A-Z Challenge 2012 - M
Muncaster is another castle that stakes a claim to be one of Britain’s most haunted.
|Muncaster Castle (Morris - 1880)|
Muncaster Castle overlooks the River Esk near Ravenglass, Cumbria in North West England. The lands were granted to Alan de Penitone in 1208. Roman foundations on the site date back to 79AD. The castle was built on these in 1258 by Gamel de Mulcaster. Extended and enlarged over the centuries records show that the castle had 14 chimneys in 1678 while in 1746 window tax records indicate a total of 103 windows.
After his defeat at the Battle of Townton in 1461 Henry VI was sheltered at the castle by Sir John Pennington. On his departure Henry presented Sir John with his glass drinking bowl as a token of his gratitude, saying that they would prosper for as long as the bowl remained unbroken. To this day the glass, known as “Luck of Muncaster” remains intact.
Of all the ghostly tales about Muncaster the most famous is that of Tom the Fool. Tom Skelton was a jester at the castle who died around 1600. He is said to be responsible for a number of deaths. He loitered under a chestnut tree outside the castle and directed travellers looking for Ravenglass down to the quick sands rather than to the road. He is also supposed to have cut off the head of a local carpenter under the instructions of Sir William Pennington. The carpenter had been the lover of Sir William’s daughter Helwise.
Thomas Skelton’s portrait still hangs in the castle. One tourist standing looking at the portrait said she heard footsteps on stone flooring behind her. When she turned there was no one there. It was later pointed out to her that the stairs and corridor were, in fact, fully carpeted.
It’s believed that the expression “Tom Fool” and “tomfoolery” originated with Thomas Skelton.
The Tapestry Room is supposedly the most haunted room in the building with people experiencing disturbed nights, hearing footsteps outside the room, seeing the door handle turning, and the door opening although there is no one there. A child is heard crying, and sometime a lady sings as though comforting a child.
The “Muncaster Boggle” or White Lady haunts the gardens and roadways. She is the ghost of Mary Bragg, a young girl murdered in area in the early 1800s.
|Muncaster Castle - North East Front - 2007|
Hilary Melton-Butcher's castle for L was Lullingstone Castle, Kent.
- Muncaster Castle in England from Morris's Country Seats (1880).
- North East Front of Muncaster Castle 2007; author Alexander P Kapp; Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0