Of all the great houses of Wiltshire, few are as famous, as grand or as haunted as Longleat House. The house is also remarkable as it has been home to the same family since it was built in 1568.
The estate named after the stream of Long Leat was a priory during the middle ages, but after the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII the land was bought by Sir John Thynne, a land owner and dealer of genius. Sir John paid just £53 for the estate, and then proceeded to spend the then colossal sum of £8,016 on the house.
The house that was completed in 1580 has remained remarkably unchanged ever since, though the state rooms were updated in 1807. Longleat remains the earliest and most complete example of a Renaissance house in England. The architect, Robert Smythson abandoned most features of the traditional English medieval manor, though he kept a Great Hall. Instead he built a symmetrical house on a rectangular pattern with large glass windows set into plain stone facades.
A second ghost lurks in the Red Library. Appropriately enough this phantom sits quietly reading and bothers nobody. A third spectre is reported to run along corridors at night banging on the doors as if in great distress. No stories are attached to these phantoms. As with so many ghosts, they just appear, go about their business and then vanish again leaving the hapless human witness none the wiser.
from HAUNTED PLACES OF WILTSHIRE by Rupert Matthews