Bradgate House has been visited by the ghost of Lady Jane Grey every Christmas Eve since her violent death in 1554, writes RICK HALE
To say that Britain is one of the most haunted places in the world isn’t mere hyperbole, it’s a fact.
With its history spanning thousands of years, filled with intrigue, betrayal and bloodshed it’s no surprise that many of its buildings are home to countless spectres.
Sadly, among all the famous haunts, there are a number that have been almost forgotten.
And Leicestershire’s Bradgate House, an old ruined building that sits silently on Bradgate Park is one such place.
And it really is a surprise as among its many ghosts, the “Nine-Day Queen”, Lady Jane Grey, makes a grisly appearance on the night before Christendom’s holiest day, Christmas Eve.
History Of Bradgate House
The skeletal remains of the once great Bradgate House sits in ruin on Bradgate Park, and is considered to be one of Britain’s great lost country houses.
The history of this lovely example of early Tudor architecture was the birthplace and childhood home of one of Britain’s most controversial monarchs, Lady Jane Grey.
Bradgate Park, upon which the house stands, was established in the 13th century as a hunting lodge for the nobles who lived and played in the region.
In 1445, the Park came into possession of the Grey family after the marriage of John Grey and Elizabeth Woodville.
Sadly, John Grey’s lordship of the house was cut short after a mere six years when he was struck down at the battle of St Albans.
Following a very short mourning period, Elizabeth became the wife of Edward IV and Bradgate became a royal residence.
Nearly 30 years later, Sir Thomas Grey, saw potential in the lane and intended on building a grand house.
However, sometimes the best laid plans come to nought and Sir Thomas died suddenly in 1501 never realizing his dream.
Thankfully his son, Sir Thomas, picked up where his father left off and built one of Britain’s rare unfortified houses. The project was finalised in 1520.
Birthplace Of A Queen
Lady Jane Grey, one of Britain’s most controversial monarchs, was born at Bradgate House and spent part of her childhood at the house.
While there, the young girl spent much of her time wandering the corridors of the grand old house.
And undoubtedly exploring the surrounding Bradgate Park and woods.
If young Jane had a happy childhood is anyone’s best guess. And if she did all that came to an end when she ascended the British throne and ruled for a mere nine days. Giving her the nickname, “the nine day queen.”
What brought her rule to a quick end? Jane, her husband and her husband ‘s brothers along with Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury were accused of high treason.
And as with any person accused of high treason they were given a swift trial and beheaded.
However, Lady Jane Grey would face her fate with grace and dignity befitting a queen of England.
As she ascended the stairs to the chopping block she gave a lovely speech remembered to this day.
She said, “Good people, I am come hither to die and by a law, I am condemned to the same.
“The fact, indeed, against the queen’s highness was unlawful, and the consenting thereunto by me. But touching the procurement and desire thereof by me on my behalf, I do thereof wash my hands of innocence before God.”
And the face of you, good Christian people, this day.”
Powerful words indeed, but not powerful enough to spare her life. Perhaps this is why she makes an appearance every Christmas Eve at Bradgate House since her execution.
A Queen’s Spectral Carriage
Visitors to the ruins of Bradgate House have reported an unnerving sight the night before Christmas Day.
A ghostly carriage pulled by a team of headless horses is seen galloping up to a church in Newtown, Linford.
In the carriage is the ghost of the nine-day queen herself, Lady Jane Grey.
Before reaching the door of the church, the carriage vanishes and reappears in front of Bradgate House.
When it comes to a halt, Jane departs the phantom conveyance and walks up to her beloved childhood home. Some have even said she is cradling her own head in her arms.
Now, a sceptic might say this is nothing more than an overblown legend. But witnesses to the bizarre scene would beg to differ.
Other Ghostly Manifestations
The Christmas Eve appearance of Lady Jane Grey is not alone at the ruins of Bradgate House.
The sounds of galloping horses and a creaking carried are heard coming from nowhere and yet from everywhere.
Dark shadowy apparitions have been glimpsed walking among the ruins. And lastly a strange blue-grey mist has been seen settling over the church before abruptly vanishing.
The ruins of Bradgate House is a hidden gem and unfortunately gets lost among the more famous haunts of Britain.
This however doesn’t make this lost country house any less haunted. Just a new place to explore.
Have you seen Lady Jane Grey’s ghost or something strange at Bradgate House? Tell us about it in the comments section!