Pengersick Castle Visit 2005

CISMAS members visited Pengersick Castle to see the castle, especially the finds from the wreck of the St Anthony.

A castle has existed on this site since the Middle Ages, and sometime round 1500 it was rebuilt as a fortified Tudor manor. The tower is the main part of this structure surviving today, and the custodians who live there welcome visitors to view both the castle and its artefacts on display, which range from finds from the St Anthony, through to tapestry, and armour. This is a small site though and they prefer small groups, by arrangement - so ideal for CISMAS!

In addition they house finds from the St Anthony, which was discovered by chance in 1981, after a holiday maker discovered a copper ingot on a beach. The St Anthony was a Portuguese carrack, which foundered in 1527 during a journey from Lisbon to Antwerp, whilst carrying a mixed cargo. This included copper and silver ingots, and candlesticks. There are various artifacts from the wreck on display at Pengersick Castle, in a dedicated display, including some of the ingots, candlesticks, and stone shot.

We had a guided tour of the castle by Angela Evans, who is a mine of information on the history of the castle. We obviously focused on the finds from the St Anthony, but also visited the roof just to check out the parapet (a fair climb!). We went to the haunted bedroom where there is a beautiful old bedspread (sadly in need of repair), as well as a long history of unexplained happenings, and ghostly phenomena. Some of us picked up on a distinct atmosphere, and some were not so sure. However the Ghost Hunters of Living TV fame had visited just previously and regular ghost watching nights are held at the castle.

We also had a quick tour round the rest of the castle viewing various fascinating artefacts, from armour to map books, even having the chance to try on a few of the armour helmets. As we exited Angela pointed out the slit above the doorway through which noxious substances could be poured over unwelcome visitors, which most of us hadn’t noticed on our way in, possibly because this isn’t a standard feature on most modern homes!

All in all a most enjoyable way to spend an evening and most of us left to spread the word to family and friends that this is a fascinating place to visit. There seems to be a lack of awareness about local historical resources such as this, and with so much information in one place several CISMAS members have expressed interest in a return visit.

Helen Butcher