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>Screams of the she-wolf<

Castle Rising, Norfolk

The insane screams of Queen Isabella, known as the 'She-Wolf of France', are still said to haunt this massive Norman fortress. One of the most beautiful but depraved women of her time, she was imprisoned here for plotting with her lover the murder of her husband Edward II, whom she had married when she was only twelve years old. She was jealous of his close relationship with his childhood friend Piers Gaveston. As the barons turned against Gaveston, and eventually Edward, so did she, becoming the lover of the scheming, tyrannical Sir Roger Mortimer. Together they defeated Edward's army and had him imprisoned in Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire.

Isabella came to despice Edward and humiliated and tortured him in every way that she could. He was kept in a small, damp and dark chamber containing a well that was 28 ft deep. It was the custom to throw the rotting carcasses of dead animals down the well, which usually meant that the prisoner eventually died of asphixiation or contracted some foul disease that would make it appear that they had died a natural death.

But Edward,against all odds, survived this ordeal, only to meet a far more hideous end. Mortimer, with Isabella's concent, orderd his jailor to torture him to death with a hot burning spit.

Isabella's son Edward then succeeded to the throne, but it quickly became obvious that he was merely a pawn in Mortimer's hands. Eventually, with great cunning, Edward had Mortimer executed and his mother was seized at Nottingham Castle and take to Castle Rising.

She was, it seems, quite comfortable in the early days of her incarceration and was frequiently visited by both her son and her grandson, the warrior The Black Prince. In time, however, these visits ceased and, increasingly lonely, she began to lose her sanity. She died 27 years after her incarcentration, in 1358.

Now, even after six hundred years, it is said that her maniacal laughter and remoresful wailing stil echo over the surrounding countryside in the dead of night.


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