The house and gardens at Avebury Manor are reputedly haunted by a beautiful young woman dressed in white. ‘The White Lady‘ is arguably the most active of the Manor's ghosts. Her story is one of tragedy, as are many ghost stories. Although her identity is uncertain, it is believed she may well have been a ward of Sir John Stawell who owned the property in the 1640s. Sir John ran a strict house, especially with regard to protecting the young lady’s integrity and virtues.
In defiance of Sir John's house rules, she met and fell in love with a hansom young man who worked on the estate. Sir John got wind of her deceitfulness and immediately put a stop to their secret rendezvous. She was to have none of it and continued to meet covertly with her young suitor.
Their brief romance was to be cut short, for the young man received orders to join ranks and participate in the Civil Wars. As each day passed she would pray for his safe homecoming, for they had decided to elope together at soon as he returned. Then came the news that she had been dreading. She received notification that her lover had been killed in active duty. With a broken heart and little to live for, she took her life by jumping from a second floor window breaking her neck in the fall.
Her ghost is said to follow visitors around the gardens where she will randomly select a gentleman (preferably with a beard it would seem) and tap him sharply on the shoulder. It is believed this ‘tap on the shoulder’ signifies her attempt to identify whether the recipient of her advances is that of her lover. The startled gentleman who has been “selected,” would turn round to find no one behind him, confirmation one would assume, that the poor girl had got it wrong again. She is most often encountered at the south gate close to the pet cemetery.
One of the National Trust guides at the Manor told me of an experience he had during a film shoot for the Trust whilst in the gardens. He described his encounter as suddenly being “gripped by the shoulders and pulled back.” He spun round to see who was there but to his surprise discovered there was nobody near him.
The White Lady has also been seen by guides and visitors descending the main stairway inside the Manor. She is dressed in a flowing floor length white gown and described by all who have seen her as 'stunningly beautiful'.
Posted by Christine Bozier at 21:24