Berkeley Castle is an imposing if brutal edifice first built around 1067. It was there that Edward II ended his days.
Having survived the ignominy of defeat at Bannockburn and its repercussions on the War for Scottish Independence, Edward had led a relatively charmed life, but it didn’t end well.
In 1327, he was deposed by his wife, Queen Isabella and her ally Roger Mortimer and imprisoned in the castle. Taking all by surprise, his supporters stormed the castle and succeeded in rescuing him. Unfortunately not for long. Edward, was recaptured and returned to his Berkeley prison cell in reputedly grievous conditions.
Historical sources record that Edward was killed there on 21 September 1327, with varying reports of his murder, all brutal and unforgiving. It is said his assassins came to him in the night, held him down and dispatched him by using a red-hot rod inserted where no wound would be evident.
His screams were heard by others in the Castle - who could only pray for his soul. The cell where he was imprisoned and murdered can still be seen today. It is said, that every year on the anniversary of his death, the adjacent 11metres deep dungeon where he was held, echoes the events of his demise…