Anne Boleyn is a figure that haunts British and world culture. She’s been extensively portrayed in theater, television, film, fiction and numerous biographies, and has become one of the most enigmatic historical figures; historians can’t get enough of her. She’s also believed to be one of the most traveled ghosts in history, with numerous accounts reporting sightings of her spirit.
Besides haunting our imaginations and interests, Boleyn’s ghost is said to haunt many places in the United Kingdom.
Blickling Hall, in Norfolk, was the birthplace of Anne Boleyn. It’s believed when the news of her death reached the residence, four headless horses were sighted dragging a beheaded body across the town.
Nowadays, Boleyn’s ghost reportedly appears at Blickling Hall on May 19 of every year, riding in a carriage driven by a headless horseman and carrying her own head in her lap. The carriage is said to noiselessly approach the premises via the long driveway, before disappearing upon reaching the house.
Tower of London
The Tower of London was the place of Anne Boleyn’s tragic death. It’s now one of the many locations where her ghost is reputed to appear as a reminder of the gruesome act.
There are many accounts of Boleyn’s appearance, with the most famous dating back to 1864. A soldier claimed to have seen her hovering over the ground, dressed in white. He charged at her with his bayonet, but found his weapon went straight through her, which is when he realized what he was seeing was the ghost of the deceased queen.
Another tale involves the Chapel Royal. It’s reported that, one night, a Captain of the Guard noticed light flickering in the locked room. When he went to uncover the source, he came upon knights in procession and women pacing. While unable to see the face of one, the man claims she had a figure that resembled Boleyn.
Hampton Court Palace
Built during the reign of King Henry VIII for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Hampton Court Palace was among the monarch’s favorite places. After it was gifted to Henry by Wolsey, the King extended the residence, making it grander than it already was. One of the gatehouses is named for Anne Boleyn, with the apartments still under construction at the time of her beheading.
According to reports, Boleyn’s ghostly figure can sometimes be spotted walking through Hampton Court Palace. Typically dressed in blue or black, she’s often carrying her own head.
She symbolically visits her childhood home every year at this same time, where she can be spotted either under the oak tree where she and King Henry VIII spent their happy pre-marital time together or walking along the bridge stretching over the River Eden.
Windsor Castle is the world’s oldest occupied castle and was the long-time home of Queen Elizabeth II. This didn’t seem to deter the spirit of Anne Boleyn from wandering through its hallways on occasion. She’s even been spotted in the Dean’s Cloister, at the window.
There are a couple of photographs where she can allegedly be spotted. In one of the eeriest stories, a witness claims to have seen her ghost frantically running down the hall, her screaming head held under her arm.
It’s believed Rochford Hall was where King Henry VIII first met Anne Boleyn, even though historians aren’t quite sure how much time she actually spent at the location. It belonged to Boleyn’s father, who’d inherited it from his mother, Margaret Butler.
The ghost stories surrounding Rochford Hall come from one person. A previous owner claimed to see a headless woman roaming the residence and even felt a change in the temperature in some rooms, indicating a spirit was present.
It’s believed Anne Boleyn’s trial took place in Lambeth Palace before she was convicted and taken on a barge back to the Tower of London to be executed.
There are many sad stories about Boleyn, who reportedly pleads for her life and mercy. If you believe these tales, she can still be heard moaning and crying, and her cries echo through the dark undercroft.
Many believe Anne Boleyn was buried at Salle Church, in Norfolk, a theory they use to verify claims that her spirit can be seen walking the grounds. However, that’s not the case, as she was actually laid to rest at the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula.
That’s not to say Boleyn’s ghost couldn’t be wandering the grounds of the church. Her family were major players in the village and even helped fund the building of the religious structure.