The Spanish LadyTorquay
Torre Abbey
Devon  TQ2 5IE
 
 
A heartbroken, sobbing young woman can be seen wandering beside the Tithe Barn at Torre Abbey near Torquay in Devon.  Who is this Spanish lady and why is she here?  Like most ghost stories, there is an element of truth to the tale.
 
In 1588 the Spaniards attempted to invade England by sea.  The flagship of the Andalusian Squadron in the Armada was the Nuestra Señora del Rosario commanded by Don Pedro Valdez. The Spaniards were under the impression that when the English saw their fleet they would immediately rise in revolt against Queen Elizabeth I and replace her with a Catholic monarch.
 
A young lieutenant brought his fiancée aboard the Rosario 
Accordingly, many of the Spaniards took their wives and girlfriends on the expedition for a nice sea trip!  It is said that one such couple, a young lieutenant and his fiancée, were on board the ‘Rosario’.
 
The Armada sailed up the Channel towards Calais and the English Navy engaged the Spanish ships.  No ships were sunk but two Spanish ships collided – one exploded and the other, the ‘Rosario’ was captured by Sir Francis Drake in the ‘Revenge’.  The young woman quickly disguised herself as a sailor so she would not be parted from her lieutenant.
 
They were held in Torre Abbey Tithe Barn
The crippled ‘Rosario’ was immediately towed into Torbay where 397 prisoners were sorted into “those of name and quality,” who were transferred to “safe prisons”, and “the rest of baser sort,” who were held in Torre Abbey Tithe Barn (see Torre Abbey Historic House & Gallery).
 
The disguise worked and the young couple imprisoned together in the barn. Here tragedy struck as the young woman caught a chill and died. Her ghost is said to haunt the barn and the parkland around it, where she can be heard quietly sobbing for her lost love.
 
Maybe you will hear her sorrowful cry if you visit the barn and its surrounds...
 
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