Let’s Begin With The “Where”, “When”, And “Who”
The legendary key to England is the medieval Dover Castle. It’s located down Castle Hill Road above the White Cliffs in the English Channel. This castle is an ode to English heritage, built shortly after 1066 and used as a fortress of defence. In 1204, an epic battle went down, and King John lost the Duchy of Normandy to Philip II, the King of France.
In 1170, Thomas Becket – the Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered. Killed by the knights of King Henry II, unbeknownst to the king.
Becket was seen as a legend, and his tomb became a shrine to the people of England. Nine years after his death, Henry II invested in Dover Castle and its expansion as a fortress. Becket was a trusted confidante to Henry II before Becket betrayed him and refused his reforms. Henry and his sons went on to build Dover Castle into a great fortress of defence. It was an addition to the Great Tower.
Before The Battles
In AD 130, a Roman lighthouse was built on Castle Hill with another on the opposite end. It acted as fire navigation lights for ships near the castle grounds.
In the 1500s, Henry VIII added some artillery forts and met with Charles V to begin renovating. Henry and Anne of Cleaves ensured the castle was ready for the war with Spain. 1635 was the last time any royal court used the castle.
Some engineers upgraded the defence system during the Napoleonic Wars and French Revolutionary. The medieval tunnels and underground barracks served new canons.
World War I
When Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914, Dover Harbour became significant in history. It housed the Royal Navy’s Dover Patrol, whose primary mission was to guard the Dover Strait. They defended it from German submarines and promised smooth communication with the Army in France and Flanders. Dover had around 16,000 troops posted there.
These men were prepared to defend a long perimeter that covered high terrain around the town. They had coast defence cannons on the watch for any dangers from the water. They later added anti-aircraft weapons, which came of good use in the Great Tower.
World War II
When World War II broke out in 1939, Dover went back into action. The castle became headquarters once more. This time for the Army garrison guarding the town and the newly established Royal Navy base. More so after the Dunkirk evacuation. They converted the underground casemates into bomb-proof offices for the naval base’s vice-admiral.
These casemates housed army forces in charge of coordinating coast artillery. And anti-aircraft defences, as well as units protecting the Dover stronghold. They created two extra layers of secret wartime tunnels to strengthen their defences. One actually became a World War II hospital. You can see these today in the wartime tunnels exhibition.
The Cold War
The Army bid farewell to the castle in 1958, except for Constable’s Gate. That remained a senior officers’ home until 2015. In the early 1960s, the government chose Dover Castle as one of the 12 Regional Seats of Government. This was a haven in the event of a nuclear war. The original secret wartime tunnels helped the garrison live safely.
The castle became under the command of a high-ranking minister. And it would be accompanied by a team of military and civilian personnel. Luckily, the system was deactivated in the early 1980s because no nuclear war occurred.
The Ghosts of Dover Castle
The secret wartime tunnels underneath the historic castle were among its many mysteries. During times of conflict, these tunnels, with their rich historical value, had their value. Surprisingly, Dover Castle’s concealed network of medieval tunnels stretched well beyond what was obvious.
These underground tunnels wove their way down the castle’s depths. An atmospheric underground hospital was discovered. To find this underground hospital, travel deep and with caution! It’s a mark of English heritage but also a mark of something much darker.
During the Napoleonic Wars, a terrifying story unfolded. The report relates to the castle in the maze of underground tunnels. A young drummer boy died tragically in the caverns. Some say you can still hear his voice below, deep in the folds of Dover Castle.
According to legend, he was decapitated. As a result, a headless phantom roams the castle’s battlements, making for a pretty shocking sight.
Another pair of strange entities live behind the strong walls of Dover Castle. A woman in a flowing crimson gown and a male spirit dressed as a cavalier! If you’re ready to investigate the secrets of Dover Castle, prepare yourself. You are likely to get sight of these ghost lovers. And bring a digital EVP recorder to capture any scary electronic voice phenomenon.
Some tragic echoes from World War II can even be heard bouncing around the tunnels. These tunnels have seen the apparitions of tons of different wartime troops.
In the dark of night, invisible murmurs ricochet through the halls. Doors open and close as if led by phantom hands, and unexpected temperature drops send shivers down your spine. Make sure you’re equipped at our store before heading on your spooky journey.
The Queen and Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment Museum
Ready for a break after some good old-fashioned ghost hunting? You should check out the museum!
The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and Queen’s Regiment Museum are there. It’s located within the medieval walls of Dover Castle and stands as a tribute to English heritage.
You’ll learn all about the brave soldiers who served in the military forces. This intriguing museum is open from Wednesday through Sunday between 10 am and 4 pm. And offers a peek into the soldiers’ successes and hardships. From their heroic part in the harrowing rescue effort during the Dunkirk evacuation. And to their steadfast dedication to duty!
Visitors can use the Dover Castle car park while touring the museum. You can climb the Great Tower and wander around the battlements. And marvel at the steep slopes and stunning views of the town, Dover Priory, and the white cliffs.
Don’t forget to check out the Underground Hospital, a monument to the courage of those who served. You can even see the Fire Command Post. It serves as a reminder of Dover Castle’s crucial role in the nation’s defence.
Can I join an organised ghost-hunting tour at Dover Castle?
There are some overnight ghost hunt tours organised at Dover Castle. Remember to follow the site’s restrictions and standards. You may need to take your own ghost-hunting equipment.
What’s the best time to visit Dover Castle to see ghosts?
It’s best to go at night! But the castle does close to visitors at 4 pm, so it may be best to join an overnight hunt.