Berkeley Castle

berkeley castle, gloucestershireBerkeley Castle has been in the same family for almost eight centuries. From the late Anglo-Saxon times, there has been a manor at Berkeley but the present castle at Berkeley was originally constructed in the year 1153 AD as a shell keep.

In the year 1215 AD, the castle was the place where the West Country barons assembled en route to their clash with King John at Runnymede just before the signing of the Magna Carta.

Today Berkeley Castle is probably most famous for being the castle in which Edward II was confined in 1327 AD after he was deposed by his wife Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer. They were hoping that confinement in the dank dungeons with their terrible conditions and disease would be the death of the King but surprisingly although he became ill for a time, he did recover.

After this they decided to dispose of the King in a more definite manner and Edward II was to suffer probably the most horrific death of any British king in history. Firstly, he was pinned down on a table or flat surface and a funnel was thrust into his rectum and through it was pushed a red-hot poker up into his bowels. The room where this gruesome act was perpetrated can still be viewed by visitors to the castle today.

Poor Edward II died in such terrible agony that it has been said for many centuries that his screams can be heard in and around the castle on the anniversary of his death. Read a detailed account of the life of King Edward II