Ghosts of Dunstanburgh Castle

High upon the cliffs along the North Sea in Northumberland, England, reside the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. Dunstanburgh was once the largest castle in Northumberland, but today only fragments of it remain.

The castle was built in 1313 by Thomas Plantagenet, Second Earl of Lancaster and was fortified in the 1380s. The castle saw plenty of action during the Wars of the Roses as it changed hands at least five times. Each time it was besieged with cannon fire and in the end, little was left of the castle but the castle may still be home to its 14th century builder and a few others.

Thomas Plantagenet fell into disfavor with his cousin King Edward II who had him executed for treason in 1322. The executioner must have had an off day because it took him 11 strokes to ultimately decapitate Thomas. The unfortunate Earls’ ghost has been spotted around the castle carrying his mangled head, with a facial expression still bearing the pain and horror he suffered before the final blow of the executioner finally took his life.

Another purported resident of Dunstanburgh Castle is the ghost of Sir Guy. One stormy night in the 16th century, a gallant knight named Sir Guy took shelter in the castle. A hideous specter appeared and told him of a beautiful lady who needed saving. The knight followed the figure to where the maiden lay sleeping was told to choose between a sword and a horn. Sir Guy blew the horn and suddenly 100 knights in white appeared and charged towards him. When he regained consciousness he was lying beneath the ruins in the gatehouse. The knight spent the rest of his life searching in vain for the maiden. Some say his harrowing cries can still be heard on stormy evenings.

The ghost of Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI, has also been spotted wandering the castle grounds. Some other sightings at the castle include shadow people, ghostly lights and black dog apparitions.

Dunstanburgh Castle lies on a headland on the coast of Northumberland in northern England, between the villages of Craster and Embleton.