In 1621, the Mildmay chapel was added to the parish church of St Leonard at Apethorpe, north of Oundle, to house the huge marble monument to Sir Anthony Mildmay (d. 1617) and his wife. Their effigies lie on a big sarcophagus at the corners of which stand four life-sized figures: Piety, Charity, Wisdom, and Justice. Above is a drum-shaped lantern with the seated figures of Faith, Hope, and Charity, again. The insistence on charity is not accidental, and is connected with a most benevolent ghost.

The couple who occasioned all this pomp lived at nearby Apethorpe Hall, the house as it was c.1500 still being the core of the present mansion. The house and manor passed through several owners before in 1550 coming to Sir Walter Mildmay, from whom it descended to Anthony, his son.

Murray’s Handbook for … Northamptonshire (1901) notes the Hall’s many historical associations and points out its attractions for nineteenth-century visitors, including portraits in the long gallery. ‘Here also is the “lively portraiture” of the Lady Grace, wife of Sir Anthony Mildmay, who, according to a tradition of the house, “walks” on certain nights, scattering silver pennies behind her.’

As Murray’s Handbook suggests, this unusually gracious tradition was probably a recollection of her charity in life. It is recorded on her monument that she was ‘helpful with phisick, cloathes, nourishment, or counsels to any in misery’. Moreover, she instituted four quarterly sermons in the church, as well as leaving money for the poor and for placing apprentices.



Haunted England : The Penguin Book of Ghosts – Written by Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson
Copyright © Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson 2005, 2008

Related Articles


Murray’s Handbook for … Cumberland (1866) reports the tradition of a spectral army having been seen marching over Helvellyn on the eve of the battle…


According to the Reader’s Digest’s Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain (1977), the ghost of ‘Lady Grace Bennett’ haunts Gib Lane at Calverton, which takes…


In 1860, Mackenzie Walcott recorded the tradition that, near Ulpha, ‘a lady was destroyed by a wolf at the well of Lady’s Dub.’ Others say…