Christ Church, Greyfriars

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2 Responses

  1. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Christ Church, Greyfriars
    According to Jack Hallam’s ‘The Ghosts’ Who’s Who’ Greyfriars is also haunted by Elizabeth Barton (born 1506 – died 20 april 1534), also known as The Holy Maid of Kent, Nun of Kent or Mad Maid of Kent.

    In 1525 whilst working as a servant she was struck with an unspecified illness, after which she would fall into trances and make prohesies which were unmistakably religious in nature. She attracted the attention of her local priest, Richard Masters, who convinced the Archbishop of Canterbury to establish a commission to examine her. The commission was made up of three Benedictines monks, two Franciscan monks, Richard Masters and an official from the diocese. The commission found in her favor and this was confirmed more when, according to one of her own prophesies she was cured by the Blessed Virgin at a specified church in London before a large crowd of spectators.

    Popular with the masses she even had meetings King Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey, however, her fortunes changed when the King broke from her beloved Roman Catholic Church in order to divorce Catherine of Aragon. Barton then made a prophesy that was unpopular with the Royal court and could have damaged the establishment of the new Church of England, she claimed that if Henry married Anne Boleyn he would die within seven months. Her popularity kept her safe for a short while, but after rumors of her having sexual relations with priests started to emerge (probably invented by supporters of the Crown) she fell from favour and was arrested in 1533 and hanged at Tyburn for treason on 20 April 1534 after being forced to make a confession to that affect and that she had essentially invented it. She was buried at Greyfriars on 21 April 1534.

    She is also said to appear as a faceless figure at The Nun’s Head public house in Peckham.

  2. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Christ Church, Greyfriars
    Another ancient church that is reputed haunted is the Grey Friars in Newgate Street. One of the ghosts is that of Queen Isabella, the cruel wife of Edward II, styled by her contemporaries " La Belle " and "The She-Wolf of France."

    To quote Mr. Walter Thornbury " As if to propagate an eternal He, she was buried with the heart of her murdered husband on her breast."

    There was no true "Blue," in the days when the Bluecoat School was in the City, who did not believe in the haunting of the Greyfriars’ churchyard by the earth-bound spirit of the Bad Isabella.

    Another ghost said still, at times, to haunt Greyfriars is that of a Hungerford. According to Walter Thornbury, she was Lady Alice Hungerford, but John Tombs 1 states this is erroneous and that she was Agnes, the second wife of Sir Edward Hungerford, for poisoning whom she was tried, found guilty and hanged at Tyburn in 1523.

    If her husband treated her as shamefully as his son, Lord Hungerford of Haytesbury, is said to have treated his three wives, then he deserved to be poisoned. Tradition says Agnes was very beautiful, and there is an amusing story to the effect that on one occasion when the ghosts of La Belle Isabella and Agnes Hungerford chanced to meet in the churchyard of the Greyfriars they were so jealous of one another that they began a furious scrap, to the terror of the material spectator, a night-watchman, who promptly took to his heels.