The Endearing Legend of Barton Seagrave
- in which figures Lord Latimer and the Castle Braybrook



    In England during the fifteenth century those were troubled times, there was a civil war in progress (The war of the Roses). After which, Edward IV needed and was grateful for any support which he could muster from the Barons. Such a person was John, Lord Seagrave and he stood tall in the King's favour. When Lord Seagrave passed through a town or a village he was cheered by the Yorkist followers and spurned by the Lancastrians.Burton and Barton were Yorkist places, this was because no one dare cross the powerful Lord Seagrave. The two villages Gave him a huge welcome on his return from the wars tributes of huge feasts and arches of white roses (the symbol of the Yorkists)to honour his triumph.
   One man who did not take part in the war was Lord Latimer of Braybrook, for he stayed at his home which was the castle at Braybrook peacefully with his two children Isabel and Robert, his wife having died many years previously. Upon return from Cambridge for the vacation, Robert brought back a friend, Hugh Neville, and soon Hugh and Isabel were in love.
   The Manor House at Burton was owned by Lord Latimer,and, whilst he was staying there with friends, Lord Seagraves entourage passed through Burton from London. With the Manor House facing the road along which the entourage was to pass, the lovers, Hugh and Isabel Stood under the white rose decorated porch, the beautiful Isabel stood amidst the decoration with an expectant look on her face.
   The cheering grew ever louder as Lord Seagrave passed by the Manor House. Looking toward the group on the porch,he raised his hat.Isabel blushed because she know that John Seagrave was staring at her.The image of Isabel on the porch in all her beauty did not leave John Seagrave's mind that day and he could not forget her, this made him morose because he knew only too well that there would be a great deal of difficulty in arranging a union between himself and the beautiful Isabel.
   Throwing caution to the wind, the following day he sent forth Sir Henry Clopton with a message for Lord Latimer. The message was an invitation to Lord Latimer to dine at Barton Castle. Should he accept, he would pehaps discuss the subject of a marriage between himself and Isabel. Lord Latimer gave his answer in no uncertain terms...He
would never accept the hospitality of Seagrave!
Lord Seagrave was seathing with anger upon hearing the response to his invitation and he was determined to gain his revenge upon Lord Latimer for such an insult. Lord Latimer himself became fearful of Isabel's kidnap as rumours spread of Lord Seagrave's great anger, and as a precaution, he returned to the castle at Braybrook and made sure that Isabel was accompanied every inch of the way.
     Barton Seagrave had a huge, strong fortress surrounded by a deep moat and the surrounding countryside was wild and woody, a far cry from the Barton Seagrave of today. Due to his standing as a favorite of the King, The owner of the castle was in effect a law unto himself. A few weeks passed with no movement nor provocation on the part of Lord Seagrave and thus Latimer relaxed enough to perhaps brush aside all the speculation, perhaps he was being too cautious, perhaps he should afterall return to Burton Manor...upon consideration, he did.
     Upon Latimer and Isabel's return, they settled back into Burton Manor, unfortunately, upon retiring to bed that first night, he heard screams coming from Isabel's bedroom...rushing to Isabel's quarters Hugh Neville found only an open window revealing the devastating scene of Isabel herself being kidnapped by a man on horseback.
    Neville abandoned any caution he had and mounted his horse and persued them into the night. There was a storm that night and the rain was fierce and accompanied by the loud clapping of thunder...on and on he rode never quite catching them, he would only catch glimpses of them in the didtance, until both Isabel and the unknown horseman dissapeared over the drawbridge and into the fortress at Barton Seagrave. Neville continued undaunted perhaps onward until he was brought from his horse by an arrow which was fired from one of the turrets striking him in the arm. He was rescued and brought back to Burton by the sad Lord Latimer and his son Robert.
   The only person at that time with whom it sould be said had any power over Seagrave
was that of the King, and Latimer spared no time in petitioning the King for the restoration of his precious daughter Isabel, but Seagrave was able to influence the King in such a way as to steer the King into not complying with Latimer's wishes. Latimer, failing this even resorted to trying to persuade neighbours into helping him in his plight,
but no one dared cross the powerful Lord Seagrave, this left poor Isabel at the mercy of
her captor.
     During her captivity, Isabel was only fed bread and water and her health soon began to faulter, luckily for her, the warder in charge of her was endowed with a little compassion and gave her a little extra food and somehow was able to allow hwr to communicate with her family, for he could not bear to see her in such a sorry state. After time, the warder realised that there was little or no hope for Isabelfor he know that there would be no chance for release for her and she could not survive living in such an awful place...his compassion for her grew such that he decided to help her escape the clutched of Lord Seagrave.
    Choosing the right time, he waited for one particular night when Lord Seagrave had gone to the village of Pychley, the warder took hold of poor Isabel and carried her to the
drawbridge of the fortress and into the arms of Hugh Neville and her brother Robert.
after a joyful reunion they quickly whisked Isabelle onto the back of Robert's horse and
they rode with great haste toward the direction of Braybrook Castle hoping to use the
track leading through Kettering which crossed the river Ise. Upon approaching the ford at a place which now houses the A6 road which allows traffic to pass between Kettering
and Burton Latimer the waters being swollen after many days of torrential rain they
forged onward and urged their horses through the river.
    Coming upon the rapidly was the dreaded figure of Lord Seagrave, they tried in vain to not be recognised, but to no avail...and Lord Seagrave met them half way across the ford. Lord Seagrave let loose his sword and with a fiersome blow slashed at Robert and killed him instantly. Hugh would not lose Isabel again...he would fight...the two men preparedto fight each other.
    Isabel was so weak due to her captivity and was terrified...and in her panicked state fell from her horse into the swollen waters and was drowned before her beloved Hugh could save her. In desperation, Hugh began slashing at Lord Seagrave's horse and managed to dismount him, but Seagrave struck at Hugh and for a long time they fought in the mist and the darkness in the middle of the river. Hugh was still in a weakened state as his arm had not healed from the arror which struck him from Seagrave's stronghold, Seagrave struck and slashed Neville's leg which sent him down into the waters where Seagrave ran him through with his sword...leaving his body to the mercy of the unforgiving waters which now enveloped and engulfed his lifeless form.
    Enraged, Seagrave speeded back to the castle, found the warden who had helped Isabel escape and had him hung, his body displayed upon the battlements and three other conspirers were burried within the walls of the castle, but Seagrave feared that Latimer might inform the King of his misdoings and have him punished, but alas, poor Lord Latimer, upon hearing of the events which had transpired died of a broken heart...

