Thorpe Hall - The Lady in the Green Dress

in Hall

Thorpe Hall in Louth, Lincolnshire dates back to 1596. It was originally owned by Sir John Bolles. During an expedition with Sir Walter Raleigh to Cadiz he was captured by the Spaniards and spent time in a dungeon. A wealthy Spanish noblewoman, Donna Leonora Oviedo, passed by his cell which looked onto the street. She bought him food and eventually bribed his jailers to release him.

When he went back to England she begged him to let her follow. He refused and told her he was happily married. She let him go with a portrait of herself in her favourite green dress and he promised to hang it in his home.

Some months after he had left she followed him to England and killed herself in Thorpe Park Gardens. John Bolles hung her picture and laid a place at the dinner table in her honour.

She can be seen walking the Garden some nights in the hope that she should see John Bolles again. She is the lady in the Green Dress.

About Thorpe Hall - Situated in 20 acres of magnificent gardens and parkland laid out by Gertrude Jekyll. The present Hall was built in 1584 for Sir John Bolle. Sir John died at Thorpe Hall in 1606. He was buried in Haugh Church where a monument was erected to his memory. After the death of Sir John's widow in 1647, his son, Sir Charles Bolle, felt that the Green Lady's personality still breathed at the hall. In time Thorpe Hall passed through a succession of owners to John Fytche son of Stephen Fytche, vicar of Louth, and a first cousin to the Tennyson brothers.

In 1872 John Lewis Fytche visited London and saw the church of St Mildred's in the Poultry, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, being demolished.

He arranged for the church to be transported back to Lincolnshire to build a private chapel. He had all the stones crated up and taken to the banks of the Thames.

From there they were lowered on to barges and taken out to the North Sea, up the coastline to Tetney and on to the Louth canal.

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Thorpe Hall - The Lady in the Green Dress

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This article was published on 2010/03/31