Graded locations

Listed buildings are graded in each location in this blog. Eg. Grade I, II* II of grade I is of most importance. Grade A relates to Scotland. See BLB

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Castle Rising, Norfolk


Name: Castle Rising
Locality:  Lynn Road, Castle Rising, Norfolk PE31 6AJ
Built: 1138
Owner: Lord Howard of Rising
Grade I

The drive down to Castle Rising was only a very short one as we were staying on the Sandringham estate for a few days.  As I pulled the car into the car park I could just see the tips of the battlements peeping over the earth mounds, unwilling to show itself yet until we had parted with our brass. We walked over the bridge over the moat ditch then she revealed herself.  Castle rising is a very dominating structure with its weather worn stone, not fully ruinous though. It boasts that it is one of the largest castles in Britain, to me it is certainly one of the most foreboding, on a par with Hermitage Castle in both scale and creepiness. 

Whilst outside I heard a dog whining, its' yowling seemed to echo throughout the whole building. ’It can’t be’ I thought to myself; the castle has a legendary ghost, one of Queen Isabella the she-wolf of France, who takes on the form of a wolf and roams the upper battlements.  The story goes that she attempted to kill her husband Edward II in 1327 at Berkeley castle, her attempts at starving him failed but she wanted rid of him without any obvious marks on his body, she had a red hot poker inserted into he back passage, a very barbaric murder it was. 

Edward's bowels were completely burnt and he died from his  ‘not so obvious’ injuries a few days later.  Her horrid act of torture was found out and she was subsequently sent to Castle Rising as punishment. She was however looked after very well on the proviso she didn’t show her face in public again for the rest of her existence.  This sent her totally insane and she became completely deranged which also added to her already nasty temper, here she would wail from the battlements.  Then she was sent to Hertford Castle where she died in 1358.  Not long after her death, ghastly screams were heard at Castle Rising, it is said that she comes back in spirit form as a wolf with burning red eyes, its howls have been heard on many occasions even to this present day.  

People in the local village still hear dreadful sounds coming from this great pile.  A previous visitor to the castle who was ascending the main staircase noticed a lady holding a toddlers hand descending the stairs, the two figures walked past the visitor but as they did, the visitor noticed that the couple were wearing period type dress, as they passed by, they turned to ask the figures why there were dressed up, but as they turned the figures had vanished into thin air, the visitor then went outside to look for them but no one else was about! Later the visitor asked staff if there had been an re-enactment group on, but they were told that there had been none that day. 

I stood at the bottom of the main staircase and looked up, no howling she wolf, only a disabled fellow with two black Labradors.  Inside the castle there is a labyrinth of narrow corridors with stone spiral staircases at each end, there were a couple of cosy gallery rooms that were in modern condition, one I would have definitely  chosen as a base if I had had permission to do an all night vigil at the castle.  I did have permission by Lord Howard to do an investigation there a few years ago, but I never got there, so I was very excited about visiting here.