The Screaming Skull of Burton Agnes Hall
The skull at Burton Agnes Hall is another famous screaming skull, although its exact whereabouts in the hall is unknown. It is thought to reside behind one of the walls, having been bricked up and forgotten about years before.
Tradition relates that three sisters built the Hall in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Before they managed to complete the building the youngest of the three sisters was attacked and mortally wounded by a cutthroat while walking in the park. She quickly fell into a fever and died. Before she passed away her sisters promised her that they would bring her head back into the hall so that she could see the completed structure. Her two sisters did not fulfil their promise and had her body buried, after they had moved into the finished Hall they began to be plagued by “strange moaning and weird sounds” until they could stand it no more and had their sisters skull disinterred. It was found to be already detached from the body and was fleshless. After it was placed in the hall all was well until a servant – who disbelieved the story – wrapped the skull in a cloth and threw it on the back of a wagon and horses. The horses reared and trembled in fear, the hall shook and pictures fell of the wall until the skull was replaced. After this the skull was placed in a niche in the wall, and eventually walled up.
The actual origin of the skull is unknown, but the Hall was built for Sir Henry Griffith in the 16th century, and not for the three sisters – who may have been Sir Henry’s three daughters. But it is difficult to ascertain whether the skull actually belongs to Anne Griffith, as tradition asserts.
The spirit of Ann was also thought to haunt the hall and was known as Owd Nance. She is still said to appear on the anniversary of her death.