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Bisham  Abbey


This spectacular house in Berkshire now belongs to the Sports Council, but at one time it was home to Dame Elizabeth Hoby.

She was a member of the Court of Queen Elizabeth I and at the time a great emphasis was Bisham Abbeyplaced on education. Young children were expected to be great intellectuals and it was a constant irritation to Elizabeth Hoby that her youngest son, William, was a slow learner. One day she became so frustrated with her son that she beat him and locked him in a tiny room at the top of the house. Later on that day she was summoned to the Queen's Court and when she returned home few days later, she found that William had died.

Many years later, workmen were repairing the house when they came across some school books wedged in the floorboards of a small room. The books were full of ink blots and tear stains and presumably belonged to young William.

Till the day she died, Elizabeth Hoby blamed herself for her son's death. Her ghost can be seen wandering around the grounds of the house, constantly wringing her hands and washing them in a bowl that floats before her. Legend has it that she is trying to wash her son's bloodstains from her hands.

Dame Elizabeth Hoby's ghost is unusual in that it appears 'in negative' with white robes, but with black hands and face.

 

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