This is not a real castle but a private house built in in the Gothic Revival Style in 1840. It was built for Dr James Dawson, a retired Liverpool surgeon, and is now owned by the National Trust. The house was built using his wife’s inheritance from a gin fortune. Apparently she took one look at the house when it was finished, and refused to live in it.
Wray Castle is an elaborate building. James Dawson could essentially build whatever he wanted, from a portcullis to turrets which don’t have any access to them, as well as arrow slits and even mock ruins in the grounds – James ordered the lot. The Dawsons didn’t have any children so it seems amazing that this was in effect a retirement home for two people.
It was designed by John Jackson Lightfoot who was a trained accountant with an interest in architecture. It was his first and only design as he sadly drank himself to death before it was finished. H.P. Horner, a more experienced architect stepped in to complete the design. So what you see is a combination of Lightfoot’s playful fantasy design and Horner’s practical approach.
Sadly only the bottom floor was accessible when I went for a look around; the home is worth a visit purely just to see the ceiling
Is Wray Castle Haunted?
Wray castle could not be situated in a more beautiful spot, overlooking the northern section of lake Windermere and surrounded by woodland. Perhaps its no wonder spirits choose to linger in such a setting, favoring the pleasant surrounding for their eternal stay on earth. But maybe they have no choice but to remain here from what happened to them?
The castle, lake and surrounding woods are all thought to be haunted, but by what or who is unknown. The most well known ghost at the castle is that of a man riding a ghostly white horse. Seen to be made up of a thick mist like formation he has been seen riding the grounds around the outside of the castle walls after dark, charging forward before fading away into nothing.