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Holland House

      In Holland House in Holland Park, with his severed head tucked firmly underneath his arm, the phantom Sir William Rich, Earl of Holland that haunts here is that of a previous tenant, beheaded for his Royalist sympathies in 1649.

      His ghost will suddenly manifest from a secret place and stroll about inspecting the ruins, seeing not the crumbling decay but the majestic splendour of the art filled corridors and opulently furnished staterooms of his day. Before disappearing back the way he came, his headless spectral manifestations are always marked on the floor by the appearance of three drops of blood.

      While the first lord traditionally “issues forth at midnight from behind a secret door, and walks slowly through the scenes of his former triumphs, with his head in his hand”, it is possible that the spectral visitant himself is haunted by a woman in a long white flowing dress. Seen by some, she is possibly his wife Lady Isabel or his mother-in-law Lady Dorothy Cope the wife of the first owner and the man who commissioned Holland House, Sir Walter Cope.



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Holland House
Photograph © Anthony Bliss 2004