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A Haunting at Berkeley Castle: King Edward II Returns

Updated on June 23, 2011
King Edward II of England
King Edward II of England | Source
Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire, England
Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire, England
Royal Arms of England, 1198-1340
Royal Arms of England, 1198-1340 | Source
Burial/Memorial Effigy of Edward II.
Burial/Memorial Effigy of Edward II. | Source

The Tortured Spirit of Edward II

Edward II was the son of one of England's most ruthless and no nonsense Kings, Edward I. It was Edward I who tangled with William Wallace and Robert the Bruce and was known as the "Hammer of the Scots." You might remember him from the movie Braveheart. The man was every bit as harsh and clever as portrayed in the movie.

But his son, Edward II, was nothing like his father. He was one of most ineffective, inefficient Kings Great Britain has ever had the misfortune to sit on the throne. His entire reign was without a doubt, a disaster for him and for England.

Edward II was content to making crafts, parading around with his all male entourage and generously rewarding his favorites at court and, oddly enough, he liked to dig ditches. He was more than happy to delegate his responsibilities to others, mostly men that the nobility, his Queen and the people of England in general absolutely hated.

Though Edward fathered 5 children with the Queen and another woman, he was widely believed to be homosexual and/or bisexual which did not sit well with people in those days. He bestowed royal titles on his favorite "likely lads" when he had no business doing so, nor were they deserved by the recipients of such honors. Edward I even exiled his son's favorite boy toy Piers Gaveston until his death when his son quickly called him back to court. This would spell disaster for Gaveston in later years as he is murdered by the Nobles after two more exiles failed to keep him away from Edward and the court.

By 1325, his Queen, Isabella of France, whom Edward often referred to as the "She Wolf of France", was fed up and she took their son, Edward III to France. There, she and her lover Roger Mortimer plotted against the King and set the wheels in motion to depose him.

In 1327, Edward II was overthrown by Isabella and Mortimer and imprisoned in Berkeley Castle where Edward would spend his final days until his hideously cruel death.

A Dungeon From Hell:

Berkeley Castles is nestled in the vale of Berkely. Built out of stone (which one had to obtain permission from the King to build it that way), it was completed in 1153, owned by William FitzOsbern. The castle would eventually come under the ownership of the Berkeley family and remains in their family to this day. For over 850 years it has been occupied by the Berkeley family and is the oldest occupied castle in England.

One did not want to run afoul of Lord Berkeley in the castle's heyday. He was a powerful man and a ruthless enemy. Should you offend his Lordship, you could end up finding yourself imprisoned in the dank, dark fetid bowels of the castle. I'm talking about the castle dungeon of course.

It has no windows. In those days the air was thick with disease and the stench of dead carcasses animals and it's rumored, human bodies as well. Not many who were taken there survived for long.

It was with this in mind, that upon being deposed that Edward II was sent there. Isabella and Mortimer believed that the King would fall ill as many others who had preceded him did and would die soon enough. However, Edward II was made of tougher stuff than that. Edward fell ill and was expected to succumb soon after the onset of his illness but he still managed to survive. He was in excellent health as a King would expected to have been. He obviously had the best everything unlike many of his subjects and it paid off for him. But I'm sure that Edward, given his choice to die ill and the way he did actually die, he would have chosen the former by a mile.

An Unimaginable Cruel Death:

Isabella and Mortimer were not happy. At her wits end, the Queen orders Edward's jailers to take care of Edward's demise anyway they saw fit. He was now at the mercy of Sir John Maltravers and Lord Berkeley himself. His fate was sealed as well was his eminent torture.

On September 21, 1327, as Edward slept in his cell, his jailers charged in and holding Edward face down, they inserted a funnel into his rectum and through it, they then inserted a red hot poker which seared his intestines. It was perhaps a nod to the contempt that so many felt toward the deposed King's homosexuality, plus it left no outward marks on the body. The story was later told that Edward passed away from natural causes.

A Grim Anniversary:

It makes sense that most castles throughout Great Britain are suspected to be haunted. After all, castles were built in the days where it could be expected that one's enemies might come for you in the night or that it might be used during a time of war.These fortresses saw much bloodshed and conflict. There were many untimely deaths met and many emotions of all sorts that could leave their impressions behind which would make these castles vulnerable to hauntings. With the strength of those emotions and all the chaos, I would wonder if most of them weren't dwelling places for the restless souls of those who died there.

Berkeley Castle is no exception. Especially having been around for as long as it has been. Some poor spirits were bound to remain behind, unable to move on. Some may not even know they're dead.

Edward II however seems to only show his presence annually. It is said that on the anniversary of Edward's horrific murder that even if you're standing outside the castle walls (some say even as far away as the road), one can hear his agonized screams of torture as he relives the horror of his death.

So, if you ever have the opportunity to visit the centuries old castle, while you're waiting for Edward to make himself known, stop and say a prayer for the poor, tortured King that he may find his way to the light and that he may finally rest in peace.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hello Rebelchick, Hope your doing well!

      As for Berkeley Castle on Sept. 20,2013, he felt early that morning that there will be some difficulties about Berkeley Castle. He was staying in Gloucester at the New Inn hotel the 19th.

