Thomas arrived at the then-named Higham House with the intention of wooing its owner’s daughter, Isabelle, by performing one of his (frankly awful, two-hour long) poems. He is sabotaged by his cousin Francis Button, who first gives Thomas a fake letter he wrote from Isabelle denying her feelings for him, then leads Thomas to believe Isabelle’s honour has been insulted by a military man, which prompts Thomas to challenge him to a duel.
Francis then seals Thomas’ fate by telling him to take twenty paces at the start of the duel instead of the required ten, leading to him being shot fatally in the back. In one final cruel blow, a dying Thomas asks for Isabelle, and Francis promises he’ll fetch her but doesn’t, leaving Thomas to die alone. Cheery stuff. Anyway, Francis Button marries Isabelle and the house is renamed Button House after him, so there we have it.
Lady Fanny Button
The way Lady Button died was revealed in the very first episode of Ghosts: she was pushed out of the bedroom window by her husband George after discovering him having a threesome with their groundsman and butler. Quite the scandal! In the 2021 Christmas special we found out their marriage was somewhat forced both ways, as Fanny’s father had bankrupted the family through gambling and George was a wealthy, ‘wayward’ (presumably secretly gay) bachelor.
Like Scoutmaster Pat, who is doomed to spend eternity with an arrow through his neck, Humphrey’s death is obvious from his appearance, considering his body spends most of its time wandering around trying to find his head. We discover the details of his comically tragic Elizabethan fate at the beginning of series three of Ghosts, in the episode called ‘The Bone Plot’.
Like Fanny, Humphrey’s marriage is one of convenience rather than love, and he and his French wife Sophie live separate lives, him trying and failing to keep her entertained, even though neither of them speaks the other’s language. Or so we think. Sophie turns out to have much better English than she’d been letting on, when we discover she and the ‘book group’ Humphrey arranged for her have actually been plotting to assassinate Elizabeth I.
When Her Majesty’s Guard arrive to apprehend the plotters, Humphrey nobly blocks the door to give his wife time to escape, and then hides from the guards in a fireplace. When the coast is clear, he steps out and pats the fireplace in delight, only for two decorative swords hanging above it to fall and decapitate him. The guards then find him and claim it was they who killed him, and he’s falsely remembered as the mastermind behind the deadly plot.