Hanbury Hall and the Ghost of Emma Vernon


Hanbury Hall is the home of the Emma Vernon, whose ghost still haunts its ancient rooms and passageways…

Hanbury Hall
Hanbury Hall

Hanbury Hall is more than just a large 18th-century stately home in Worcestershire. It plays host to the beautiful 200-year old spirit of Miss Emma Vernon. The life she went through was quite an eventful one, so you couldn’t blame her for wanting to come back and enjoy more of the same. 

History of Hanbury Hall

In the year 1580, Reverend Richard Vernon took up the post of the local vicar in the village of Hanbury.

As the years went on, he and his family bought pieces of land in the area, and in the early 1600s, Richard’s eldest son Edward purchased the manor house that is known as Hanbury Hall.

The house was completed, styled, and decorated by Richard’s great-grandson, a wealthy lawyer, Thomas Vernon in 1706.

A couple of years later, a young girl was born into the Vernon family. She was named Emma, and she spent her entire childhood living at Hanbury Hall.

Emma grew up and became a local sensation, not only because of how naturally beautiful she was, but also because she was the lone heiress to the amazing Hanbury estate. This made her quite a catch to all the men who lived in and around Worcestershire, they wanted to marry her so they could get their hands on the estate.

Eventually, she did get married to Henry Cecil, who was then the Earl of Exeter in waiting in 1776, and they worked together to remodel the large house and turn it into a proper family home. Unfortunately, married life for the Cecils was not as rosy as they thought it would be.

First, they fell into a huge debt, which is not something you want to get into as a newly married couple. Coupled with their debts, they had no children.

Emma had given birth a couple of times but none of them lived past infancy. Several other factors also added to the growing disparity between the couple, and not long after, they began to grow far apart from each other.

The local vicar in Hanbury at that time, William Sneyd, became a regular guest at Hanbury Hall, and unknown to poor Mr. Cecil, the vicar’s eye had been caught by his wife Emma.

And unsurprisingly, she also fancied him. In a few years, the vicar and Emma were in a full-blown secret relationship, with Emma often sneaking away from her home to visit her lover. They were so desperate to be together freely that they hatched a plan to elope together.

In June 1789, Emma and her husband went to Birmingham on a business trip, something the vicar was very well aware of. So while her husband was away at a meeting, she snuck away and met up with Sneyd at an inn from where they eloped. 

Over the next couple of months, Sneyd and Emma traveled together, almost as man and wife. Henry though, became extremely sad and depressed that his wife had left him. So depressed that he left Hanbury Hall and moved to a farmhouse in Shropshire, where he bore the name John Jones to keep his true identity a secret from his hosts.

It wasn’t long before he fell in love with his host’s young daughter Sally, and in 1971, Cecil divorced Emma Vernon and married Sally Goggins. Emma, on hearing this good news swiftly went on to marry Sneyd. A marriage that didn’t last two years as Sneyd died in 1793. 

As for Hanbury Hall itself, Emma was refused access by her ex-husband as he sold off all the contents of the house. He later died in 1804, after which Emma finally moved into her childhood home with her third husband, John Philips. She later died in 1818, although she didn’t completely leave this life. 

There have been many sightings of her ghost, dressed all in black, moving through the same route she used to take from Hanbury Hall to visit her lover the vicar.

Have you been to Hanbury Hall? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below!

Watch Ghosts of Hanbury Hall


  1. Great video I found doing research on my family line. Thomas Vernon Was my 7th great grand dad. Would love a printout if what you read IF possible. Infact I would love to hear more. Thank you again


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