Staff at Langley Castle in Northumbria are appealing for family historians to help them find out more about the true identity of the castle’s ghost.
For years staff and visitors at the 14th century castle, now a hotel, have reported sightings of a mysterious apparition known as the ‘grey lady’.
She is seen sobbing uncontrollably before jumping to her death from a castle window.
Legend held that the ghost was Maud de Lucy, who threw herself from the castle’s highest window in despair upon hearing that her knight husband had been killed in battle.
She was thought to be the wife of Sir Thomas de Lucy, one of King Edward III’s favourite knights, who built the castle in 1350.
But castle staff have been using their free time during the coronavirus lockdown to find out more about the castle’s history, and have discovered that the ‘grey lady’ was wrongly identified.
Maud de Lucy was in fact the daughter of Sir Thomas and his wife Margaret de Multon.
She was born in 1350 at Egremont in Cumbria and married twice – firstly to Gilbert de Umfraville, Earl of Angus and Baron of Prudhoe, and then to Henry Percy, First Earl of Northumberland.
Gilbert did indeed die in the Battle of Neville’s Cross in 1381, but Maud remarried that same year.
She died in 1398 and her second husband died in battle in 1408, so she couldn’t be the grey lady.
But the researchers found that Sir Thomas de Lucy had two wives, marrying again following Margaret’s death.
Some records show that he married an Agnes de Beaumont, whose birth date is said to have been 1323, but whose death is shrouded in mystery.
Could Agnes be the grey lady?
Margaret Livingstone-Evans, Langley Castle’s executive general manager, said: “Having delved deeper into the past, we now have one burning question – who is the grey lady and has Agnes been living in the shadows for too long?”
Langley Castle staff are hoping to hear from genealogists and history lovers who can help them find out more about Agnes’ life and death.
To help out, get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rosemary Collins is the staff writer of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine