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Tutbury Castle a very Haunting experience
Tutbury Castle (Staffordshire)
Member Name: arnoldhenryrufus
Tutbury Castle (Staffordshire)
Advantages: A wonderful day or night out depending on the event
Disadvantages: A bit far to travel
I have visited Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire on a few occasions twice for an overnight Ghost Hunt and once during the day for a 'Body and soul' psychic fair, where I spent an awful lot of money. It has been a little while since I have visited here, but I found the review I wrote on it a few years back in a bag in my cupboard and thought I had better type it up and think about posting it. I run a small development circle and we have all been talking about going on a ghost hunt, so it bought Tutbury Castle back to the forefront of my mind, so what a better time to write about it and finally get around to sharing the information with you all.
~~ A Little History~~
Tutbury Castle was built in 1061 a few years before the Norman Conquest of 1066, it is a spectacular castle with a large deep moat, that sits on top of the hill looking over the town. It enjoyed most of its royal splendours during the reins of Henry IV and Henry VI with most of its surviving architecture coming from this period. It has also been visited by Henry VIII during 1511.
It was also used as a prison to hold Mary Queen of Scots; she arrived on 4th Feb 1569 and found the place cold, draughty and unwelcoming; over the next 16 years she was moved in and out of the castle until her final visit from Jan 1585 until she left on 24th December of the same year, she was later beheaded on 8th Feb 1587 just two years later. The tower where Mary was held prisoner is one of the features that still stands today.
Tutbury Castle still has some habitable rooms which are closed off to the public (from what I remember from previous visits), but the majority of it today are in ruins, but I do have to say it is one of the nicest and well preserved ruins I have seen in a while. It is also noted to be one of the most haunted buildings in Britain, it hosts numerous ghosts including Mary Queen of Scots who has been seen roaming around by many a visitor. The castle and its ghosts have appeared on a couple of TV programmes included the very popular Most Haunted.
~~Events Held at the Castle~~
Feel free to take a look at their website www.tutburycastle.com as they do hold various events throughout the year and the dates are on there for your perusal, here are a few of the events that they hold:-
Spirit of Destiny - This is very much like the Body and Soul one I visited a few years back, it is where you can visit the castle and also get the chance to look around the stalls, or pop and see a medium, palm reader, reiki healer, clairvoyant or some other specialist, there will also be demonstrations which you can sit and enjoy. Like I said earlier when I last went to one of these events I did spend a lot of money, but it was worth it as my daughter and I had a lovely day.
Master Dan and Mistress Eleanor - I haven't visited this event, but the site tells me that it is medieval stories and music.
Guided Tours - this is exactly what it says it is, a guided tour that gives you some facts and stories about the castle.
Ravencrest - this is medieval sword fighting, armour is worn; crystals books, pendulums and jewellery can be found on sale in stalls around the grounds so don't forget your purse.
Silver Fletching - another medieval event where you can see demonstrations of food preparation, archery and leather work. Learn more of the history and enjoy tasting some of the food as hot and cold food is available you tempt you.
A Traditional English Fate - this one sounds like fun with English Folk Dancing, music and stalls to spend your money on. Side shows, coconut shy's and lots of fun and activities for all the family to enjoy.
Tutbury Band - brass band music playing on an autumn night
Fireworks Spectacular - this sounds brilliant, not only a fantastic firework display, but you get to meet Guy Fawkes and the Kings men in costume as you watch them rein act the battle beneath 'the houses of parliament'.
Ghost Hunting - they also hold various haunted visits and overnight stays, some of the events are organized and you just buy your ticket and attend, others are where you can get a group of 20 people and hire it for your own haunted overnight stay.
The castle and grounds are also available for weddings and events if you want to get in touch with the organizers.
~~My Experience of the Overnight Ghost Hunts~~
As I said earlier I have been on two of these, the first one I attended with about 20 other mediums; we arrived at Tutbury Castle at around 2200hrs on a Friday evening, I did not know what to expect, but as we were mediums our tour guide said he would give us limited information and then in the morning he would discuss our findings with us. We were greeted on our arrival and taken into the cafe area and the evening events were explained to us.
We would be given a tour and shown all the places we can go into and see, then we would be left to explore the castle and grounds on our own, we were advised that most of the activity occurs before 0200hrs and we could sleep on the floor (or on our own camping chairs which you need to bring with you) in the 'Kings Room' upstairs. I would like to say that the Kings Room is renowned for a lot of spirit activity. Breakfast would be at 0700hrs followed by discussion and departure (I believe breakfast is now around 0400hrs).
