Muncaster Castle is located in the Lake District, Cumbria and is owned by the Pennington family who have resided in the castle for over 800 years.
The castle is secluded up high between the hills which overlook the River Esk and has spectacular views of the Eskdale Valley and the Lakeland Fells.
The castle was built in the 13th century, on a site that had Roman ruins. The castle started its life as an unfortified hall. When the Scottish raided the border during 1316 – 1322 a four-storey pele tower was built using Roman stones as the foundation and would be enough defence to repel the Scots.
As time passed the hall was remodelled for comfort and it wasn’t until 1783 that the hall was completely rebuilt, only leaving the pele tower in its original condition. The Georgian house was then remodelled into Victorian fashion between 1862 – 1866. A second pele tower was added purely for aesthetical symmetry. The library was built from the hardwood trees that were planted on the grounds.
In 1464 Henry VI gave a glass bowl to the family and declared that as long as it remained intact, the Pennington’s would thrive and remain at the castle, to which they are, even to this day.
There are many ghosts said to reside at Muncaster Castle but one in particular is Tom Fool aka Thomas Skelton. He was a jester during the Tudor period and even on occasion an executioner when he cut off the head of a carpenter who had fallen in love with Sir Ferdinand Pennington’s daughter. Tom was known to play cruel practical jokes on visitors, when asked for directions he would often direct people across the river below and into the quicksand. He’s still playing jokes on people today.
Mary Bragg who was murdered in 1805 was in love with a footman at Muncaster Castle but so was a housemaid. One night Mary was told to come visit her ill lover but instead, two men took Mary to a large tree on a nearby road and killed her. Weeks later, her body was found floating and half-eaten by eels in the River Esk. The spirit of Mary can be still seen wandering the gardens and there’s a tale of the tree that Mary was murdered underneath, actually bled when it was cut down.
Inside the tapestry room phantom baby cries can be heard from the forgotten past of the room being used as a nursery, along with soft singing, black shadows towering over you and the feel of a heavy weight being pressed down on you when you try to sleep at night in that room.
A carved fairy tree house in the garden.
Muncaster Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels is located on the grounds of Muncaster Castle. There is a record of a church on this site since 1140 with the current building dating from the 16th century and alterations made in the late 19th century.
The Viking cross that remains in the churchyard suggests that this land was used as a burial ground even before pre-Christian times.
Blessed Be )O(