To get into the Halloween spirit, we've rounded up the most haunted places in Watford and the surrounding areas - from Cassiobury Park to Leavesden Asylum.

Cassiobury Park

Cassiobury Park was once the family seat of the Earls of Essex. Though Cassiobury House was demolished in 1927, it is said that one of its occupants continues to appear. Arthur Capell fought for the Royalists during the Civil War but was later arrested by Parliamentarians and beheaded in 1649.

If you should be passing through the park on a moonlit night in March, keep an eye out for his headless ghost wandering the park on the anniversary of his death – March 9.

Watford Observer: Cassiobury ParkCassiobury Park (Image: Watford Borough Council)

Grand Union Canal

The Grand Union Canal, which passes through Cassiobury Park, is said to be haunted by the ghost of Jack O’Cassiobury.

In the 18th century, Jack was a black servant employed by a wealthy woman living beside the canal. She ordered him to harass people travelling by barge as they passed through Ironbridge Lock, as she didn’t like them coming so close to her home.

One day, one of the men on a barge took a swing at Jack, who fell in the canal and drowned. Jack’s ghost has stalked the canal ever since.

Watford Palace Theatre

The Palace Theatre is said to be 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.

Watford Observer: Watford Palace TheatreWatford Palace Theatre (Image: Google Street View)

Watford Central Library

In the library, there is an area known as ‘the stack’, a storage area for the reference library. Several ghostly encounters have taken place here. One day, the panic alarm in the stack was set off and two members of staff went to investigate.

When they arrived, there was no one there, though there are no windows and the stack can only be reached by a single corridor.

Watford Observer: Watford Library (Google Street View)Watford Library (Google Street View) (Image: Google Maps)

Watford Observer offices

The former offices of the Watford Observer on Rickmansworth Road – now developed for housing – are said to be haunted by a violent ghost known only as Fred.

Members of the catering staff arriving for work early in the morning were pushed by invisible hands, and one woman was even pushed off her feet.

Leavesden Asylum

In the 19th century, Leavesden was the site of a mental asylum. Hundreds of patients passed through its doors before it was redeveloped into housing.

In 2008, Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia was living in a house on the site of the former asylum and, on several occasions, witnessed the ghost of a monk holding a candle.

Almunia’s wife was so frightened by the apparition that the footballer obtained special permission to go home from training at lunch so she did not have to be alone in the house for too long.

St Lawrence’s Church

Watford Observer: St Lawrence’s ChurchSt Lawrence’s Church (Image: Google Street View)

Churches are often the site of creepy goings-on. St Lawrence’s Church in Abbots Langley is said to be 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 on numerous occasions walking from the vicarage to her grave in the churchyard of St Lawrence’s.

After she was seen by a vicar during a service, the Bishop of St Albans was called in to perform an exorcism, and apparently she hasn’t been seen since.


Artist Hubert von Herkomer built a film studio in the garden of his home in Melbourne Road, Bushey.

The house was named Lululand after his second wife, Eliza Lulu Griffiths, who died in 1885.

Lulu’s ghost was seen drifting through film sets in the studio, and terrifying shrieks were heard in the dressing rooms. The house and studio were demolished in 1939.

Moor Park Mansion

Moor Park Mansion in Rickmansworth was built by the illegitimate son of King Charles II, the Duke of Monmouth, and was later owned by naval commander Lord George Anson. Anson hired Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown to landscape the gardens and build a temple in the grounds.

The temple was destroyed in a storm in the early 20th century, but Anson’s ghost can still be seen strolling where it once stood.

Free School

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 pupils.

Green End Farm

At Green End Farm in Sarratt, a little old woman has been said to wake people during the night by pulling the sheets off the bed.

The woman, who wears a black gown trimmed with white lace, saw off many of the farm’s tenants.

People have also reported hearing the jingling of horses’ harnesses and the sound of footsteps on cobblestones, though there was no one around.

This has been attributed to events that took place at the farm during the Civil War, when some of Cromwell’s soldiers stayed in the attic.

This article was first published in the Watford Observer in 2018.