Thursday, 29 July 2010

The Green Lady of Swanbourne, Bucks



The charming village of Swanbourne is, for many, the typical Buckinghamshire scene. The old Manor House has stone mullioned windows, scarcely having changed since it was built in the 16th century. The nearby cottages of Smithfield Close date back as far and form a picturesque scene of thatch and low eaves. Everything about the village clusters around the Winslow Road, which runs past manor and church. It is here, too, that the ghost is seen.

The phantom of Swanbourne is an elegant lady dressed all in green. She is seen in the main street, walking quietly towards the Church of St Swithin with her head bowed and hands clasped. There is no doubt about the identity of this Green Lady for the ghost was first seen only a few weeks after the lady’s death and was instantly recognised by several villagers who had known her in life.

The ghost is that of Elizabeth Adams, wife of Thomas Adams. The Adams family has been connected with Swanbourne for generations. Only the Fremantles, one of whom fought alongside Nelson at Trafalgar, can rival the Adams family for the length of time spent in and around Swanbourne.

This particular Adams had a sad and tragic life. She married into the Adams family young, bearing the handsome Thomas four children. Everything seemed set fair for a long and happy life, but in October 1627 disaster struck. Thomas was waylaid by thieves who took not only his valuables and money, but also his life. The widow Elizabeth never really recovered from the shock of hearing of her beloved husband’s death. She was devoted to her children and brought them up in the village as well as anyone could hope, but the joy had gone from her life. Every evening she would be seen walking towards the church to pay her respects at the tomb of her husband.

Gradually poor Elizabeth faded away. As her children grew older, she seemed to lose the will to live. Finally, she slipped away quietly in her sleep. Elizabeth’s body was brought to St Swithin’s to lie alongside her husband for eternity. And then her ghost began to be seen, following the route she had taken every evening in life.

And she takes it still.


This is an extract from Haunted Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire by Rupert Matthews

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