The ruin of Bramber Castle is reportedly haunted by ghostly children that have been witnessed there. They are supposed to be the children of William De Braose, 7th Baron Abergavenny, 4th Lord of Bramber, who displeased King John I and as a result had his children captured and starved to death
William De Braose is a fascinating historical figure. Son of William De Braose, 3rd Lord of Bramber and Bertha de Pitres he inherited not just the Rape of Bramber but a large part of the Welsh Marches. Although Gerald of Wales would record the piety of William and his generosity, many Welsh called him the Ogre of Abergavenny for the ruthless murders in 1175 known as the Abergavenny Massacre. William had invited Seisyll ap Dyfnwal, two other Welsh princes and several noted Welsh leaders to his castle at Abergavenny with an offer of peace. He had his men butcher them all, then, according to legend he hunted down and slew Seisyll ap Dyfnwal’s seven year old son Cadwaladr.
In 1195 he sailed with King Richard I to France and was fighting with him at Chalus on 6 April 1199 when the Lionheart died. With Richard dead, his brother John seized the throne of England, though there was another heir, Arthur, Duke of Brittany (29 March 1187 – 1203), posthumous son of Geoffrey, Duke of Brittany, Earl of Richmond, the younger brother of Richard I, but older brother to John. William supported King John I, and when the French nobility refused to acknowledge the new king, instead preferring Arthur, they invaded France. William de Braose was there when Arthur, who was John’s nephew was captured at Mirabeau along with his sister Eleanor the “Fair Maid of Brittany” (1184 – 10 August 1241) in 1203. Eleanor was taken to Corfe Castle where she remained a prisoner until her death in 1241, because she still had a valid claim to the throne. Arthur was held at Falaise by Hubert de Burgh and then handed over to William de Braose at Rouen. He was not heard from again and it is suspected that John and William may have had a personal hand in his death.
William became a firm favourite of John and had many lands bestowed upon him, which may have been hush money for the murder of Arthur. William quickly fell from favour though and John seized his lands and castles. William fled first to Ireland before returning to Wales to aid Llywelyn the Great rebel against John. Eventually William fled to France disguised as a begger and died in 1211. It was actually William’s wife, Maud (or Mathilde) de St Valery and his eldest son William that were imprisoned and starved to death at Corfe Castle.
Bramber was returned to the de Braose family who’s ancestors had built the original motte and bailey castle there in 1070. It remained in the family until they died out in 1324