9 Haunted Houses in Hertfordshire
Stewart | On 17, Apr 2017
AMBERLY CASTLE: A Haunted Castle You Can Actually Stay the Night In!
The Grade I listed 12th century Amberley Castle Hotel is located in the picturesque village of Amberley.
Today, the castle has been transferred into an amazing luxury hotel.
It's said to be haunted by the ghost of a young girl called Emily who committed suicide at the castle.
Her ghostly apparition has been seen by terrified witnesses in and around the Herstmonceux Room!
Theobalds Palace, Cheshunt
Just outside Cheshunt in the historic Cedars Park you’ll find the stately home of Theobalds Palace.
Today, the red brick and white stone Georgian mansion is a luxury hotel called Theobalds Park.
The mansion has a reputation for being haunted…
Whilst investigating the Carpenter’s Lounge area of the house a female paranormal investigator reported to have been viciously scratched by an unknown entity.
Checking her back she discovered to have a long nasty scratch on her skin.
It was remarkable that anything could’ve actually scratched her at that time because she had three layers of clothing on to keep herself warm!
Scared witnesses have often reported hearing phantom footsteps wandering around the Carpenter’s Lounge and lobby areas.
In 1878, the wealthy brewing magnate and owner of Theobalds Palace, Sir Henry Meux, married a flamboyant barmaid called Valerie.
As you can imagine this caused a scandal in polite society at the time!
It’s said that the ghostly apparition of Lady Valerie Meux has been witnessed on the main staircase of the house.
Did you know that Lady Meux was an avid collector of antiquities?
At one time she actually possessed a cursed Egyptian mummy in a sarcophagus.
It’s said that the sarcophagus was sold to an overseas collector and placed on a rather famous ship to be sent out to him…
That ship was the Titanic!
The most haunted room at hotel is said to be Room 221.
Spooked guests staying in that room often request to be moved because they feel something trying to pull their bed sheets of them in the middle of the night.
Some say they even hear an eerie male voice whispering to them!
Room 221 isn’t the only room at the hotel said to be haunted.
You see, Rooms 215 and 216 are also said to have had paranormal activity happening within them.
Ghostly apparitions have been witnessed in both rooms…
On one occasion a poor lady guest got the shock of her life whilst sitting up in bed one night.
She noticed her discarded clothes being dragged across the bedroom floor by an unseen entity!
Room 107 and the hallway outside it are also said to be paranormal hotspots.
Members of staff have reported being grabbed by something unknown here.
In 1888, Lady Meux bought Sir Christopher Wren’s Temple Bar with which she created a new entrance to the estate.
The ancient monument of Temple Bar was once one of the old gateways into London.
In its time, decapitated highwaymen heads were mounted on pikes and displayed from its roof as a warning!
Today, Temple Bar has been returned to the City of London and is located in Paternoster Square.
Before it was returned, a hotel member of staff had a rather spooky experience one day when she drove past it in her car.
As she passed the Temple Bar she glanced in her rear view mirror and thought she saw a figure sitting in the back of her vehicle.
Knowing that she was alone in the car she just put it down to a trick of the light.
When she reached her home, she got out of her car and started to walk up her pathway to her house when suddenly she felt an almighty push in her back.
Spinning around to catch the culprit she discovered that she was totally alone!
The Grove, Watford
In the countryside on the outskirts of Watford you’ll find the Grove.
Today the Grove is a new luxury hotel but the building actually dates back to 1720.
Over the centuries it has had many alterations one of which legend says resulted in the property becoming haunted.
You see, back in the 18th century Lord Doneraile foolishly built the mansion’s kitchen on top of an ancient chapel.
For this, he was cursed to take part in a ghostly fox hunt for eternity!
A former warden at the house reported that he actually witnessed Lord Doneraile ghostly fox hunts on many occasions.
Hatfield House, Hatfield
But it wasn’t the first house to be built on the site.
The Royal Palace of Hatfield was built in 1497 by the Bishop of Ely and was the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I.
The passageway in the Old Palace part of Hatfield House is said to be haunted.
