Markyate Cell - Markyate, Hertfordshire, UK
Posted by: Norfolk12
N 51° 50.442 W 000° 27.882
30U E 674653 N 5746359
Quick Description: Originally the cell was home to a community of Benedictine nuns. This Grade II listed property is a good size with eight bedrooms and substantial grounds. Co-ords are from the end of the church.
Location: Eastern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 4/16/2011 9:26:37 AM
Waymark Code: WMB7Q0
In medieval times a community of Benedictine nuns was established in Markyate Cell by Christina. Her small hermitage here quite literally was her 'cell', hence the name.
Near the cell, there is a well
Near the well there is a tree
And under the tree the treasure be
This is the well known Hertfordshire rhyme regarding the whereabouts of treasure stolen by the 'Wicked Lady', Katherine Ferrers. She is the subject of a popular legend and for those who may not know the story, it is briefly below.
Katherine Ferrers, heiress to a fortune was married against her will at the age of fourteen to Thomas Fanshawe. Bored with married life and an absent husband she took to highway robbery in the company of Ralph Chaplin, a local farmer. Chaplin was hanged for his crimes.
Katherine continued alone until she was fatally wounded one night and died outside her home at Markyate Cell, near Wheathampstead. Her body was discovered by servants and carried across the county to be buried in Ware church. Her ghost still haunts the neighbourhood and to this day she is known as the 'Wicked Lady Ferrers'.
Whether this is a fact or fiction... who knows?
Earliest Recorded Date of Construction: 1/1/1145
Additional Dates of Construction:
1547 re modelled
1825 -26 Rebuilt
Architectural Period/Style: Tudor
Type of Building e.g. Country House, Stately Home, Manor:
Interesting Historical Facts or Connections:
The story of Lady Ferrers forms a key part of the colourful history of Cell Park. Formerly known as Markyate Cell. It is a compact country house, parts of which date back to 1145, when Geoffrey of St Albans founded a priory of Benedictine nuns on the site.
In 1539, three years after the priory was dissolved, Humphrey de Bourchier spent a small fortune converting it into his manor house. The Ferrers family took it over in 1547. The house was rebuilt again in 1825-6 and was briefly occupied in 1916 by the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. It became known as Cell Park in 1984.
The one mystery is where Katherine's spoils are buried. In the 19th century, builders opened up her secret chamber, but all they discovered were cobwebs and bats.
Details from Daily Telegraph article
Listed Building Status (if applicable): http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-157926-cell-park-markyate
Main Material of Construction: Brick
Private/Public Access: Private but can be viewed from church
Related Website: [Web Link]
Architect (if known): Not listed
Landscape Designer (if known): Not listed
Admission Fee (if applicable): Not Listed
Opening Hours (if applicable): Not listed
Tell us about your visit with any details of interest about the property. Please supply at least one original photograph from a different aspect taken on your current visit.
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