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The White Lady of Newstead on How She Bit the Dust

9 October 18 words: Natalie Mills

We caught up with one of Newstead’s shyest ghostly inhabitants, Byron super-fan Sophie Hyatt aka The White Lady of Newstead…

Hello Sophie, why do you choose to haunt Newstead Abbey?
Well, I wanted to be closer to my dear Lord Byron. When he died, his friend Tom Wildman bought Newstead from him and let me wander the lovely grounds as much as I desired. I don’t think he was sure about me at first, but when the Wildmans saw how pleased I was, they let me walk the dog that Byron left behind. I liked to wander in Byron’s footsteps and write my own poetry. I think Lord Byron would enjoy it.

Sorry if this is a sore subject, but how did you die?
It was in Nottingham actually. I couldn’t make a living by myself, so when the relative who supported me died, I decided to seek help from other relatives in America. I was making my way down to London when a horse and cart crushed me. I couldn’t hear, you see. It was only until after I died that I discovered the Wildmans were going to let me live in the grounds at Newstead for free. Such awful luck, but I did come back, I suppose…

Do you get along well with the other Newstead ghosts?
I stay out of their way, mostly; I used to jump into bushes to avoid people when I was alive. The Goblin Friar occasionally turns up looking for Byrons to torment. I think he’s still bitter about being kicked out all those years ago. And the Rose Lady wears too much perfume, you’ll smell her before you see her. I’m still hoping to run into the ghost of my Lord Byron. I think I may have a chance with him yet…

Newstead Abbey is open 9am - 5pm on Monday to Friday, and 12pm - 4pm on Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays. 

Newstead Abbey website


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