Goodrich Castle GhostsGloucester
Castle Lane,
Goodrich
Ross on Wye,
Herefordshire - HR9 6HY

 

No castle is worth its salt if it does not have a couple of ghosts. Goodrich does not disappoint - it has two.

The Irish Chieftain
The oldest part of the castle is the squat grey Keep. The Great Keep is also known as ‘Macbeth’s Tower’. The story is that an Irish Chieftain was captured and imprisoned in the dungeon of the keep. In a desperate attempt to escape, he met a violent death and his ghost now haunts the dungeon.
 
This version is taken from the book "Haunted Castles of Britain and Ireland" by Richard Jones.
 
We know that in 1330 the owner of the castle applied to King Edward III to create a dungeon under the keep for holding prisoners, so perhaps the dungeon ghost is the unhappy spirit of a prisoner.
 
This next version is from Peter Geekie:
“...The castle has at least two ghosts, the first of which is said to be that of an Irish chieftain imprisoned in the dungeons which were housed in The Great Keep and were known as Mac Beth’s Tower. Legend has it he died attempting to escape and his ghost has been said to haunt the tower. A ghostly haze can be seen sometimes in the dungeons for which there is no explanation, but it has been captured on film. ...”
 
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The Two Lovers
These apparitions date to the time of the Civil War when Goodrich Castle was successfully besieged and vanquished in 1646.
 
"...During the siege, Alice Birch, the niece of a Parliamentarian officer, took refuge in the castle with her Royalist lover, Charles Clifford. When it became apparent that the fortress would not be able to withstand the bombardment for much longer, Clifford and his young lover mounted his horse and, under cover of darkness, spurred the beast out of the castle and managed to break through the Roundhead ranks.
 
Unfortunately, when they arrived at the muddy banks of the River Wye, they didn’t realize that heavy rains had swollen its waters. As they attempted to cross the raging torrent, their horse lost its footing and they were swept away to their deaths. Such was the trauma of their desperate bid for freedom that their bedraggled earthbound wraiths have been seen on stormy nights, urging a phantom horse into the wild waters of the River Wye. On other occasions, passersby late at night have seen their poignant spectres staring sadly from the ruined ramparts." This version is taken from the book "Haunted Castles of Britain and Ireland" by Richard Jones.
 
Peter Gekiee’s version: “...The second and most famous is that of two lovers, Alice Birch and Charles Clifford. She was the niece of parliamentarian Colonel Birch and Clifford was an enemy Royalist. During the March 1646 siege they became trapped in the castle but managed to escape together during a fierce storm. While trying to cross the raging River Wye, which runs by the castle, their horses stumbled and they were swept away and drowned. Variously their screams are still heard and their broken bodies seen tumbling in the water if the river runs high. Also on the anniversary of their death their mournful figures are seen on the battlements, clutching each other before plunging into the dry moat. ...”
 
The Ghostly Gate
Peter Geekie and his wife recall an unusual experience they had while visiting Goodrich:
 
“...The first unsettling incident happened at the entrance to the castle grounds. There was a kissing gate beside the large 5 bar gate and my wife jokingly said “I wonder if the big gate would open if I asked it nicely”. So she did and we watched in amazement as the large gate shook itself and smoothly swung open. Shocked we looked around to see if anyone was playing tricks but there was no one in sight. We swiftly slipped through and my wife said “thank you very much”. To our greater amazement the gate hesitated a moment, stopped swinging open and gently closed behind us. ...
 
Despite its violent past the castle had a warm feel to it and the abundant wild flowers, shrubs and singing birds gave a peaceful air.
 
We left feeling quite uplifted and made our way back to the entrance. Reaching the kissing gate and large 5 bar gate alongside, I jokingly said “let’s see if it will open for me”. “Open the gate” I said in my best commanding voice – nothing, except it became very quiet and a little cold, with no people or birds to be seen. We looked at one and other and my wife quietly said “would you open the gate please”. Again the huge gate trembled a little and swung open slowly as if it were being pushed. I have to say this unnerved us greatly and we quickly passed through, casting a backward glance to see it closing again.
 
If you have a chance, pay Goodrich Castle a visit, it is well worth it but remember to give due respect to its ghostly guardians.”
 
For Visitor Information link here will go to the Goodrich Castle article on this website.
 
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Getting There
- By Car:
  5 miles (8 km) South of Ross-on-Wye off A40.
 
- Parking:
Visitors will find a large car park located close to the visitor centre (400 meters from the castle), which is accessed by some steps. To avoid slopes and steps, please park close to the refreshment area. The path to the castle can be muddy in places. A car parking charge (of £1.00) applies.
 
- Public Transport: 
Web:  "English Heritage Visitor Information" For information on closest bus route and entry costs etc.  
 
Google Maps - Goodrich Castle