Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ghost of William Wallace at Ardrossan Castle in Ayrshire, Scotland

Located on a high bluff along the coast of Scotland, stands the ruins of what is today known as Ardrossan Castle.  This ghostly visage of the past stands guard over the town of Ardrossan located in Ayrshire.  However that is not all that is ghostly regarding the castle. A legend of the past is known to haunt the castle that he captured in the late 13th century as well as other phantoms of the past.

The ruins of Ardrossan Castle in Ayrshire, Scotland

The once great castle that stood in Ardrossan was formerly known as Castle Crag as it stood high on the rocky craggy terrain above the sea. Built in the early 12th century, the castle originally belonged to the Barclay clan.  Sir Fergus Barclay was a famous and legendary horseman of the day.  Legend states that Sir Fergus' skills were so great because he made a deal with the Devil and acquired a magic bridle.  However, Barclay did not want to give his soul to the devil so he tricked the Devil out of the deal. Enraged, the Devil attacked Castle Crag, leaving hoof marks in the jagged rocks around the stronghold.  Sir Fergus survived but paid for it in the end however. Eventually, Fergus was put to death for murdering his wife. He died on the Isle of Arran and was buried there. Oddly, a storm on the night he was buried uncovered his body and it was washed up on the shore at Ardrossan.  He was reburied on the castle grounds in the chapel.  He was known as The De'il of Ardrossan.

The remains of Ardrossan Castle over look the town of Ardrossan, Ayrshire, Scotland

The castle passed from family to family over the couple of centuries that followed. Around 1292, Edward I of England invaded and Androssan Castle fell into English hands.  They only held it for a few years however.  In 1296, William Wallace, the champion of Scottish independence who was one of the few who stood up to Edward I, led his followers to the castle, overtook and destroyed it.  He threw the dead English soldiers as well as the survivors into a cellar vault beneath the castle
with what little food was there and left them to die.  This became known in Scottish History as Wallace's Larder.  Wallace would go on to capture other English strongholds and lead the Scots to many victories. However, he was betrayed and captured in 1305.  Edward I, humiliated by Wallace's success, had him drawn and quartered to set an example for all other Scots who dared rise against him.

William Wallace, leader of the fight for Scottish independence in the late 13th and early 14th centuries
Entrance to the vaults beneath the ruins of Ardrossan Castle where Wallace's Larder took place

Although Ardrossan Castle was rebuilt and enlarged several times and survived over the years, it met it's final end around 1650 when Oliver Cromwell who felt threatened by the fortress, had his army destroy it.  They used much of the stone from the castle to build a fortress at Ayr.  Later in the mid 1700s, more of the stone was taken from the castle to build walls in the town of Ardrossen itself.

Today, there are many statues honoring William Wallace, the champion of Scottish independence.  This one stands outside of Stirling, Scotland.

Today the ruins of Castle Ardrossan still stand on the rocky crag overlooking the town of Ardrossan. Many believe that the spirits of those who lived and died here still haunt the ruined chambers.  There is one ghost in particular though that intrigues most. It is said that on stormy evenings, the figure of a tall bearded man can be seen standing around the ruins.  One minute he is there, then in another he is gone.  It is believed that this is the spirit of William Wallace which has somehow bonded to these ruins. 

William Wallace has his own castle of sorts in modern times.  This tower stands on a hill overlooking Stirling, Scotland where Wallace led the Scots to victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge
Ardrossan Castle as seen today from the streets of Ardrossan, Ayrshire, Scotland

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  1. That's not Wallaces Larder! That's the entrance to the well,The Larder was and still is on another section of the ruin!

  2. Was thinking the same thing. That picture shown is the entrance to the well.