Since Bound by Oath and Honour begins in a creepy (inspired by Cannock Chase) forest in beautiful county Staffordshire, I thought it appropriate to write a little something paranormal in Tutbury...like the castle for instance.
|Photograph of Tutbury Castle by Dave Harris
For a time, the great de Ferrers family called this castle home. Later it became a center for some very powerful earls and dukes, such as the great John of Gaunt, 2nd Duke of Lancaster.
What? You don’t recognize the name? Well somewhere along the way you might have heard of his son, King Henry IV; his grandson, King Henry V; and his great grandson, King Henry VI.
Ahem... moving right along...
Perhaps Tutbury’s biggest claim to fame is as the prison for Mary Queen of Scots. During her lifetime, the castle walls held her captive four different times. No wonder she grew to hate it. Here her nefarious enemies hatched the plot that would lead to her death.
The castle saw more than its fair share of sieges over the centuries. Many times it suffered horrendous carnage. Despite the damage, they would rebuild the castle and it would live on to fight another day—until 1647. During the Civil War surrounding Charles I, Parliament finally had enough and ordered the complete and utter destruction of the castle. Even then it wasn’t entirely annihilated. To this day remains of the castle still stand.
So, despite the ruins, how about those ghosts...
Should it surprise you that Mary Queen of Scots is supposed to haunt the castle? Over the centuries, numerous witnesses have reported seeing her ghostly form. Some have seen her standing in the Great Hall near the window; others have seen her as she flees across the grounds. If that isn’t enough for you, we had a group of about forty no-nonsense men who swear they’ve seen her as well. They said she stood at the top of the South Tower, dressed in a white, flowing gown, reminiscent of the period. At first they thought it was a joke. At. First.
A small boy also calls the castle home. He’s not your usual pasty, translucent ghost either. Witnesses think he’s just as mortal as anyone else. Most of the time one can find him in the Great Hall, near the area of the stairs. He is said to be wearing a shirt that is white in color. They say he’s a playful spirit that does nothing more than drain your batteries and interfere with your electrical equipment. Maybe he needs a toy train or something.
Oh, and our little boy ghost has a playmate. She is known as Ellie and likes to hang out in the King’s bedroom (who wouldn’t). She’ll take hold of your hand when you least expect it. One more thing, if you’re wearing a ring, she may grab it, so watch out!
Finally, we have the phantom known as “The Keeper.” You can’t miss him. He wears a full suit of armour—and more often than not—is seen in John of Gaunt’s Gateway. He’s also known to yell at the tourists. He’ll say something like, “Get thee hence!”
I don’t know, but maybe that’s our cue to leave! What say you?