Castell Coch, translated as Red Castle in English, gained it’s present appearance in the 19th century, but the history of the site is far older.
Set in woodlands high above the village of Tongwynlais, to the north of Cardiff this ‘Fairytale Castle’ was first built between 1240-1265 before being abandoned 100 years later following a fire, and undermining of the castle. In the 19th century the 3rd Marquess of Bute, John Patrick Crichton acquired the castle and in 1875 restoration work began and continued until 1891.
The history of the castle involves a number of tragic events, many conflicts have covered this part of the world, and there have often been battles fought over the castle. Some of the most intriguing events date from the period of the civil war when the castle was in the hands of the royalists, and is reputed to have become the hiding place for a large amount of treasure. A Cavalier from this period has been reported walking the castle passageways and checking that this treasure remains undisturbed.
Another ghost known to frequent the castle is the White Lady. It is claimed that she died of a broken heart after the death of her son in a nearby lake. This ghost was reportedly responsible for causing the widow of Lord Bute to abandon the castle after his death.
Taking a walk through the castle will be like stepping back into the past, and sometimes the past is not a pleasant environment. One part of Castell Coch which is gloomy and foreboding is dungeon. This cold and mysterious location is home to many of the most frightening encounters experienced by visitors to the castle. Wailing and scream is often heard emanating from the vents on the castle roof.
Brighter locations, which are said to be equally active include the Lady’s Bedroom, and the Great Hall which sees activity even during the day with plenty of taps and bangs to scare visitors. There are frequent accounts of visitors feeling they are being touched or pulled when they are alone.
Castell Coch is a place where so much grisly history has taken place that you can never know what to expect from a visit.