Wentworth Woodhouse is a Grade I listed building and with somewhere between 300 and 365 rooms, five miles of corridors and 250,000 square feet of floor space, it is one of the largest houses in the United Kingdom. It was sold in November 2015 to a Hong Kong company for £8,000,000.
There seems to be a few stories regarding ghosts and Wentworth Woodhouse which has even appeared on Most Haunted. Certainly stories of the ghost of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (Born 13 April 1593 – Died 12 May 1641) have circulated since the 19th century. In ‘The Story of My Life, volumes 4-6’ (published in 1900), Augustus J. C. Hare describes his visit and the haunting. ‘The ghost of Lord Strafford is still said to walk down the oak staircase at Wentworth every Friday night, carrying his head’.
Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford was a supporter and advisor of King Charles I and for a time the Lord Deputy of Ireland. He was recalled from Ireland to assist with the Second Bishop War (1640) and coerced the Irish Parliament to funding an Irish army to assist against the Scottish, but the King failed to raise additional funds from the English Parliament after he recalled them on Staffords advice in April 1640. This was known as the Short Parliament. Parliament refused to give the required funds until their grievances in Church and State policy were addressed. Strafford advised the King that the money could be raised by other means. The English army however engaged the Scots at Newburn in August 1640, before receiving troops from Ireland and the lost. Stafford was made a scapegoat Parliament condemned him to death. Reluctantly King Charles signed his death warrant and Stafford was beheaded on Tower Hill.
I find it strange that Thomas Wentworth, head in hand walks the staircase, when his house replaced long ago. Following Strafford’s death Wentworth Woodhouse, then a Jacobean style home passed to William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford (Born 8 June 1626 – Died 16 October 1695). As William died without children, the estate was then inherited by the son of his sister Anne and Edward Watson, 2nd Baron Rockingham, the Hon. Thomas Watson (Born 17 June 1665 – Died 6 October 1723). He was succeeded by his son Thomas Wentworth, 1st Marquess of Rockingham (Died 1750).
Thomas Wentworth replaced and rebuilt Wentworth Woodhouse in brick and in the English Baroque style. So actually the ghost of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, if it ever existed, would have had very little to do with the Wentworth Woodhouse of the 1st Marquess of Rockingham and let alone the further developed house.
The estate passed to Thomas’s fifth son, Charles Wentworth 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, Prime Minister of Great Britain (Died 1782) following his death. Charles extended the house and the Wentworth Woodhouse of his father became just a wing (the west front) of the new much enlarged building and Whig Powerhouse.
Charles died without issue. His sister Anne was married to William FitzWilliam, 3rd Earl FitzWilliam (Born 15 January 1719 – Died 10 August 1756) and the Wentworth estate was passed to their son William Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 4th Earl Fitzwilliam (Born 30 May 1748 – Died 8 February 1833). Wentworth Woodhouse stayed in the family of the Earls Fitzwilliam until 1979 and the death of William Thomas George Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 10th Earl Fitzwilliam (28 May 1904 – 21 September 1979). Then it passed to heirs of the 8th and 10th Earls Fitzwilliam).
For a while the Lady Mabel College of Physical Education was based at Wentworth Woodhouse.
Other ghosts are thought to include Lady Mary Bright, a monk and a child.