Okehampton Castle - Devon
Okehampton Castle, Devon
So it seems that the rainy November skies did play nice for me. This literally, was a tiny break in the rain that I was lucky enough to be there for. It lasted all of 4 minutes.
This Castle is loaded with history. Absolutely deliciously loaded. It's an ancient site - you can see the Motte that the main Keep is built upon just there. It was made into stone by at least 1086, because it's recorded in the Domesday Book that William the Conqueror commissioned. In the early 13th century it became the seat of the Earls of Devon and they were quite wealthy and successful. The Castle was surrounded by a healthy deer park and estate.
It had a chequered past in the Wars of the Roses, and changed hands frequently and finally went out of favor when it's 16th century owner, the Marquess of Exeter was sentenced to death for Treason and executed by Henry VIII. This story of Henry, Marquess of Exeter, reads like a chapter from Game of Thrones and is fascinating and deliciously political. I won't relate it all here but you can get a good summary here at Wikipedia: http://bit.ly/1au1Ii9
After Henry's execution the castle went to the crown and fell into disuse and ruin over the next few hundred years. By the time of the great landscape Painters of the 19th century, Okehampton Castle became a popular subject and the Master J.M.W. Turner took a turn at painting it, here: http://bit.ly/1cvKqR3 (from a different aspect than this photo).
This castle and surrounding area is wildly haunted! It is the ghost of Lady Howard that haunts this castle. She is said to have murdered her four husbands. At midnight every night she has been seen traveling from Okehampton to Tavistock in the back of a bone constructed carriage driven by a headless driver, led by a gruesome dog with bright crimson eyes. (snipped from web). You can read more here: http://bit.ly/1aHYwfj
I have to say that we didn't want to leave Devon. The more and more we explore the countryside, the more we never want to leave. It's like every fantasy book I've ever read, come to life, around every corner. <3