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Langleys, Great Waltham

Langleys is a red brick 18th century house shaped as a H. According to Whites Directory 1848, ‘The Marshall or Mariskill family, held the manor of Langleys from the reign of John to that of Edward III., and it afterwards passed to the Everards, one of whom, (Sir Hugh,) was created a baronet, and died in 1705, leaving his estates so much in debt, that his son was obliged to sell Langleys and other estates, to Samuel Tufnell, Esq., who represented Colchester, Maldon, etc., in parliament. He pulled down most of the old mansion, and rebuilt it on a larger and more elegant plan. He also made an extensive park round it. His successors have considerably improved the house and grounds, and the present worthy proprietor is highly esteemed, both as landlord and a magistrate. His son resides at Waltham House.’

The older mansion of the Everards was the site of a strange experience in the 1662, during the time of Sir Richard Everard, 1st Baronet (died 1680) and his second wife, Frances Lee (daughter of Sir Robert Lee, of Billefly, Warwickshire), who were married at St Ann’s, Blackfriars on 11 September 1653. The following account was published in The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain by John Ingram (1897).

‘In his Treatise on Spirits, John Beaumont recites a very singular account of an apparition seen by the daughter of Sir Charles Lee, and related to the Bishop of Gloucester by the lady's father himself. It is considered one of the best authenticated cases on record.

Sir Charles Lee had one only daughter by his first wife, who died at the child's birth. At her own desire, Lady Everard, sister of the deceased lady, had the child with her to educate it, and kept it under her care until she was of marriageable age. Ultimately, Miss Lee was engaged to Sir William Perkins, and the marriage was agreed upon, when it was prevented in an extraordinary manner. "Upon a Thursday night," to quote the Bishop's own words, Miss Lee, “thinking she saw a light in her chamber after she was in bed, knocked for her maid, who presently came to her; and she asked her why she left a candle burning in hei chamber. The maid said she left none, and there was none but what she brought with her at that time. Then she said it was the fire; but that, her maid told her, was quite out, and said she believed it was only a dream, whereupon she said it might be so, and composed her- self again to sleep. But about two of the clock she was awakened again, and saw the apparition of a little woman between her curtain and her pillow, who told her she was her mother, that she was happy, and that by twelve o'clock that day she should be with her. Whereupon she knocked again for her maid, called for her clothes, and when she was dressed went into her closet, and came not out again till nine, and then brought out with her a letter, sealed, to her father, brought it to her aunt, the Lady Everard, told her what had happened, and desired that as soon as she was dead it might be sent to him. But the lady thought she was suddenly fallen mad, and thereupon sent presently away to Chelmsford for a physician and surgeon, who both came immediately; but the physician could discern no indication of what the lady imagined, or of any indisposition of her body. Notwithstanding the lady would needs have her let blood, which was done accordingly. And when the young woman had patiently let them do what they would with her, she desired that the chaplain might be called to read prayers; and when the prayers were ended she took her guitar and psalm-book, and sate down upon a chair without arms, and played and sung so melodiously and admirably, that her music-master, who was there, admired at it. And near the stroke of twelve she rose, and sat herself down in a great chair with arms, and presently, fetching a strong breathing or two, immediately expired; and was so suddenly cold as was much wondered at by the physician and surgeon. She died at Waltham, in Essex, three miles from Chelmsford; and the letter was sent to Sir Charles, at his house in Warwickshire; but he was so afflicted with the death of his daughter, that he came not till she was buried. But when he came he caused her body to be taken up and to be buried by her mother at Edmonton, as she desired in her letter."

This event occurred in 1662, and there is no record, so far as we are aware, that any later, or, indeed, any previous, supernatural manifestations took place at Lady Everard's place.’

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