Tower’s Ghosts: Anne Boleyn

 

Anne BoleynAnne Boleyn is said to be one of the most memorable of ghosts to haunt the Tower of London in the area of the White Tower and the chapel of St.Peter and Vincula, where her headless body was interred in an arrow case under the floor.

On the 1st June 1536 Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen of England, and on the 7th September she gave birth to a daughter; Princess Elizabeth, much to the disgust of Henry who wanted a male heir.

On the 2nd May the Queen was arrested and charged with committing adultery with Sir Francis Weston and Wiiliam Breton, and plotting against the life of the King.

On the 19th May Anne Boleyn was led out to Tower Hill and beheaded, and her remains were buried in the Chapel of St.Peter ad Vincula adjoining Tower Green.

It is said that in 1864 a sentry challenged a headless figure thought to be that of Anne Boleyn, and his bayonet passed right through her.

In another account the Captain of the Guard witnessed a light from the locked Chapel Royal in the White Tower.  He peered down into the chapel and witnessed a procession of people all dressed in old clothing with one Anne Boleyn leading the procession.

Tower’s Ghosts: The Young Princes

Young Princes

The Young Princes

One mystery that has never been solved has to be the disappearance and highly probable murder of the two young princes: Edward and Richard in 1483.

Here are the facts, for you to make up your own opinion of what happened to them:

When King Edward IV died in 1483, the throne should have gone to his son, Edward V, with Edward’s brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester as his Protector, until Edward V could rule.

Within three months, Richard Duke of Gloucester had convinced Parliament to rule the young princes as illegitimate, for they were actually his other brother’s children, The Duke of Clarence, who was executed privately for treason.

This proved to be enough evidence and Parliament conferred him to be the rightful heir to the English Throne, making him King Richard III.

King Richard’s reign had been overshadowed by the threat of a Tudor invasion.  It was in August 1485 they landed, and both armies clashed on Boswoth Field, where he was slain in the battle. His time as King was short lived.

So the obvious question that is asked by so many.  Did he kill the two young princes, or did he order their execution.

Which ever way we look at it, Prince Edward V, stood in his way of him becoming King of England.  Once they were both declared illegitimate he couldn’t have them around, for he did not know what trouble they could cause in later years, and what supporter’s they had.

The Tower of London, like so many other historical buildings has its own collection of ghosts roaming the corridors.

According to the definition of what a ghost actually is.  The soul is not able to rest in peace and they remain in old but familiar places.  It could be caused by the brutal way in which they died, for that reason they are unable to pass from this world to the next.

According to one account by guards in the latter part of the 15th century.  Two small figures were spotted gliding down the tower stairs, and believed to be none other than the two young princes… Prince Edward V and his brother Prince Richard, Duke of York.

In 1674 workmen found a chest that contained the skeletons of two young children, they were thought to be the remains of the young princes, and were given a royal burial not long afterwards.

Wikipedia Image

Ghosts of Culloden

battle-of-culloden

Battle of Culloden

The moor – site of the last battle on British soil, has its share of ghostly traditions, perhaps befitting for the scene of so much bloodshed and slaughter.

The Battle of Culloden – April 16th 1746 – marked the fall of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, which sought to restore the Stuart monarchy to the throne. In barely 40 minutes of fighting, the massed army of Bonnie Prince Charlie had been slaughtered by government troops (which also contained Scottish clans) led by Prince William the Duke of Cumberland.

The odds were already stacked against them, the boggy, rain sodden ground of the moor was not suited to the Highland charge, they were vastly outnumbered, and they were exhausted after a many days marching back from England where they had failed to muster the support they badly needed to ensure victory. They had also launched a surprise attack on their foes during the night which had ended without them even coming into contact with the Duke’s men.

The battle started with an exchange of artillery that quickly became a one sided affair, as the Jacobite gunners were vastly outnumbered and outclassed. Twenty minutes of constant bombardment decimated the Jacobite lines as they awaited the order to charge. Bonnie Prince Charlie took no part in the battle, and with no leader to sound orders their hesitations was to play a large part in their defeat. When they finally did charge – taking it under their own initiative – the slaughter continued, those who did not die in a volley of bullets and grapeshot, were cut down when they reached the lines. The government troops used a new way of meeting the Highland charge, each soldier stabbed at the man to the right of those they faced directly, so their bayonet would pierce under the man’s raised sword arm, and avoid the targe, the highlander’s small shields most often held in the left hand.

There was no mercy for the wounded soldiers, many were slaughtered where they had fallen, and those who had managed to flee were hunted down and executed. Bonnie Prince Charlie managed to evade the Government forces, and after five months on the run throughout the Highlands, escaped to Italy via the Isle of Skye, never to return.

culloden-stoneThere is a tradition of haunted battle sites in Britain and Culloden is no exception, ghostly soldiers are supposed to appear on the anniversary of the battle on the 16th of April, and the cries of battle and the clash of steel have also been reported.

The spectre of one of the Highlanders is also said to frequent the area, he is tall in stature with drawn features – he is supposed to say, “defeated” in hushed tones when encountered. One woman visiting the moor from Edinburgh in August 1936 lifted a tartan cloth covering one of the mounds – which mark the Jacobite graves – to discover an apparition of a dead Highlander underneath it. Another tradition attached to these grave mounds is that birds do not sing in their vicinity, perhaps hushed by the ominous atmosphere.

There are numerous wells dotted around the area, on the battle site itself and nearby. St Mary’s Well is said to be haunted by the ghosts of the dead highlanders, and a Clootie Well in Culloden wood is festooned with brightly coloured rags, offerings from people wishing to be cured of ailments.

Images: Wikipedia