Blickling Hall was originally owned by Sir John Fastolf of Caister. He became a rich man on the account of the Hundred Years’ War and his coat of arms can still be found displayed in the Hall. After his ownership (which lasted from 1380-1459), Blickling became the property of the Boleyn family and the home of Sir Thomas Boleyn and his wife Elizabeth from 1499 to 1505. People believed that their two children, George and Mary were born in the hall. The couple’s most famous daughter who would later become a queen, Anne Boleyn, was born before 1505 and people also believe that she too, was born in the Hall.
The current Blickling Hall which people see now was built on the ruins of the property owned by the Boleyns. The current structure was designed by Robert Lyminge in 1616, an architect of the Hatfield House. During the Second World War, the house was requisitioned and it served as the Officers Mess of the RAF Oulton. The house and the entire estate were then passed to The National Trust. The house was de-requisitioned after the war and was let to tenants until the year 1960. It was finally opened to the public in 1962. It has been renamed the Blickling Hall, Gardens and Park and has remained open and in the care of The National Trust to this day.
Ghost of Blickling Hall
Anne Boleyn is undoubtedly Blickling Hall’s most famous ghost. She is said to have been seen dressed all in white, carrying her severed and dripping head as she arrives by coach, also driven by a headless horseman and four headless horses, to the hall. She glides into the hall and rooms the countless corridors until daybreak. You can read more on Anne Boleyn’s Ghost here.
Another ghostly inhabitant of Blickling is Anne’s father, Thomas Boleyn. He engineered his daughter’s marriage to England’s monarch. It is said that because of his doings, he lost his daughter and his son and as penance, he is required to cross a dozen bridges before cockcrow for a thousand years. His route is from Blickling to Aylsham to Burg to Buxton Coltishall to Meyton to Oxnead and finally to Wroxham.
Just like his daughter, he was also beheaded and he carried his head under his arms. A flame is also said to gush from his mouth, instead of blood.
The headless apparitions of the Boleyns are supposedly not the only ghosts that haunt this great mansion. Sir John Fastolfe, the 15th Century knight who Shakespear’s Falstaff was based on is said to haunt Blickling hall too. He has been seen throughout the building. There have also been reports of the “Grey Lady” floating through walls.
Most of the activity centres around May 19, the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution.