The Wicked Lady
Nomansland, St. Albans, Hertfordshire, St Albans
An eighteen-year-old aristocrat took to the roads as a highwaywoman in the 17th century. Lady Katherine Ferrers managed to continue in her wicked ways for seven years. Eventually, she was shot as she tried to rob a family leaving an inn. She staggered home. However, she died from her wounds. At her home, she had had a secret room built into the kitchen so she could come and go about her nefarious deeds. Her favourite haunt was Nomansland Common, Wheathampstead, named this, as it was the subject of a dispute between the abbeys of St Albans and Westminster. It records that Katherine became a ruthless killer, murdering coach drivers and passengers, whether they resisted or not. Finally, in June 1660, she was seriously wounded during a hold-up and bled to death. Because of her notoriety, a gravedigger buried her body at night at St. Mary’s church, Ware. Following her death, there were reports of her ghost riding her black horse over the treetops or being seen standing under an old oak tree. This was where she was believed to have buried her plunder. Children growing up in this area have frequently sung a ditty “In the Cell there be a well, by the well there be a tree, under the tree the treasure be”. On one occasion, the ghost of Lady Katherine appeared at a parish tea party, with put the fear of God upon all there. Furthermore, at this pub is a phantom weeper, heard during the night. Several individuals have reported hearing a horse galloping past the pub. However, no one, or no thing, , witnesses saw, and Lady Katherine still rides.