WHAT is thought to be the ghost of a 12th century damsel, bricked up in a wall at Devizes Castle by her angry father, has appeared in a photograph taken by Land Registry surveyor Mike Crawshaw.

Mr Crawshaw visited Moat Cottage, part of the 19th century mansion built on the ruins of the medieval castle, to investigate a disputed access way.

He told the Gazette: "I took ten or 12 pictures of the steps leading to Moat Cottage but it was only when I viewed them later on that I noticed this shape on just one of the photographs.

"My colleagues and I did various experiments to make sure that I hadn't just caught the camera strap or something like that, but the photograph is genuine. It hasn't been tampered with in any way."

Mr Crawshaw logged on to Google and found his way to Newsquest Wiltshire's Weird Wiltshire site. www.weirdwiltshire.co.uk

He said: "The first thing I came up with was this story about a young girl who had been bricked up in the Castle. It's an extraordinary story, but what is more extraordinary is how I went straight to it."

The victim in question is called Lady Isabella, and may be Isabella of Valois, Richard II's second queen, whom he married when she was just nine years old.

The story is told that Lady Isabella developed a relationship with one of the boys of the town and, though she was locked in her room, she still managed to escape to meet her lover.

Her father grew so exasperated, he had her walled up in a basement room.

Dennis Clements, who owns Moat Cottage, and has known the castle for over 40 years, saidd there have been sightings of Lady Isabella in the area.

He said: "We have had all sorts of strange happenings there. The ghost of the lady has been seen there for years and years. She seems to appear when there has been any kind of disturbance though there is no sort of rule or regulation about it."

Mr Clements had two experts in supernatural phenomena stay with him and they told him that a ley line, a line of spiritual force, runs from Glastonbury through the cottage.

Castle's spooky legend

Isabella is a common name in the 12th century and there is no firm evidence that the Isabella of Devizes Castle is the queen of Richard II.

What is clear is that the Lady Isabella of Devizes Castle, the daughter of the Norman overlord, was having a relationship with one of the local boys, who may well have been a Saxon, to the fury of her father and his Norman colleagues.

She was forbidden to see the boy and confined within the castle, but she would steal away from the security of the stronghold to continue meeting him.

When her escapades were discovered, her father resorted to locking Isabella in her room. After finding that even this did not stop her, he took the drastic measure of bricking her up in a basement room and she died entombed.