The Ghosts of Richmond Castle
Rising above the River Swale, Richmond Castle was built by Alan the Red between 1070 and 1086. The castle was constructed for the purpose of defending the Norman estates against dispossessed Anglo-Saxon nobility who were defeated during the Norman Conquest of England.
Evidence suggests Richmond Castle was originally built from stone, unlike most Norman castles, which began as wooden motte and bailey castles and later evolved to stone fortifications. The castle also lacks earthworks common among castles of the period.
Residing as one of the largest estates in medieval England, Richmond Castle still possesses a wonderful, intact 12th century keep, as well as, partially ruined curtain walls. Although the castle did not serve a significant role in English history, it holds a few secrets ...
Legends suggest secret underground passages exist between the castle and Easby Abbey, located a few miles down river. Stories of a ghostly drummer boy still playing his drums surfaced after he disappeared in the hidden tunnels long ago never to be seen again.
Richmond Castle is said to serve as the resting place of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Presumably, they lie sleeping below the castle walls in a cavern awaiting the day when they will come back to defend the realm in England's greatest time of need.
An additional legend relates to King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table.
There once lived a man named Potter Thompson whose wife was somewhat of a harridan. To escape her carping one day, Potter went for a long walk where he eventually found himself along the River Swale, just below Richmond Castle. As he stopped for a rest, Potter noticed an opening in the rocks below the castle. Upon investigating and peering inside, he noticed a long passageway with a faint light in the distance. Potter entered and proceeded towards the light, where he found himself in a cavern surrounded by a sleeping king and his knights who were dressed in full armor. Potter instantly recognized the royal figure as King Arthur due to the horn and legendary sword Excalibur, which were both resting on a nearby table.
Excited by his find, Potter decided to take Excalibur so he could prove to everyone that his story was true. However, as he started to remove the sword from its scabbard, the sleeping knights began to stir. Consequently, Potter became scared and quickly decided to leave the cave. Upon his departure, he heard a sorrowful voice say:
“Potter Thompson, Potter Thompson
If Thou hadst either drawn
The sword, or blown the horn,
Thou wouldst have been the luckiest man
That ever yet was born”
Once outside and able to regain his composure, Potter turned back towards the entrance for another attempt, only to discover the entrance disappeared. He frantically searched the rocky banks of the castle but never again located the secret entrance once revealed to him.