The surviving section of Holland House seen behind statue of legendary athlete Milo of Croton in the Dutch Garden.
Holland House was originally known as Cope Castle, having been built by Sir Walter Cope in 1605. The grand Jacobean house, expanded several times, later passed by marriage to Henry Rich, 1st Baron Kensington, 1st Earl of Holland, hence acquiring it's familiar name of Holland House.
Henry Rich was beheaded in 1649, at the start of the Commonwealth, for his Royalist activities during the Civil War. The house was regularly visited by Oliver Cromwell and used as an army headquarters.
The ghost of the beheaded Lord Holland has long been said to haunt certain rooms and silently wander the corridors, his head under his arm, and has also been seen gliding through the gardens, with a particular sighting reported in 1965.
The house and grounds also have another ghostly tale - whilst walking across the grounds, Lady Diana Rich reported coming face-to-face with her "fetch" - traditionally said to be someone's spectral double, signifying their impending death. She died less than a month later. Two further women who also lived at the house also supposedly had similar experiences prior to dying... maybe they were just all in the grips of fever!! During World War II, Holland House was largely destroyed during the Blitz in 1940, leaving only the original east wing remaining. The terrance, orangery (previous upload), gate piers (by famed designed Inigo Jones in 1629, relocated to to a different entrance in the 1950s), and a few miscallaneous outbuildings survive. Today, Holland House serves a hostel, as well as the terrace and grounds sometimes being used to stage various performances and events.
Milo of Croton, by the way, was a legendary 6th century Greek athlete, renowned for his great strength. One day, he tested his strength trying to prize open a split oak tree trunk with his bare hands, but he became trapped by the tight grip, leaving him prey to wild beasts who soon devoured him!
This bronze statue, which depicts him trying to escape from tree's grasp, was created in the 19th century. It was donated to the House in 2003.