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> Roch Castle <

Roch Castle, Pembrokeshire

Roch Castle has been shrouded in tales of the supernatural since the 13th century, when the lands were owned by the Norman family of de la Roche.

It is said to have been built on a high rock because Adam de la Roche was warned by a witch that he was destined to die by the poisonous bite of an adder. In its spectacular position above the underground and moorland he felt he was safe from any habitat that might shelter a snake and he became a recluse within the walls of his fortress. But despite these elaborate precautions, the prophecy was fulfilled one stormy winter's night. Earlier in the day his lone servant had carried a bundle of sticks into the castle for the great fire in the hall. That night, after a hearty supper and several goblets of wine, his master fell asleep in front of the flames. An adder emerged slowly from the sticks, crawled across the stone floor and bit the nobleman on the leg. His lifeless body was discovered the next day.

The castle is also said to be haunted by the tragic ghost of Lucy Walters, mistress of King Charles II and mother of their illegitimate child, the ill-fated Duke of Monmouth, who was beheaded in 1685 for his part in the unsuccessful Protestant rebellion against James II.

Lucy was a passionate and imaginative young girl, she met the King in Holland, where she had been taken by her then lover, Colonel Robert Sydney. She and Charles were instantly attracted to each other and enjoyed a tempestuous affair.

While Charles took his favourite son, the infant Duke, under the care of his wife, he spurned Lucy. She died in poverty at the tender age of 28. It is said that her sad ghost, dressed in white, is seen at the castle, floating through rooms where doors have been locked, and that her running footsteps have awakened the heaviest sleepers in the dead of night.

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