Knebworth has a number of legends and ghost stories, it was home to Sir Bulwer Lytton, the Victorian author with an avid interest in the occult. He was certainly involved with many people who were major players in occult thought from that time, including Eliphas Levi, the famous French Magus who visited Knebworth on several occasions. Bulwer invited the famous medium Daniel Dunglass Home to Knebworth, they held a séance with a group of friends, which is said to have resulted in some strange phenomena.
The presence of Bulwer has been felt in the house, mainly in the study area and in the drawing room although he has never been seen.
An older tradition suggests that the house is haunted by a radiant or yellow boy, a spirit attached to the Lytton family and a relatively common ghost of old families and family castles. The appearance of the boy is said to foretell a rise to power but a violent death. Lord Castlereagh is said to have been the last one to see him, the spectre drew its fingers across its throat in front of him. In 1822 Lord Castlereagh committed suicide by cutting his own throat.
The house is also said to be haunted by the noise of spinning, said to originate from a spirit called Spinning Jenny who was locked away in a room to keep her from a lover of low birth. According to Jennifer Westwood in her scholarly book ‘Albion’ Paladin, 1987, the story was invented around 1800 by a Miss James, a guest at a Christmas party.
The house and the grounds are well worth a visit, a nearby wooded area has some Bronze Age round barrows, evidence of older occupation in the area.
Directions: Off the B656 to the West of the A1M.