There is something special about Dunstanburgh Castle. I’ve visited it a couple of times and it always has the same effect on me. Unlike many castles, which are built near a settlement that subsequently thrives and becomes a town, Dunstanburgh Castle stands alone. The village is nearly a mile away and even today, visitors are required to walk along the coastal path to reach it – while dodging golf balls due to the location of a nearby golf course.
Ruined to the point it seems like it isn’t worth the effort visiting, the rugged outline captures the imagination. The great gatehouse remains superficially intact, at least it gives an indication of the scale of the immense fortifications. During my first visit, there were racing pigeons resting on the cliffs, battling the wind. It gets very windy at Dunstanburgh. While the waves crash below, the sense of desolation, the remoteness, hits you. Used mainly to house a garrison, I doubt it made a good home for those who commanded its walls. Rapidly ruined and never rebuilt, it remains a legacy of Scottish incursions and the War of the Roses (the battle between Yorkist and Lancastrian rivals), during which it changed hands several times.
Built by Thomas Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster (Dunstanburgh happens to be in Northumbria). Thomas was executed by Edward the Second (son of the king featured in my letter C) and it took a grisly eleven blows to decapitated him (sadly there was no training for executioners.) His ghost supposedly staggers around and his face masked with horror, not surprisingly. He isn’t the only ghost associated with Dunstanburgh, there is also Sir Guy the Seeker and his “bright beauty”. You can read about him here.
I’m not surprised there are ghosts reported at Dunstanburgh.