Tamworth Castle is reputedly the home of many ghosts and spirits that are regularly seen or their presence felt within it's walls and grounds. The most famous ghosts associated with Tamworth castle are the Black Lady and White Lady.
Tamworth Castle is of Norman motte & bailey design with a shell keep. The present stone structure replaced the first timber tower surrounded by a palisade which was built shortly after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The land of the former Saxon burgh was given to Robert 'Dispensator' by William, and it subsequently passed through marriage into the Marmion family. Numerous additions and alterations have been made to the castle by succeeding generations of owners. Until in the late 1890's, Marquis Townshend decided to sell the Castle by auction.
Tamworth Corporation purchased it to mark Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The purchase price of £3000 was later raised by public subscription and the Castle was formally opened and dedicated to the public two years later. Over the Castles history it had numerous royal visitors, King Henry I, Henry II and Edward II were all entertained at Tamworth castle.
Fifteen rooms are now open to visitors including the Great Hall, Dungeon, Haunted Bedroom and a permanent exhibition on Norman Castles. 'The Tamworth Story', an interactive local history exhibition opened in 1996. For many visitors the most exciting features are the Living Images also known as 'Talking Heads'. Three of these high-tech figures have been skilfully incorporated into the overall interpretation of the Grade 1 listed building which also boasts a fascinating collection of original artefacts in fully furnished period room settings.
Tamworth Castle is reputedly the home of many ghosts and spirits that are regularly seen or their presence felt within it's walls and grounds. In an article from the local press march 1999, Ann who works at the castle says a day doesn't go by when she does not experience something she can't explain. Several weeks ago Ann was called out to the castle late at night after the wind had set off the castle alarm system the police had been called to make sure the castle had not been broken in to.
Ann waited in the reception for the engineer to come and reset the alarm. After half an hour Ann became aware of the sounds of footstep from the room above her, then other noises became audible "it sounded like some of the heavy furniture in the room upstairs scrapping across the floor". "I wasn't immediately bothered by it all until suddenly this aura came all over me and I instantly felt an overwhelming presence". "Though most of us here at the Castle feel some kind of unexplained presence almost on a daily basis, this was far different to anything before".
"For the first time ever I felt as though I wasn't supposed to be in the building". Ann then ran out the front door and straight into the engineer. "The engineer was startled to see me and what he told me sent a further shiver down my spine". Though he was expecting to be met by someone, he was shocked to see me. Puzzled, I asked why, and he said while walking up the Castle path only moments before he'd seen someone looking out of a window.
He said he simply waved and the `person' stepped back into the darkness. But it wasn't me, that's for sure. I'd waited on the ground floor and anyway, by the time he saw the image, I was running outside. When I asked him to point to the window in question, he indicated the Ferrers Room, which is the one where all the noises had come from."That is now our curator's office which has just been fitted with a new circular meeting table and chairs. They're not in keeping with the antiques at the Castle and I suppose the ghosts don't like them - though when I investigated they'd not been moved an inch."
June Hall, another long standing member of staff recalled opening up one morning with a colleague, Val Lee, and walked into the room which houses the Tamworth Story exhibition. "I was struck in the face and momentarily blinded. It felt like sand had been thrown at me. When Val came in behind me, I was bent over trying to clear my eyes and shaking my top. Then Val and me saw a blue mist swirl around the room and out of the window"
The most famous ghosts associated with Tamworth castle are the Black Lady and White Lady. The White Lady is said to have been captured and locked in the Tower by the wicked Sir Tarquin. But after a while she fell in love with him and is said to walk the battlements around the castle, weeping over her lover who was slain by Sir Lancelot du Lac, who came to rescue her. Legend has it that the White Lady threw herself from the battlements when she found that Sir Tarquin was dead. Her ghost has been seen walking the Battlements and her cries heard.
The Black Lady is allegedly the ghost of a nun called Editha who founded her order in the 9th century. The nuns were said to have been expelled from a nearby Convent by Robert de Marmion. The angry prayers of the nuns were said to have called Editha from her grave. One night in 1139 after a lavish banquet, Marmion was attacked by the ghost of Editha, who prophesied that unless the nuns were restored to Polesworth, the Baron would meet an untimely death. Just before she vanished the spectre hit the Baron on the side with the point of her crosier; the wound was so terrible that Marmion's cries awoke the whole Castle. His pain only ceased when this vow was taken and the nuns returned to Polesworth.
One would however question why, if the Nuns had been restored to the Convent, would St Editha still haunt the castle. Could it be because the Abbey was voluntarily surrendered by the Abbess Alice Fitz-Herbert to the crown in 1539 under the reforms of church and state during the reign of Henry VIII. The Black Lady was once again recorded in 1949, when a team of ghost hunters carried out an overnight vigil at the castle. Just after the stroke of midnight, following noises on the staircase, a photograph was taken. When developed, the picture showed a shadowy hooded figure descending the stairs.