The one problem with Schloss Pesch….

Schloss Pesch is really easy to get to by car. It is only a stone’s throw from the Geismühle service station on the A57, and right next to the Meerbusch intersection with the A44.

Who builds a highway intersection right next to a beautiful castle?

Of course being this close to a busy motorway junction is both a blessing and a curse. Great for those who wish to make a quick getaway… a source of perpetual background noise and pollution for those who live there.

Perhaps it’s time to reforest the land between the schloss and the road.

Schloß Pesch chapel

I couldn’t resist picking up this 2000 copy of the Meerbuscher Geschichtsheft with this historic picture of the chapel at Schloss Pesch, prior to its renovation. This is how I remember the chapel, with bushes growing out of its brickwork and windows missing and others bricked or boarded up. Particularly at night it seemed like the obvious setting for a ghost story.

The Chapel at Schloß Pesch prior to renovation

I was particularly pleased to find a plan of the interior drawn by the architect who was planning the renovation. The body of the chapel back then was one single circular room. At the time there was no remnant of an altar, but it would likely have been on the right hand side of this drawing (which is to the east) as the door was then on the left (west) side.

Ground plan of the old chapel at Schloß Pesch

Where do I write?

One of the questions readers frequently ask is where do I write. Physically that is. Which seat is my backside attached to? What can I see from if I look up from the screen?

The answer is usually wherever I happen to be at the time. But if the weather allows it, outdoors. Here are three images of some of my favourite writing locations. The first is at Schloß Pesch in Meerbusch Ossum. The other two are in Meerbusch Büderich.

The woods around Schloß Pesch

Part of the attraction for using the setting of Schloss Pesch for a ghost story lies in the surrounding woods. In The Devil’s Missal, the sinister atmosphere of the surrounding woods can be felt even on a bright sunny day. There are multiple paths leading off into the trees which disappear into dark undergrowth. It feels as though eyes are watching you from within the darkness.

The farm at Schloß Pesch seen from an upper window

The plundered library of Schloß Pesch

Earlier today I visited the archaeological museum at Burg Linn. The archaeological items are housed in a converted WW2 bunker next to the castle. On the third floor, hidden away behind an iron grille is a tiny, beautiful and very evocative library.

The old book collection at Burg Linn

Technically it isn’t actually a library. It is a collection of old books, mostly dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, brought together in the 1930s. Two books in the collection were of particular interest because of their connection with Meerbusch-Ossum and Schloß Pesch.
The first (No. 354) contains a handwritten note inside the cover: ‘Following the ransacking of the library at Schloß Pesch on 7th October 1794, which was ordered by the Prince and carried out by the inhabitants of Linn and Ürdingen, a total of 9860 rare volumes were stolen, to which the poor state of this book bears testimony.’ Indeed, this statement is underlined by the very obvious rodent damage to the book in question.
The second book (No. 348) (printed in 1583 in Frankfurt) has two bullet holes in it. Again there are inscriptions on the inside cover explaining the origins of this damage. The first, in French, declares a revolutionary (citroyen Republiquain) to be the new owner – presumably plundered during the Franco-Prussian war. The second, in Latin, by a pastor of Lank, in whose parish Schloß Pesch is situated, stating that the book had been given to him, with the bullet holes already in it, by a citizen of Latum following fighting in late October 1794 on the Rhine. Apparently the book had been found about the person of a dead soldier.

Bullet hole through a page in book no. 348
Burg Linn on the south side of Krefeld

Schloß Pesch from the rear

I realised that the photos on this blog so far have only shown Schloss Pesch from the front as you enter through the main gate. Holda, the main character in The Devil’s Missal used to enter the grounds from the Herrenbusch, which was easy to do in the 1990s, but the path has now been blocked off and a thick hedge blocks the way from the field at the rear.

Schloß Pesch seen from the rear in the 1990s
View from an upper window of Schloss Pesch – 1990s