Carisbrooke Castle. My Story.

Friday 26th April 2013


Carisbrooke Castle. My Story.

by cobbies69 (Gerry)

Carisbrooke castle is one of the most impressive historic sites on the Isle of Wight, and was the chief medieval stronghold on the Isle of Wight, so much so that tradition asserts that whoever owned the castle also controlled the Isle of Wight.There has been a fortification of some sort at this site since Saxon times, and some of the late Saxon stone structure still survives within the earthwork and banks of the castle. It has also been speculated that there was a Roman structure on the site, but there is no archaeological evidence for this.


Gatehouse: by Simon Topham

The present castle was founded soon after the Norman invasion, and was a simple mott and bailey, which was greatly improved and built upon in the medieval period. The castle remains are impressive with much of the original structure still surviving, including the keep, medieval buildings, and two wells – one with a treadmill utilising donkey power to draw water.

The French once laid siege at the castle during the medieval period. During this siege, legend tells of a bowman called Peter Heynoe, who killed the French commander with a shot from the castle walls, causing the French to withdraw.

carisbrooke-castle-great-hallGreat Hall & Ruins of Carey’s Mansion: by Simon Topham

One of the castles most famous visitors was Charles I, who was imprisoned here for ten months before his execution at the culmination of the Civil War. Charles attempted to escape from the castle a number of times, although each attempt was thwarted.

The castle is reputed to have a number of ghosts, befitting its long history. The deep well was the scene of the tragic drowning of Elizabeth Ruffin, her disembodied face is reputed to have been seen in the well water. The castle also has a Grey Lady, a phantom wearing a long cloak accompanied by four dogs, the ghosts of a man in a brown jerkin and trousers – seen near the moat, and other presences that have been felt by castle visitors.

carisbrooke-castle-great-hall-museumGreat Hall & Museum: by Simon Topham

The castle is a fantastic site with many attractions, and it is well worth spending a few hours exploring.

More information on the hauntings of Carisbrooke can be found in Gay Baldwin’s The Isle of Wight Ghost Book IV, also consider her website:

My Story…

Dennis and Dave my partners in crime decide to go to the Isle of Wight, we caught the local ferry from Lymington and arrived at Yarmouth an hour later. As none of us drove, I don’t think I was old enough, which meant Dennis also as he was younger.  We therefor had to rely on local transport, so we caught a bus that was going to Carisbrooke. Carisbrooke is a nice stand alone little village, even without the castle standing guard, it was a nice picturesque village with beautiful buildings.

We decided to check out the castle, but it was closed, cannot remember as to why.  So we walked around the moat,, which had no water. just sleek slopes going downwards and rising to meet the walls of castle. We reached the far side and climbed the grass bank and reached the wall. Along the top was enough edge for us to walk along and follow the walls. Walking and looking and managing in places to see through parts of the eroded wall.  We were being very careful about not being seen, when suddenly Dave, who was leading, shouted “quick some one is coming” and without a second thought Dennis went running down the moat grass wall. Where it was so steep he stopped running and started rolling, and when reaching the bottom he actually bounced a few feet and came to rest. When me and Dave reached him, and asking the silly questions like  “Are you okay?” or “what the matter?”  He was  writhing about on the ground in great pain and shouting “my ankle it bloody hurts, it hurts like hell” I gently pulled his trouser leg up and exposed a blood strewn leg and ankle. Where he should have only one ankle joint he actually had two, and protruding slightly through a broken skin. “We got to get him some help” I said to Dave.. and after a short discussion Dave opted to go and find some while stayed with Dennis. After about half an hour Dave came back with a man, who turned out to be the castle caretaker, key keeper. He lived on the grounds in a small tide cottage. Me and Dave helped Dennis up,  and the man led us through a small gate and into the grounds, and onto a rampart, slowly walking, in Dennis’s case hobbling.  And then onto a wooden walkway, it was while we were slowly making our way across this walkway I noticed in the window across the yard in a room on a turret part of the castle,Turret_(architecture)_1 a person watching us as we slowly made our way across. I pointed the figure out to my friends and they supported me on this. So it was not my imagination. This actually moved back and forth before disappearing from our view.  The figure could be described as the one in this report,, As we eventually reached ground level and hobbled across the courtyard, “Well we are seeing the castle now, and it hasn’t cost us anything” Dennis said smiling, in pain. Again, I noticed another figure in a ground level window, but this time it was not witnessed by my friends. At the time I thought nothing of it. We sat on a low wall while the keeper phone for the ambulance, and when the blue lights and siren of the ambulance could be heard, Dennis was so happy knowing this was for him. He was taken to Newport Hospital, but me and Dave had to find our back to the ferry terminal at Yarmouth. Before we left we thanked the keeper, I asked him about the people I saw in the windows. The castle is closed and there is no one here in this castle apart from us.

