Anne Argall, Augustine Steward, Barking Abbey, Clement Sisley, Eastbury Manor House, Estburie Hall, National Trust England
There’s a photograph making the rounds on the Internet of a supposed apparition of a young girl peering through a window at Eastbury Manor House. The image is too blurry to definitively state that Joanne Puffett and Diane De-Groot captured a ghost in the photograph. However, the location is worth discussing.
Barking Abbey, located in Barking, London, England, was a large monastery established in 666 AD. It remained viable until King Henry VIII dissolved all British monasteries in 1539. Only the Curfew Tower remains today. In 1551, the land was sold off. Clement Sisley purchased a plot in 1557 and built the first red brick Elizabethan gentry house in the area. Construction was from 1560-1573. The home was originally called Estburie Hall.
Clement Sisley (1504-1578) and his much younger wife Anne Argall (1547-1610) lived in the home with their 4 young children. Even though Clement was of the gentry class (wealthy landowner who lived totally on rental income), he was in serious debt when he died in 1578. Anne sought financial security through her second husband, Augustine Steward (d. 1597). Ownership of Eastbury remained in the family until 1629.
Ownership of Eastbury fell through many hands over the centuries. The National Trust (England) purchased the home in 1918 and restored it. The home is an H-shape with an inner courtyard. Although most of the land once owned by the Sisley family has long been sold, the house does boast two gardens: a Tudor herb garden and a walled garden. The walled garden houses bee-boles. “Bole” is a Scottish word for recess in a wall. Rows of recessed bee boles help bees proliferate.
But the question of the day is whether Eastbury Manor House is haunted. It probably is. The most familiar legend tells of the house being haunted by a young girl that only women can see. That certainly fits the narrative of the photograph. However, there is a lesser-known variation where it is a young girl and a woman who haunt the dwelling.
I’m curious about whom might the girl—and woman—be. Records from the 1500s are scarce, possibly lost to fire. Luckily, the house does hold paranormal events. At this time, though, the home is closed due to COVID. (Note: Joanne and Diane merely walked outside the house, where they took the picture.) Check the website, https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/eastbury-manor-house, to see when the home reopens. And I will add the house to my bucket list.
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