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Queen Elizabeth his wife accompanied him, and on his
home and had it interred in a mortuary chapel at Bisham. Subsequently she married John, Lord Russell.
By her first husband the Lady Hoby is said to have had a son who, when quite young, displayed the most intense antipathy to every kind of study; and such was his repugnance to writing, that in his fits of obstinacy he would wilfully and deliberately blot his writing-books. This conduct enraged his mother, whose whole family were noted for their scholastic attainments, and who, like her three sisters, Lady Burleigh, Lady Bacon, and Lady Killigrew, was not only an excellent classical scholar, but was also married to a man of literary note, that she chastised the unfortunate lad with all the violence at that period permitted to, and practised by, parents on their children. She beat him, according to the old legend, again and again on the shoulders and head, and at last so severely and unmercifully that he died.
It is commonly reported that, as a punishment for her unnatural cruelty, her spirit is doomed to haunt Bisham Abbey, the house where this cruel act of manslaughter was perpetrated. Several persons have seen the apparition, the likeness of which, both as regards feature and dress, to a pale portrait of her ladyship in antique widow's weeds still remaining at Bisham, is said
through a certain chamber, in the act of washing bloodstains from her hands, and on some occasions her
apparition is said to have been seen in the grounds of the old mansion.
A very remarkable occurrence in connection with this narrative took place some years ago, according to Dr. Lee, author of Glimpses of the Supernatural. “In taking down an old oak window-shutter of the latter part of the sixteenth century,” he states that " a packet of antique copy-books of that period were discovered pushed into the wall between the joists of the skirting, and several of these books on which young Hobby's name was written were covered with blots, thus supporting the ordinary tradition.”
In the second volume of Hitchen’s History of Cornwall is given in extenso a most remarkable account of an apparition that is believed to have appeared in that county. The scene of its appearance was a place called Botaden, or Botathen, in the parish of South Petherwin, near Launceston. Various authors have alluded to this marvellous, and, all things considered, inexplicable story ; but as Hitchen appears to have derived his account direct from one of the persons chiefly concerned—that is to say, from the Rev. John Ruddle, Head Master of the Grammar School at Launceston, Vicar of Alternon, and Prebendary of Exeter, it is better to follow him.
story; but are from one of the
Rev. John 1
“Young Mr. Bligh,” says Hitchen, "a lad of bright parts and of no common attainments, became on a sudden pensive, dejected, and melancholy. His friends, observing the change without being able to discover the cause, attributed his behaviour to laziness, an aversion to school, or to some other motive which they suspected he was ashamed to avow. He was, however, induced to inform his brother, after some time, that in a field through which he passed to and from school”—that is to say, to and from Launceston Grammar School, of which, as has already been observed, Mr. Ruddle was Head Master—"he was invariably met by the apparition of a woman, whom he personally knew while living, and who had been dead about eight years.” Young Bligh is said to have been at this time about sixteen. “Ridicule, threats, and persuasions were alike used in vain by the family to induce him to dismiss these absurd ideas. Mr. Ruddle was, however, sent for, to whom the lad ingenuously communicated the time, manner, and frequency of this appearance. It was in a field called Higher Broomfield. The apparition, he said, appeared dressed in female attire, met him two or three times while he passed through the field, glided hastily by him, but never spoke. He had thus been occasion. ally met about two months before he took any particular notice of it; at length the appearance became more frequent, meeting him both morning and evening, but always in the same field, yet invariably moving out of the path when it came close to him. He often spoke, but could never get any reply. To avoid this unwel
come visitor he forsook the field, and went to school and returned from it through a lane, in which place, between the quarry pack and nursery, it always met him. Unable to disbelieve the evidence of his own senses, or to obtain credit with any of his family, he prevailed upon Mr. Ruddle to accompany him to the place..
"'I arose,' says this clergyman, 'the next morning, and went with him. The field to which he led me I guessed to be about twenty acres, in an open country, and about three furlongs from any house. We went into the field, and had not gone a third part before the spectrum, in the shape of a woman, with all the circumstances he had described the day before, so far as the suddenness of its appearance and transition would permit me to discover, passed by.
“'I was a little surprised at it, and though I had taken up a firm resolution to speak to it, I had not the power, nor durst I look back; yet I took care not to show any fear to my pupil and guide, and therefore, telling him that I was satisfied in the truth of his statement we walked to the end of the field and returned nor did the ghost meet us that time but once.
“. On the 27th July, 1665, I went to the haunted field by myself, and walked the breadth of it without any encounter. I then returned and took the other walk, and then the spectre appeared to me, much about the same place in which I saw it when the young gentleman was with me. It appeared to move swifter than before, and seemed to be about ten feet from me on my right hand, insomuch that I had not time to :speak to it, as I had determined with myself beforehand. The evening of this day, the parents, the son, and myself, being in the chamber where I lay, I proposed to them our going all together to the place next morning. We accordingly met at the stile we had appointed; thence we all four walked into the field together. We had not gone more than half the field before the ghost made its appearance. It then came over the stile just before us, and moved with such rapidity that by the time we had gone six or seven steps it passed by. I immediately turned my head and ran after it, with the young man by my side. We saw it pass over the stile at which we entered, and no farther. I stepped upon the hedge at one place and the young man at another, but we could discern nothing; whereas I do aver that the swiftest horse in England could not have conveyed himself out of sight in that short space of time. Two things I observed in this day's appearance : first, a spaniel dog, which had followed the company unregarded, barked and ran away as the spectrum passed by; whence it is easy to conclude that it was not our fear or fancy which made the apparition. Secondly, the motion of the spectrum was not gradatim or by steps, or moving of the feet, but by a kind of gliding, as children upon ice, or as a boat down a river, which punctually answers the description the ancients give of the motion of these Lamures. This ocular evidence clearly convinced, but withal strangely affrighted, the old gentleman and his wife. They well knew this woman, Dorothy Durant, in