Hampton Court palace
Hampton Court, East Mosley
Surrey (near London)
Hampton Court, by the banks of the Thames, was the residence of English kings and their mistresses. Over the centuries it has been home to many people – and supposedly, many linger in spirit form after their death.
Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife is often seen along Clock Court or in the Silver Stick Gallery, wearing a white robe and carrying a candle. The ghost of Lady Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, is believed to walk what is now known as the Haunted Gallery. This haunting is thought by many to be a re-enactment of an actual historical event. Catherine Howard married an elderly Henry in 1540, despite the fact that she had not even reached her twentieth birthday. The queen was accused of having affairs with younger men, which was classed as high treason, and was sentenced to death for her crime. When the queen heard news of the sentence, she ran through the corridors of Hampton Court to her husband’s chapel where he was attending mass, screaming and pleading for her life to be spared. The king chose to ignore her pleas, and she was beheaded at the Tower of London in February, 1542. Her ghostly screams are heard by some visitors to the palace, and some have seen a shadowy figure run through the Haunted Gallery.
There is a ghost of a ‘Gray Lady’ at Hampton Court who is thought to be Mrs. Sibell Penn, nurse to Henry VIII’s children. She died of smallpox in 1562, but her spirit rested in peace until the remains of her body were removed from St. Mary’s Church, Hampton, after the church was storm damaged in 1892. Residents at Hampton Court began to hear voices and the whirring sound of a spinning wheel. A wall was removed close to where the noise had been reported, revealing a sealed chamber containing a spinning wheel. It is thought that the wheel belonged to Mrs. Penn. The ghost continued to be seen despite this, and her apparition has been spotted by many separate witnesses. Also amongst the strange occurrences at the Court are ghostly cavaliers, pageboys and children dressed in Tudor costume.
Hampton Court is not an empty museum – put a community of people living in this warren of ancient appartments. The maze of passages and lanes are haunted by the living and the long dead. By renting either Fish Court (sleeps 6) or The Georgeian House (sleeps 8), you can go behind the security barrier and become part of this community