spectacular house in Berkshire now belongs to the Sports Council, but at one
time it was home to Dame Elizabeth Hoby.
was a member of the Court of Queen Elizabeth I and at the time a great
emphasis was placed 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.
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.
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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