Like many stately homes, Woburn Abbey, the seat of the Dukes of Bedford, purports to be haunted. Antony D. Hippisley Coxe, writing in 1973, reports that in a room which has a door at either end, first one opens, then the other, as if allowing an unseen presence to enter and leave. This happened so often that the thirteenth duke stopped using it as a television room.
Hippisley Coxe also says that a summerhouse in the private part of the park was believed by the duke to be haunted by his grandmother, Mary du Caurroy (1865–1937), wife of the eleventh duke. Known as the ‘Flying Duchess’, she took part in record-breaking flights to India and Africa before being lost off the English coast while flying solo in 1937.
Other writers add to these ghosts a tall man in a top hat who has been seen walking through the antique market, and one from the abbey’s medieval past – it was rebuilt in 1746 on the site of a Cistercian monastery founded in 1145. This is a monk in a brown habit who has been seen in several different parts of the house. The Cistercian habit was white, but perhaps he was a lay brother.