THE WHITE LADY OF BLENKINSOPP
Bryan de Blenkinsopp held the castle some six centuries ago and although a brave and distinguished man on the battlefield, his one weakness was an inordinate greed for wealth. At a wedding feast, he was teased about his own marriage plans but replied, “Never, never shall that be until I meet with a lady possessed of a chest of gold heavier than ten of my strongest men can carry into my castle.” Subsequently feeling ashamed of this outburst, Sir Bryan quit the castle and the country. After many years he returned with a wife and a box of gold that took 12 strong men to carry into the castle. But the marriage was not happy because Sir Bryan’s wife would not tell him where she and her servants had hidden the chest.
Eventually Sir Bryan left the castle and no-one knew where he had gone. For more than a year his bride was grief-stricken and filled the castle with inconsolable shrieks. She sent out servants to try to find him but they failed, so she went out herself to look for him, neither of them were heard of again. It is averred that the lady, tortured by remorse for her undutiful conduct, cannot rest in her grave. She is doomed to wander back to the old castle, mourning over the chest of gold, until somebody shall follow her to the mysterious vaults where it lies buried, remove it and thus give her unquiet spirit rest. During the eighteenth century the parents of a young boy were aroused one night by his screaming, “The White Lady, the White Lady!” covering his eyes with his hands. “She is gone“, he added, “but she looked so angry at me because I wouldn’t go with her. She said she would make me a very rich man. When I said I was afraid to go, she tried to carry me off, and then I shrieked and frightened her away“.
Although the parents managed to soothe the child, the same thing happened on three consecutive nights. When they moved him out of the castle, they heard no more of the spectre. Belief in the treasure was strengthened in the nineteenth century by the arrival of a lady in a nearby village. She dreamed that a large chest of gold was buried in the castle vaults. When she arrived at Blenkinsopp she at once recognised the castle as the one she had seen in her dream. Until 1820 the castle was home to various poor families and remained badly neglected and in ruins. Later, the owner of a neighbouring farm ordered the vaults to be cleared out so that he could winter his cattle in them. While this was being done, a small doorway was found and people flocked to see it. Only one man was willing to enter the narrow passage, not high enough to allow him to walk upright. As he progressed the passage started a deep decent and noxious gases extinguished his light and he was forced to retrace his steps. His employer ordered the entrance to be sealed up and the contents of the vault have remained undiscovered to this day.
Other sightings were made by Major George Anne’s family who lived in the castle around the turn of the century and other strange things did happen in the castle. Violent knocks would be heard on the bedroom door, always at 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., so regularly that it was possible to set your watch by them and sometimes the paraffin lamp would be alarmingly turned off as one lay in bed reading…