The tale goes that Elizabeth Holby had great ambitions for her children but was in despair to find that her youngest son, William, was a slow learner. She would often beat him if his studies did not meet her demands and one day Elizabeth Holby apparently found them to be not just poorly executed but also not finished at all. This provoked a specially severe beating and afterwards poor William was locked into the Abbey's tower until he had finished his studies. Shortly afterwards Elizabeth Holby was called back to court (perhaps Elizabeth I missed her) and she went right away. However, she forget to tell anyone that she had locked William in the tower...
Two days later she returned and wondered why her youngest son was not there to greet her. Soon it dawned on her and she hurried up to the tower where she found William dead. Elizabeth never forgave herself and mourned this slow witted child for the rest of her life - and beyond that.
Ever since Elizabeth Holby's death some 400 years ago her ghost has been said to appear on the ground of Bisham Abbey. She is always wearing mourning clothes for her dead child. Many of these sightings has reported that she is washing blood off of her hands. Admiral Vansittart - who lived here just before the 20th century - once wrote that he had seen the lady herself. The Admiral was in the Great Hall where Elizabeth Holby's portrait hangs when he felt that prickling feeling that tells you that you are being watched. He quickly turned around and just saw her before she disappeared. He then turned to the portrait to make sure that it was actually her and found the frame to be now empty!
It is not just the grieving mother who haunts the Bisham Abbey. Giving other strange little reports it would seem that William has never quite left either. Sometimes a flickering candle can be seen in the tower's window when there is no one around. Footsteps and a quiet sobbing also comes from within the house. This has all been reported by guests who stayed at the house.