The Ambler House Ruins

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The circa 1750 Ambler House burned down three times: Once during the American Revolution (it was restored by Colonel John Ambler), again during the Civil War, and a third time in 1895. Its ruins are tended to by the National Park Service. The ghost here, Lydia, is said to walk the ruins awaiting the return of her love, Alexander.

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Geographic Information

Back Streete
Jamestown, VA
United States

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37.20776060697031, -76.774637818271
James City County, Virginia
Nearest Towns:
Scotland, VA (1.8 mi.)
Williamsburg, VA (5.7 mi.)
Surry, VA (5.9 mi.)
Claremont, VA (10.5 mi.)
Rushmere, VA (11.1 mi.)
Dendron, VA (14.3 mi.)
Yorktown, VA (14.7 mi.)
Gloucester Point, VA (15.6 mi.)
Smithfield, VA (17.5 mi.)
Charles City, VA (18.9 mi.)


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Comments (6)

  1. To be fair, there is no real evidence that there was ever an Ambler named Lydia, not to say that there isn’t a ghost associated with the ruins though. Pamela, please don’t take this personally, but there are some errors with your book. It is interesting and fun to read, but I couldn’t help but notice some things. In the chapter about Colonial Williamsburg, you refer to the Coke-Garrett house as the Coke-Barrett house quite a few times. The picture associated with the Armistead house is actually the Bowden-Armistead house, same family but different house, the Bowden-Armistead house has never been moved, the Armistead house that was moved is now on North Henry Street. The Galt House, which was the home of Dr. Galt, which the book says was demolished still stands, it was moved in the mid 20th century to Tyler Street. The other blatant error is in reference to the Chamberlain Hotel in Hampton, it is not called the Champlain Hotel. I have to admit it really is a fun book, but when people ask me about historic places listed in the book and where to find it, I feel bad having to say that it’s not technically correct.

  2. We went to visit this place one late afternoon and we noticed that a certain area had been mowed. I asked the people from the park service if they had mowed this specific area and why not the rest? They told me that they had not cleaned that one area as they would have mowed the entire area, but when they came in the morning to mow, just that area was mowed and cleaned.They said that “Lydia” always stayed in that area with her loved one, until he left. To this day, that one specific area always remains clean.No one mows it or tends to it. Now that is very strange. Come see for yourself. I took pictures, but couldn’t upload them for some reason. I will try again later.

  3. I grew up in part of the Ambler estate they called The Cottage in Hanover County, VA. John Marshall got married there at some time. It was given to Edward Ambler when his father died and just got passed down. Anyway, part of it burned down at one point and they build over top of it in 1935. So I lived in the old farm house that it was turned into. They built right over top the burned structure because when we had to renovate some of it due to age and termites, they found burnt pieces of wood within the walls. Well, we had ghosts for a few years in that older part of the home only. The part that we were told was part of the original cottage. I have some interesting stories. We did not know at all who the ghosts where. There is no way to know. Mary Ambler did reside there and die there the last few years of her life. Also it was on a tobacco plantation so lots of people were in and out. So who knows. But I was researching it and found this site. Figured I’d pass this on to you. I find it really interesting if their main home was haunted and also their holiday home.

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Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.