31 Jul Nearby Berry Pomeroy Castle
Berry Pomeroy Castle is situated in a lovely wooded valley approx. 2.5 miles from Aish. It is a 15th century romantic Castle ruin with an excellent café for breakfast, tea (try the Devon Cream Tea) or lunch (particular the Sunday Roasts). The Castle is run by English Heritage and parking is free.
There is a lovely country valley walk into Totnes – about 1 hour. It is part of the 35 mile Musgrave Trail from Torquay to Totnes. If you have 2 cars maybe leave one at each end of the walk?
A brief history – The Castle was built by the Pomeroy family in the late 15th Century – they already owned the Manor of Berri for 400 years which was granted by William the Conqueror to Ralf De Pomaria – a Norman knight from La Pommerage near Falaise in France. The main reason for building the Castle is believed to be due to the unruly state of Devon – the most lawless area in Southern England. These local feuds escalated from 1455 into the conflict later known as the ‘War of the Roses’ – this involved the Pomeroys on the Yorkist side.
In December 1547, Berry Pomeroy was bought from the now impoverished Sir Thomas Pomeroy by the wealthy and powerful Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset – he was the brother of Henry V111’s third and favourite Queen, Jane Seymour. There is a lot more history on the English Heritage website, but to conclude, in 1697 the Castle was deliberately partially demolished by Sir Edward Seymour who had inherited it from his father, and as a young man he had bitterly quarrelled with both his parents (his interest in life was in London not Devon)
The property however remains in the Seymour family who in 1750 succeeded to the family title of Duke of Somerset, and it is still owned by the present Duke whose estate embraces much of the surrounding land and property.
In the late 18c /19c the romantic and picturesque ruins of Berry Pomeroy castle became a magnet for artists and sightseers and stories of ghostly encounters abounded. So much so even today it is promoted as the most haunted Castle in Devon!
As a young teenager a group of us were dared to spent the night at Berry Pomeroy Castle – we did so and survived! we didn’t encounter any ghosts just rabbits and ghostly animal rustlings!