Ghost of Anne Boleyn
In life, Anne Boleyn was the second wife and queen consort of Henry VIII and mother of Queen Elizabeth I. Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon and marriage to Anne was part of the complex beginning of the English Reformation. She is particularly remembered because she was beheaded on charges of adultery and treason on 19 May 1536. Since her death it seems her ghost is much traveled, with numerous hauntings attributed to the executed queen.
Anne on Her Own Death
Rock me asleep
Bring on my quiet rest
Let pass my very guiltless ghost
Out of my careful breast
Ring out the doleful knell
Let it sound
My death tell
For I must die."
Penned in the
Tower of London
Claims and Accusations
- It was said that Anne had third nipple and a sixth finger on her left hand.
- That she had an aversion of church-bells, a thing believed of witches.
- She was accused of attempting to poison Henry VIII's first wife and daughter, Queen Katherine and the Princess Mary.
- Following the execution of Bishop Fisher (d.1536), it was said she had his severed head served to her on a dish that she might pierce his tongue with a silver bodkin.
- She was accused and convicted of treason, incest with her brother George Boleyn (Lord Rochford) and adultry with four other men besides.
- Her courage shown on the scafford being so great that it was remarked upon by Sir William Kingston the Governor of the tower, was looked upon as proof of witchery. "I have seen many men and also women executed, and they have all been in great sorrow; and to my knowledge this lady has much joy and pleasure in death." - Sir William Kingston
Haunts and Encounters
- Tower of London - Most famously Anne still haunts the place of her death, beheaded on Tower Green (d.19 May 1536) she was then buried in the Church of St Peterad Vincular within the Tower in an arrow chest.
- In 1817 after meeting Anne on a stairway a sentry had a heart attack and died.
- In 1864 a soldier encountered Anne and fainted, he was then court-martialled for being found asleep on duty. The soldier at his post near the Lieutenant's Lodgings was met by a white figure, and made the appropriate challenge, "who goes there?". When he recieved no response he trust his fixed bayonet into it. He recalled a piercing shock when a "fiery flash" ran through his weapon, dropping his rifle and then no more. At his trial the sentry described the spirit, "It was the figure of a woman wearing a queer-looking bonnet, but there wasn't no head inside the bonnet." Many witnesses came forward with testimony of having seen a headless spirit that evening near the Lieutenant's Lodgings. The most sensational testimony was that of an officer who had been in his room in the Bloody Tower. Having heard the challenge he went to his window and saw the whole scene exactly as the sentry had described and added that the headless spectre walked through the bayonet and then the sentry who collapsed. The court-martial found the soldier not guilty and he was acquitted.
- In 1933 Anne walked into a guards bayonet frightening him so badly that he dropped his weapon, left his post and fled screaming for help into the guardsroom.
- Her headless ghost walks the corridors of the White Tower.
- Anne goes from the Queen's House to the Chapel of Saint Peter ad Vincula, inside the chapel, she walks down the aisle to her grave under the altar.
- Chapel Royal - In this account of a spectral procession, Anne is not decapitated. Slowly down the aisle moved a stately procession of Knights and Ladies, attired in ancient costumes; and in front walked an elegant female whose face was averted from him, but whose figure greatly resembled the one he had seen in reputed portraits of Anne Boleyn. After having repeatedly paced the chapel, the entire procession together with the light disappeared. (excerpt from Ghostly Visitors by "Spectre Stricken", London 1882.) - account of a Captain of the Guard who having seen a light burning in the locked Chapel in the night, found a ladder and saw the scene.
- Blickling Hall in Norfolk - Once a year on the anniversity of her execution with her dripping severed head held in her lap she travels the avenue in a coach pulled by headless horses and driven by a headless horseman to Blickling Hall, it disappears when it reaches the Hall leaving the ghost of Anne alone on the doorstep who enters the Hall and walks the corridors until dawn. This ghastly vision has also been seen pursued by an otherworldly blue light down the roads of Norfolk.
- Hever Castle in Kent - Reorts from Kent mirror those from Norfolk, in a black funeral coach drawn by six great black headless horse racing up the avenue to Hever Castle. At Hever, the thirteenth-century childhood home of Anne still stands the magnificent oak beneath which Anne and Henry courted, her ghost is said to appear beneath it at Christmas-time and walking the bridge which crosses over the River Eden on the castle grounds.
- Rochford Hall and district of Essex - The district is the haunt of a headless woman dressed in silks and said by locals to be a witch. It's said a frightening spirit in white haunts Rochford Hall during this time and none dare the its grounds until twelve nights after Christmas have passed.
Sir Thomas Boleyn and Lord Rochford
- Sir Thomas Boleyn (d.1539) who publicly stated his belief in Annes guilt at her trial seems to have found no peace in the afterlife. Every year, for a thousand years to do penance, tradition says he is obliged to ride the countryside, from B, Burg, Buxton Coltishall, onto Meyton, Oxnead and Wroxham pursued by hordes of screaming demons. His head severed as was Anne's in a spectral coach drawn by headless horses with flames spewing from his mouth, he must attempt to cross 12 bridges before cockcrow.
- Lord George Rochford (d.1536), it is told that four headless horses have been seen dragging his blood spattered, decapitated corpse across the countryside.
- Anne Boleyn in wax at Madame Tussaud's in London
- The Grave of Anne Boleyn in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London on May 19, 1998
- Tower of London - Virtual Tour
- CrimeLibrary The lives, trials and deaths of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard
- The May Days of Anne Boleyn
- Wikipedia: Anne Boleyn
- PBS The Six Wives of Henry IIIV - Anne Boleyn Handbook