I’ve got a special Pen Pal on my blog today–Debbie Peterson, whose novels I love. I’ve read them all, and each time I think she can’t out do herself, she does. I’m currently deeply engrossed in her latest release, SPIRIT OF THE KNIGHT, and think it’s my favorite to date. A Scottish Castle, romance, ghosts, mystery . . . what’s not to love?
Today, Debbie has dropped by to share a few eerie legends about Berry Pomeroy Castle, rumored to be one of the most haunted sites in the British Isles. What better way to usher in her ghostly romance, SPIRIT OF THE KNIGHT, than to set the tone with this thoroughly spooky guest post:
Mariah Jennings, the heroine of “Spirit of the Knight,” believes in ghosts. After all, she has seen her fair share of them since taking on the task of painting castles for “The Gallery of Castles Project.” For instance, shortly after arriving at her first assignment in South Devon, England, she discovered firsthand the wild tales concerning Berry Pomeroy Castle were, in fact, quite true.
The mysterious castle ruins, nestled deep in a wooded valley, charmed Mariah at first glance. She easily imagined William the Conqueror gifting the lands to Ralph de Pomeroy in appreciation of his support during the Norman invasion and all the way through the battle of Hastings in the year 1066. Yet, the lovely fortification wouldn’t grace the area until 1305.
Her research also revealed that two centuries later, Sir Edward Seymour, brother-in-law of King Henry VIII and Lord Protector of England, acquired Berry Pomeroy in the 1540’s. During his tenure as Lord Protector, Sir Edward made a host of enemies. Therefore, it didn’t surprise a soul that in October of 1549, the Earl of Warwick managed to oust and imprison him in the Tower of London. His subsequent conviction on twenty-nine different charges resulted in a death sentence. Edward’s enemies saw him executed on the 22nd day of January, in the year 1552. His death notwithstanding, the Seymour family inhabited the castle until 1668 and retains guardianship to this very day.
Now, the day Mariah arrived at Pomeroy, the locals regaled her with stories of ghostly apparitions and strange phenomena. They spoke of lights without source, disembodied voices, cold spots, and sudden, freak winds. She could testify to all of that and within the first few days of her stay. Those particular events didn’t pose a problem for Mariah. However, becoming a witness to the legendary, full-bodied apparitions took far more courage.
While inspecting the shadowy dungeon, she came face to face with the “White Lady.” This particular ghost haunts the castle prison, and rises up from the tower known as St. Margaret’s, to the castle ramparts. She is the spirit of Margaret Pomeroy, imprisoned by her sister Eleanor, after Lord Pomeroy left for the crusades. Unfortunately, their father left Eleanor in charge. According to legend, jealousy of Margaret’s beauty and her love for the man she too desired, Eleanor slowly starved Margaret to death, following a two-decade incarceration.
Shortly after the shock of seeing the ghost wore off, an apparition dressed in a long blue cape and hood appeared in the doorway as Mariah worked on her first painting of the castle. Known as the “Blue Lady,” this ominous spirit enjoys luring men into the most dangerous, unstable portions of the castle in hopes of facilitating their death. Why would she do such a dastardly thing? Well, tradition maintains this spirit is the daughter of a Norman Lord who once occupied the castle. His vile abuse resulted in the birth of a child. To cover his heinous deed, the man strangled the infant. Another version of the story states that our “Blue Lady” hated the child so much, she strangled it herself. As a result, her troubled spirit will never find rest. Those who’ve seen her say she wrings her hands in anguish and torment. At various times, the cries of the murdered infant can be heard throughout the castle. (I’m not certain I’d want to stick around after that…)
During her stay, Mariah oftentimes heard unexplained screams accompanied by heavy thuds in a vicinity of the castle known as Pomeroy’s Leap. This, the locals said, was easily explained. Besieged at the castle, with defeat imminent, two brothers dressed themselves in full armor. They mounted their horses, rode off the top of the castle ramparts, and fell into the precipice below. An act–considered heroic by some–they apparently replicate to this very day.
Despite the beauty of the castle, Mariah seemed quite relieved the day she packed her belongings and headed to the next castle on her list. I can’t say that I blame her though, do you?
Thanks Mae, I truly enjoy each of my visits with you!
Renowned artist, Mariah Jennings hired to paint a thirteenth-century Scottish castle, gets the shock of her life when she encounters the handsome knight who has dominated a lifetime of portraits and sketchbooks.
But Sir Cailen Braithnoch is no ordinary ghost, nor did he suffer an ordinary death. Magic of the blackest kind cast a pall over the knights centuries ago. As the ghost and his lady seek to unravel the paradox surrounding his death, black arts, otherworldly forces, and a jealous rival conspire against them.
Will those forces tear them apart, or is their love destined to last throughout the ages?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Debbie has always had a soft spot for fairy tales, the joy of falling in love, and happily ever after endings. Stories of love and make believe filled her head for as long as she can remember. However, it was her beloved husband who encouraged, cajoled and inspired her to take up a pen and write some of them down. Her journey to published author could fill quite a few pages, but in June of 2010, she submitted her debut novel, “Spirit of the Rebellion” to her wonderful, patient, editor at The Wild Rose Press. A few short months after Rebellion’s release, her second novel, “Shadow of the Witte Wieven” was published through InkSpell Publishing. Her third novel, “Spirit of the Revolution” was released in 2013, through The Wild Rose Press.
When she is not busy conjuring her latest novel, Debbie spends time with the members of her very large family. She also pursues her interests in family history, mythology, and all things ancient and historic.
SPIRIT OF THE KNIGHT is currently available in early release for purchase on Amazon