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Herstmonceux Castle


A 15th Century castle was one of the first to be built from brick. It is a former home of the Royal Observatory (from 1946) and now part of The International Study Centre of Queen's University (Ontario).

Herstmonceux Castle is reputedly haunted by several ghosts. A giant nine foot tall drummer, who walks the battlements beating his drum. A white lady, a grey lady and even a lady on a donkey.

The drummer may be associated with the story of Lord Dacre who would constantly beat his drum to drive would be suitors from his much younger wife. Eventually she decided to lock him a small room and left him there to starve, though the ghostly beating of his drum may still be heard. Another person to starve in the castle is a young who supposedly wanders the corridors.

In the grounds a distressed white lady haunts. Allegedly she had fallen foul of Sir Roger Fiennes (veteran of Agincourt) who abused her then murdered her. It was Sir Roger Fiennes who built the castle in 1441.


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Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Joined: 22 Jul 2008
Re: Herstmonceux Castle

In an article entitled 'Ghostly goings-on in the forest and beyond', the Kent and Sussex Courier mentioned the following on 23 December 2011.

Smugglers who utilised Herstmonceux Castle, then largely ruined, as a hiding place for "brandy for the parson and baccy for the clerk" invented a ghost of their own to keep inquisitive villagers away. They circulated a story of a phantom drummer nine feet high who paraded the battlements nightly, beating a tattoo.

Those who heard the distant sound of the drum promptly hid under the bedclothes and the smugglers went about their unlawful business.



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