By: Samantha King …….
Nestled away in Thame lies a house with a history more colourful than most. Once owned by a member of the Bee Gees, and with former guests including Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, it has a very intriguing past.
Known as ‘The Prebendal’, the Grade II* listed property on Priest End was a former monastery where the fate of Joan of Arc was decided. It housed the Bishop of Lincoln in the 12th Century, and latterly an order of prebendal monks. Henry VIII and his wife Anne Boleyn stayed there in 1533.
The Prebendal is made up of more than just one building. A gatehouse that greets visitors is just the tip of the iceberg, as there is also a house, chapel and adjoining block to the west of the chapel.
Over the centuries, the property – which once also boasted a moat – fell into disrepair, but Historic England records show it was restored in 1836 on behalf of local man Charles Stone, who wanted the property as a private residence. It has changed hands many times since.
One of its more notable owners in recent history was Robin Gibb from musical supergroup the Bee Gees. He saw the property in Country Life magazine, and subsequently lived there with his wife Dwina from 1983 until his death in 2012.
With such an expansive history, it is no surprise that some believe The Prebendal – which is listed in the Domesday Book – is haunted. Its positioning opposite a graveyard further fuels the idea, and the Gibb family have spoken publicly over the years about mysterious goings on at the address.
In an interview given in 1993, Robin and Dwina recounted how they heard the winding up of a clock at 1am every morning from the empty Coronation Room, as well as seeing a ghost from the 1600s named ‘John the Gardener’ walk through walls. They also claimed that a bowl in the prayer room filled up with ice cold water on its own.
Robin Gibb’s son, Robin-John Gibb, now resides at the address with his family, including mother Dwina. He stays in the property’s on-site lodge, just down the driveway from Dwina, who resides in the main house.