You may know about the television series and movie called ‘Downton Abbey,’ but those exterior shots you see of Highclere Castle, the real-life version, is said to be ‘haunted by footman’s ghost.’
It seems the older a building is, the more likely it is to have ghost stories associated with it – especially when that building is a castle.
The Ghost of Highclere Castle
The history of Highclere Castle goes all the way back to the ninth century and it has its fair share of ghost stories. Highclere Castle was initially built in 1679.
It underwent renovations between 1842-1849. The estate sits on 5000 acres in Hampshire, England.
The building was the main filming location for the Downton Abbey feature film.
But the site has a long history and that may be the origin of some of the castles rumored ghosts.
In the ninth century, it was a medieval palace for the bishops of Winchester. King Edward to spent time there in 1320.
Reconstruction occurred and was completed in 1679 after being purchased by Sir Robert Sawyer, the Attorney General to Charles II and James II.
He is also a direct ancestor of the current Earl. The current owner is George Herbert, 8th Earl of Carnarvon.
Lady Fiona Carnarvon claims the castle was once home to the ghost of a footman who killed himself. She recalls that once down in the castle’s basement, she saw a figure dressed in black. She was in the basement posing for photographs. She was accompanied by her three-year-old son Edward, who was driving a toy car.
“I turned and saw a man coming towards us out of the gloom,” Lady Carnarvon said. “He seemed slightly undefined. I simply pushed [Edward] along and burst through the swinging doors. The figure paused at the doors and I just hurried along.”
Frightened by the experience, Lady Carnarvon brought in an Anglican monk to bless the entire building. She believes the blessing worked, as she says she has never seen the operation again.
“I assume it worked,” Lady Carnarvon said. “But I don’t think the area is necessarily wholly without ghosts.”
Other Ghost Sightings
Several other people claimed to have seen ghosts or had other paranormal encounters while they were within the castle’s walls.
Lady Carnarvon claims that her father once told her he saw a “well-dressed lady” roaming the halls.
“It’s an old house so there are the inevitable groans and stories,” Lady Carnarvon said.