Alice Lisle, who was executed for her role in the English Civil War, haunts several properties in Hampshire, PETER LEWIS reports
Dame Alice Lislle – sometimes spelt Alice Lyle – has an unsettled spirit that that has been recorded across Hampshire.
Dame Alice Lisle, of Moyles Court, Ringwood, was a lady at the heart of not one civil war but two.
During the rising against King Charles I her family aligned with the puritans and her husband even sat on the jury that condemned the king to death.
But it was the second rebellion by the Duke of Monmouth against Charles II that led to her demise.
Following the failed rebellion, Lady Alice unwittingly harboured fugitives from the crown, although she believed their only crime was illegally preaching, the royalists searched Moyles Court and found them and arrested her on the spot.
She was tried and summarily executed despite her son fighting for the royalists at Sedgemoor. Yet this was not enough to save her from a terrible fate.
The first of the reported hauntings is reputed to take place at her home, Moyles Court.
The grand Elizabethan mansion is now home to a boarding school and it is said that her spirit wonders the hallways of the house. Her dress is of silk and she sweeps through the halls.
It has also been reported that she wonders the courtyard, embarking onto a spectral driverless carriage that is pulled by headless horses.
Although recently reports of sightings have dwindled, the sounds of a carriage is often heard on the gravel drive.
On her final, fateful journey to her trial in Winchester she was allowed to stop and visit her son who resided at Dibden Manor, located 15 miles east of Ringwood along the banks of Southampton Water,
Dibden Manor no longer stands, but where the house once stood it has been reported that a grey lady, her head covered in a cowl is seen, waiting.
The final place of haunting is also Lady Alice’s final abode.
The Eclipse Inn near Winchester Cathedral has reports of sightings of Dame Alice in the chambers she once occupied.
Dame Alice was taken from the Eclipse Inn, across the road to the block where her head was removed by axe.
This was a merciful end to the 68 year old whom, calmly and peacefully sat through her trial, not being allowed a defence, and not being allowed to speak by the infamous Judge Jefferies.
Alice Lisle was the first martyr of the ‘Bloody Assizes’.
Her execution merciful compared to what was originally decreed.
She was due to be drawn over a hurdle and then burned at the stake.
Although King Charles II refused to bow down to those who would have him show mercy he did allow an execution worthy of the ladies status.
Both historically and spiritually the story of the lady’s demise is one that is remembered and lamented.
It was indeed a dark time in the history of England and leaves a legacy that captures the imagination.
Three separate locations, one unquiet spirit. It provides a fascinating trail across Hampshire that ends at her grave in the quiet, sleepy church at Ellingham.
PETER LEWIS is a historian and author living on the edge of the New Forest. As well as doing the day job, Peter writes a regular book review column as well as entering as many story competitions as he can, all the while attempting to obtain representation for his novels. Peter studied at the University of Southampton and specialised in representations of Angels and Demons within ancient Jewish texts. It was researching his dissertation that Peter got a fascination with the paranormal and began his quest to unravel the truth from fiction within historic sources.