As we are in the cafe area we are told about the history of the room, but at this stage no ghost story this he will be saving for the morning. We were then taken up a steep staircase to the Kings Room where we are told a brief history and a few spooky stories of previous experiences and information about 'The Drummer Boy' ghost (this was the one ghost we knew about prior to our visit off the internet).
Now apart from the toilets on this floor this and one other room are the only rooms you have access to on this floor; downstairs you only have access to the cafe area and a small kitchen where you can make tea/coffee throughout the night, any snacks, cold drinks you need to bring with you.
We were taken back through the main front door to look around the ruins and one small torture chamber. Our guides take us around and point to the area where the 'Grey Lady' has been seen. We were told that many bodies are buried under our feet and we were taken to the dungeon which you have to walk down a worn staircase and go through a thick oak door. We were advised to bring our own torches with us, which was a good idea as apart from your torches and the moon there is no light there and it does get very dark and spooky. Our guide told us that this room was haunted by a malevolent ghost that hated men. He told us how this ghost had physically pushed him across the room when he visited here once on his own and he strongly advised us not to come down here on our own, but to come in groups of 3 of more. His stories were fascinating and did help to create the scary atmosphere; he also mentioned that he believed there was a hidden staircase and he challenged the group of mediums and psychics to find it, again he would let us know in the morning.
Back outside he pointed out the old chapel and set us the challenge of picking up the story that goes with the chapel, he showed us the rest of the grounds and then lead us back to the cafe, where he left us to our own devices telling us how we could contact him if we had any questions or needed any further help. As it happens he stayed in the cafe all night talking to anyone that would listen or who just wanted to talk. He was exceedingly knowledgeable on his history.
We split up into small groups and took our own tour of the place; there were four of us in my little group from the circle that I was in at the time. We were encouraged to 'tune in' (this is what they say when you want to pick up spirit activity) and see if we could pick up any information or maybe a 'spirit link'. We told each other what we picked up and felt the atmosphere, we took lots of pictures with our digital cameras in the hope of picking up orbs etc.
I found the whole experience fascinating, exciting and frustrating as I would have to wait until the morning to know if what I had picked up on was true or not, and when you are a novice you really do want those answers NOW, lol. Our first visit was in the February so it was a cold night so after our tour we sat in the cafe to drink hot tea/coffee. We were all sitting quietly when we heard a piercing scream from upstairs we dashed up the stairs to find that someone had played a trick on one of the group waking her rattling some keys. Well that woke people back up and livened the night up again, the majority of the groups starting going to sleep around 0230hrs. Myself used to doing night shifts stayed up and at around 0530hrs most of the people there were starting to wake up and it is not very comfy trying to sleep in chairs and on a hard floor.
As we were all up very early our guide asked if we wanted an early breakfast and discuss our findings, we all jumped at the chance as it was an hour journey home. I was so excited about what we had got right that when I woke up in the afternoon I was already arranging a return visit, for the summer. On this next visit I took a group of 6 around with me including my sister, my niece and my daughter. Our guides on this occasion dressed in authentic costume adding to the excitement of our visit. Everything else ran the same as the first visit but this time I took my group round and encouraged them to tell me what they sensed and felt. To me the second visit was even better than the first maybe that was because I knew what to expect and I was helping others develop and seek out what we had found out. (This was an early indication I think as I now teach in a development circle helping people with their spiritual skills).
Finally our visit to the 'Body and Soul' psychic fair (which I believe is now called Spirit of Destiny), we spent loads of money having readings. Aura graphs etc most cost between £20 - £30 each, Also on our visit Derek Acorah and his team were doing a guest appearance, there was also staff members on site in period costume doing enactments to keep you entertained, it really was an entertaining and a great day out.
Costs vary depending on what attraction that you go to visit, the ghost hunts can get rather expensive, but are definitely worth it.
On a normal day it costs £4.50 for adults, OAP and children between 5 and 12yrs £4.00, under 5's are free, Family ticket (2 and 2) is £14.00
There is a charge for parking £1.00 for cars and 50p for bikes.
This is not really disabled friendly as with most ruins you are very limited to what you can see and do.
~~How to Get there~~
It is just off the A51 between Burton on Trent and Derby.
Summary: A brilliant spooky castle to visit