The stories behind ‘haunted Watford’
There are a number of locations in Watford and the surrounding area that are said to be haunted. Some are well known, others less so, but do you know the stories behind them?
Members of the Watford Observer Camera Club have been tasked with capturing ‘haunted Watford’ over the past month and Stephen Danzig has been doing just that, but also including the tales that have led to these buildings or places having a spooky reputation.
Scroll down this page and enjoy Stephen’s pictures and words as we continue the build-up to Halloween with the tales behind ‘haunted Watford’
East Lane Cemetery, Leavesden Hospital
Reports of ghosts and paranormal here. Someone said he never heard or saw any birds…
Free School, Watford
The area around the Free School in Church Street, Watford, is said to be haunted by the ghost of a teacher who died in a fire at the school whilst trying to save the children…
Cassiobury Park is haunted by the ghost of Lord Arthur Capel, who was a Royalist during the Civil War and met his end when he was beheaded in 1649.
Legend has it Lord Capel’s heart was removed after his death, placed in a silver casket and eventually hidden in Cassiobury Park.
Keep an eye out for the headless ghost wandering the park on the anniversary of his death, March 9.
St Lawrence Church, Abbots Langley
Haunted by the ghost of Mary Ann Trebble, a housekeeper at the vicarage before World War I. She died in mysterious circumstances, with some saying she caught pneumonia and others insisting that she was murdered. Trebble’s ghost has been seen walking from the vicarage to her grave in the churchyard of St Lawrence.
It is said that there have been at least two deaths in the building and is frequented by several ghosts. People visiting the dressing rooms have reported the strong feeling of a malevolent presence accompanied by an icy chill and the sound of footsteps.
In the past, two people fell to their deaths from the theatre’s gallery, and this is believed to be the cause of the disturbances.
The site of the theatre is built on a graveyard dating back to the Napoleonic era. The theatre kept a ‘ghost light’ on its stage so that the area is never in complete darkness.
Ironbridge Lock 77, Cassiobury Park
Said to be haunted by the ghost of a servant from Cassiobury House who did his utmost to hinder the passage of boats.
Abbots Langley Vicarage
The ghost of a servant girl who was allegedly mistreated by the vicar’s wife reputedly haunted the vicarage for many years.
Unusual noises and the inability to fix a fireplace in the room that she died have all been attributed to the spirit.
As Sarratt Church, Holy Cross was being built in the 11th Century.
It is said that Satan himself undid the stone work, removing the blocks as quickly as they were laid.
The builders finally gave in and decided to erect the church elsewhere.
Circa 1500 timber-framed house of three bays. The oldest surviving domestic building in Watford, predating the Bedford Almshouses. There have been various reports of ghostly sightings in this building over the years, one in an Elizabethan dress which is said to haunt the building.
Converted into three shops, Jacksons moved here in 1950, firstly into one of the shops and then took over the other two.
When Lord Doneraile owned the estate, he had building work carried out on the house, and rebuilding an ancient chapel into a kitchen. Legend has it that Lord Doneraile was punished for this work and is compelled to spend the next life pursuing a ghostly fox through the grounds on horseback, accompanied by a pack of phantom hounds.
It was in the 18th century when a man named Jockey Fenson committed suicide on Featherbed Lane, now a bridle path beginning at Station Road and ending at a bridge for an old railway.
Fenson was buried in a small valley, today’s Hagden Lane, but apparently his spirit was restless. Children and adults claimed to have seen a white figure walking through the woods and hovering over the neighbouring field.
Eventually the authorities moved the body to the old churchyard, tucked into a corner.
Ever since then Featherbed Lane is believed to be a place where tormented shades congregate.
The Watford Palace of Varieties, built in 1908, is now a meeting place for ghosts. You can apparently hear the footsteps of dead performers on the stage, and workers once reported seeing the curtains part as if a person had drawn them back to walk past.
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