Holland House in Holland Park, with his severed head tucked firmly
underneath his arm, the phantom Sir William Rich, Earl of Holland
that haunts here is that of a previous tenant, beheaded for his
Royalist sympathies in 1649.
ghost will suddenly manifest from a secret place and stroll about
inspecting the ruins, seeing not the crumbling decay but the majestic
splendour of the art filled corridors and opulently furnished staterooms
of his day. Before disappearing back the way he came, his headless
spectral manifestations are always marked on the floor by the appearance
of three drops of blood.
the first lord traditionally “issues forth at midnight from behind
a secret door, and walks slowly through the scenes of his former
triumphs, with his head in his hand”, it is possible that the spectral
visitant himself is haunted by a woman in a long white flowing dress.
Seen by some, she is possibly his wife Lady Isabel or his mother-in-law
Lady Dorothy Cope the wife of the first owner and the man who commissioned
Holland House, Sir Walter Cope.