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This castle dates back to the 4th Century and is one of the very few Roman ‘Saxon Shore’ forts still standing. William the Conqueror landed here in 1066 with his army. The fort itself was then built upon, increasing its defences and adding a stone keep and towered bailey. It was now a established as a typically strong Norman castle. Some 5 centuries later the castle was again strengthened, this time to defend against the oncoming Armada in 1588. In World War II the castle was used as a machine gun post.
A lady in white is said to haunt these castle walls and grounds. It is reported to be the wife of Sir John Pelham who protected the castle from invaders in the 14th Century. While Sir John was away, his wife swore to protect the castle on his behalf and help in the effort to overthrow Richard II.
With the majority of soldiers off to fight with Sir John, the castle was left defenseless. Not too long after Sir John and the soldiers departed, the castle was besieged by Richard II’s men. Trapped inside, Lady Helen (Sir John’s wife) didn’t know whether she would live to see her husband again. A final love letter from Lady Helen to her husband was smuggled out before her life ended. It is believed that she experienced extreme trauma at the hands of Richard II’s men, and it is her troubled spirit that is said to be seen around the castle and its grounds.
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