The Legend of the Mistletoe Bough or the Mistletoe Bride is a ghost tale that many big houses claim as their own. Bramshill House is one of them, and the story of the dead bride trapped in the chest haunts the already haunted place. 

The Ghost Story of Mistletoe | My Merry Christmas | Merry Forums of My  Merry Christmas
Buried Alive: On Christmas Day the tale of the Mistletoe Bride that gets trapped in a chest and dies is told and retold throughout England.

A girl will always remember her wedding day, and making the wedding be held on Christmas day will surely make it easier to remember the wedding anniversary. But more people will remember it, if the bride turns into a ghost. 

This is the case of the bride of Bramshill House in Hampshire, one of Britain’s most crowded paranormal places. And although many big houses tries to claim the ghost of the bride in the oak chest as their own, Bramshill could be one of the choices with no less than 14 ghosts they claim wander there. 

Deadly Hide and Seek

In the early 17th century a girl named Anne Cope was to be married in this house. Anne is the name in some accounts, Genevre Orsini in others. English in some accounts while she was believed to be Italian in others. What remains the same is that it was Christmas Day and everyone was in a festive mood. She and her husband, Sir Hugh Bethell celebrated after having taken their vows, and as the old custom went, she was to be escorted to the marital bed.


But before the party was over, the bride wanted to play a round of hide and seek, where the target to be found was her. And after a five minute start the search began, but to no avail.

Searching the whole house, the guest came back empty with no sign of the bride. Perhaps it was a trick from the bride? Could she just be exceptionally good at this game? But as time went on, the innocent prank she could have played on the guest turned into a dangerous one. 

Many believed the bride had fled from her marriage. Her husband Hugh on the other side, spent decades searching for his bride that was lost. It was only after fifty years the mystery surrounding her disappearance came into light, and then her haunting had already began.

It is not the only ghost story from England that starts at a wedding during Christmas.

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Hugh, now an old man, was in the attic, still searching. Having been through the mansion so many times, one should have thought there could be no more things to be found. But then, when knocking on some oak panelling, a secret door he didn’t know about suddenly opened. Inside the door was a room with a wooden chest. It was locked. Inside the chest when he finally got it open, the remains of the bride he had hoped to spend his life with, still in her wedding dress, holding her bouquet of wilted flowers, she had been by his side all this time. 

In the lid of the chest the bride had been trapped in, there were signs of nails scraping in her dying efforts to escape, to get out, but she never would. 

The Bride in the Oak Chest

File:Chest Bramshill House 1899.jpg
The Chest: Although the original chest was removed in 1812, there is always a chest in the houses claiming the ghost.
Photo: Country Life page 435 by Edward Hudson (1854–1936

So many accounts of the white lady has been reported at Bramshill House. Even Michael the first of Romania asked to move room after the white lady kept passing his room during his stay there. And you can sense her arrival by scent, lily of the valley, which was Anne’s favorite. 

Not so many remember her wedding, her death, all in one. She is remembered as much, although her real name is disputable, the name Mistletoe Bride remains. Poems, movies, books and folklore retells about the young bride in the oak chest. 

The same story was retold by Susan E Wallace in 1887 as ‘The Old Oak Chest’ and by Henry James as ‘The Romance of Certain old Clothes’ in 1868. The old tale also made it onto the silver screen in 1904 when Percy Stow made the short film ‘The Mistletoe Bough.’

And every Christmas, her death is retold again and again, without her ever being found alive. 
“Oh sad was her fate! In sportive jest,
She hid from her Lord, in an old oak chest.
It closed with a spring and her Bridal bloom,
Lay withering there in that living tomb.”

The Mistletoe Bough by Thomas Haynes Bayley

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