Phantom footsteps have been heard walking down the passageway followed by the eerie sound of a door opening.
It’s then said that the spooky footsteps are heard descending the stairs.
In 1835, the first Marchioness knocked over a lighted candle in her bedroom causing a fire in which she tragically lost her life.
The fire also destroyed most of the west wing of the house!
Her ghostly apparition has been seen by terrified witnesses gliding along the long gallery.
The Marchioness would regular take trips to London in her coach and horses.
Witnesses have reported seeing a phantom coach and four horses manifesting at the gates of Hatfield House.
It’s said to bare a remarkable likeness to the coach belonging to the Marchioness!
Apparently, it shoots along the long drive at great speed towards the house where it passes through the fronts doors and continues up the staircase before totally disappearing into thin air.
Queen Elizabeth I is also said to haunt Hatfield House.
And a ghostly apparition of lady has been seen to exit the Old Palace gateway cross the street and enter the nearby church where she suddenly disappears!
Balls Park Mansion, Hertford
Balls Park Mansion is a Grade I listed 17th century house situated in its own grounds to the east of Hertford’s town centre.
The Artisan Mannerist style house was first built by the wealthy financier Sir John Harrison in 1640.
Today the house has been converted into residential apartments.
But from 1946 to 2003 it was used as an educational facility with its last owners being the University of Hertfordshire.
Many members of staff at the university reported paranormal activity taking place within the house…
On one dark October evening in 2001 a female member of staff was working late at the university.
When she decided to leave for the night she found that the front door had been locked by the security staff.
Turning around to find another exit she saw a grey figure standing under the balcony in the vestibule.
On another autumn night in the same year one of the security staff was walking towards the front door when he was suddenly knocked off his feet and flung backwards by an unseen force!
Local legend says that Balls Park Mansion is haunted by a Grey Lady…
The Grey Lady is said to be the spirit of a woman who committed suicide by flinging herself off the balcony into the vestibule.
Her tragic suicide took place in October!
The ghostly apparition of the Grey Lady has been seen by terrified witnesses wandering around the vestibule and walking along the upstairs corridors.
These spooky sightings are always in the month of October.
Leahoe House, Hertford
You’ll find the 19th century Leahoe House in the grounds of County Hall.
The County Council have owned the house since 1935.
They run it as a recreation and leisure venue.
In the 1980s, one of the barmen at the leisure centre was locking up for the night when he suddenly felt tremendous fear.
He walked out into the corridor and came face to face with a ghostly apparition of woman dressed in a nun’s grey habit!
The strange thing was…
As soon as he looked at the ghostly nun all his fear totally disappeared and he felt at ease.
He actually stood for a while staring transfixed at the ghostly woman before he decided to turn the lights off and leave for the night.
He never saw the ghostly nun again but always felt the presence of her when he was working late at the house!
Knebworth House, Knebworth
Knebworth House has been the ancestral home of the Lytton since 1490.
The house was originally a red-brick Late Gothic manor house.
But in 1812 two wings were demolished with the house later being transformed into the Tudor Gothic building you see today.
Knebworth’s most famous resident was the Victorian author Edward Bulwer-Lytton.
The house is infamous for a couple of its residential ghosts…
The first being that of the Yellow Boy who if you were unfortunate enough to witness would mean you would soon die a violent death.
It’s said that his ghostly apparition would tell you how you would die.
As you can imagine, the Lytton family would avoid the room which the Yellow Boy haunted at all cost.
Now, Lord Castlereagh was the Foreign Secretary in the early 1800s.
He famously stayed at Knebworth House and had a visit from the ghost of the Yellow Boy.
Apparently, the young ghostly apparition was very life-like with long yellow hair.
Unfortunately for Lord Castlereagh he gestured his death to him by drawing his finger across his throat three times before disappearing into thin air!
On August 12th 1822 Lord Castlereagh committed suicide by slitting his own throat with a penknife!
The second infamous ghost to haunt Knebworth House is that of Spinning Jenny.
It’s said that Jenny worked at the estate in the 18th century.
She was locked in a room in the old East Wing to be kept away from a lower class man who’d she fell in love with.
