Gunpowder Plot - Ightham Mote - Kent
Ightham Mote is supposedly a
key location that lead to the downfall of Guy Fawkes in his gunpowder plot.
Ightham Mote is a beautiful fourteenth century manor house, situated in Sevenoaks, Kent.
Over the years it has been home to many famous families and from 1591 it was the home of the Selby's.
Some time in 1872, or so one version of the story goes, workmen were called in to deal with an unexplained draught in the tower at Ightham Mote.
Try as they might, the owners had never been able to overcome the coldness of the air in that part of the property.
It was, according to those who felt it, an unearthly chill, which normal heat could not affect.
Behind a panel, the workmen were to make a discovery that would chill them to the bone.
For as they removed it, they uncovered a small sealed-up space, just large enough to accommodate a chair and the skeleton of a woman seated in it.
The skeleton was reputed to be that of Dame Dorothy Selby, whose family owned Ightham Mote from the end of the Elizabethan era through to Victorian times.
The Selby family were diehard Catholics and it was said that in November 1605 they knew of the Gunpowder Plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
Dame Dorothy was supposed to have sent an anonymous letter to her cousin, Lord Monteagle, warning him not to go to Parliament on 5 November.
The letter was intercepted, however, the plot revealed and the conspiracy thwarted.
Subsequently, Dame Dorothy's role in betraying the conspiracy came to light and friends of the plotters resolved to punish her.
According to the story, she was seized and walled up in the tiny space in Ightham Mote's tower.
Even after her body had been discovered (and presumably reburied), the strange chill continued to haunt the tower.
The local bishop was supposed to have been brought in to carry out an exorcism all to no avail. The ghost of Dame Dorothy is said to continue to haunt the tower to this day.