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The White Lady of Rochester Castle

Rochester Castle is situated in the City of Rochester, one side is the River Medway, Rochester Cathedral stands opposite and many Victorian and older buildings surround on all sides. The moat has long since silted up and was used as a graveyard.

The area has a long history of fortification. There is evidence of a Roman fort and an Anglo-Saxon presence. Some speculate that there could have been a an Iron Age fort or perhaps a Neolithic ritual centre there. What stands today is a Norman castle. Building started was started in 1087 by Bishop Gundulf and finally completed in 1126 by William de Corbeil.

The castle has endured three seiges. The most famous was in 1215 when King John laid seige to the castle which was being held by rebel Barons. The seige lasted three months and was ended when one of the towers was breached. When the castle was repaired this tower was built round. All the other towers are square.

The ghost is that of Lady Blanche de Warenne. In 1264 the castle was under seige by the rebel, Simon de Montfort. Fighting for the King was Ralph de Capo.

Inside the castle was Lady Blanche de Warenne who was betrothed to Ralph de Capo.

A rebel by the name of Gilbert de Clare was a rejected suitor of Lady Blanche. It being Good Friday the fighting had breifly stopped. This gave Gilbert de Clare the opportunity to gain access to the castle. His armour being similar to Ralphe de Capos, none of the servants look any notice. He eventually found his way to the room of Lady Blanche and tried to force himself upon her. She escaped and ran to the top of the keep screaming for

Her husband to be, de Capo, heard the screams and noticed Lady Blanche struggling in the arms of Gilbert de Clare at the top of the keep. He let loose an arrow with which to Kill de Clare. The arrow struck de Clares armour, bounched off and pierced the breast of Lady Blanche instead. She fell from the battlements to the ground beneath, leaving Ralpe de Capo heartbroken.

Every Good Friday the death of Lady Blanche de Warrene is reenacted from the battlements of Rochester Castle.

A lady in white is seen being struck by an arrow and then falling from the keep.

It has also been said that mysterious footsteps have been heard within what remains of the castle. Whether these are the foot falls of Lady Blanche or some other former occupant of the castle is not known.

Amanda Peters

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