Apparently she had nothing to do except spin yard all day which eventually sent her mad resulting in her taking her own life in the room.
Her ghost is now said to haunt that room with the sound of spinning.
A gardener who worked at Knebworth claimed he witnessed her ghostly apparition in the kitchen garden.
She’s said to look pale with a red ring around her neck.
Some say that the ghostly tale of Spinning Jenny was made up in 1800 by a guest called Miss James at a Christmas party.
But I’ll let you make up your mind on that one!
Another ghost often witnessed at the house is that of a young girl with long blond hair.
She said to haunt the Queen Elizabeth room and maybe the picture gallery too.
Recently, one American guest of the house got the shock of her life when she awoke to find the little girl leaning over her!
Terrified witnesses have also seen the ghostly apparition of a phantom Second World War tank driving from Knebworth House Lodge along the road to Old Knebworth.
Apparently a ghostly soldier frantically gesturing to people to clear the road and take cover is seen on the tank’s turret!
Markyate Cell, Markyate
In the countryside on the outskirts of Markyate you’ll find a large 19th century manor house called Markyate Cell.
The house stands on the former site of the 12th century priory of the Holy Trinity in the Wood.
The priory became a victim of the Dissolution of the Lesser Monasteries Act of 1535.
It was then converted into the manor house and named Markyate Cell.
The house’s most infamous resident is that of the murderous highwaywoman Katherine Ferrers.
She lived at the house in the mid-17th century.
Legend says that she turned to highway robbery with Ralph Chaplin after her husband died and she needed to redress her fast-dwelling wealth.
It all came to a sudden end one day when she received gunshot wounds during a robbery of a waggon on Nomansland Common.
She returned to Markyate Cell where she later died from the injuries that she had received during the robbery.
Her ghost is now said to haunt the house and many more locations surrounding the village.
In the 1800s workmen found Katherine’s secret chamber in Markyate Cell behind a false wall next to a chimney stack.
After their discovery they witnessed her ghostly apparition watching them from the branches of a giant sycamore tree standing in the grounds of the house.
In 1840 there was a terrible fire at Markyate Cell which destroyed a large part of the building.
The locals blamed the ghost of Katherine for starting the fire due to the fact that whilst they were putting out the fire several of them witnessed her apparition watching them!
Former residents of Markyate Cell have reported seeing the ghostly apparition of Katherine in the house on many occasions.
She’s been mostly seen on the stairs!
Now Katherine isn’t the only ghost said to haunt the house…
In the late 1850s, the ghostly apparition of a nun was seen by terrified builders who were repairing a wall.
Apparently, she walked up to the wall and then totally disappeared into thin air right in front of the poor shocked builders!
The ghostly nun was also seen a couple more times after this, once at the house and another time gliding along an avenue near to St John’s Church.
Tring Park, Tring
Tring Park is a stunning country house to the south of the town.
The house was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1685.
It’s been home to both William Gore the Lord Mayor of London and the Rothschilds.
Today it’s run by the AES Tring Park School Trust and is known as the Tring Park School for the Performing Arts.
The older parts of Tring Park are said to be haunted by the ghost a beautiful lady.
Spooked witnesses have reported seeing her wandering around the house on many occasions.
She’s only seen for a short time as she tends to disappear into thin air as soon as she’s spotted!
Amwell House, Ware
Today, the Grade II* listed Amwell House is now used as the administrative area of Hertford Regional College.
But in its heyday the house was the former home of the wealthy 18th century poet John Scott.
It’s said that it’s haunted by a ghostly apparition called the Grey Lady.
Witnesses have also reported hearing eerie phantom footsteps walking around the house’s empty attics.
At one time Amwell House had extensive grounds.
Within the grounds John Scott had a series of interconnected chambers dug out of the chalk hillside.
The chambers were lined with shells, flints and pieces of coloured glass.
Some people say that Scott’s Grotto is haunted.
Damien O’Dell (2009) Paranormal Hertfordshire. Amberley
Ruth Stratton (2012) Haunted Hertford. The History Press
Paul Adams (2013) Haunted St Albans. The History Press