first time visitor. Castles are always cool. One of these days we'll take the fam to Europe and visit some castle.

Sharkbytes said...

What a great place! I just signed on to the A-Z challenge, nearly at the last minute, but I'm trying to visit every blog at least once.

Leigh Covington said...

OH SO COOL! I love castles and this one is fascinating!!! Beautiful pictures too! Love it!

Elton Edgar said...

Very informative and also picturesque. I once had a dream I owned a castle much like this, only it was made from the skulls of dwarfs. Though, I didn't kill them, all were natural causes. I was trying desperately to evict a dragon,I recall, it wouldn't clean the toilet we shared. It was a time share castle, our schedules were mixed up. I'd rather not explain it. Nice post!
Elton Says Things...