Gwrych Castle is possibly one of the most haunted buildings in Wales. From ghostly smells to cold spots, full apparitions and more, most things have been experienced at Gwrych. On this page we will look at some of the tales about Gwrych.
Entrance Hall and Inner Hall
As the main entrance to the house, these two rooms would have seen all of the notable guests arriving to visit the Countess when she was in residence. It has been described over the years by psychics as being highly active as many shades of those who have gone before still pass through.
Today little remains of the former splendour, the ceiling plaster has come away, the fireplace is burnt out, the wooden paneling gone. Breeze block prevents light from entering the room, the stained glass smashed and the leaded windows broken.
Does the Countess haunt this room?
During the 1930’s and early 1940’s Bill Price was the caretaker at Gwrych, each night he would go around checking the doors were secure. As he got near the old library, he would always hesitate as he felt he was being watched, his little dog would refuse to enter the room, her hair on end. Bill reported to the 13th Earl that when he came to open up and air the rooms in the morning the library would be unlocked and items displaced. This happened on several occasions, there was never anything missing and the doors had not been forced, and Bill had the only key. It must be noted that Mr. Price and the Countess did not get on terribly well, so maybe their problems continued past the grave.
Are these stairs haunted by a Butler?
In the 1970’s a psychic woman visited Gwrych and stayed for a few weeks, during the winter months. Whilst she was there she was drawn to a particular room in the servants quarters, the men’s room. A spirit contacted her, whispering in her ear that there was a secret way into the hillside. She set off to investigate, but whilst near the servant’s stairs she has an horrific grasping pain in her chest and collapsed. (In 1915 the Butler suffered a fatal heart attack on these stairs.) The next day the woman left Gwrych never to return.
The Drawing Room
The hub of the household was centred on the Drawing room at Gwrych; here the Countess would receive her guests and attend to the needs of the day. It was one of the few rooms in the Castle that was in continual use up until its closure in the winter of 1985 and attracted some significant stories to it.
Karen Savoy once lived at Gwrych during the late 1970’s where she would help out with looking after the horses which would take part the jousts. One night the fire brigade moved her and some of her friends out of their rooms on the second floor into the Drawing Room to sleep as they thought the fire exits were not sufficient. While they were chatting and joking, Karen noticed that one of the dogs was just staring into the corner of the room, hair on end and violently shaking. Movement was also heard in the room while they slept, with one person claiming to have seen a grey figure in the corner by the door.
The Stable Block
There are several stories related to the old stables at Gwrych, the most prominent must be the smell of horses and the occasional sound of a horse’s breath or snort on the wind. The sound of hoofs galloping up Stable Hill has also been reported. Karen Savoy was tending to the needs of a dying horse in one of the loose boxes; she suddenly felt a benevolent presence around her as the horse peacefully slipped away into the hands of eternal sleep. But at other times whilst she would be grooming the jouster’s steeds they would suddenly take fright and become wild, trying to break loose to escape from the stables.
In the early 1990’s the Castle caretaker had four Rottweiler dogs that were kept to ward off intruders and trespassers, one day it was decided that the dogs would be best kept in the Stables. After a night of howling, barking and disturbances, the caretaker returned to find the dogs cowering in the corner, behind the old horse stalls and loose boxes, from that day forward the dogs refused to enter the stables at all.
More recently, the ghost of Lord Dundonald’s charger has been spotted galloping through the fields below the Castle. His corpse was transported back from South Africa in 1900 during the Boer War and was buried in the pet cemetery at Gwrych. With thanks to Mark Baker for permission to use extracts from his book 'Myths and Legends of the Gwrych Castle Estate' published in 2006.