9 Haunted Places in Hertfordshire
Stewart | On 24, Mar 2017
St Albans Cathedral, St Albans
Probably the most infamous ghostly tale to come out of the cathedral was that of Basil Saville during war torn Britain.
In 1944, Basil was sixteen years old and had an important role at the cathedral as a fire-watcher.
You see, during the Second World War the German Luftwaffe dropped incendiaries devices onto UK towns and cities to start fires which would not only mark the target for later bombing raids but also cause a lot of damage by fire.
Basil’s job was to detect and put out any incendiaries devices dropped onto the cathedral.
On Christmas Eve he turned up for his night’s vigil only to find that his fire-watching colleagues hadn’t arrived yet and he was all alone.
He decided to start his round without them but had the uneasy feeling that somebody was watching him…
When he reached the Saint’s Chapel which houses the shrine of the martyr Alban his feeling of being watched grew.
As he glanced around he thought he saw two hooded figures watching him but put it down to an overactive imagination because he’d just witnessed two discarded monk’s habits of the chapel’s stone floor!
Carrying on with his tour he entered the 12th century Lady Chapel.
As he climbed the belfry he suddenly heard the bells start to slowly ring out…
This totally confused him as he knew that the bells had been removed from the tower to stop them from being damaged in a bombing raid.
As he opened the belfry door the bells fell silent and he discovered that the room was totally empty with no bells in sight!
At this time, Basil was starting to get unnerved and decided to return to the ground floor and wait for his fire-watching colleagues to turn up.
As he descended the tower stairs he started to hear organ music.
Heading towards the organ he saw what he thought was a lit candle.
Mindful of the blackout rules he shouted out for the candle to be put out.
The request was ignored by whoever was playing the organ.
As he got nearer to the organ he got the shock of his life…
The organ’s keys were being played and the pages of the music book were slowly being turned on their own accord.
It looked like somebody invisible was sitting there and playing the organ!
Suddenly the sound of singing voices rang out from the high altar.
As he approached the high altar the organ music and singing fell silent.
And he then witnessed a very solid looking abbot and a procession of monks walk through the screen doors into the Saints Chapel.
Following the procession, Basil found that the screen doors were actually locked and upon opening them he discovered a dark and empty chapel with no sight or sound of the ghostly monks and abbot.
Returning to the organ he found the spent candle and a music book titled Albanus Mass by Robert Fayrfax.
Robert Fayrfax was a former organist and director of the abbey choir who died in 1521.
In fact, his body is actually buried in the abbey crypt!
Basil returned to the vestry to discover that his fire-watcher colleagues had turned up.
He told them about his paranormal experiences but they hadn’t seen or heard anything unusual.
Together with another fire-watcher Basil retraced his steps but the spent candle at the organ and the discarded monk’s habits had mysteriously disappeared.
It later came to light that in the 1930s the Canon George Glossop heard music coming from the locked cathedral late one night…
That music was the Albanus Mass by Robert Fayrfax!
The daughter of Canon Glossop has her own ghostly tale to tell…
One night she had a young relative staying over at the house.
She got up out of bed in the middle of the night to fetch a glass of water for her young relative.
As she got up she heard men singing in the street outside her house.
Looking out of her window she couldn’t see who was singing so she went to fetch her father who was working late in his study.
They both went outside to investigate and heard a phantom procession of invisible singers pass them, go through the locked Abbey gate, then pass through the main door and enter the Abbey!
In the morning of All Souls’ Day in 1931 the abbey verger opened up the building to prepare for the day’s first service.
He was scared witless when a ghostly procession of Benedictine monks glided silently towards him!
The monks then proceeded to disappear into thin air right in front of him.
This isn’t the only time ghostly Benedictine monks have been seen at the Abbey…
A group of very tall phantom monks were seen walking near the Great Gateway one September evening.
They were in pairs and swaying side by side as though they were carrying a heavy coffin!
Ghostly monks have also been seen in the Watching Gallery, by the shrine of the martyr Alban and in the Hudson Library.
People have also reported the very strong smell of incense in the south side of the building.
Many people have heard heavenly music coming from the Abbey late at night…
One summer’s evening a woman passing by the cathedral heard the sound of music and a choir singing coming from the building.
She decided to sneak in the back door to listen to them some more but as soon as she touched the door handle the music and choir suddenly stopped.
In 1938, a young girl was passing the building with a friend when they too heard some lovely music coming from it.
