Welcome to the vale...

Moelbryn is the ancient celtic name for the Malvern Hills, a dramatic ridge of volcanic rock that spans the counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire and dominates the surrounding countryside. Towards the south of the Malverns lies the Eastnor Vale, a picturesque valley amongst the woods and ridges of which lies the village of Eastnor.

This weblog focuses on the stories, folklore and history of the area - the hills, buildings, woods and ruins, tales of faerie folk, witches, druids and giants.

Please leave a comment if you have found this blog useful or have enjoyed reading.

Peace x

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The treasure at Bronsil Castle

When heading toward Eastnor from the Hollybush pass, in a secluded spot off the main road is Bronsil (or Bransill) Castle. It is the elder of two castles in the small village, the other being the more famous but modern Eastnor castle. Bronsil Castle was built by Lord Beauchamp in the 15th century, and legend has it that hidden treasure remains unfound near the ruins. Lord Beauchamp hid his fortune somewhere in the grounds of the castle so that his family would not spend it unwisely whilst he was away fighting the Crusades. However he assured them that, should he be killed whilst fighting in the Holy Wars, their inheritance would be easily located so long as all his remains were returned to the castle for burial. He left a familiar spirit in the form of a Raven, to guard over the treasure whilst he was away. Sadly Beauchamp was killed tragically in Italy but as requested his bones were returned for burial in the grounds of the castle. However it is thought that some of his bones were lost in transit and so the family fortune remained hidden forever. It is said that the Raven can still sometimes be seen or heard guarding Lord Beauchamps hidden fortunes to this very day.

The stone bridge over the inner moat

A related tale tells of the Reede family who lived in the castle in the reign of James I. They found themselves frequently troubled by a restless spirit, perhaps even that of Lord Beauchamp himself. Desperate to find a solution they employed the services of a famous Wizard from the University of Oxford. The Wizard advised them to locate some of the late Lord Beauchamps bones and to keep them safe within the walls of the castle. So long as this was done the ghostly spirit would trouble them no more. They followed the Wizards advice and sure enough they were no longer haunted by the ghost. The bones were kept safely in a small cedar box labeled "Lord Beauchamps Bones" and over the decades became a family heirloom. So much so that when the castle burned to the ground the small wooden box was rescued from the inferno and moved to the Reedes new home, New Court near Lugwardine.

The north east tower

The castle was not huge but had four octagonal towers and was surrounded by two large moats, the inner of which still remains and contains water to this day. There is little left of the structure itself though, save the stone arch bridge across the inner moat, now shrouded in brambles and ivy, and small sections of two of the towers. The north east tower is a tall, narrow slither of stone, and the south east a low, wide section of wall with a handful of steps still visible and reasonably well preserved. The vast majority of the historic castle though, has regrettably toppled into the depths of the moat.

The south east tower


geoff said...

What is the chance that Midsummer-Raggedstone was once Raven Hill - as in Bron's Hill?

geoff said...

I had a check:
Ist mention of Bronsil castle circa 1240 AD - related to St. Katherine's Hospital, Ledbury.
Search Bronsil Beauchamp.

geoff said...

The 'saint' in Katherine wasn't! The 'she' was Katherine/Catherine Audley (nee Giffard). The hospital was founded by the bish. of Hereford (in her honour) in 1232 - and this institution is tied to a castle at Bronsil (1240). When was the Red Earl about?

geoff said...

Red Earl was thereabouts but 1287. Ancestor 5th Earl, Gilbert de Clare m Isabelle Marshall (d. of another de Clare!). Could be something to do with them? And hunting?

geoff said...

I've been told of a Richard Reed who owned Bromeshill (Bronsil) at the end of the C17th - in his late 80s and fighting a Chancery case to acquire Towbury area (Puckrup).
Did Somers acquire the property after his death, I wonder?

Matt Bronsil said...

I am dying to know more about the castle just because it shares the same name as my last name. (I know there's no connection though). Do we have any idea of the size of this castle? What about information on the people that owned it?

Moggz said...

This is long overdue, but huge thanks to you Geoff for your additional research around this (and other areas of history related to this blog)post. It's really interesting additions and context given to the combination of folklore and history that I've attempted to put across, and very much appreciated.

I suggest any wayward readers who stumble here also check out Geoffs blog :)