Haunted houses of Hertfordshire
- Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
It’s Halloween so we simply had to investigate local paranormal properties and explore their spine-chilling inhabitants.
Rose Cottage, Harpenden
Apparently it’s home to the ghost of a young woman who went to London to make her fortune in the 17th century but fell pregnant. On returning, she killed her baby and then herself. Residents of the building reckon there’s moving furniture and mysterious sounds. 1980s tenants who rented it moved out within days to escape the terrible ghouls.
Queen Elizabeth I apparently haunts Hatfield House, and the apparition of a lady has been witnessed leaving the Old Palace gateway, crossing the street and vanishing into thin air in the churchyard. Doors creaking open and phantom footsteps have been heard in the passageway and creepily descending stairs in the Old Palace part of the ancient building. They are said to belong to the first Marchioness, who knocked over a candle and burnt to death in 1835. She reportedly glides along the long gallery scaring witnesses. And a ghostly coach and horses are sometimes seen outside, hauntingly harking back to when the Marchioness would travel to and from London.
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The White Hart Hotel, St Albans
This historic Holywell Hill inn is thought to have ghostly inhabitants, including the spirit of Elizabeth Wilson - who was riding on the roof of the Northampton Coach in 1820 and was killed when she failed to duck, as it went under the archway, leading to the stable yard behind the building. Guests and staff at the hotel have seen and felt her spirit. Another spooky ‘resident’ is the apparition of a young girl witnessed standing by the fireplace in the main bar and in an upstairs room. A former cellar man at the pub reckoned heavy beer barrels would move in the dead of night and that doors opened and closed and lights turned on and off ‘by themselves’. Make mine a triple brandy!
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The Sun Hotel, Hitchin
Lord Haversham is said to haunt this ancient inn, waking guests in the night who experience a creepy uncomfortable feeling. It is suggested his gambling habit, for which he was known, could have led to the unsettling of his spirit.
In Hitchin Priory, dating back to the 14th century, there are further paranormal goings on. According to legend, one ghoul from the 19th century and two others from a couple of hundred years earlier, frequent the grounds and rooms. It is rumoured to be the spooky spirits of women committed in the afterlife to keeping an eye on the priory.
Royston 15th century building
In an unspecified old building in Royston, now used as commercial premises, freaky bizarre supernatural events occur, such as clocks moving, mirrors flying off walls and items randomly going missing. And apparently, there are more haunted properties, also located in the older part of the town.
Originally a redbrick Lake Gothic manor house, its most famous occupant was Victorian author Edward Bulwer-Lytton. In 1812 it was transformed into a Tudor Gothic building. There are said to be multiple ghosts, including the Yellow Boy. Upon seeing him, legend states, he would tell you how you would meet your sticky end and then you would die violently soon after. Lord Castlereagh – foreign secretary in the early 1800s – stayed at Knebworth House and was visited by the Yellow Boy. The very lifelike ghost with long yellow hair gestured to Lord Castlereagh of his impending death by drawing his finger across his throat three times. In 1822, the lord committed suicide - slitting his throat with a penknife.
The Cross Keys, Harpenden
And another tale of unnerving undead scaring Hertfordshire residents, patrons or workers relates to The Cross Keys pub. Banging, objects moving and temperature changes in the cellar have been reported, along with an eerie voice pleading: “Help me”. If that wouldn’t be enough to make you need a stiff whiskey, a former relief manager claims to have seen three monks sitting at the bar. He told that as soon as he saw the phantom figures, they disappeared from sight. Funny that… So’s this: A ghost walks in to a bar and says to the tender: “I’m only here for the boos.”