A mile or so from Richmond, on the banks of the River Thames, is where you’ll find Ham House. Being one of the allegedly most haunted homes in the nation, it never fails to impress and is conveniently accessible as a quick day trip from London.
London’s Ham House is adjacent to the River Thames. A wonderful illustration of “…a full survival of 17th-century fashion and power,” according to the English conservation organization the National Trust. Its narrative starts under the reign of England’s King James VI.
Even the most logical person can become a little uneasy when they see Ham House looming ominously over guests. Even under bright blue sky, if you look at this 17th-century manor from the right angle, you may just take all the ghost legends linked with it as gospel truth.
A Ham House History
It was constructed in 1610 by Sir Vavasour, a King James I advisor, and was afterwards leased to William Murray in 1626. He had been Charles I’s “whipping boy” and a close buddy from childhood. This indicated that if Charles misbehaved, William was the one who suffered the consequences.
Charles I was believed to be divine and so could not be punished by anybody other than his father, the King (pretty sweet deal for Charles if you ask me). Murray was exiled to France during the English Civil War because he was a royalist. When this happened, his wife Catherine took over management of the situation.
Background on Hauntings
Some of the spookiest claimed ghost sightings are listed below:
The Duchess on the Stairs: In her later years, Elizabeth, Duchess of Lauderdale, who some speculate may have murdered her first husband in order to wed the Duke, walked with a cane. There have been numerous tales of her cane tapping on Ham House’s upper floor, particularly on the grand staircase.
The Duchess has been known to loom menacingly up behind guests who look into the mirror in her bedchamber. She appears to enjoy stirring things up.
The Secrets in the Wall is just one of the many unproven urban legends that surround this home, but it’s nonetheless creepy. A six-year-old daughter of the butler (which butler? when?) reported that an old hag was breaking into her room at night and frightening her by scratching on the wall. A panel on the wall was eventually probed, and papers were discovered showing the Duchess had killed her first husband, Sir Lionel Tollemache, a lowly baronet, in order to wed John Maitland, 1st Duke of Lauderdale. Maybe.
Ham House Haunted Tours
Given the numerous stories of spirits at Ham House, it makes perfect sense for the National Trust to organize ghost tours there. Every year, the excursions change. To learn about forthcoming ghost tours, keep an eye on the National Trust website’s What’s On page.
A variety of special subject tours are available to Ham House’s daily visitors for free with the cost of entrance. Daily garden tours as well as architecture tours of the building’s exterior are offered. There are also tours of the kitchen gardens. When you get there, inquire about the timings and meeting locations for the tour you’re interested in.
The house maintained its original appearance despite being hundreds of years old. This mansion was an excellent choice for a variety of TV and movie productions because of its intriguing vintage style. For instance, The Young Victoria, a British-American drama, employed it.
Additionally, the BBC filmed a segment of the venerable series Steptoe and Son on the grounds of Ham House. Even Disney used this home for the John Carter movie’s filming requirements. It is a popular tourist destination when it is not rented out for filming.
What was filmed at Ham House?
The following movies were filmed at Ham House: Anna Karenina (2012) dancing shoes (2007) The Cambridge Spy (2003)
Why is it called Ham House?
The town of Ham was first mentioned about the year 1150, and its name comes from the Old English hamm, which in this context means “land in a river bend.” In 1415, Henry V purchased the manor of Hamme Upkyngeston, putting the community closer to the Richmond-upon-Thames royal estate.
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