Thorpe Hall

Thorpe Hall

Thorpe Hall Haunted stately home in the western side of Louth in Lincolnshire, England. Thorpe Hall is renowned for its Green Lady, the ghost of a Spanish woman who fell in love with the home’s owner and builder, Sir John Bolle.

Bolle, a married man, participated with Sir Walter Raleigh in the siege of Cádiz, Spain, in 1596. His bravery earned him his knighthood. While in Cádiz, an upperclass woman, Doña Leonora Oviedo, fell in love with him. He refused to engage in an affair with her.

When it came time for him to sail back to England, she gave Bolle a portrait of herself wearing a green dress and also presented him with an expensive gold chain to give to his wife.

Back home, Bolle established a custom of setting a place at the dinner table for Doña Leonora, a practice that was carried on by following residents of Thorpe Hall into the 1920s.

Doña Leonora entered a convent, where she spent the rest of her life, pining away, it is said, for her lost love. Bolle died in 1606. The ghost of Doña Leonora, in the green dress of her portrait, roams the Thorpe Hall gardens looking for him.

Other versions of the story exist. In one, the distraught Doña Leonora committed SUICIDE after Bolle left Cádiz. Her ghost followed him home and took up residence in the hall. In another version, she herself followed Bolle back to England, but when she saw how happy he was with his family, she stabbed herself to death in the garden of his home.

Fine arts photographer Sir SIMON MARSDEN slept in Bolle’s former bedroom during the years his family lived in the house but never experienced any ghosts. A phantom coach was seen by his older brother and sister.

Further Reading:

  • Brooks, J. A. Britain’s Haunted Heritage. London: British Tourist Authority, 1990.
  • Coxe, Anthony D. Hippisley. Haunted Britain. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1973.
  • Marsden, Simon. The Haunted Realm. Exeter, England: Webb and Bower, 1986.

The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits– Written byRosemary Ellen Guiley – September 1, 2007
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