An unearthly moaning is rumoured to emit from the south west turret bedroom. It is believed to belong to the spirit of Sir Henry Hobart, who died in the room on 21 August 1698, after being mortally wounded in a duel with Oliver le Neve. Neve subsequently left the country, however returning some time later he was charged, but ultimately acquitted. A monument at Cawston called the ‘Duel Stone’ commemorates this tragic event.
A mysterious grey lady has been witnessed around the house and grounds. Her identity is unknown and she has been observed in both the library and the dining room, as well as on the lawn near the lake. It is said that late one evening, during the Second World War, a butler at Blickling noticed her walking towards the lake. He went out and asked her what she was looking for, to which she replied “That for which I search has long since gone”. The woman then turned her gaze to the house and the butler glanced over to see if she was looking at anything specific. On returning his gaze he got a bit of a start for the woman had suddenly disappeared.
The site on which Blickling Hall stands is thought by many historians to be the birthplace of Queen Anne Boleyn, the ill-starred second wife of King Henry VIII. Although she wasn’t born at the current building as that dates from the early 1600s; her family had come into possession of a previous property which had once stood on the site.
Anne Boleyn’s ghost is the most well-known haunting at Blickling Hall. Anne was beheaded at the Tower of London in 1536 on a number of trumped up charges, and her spirit is famous for haunting several different locations. She is said to appear at Blickling every May 19 at midnight, the anniversary of her execution. Seated in a black phantom carriage and swathed in white, her bloody severed head on her lap, the former queen is said to be conveyed up the driveway towards the front of the hall by a headless coachman and headless horses.
Anne Boleyn’s father, Thomas Boleyn, is also reputed to haunt the area. As with his daughter’s ghost, Sir Thomas also rides in a phantom carriage. Some reports say that he even carries his head under his arm, and that it breaths fire, even though he wasn’t actually decapitated! The legend relates how as penance for his failure to prevent his daughter’s demise, Thomas has to cross several Norfolk bridges while being pursued by screeching demons. He must undergo this punishment every May 19 for the next one thousand years.
Ben Wright is an independent scholar and researcher. He is the Webmaster of Haunted Realms.
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