Katherine Ferrars (1634–1660), Later Wife of Thomas Fanshawe

Image credit: Valence House Museum

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The daughter of Knighton Ferrars and Katherine Walters, Katherine's father died two weeks before her birth, and her grandfather five months after that, leaving the Katherine as the sole heir to many estates within the county of Hertfordshire. Katherine’s mother married Simon Fanshawe in the same year she was widowed. In 1648, at the age of 14, Katherine was married to Simon Fanshawe’s nephew, the 16 year old Thomas Fanshawe, in what was probably an arranged marriage in order to keep the estates in the Fanshawe family. Katherine died at the age of 26 and was buried at Ware.

Katherine has long been known as ‘The Wicked Lady’, a notorious highwaywoman, who has been immortalised in two films called 'The Wicked Lady': 1945, starring Margaret Lockwood, and 1983, starring Faye Dunaway.

Valence House Museum



Katherine Ferrars (1634–1660), Later Wife of Thomas Fanshawe


c.1650 (?)


oil on canvas


H 52 x W 41 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from Ann Fanshawe, 2004

Work type



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Valence House Museum

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