Everyone loves a good ghost story, this much is true. They chill you to your core and more often than not, make your hairs stand on end. But what do we love more than a mere ghost story? Well, a historical one of course! Turn of the lights, get in bed. Pull the covers over your head and meet some historical ghosts, who haunt some of the countries most famous buildings…
Katherine Howard – Hampton Court Palace
Katherine was, of course, the ill-fated 5th wife of King Henry VIII. Now, Kitty was rather silly, and fell in love with Tom Culpepper. We all know what follows…she had her head chopped off on Tower Green. But did you know that when she was placed under house arrest at Hampton Court, she escaped from her guards and ran down the gallery to plead with the King. But, obviously, that didn’t work and little Kitty Howard was dragged back to her rooms and later, executed.
The ghost of Hampton Court.
It has been said that screams have been heard from the gallery and visitors are strangely affected in the area. Back in 1999, two women fainted on exactly the same spot in the haunted gallery, just 30 minutes apart. Yeah…freaky. Even psychologists from the University of Hertfordshire have investigated the eeriness of the gallery, and simply cannot explain visitors experiences of unease.
Arabella Stuart – Tower of London
The ghost of Arabella Stuart is thought to be resident within The Queen’s House, at the Tower of London. Arabella, if you didn’t know, married William Seymour in 1610 without King James I’s permission…naughty. Now we know that anyone of importance couldn’t marry willy nilly, right? So Arabella and William were separated and placed under arrest; Arabella at Lambeth House, and William in the Tower. Arabella escaped, dressed in the guise of a man, and arranged for William to be smuggled out of the tower. But their plan was foiled. William managed to flee to France, but Arabella was captured, sent to The Queens House, and died in 1615, never seeing her William again.
Lady Arabella Stuart, in her later years.
Major General Geoffrey Field (Governor of the Tower, 1994-2006), tells the tale of his wife’s experience when they moved into The Queen’s House:
“Soon after we’d arrived in 1994, my wife Janice was making up the bed in the Lennox room, when she felt a violent push in her back, which propelled her right out of the room!”
In fact, every resident of the house had experienced something scary or strange in that particular room. Several women who have slept there have reported being woken in the middle of the night by a feeling of strangulation!
Sir Fulke Greville – Warwick Castle
Sir Fulke Greville was granted Warwick Castle in 1604, by King James I. It had been unoccupied for 14 years, but Greville was a rich an influential man, and managed to convert the castle into the ‘most princely seat’ in the Midlands. Seven years later, Greville began to make provisions for his estate in the event of his death. He had no wife or children, but decided to bequeath a small sum on his man servant, Ralph Heywood. Heywood was a greedy so and so, and wasn’t impressed with the sum (ungrateful). In a fit of rage, he stabbed his master while helping him dress at his house in London. Sadly, it took Greville a month to die, whilst his doctor stuffed his wound with mutton fat…
Sir Fulke Greville. Unfortunate by name, unfortunate, well, by death!
His body was brought back to Warwick Castle, and he was buried at the nearby church of St. Mary’s Collegiate. It has been said that Greville’s ghost returns to the castle and walks the floorboards he once did in life. Witnesses have reported catching fleeting glimpses of his sad face staring at them from dark corners, or feeling his presence at the place where he once wrote.
The Historical Honey team have visited the part of the castle which the ghost of Sir Greville is meant to haunt…but at the time it was full of kids, so not that scary (depending on which way you look at the situation!).
Lady Townshend – Raynham Hall
Legend goes that Lady Townshend haunts the corridors and rooms of Raynham Hall. Lady Townshend who married to Charles Townshend, a man known for his fiery temper. Lady Townshend incurred his lifelong wrath by cheating on him. He punished in the most cruel way, imprisoning her at Raynham Hall, and never allowing her to leave or see her children. She remained there until she died, as an old lady.
The ‘Brown Lady’ of Raynham Hall. Spooky!
Lady Townshend’s ghost has repeatedly been sighted wandering through the building. In the early 19thC, King George IV saw her, stating that she stood beside his bed wearing a brown dress, with a pale face and dishevelled hair. In 1835, one Colonel Loftus was staying at Raynham and saw the ghostly on more than one occasion. The ‘brown lady’ continued to be sighted by various people over the next century. However, it is the now famous photograph that was taken in 1936 by Captain Provand and Indre Shira, that really sends a ghostly shiver down your spine…
Anne Boleyn – Various Locations
Second wife on King Henry VIII, mother of Queen Elizabeth I and basically, a woman who lost everything. Not surprising she still hangs around to lament the life she shoulda’, woulda’, coulda’ had. We all know she was accused of adultery, incest and witchcraft, and was executed by a French swordsman in 1536.
Her ghost has been spotted in several locations, including her childhood home at Hever Castle. She has been seen crossing the bridge over the River Eden in the grounds at Hever, and standing beneath the great oak, under which Henry wooed her.
Annie B. So famous she haunts everywhere!
She has also been spotted in Blickling Hall, Salle Church, Marwell Hall and probably the most famous of the sites, the Tower of London. Annie B also haunts our favourite, Hampton Court Palace, wearing a blue dress. Those who have seen her describe her as walking slowly and aimlessly, quite evidently sad. Apparently, Jane Seymour also haunts Hampton Court, often seen holding a candle dressed in white. I wonder if Anne, Jane and Kitty all meet up for a late night ghostly chinwag about Henry!?