brown lady of raynham hall


Brown Lady of Raynham Hall

The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall is a ghost, which reportedly haunts Raynham Hall in Norfolk. It became one of the most famous hauntings in Great Britain when photographers from Country Life magazine claimed to have captured its image. The “Brown Lady” is so named because of the brown brocade dress it is claimed she wears. 
According to legend, the “Brown Lady of Raynham Hall” is the ghost of Lady Dorothy Walpole (1686–1726), the sister of Robert Walpole, generally regarded as the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. The story says that when Townshend discovered that his wife had committed adultery with Lord Wharton he punished her by locking her in her rooms in the family home, Raynham Hall. According to Mary Wortley Montagu, Dorothy was in fact entrapped by the Countess of Wharton. She invited Dorothy over to stay for a few days knowing that her husband would never allow her to leave it, not even to see her children. She remained at Raynham Hall until her death in 1726 from smallpox. Read More | Edit

Brown Lady of Raynham Hall

In 1936, a photographer taking pictures of the 300-year-old Raynham Hall in Norfolk, U.K., captured an image of an apparition floating down the stairs. It’s one of the most famous ghost photos ever taken, although some experts believe it was caused by double exposure.

The manor, covering an area of 7,000 acres (2,833 hectares), has a long history of being haunted, and the BBC notes that the ghost may be of Lady Dorothy Townshend, the wife of the second viscount of the estate. She died in 1726, supposedly of smallpox, after having an affair, which her husband Lord Townshend had learned about before her death. She is said to still wander the manor dressed in brown. (Image Credit: Photo by Hubert Provand, published in Country Life Magazine in 1936, courtesy of Wikimedia)

Image Credit: Photo by Hubert Provand, published in Country Life Magazine in 1936, courtesy of Wikimedia

The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall Taken in September of 1936 by Captain Provand and Indre Shira, this is perhaps one of the most famous ghost photos ever taken. Said to be the ghost of Lady Dorothy Townshead, who died in the mid-1700s, the ghost was spotted numerous times before the photograph, usually alleged to be wearing a brown dress, hence the name.

6 of the Most Famous Ghost Pictures Ever Taken

The paranormal is famously hard to capture, when someone claims to have a photograph of a ghost it is usually trick photography or has been digitally enhanced. However some photographic evidence of ghosts do exist and this collection of photographic evidence has stood up to scrutiny and stood the test of time. Without further ado here are our top six most famous ghost pictures ever taken.

Lord Combermere Ghost

This photograph of the library in Combermere Abbey was taken by Sybell Corbet in 1891 . The figure of a man can faintly be seen sitting in the chair on the left. His head, collar and right arm on the armrest can be clearly made out. This is reputed to be the ghost of Lord Combermere.

The second Viscount Lord Combermere died in 1891, after being struck by one of London’s first motor cabs which was electrically powered. While Sybell Corbet was taking the above photograph, Lord Combermere’s funeral was taking place over four miles away.

Young Girl at the Window

Photographed by Tony O’Rahilly at Wem Town Hall in Shropshire, England while it was on fire. There was no one in the building at the time, yet this photo shows a young girl peering out. The photo was examined by Dr. Vernon Harrison, the former president of the Royal Photographic Society. Harrison deemed that the photo had not been tampered with and was therefore genuine.

In 1677, a young girl named Jane Churn accidentally set fire to a thatched roof with a candle, setting off a blaze that burned down many of the town’s old timber houses. Several people believe that her ghost has haunted the area ever since and witnesses claim to have seen her on a few occasions over the years. It is generally believed that this ghost is her.

Corroboree Rock Spirit

Taken by Reverend R.S. Blance at Corroboree Rock, at Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia in 1959, this famous photograph appears to show a woman holding her hands toward her face, peering out into the distance.

The Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove

Taken on August 10th, 1991 during a paranormal investigation by the Ghost Research Society of Bachelor?s Grove Cemetery, which is near a suburb of Midlothian, Illinois.

