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An Unnatural Daughter

Berry Pomeroy, a castle in south Devon, England, that dates back to the Tudor period, has fallen into ruin, but it is still said to house many ghosts.  Among them is that of a beautiful young woman who was doomed by her own wickedness.

Her name was Margaret, daughter of an early baron of Pomeroy.  She bore a child by her father and then strangled the infant.  After her own death, her ghost was said to herald death, among the Pomeroys and their retainers.

Among the many who supposedly saw her was Sir Walter Farquhar, an eminent physician of the late eighteenth century. While at Berry Pomeroy attending the ailing wife of the Castle’s steward, Sir Walter caught sight of a stunning young Woman, who was wringing her hands in obvious distress. She started up a stairway and then paused and turned briefly toward the doctor.  He saw her clearly in the light streaming through a stained-glass window before she vanished into one of the upper rooms.

The next day, Sir Walter asked the steward who the beautiful visitor on the staircase had been.  To the doctor’s immense surprise, the man cried out that he was sure her visit meant that his wife was dying.  He related how Margaret had killed her child in the room above the staircase and how her ghost had ever since presaged the deaths of castle inmates, including that of his own son.  The doctor assured the steward that the condition of his wife, who was far from dying, was in fact much better.  Nevertheless, the steward would not be comforted.  His wife died at noon that same day. 

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