Lady Ursula’s Ghostly Christmas Walk at Madingley Hall


Each Christmas Eve, an angry ghost roams the grounds of Madingley Hall near Cambridge, writes RICK HALE

Madingley Hall near Cambridge, England
Madingley Hall near Cambridge, England

Religion, and how it’s observed, has played an important role in the lives of Britons since time immemorial.

For centuries, the faithful were loyal to the Roman Catholic church and churches and monasteries sprang up where the good Christian souls could worship with those who shared their faith.

However, the religious life of Britain changed when a monarch was told no and went on a rampage outlawing the religion of the land and forming a new one. 

The country was divided upon religious lines and it was around this time of upheaval that  Madingley Hall in Cambridgeshire was built and its angry ghost which appears only around Christmas is a tragic result of that division.

History Of Madingley Hall

In the early years of the 1540s, John Hynde arrived in the village of Madingley determined to build a home that would reflect his new found wealth and station in life.

Hynde found a plot known as “the Shire manor of Madingley”, and went to Parliament requesting to build his home.

After paying the local sheriff and other prestigious citizens of Madingley the then princely sum of £10 Hynde quickly went to work.

With deed in hand, Hynde went about the task of constructing a grand country estate that dominated the surrounding town and landscape.

Along with what is now the south and east wings, Hynde built an extravagant viewing platform that gave the original house a hunting lodge feel.

When John Hynde passed from this world  his son, Sir Francis inherited the sprawling estate and finished his father’s work of building the house and managed to keep it in the family for centuries.

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Madingley Hall went through several owners, including acting as a rental property of Queen Victoria who lived there while her son, Edward attended Cambridge.

Today, Madingley Hall is owned by Cambridge University and houses the University’s Institute of Continuing Education.

Apart from this programme, the building also has residential and non-residential courses.

When Cambridge University took over ownership curious tales of spectral encounters began to make the rounds among the students. 

And they appear to revolve around the religious strife that once dominated the house.

Religious Strife Spawns A Haunting

Lady Ursula, the widow of the original master of the Hall, found herself at odds with her son’s terrible behaviour.

Sir Francis had a severe hatred for religious institutions and would often scour the countryside terrorising churches and tearing them down for building materials.

Lady Ursula was helpless as her son sold off whatever he didn’t use.

Lady Ursula was so overcome by her grief concerning her son’s irreverence, she eventually died of a broken heart.

And it’s this grief that causes Lady Ursula’s unrest around the holiest night of the year, Christmas.

Christmas Ghost at Madingley Hall

Late on Christmas Eve, as Britain prepares for Christmas morning, the ghost of Lady Ursula makes her appearance.

Witnesses of this phantom spectacle have all reported that as she makes her walk from the church to the house, she is ringing her hands in grief and sobbing uncontrollably.

It’s believed that she was praying to God for her son’s forgiveness before confronting him. A confrontation that never came.

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Although Lady Ursula’s walk occurs on Christmas Eve, her ghost has also been seen wandering the corridors of Madingley Hall seemingly oblivious to her surroundings.

This behaviour has led many researchers to believe she is nothing more than a psychic imprint forever trapped in the walls of Madingley Hall.

Madingley Church, Cambridgeshire
Madingley Church, Cambridgeshire

Other Spectral Activity

Lady Ursula Hynde isn’t the only ghostly entity that forever haunts Madingley Hall.

Phantom Music has been heard throughout Madingley Hall. And the apparitions of a group of women have also been glimpsed wandering the grounds of the Hall.

No one knows who they are but judging by their attire they appear to be from the time Victoria called this grand manor home.

Cambridge University has done its best to keeps these haunting stories on the down low but they still make the rounds. 

Stories that only appeal to the curiosity of history buffs and ghost hunters alike.

Madingley Hall is at Madingley, about four miles from Cambridge at CB23 8AQ.

Have you seen anything paranormal at Madingley Hall? Tell us about it in the comments section below!


  1. I follow your articles here on Spooky and I really like your contextualization and narrative. Even if I already know a topic, you can bring new impressions. Congratulations!


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