The Six Hauntings of Anne Boleyn
The Ghosts of Anne
Anne Boleyn is one of the most active ghosts to have ever walked upon the Earth. There has been many ghost sightings over the years, to which we will be examining six and their locations. We will be calling upon the renowned castles or manors of England, that have strong links with Anne; Visiting both Hever Castle and Blickling Hall, which were the homes to the Boleyn family. Also we will pay a visit to Richmond and to Windsor Castle, where the Royals still resides. Furthermore we will be exploring the supernatural goings on at the Tower of London, the site where Anne was executed.
The execution of Anne Boleyn
It was on that dreadful day of May the nineteenth, 1536, that Anne Boleyn walked from the Tower Green, towards the steps that lead her to the scaffold, where she met her death, with just one swing of the executioner's sword. Many considered her wrongly accused of committing adultery, a treasonable crime when practised against a king. Leaving her aggrieved ghost to haunt the places she frequented throughout her lifetime.
Tower of London
The Tower of London
The Tower Green and it's scaffold are just one of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and moat, which make up Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, better known as The Tower of London. This complex dates back to 1078, a time when William the Conqueror ruled. It has expanded several times over the centuries, especially under the reigns of Richard I, Henry III and Edward I.
The Tower of London has got the reputation of being one of the most haunted buildings in the world. It began to be used as a prison from the twelfth to the twentieth century. Many of the reported phantom prisoners were either the famous or the important people of the time, who were either imprisoned or executed. They include Lord Dudley, The Two Princes, believed to be killed by their uncle Richard III, Guy Fawkes, Lady Jane, Henry VI, Thomas a'Becket and Raleigh. To name just a few.
Before her execution, Anne Boleyn spend her final days imprisoned in the White Tower, a medieval structure built within the tower of London, which had been used for lodgings for the stay of both lords and royalty, and where there has been many declared sightings of her ghost over the years. Many a time she had been viewed walking from the tower to the Chapel of Saint Peter ad Vincula, her place of burial.
In 1817, a patrolling sentry saw the ghostly figure of Anne Boleyn, and promptly died of a heart attack.
It was an incident in 1864, that is probably the most renowned observation of Anne's ghost. When a sentry guard standing in the grounds outside the Queen's House, saw a woman dressed in a white Tudor dress, walking towards him. As she came closer, he noticed that there was no face under her hood. She was completely headless. He screamed at the ghostly woman to halt, but her shadowy figure continued to glide towards him. In a panic he pushed his bayonet into her body. Although the apparition, just kept on moving, until eventually she passed through him and finally through the wall of the building. The sentry guard was later court-martialed for falling asleep on duty, but was found not guilty, thanks to an eyewitness report, from an officer, who had watched the event from a far window in a neighbouring tower.
Queen Elizabeth II is the current resident of Windsor Castle, which has been in the possession of the royal family, since the time of the Normans, way back in the 11th century. However in the Tudor era, the stronghold castle was used to protect Henry VIII and his court from any plague, that would befall the people of London.
The castle is more known for being haunted by Anne's husband and daughter, Elizabeth I, who has been reported to have tormented the corridors at night, more often than Anne herself. Although there has been claims of Anne's ghostly figure standing by the window at the Dean's Cloister.
Richmond upon Thames is where you will stumble upon the royal palace of Hampton Court, which was originally built in 1514, for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, as a gift from a grateful king Henry VIII. However some years later, Wolsey's popularity with the king was waning, so with a pre-emptive strike, to limit the fallout, Wolsey returned the palace back to Henry in 1529. Unfortunately for Wolsey, he would never gain favour with the king again, and died shortly afterwards.
Within the grounds, Henry had ordered the construction of a gatehouse, also known as Anne Boleyn's gate, as an apartment for his wife to stay while at Richmond. Regrettably the work on the tower wasn't completed by the time Anne had lost her head.
The spooky image of Anne Boleyn wearing a blue dress standing by a window in Hampton Court has been reported many times over the years.
One of the Boleyn's family homes was Hever, a double-moated Castle in Kent. It was where Anne had spent her childhood, until she left to be educated in the Netherlands, at the court of Archduchess Margaret, around about 1513. When she left she was either 12 or 13. No one knows for sure..
The castle was founded in 1272 when Edward the First, granted his permission for Sir Stephen de Penchester, to convert his old country house into a castle, which was later inherited by Anne's Father, Sir Thomas Boleyn in 1505. The property would later be passed down to Henry VIII, upon the execution of Anne. It would ultimately go to Anne of Cleves, wife number four, as a settlement for agreeing for an annulment of their marriage, in 1540.
In the grounds there stands a great oak tree where Henry VIII had wooed Anne. That oak tree still stands today, and is well-known for ghostly sightings of Anne. There are more claims of the spirit of Anne being seen every Christmas Eve, crossing the bridge over the River Eden, near Hever Castle.
The grounds of the old Tudor mansion, Marwell Hall in Winchester, Hampshire, is currently the home to Marshall Zoological Park, and is a grade listed One building, which was designed by Walter Woodlock back in 1320, with more extension work being carried out in 1816, by William Long.
It has long been rumoured, that Henry the Eighth and Jane Seymour, the future wife number three, had both planned their royal wedding at the Hall. While Anne was locked up in the Tower of London, waiting for her execution.
At the back of the hall is a stretch of walkway, which passes a Yew Tree, where many have claimed to have seen the ghost of Anne Boleyn. This is the same walkway where many years ago Anne's marital rival and Henry VIII had both walked together. So while Anne haunts the grounds of the hall, Jane Seymour is inside haunting the lengthy corridors
Another well known property of Sir Thomas Boleyn was Blickling Hall, near the village of Blickling, in Norfolk, and is believed to be the birthplace of Anne Boleyn. Sadly the original property no longer stands. Sir Henry Hobart, re-designed the current building in the 17th century, on the ruins of the old estate.
Out of all the ghost stories of Anne Boleyn, the most detailed and most fantastical of them all, is the story of Anne returning to Blickling Hall every year, on the anniversary of her death, May the 19th. She would be seen riding in a carriage being pulled by six headless horses, and a headless coachman pulling the rains. The coach would then pull up outside the Hall and Anne would descend from the carriage and walk into the old hall, and would haunt the corridors until the day broke.
She doesn't haunt the hall alone. People have spoken about her brother George Boleyn also haunting the grounds of the estate. George himself was executed the same day as his sibling, for the crime the crown accused him of having a sexual relationship with his sister. It is believed by some, that his ghost is trapped on earth until he gets justice for his sentence.
It is reputed that the coachman driving the ghostly Anne Boleyn to the Hall, is Anne's own repented father, Sir Thomas Boleyn. Once she is dropped off and entered the Hall, the six headless horses would continue their journey across the twelve bridges that lie between Wroxham and Blickling, while being chased by a crowd of noisy demons. They say it is penance, for Sir Thomas's betrayal of the family.
In many ways I find it sad, to think of poor Anne not being at peace with the world, and roaming the castles and stately homes for all eternity. There are an awful amount of ghost stories for merely one individual. Although she was a larger than life character in her own lifetime, and it would appear she is still making an impact to this day, from beyond the grave.