We’re excited to be at Hever Castle, the childhood of home of Anne Boleyn! Ann Bolelyn, second wife of Henry VIII, had more influence over the fate of England than any of the other five wives of Henry VIII. Risking everything to get Anne into his bed, she rose in power and riches only to be dashed down to the lowest depths after 1000 days of married life. She came to the end via an executioner’s sword. I believe most of Anne’s short life was lived under extreme tension. She spent seven years fending off Henry’s advances, because she didn’t want to be left like her sister, Mary, who had an affair with Henry that had turned out badly. When she was finally crowned queen many in the kingdom hated her because Henry broke away from the Catholic Church to establish his own church, the Church of England, so he could divorce his first wife, Katherine of Aragon, and marry Anne. Then Anne had a daughter, Elizabeth I, rather than a son, and more pressure was put on her, as her duty was to produce sons. After many complications and stillbirths, Anne had to be in a frenzy as to what to do to keep Henry happy. Henry had sacrificed everything for Anne and was not getting what he wanted and needed, a son. I read an article lately that it is possible than Anne was RH-, meaning that her first child would have born without complications, but due the the mixture of her blood and her child’s at birth, her child being RH+, would have caused antibodies to built up in Anne’s blood preventing her from carrying another child to term. If that is the case she was indeed doomed from the start. I can’t imagine how it would feel to know your only worth in life was to produce a male heir! Such were the times. In the end Henry chose to get rid of her and move on to a new wife. Is it any wonder Anne Boleyn still walks the spots that were favored by her in life and the ones that caused her the most grief? I think Hever Castle would have been her favorite spot, she had lived a carefree, happy childhood here.
Recently, I read that people may have up to fifty senses rather than the normal five. If that is the case, there will be some people who are able to feel a presence in a place where other people have spent their time. If the place had great significance or stress for that person, their presence would be definitely felt. Makes sense to me! Have you ever sensed someone’s presence?
So let’s look, since it is All Hallows Eve, and see the places where Anne Boleyn has been sighted. This time in the liturgical year is dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints, (hallows) martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers.
This is what I learned………. about the sightings of Anne Boleyn.
Blickling Hall, Norfolk, is sourced as the most likely place that Anne Boleyn was born. At midnight on the anniversary of her death, May 19th, she is said to make a dramatic return, dressed all in white, traveling to the house in a carriage pulled by headless horses. She holds her head in her lap. Light footsteps approaching the bedroom can also be heard in the house although it was rebuilt 100 years after Anne’s death. Her brother, George, who was executed a few days before Anne, on the charge of committing incest with his sister, also returns to the house being dragged by horses while carrying his head in his arms.
Hever is the castle one pictures when they think of medieval life. The fairytale castle is complete with draw bridge and moat, crenellated notches on the roof tops for firing down arrows, and the tiny cross openings for guards to peek out. Built as a medieval defensive castle with a gate house and walled courtyard in 1270, it was the home of one of the most powerful families, the Boleyns, in the 16th century. Anne seems most present on Christmas Eve here, crossing a bridge over the River Eden on her way to the castle. At other times of the year, a wraith-like figure, in white, is seen most often in the gardens and under a big oak tree where she and Henry courted.
Most of the catch-me-if-you-can courtship between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn took place at Hampton Court, one of the many royal homes. Anne’s ghost has been seen, dressed in blue, floating along the passageways. As late as 1945, Lady Baden-Powell, who had an apartment at the palace, wrote in her diary that a visitor sensed the presence of Queen Anne Boleyn in a little turret room that Anne used as a private praying room.
Some of the many sightings of Anne’s ghost occurs at the Tower of London, where Anne stayed twice. The first time was the night before her coronation in the summer of 1553. The last time was under very sad circumstances, when she was on trial for her life. Charged with incest, adultery and witchcraft, she was beheaded on May 19th, 1536. Her body was hastily buried in an old arrow chest, that was too small for the body. Without any services or ceremony the box was buried beneath the altar in the chapel of St Peter Ad Vincula.
Towards the end of the 18th century, it was recorded that the Captain of the Guard noted light coming from the chapel, even though it was locked. He got a ladder and peered through a window and claimed he saw Anne (who he recognized from paintings) and a group of knights and ladies approach the altar. They disappeared when they reached the altar. Also, in 1864, a sentry guardsman, saw a figure float out of a doorway towards him. Wearing a bonnet, with no head inside, he challenged the apparition with his bayonet, which went right through it. The man fainted on the spot. Another Yeoman Warder saw a bluish form drifting towards the Queen’s House and another saw a woman in white emerging after midnight from the house. All of these sightings, noted at various times by different people, were sworn under Oath.
The Salle Church in Norfolk completes the rounds of ghost sightings. The church contains the brasses, (dated 1440) dedicated to the remains of Geoffrey Boleyn and his wife, who were Anne’s paternal great-grandparents. Some believe that after Anne’s execution her body was removed from the Tower and re-buried at midnight, with the rites of a Christian burial, beneath a plain black marble tombstone inside the Salle Church. The letters and diary of Crispin, Lord of Minherve, a foreign dignitary in London at the time of Anne’s trial, offered an impartial and “first hand” overview of the proceedings from Anne’s arraignment through her trial and execution. Historians have regarded Crispin as a reliable and unbiased witness, since he had no ties to the royal court. The Salle Church will neither deny or confirm the allegations. ( although they provide some validity of evidence from various letters, including Crispin’s) The Salle Church, in addition to the St Peter Ad Vincula in the Tower of London, will not give permission to examine those buried beneath their floors. Indeed we are left with stories and legends, so you can make up your own mind. But, let’s next explore what it was that Anne loved so much about Hever Castle. The estate and grounds are quite remarkable! See you there!