They went to the Abbey and looked inside only find that the music had stopped and the building was totally empty and in pitch darkness!
The Nickey Line, Hemel Hempstead
The Nickey Line is a disused railway line which once connected Hemel Hempstead with Harpenden.
Today it’s been redeveloped as a cycle and walking path.
Witnesses using the Nickey Line have reported hearing the eerie sound of a phantom train whistle from bygone years.
The line is also said to be haunted by people who were tragically killed when a train derailed and ploughed into a shanty town.
Another haunting on the line is that of a woman who’s believed to have killed her baby by throwing it off a bridge.
It’s now said that on quite nights you can hear the ghostly sounds of the poor baby crying!
Another common apparition seen is that of a ghostly man who if you walk towards him disappears into thin air.
A local legend of Harpenden says that three children trespassed onto the railway track one dark night.
Tragically they were hit by a passing train and killed!
Their young ghosts are now said to haunt the Nickey Line.
It’s said that when there’s a fresh covering of winter snow you can see sets of little footprints in it.
Apparently they end at the site where the tragic accident took place.
Cold Christmas Church, Thundridge
You won’t find Cold Christmas Church on a map of Hertfordshire because it’s actually a nickname for Little St. Mary’s Church…
You see, the church gets its nickname from being situated near Cold Christmas Lane in Thundridge!
Like Minsden Chapel, the church is sadly now a ruin.
All that’s left is the ruined church tower as in 1853 the main part of the building was demolished after a new parish church was built nearby.
The original church was built in Hugh De Desmaisnil’s estate way back in 1086 for the family to worship in.
The church tower isn’t the only part of the church to survive the demolition in 1853.
The graves where never moved but unfortunately they’re now in disrepair and some have even been subjected to some mindless vandalism.
All in all the church ruins are an eerie place to be and you probably won’t be too shocked to discover that they’re rumoured to be haunted…
The church tower is said to have an evil presence attached to it.
And some frightened visitors to the ruins have even reported hearing a scary growling sound coming from around the tower.
Terrified witnesses have even seen a ghostly black figure walking through the graveyard.
On one occasion in 1978 a woman was scared out of her life when she witnessed a phantom army march from the church and straight through her!
Letchworth Library, Letchworth Garden City
You’ll find Letchworth Library on Broadway in the town opposite Broadway Gardens.
The library building dates back to 1938 and first opened its doors to the public in 1939.
From the end of the Second World War up until his retirement in 1975 the caretaker Phillip Kane looked after the library.
In fact, he loved the library so much that he actually voluntary looked after the place after his retirement until the day he died.
Many people believe that one of the ghosts seen at the library is that of Phillip.
Another ghostly figure, this time of a woman dressed in black, has also been seen by terrified witnesses in the archaeology gallery.
Phantom footsteps, books falling from shelves on their own accord and eerie banging noises are all paranormal activity which has been reported to take place within the library.
In the spring of 1975 the library was closed to the public for a short time as the floor needed a recoated of varnish.
Members of staff where still present in the building and two of them were sitting on the stairs overlooking the library when they spotted a figure walk across the newly varnished floor.
They shouted a warning to the figure that the floor had wet varnish on it but the figure just ignored them and left through an exit door.
They ventured over to the wet floor to see what damage had been done to it only to be surprised to find that there wasn’t a mark on it!
On another occasion a member of staff was closing up the library for the night and had turned off the lights in the fiction section.
Instead of leaving straight away they decided to walk to the fire exit to have a look at the garden.
At that exact time a book suddenly fell from the shelf and landed at their feet!
Hertford Museum, Hertford
You’ll find the Hertford Museum along Bull Plain in a grand looking 17th century house.
Several members of staff have commented on the strange atmosphere within the building and a couple of them have even heard some eerie noises.
In 2006, a spooked visitor to the museum reported to the museum’s staff that he had witnessed the ghostly apparition of a female ghost standing at the top of the first floor stairs.
He described her as having red hair and wearing a high collared outfit similar to those worn by ladies in the Edwardian period.
The ghostly Edwardian lady was witnessed again in 2008 by a shocked couple from Norfolk.
In 2007, the apparition of a little nine year old Victorian boy was witnessed running up the stairs whilst laughing.
Other ghostly children have been seen on the attic stairs too!
Elstree Film and TV Studios, Borehamwood
Elstree Film and TV Studios have become infamous with actors for being very haunted.
