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September 2004 - Pengersick Castle

We arrived at Pengersick at 11.15 am. Despite an ominous forecast, the weather was fine and warm, and we spent the morning exploring the grounds, looking at the reconstructed Physic Garden - as well as the sites of the Medieval chapel, the original fortified manor house, a possible burial ground (it seemed to be very ancient, and I had the distinct feeling of being observed here), and an area once occupied by a prehistoric round house.

This last site was found purely by dowsing, and on excavation yielded fragments of a granite quern (now reassembled), and some potsherds - nice pieces of proof that we dowsers really can find things! We ate our lunch sitting on the front lawn as preparations were being made for a children's party to be held there that afternoon. Everyone seemed to be in fancy dress, and we watched with amusement as a fairy, complete with pointed plastic ears and a long robe, unloaded a people carrier, assisted by several pixies.

In the afternoon we were taken on a tour of the castle by the owner, Angela Evans who is a mine of information on the building and its former inhabitants. We were shown the Gunroom, a necessity in more lawless times, the Solar (Tudor drawing room), and a display of artifacts from the wreck of the St. Anthony, a Portuguese carrack wrecked in 1526 whose cargo of treasure mysteriously disappeared. Nobody could prove who was responsible, but one of those under strong suspicion was John Milliton of Pengersick.

Next came the Haunted Bedroom where so many strange happenings have been noted over the years - apparitions, balls of light, a marked coldness..... Even today with the faint hubbub of celebration drifting up from the lawn below, the atmosphere in this room was noticeably "different". So absorbed were we here that time seemed to slip by all too rapidly as we eagerly searched for traces of the inexplicable.

Alan Neal dowsing in the haunted bedroom

From the top of the tower we gazed out over the parapets at the surrounding countryside, while below us lay the few remaining fragments of what had once been a magnificent building, with its gatehouse and banqueting hall. It is a great shame that as the estate was sold off piecemeal so much worth saving was so wantonly destroyed.

By the time we had thanked Angela for a fascinating guided tour and said our goodbyes, we realised that time really had overtaken us, and our planned visit to Chysauater Iron age village would have to be postponed for another day.

As we set off homewards heavy drops of rain bounced off the windscreen, and along the Camborne bypass these increased to a vitriolic cloudburst, virtually obscuring the view of the road ahead - portents of the following day, and a flooded Boscastle.

Alan Neal

August 2004


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