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An Unhappy Anniversary

Updated: May 7, 2021

Anyone interested in the paranormal, has a list of places they would love to investigate, places where you know that you have absolutely no chance of getting your team in, but it does not stop you dreaming.

High up on my "hitlist" is Blickling Hall in Norfolk, once voted to be the most haunted house in Britain, its owned by The National Trust, who really don't like paranormal groups wanderihg round their properties

The most famous ghostly visitor to the Hall, is said to be Anne Boleyn, the second of Henry VIII six wives, and on the 19th May, she celebrates a very unhappy anniversary, and here's the reason why!

On the morning of 19 May 1536, Sir William Kingston escorted Queen Anne Boleyn from her apartments in the Tower of London's royal palace, to the scaffold, where she was to meet her grisly fate. Anne had taken care with her appearance: the ermine trim on her outfit confirmed her status; her kirtle was crimson, the colour of Catholic martyrdom; and her hood was the traditional English gable hood, that cumbersome head-dress that resembled the gable of a house and which covered the wearer’s hair (rather than the more fashionable French hood, which showed some hair).

On the scaffold, Anne made a simple speech, sticking to execution protocol:

“Good Christian people, I have not come here to preach a sermon; I have come here to die. For according to the law and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak of that whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the King and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never, and to me he was ever a good, a gentle, and sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me.”

Her ladies helped her prepare for death, and she thanked them each for their service to her, asking them to pray for her soul. She forgave the headsman for his services and handed him the sack of coins that was his payment, and would also be handed out to the poor., she was asked to kneel and say her prayers. 

She knelt down, upright on her knees in the straw. She faced the crowd and muttered several times "O Christ, receive my spirit,", she continued saying her quiet prayers until the executioner, specially brought over from France, for this very task, unsheathed his sword from underneath a heap of straw, and with one stroke, beheaded poor Anne.

Sadly, Anne's body lay on the scaffold for a few hours after her execution, because burial preparations had not been made. Nobody had thought to provide a coffin for her burial, so a yeoman warder had to fetch an old elm chest, which had once contained bow staves, from the Tower armoury. Anne’s head and body were placed in the chest and buried in the chancel near to the remains of her brother, Lord Rochford. A sad and undignified end for poor Anne.

Now, this is where our group's interest in the tale begin

On the anniversary of Anne's death, on the 19thMay, legend has it that Anne Boleyn’s ghost appears in the grounds of the Hall

Imagine the scene, you are standing on the gravel drive leading up to the hall, looking down towards the gates, you can see a dark shape coming silently towards you. As it draws near, you realise its a black coach, drawn by a team of headless horses

It comes to a halt, and the door creaks open slowly. Inside you can see what appears to be Anne Boleyn , she too is headless, holding her severed head securely in her lap. She steps out of the carriage. which suddenly vanishes, leaving the headless Anne to glide alone into Blickling Hall where she roams the corridors and rooms until daybreak

Anne Boleyn’s father, Sir Thomas, is also said to haunt Blickling Hall. It’s said that he was cursed for failing to try and prevent the execution of two of his children, by King Henry VIII.

Each year his ghost has to attempt to cross 12 bridges before daybreak, as an act of penance.

He too has a coach, and team of spectral horses, and they race across the Norfolk countryside trying to complete this task.

His route to cross the 12 bridges takes him through Blickling to Aylsham, Burgh, Buxton, Coltishall, Meyton, Oxnead and Wroxham.

.Anne's brother, Lord Rochford, also appears on the same night, he too is headless although he doesn’t enjoy the comfort of a carriage, for he is dragged across the surrounding countryside by four headless horses.

A grisly trio of hauntings indeed!

Out There have visited Blickling Hall twice, and here are a couple of videos we made. First up, is a college project made by my nephew, Zak Higgins, enjoy the spooky tale, told in person by Juliette, and Nigel, from the group

We also visited the rather unusual Pyramid Masoleum, in the grounds of the hall, and here is the investigation video from that night

Of course, we would love to return, and I do have plans afoot, to remake our Blickling tale, hopefully with access to the interior of the hall, so keep an eye open for that.

Being a paranormal investigation group, we have to ask,, is there any truth in these grisly tales? Well the best way to find out, is to take a trip to Blickling Hall, on the 19th May, and see, but remember folks, watch out for phantom coaches on the way!!!

Happy Hunting everyone.

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