Berry Pomeroy Castle is one of the most romantic and also famous as one of the most haunted castles in England. The ruins of this castle represent a colorful history of powerful families, their dreams, some of which could not be fulfilled. This amazing castle is tucked away in a deep wooded valley near Totness, South Devon. It was intended to become the most spectacular house in Devon and to become a landmark, but it could not get complete and was abandoned in 1700. Now, the castle is famous for its blood-curdling ghost stories and picturesque spots.
The castle became famous as a picturesque location in the 19th century and the pictures attracted a lot of tourists from around the world. The castle is located in the village of the same name “Berry Pomeroy Village” which is very near to Totness town. Its location is ideal for hikers and trekkers who love to explore the nearby woodlands. The castle is an awesome attraction for a day trip where you can admire its romantic vibes with a touch of darkness that surrounds the walls. The ghost stories range from white and blue lady ghosts, black dogs, creepy moans, ear-splitting shrieks, icy temperatures, strange lights, uncomfortable evil sensations and even disappearing figures that are dressed in costumes. You have to pay to feel all this horror as the entry charges into the castle for adults are around £6.90 and for children are £4.10.
History of Berry Pomeroy Castle
The history of Berry Pomeroy Castle starts from the 15th century when the Pomeroy family decided to build a castle on a land inside the deer park which was already owned by the family. This castle is also one of the last traditional private castles built in the country. The castle has gone through a lot of remodeling which makes it hard for the archaeologists to determine the actual building plans. However, a few of the remains create a rough map of the original castle buildings. It was clear that the Pomeroy family started the castle but couldn’t finish it due to financial crises and the castle was later bought by the Edward Seymour in 1547.
Edward Seymour was the 1st Duke of Somerset and the brother of King Henry VIII’s third and favorite wife, jane Seymour. He was also the Lord Protector of his young nephew, Edward VI. He was executed in 1552 on a charge of treason and after that all his property was forfeited by the Crown, His son, also Edward Seymour, gained title to the castle in 1558 after many attempts. Sir Edward Seymour then became the High Sheriff of Devon in 1583 and a turned into a considerable landowner. He started the remodeling of the castle by removing Pomeroy family’s buildings inside the castle’s walls. He also erected a new four-story house in the castle.
When Sir Edward Seymour died in 1593, his land was inherited by his son whose name was also Edward Seymour. Now, the grandson of original Edward Seymour, also became the sheriff of Devon and later a baronet. He also did a lot of renovation in the castle, but he died in 1613. His son, also Sir Edward Seymour, 2nd baronet became the governor of Dartmouth, member of parliament and was knighted. He continued to live in the castle until the civil war when he sided with the Royalists and was captured. His castle was raided, and his estates were confiscated. However, he was later allowed to stay in the castle where he died in 1659.
After this, his Son, another Edward who later became the 3rd baronet followed his father’s steps as a Royalist and was appointed as a colonel in 1642. He was also imprisoned when his father was captured, however after restoration in 1660, he became the Deputy Lieutenant of Devon and member of parliament for Totness. Due to the vast expenses for the Royalist cause, the castle could not be maintained properly, and the structure’s condition became poor. When Edward, 3rd baronet died in 1688, his son Edward, 4th baronet did not want to invest in the castle or maintain it and instead shifted to live in Bradley House in Maiden Bradley, Wiltshire. The magnificent castle which had 50 rooms and a spectacular dining room slowly turned into ruins.
It was in 19th century when the castle got its fame because of being very picturesque. Many artists and photographers visited the Berry Pomeroy Castle and their sketches and phots attracted more artists and tourists to this place until it became a popular tourist attraction place and now maintained by the English Heritage.
5 Attractions in the Berry Pomeroy Castle
Gatehouse of Berry Pomeroy Castle
This is a defensive gatehouse which once had a drawbridge and gun ports in its towers. There are overhead slots which were used to drop hot liquids and objects on the invaders. You can also see the groove for the portcullis which was meant to be dropped on the attackers to crush them. Some treasure hunters tried to dig up to find a room of treasures, but the effort was unsuccessful.
You can climb up to the first floor of this medieval gatehouse to find the beautiful 15th century wall painting which represents the Adoration of the Magi. There is also a Dominican altarpiece which you will see before crossing the wall.
The Elizabeth House
Elizabeth House was constructed in 16th century by Sir Edward Seymour (his father bought the castle from Pomeroy family). He remodeled the castle and built a splendid 4 story house with large windows which offered beautiful views from all the floors. The style of the building was of a typical Elizabethan hunting lodge surrounded by the walls of the castle. You can still see the ornate moldings over the windows along with the remains of carving.
The Great Hall
The arched terrace will take you from the main courtyard to the Great Hall which was once praised as the most magnificent room in the castle with decorated plaster ceiling, wall tapestries and beautiful marble fireplace. Now, the splendid Great Hall is just a room of ruined walls that once had lovely windows.
Kitchens of the Berry Pomeroy Castle
You can also visit the two kitchens of the castle where you will find the baking ovens and fireplaces around every corner. There are places for smoking the meat under the chimneys. The North range kitchen also has a bakery, brewhouse, buttery and a laundry.
Hiking around the Berry Pomeroy Castle
The land inside and outside the Berry Pomeroy Castle are ideal for hikers and trekkers. You can walk around the land and take pictures of the castle from different and beautiful angles. The John Musgrave trail will take you to a beautiful lake from where you can look back at the stunningly beautiful castle. The surrounding area has many birds and wildlife. Wildflowers add to the beauty of the environment where you can take beautiful pictures around the Berry Pomeroy Castle.