The Ghost of Catherine Parr

Unlike the prolific ghost of Anne Boleyn, the ghost of Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth and last wife reportedly haunts only two locations: Sudeley Castle and Snape Castle.

Sudeley Castle

After Henry VIII’s death in 1547, Catherine Parr married Thomas Seymour and moved to Sudeley Castle to await the birth of the couple’s first child. Catherine was 36 years of age, had been married three times before and was now wed to a man she loved and pregnant for the first time.

This should have been a blissful time in her life but instead, tragedy struck. After the birth of baby Mary on August 30th 1548, Catherine fell ill with puerperal fever and sadly died on the 5th September. She is buried in the chapel of St. Mary at Sudeley.

Chapel of St. Mary at Sudeley

Eleven years earlier, ‘childbed fever’ as it was often called, also claimed the life of her sister in law, Jane Seymour.

Unfortunately, Thomas Seymour’s life at Sudeley was also short lived as on the 20th March 1549 he was executed for Treason and other crimes against the King and Crown.

So little Mary Seymour was left an orphan. Her fate has been debated for centuries but it seems likely that she died very young as she disappears from history at around the age of two.

Catherine Parr has been seen roaming the grounds of the picturesque Sudeley Castle dressed in green seemingly searching for someone or something. Could she be looking to be reunited with her infant daughter?

In another sighting, a maid, Margaret Parker, working in the castle reported seeing a tall, beautiful woman in a long green dress looking out of a window. She mistook the woman for an artist that was working in the castle on that particular day. As it turns out, the artist was in a different part of the house and nowhere near the window where the woman was sighted. Margaret Parker believes this to be the ghost of Catherine Parr.

The following video contains a re-enactment of this sighting filmed at Sudeley Castle.


Fast Tube by Casper

Snape Castle

At Snape Castle, the ghost of a young girl, with long fair hair wearing a blue Tudor style dress is also said to be the ghost of Catherine Parr.

Her second husband, John Neville, 3rd Baron of Latymer, used Snape Castle as his ‘chief house’ during his marriage to Catherine.  So it’s likely that she would have spent a large part of her married life here.

Catherine’s ghost is reported as being a “happy spirit” (Brooks, Pg. 162) unlike the more forlorn spectre at Sudeley Castle.

Perhaps the different apparitions reflect two very different times in the life of Queen Catherine Parr.

Catherine Parr

References & Sources:
Brooks J.A. Britain’s Haunted Heritage, 1990.
Snape Castle Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudeley_Castle
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Comments

  1. Karina says:

    Fascinating post and video link. I’d be interested to see more of that series on Haunted Castles of England, it’s quite engrossing, and I hadn’t heard those stories before. I could really relate when he spoke about the serenity of the atmosphere at Sudeley. The “feel”of the place surely echoes the demeanour of its former mistress, by all reports. It is such an exquisite place. We saw some amazing sights on our trip last year, but Sudeley holds a special place in my heart.

  2. kate says:

    Wasnt Thomas Seymour a piece of work !

    • Natalie says:

      He was a certainly a piece of work! Ambitious and reckless to the very end. Whether Elizabeth said this or not, I think it’s very fitting: “Today died a man of much wit, and very little judgement.”

  3. Savarnah says:

    I believe that even though there are two reported spectres, they are both the same corageous woman: Katherine Parr.

    Another fantastic website to find out more on the wives are;

    http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com
    or
    http://www.elizabethfiles.com

    My dear friend Claire Ridgeway posts the articles on there, tell her you know Savarnah Wilkie and that you wish for updates and so on.

    Best wishes to all!

    Savarnah Wilkie

  4. Lady Meg says:

    Wonderful little blog about Katherine. I will post this on the Facebook page for Queen Catherine. Thanks!

  5. liz says:

    There are some who think Seymour murdered Catherine. When her body was exhumed, fairly recently, it was found to contain large quantities of arsenic. And he was pretty quick to pursue Elizabeth and Mary, wasn’t he? I do wonder if he might have been a sociopath? It’s said one in every four people is, so no doubt they had them in the 16th century and I think he fits the bill!

  6. michelle says:

    this is a great history on catherine parr, i study the tutors and have them on dvd on the life on henry the 8th and his wives. great website.

  7. JROlson says:

    Any info on the Cath Parr painting fron Shirburn Castle with the glass plate and auburn locks of hair matching the color on painting? Iam aware of Cath Parr burial site disturbed during the civil war and locks of her hair taken by??? before she was reburied(234?yrs) after her death. 14-15 yrs she was lost before being rediscovered and returned to Sudeley for proper entombment. Thanks PS Original painting when she was Queen

  8. Amy Licence says:

    Great post. I find it very interesting that she was reportedly very bitter on her death bed and saying she had been mistreated. Was she conscious and aware of what she was saying, I wonder, or whether it was her fever speaking. She might have been referring to the birth or perhaps to the whole Seymour/Elizabeth scenario, which she had been suppressing ? There were rumours that Elizabeth bore Seymour a child around this time but then there are always rumours, aren’t there?

  9. Liz says:

    When I was a child, my family and I decided to stop by this
    Castel for a quick peek. My mother and I where walking in the halls
    when I decided to let go of her hand because
    I saw a beautiful woman walking the halls. I remember this
    l woman walking by me quickly wearing a long dark red dress.
    She never noticed me staring at her but I could tell she knew I was there.
    She was very much in a hurry and I ran after which proceeded to her walking
    Through the wall. My mother is a very sceptical woman but when I described my
    Sighin, it scared her so bad we left immediately. I sometimes dream of this
    Woman and hope she someday finds peace.

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