The Secret Door and Haunted Library at Felbrigg Hall

National Trust Images/David Kirkham / Via nationaltrust.org.uk
National Trust Images/David Kirkham / Via nationaltrust.org.uk

What would a Gothic Style Library be without a resident ghost?  At first glance, Felbrigg Hall, one of the finest country houses in East Anglia, seems like an unlikely candidate for specters or spooks. It is situated amidst vast parklands in North Norfolk. The Great Wood features 400 acres of oaks, sweet chestnuts and conifers.

National Trust Images/David Kirkham / Via nationaltrust.org.uk
National Trust Images/David Kirkham / Via nationaltrust.org.uk

The dark, dusty and imposing library is another matter. Former resident, owner, and ardent bibliophile William Windham III (1750-1810) is said to still enjoy a good book, seated by a roaring blaze. Windham’s passion for books led to his demise. While attempting to rescue a friend’s library from fire, he sustained injuries that ultimately proved fatal.

Nadia Mackenzie Photography
Nadia Mackenzie Photography

As he returned to his home in Pall Mall one summer evening in 1809, he noticed a fire blazing in the house of a friend. Knowing the home contained a valuable library, he immediately formed a rescue party. Windham and three others saved most of the valuable manuscripts.  During the library removal, however, Windham fell, and bruised his hip.  The bruise became a tumor, which ultimately required surgery. Windham did not survive.

Art Hakker Photography    The Book of Secrets. Taken in the Library at Felbrigg Hall
Art Hakker Photography
The Book of Secrets. Taken in the Library at Felbrigg Hall

Locals say Windham’s spirit will appear if a specific combination of books is laid out. What they fail to mention is that the library includes around 5,000 volumes. Finding the right combination to summon Windham would take dedication, since the record of his favorites is lost.

Close up of books in the library at Felbrigg Hall. Made in to the library by William Windham II in 1752-5 to house the books collected on his Grand Tour.
Close up of books in the library at Felbrigg Hall. Made in to the library by William Windham II in 1752-5 to house the books collected on his Grand Tour.
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