Bisham Abbey

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  1. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Bisham Abbey
    This case was written about in The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain by John Ingram (1897)

    Bisham Abbey, in Berkshire, was formerly the familv seat of the Hobbys, and about the first half of the sixteenth century was in possession of Sir Thomas Hobby, or Hoby, a man of no slight reputation for learning in those days. He married Elizabeth, the third daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, who shared the general fame of her family for intellectual qualifications. When Sir Thomas went to France as ambassador for Queen Elizabeth his wife accompanied him, and on his death abroad in 1566 Lady Hoby brought his body home and had it interred in a mortuary chapel at Bisham. Subsequently she married John, Lord Russell.

    By her first husband the Lady Hoby is said to have had a son who, when quite young, displayed the most intense antipathy to every kind of study ; and such was his repugnance to writing, that in his fits of obstinacy he would wilfully and deliberately blot his writing-books. This conduct enraged his mother, whose whole family were noted for their scholastic attainments, and who, like her three sisters, Lady Burleigh, Lady Bacon, and Lady Killigrew, was not only an excellent classical scholar, but was also married to a man of literary note, that she chastised the unfortunate lad with all the violence at that period permitted to, and practised by, parents on their children. She beat him, according to the old legend, again and again on the shoulders and head, and at last so severely and unmercifully that he died.

    It is commonly reported that, as a punishment for her unnatural cruelty, her spirit is doomed to haunt Bisham Abbey, the house where this cruel act of manslaughter was perpetrated. Several persons have seen the apparition, the likeness of which, both as regards feature and dress, to a pale portrait of her ladyship in antique widow’s weeds still remaining at Bisham, is said to be exact and life-like. She is reported to glide through a certain chamber, in the act of washing blood- stains from her hands, and on some occasions her apparition is said to have been seen in the grounds of the old mansion.

    A very remarkable occurrence in connection with this narrative took place some years ago, according to Dr. Lee, author of Glimpses of the Supernatural. " In taking down an old oak window-shutter of the latter part of the sixteenth century," he states that " a packet o antique copy-books of that period were discovered pushed into the wall between the joists of the skirting, and several of these books on which young Hobby s fame was written were covered with blots, thus supporting the ordinary tradition."