Okehampton Castle

okehampton castle, devonOkehampton Castle, a motte and bailey castle, is the largest castle in Devon and the ruins which stand today are situated near the northern edge of Dartmoor.

The castle dates from the late 11th century having Norman origins and is mentioned in the Domesday Book (completed in 1086 AD) which states that at that time it was in the possession of Baldwin de Brionne, the Sheriff of Devon.

Most of the surviving structure, including the bulk of the keep and the curtain walls, is of 14th century construction. It was abandoned in 1539 AD when its owner at that time the Marquis of Exeter was found guilty of treason and executed by Henry VIII.

One of the strangest legends attributed to this Castle is the one of Lady Howard who supposedly rides in a carriage constructed of the bones of four of her husbands that she murdered.  It is said to be driven between Okehampton Park and her old home in Tavistock by a ghostly headless coachman accompanied by an equally ghostly skeletal dog!  The legend has it that each night Lady Howard has to convey a single blade of grass from the castle grounds and return it to Tavistock and this she apparently must do as punishment for her sins.  It is said that once every blade of grass has been transported, the world might come to an end! In fact the real Lady Howard - yes she did actually live!, did have four husbands and she did outlive all of them but there is no evidence to say that she definitely did murder them.

Apart from the aforementioned story, there have been many other strange reported occurrences at the castle including a visitor who photographed a strange ghostly shape at a window at the top of the keep and also numerous sightings of a ghostly black dog.