Berry Pomeroy Castle sits on a picturesque wooded hill in Devon England, the perfect image of a fairy-tale castle. It’s been called the U.K.’s most haunted castle and, like the castles in fairy-tales, has a collection of supposed spirits, ghost sightings, and disturbing family history that could rival any story the brothers Grimm ever told. If ghosts are real, this is the place for them. A recent picture taken at Berry Pomeroy by a group of teenagers shows, they believe, the ghosts legendary Pomeroy brothers. The two brothers, according to local lore, fell under siege at the castle and dramatically committed suicide in the area known today as Pomeroy’s Leap.
It was one of the last castles of its kind built in England, originally constructed as a state-of-the-art defense fortification in the late 15th century during the War of the Roses. Soon after, it became an exercise in opulence and feudal pomp before rapidly falling into ruin and decay in the late 17th century. Berry Pomeroy Castle was inhabited by two families in the 200 years it stood occupied. The last owners were the Seymour family, whose famous patriarch, Edward Seymour—brother to the queen, Jane Seymour, and Lord Protector of King Henry VIII’s son, bought the castle from the once-powerful Pomeroy family in 1547, when the Pomeroys were an impoverished shadow of their former glory.
While the Pomeroys may have sold off their family home, legend has it that they never really left. Nearly all of the supposed ghost sightings at Berry Pomeroy Castle are connected, in some tragic way or another, to the Pomeroy family. These are the kinds of thoroughly creepy ghost stories usually confined to the well-worn pages of fantasy paperbacks.
The kitchen is home to Isabella, the bastard daughter of a Pomeroy noble who died with her mother after being attacked by noblemen in the kitchen. The ghost of Margaret Pomeroy haunts the dungeon where it’s said she was imprisoned by her sister for being the prettier one. The “blue lady”, a Pomeroy daughter who strangled to death her infant son, born out of incest with her father, is said to haunt the most dangerous parts of the crumbling towers, wailing for help and attempting to push to their deaths any who come to her call. The list goes on and on, with such fantastic ghost names including “the smiling cavalier” and “the cane bearer.”
The recently published photograph from Berry Pomeroy is believed to be the ghosts of the Pomeroy brothers: two young brothers of the Pomeroy line rumored to have as tragic an end as the rest of their family. Berry Pomeroy Castle was built when Devon was one of the most dangerous areas in all of England, and as happens to castles, it fell under siege from time to time. The Pomeroys’ Leap area is so named because, according to apocryphal stories, when the castle fell under siege the two Pomeroy brothers, rather than be taken by the enemy, donned full suits of armor, mounted their horses, and rode together to the top of the walls where the two boys and the two horses leaped to their death. The photograph published on April 9, 2018 claims to show these brothers on their last ride. It looks like vapor or smoke, vaguely in the shape of two horses and riders, and like all ghost photographs, conclusively proves nothing.
But who knows? If the teens are telling the truth and that cloud of vapor was only showed up after the picture was taken, than it could very well be a picture of the imprint left behind by the two ill-fated brothers. History of the castle, and especially the Pomeroy family, is spotty at best and it’s tough to verify any of the legends or even names of the alleged ghosts. The stories really are amazing, though.