The Ghosts of Hampton Court Palace

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For centuries, Hampton Court has played host to intrique, plotting and tragedy. Ever since it was given to Henry VIII by Thomas Wolsey in 1525, it has been beset by death, intrigue and - some say - the shades and spectres of those who have lived and died within its walls.

Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour was Henry VIII's third wife, and died of complications following the death of her son - who would later rule as Edward VI. Her ghost is said to appear, holding a lit candle taper on the Silverstick Stairs on Edward's birthday.

Cardinal Wolsey

Wolsey - who gifted the palace to Henry - evidently liked it enough to continue to hang around, long after his death. He has been sighted several times over the centuries under one of the archways. His last known appearance was a 1966 sighting by an audience member attending a son-et-lumiere show at the palace.

Catherine Howard

Catherine, beheaded at Henry's command in 1541 for treason and adultery, continues to haunt the building. According to legend, on her arrest she realised that she would be would be executed and broke away from her guards. Trying to reach The King's quarters to plead for her life, guards grabbed her and dragged her through the room known today as The Haunted Gallery. Her shrieks and cries are still reported from the gallery - and her ghost is reputed to walk along it every November.

Other Ghosts & Apparitions

Soldiers who fought under Charles I are said to appear in the palace on occasion, as are Anne Boleyn and Sibell Penn - who was nurse to Edward VI. Weirder and less explicable phantasms abound: a hooded figure that haunts the kitchen, unexplained floating points of light, an unnamed girl and the unhappy, headless spectre of Archbishop William Laud, executed in 1645 (although not at the Palace itself).

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 25th September 2014 | © Weird Island 2010-2021
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