Dragsholm Castle (Danish: Dragsholm Slot) is a historic building in Zealand, Denmark. Allegedly home to ghosts and poltergeists, the Dragsholm Castle is known to be one of the most haunted castles in Europe. Dragsholm Castle was built around 1215 by the Bishop of Roskilde and the only castle in Zealand to survive the Count’s Feud of 1534. After the Count’s Feud and the ensuing Reformation in Denmark, the crown took control of Dragsholm Castle.
How To Reach Dragsholm Castle Bothwell Pillar With
There are 2 ways to get from Denmark to Dragsholm Castle by train, bus or car:
- You have to catch a local train operated by Danish Railways from Københavns Hovedbanegård to Holbæk Station. It wiill take approximately 1 hour to get from Københavns H. to Holbæk St by train.
- At Holbæk Station you have to transfer to train 510R directed to Fårevejle Station.
- Get down at Fårevejle St., and take a bus n. 568 to Vindekilde.
- Get down at Vindekilde and it will take 1.8 km walk at the end of the bus ride to get to the Dragsholm Castle Bothwell pillar
Dragsholm Castle is about 70 km from Copenhagen and it’s most easily reached by car or taxi. The journey takes about an hour and you will drive past the beautiful landscape of Denmark the entire way.
The History of the Dragsholm Castle
Originally a palace, the Dragsholm Castle was built in 1215 for the Bishop of Roskilde. It remained thus until troubles were seen on the horizon and the palace was modified and, according to the times – modernized, into a fully fortified castle.
After the Reformation, the land and castles of the church were delivered to the hands of the Danish Crown. At this point, the fortified castle was converted to a royal prison for nobility and religious heads. From 1536-1664, Dragsholm Castle was used as a prison for the highest-ranking prisoners, mostly noblemen, and clergy. The former owner, Joachim Rønnow, was imprisoned there.
During the Dano-Swedish War of 1658–1660, the Swedish king Charles X Gustav tried to blow up Dragsholm Castle. While not entirely destroyed, the castle was badly damaged and lay in ruins for a number of years. After the war subsided, the King was in massive debt. In 1694, he sold off the castle to a nobleman Frederik Christian Adeler who rebuilt the castle in the Baroque style of the era.
Several owners from the Adeler family, including G.F. O. Zytphen Adeler, who drained the Lammefjord, an arm of the North Sea, made radical changes to Dragsholm and its grounds. It remained in the hands of the Adeler family until 1932 and the castle was turned over to Denmark’s Central Land Board. In 1939, the Central Land Board sold Dragsholm Castle to J.F. Bottger, but only included the land belonging to the main estate. Today, the Bøttger family still owns, upkeeps, and manages the historic property.
The most famous prisoner of the Dragsholm Castle
The most famous of these is probably The 4th Earl of Bothwell, the third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, who died imprisoned in the castle. Lord Bothwell was a man with a certain charm and a talent for finding trouble. By his mid-30s he had racked up a string of scandals including multiple marriages, adultery, divorce, and bankruptcy.
After fleeing for his life from Scotland in 1567, Hepburn hoped to take refuge somewhere that would be more favorable. Unluckily for him, a storm forced his ship to land in Norway (then ruled by Denmark), where he was arrested for not having the correct identification papers. It was also widely believed that Bothwell had murdered Mary’s previous husband, Lord Darnley.
He was sent to Dragsholm Castle and placed in a room, chained to a pillar. His conditions were so bad that he went insane, spending most of the days and nights walking in circles, too and fro, around the pillar. He actually wore a circular groove into the stone floor, from his repetitive motion.
The pillar can still be seen at Dragsholm, surrounded by a circular groove dug in the floor by the enchained Lord Bothwell’s shuffling. Bothwell died in the castle in 1578. Even though his body was removed from the castle, his spirit remained behind.
Ghost Stories about the Dragsholm Castle
Dragsholm Castle is also the residence of ghosts. Visitors to Dragsholm Slot have seen the ghost of the Earl of Bothwell riding into the courtyard of the castle in his horse and carriage and many visitors have heard the hooves of ghost horses beating on the cobbled yard. Many paranormal enthusiasts consider the castle one of the most haunted places in Europe, and it is supposedly home to around 100 different ghosts.
One of the more popular ghosts at the Dragsholm Castle is called the White Lady. Her name was Celina Bovles. She is seen in the hallways at night. Her father used to own the castle, but she fell in love with a man who worked for him. Her father found the couple together and ordered that she be locked in a room of the castle. She was chained to a wall in the basement and her captors eventually built a wall around her and left her to die.
The Gray Lady is a happier sort of story. It’s said she was a beautiful woman who worked at the castle. One day she arrived at work with a painful toothache and the master of the castle gave her a poultice that cured it.
Shortly after the master of the castle cured her toothache, the maiden died, but her grateful spirit survived. While she is gone, her spirit remains, and walks the castle in an effort to thank the castle master for relieving her pain.
Things To Do at the Dragsholm Castle
Today Dragsholm Castle is a popular tourist destination. The Dragsholm Castle has attracted a lot of tourists, thanks to its unique focal point. Today, Dragsholm Castle is a beautifully restored luxury hotel. There are 34 guest rooms and two award-winning restaurants.
The castle is surrounded by a picturesque moat and well-manicured gardens. The garden also hosts a quaint terrace with sprawling views of nature around Dragsholm Slot. Tourism agencies provide tours to the castle in the surroundings of Denmark’s only UNESCO-recognised Geopark. During the winter, it’s possible to enjoy the view of the isolated islet of Dragsholm, located towards the northwest of Denmark.