Charlton House in Greenwich, south east London is renowned as the home of Sir William Langhorne, who lived there from his return to England in 1680 until his death 1715 at the age of 85.
Sir William was born into a wealthy family in 1631, and initially trained as a barrister, before inheriting an interest in the East India Company after the death of his father. It was 1668 before he became a Baronet. When he came home to England in 1680 he purchased Charlton house and began searching a wife with whom he could settle down, and most importantly, who could produce an heir for him.
He chose Grace, the Dowager Viscountess Chaworth. She was wealthy in her own right and suitable in many ways, but she lived for less than a year after the wedding, and died without producing the heir.
His next choice was Mary Aston, whom he married in 1714. She was 17, he was 85. She was not to be given the opportunity to provide an heir for Sir William, since he died only a few months after the wedding. His extensive fortune passed his his nephew, while the Barontcy became extinct. Sir William was buried in the nearby Charlton Parish Church.
With this history behind it, it is no surprise that Charlton house should be haunted. Sir Williams spirit is said to still wander the hallways of the building, he is still seeking an heir. Girls brave enough to remain in the building overnight have found their doorknobs turning, as Sir William tries to gain entry. Other ladies have experienced what they describe as ‘having their bottom pinched’ by invisible fingers.
Sir William does not seem to be the only ghost to inhabit Charlton house. There have been many unexplained occurrences over the years. Personal belongings vanishing, only to appear somewhere else, entirely unexpectedly, and the lift moving without explanation, are just two of these.
There have also been sightings of a grey lady carrying a baby. This is thought to be connected with the discover of a mummified body of a baby discovered in the fireplace some years ago.
When all of this is combined with a distinctly oppressive feeling in the cellars and attic of the building, Charlton house is one destination that always offers the possibility of the unexpected. A visit here is always rewarding.