Dennis was returned home in two days fully plastered up and told to be very careful because of the break he might have a leg slightly shorter than the other if it does not heal properly. It was not until a few years later that I found out how haunted this castle  was or is.,,allegedly.

I do hope you enjoyed this little story, it has been cut short purely for the post length,, and the boredom factor, but My Story is the truth and actually happened. Dennis was about 15 and my self would have been 16 and Dave 17. Dave had his own little guitar band, he was almost like a local John Mayall. Anybody that played a guitar would have played in his band for a short while at least. As did I.

Enjoy0     Publication198


29 thoughts on “Carisbrooke Castle. My Story.

  1. Another great story, Gerry. You and your friends really got around, didn’t you? You could almost start your own tour company, taking people around to these places and adding your personal stories to make them come more alive.

    1. Hey Sandra thank you, maybe not quite to this but I am keeping all these stories now, and putting them together in one place, and editing etc and hoping to compile a small book and see what I can do…Thank you as always Sandra for your lovely words and support.. 😉

    1. Thank you Trish, the answer to your question is it was basically a small fort of wood and stone built upon a man made mound. which this can be seen in some of the distance pictures, not on my post though. and this castle was then added and strengthened into a proper castle… This one stands on a large mound hillock, it was after all what my friend Dennis tried running down and failed. Hope this makes sense to you,,,,As always Trish thank you so much 😉

  2. This is a great story and your description of the castle and its grounds gives the sense of actually being there, which you know I love. Traveling vicariously through your posts, it is the best!.
    I also liked very much My Kind Sir the way you incorporated the details about Dave, his music, and your analogy to being much like your village’s own John Mayall. I love that!

    PS.Will be also looking over Trish’s ‘shoulder ‘(comment) to learn the answer that she had asked (I was going to ask the same thing) . Two inquiring minds so far want to know.~

    Thank you for sharing. ~

    1. Thank you my lady,, and yes this Dave had a rather simply style band and played many styles, not that good but not bad,, everyone criticised him but people would forget he was the one gigging at the time.. as for Trish no problem my lady see you soon..;)

  3. That’s a creepy story! If the castle was shut then I assume the figure at the window was a ghostly one. Does Carisbrooke have a ghost story surrounding it?
    A lovely place the Isle of Wight – I remember the colouerd sands when I went there on holiday back in the 60’s.

    1. Yes the Castle has a strong ghostly story’s attached,, I did not know at the time.. still has all the coloured sands and the buying of a little glass lighthouse with them in,,, I still have is only a ferry journey for me. It is a beautiful part and recommend it to any one.. thank you Jude,, always welcome…:)

  4. Fabulous! I certainly wouldn’t have minded at all if you had expanded it a bit – for example, what the keeper had said more or less in response to your question.

    1. Thank you again for your wonderful, I did actually think this, but as I am compiling all these forest tales into one lave and hopefully make them into a small book. They will all be edited and added to. and this will be noted thank you so much,,appreciated and welcome ;;)

  5. Nice story and photos. I hope his ankle healed good. I have seen moats in Florida. They are big. They were full of water and probably had alligators in them too.

    1. He would definitely not be here then,, his ankle did heal properly but it was at risk, he might have had a leg shorter than the other if not… thank you and welcome Connie appreciated..:)

  6. Beautiful story with the pictures of ancient buildings.
    Your entire style drives the point home. It makes me feel like I was there through it all.
    Lovely post, friend!

    1. Hey there Teecee thank you I am glad that you see it like,, it always ones intention but never realised until some says this thank you very and welcome always..

  7. I liked the Isle of Wight, some very beautiful places there. Feel for you pal though. I’ve had a few ankle disasters and still have the scar from 23 stitches now on one of them.

    1. Thank you and yes IoW is a lovely place to visit.. my friend was a little lucky because his break was so close that he could have had a leg shorter than the other if the heal was slightly out.. If only people could have been there and actually saw, it was also quite funny….and trying to portray in words was not easy….Thank you..;)and welcome..

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