Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The 'Haunting White Lady' of Carlisle Castle

1. Carlisle Castle (Alma Block) 
2. Carlisle Castle (Cumbria's Military Museum)

For additional information click on 'Comments' below. 


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

Is Carlisle Castle, the traditional depot for the Border Regiment and KORBR, haunted? There are some who say the castle is truly haunted it is and there are others who say the idea is just balderdash. In this article we shall see what Major Mann, an officer of the Border Regiment, told the good people of Carlisle during WW2.

Following the 1745 rebellion, the Scottish Jacobite followers of Bonnie Prince Charlie were imprisoned in Carlisle Castle before being executed on a nearby hillside. There are some who say the spirit of these Scottish soldiers has never left and their lament for a lost land and a lost cause can still be heard on dark, wintry, evenings.

There are others who say that Mary, Queen of Scots, kept captive here for a time in 1568 after being forced to flee from her Scottish realm. It is reputed that Queen Mary can still be heard walking the in the castle grounds praying for the restoration of her realm.

Yet again, generations of recruits arriving at the Border Regiment depot were told to be wary of a mysterious 'Haunting White Lady'. Some say it was this 'Lady in White' who helped the notorious Border Scot, 'Kinmont Willie', to escape from the castle in 1596. It is said that the swishing of her long white dress can again be heard in the castle on dark winter nights. She is said to have been another Scots lady walled up alive in mediaeval times. Her skeleton, rings and her silk dress were discovered in the 1830s.

If any, or all, of these 'ghosts' exist at Carlisle they are benign. It is the ghost of the 'Haunting White Lady' that we shall concern ourselves with for the rest of this article.

On Wednesday 16 August 1944 Major T. Mann of the Border Regiment addressed Carlisle Rotary Club about the 1596 story of 'Kinmont Willie and the Haunting White Lady'. Kilmont Willie Armstong was a Border Reiver - an outlaw - who was active along the western end of the England - Scotland border in the late 16th century. Kinmont Willie and his lawless clan took advantage of the disputed lands either side of the Scotland - England border where neither Scot nor Englishman was able to impress their authority over the debatable border lands.

One day in 1596 a 'Truce Day' was declared by Sir Thomas Scrope, the English Warden of the Western Marches. He used this day for treachery that was worthy of one of the Border Reiving families. Ignoring the truce and the safe conduct that had been granted to the Reveirs, Sir Thomas Scrope ordered the capture and imprisonment of Kinmont Willie who was to be a witness at a trial.

On the Scottish side of the disputed, or 'debatable', lands, Walter Scott, known as 'The Bauld Beccleugh' believed the land on which Kinmont Willie's freedom was violated was under his jurisdiction. Scott demanded Kinmont Willie's release. When this was refused, on 17 March 1596 the 'Bauld Buccleugh' led a party of 80 men to Carlisle Castle on a daring night raid. With the help of other Revier families inside the castle, the Grahams and Carletons - and it was also said a 'Haunting White Lady' - Kinmont Willie was able to escape.

Tuesday, 31 July, 2012  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Did the ghostly apparition of a Scots lady dressed in white lead Willie Armstrong out of Carlisle Castle? Well, not according to Major Mann in his 1944 address. Major Mann ridiculed all those who say they have seen or heard her. The swishing of her ghostly dress, often heard while on guard duty on dark winter nights, was actually a rope at the top of Queen Mary's Tower being blown in the wind! What actually happened was that Kinmont Willie's rescuers actually climbed the castle walls using ladders and cut a hole in the roof.

What of Kinmont Willie? He was never recaptured. When Queen Elizabeth I died the English crown went to her kinsman King James VI of Scotland. The uniting of the kingdoms was the beginning of the end for the Border Reveirs who found they could no longer play one lord off against another, or hide away in disputed lands that were disputed no longer. The oultlaw Kinmont Willie died in bed of old age, or so the legend goes!

In 1803, the writer and poet Sir Walter Scott, belonging to the same Scott clan as the 'Bauld Buccleugh' who led the raid on Carlisle, wrote down one version of the legendary tale f Kinmont Willie. This was later put to music. Thus, at the very least this adventure gave a great song to the world, one that Scots and English Borderers sing together to remember times past when their forebears were perhaps not quite as friendly!


Border Regiment & KORBR Muesum
Cumbria's Military Museum, Carlisle Castle.

'The Whitehaven News'

Cumbria County Archives & Library Service

Further reading:

Click on the following link to read Sir Walter Scott's tale of Kinmont Willie:
'Kinmont Willie' by Sir Walter Scott

Click on the following link to access the Border Regiment & KORBR website (Cumbria's Military Museum):
Website of Cumbria's Military Museum (Carlisle Castle)

Tuesday, 31 July, 2012  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

There are those who suggest that the Alma Block, seen in Photograph No.1 (above) is the most haunted part of Carlisle Castle. Alma Block, which formerly house the Carlisle office of the Cumbria County Archives, is the new home of Cumbria's Military Museum.

While working on the new museum site Mr Tony Goddard, Assistant Curator, claims to have had a number of 'ghostly happenings'. To read an article about the 'ghostly happenings' at Carlisle Castle and see a video of Tony Goddard talking about possible hauntings click on the following link:
Ghostly happenings at Cumbria's military Museum

Thursday, 02 August, 2012  

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