Ham House is located in Ham, Richmond-upon-Thames. In addition to the house, there is an orangey, icehouse, and dairy. This grand house as built along the Thames in 1610 for Sir Thomas Vavasour, who was the Knight Marshal to James I. Sir Thomas died in 1620, the house was then occupied briefly by the Earl of Holdernesse before being given to William Murray in 1626. Murray was a close friend of King Charles I. When he died, the house was passed on to his oldest daughter, Elizabeth as was his title.
Elizabeth was described as being beautiful and smart, however she was also ruthless and greedy. It was said that even while married to her first husband, Sir Lionel Tollemache, 3rd Baronet, of Helmingham Hall in Suffolk, Elizabeth was seeing her future husband, John Maitland, 1st Duke of Lauderdale. The two eventually married after her first husband's death, and Duchess Elizabeth had Ham House remodelled and made larger.
Word of a haunting at Ham House first appeared in 1879. It was a written account by Augustus Hare. "There is a ghost at Ham. The old butler there had a little girl, she was then six years old. In the small hours of the morning, the child, waking up, saw a little old woman scratching with her finger against the wall close to the fireplace. She was not at all frightened at first but sat up to look at her. The noise she made in doing this caused the old woman to look round, she came to the foot of the bed and, grasping the rail, stared at the child long and fixedly. So horrible was her stare, that the child was terrified and screamed and hid her face. People ran in and the child told what she had seen. The wall was examined where she had seen the figure scratching, and concealed in it were papers, which proved that in that room, Elizabeth had murdered her first husband to marry the Duke of Lauderdale."
In more recent times Elizabeth's ghost has been seen wandering the corridors at night. In her latter years the Duchess used a cane at night to get around the house. Guests have reported hearing tapping in the corridors at night.
House steward Victoria Bradley has seen footprints at the bedchamber of the Duchess. After turning on the light, she said she saw footprints by the bed, facing the fireplace. There have also been footprints seen on the staircase. Others who work at the house have reported smelling pop tobacco in the dining room. Anne Partington-Omar, the manager of Ham House, who also lives there says there are things that have happened here that you just cannot explain.
Croydon resident Colin Iles, 30, visited Ham House on Monday, June 23, 2009, with his girlfriend Elaine Camera. Elaine described hearing a deep growl whilst on a tour of the lower floor. His girlfriend initially thought it was Colin's stomach and thought nothing of it, but as they went to leave the room, something compelled her to turn and take a photo.
Mr Iles said: "We were walking out and I just felt I should not be here. I had tingles down my body but my girlfriend felt the need to take a picture. "She has no idea why she did it but I'm glad she did." When the couple got home and uploaded the snap, they spotted a white, orb-like shape in the photo of the empty room.
Visitors and guests have reported seeing the ghost of a dog, a King Charles' cocker spaniel in the grounds of Ham House. Each Halloween, the Ham House offers ghost tours in search of the evil Duchess and the playful ghost dog.