Who’s to say there aren’t any unofficial ones lurking around, though? Castle Custodians Dave and Phil shared their experiences.
According to Castle Custodian Dave, some eight years ago, two women visitors came into the shop, impressed by the soldier they’d seen in full uniform. Paul, Custodian at the time, was puzzled as “we’ve no re-enactment here today!”
Asked where the soldier was, the women advised they’d seen him by the wall in the main ground floor chamber, now housing the guns and exhibits. Paul explained this used to be the barracks for the garrisons in the late 17th century. And where the soldier appeared there was now a bricked up doorway the soldiers at that time would have used regularly.
Neither woman believed in ghosts and were close to tears when Paul re-affirmed there was no-one on site dressed as a soldier. They were adamant in what they’d seen. While other visitors have claimed spooky experiences, this was the first time Paul sensed a genuine paranormal experience, supported by the obvious shock displayed by the two women.
It’s not the only incident. Custodian Phil and colleague Chrissy both witnessed strange phenomena as they carried out their regular duties. Chrissy had stored stock tidily, only to return and find it strewn around or overturned. Then, one day, a shared experience convinced them they weren’t the only inhabitants in Upnor Castle. Listen to Phil’s story here:
It’s rumoured that Queen Elizabeth 1 visited the castle to inspect her fleet. Although not recorded anywhere, it seems likely, as it was Her Majesty who commissioned the castle in 1559, as a gun fort to protect her warships anchored ‘in ordinary’ i.e with the sails removed. It was completed in 1568 under the supervision of Richard Watts, MP for Rochester (the Richard Watts of the Six Poor Travellers/Almshouses fame) with a chain across the Medway added in 1585. Sadly, it didn’t keep out the Dutch some 200 years later. As a Trip Advisor wit put it: Upnor Castle, you had one job!
FYI: Rochester castle’s official ghost is Lady Blance De Warenne, known as The White Lady.
Grateful thanks to Wikimedia user Kurpfalzbilder.de for the from-the-river image of the castle.
Courtesy of the MOD Defence Infrastructure Organisation at Shornecliffe in Folkestone, these images show the building record and some of the military history of Upnor Castle. Click each page to enlarge and read.