Sunday, 29 September 2013

Okehampton Castle

Okehampton; this rather faded market town does have a most impressive castle!

A lovely motte and bailey castle, it was originally built in 1068 and 1086 but most of what survives is 14CE. The castle has a long history but was finally abandoned after the execution of its then current owner by Henry VIII

 The motte is surprisingly steep on all sides and I wouldn't fancy trying to scramble up it with the defenders raining arrows down- which of course is the whole point..

The view from the keep at the top. Well worth the climb up. You do get a feel for the steepness of the mound from here.

You really get a feel of how the building was used as a home from the numerous interlocking rooms and doorways although some are now fenced off as presumably unsafe.

The castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of Lady Howard who murdered four of her husbands and now drives a  phantom carriage between Okehampton and Tavistock. The carriage is made of the bones of her dead husbands and she is accompanied by a large black dog with red eyes. Oh and the driver is headless and in some versions the horses are headless too.

I can't say we were lucky ( or unlucky!) enough to see her so the question of headless horses or not remains unresolved!
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