They were first built in the 1920s and have become famous for their involvement in the making of classic films such as The Dam Busters, Moby Dick, Dr Zhivago, 2001: A Space Odyssey and the first three Indiana Jones and Star Wars films.
A lot of paranormal activity has been reported in Elstree’s dressing rooms and along its corridors.
Some believe that this phenomenon is cause by a spirit of a man.
Elstree’s small dark preview theatre is also said to be very active.
Phantom tapping and knocking noises are often reported to take place in this room by spooked witnesses.
In the eerie Enigma Building objects have been reported to mysteriously move on their own accord.
During the Most Haunted Live investigation the psychic medium Derek Acorah claimed that a family who died from the plague in the 1600s were present in the building.
In the centre of the Enigma Building is a disused lift which Elstree workers try to avoid going near at all costs due to the eerie atmosphere that surrounds it.
During an Ouija board session in the lift lobby area by the Most Haunted Live team an angry spirit called Peter who apparently died in the location was contacted.
Back in 2006, the seventh series of the then Channel 4 reality programme Big Brother was being recorded at the Elstree Studio.
The Welsh glamour model Imogen Thomas who was a contestant in the series reported seeing a ghostly apparition whilst in the Big Brother House.
This was not the first time that someone had witnessed something spooky in the BB House.
In fact, there’ve been reports of a phantom monkey which has been seen clinging to the ceiling!
The Herts and Essex Observer, Bishop Stortford
The Herts and Essex Observer offices are in a four-storey building along Bishop Stortford’s North Street and are said to be haunted…
A terrified receptionist witnessed a pair of black ghostly legs walk along the corridor next to the conference room.
Other frightened members of staff have reported phantom footsteps walking about the place and lights turning on and off on their own accord!
It’s said that four ghosts haunt the building one being a little girl who roams freely throughout the building!
Bishop’s House, Bishop Stortford
The Bishop’s House on Bridge Street was once the country home of the Bishops of London.
It later became incorporated into Handscombes Department Store.
During this time a lot of paranormal activity was reported to take place within the building.
Strange noises, loud phantom banging, the sound of someone running and objects being thrown by something unknown all took place within the store.
A former owner of the store witnessed the ghostly apparition of a lady dressed in grey walk down the stairs when he was working late one night!
Another night when he was working late again he heard somebody come up the stairs and walk up to his door.
He asked them to come in but upon inspection nobody was there!
At the same time of the hauntings, a pile of human bones were discovered underneath an old cupboard in the house.
The bones were given a proper burial in consecrated ground in the hope of that it would bring an end to the hauntings.
It seemed that it didn’t work!
You see, paranormal activity is still being reported and witnesses are still seeing the Grey Lady roaming around the old building.
Recently when building work was taking place on the Bishop’s House, builders reported cuts in their fresh plasterwork, a hammer standing on its end by itself and tools being thrown around.
Shaw’s Corner, Ayot St Lawrence
You’ll find Shaw’s Corner located along Bibbs Hall Lane in Ayot St Lawrence.
George Bernard Shaw lived at Shaw’s Corner until the ripe old age of ninety-four.
And his ashes together with his wife Charlotte’s are scatter in the grounds of the property.
He was a firm believer in life after death.
He famously said to his loyal housekeeper Alice Laden that he would prove to her that the afterlife existed.
And so he did…
One day, shortly after he died, a knock came on the kitchen door.
Without thinking Alice asked her former employer to come in.
She was then greeted by the apparition of George standing in front of her in the kitchen doorway!
His ghost famously said…
I heard a noise and thought you may have had an accident.
Just before Alice had time to reply his apparition vanished into thin air!
A couple of days later Alice had another paranormal encounter with the playwright.
She heard phantom footsteps on the landing followed by George calling out…
Are you there Mrs Laden?
Members of staff at Shaw’s Corner say that the property is still haunted.
Closed doors are mysteriously opened, the security alarm goes off for no apparent reason and chords are played on the Bechstein piano by someone unseen!
Lawrence of Arabia is also rumoured to haunt Shaw’s Corner.
You see, after he left the army he became a close friend of George Bernard Shaw and spent a lot of time at Shaw’s Corner.
Some witnesses have said they’ve actually heard the ghostly sound of him riding his beloved Brough Superior motorcycle along the lanes around the village.
Ruth Stratton (2012) Haunted Hertford. The History Press
Damien O’Dell (2009) Paranormal Hertfordshire. Amberley
Paul Adams (2013) Haunted St Albans. The History Press