The Mystery of Sophia Hyatt, The White Lady of Newstead Abbey

IIn 1818 a mysterious middle-aged woman, dressed mainly in white began to wander the grounds of Newstead Abbey, recently sold out of the Byron family by the poet George Gordon Byron. This was Sophia Hyatt, a deaf, nonverbal and visually impaired woman who was obsessed by the poetry of the Abbey’s previous owner. Her love for the Abbey and it’s environs was all encompassing and her relationship with its owners the Wildman’s troubled. She died in tragic circumstances, since when her ghost has been seen wandering the Abbey gardens. In 1834 Washington Irving published an account of her life, and in doing so created a legend. However, his story is far from complete and until now the true life and death story of Sophia Hyatt has lain undiscovered.


Dr. Sophie Hollinshead worked at the University of Nottingham for over twenty-five years as a lecturer and programme manager in interdisciplinary humanities. She currently works at Newstead Abbey the ancestral home of the poet Lord Byron, and at Nottingham Castle. Her interests are in landscape, culture and above all place, and her PhD explored the transformatory potential of landscape on the individual. The impact, influences, traditions, and spirit(s) of place are what inspire her.

Curated & Hosted by

Amy Hale is an Atlanta based writer, curator and critic, ethnographer and folklorist speaking and writing about esoteric history, art, culture, women and Cornwall. She is the author of Ithell Colquhoun: Genius of the Fern Loved Gully (Strange Attractor 2020) and is currently working on several Colquhoun related manuscripts. She is also the editor of Essays on Women in Western Esotericism: Beyond Seeresses and Sea Priestesses (Palgrave 2022). She has contributed gallery texts and essays for a number of institutions including Tate, Camden Arts Centre, Art UK, Arusha Galleries, Heavenly Records and she is a curator and host for the Last Tuesday Society lecture series.

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11th Sept 2024 8:00 pm - 09:30 pm

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