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Anantis Castle
New Southgate
Tarrant Gunville

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The Source:

William of Newburgh (1136-1198):
"Historia Rerum Anglicarum"
translated by Joseph Stevenson.

The Case

This, more or less, is the story:

An evil man, who came from Yorkshire, sought and found shelter in the Castle of Anantis. He decided to stay there, and he got married. He suspected his wife of cheating on him. And one day, when he was trying to catch her in the act, he had a nasty fall. As he was seriously wounded, a priest came to see him, and asked him to confess his sins, but this was postponed to the next day. During the night, the man died without making his peace with God. Despite this fact, he received a Christian burial. But at night he would come out of his grave and wander around. People would lock their doors and stay inside. But that did not help. The poisonous stench from his rotting corpse killed many people. Two young men, whose father had been killed by this vampire, decided to destroy it. They dug up the corpse, which had "swollen to an enormous corpulence, with its countenance beyond measure turgid and suffused with blood; while the napkin in which it had been wrapped appeared nearly torn to pieces". The brave young men stabbed the corpse from which there came an enormous stream of blood. They dragged the corpse out of the village and tore out its heart, because they knew that they could not burn the body before the heart had been destroyed. After the heart had been torn to pieces, they cremated the body.

The Date:

William of Newburgh (1136-1198) informs us that the events of this story had been witnessed by an old monk that he had personally talked with. Therefore, the story (if true) would appear to have taken place at some time during the 12th Century.

The Place:

Newburgh's vampire stories have been reprinted and retold in various places. There has been some speculation as to where we can find Anantis Castle. It has been suggested that it could be Annan Castle, or Annand Castle, or even Alnwick Castle.

Possible Follow-Up:

For a start we can do our best to try and establish if any of the above castles could be the Castle of Anantis. And we can see if perhaps there are or have been other castles with names like that. It would be interesting if we could check out William of Newburgh's original untranslated text, which might give us further clues. But I have the feeling that this will be easier said than done.

2009 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed 19 November 2009

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