      He couldn't get a bus going to Berkeley that morning, but he was able to get one to a bus stop about 4 miles away from the castle. So he started walking toward the castle and noticed a gut truck on the other side of the hiway. He bought a bottle of water and talked with the guys at the truck. They knew he was an american by the way he talked. They said the castle was maybe three miles ahead. So he continued his walk and maybe twenty minutes later, a gentleman pulled up along the side of him and asked if he was going to the Berkeley Castle, he smiled then said, "Yes." Thank the guys at the truck! LOL

      He took him up to the fenced area , told him to turn left and you will see where to go. A sign said the castle was closed that day. He stop then walked toward the castle. He stopped and looked up at it. What an eerie feeling went through his body. He never felt that way before about any place, such negitivity surrounded him.

      There was a friendly older woman on a bike who talked with him a couple minutes. This may sound strange, but he heard a voice that was very clear telling him, "You came here to enjoy yourself, your not going into the Berkeley Castle!"

      Within a minute, an older male and younger female came out rather quickly. He told him, The castle was closed, so go to your car and leave. He said he walked there from Gloucester and caught a ride the last couple miles. The younger woman had a puzzled look on her face. He told her he came to England to see the castle. She frowned and said she was sorry. The older man told him to go down along the fence then turn left and you will be in Berkeley. Go up the street and on the other side of the road, there is a bus stop and you can get a bus ride to where ever.

      I wondered what happened inside the castle just before the older guy came running out to tell ME the castle was closed.

      Well, I guess you can see how I got this information! I had a great vacation there, but I wanted to see the inside of the Berkeley. When I got home, Johnny (medium) told me that the voice I heard was one of my spirit guides. My guides stopped me from entering the castle. There were energies inside who knew I was Edward and if I went inside, something would happen. No idea what, but it wouldn't be good!

      I found out a couple of years ago that I was Edward II. I certainly wouldn't make up a story being Edward II, Daddy 'Longshanks", or his son Edward III would be great to talk about, but Edward II has one bad reputation!

      As for dieing inside the Berkeley, I don't think so. I believe he escaped. Check out what Dr. Ian Mortimer and Kathryn Warner wrote about King Edward II online. Johnny the medium I know, does believe Edward did die in that castle, but he was smothered to death.

      Johnny is interesting. He remembers being a five year old jewish boy in a concentration camp in Germany in WWII. He can remember going into the showers, with people falling down as he did as well, but he wasn't dead, he said, the germans came in and tossed the bodies on carts, then took them to the ovens. "The oven was so damn HOT!"

      He went to that concentration camp in this life, it's a tourist sight. He said he just couldn't step in most areas, something his soul remembers. Very unusual feelings there. After hearing that, I wanted to feel what Edward felt by going into the Berkeley. Sounds strange, but so damn interesting!

      I died in WWII as well, when the USS Houston was sank in the early morning hours on March 1, 1942. My name was Charles, he was 23 years and 53 days old when he died. When my mother was 23 years and 53 days old, she gave birth to me. Life is interesting to say the least!

      Take care and study your lives, things tend to line up.


    • Rebelchick1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tina Di Troia 

      5 years ago

      Wow, how did you come by this information? Very interesting indeed. :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      It's rather interesting to hear about the residual sounds from Edward II many years after his death. But WE do incarnate and Edward has lived a few different lives since his hell as king. Just talk with a real phychic! Edward was a diplomat for the English government in the early 1800's and was killed in India. I do not know what his name was at that time.

      His last three lives have been in the United States. He is in his late fifties and lives in the northwest of America. He is aware that he was Edward II by talking with three phychic mediums and he had an astrological profile done by a pro a few years ago. The phychics do not know each other! Two told him that he has had some very interesting lives and should get a profile done, so he did.

      He was at Berkeley Castle on Sept. 20 this year hoping to go inside, but he knew that might be difficult.

    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 

      7 years ago from Cotswold Hills

      I live in a town that was once owned by the Berkeley family.

      I'll take a look at the Hub as Christmas is my least favourite time of the year and I need all the help I can get.

    • Rebelchick1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tina Di Troia 

      7 years ago

      Wow, great idea, Merlin! Its my dream to visit England one day. It's my ancestral home. I'm actually a descendant of Lord Berkeley. He's my 18th great grandfather. I have many notable British ancestors and in fact my book(s) are about British Executions and the mistresses of Charles II. Oh and btw, my self help Christmas article is the one I'm submitting for publication. ;)

    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 

      7 years ago from Cotswold Hills

      Nice Hub and a gruesome tale, one of many in our wonderful history.

      However if I may be so bold with a small suggestion why not add a Map of where Berkeley Castle may be located for those who may wish to visit.

      If you read my Hubs I’m a great sponsor of tourism in Great Britain and my home county in particular. Not far from Berkeley castle and just a little further on is Slimbridge Natural Wetland Wild fowl trust or the river Severn.

      What more could you hope for on a day out... Culture, History and Nature.... Oh Yes there’s a couple of nice pubs down there too...

    • Rebelchick1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tina Di Troia 

      7 years ago

      Thank you. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

    • Wintermyst profile image


      7 years ago

      WOW, what a way to die. Interesting hub


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