Everybody loves a good ghost story and as you can imagine, Devon has its fair share of ghouls and ghosts. Many towns and villages of Devon date back hundreds, if not thousands of years. With a rich sea and country heritage you could expect a lot of ghosts and ghouls. Torbay has some especially interesting stories, these are but a few. The Black House at Brixham, Churston Court Inn, (a good place to eat and drink aswell),The Spanish Barn at Torre Abbey, Castle -a-Mer, Berry Pomeroy Castle.
The Black House- Brixham
The Black House was built in the 14th Century, and used by monks when the building of St Marys Church took place nearby. The house is in fact painted white not black.
The ghost of Squire Hilliard who lived in the 16th Century is said to come back to search for his son.
The story goes that the Squires son fell in love with a young girl from Cheriton, but apparently the Squire didn’t think his son ought to marry the young lady, and forced her to marry another man. Whilst the Squires son was out riding one day he saw the love of his life coming out of the church after being married on the arm of another man. He was so heartbroken that he hung himself. Strange things happen in the Black House. Doors lock for no reason even though the bolts are not shot, and the owner of the house now has even been locked out of his house. Noises and footsteps have been heard, both inside and out. Horses hooves have been heard on the lawn, as if the lawn is of cobblestones, and not grass. Also mysterious lights have been seen inside the house by onlookers.
Apparently there are traces of an old cobblestone surface which has been found under the lawn.
It is thought that the Squire is still searching for his sons forgiveness.
Churston Court Inn
Churston Court is an old saxon manor house which can be found nestling next door to St Mary the Virgin Church. More than one ghost has been see here in the medieval inn. Reputedly there is a ghost of a monk that walks through the passages and rooms, and there are stories of candles that have been put out, being relit of their own accord. Nowadays Churston Court is still an Inn, and a Restaurant, which still has its original oak panelling, oak beams, mullioned windows and inglenook fireplaces.
From Windy Corner traffic Lights follow the A3022 towards Brixham after passing the Go Kart track on left take the 2nd left into Churston Rd. Continue right to the end of the road and turn left, Churston Court will be found on the left by the church.
The Spanish Barn at Torre Abbey
Torre Abbey was founded in 1196 as a monastery. In 1662 after the dissolution of monasteries it was the home of the Cary family until1930. The Tithe Barn which stands next to Torre Abbey known as the “Spanish Barn”, was used to imprison 397 Spanish prisoners who were captured by the English Navy when fighting in the Armada in 1588. Their ship was towed to Torquay, and the prisoners were all held captive in overcrowded conditions. With a plague of Rats, Sickness and Disease very few of the prisoners survived. However, one of the Spaniards was given last rites on their deathbed by a local priest of the time, and it was discovered that the person was not a seaman at all, but a woman in disguise, who had been smuggled onto the ship in order to be with her lover or husband.
Her ghost has been seen reappearing in Torre Abbey Meadows near to the waterfront, drifting slowly back towards the entrance of the Barn with a very down and tired looking face.
Torre Abbey Can be found at Kings Drive Torquay, very near to the sea front.
Tel: 01803 293593
In Middle Warberry Rd, Torquay opposite a house called Edwinstowe for a long time there was a gaping void between the houses of Norfolk Lodge, and Grendon, where a house called Castel-a-Mare once stood. Apparently approximately around 1870 a terrible murder occurred.
Story has it that the property was once owned by a local doctor who had moments of madness, and murdered his wife, and then their maid because of what she’d seen. Another version of the story is that a guest/patient was visiting the doctor and he murdered him. However, what’s more important now, is, what has been left behind as a gruesome legacy so to speak.
Apparently for years the old house had been haunted by the maid. When she had seen what the doctor had done there were awful screams, and she took flight through the house, eventually the doctor caught her and strangled her and put her body in a cupboard, which at a later date was incorporated into a bathroom. From then on the Ghost of Castel-a-Mare began to haunt the house and stables outside. These were so affected that the horses which were used then, didn’t want to go want to go into the stables unless they were forced to backwards. None of the doors in the house would stay locked, even dogs being taken for walks would bay and howl outside in the street, and their owners had to walk on the other side of the road. Screams would be heard, and footsteps running through the house could be heard. No tenants would stay very long, and eventually the house fell into disrepair. In 1920 the house was demolished, but prior to that Mediums went to the house, but even they were violently shaken, and no exorcism could be effected.
It had been said it was to be hoped that never again would a house be built on the site where Castel-a-Mare stood.
But a little while back another house was built. Whilst being built the builders were asked if anything strange had happened on the site, and by all accounts, one of the men said they had locked up their ladders and paint one night- no one had broken in because everything was still locked up, but the ladders had been knocked over, and the paint had been spilled. And added that they didn’t like the feeling and atmosphere of the new bathroom at the top of the stairs. It made them feel a bit spooky.
Has some disembodied soul taken up residence!
Berry Pomery Castle - The White Lady
Berry Pomerory Castle reputedly has two ghosts one of a female member of the 14th Century Pomeroy family, who was said to have given birth to a child, as a result of an incestuous relationship with her father, and who killed the baby in one of the upper rooms of the castle.
The ghost of the mother has been seen wringing her hands in despair.The sound of a baby crying has been heard many times, perhaps this is the cry of the murdered infant.
The other ghost of Berry Pomeroy Castle is of Lady Margaret Pomeroy. Both she and her sister Lady Eleanor were very beautiful women. However, Eleanor being so jealous of her sister,had Margaret imprisoned in the dungeons of the castle, where she was starved to death.
The ghost of Lady Margaret has been seen many times in the area of the gatehouse. She is known as the White Lady, and it is said that her spirit beckons to passers by, luring them to fall to their death down into the ruined dungeon. For information on Berry Pomeroy Castle Click Here
Researched and compiled by Dawn
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