Norfolk, England is known for many picturesque views like towns and villages, man-made Broads, the National Park, Britain’s Magical Waterland, more than 125 miles of navigable waterways, and more.
Norfolk is also where Raynham Hall is, a country house that is said to be the home of the Brown Lady. Many people have gone to see the Brown Lady because of a famous photo that captured the said ghost inhabiting the Raynham Hall.
A photo of the Raynham Hall from the outside. (Link: https://www.historichouses.org/houses/house-listing/raynham-hall.html)
History of the Raynham Hall
The Raynham Hall has been the home of the Townshend family for almost 400 years. The Raynham Hall was built in 1619 and it was dubbed as the first of its kind in England because it was one of the most outstanding country houses during that time. According to Sir Roger Pratt, the architect, “…the symmetry of proportions of length, height and breadth which was harmonious to the rational soul.” The Raynham Hall was based on Italian form and plan and it abandoned the native design of country houses in the area. Because of how it was designed, many said that it could be easily mistaken to have been constructed a century later.
The Raynham Hall was made even better by William Kent during the Second Viscount Townshend. Kent worked on the Raynham Hall for seven years and there are beautiful extensions and designs made by him especially for the interiors.
A photo showing the inside of the Raynham Hall. (Link: https://www.raynhamrecitals.co.uk/)
The Brown Lady Of Raynham Hall
Despite the beauty of the Raynham Hall, it became even more famous because of the photo captured showing the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall descending from the stairs. The photo was taken back in 1936 and many have examined the photo saying that it is one of the best and most convincing photo throughout the years of a ghost. Although the photo was taken in 1936, there were more sightings of the ghost years back.
The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall. (Link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/24153626181)
According to reports, the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall is actually the ghost of Lady Townshend, who was married to Charles Townshend. Lady Townshend was infamous because she allegedly committed infidelity and when Charles knew about it, he punished his wife by imprisoning her at the Raynham Hall. Lady Townshend was not allowed to see anyone not even her kids. She was also not allowed to leave the premises where she was kept so she stayed there until her death.
For the past 200 years her ghost was seen wandering through Raynham Hall. Many claim that even after her death, she no longer left the premises as ordered by her husband.
Famous People Who Saw The Brown Lady Of Raynham Hall
According to King George IV, he himself saw the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall. He claims that he saw him wearing a brown dress, her face pale, and her hair disheveled. Allegedly, Lady Townshend stood beside his bed.
Colonel Loftus also said he saw the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall in 1835 when he was visiting the country house for Christmas. He said when he was on his way home, he saw a figure standing in front of him. He noted that the figure also wore a brown dress and when he tried to see who the figure was, the figure just disappeared. The Colonel stayed there until the next week and said that he once again saw the figure. He was able to look at the figure much clearer and said that she had an aristocratic look and her skin glowed although it was pale. However, what spooked him out was that the figure had her eyes gouged out.
Novelist Captain Frederick Marryat stayed at the room where the ghost was spotted frequently but did not see her during that night. Days later, he and two of his friends saw the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall walking down the stairs. The ghost was allegedly carrying a lantern and even grinned at the trio. Marryat had a gun with him and shot at the ghost and they swore that the bullet just passed through her.
Novelist Captain Frederick Marryat. (Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Marryat)
Later, more and more people claimed to have seen the ghost of the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall. One artist even draw the photo of the said figure and such artwork has been hung in the room where the ghost is frequently spotted.
The Famous 1936 Photo Of The Brown Lady Of Raynham Hall
The famous photo of the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall was taken by two photographers named Captain Provand and Indre Shira. They were at the area for the magazine called Country Life.
According to Shira, this is what happened: “Captain Provand took one photograph while I flashed the light. He was focusing for another exposure; I was standing by his side just behind the camera with the flashlight pistol in my hand, looking directly up the staircase. All at once I detected an ethereal veiled form coming slowly down the stairs. Rather excitedly, I called out sharply: ‘Quick, quick, there’s something.’ I pressed the trigger of the flashlight pistol. After the flash and on closing the shutter, Captain Provand removed the focusing cloth from his head and turning to me said: ‘What’s all the excitement about?'” When they developed the photo, the figure appeared and the famous photo was published in the magazine and was out on December 16, 1936.
The Other Story of Lady Townshend
After the photo was out in 1936, the ghost of the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall was rarely seen again.
Others claim that the Brown Lady is no longer at the Raynham Hall because she decided to spend her time at the Sandringham House. Here, she looks younger and happier as opposed to the old, sad figure seen at the Raynham Hall.
Dorothy Walpole. (Link: https://www.pinterest.ph/pin/495466396482418609/?lp=true)
Before Lady Townshend was rumored to be having an affair, she has her own story to tell. The Brown Lady, whose real name is Dorothy Walpole, was one of the most beautiful women during her time. Her brother became Britain’s first Prime Minister thus her family’s fortune. She and Charles fell in love as children but Dorothy’s father objected to their relationship. Charles ended up marrying a woman named Elizabeth but she died at a young age. Charles then married Dorothy in July 1713 and they had 11 children together.
Many said that she died because of smallpox and her husband tried to look for the best doctors to cure her but nothing worked. This was the other story believed by others as opposed to the theory that she died of old age and was imprisoned at the Raynham Hall because of her affair.
Which story of the Brown Lady do you believe? Do you think the photo was fake? Let us know in the comments below!