Back Seat Driver

This famous ghost photograph was taken in 1959 by Mable Chinnery. After visiting the grave of her mother, Mable turned and took a picture of her husband, who was waiting for her in the car. What Mable didn’t expect was her mother coming along for the ride!

The Brown Lady

The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall, reportedly haunts the great house in Norfolk, England. This is of the country’s most famous hauntings primarily due to the captured image of the ‘Brown Lady’ on the staircase. The photograph which would become one of the most famous paranormal photographs of all time was taken by photographers from the Country Life magazine that was at Raynham Hall photographing the staircase.

Starter Ghost Hunting Kit with “Ghost Tech”


The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall is known as the world’s most famous ghost photo. The two photographers saw the misty figure descending the staircase and managed to capture this amazing photograph. The full report appeared in Country Life Magazine.

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The famous Brown Lady of Raynham Hall. The ghost was first referenced in 1835 by Lucia C. Stone. Lord Charles Townsend had invited a number of guests to the hall for the Christmas festivities. Among them was a man called Colonel Loftus, who, with another guest called Hawkins, witnessed a figure in a brown dress. He also ran into the apparition on the main stairs. He described her as an aristocratic looking lady with one horrific feature: where her eyes should have been there were only empty sockets, highlighted in a face that flowed with an unearthly light. The captain drew a sketch of the apparition, and others also said that they had witnessed the ghost.

The Annual Gibbetball is held every year on October the 31st, the only day of the year a ghost is allowed to venture from his or her place of haunting. Every October the 1st, the ghosts of magical haunts receive a black envelope with a glowing seal, carried to them by a skeletal owl that smells of mothballs and dust. In find, in dark, curvy letters, is the handwriting of Lord Gibbet Crowborough, a wizard who died many years ago. In their letter, they shall find that they’ve been invited to his annual Gibbetball, held in St. Mary’s churchyard, in North-east England, near Whitby.

As the sun sinks, spectres from all over the United Kingdom arrive, waiting for their host to make his grand entrance. And as the last beam of sun is obscured by the horizon, a great, black hearse explodes from the ground, lit by green, fiery torches and driven by a headless coachman, whose cloak cape ripples about him. The phantom crowd cheers and laughs, all clapping their ghostly hands. The hearse opens, and a group of mourners lift the coffin inside, and out from it rises the host, the Lord Crowborough.

As the party begins, the sound of toads, and screeches of cats fill the graveyard, a band of ghosts moaning delightfully. One might see the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall casually drinking a goblet of thestral blood with the ghost of King Charles I, whose body holds his head and feeds him the drink somewhat like an infant. And perhaps near the church one could see the Black Abbot of Prestbury, who speaks of the time he arrived in November for the Gibbetball, a month late!

“And much to my surprise,” he hoots, “I was photographed by a muggle!” The Monk of Minsden claps the ghost on the shoulder and laughs with him, Anne Boleyn trying quite hard not to lose her head. Off in the distance, one might see the famous Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, or Nearly Headless Nick as the students of Hogwarts call him, striking up a conversation with the captain of the Flying Dutchmen, whose ship lies anchored in the night sky, hanging eerily, fading in and out of view, often obscured by a large cloud.

“My dear, I miss the kitchen,” says a spectral lady in red, who is often seen at Belgrave Hall, accompanied by the smell of food when she walks at midnight, “I suppose you don’t?” The famous Girl in Flames, who was set alight in 1677 laughs, a few sparks floating out of her throat as she burns idly, “oh, no, I do not miss it all!” the small girl smiled brightly, only rivaled by the patch flames that licked her.

And as the clock nears midnight, the party slowly dissolves, the Lord of Combermere flying away in his favourite chair, back to his Abbey in Shropshire, and the Ghost of Lady Jane Grey hooks arms with Catherine Howard, and they both wave as they float back to the Tower. And to end the night, the Lord Crowborough reveals a long, bent trumpet and blares a low, eerie moan into the night, until his song fades into the sound of the croaks of toads and strings of crickets.

Mr. E. Boggis, 5th of October, 2014.