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 Castles of England - Berry Pomeroy Castle

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near Berry Pomeroy, Devon, England

Berry Pomeroy Castle is located about a mile north-east of the village of Berry Pomeroy, near Totnes, Devon, England. It is situated on a limestone outcrop overlooking the valley of the Gatcombe Brook. Berry Pomeroy consists of a Tudor mansion within the walls of an earlier castle. Today the castle is administered by English Heritage, although still owned by the Duke of Somerset. It is a grade I listed building. The castle is accessed via a wooded drive. The original drive is visible as an earthwork in the adjacent woods. The main carpark is in a quarry where slate used for the building was excavated.

The oldest parts of the castle that can still be seen are the gatehouse, remains of the curtain walls and St Margaret's Tower on the east corner. The original castle had a dry moat, gatehouse and ramparts surmounted by a curtain wall with buildings around the inside of the wall. The gatehouse to the south has a round-arched gateway with semi-hexagonal towers on either side connected by a flattened arch on corbels. There is a guardroom above the gateway with octagonal piers and chamfered arches. The curtain walls are connected to the St Margaret's Tower to the east. There is a group of tall piers on the north side which are probably the remains of the north wing or hall of the Seymour mansion house which is situated on the north east side of the enclosure. The Seymour mansion house is a three storey building built around a small courtyard.

Berry Pomeroy Castle was built in the 15th-century by the Pomeroy family. In 1547 Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset bought the castle from Sir Thomas Pomeroy. He was beheaded for treason in 1552, and the castle was forfeit to the Crown. In 1558, his son Edward, Lord Seymour gained title to the castle. He built a three storey Tudor mansion house at the north end of the courtyard between 1560 and 1580. After his death in 1593 his son, also Edward, added the North Range to the castle in about 1600. During the Civil War, the Seymours sided with the Royalists, and the castle was attacked by Parliamentarians. The Seymour estates were sequestered by Cromwell, but they were allowed to stay at the castle. By the end of the 17th century, Berry Pomeroy Castle was in ruins.

Berry Pomeroy Castle has its share of ghostl stories. The White Lady haunts the dungeons, and rises from St Margaret's Tower to the castle ramparts. She is said to be the spirit of Margaret Pomeroy, who was imprisoned in the dungeons by her sister Eleanor. Margaret was left to starve to death in the dungeons. Another ghost is The Blue Lady who is supposed to lure people into parts of the ruin. She is said to be the ghost of the daughter of one of the Norman Lords of the castle who was abused by her father.

Other Castles in the Area
  Castle Drogo, Devon
  Dartmouth Castle, Devon
  Kingswear Castle, Devon
  Powderham Castle, Devon

Powderham Castle
Berry Pomeroy is the ruins of medieval castle with the ruins of large Elizabethan house within the wall.

Photograph by Michael Dibb. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Powderham Castle
Ruins of the first Great Hall in the earlier part of the Seymour's mansion at Berry Pomeroy

Photograph by Richard Croft. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Powderham Castle
Ruins of the Seymour's Tudor mansion at Berry Pomeroy

Photograph by Richard Croft. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

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