The Wicked Lady - song

Nicholas Blatchley

Click bar to the right to hear the song

The Hertfordshire legend of Lady Katherine Ferrers, the Wicked Lady, has inspired a novel and a film, even though there’s serious doubt whether any of it really happened.

Still, it’s a great story, and I felt it would be the perfect topic for a Hertfordshire folk song. Since it’s probably fictional anyway, I’ve taken some liberties with the story, imagining how various events may have happened, including the fateful encounter on Nomandsland Common and the discovery of Katherine’s body.

So be careful, if you’re travelling any Hertfordshire lanes at night.

 

The night’s among the branches
and there’s hoofbeats in the lane
there’s darkness all around you
and escape is all in vain
a shot rings out from somewhere
as the wind begins to wail
the Wicked Lady Katherine’s on your trail
beware the Wicked Lady rides tonight
rides tonight
the Wicked Lady Katherine rides tonight

Married off at thirteen
to a man who didn’t care
she was left to live in Markyate Cell
in the west of Hertfordshire
Katherine said that’s not for me
I’m going to have some fun
she put on the mask and loaded up her guns
beware the Wicked Lady rides tonight
rides tonight
the Wicked Lady Katherine rides tonight

She rode the lanes of Hertfordshire
for plunder and for sport
her pistols gave no quarter
many travellers she shot
she robbed and killed for pleasure
she was hunted far and near
but the Wicked Lady Katherine knew no fear
beware the Wicked Lady rides tonight
rides tonight
the Wicked Lady Katherine rides tonight

It was on the lonely common
of Nomandsland one night
pistols cracked and curses rang
beneath the full moon’s light
the traveller’s gun it did not fail
she felt a mortal wound
and the Lady Katherine fled beneath the moon
beware the Wicked Lady rides tonight
rides tonight
the Wicked Lady Katherine rides tonight

It was early the next morning
at the doors of Markyate Cell
they found the lady’s lifeless corpse
laid out just where she fell
but where she hid her ill-gained wealth
remains a mystery
we’re told to seek a cell a well and a tree
beware the Wicked Lady rides tonight
rides tonight
the Wicked Lady Katherine rides tonight

Now if you wander late at night
in the lanes of Hertfordshire
the wind that’s blowing in the trees
will speak of dread and fear
if you hear the sound of hoofbeats
but no rider is in sight
the Wicked Lady’s spirit rides tonight
beware the Wicked Lady rides tonight
rides tonight
the Wicked Lady Katherine rides tonight
beware the Wicked Lady rides tonight
rides tonight
the Wicked Lady Katherine rides tonight

© Nyki Blatchley

 

This page was added on 10/01/2018.

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