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Bruce Castle

Now a museum, Bruce Castle, which was formerly known as Lordship House is a Grade I listed manor house dating from the 16th century. It is associated with an anniversary ghost identified as Lady Constantia Coleraine who committed suicide in the late 1600’s and is said to be seen screaming and jumping to her death from an upstairs balcony.

The Tottenham & Edmonton Advertiser in March 1858 published what could be the first written account of the haunting.

A lady of our acquaintance was introduced at a party to an Indian Officer who, hearing that she came from Tottenham, eagerly asked if she had seen the Ghostly Lady of Bruce Castle. Some years before he had been told the following story by a brother officer when encamped on a march in India. One of the Lords Coleraine had married a beautiful lady and while she was yet in her youth had been seized with a violent hatred against her – whether from jealousy or not is not known. He first confined her to the upper part of the house and subsequently still more closely to the little rooms of the clock turret. These rooms looked on the balconies: the lady one night succeeded in forcing her way out and flung herself with child in arms from the parapet. The wild despairing shriek aroused the household only to find her and her infant in death's clutches below. Every year as the fearful night comes round (it is in November) the wild form can be seen as she stood on the fatal parapet, and her despairing cry is heard floating away on the autumnal blast.

Constantia (also known as Theodocia) Lucy, daughter of Sir Richard Lucy 1st Baronet of Broxbourne and Elizabeth Cock, married Henry Hare, 2nd Baron Coleraine sometime before before 1667. In 1668 they had a son called Hugh. Constantia died in 1680 whilst living in Bruce Castle. It has been speculated that she committed suicide because of the relationship her husband had with the Sarah Seymour, Duchess of Somerset. One reference suggests that they had been engaged and supposedly stayed close, though she married John Seymour, 4th Duke of Somerset in 1656. The Duke of Somerset died 29 April 1675 and this would have given Sarah and Henry the opportunity to rekindle their feelings. Constantia may have been buried in all Hallows Church , Tottenham.

On 17 July 1682, two years following the death of Constantia, Henry married Sarah the dowager Duchess of Somerset, daughter of Sir Edward Alston. Sarah died on 2 November 1692.

I have found a reference showing the date which Constantia is said to repeat her jump is 3 November, which makes me wonder whether this is confused with the date of death for Sarah as the Tottenham & Edmonton Advertiser does not name the specific date. I do not know of any record of anyone seeing Lady Coleraine jump the balcony and the haunting maybe more of a local legend.

According to Andrew Green a ghostly party has been witnessed on at least four occasions in the last 20 years. Described as 'A large number of people in eighteenth century costume' that 'just melts into the walls' when approached.

Note: Henry Hare (1635–1708) is responsible for renaming Lordship House. The land on which it is built was originally part of an estate owned by the Bruce family which was forfeited when Robert the Bruce seized the Scottish throne.

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