Here is another little ghost story from my book “Dark Journey”. As usual, I just hope the font copies OK or I will have to get help!
We visited the castle (rather the site of it) in 1986 one gloomy Summer’s afternoon. The place was deserted – it certainly is no tourist attraction. I took the usual photographs and measurements and actually, the ‘out of time’ atmosphere was very noticeable. You could almost feel a huge castle all around you; as indeed, there used to be.
Later we spent a vigil there for most of the night, while we were still in the area. Nothing supernatural happened but again, the atmosphere seemed even more intense.
I’d like to go back again, but unfortunately with my weak foot, I doubt if I could climb the steep hill again; well, certainly not at night! Enjoy it anyway,
There is nothing nowadays too specular about the scant ruins of Cadbury Castle in Somerset.
But the absence of outward remains should not, perhaps be taken as an indication of the relative unimportance of Cadbury Castle, for if legend is to be believed, it was once the site of Camelot, home of the legendary King Arthur.
Of course, there are in existence countless romantic legends about the great King and his knights, but possible verification of this particular one, may have been literally uncovered in 1967 when the extensive remains of an early Christian church were discovered dating back to around 500 AD, suggesting the fortress of a great Christian warrior.
Naturally, Arthur would fir this role; though whether this legend was based on actual fact and it is possible to link it with the modern evidence, is not so easy to determine; especially, when facts about Arthur (if indeed he ever existed), have become hopelessly intermingled with myth and have long since disappeared into the mists of prehistory.
The only remaining modern day ‘evidence’ that could be seen to support the Camelot legend, is an old well lying below the site of the castle, named, perhaps appropriately, “Arthur’s Well”. Lying below in the valley, leading directly to Glastonbury, there is also an old trackway still known today as “King Arthur’s Hunting Causeway”. This track has now all but virtually disappeared beneath farmland, but then, so have many other ancient trackways which ultimately converge at Cadbury, but which can be traced quite easily with a little determination and the aid of a good map.
King Arthur aside, it is known that Cadbury Castle was an important fortification at the time of the Roman invasion – probably due to its strategic position. In 1922, a hoard of Roman coins was discovered there and nearby, buried in a trench were a mass of ancient skeletons which, according to theory, were the bones of Britons who defended the site against later Saxon invaders.
This may bring us no nearer to establishing the existence of the legendary King Arthur, but there are positive indications to show that since the Iron Age – and possibly before – a variety of cultures have occupied the site, some perhaps being bound by some long forgotten religious denomination. Glastonbury, after all, abounds with myth and secret magical traditions, not least with its said connection with the Holy Grail, and it might not be coincidence that the two sites lie in such close proximity.
Perhaps it is understandable, taking into account the mystical prestige of Arthur and his White Knights whose exploits have come to represent eternal good triumphing over evil, that Cadbury has become associated with stories of ‘ghosts’ and ethereal phantoms of knights whose gallant escapades are sometimes replayed for the nocturnal observer. Sometimes, it is rumoured, a fleet of warrior knights have been seen patrolling the hilltop, and the ghost of Arthur himself has supposedly seen wandering the castle ruins.
Other legends seem to indicate that Cadbury Hill itself, is hollow, perhaps echoing a belief that it houses the underground burial chamber of mighty warriors who will one day remerge to fight worldly evil. Such myth, in fact, may conceal one of even greater significance; that of a ‘hollow earth’ or ‘Underworld’ that symbolically implies that ‘another world’ may lay concealed behind the limitations of everyday understanding.
More recently, accounts relate to mysterious ‘flashing lights’ seen to land on the hilltop – the inference being that UFO’s have some definite interest in Cadbury’s ancient heritage.
Of course, archaeological or ‘material’ facts and unproven myth, may not be so easy to bring together; but it should be remembered that archaeological investigations often begin on only the evidence of scant rumour and unqualified legend, the two often being inseparable from each other.
King Arthur may, or may not, have existed. But if the Dark Ages can herald nothing more, Cadbury Castle remains an important monument to a civilisation – lost or otherwise – that must surely warrant further investigation.
From the book “Dark Journey” by David Farrant, 3rd revised edition 2005