                         So The Legend Goes...

   For three nights John Seagrave could not sleep, when at last he did, he was awoken to the sound of clashing helmets, the ghostly apparitions of Hugh and Robert stood pointing accusing fingers at him...then upon their vanishing, a hand was said to clast a burning sword was thrust through the wall of his chamber, the light from this burning sword shed flickering light upon his ceiling illuminating the spectral head of the warder...The severed head let out a terrifying svream and dropped to the floor...
The sword Vanished and all was silence...
   Still shaking, Seagrave then saw the ghostly figure of the beautiful Isabel who uttered the words " Oh Seagrave be warned, I shall appear before you at the ford, where I fell and drowned, If thou cross at night beware that death is approaching. When thou art dead I shall return to the ford every fortieth year, for the space of three hundred years. I shall come till thy castle is destroyed and grass covers thy halls. I come as a warning to repent thee of thy evil ways..." So saying, the apparition  of Isabel dissapeared.

 For some time, the remeberence of that grizzly night kept John Seagrave in check, but on one fated night upon returning from a caroose at Rockingham he approached Kettering. Upon crossing the river he remembered Isabel's curse. Surely enough, Isabel appeared, her shadowed ghostly figure spoke to Seagrave, uttering the words "Seagrave take heed" So shocked was John Seagrave from this point that he gave one half of his property to his son and the other to the church, then from that point he went into relcusion within a monastery.
    Grass now grows where once stood the halls of Seagrave Castle and the three hundred year curse passed in 1771...

...Isabel walks the ford no more...

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