The ghosts of Thorpe Hall
Historically, Thorpe Hall was owned by the Bolle family, one of the most colourful of whom was Sir John Bolle (born 1560 – died 3 November 1606). A swashbuckling Elizabethan adventurer, gentleman and patriot, Bolle took part in Sir Walter Raleigh’s 1596 attack and capture ofCadiz. Sir John Bolle was captured by the Spaniards and was sentenced to spend time in a dungeon.
His cell looked out onto the street where a wealthy Spanish noblewoman, regularly passed by. Donna Leonora Oviedo, believed to be her name, began to have feelings for him and bought him food before eventually bribing his jailers to release him.
Once free, Bolle was to return toEngland. Bolle was already married, but not wishing to embarrass the lady, he protested that the sea journey would be too arduous for her. Still she pleaded with himto allow her to go with him and eventually he had to confess that he had a wife inEnglandwho was awaiting his return. She let him go with a portrait of herself in her favourite green dress and he promised to hang it in his home.
Some months after he had left she followed him toEnglandwhere she killed herself in his garden to show him her utter devotion. John Bolle hung her picture and had his servants lay a place at the dinner table in her honour each night.
Her ghost is still said to be seen walking the garden wearing her favourite green dress in the hope that she would see John Bolle again.
Sir John died at Thorpe Hall in 1606 and was subsequently was buried inHaughChurchwhere a monument was erected to his memory.
Out Experience at Thorpe Hall
A mixed bunch of maybe 10 boys and girls, aged about thirteen years old were out in the dark of night seeking adventure.
We came along St. Mary’s Lane laughing and chatting. Upon arriving at Thorpe Hall, one, and then the rest of us climbed up and over in to the grounds, trespassing. Like a small tribe of apes we hid and lurched in the gardens.
Then I saw a green light ascending the stairs through a window of the house. Could this be the Green Lady? We were spooked and so quietly and quickly got back to the path outside of the large house to disperse.
On reflection, I reason with myself that the green figure moving so elegantly up the stairs was probably car headlights reflecting against the moss and shrubbery on the garden walls. However, I heard no engine noise at all and when I reflect upon this incident, I react with that of someone who has had a ghostly experience.
The history of Thorpe Hall
Situated in 20 acres of magnificent gardens and parkland, Thorpe Hall was built in 1584 for Sir John Bolle who was knighted for his military exploits inCadiz,Spain in 1596.
Whilst the house is actually situated within the Parish ofSouth Elkington, the historic market town of Louth is within walking distance.
The gardens and grounds, originally laid out by Gertrude Jekyll in 1906 extend in total to approximately 20 acres. Just beyond the grounds lies Hubbards Hill, recognised as being a point of beauty; “Situated in 20 acres of magnificent gardens and parkland laid out by Gertrude Jekyll in the rolling landscape of the Lincolnshire Wolds, Thorpe Hall, is without doubt, one of the most splendid country houses within Lincolnshire and abounds with history and legend,” said Jill Elkington of agents Hodgson Elkington County Register.
Sir John died at Thorpe Hall in 1606 and was subsequently was buried inHaughChurchwhere a monument was erected to his memory. The hall stayed in the hands of the Bolle family until the 18th-century and their Coat of Arms can still be seen in the wall of the Dovecote at Thorpe Hall. The main features of the Bolles family crest are three boars’ heads in bowls and are thought to have one of two meanings. The boar’s head could indicate the original family seat at Bolle Hall, Swineshead near the head of theSwyneRiver. They could also represent the character of the men as a boar, considered to be the most courageous and ferocious animal inEngland.
In time Thorpe Hall passed through a succession of esteemed residents. John Fytche son of Stephen Fytche, vicar of Louth, and a first cousin to the Tennyson brothers including Captain Julius Tennyson, nephew of the Poet Laureate, and Captain Langston Brackenbury, MP for Louth.
The present Hall stands on the ancient site of the original Hall, which during the fifteenth and early sixteenth century belonged to the merchant family of Chapman.
The Bolle family were a large Lincolnshire family with records tracing them to Gosberton, Quadring, Saltfleetby All Saints, Scampton, Elsham and Thorpe Hall, Louth. They are sometimes referred to as Bolle, sometimes Bolles.
Thorpe Hall is considered to be one of the finest country houses inLincolnshire. However, much of the present building has been altered and enlarged at various times during the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries and in 2003 was sold for £2.15million.