It is said to be one of the country’s most haunted castles, but Muncaster Castle may soon have another reason to be on the tourist map.
Current archaeological work suggests the site of Muncaster Castle near Ravenglass in Cumbria, may once have been the location for a large Roman fort to rival those seen at Chester and Ribchester in Lancashire.
Muncaster Castle has been home to the Pennington family since 1208. Today, three generations of Pennington’s share their home with the tourists who visit daily, and the ghosts which are said to roam the corridors.
Bump in the night
Every castle needs its ghosts and Muncaster is no exception. Its corridors echo with footsteps, babies wail at night and for those brave enough, a night in the Tapestry Room may prove be the worst nights sleep you'll ever get.
Inside Out introduces you to some of the unearthly residents of Muncaster Castle.
Tom fool died around 1600.
He created much mischief both dead and alive.
When passerbys would stop at the castle for directions to London, Tom would point them in the direction of the quicksand rather than the ford.
Tom may have been a jester, but the local carpenter certainly wasn't laughing. Under the orders of Sir Ferdinand Pennington, Tom chopped the carpenter's head off as a punishment for falling in love with Helwise, Sir Pennington's daughter.
Present owners of Muncaster, Phyllada and Patrick Gordon-Duff-Pennington, believe Tom still keeps a watchful eye on the castle, and occasionally gets up to more sinister mischief. Most of the ghostly goings on are attributed to this fiendish fool!
Mary Bragg is one of Muncaster's less well known ghosts, who met with a violent and untimely end in 1805.
A housekeeper in Ravenglass, Mary was in love with the footman at Muncaster. Unfortunately for Mary, so was one of the housemaids, who was not keen on competition.
One night, two men called at Mary's, claiming her lover was seriously ill. Suggesting they take her to his bedside, the men instead led Mary to a large tree on a lonely road and killed her.
Her body was found some weeks later, floating in the River Esk. Her head was so badly damaged after being partially eaten by eels, that the coroner could not say for certain how she died.
The ghost of Mary Bragg can often be seen wandering the grounds of Muncaster, whilst it is claimed that the tree where Mary met with her untimely death began to bleed as it was cut down.
The Ghosts of the Tapestry Room
The Tapestry Room is the most haunted hot spot in Muncaster Castle. With sombre paintings adorning the walls and iron fire dog shaped like a devil's head, visitors often report feeling an unwelcoming presence in the room.
Many who have stayed the night in the foreboding Tapestry Room, report the sound of babies crying, or children singing softly. Black figures have been seen leaning over alarmed guests, whilst others have experienced a heavy weight falling on top of them in the antique four-poster bed.
Black figures ahve been seen wandering around.