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After 600 years of historical drama you’d think that Knole House would have it all, but there was something about this place that doesn’t ring true. After centuries of fluctuating prosperity the Sackville lineage still resides there, but someone or should I say something is missing.
It would be naive to suggest that no skeletons exist in the Sackvilles aristocratic closet, but to say there isn’t a single ghost at Knole is positively un-English.
Head Gardener to the current Lord Sackville, Justin Wilson reveals a different story. In 1456 Knole manor house became an Archbishops palace, after being bought from Sir William Fiennes, Lord Say and Sel for just over £266. The original buildings and chapel still exist along with a small enclosed garden which today is now part of the much larger walled gardens.
“…Its here when you’re working in the small archbishops garden that that you begin to feel something out of the ordinary. It’s particularly pronounced as you walk through the archway at the top of the garden when you face the medieval chapel with its impressive stained glass window. You always get the feeling of being nervous or unsettled here but its something you just get used to. However if you are still here when it gets dark you often get a distinct and sometimes overpowering feeling of being watched. Several times I have had to finish what I was doing to go and work elsewhere in the larger gardens…”
Kole was originally in the hands of the Catholic church until after Henry VIII's reformation in 1534 when the ownership of Knole reverted back to the crown. However, if you are looking for evidence of our ghostly watcher then you need look no further than under the original archbishop’s palace! Situated in the dark underbelly of this magnificent home could be the clues that point to our ghostly watchers origins, notably a number of cellars fitted with heavy doors and iron locks. These makeshift prisons probably became quite useful when it was needed to maintain catholic discipline. How many Protestants ended their days with the misery of forced confinement in these damp and squalid conditions?
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