Ghosts and the places they haunt are interesting but not usually included in historical biographies. One exception is The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn by, Alison Weir. Weir discusses some of the sightings of Anne Boleyn noting that sightings of Anne Boleyn occur on the anniversary of her beheading May 19, on Christmas Eve.
Second wife of Henry VIII, Anne failed to produce a live male heir to secure the Tudor dynasty. After Catherine of Aragon’s death, and Anne’s miscarriage of a son, Henry used allegations of Anne’s adultery to behead Anne for treason in 1536. The most probable reason for Henry’s dubious charges against Anne was the need to secure the succession of the English throne with a male heir. For that task, Henry needed another wife, and he had already selected Anne’s successor, Jane Seymour, before Anne’s treason trial.
Perhaps the trumped up charges against Anne, the fact that Henry was already courting Jane Seymour, and the brutal trauma of the beheading caused Anne’s ghost to haunt not one but seven places.
Blickling Hall in Norfolk was the probable birthplace of Anne Boleyn. Although the existing house was built in the seventeenth century, Thomas Boleyn owned the property. On May 19, Anne returns to Blickling Hall in a carriage drawn by six headless horses. She sits inside the carriages with her severed head either on her lap or by her side.
Hever Castle, built in 1272, purchased by the Boleyns and rebuilt into a Tudor residence, is Anne’s childhood home. Henry courted her under the great oak still standing today. Every Christmas Eve Anne’s ghost is seen crossing the bridge over the River Eden within the castle grounds. Sometimes her ghost is observed standing under the tree.
At Hampton Court Palace, one of her royal residences during her reign, Anne’s ghost wears a blue dress and walks slowly through the halls with an air of great sadness.
At another royal residence she inhabited, Windsor’s castle, her ghost appears at the window of Dean’s Cloister.
Anne still haunts the Tower of London in several places. Her ghost has been sighted in the White Tower, the Queen’s house where she supposedly stayed the night before her execution then again during her imprisonment. In 1817 a sentry patrolling the White Tower encountered Anne’s ghost on the staircase. The sighting caused a fatal heart attack. In 1864 while guarding the outside of the Queen’s House, another sentry stated he saw Anne’s faceless ghost wearing a Tudor dress and a French hood. When he thrust his bayonet through her, a fiery flash ran up his rifle and shocked him.
In the nineteenth century a Captain of the Guard claims to have seen Anne’s ghost in a strange spectacle recorded in “Ghostly Visitors” by Specter Stricken, London 1882. He had seen a suspicious light coming from the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula where Anne was buried. After leaning a ladder against the chapel wall and peering in one of the windows to investigate, this is what he claimed to have seen:
Slowly down the aisle move a stately procession of Knights and Ladies,
attired in ancient costumes; and in the 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
Anne’s ghost is also said to haunt Salle Church where it is reported her bones were later buried, but no specific details emerge from the sightings.
She is haunts Maxwell Hall’s Yew Tree Walk where Henry VIII and Jane supposedly strolled while planning their wedding. Rumors have it that Henry married Jane privately at Maxwell Hall on May 19, 1536 after news of Anne’s execution reached Henry via a line of beacons.
Needless to say, Anne’s hauntings were the basis for my ghosts Lady Anne and Desdemona in Wanted Ghostbusting Bride.
For more information on Anne Boleyn’s ghosts see Alison Weir’s Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn and http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/the-ghost-of-anne-boleyn/4859/