Anne Boleyn was brought to the court of King Henry VHI when she was quite young. Although married to Catherine of Aragon, the king became enamoured with Anne but found that she was not to be won except by marriage. The king was desperate for a son, and although the queen had borne him a daughter, he resolved to replace Catherine and to marry Anne. After Archbishop Cranmer pronounced the mar riage to Catherine null, Henry married Anne in a private ceremony, and shortly afterwards she bore him a daughter, later to become Elizabeth 1.
Henry was obviously very fickle, because not many months later Jane Seymour had attracted his attention. In order to get rid of Anne, Henry, willingly aided and abetted by Cranmer, brought Anne before a special court on trumped-up charges of treason. The alleged offence was not merely adultery but incest. Needless to say, Henry got his way and Anne was duly sent to the Tower of London, where she was beheaded on Tower Green in 1536. Henry’s ine gesture of humanity was in allowing her to be beheaded by a French expert from Calais, using a special sword, rather than one of the usual executioners.
There are stories of Anne’s headless ghost being seen at the Tower, near the Queen’s House, where she stayed while awaiting execution, the ghost being identified by its fine clothes, and also at Hampton Court, where she would have stayed many times with the rest of the court. There are also many stories of her being seen in the corridors of her family home, Buckling Hall in Norfolk, of which two are well docu mented. On one occasion, in 1985, Mr Steve Ingram, who was em ployed in the management of the house by the National Trust and lived On the site, had a strange experience in the middle of the night. He awoke to hear the footsteps of a woman approaching down the corridor and across the carpet towards the foot of his bed. He had experienced the sound many times before since it sounded just like
his wife, but she was lying beside him. He immediately switched on the light, only to find no one was there. He would probably have put this down as an odd but ‘ordinary’ ghost-like occurrence but for the strange coincidence (if that is what it was) that the date happened to be the anniversary of Anne’s death. The other well-documented occurrence happened to another of the administrators working in the building. Sidney Hancock was looking out of the kitchen window when he saw a young woman wearing the clothes ofabygone age. She wore along grey dress with awhite cap and collar, similar in style to those popular in ‘Tudor times. She was stroll ing in the grounds down by the lake. Intrigued, but at the same time mindful of his duties, Hancock went into the garden to confront the woman and see if she was lost. He asked if he could help, to which the woman replied with words that sounded like, ‘That for which I seek has long since gone.’ Hancock’s attention was momentarily distracted and when he turned back she was gone. This happened in an open space with nowhere to hide.
The figure that Hancock saw may or may not have been Anne. If it was, her message may have referred to the building because the house she had lived in was replaced on the same site by another house, one hundred years after her death. But as has been mentioned before, ghosts are known to haunt buildings long after they have been altered or replaced. A drowning at Downe Court | Beavor | Bexley | Bradford | Downe Court | England | England | Hall place | Hardwick Hall | Haworth | Ireland | Lancashire | Norfolk | Penistone | Pontefract Town Hall | Rotherham | Rotherham | Salford | Scotland | Sheffield | West End | White Lady |
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