When it comes to haunted castles in Britain, some tales are more embraced than others. In the case of Ruthin Castle, not only do you get the chance to encounter the Grey Lady, but you may also explore an interesting history that survived many battles and attacks. In this article, we will learn the ins and outs of the castle, its history, and former occupants.
The Ruthin Castle is situated in a county town within the Northern Wales region, where a resident ghost is said to roam about the outside of the castle. The Grey Lady is known to make appearances surrounding the castle, such as at the battlements, about the old Chapel, as well as around the Medieval Banqueting Hall. The story associated with the Grey Lady is that she was a rather wicked woman, who held a reputation of being a murderess. As the wife of the castle’s second in command, she shared the castle space with Reginald de Grey, who was appointed by Edward I.
As the legend goes, the Grey Lady found out that her husband was having an affair and decided to take the life of her rival in love. Using an axe, she committed murder and was eventually tried for her crime and sentenced to execution. After dying for her transgressions, she was buried in a section of the castle about the battlements because the local clergymen refused to give her a proper burial upon consecrated ground. Today, her grave is still visible.
The construction of the castle began about 1277 from orders given by Edward the I, who established quite the reputation for waging war in destinations like Wales and Scotland. Over the years, the castle would serve as a strategic location for many battles that arose in surrounding places. At first, the castle was made of five round towers, but today, only three are in existence. A ruined gatehouse is also still on the premises.
When England and Wales engaged in war in 1282, Reginald de Grey served as one of the military commanders in the thick of the battle. As Edward inched his way about the coast, de Grey positioned his troops along a separate route of attack. Soon, Reginald de Grey and Gilbert de Brideshale took over Ruthin, bringing an infantry that consisted of 200 to 400 individuals. Eventually, the war ceased when the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Gwynedd took place. Ruthin then became the property of Reginald de Grey, who was Baron of Wilton. Reginald then became the first Baron of Ruthin, and soon inherited the task of reestablishing the castle, as well as the building of the Chapel of St Peter. He was also in charge of constructing a wall to protect the insides of Ruthin.
The de Grays were part of Ruthin from 1282 to 1508. When Henry the IV was in charge of the land, Reginald de Gray, who was the third Baron of Ruthin was responsible for sparking the 1400 Welsh uprising. When Henry IV summoned the nobles to offer troops to fight in the invasion of Scotland, it was de Grey who declined to deliver the orders asking for support. This would later create a weakened relationship between the King and the nobles, which only grew worse as time dragged on. It was only a matter of time that a war would break out and soon it did , in the form of a revolution that stemmed from lingering tension.
Ruthin and other villages in the area were burned to the ground as the uprising continued. Support was lost across the board and many fugitives were made during the rift. Later in years, the castle would once again feel the pain of war. It would suffer numerous attacks, as parts became destroyed. Today, guests are still able to enjoy the beauty of the castle, as the current ruins include the battlements, where Lady Grey may be found. Also, the whipping pit, dungeons, and drowning pit are also accessible. One can only imagine the lost souls lurking at these locations.