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in the Harpenden-Redbourn district is that of lavender at
Hitchin, where numerous fields on a spur of the chalk
range near Windmill Hill are devoted to the growth of
this fragrant plant. In late summer or early autumn
the terminal spikes of blossom are nipped from their long
stems, and garnered for the sake of their contained oil,
which is distilled into lavender-water in Hitchin itself.


Lavender-water has been produced at Hitchin for a period
of fully eighty years. The growing of lavender as an
industry is extremely restricted in England.

12. Industries and Manufactures.

As will be inferred from the statements in earlier
chapters with regard to its essentially agricultural nature,
Hertfordshire is in no wise a manufacturing county like
Lancashire or Yorkshire ; this being due, no doubt, in
great part to the fact that it possesses no commercially
valuable minerals of its own, or, at all events, none which
are at present accessible to the miner.

During the last quarter of a century or so a certain
number of manufacturing and industrial establishments
have been moved from London and set up in various
parts of the county, as at St Albans and elsewhere ; but
these cannot be termed Hertfordshire industries in the
proper sense of the term, and do not need further mention.

One of the great industries of the county is the malting
business carried on at Ware, as is indicated by the number
of cowls over the drying-kilns, which form conspicuous
objects for miles round. Ware was the greatest malting
place in England. The method of malting is too well
known and the industry too widely spread to call for any
special notes on the subject.

In former years, say up to about 1865, the straw-plait
industry afforded employment to a whole army of workers
in north-western Herts and the neighbouring districts of


Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire; and at that date the
women and children might be seen in summer plaiting
the straw at almost every cottage-door in each village or
town. As already mentioned, the chalk districts of the
county grow wheat-straw specially well suited for plait.
The straws to be used were selected and pulled one by
one from the sheaves before the latter were threshed;
and, after having the corn-ears cut off, were done up into
bundles. The latter were in turn cut into such lengths
as could be obtained free from knots, and tied up into
smaller bundles ready for sale to the workers. Before
being employed in plaiting, each straw was split longi-
tudinally into several strips by means of a brass instrument,
which consisted of a handle and a pointed, star-shaped
head bent down at right angles to the former. The
finished plait was sold at so much per "score" (that is to
say twenty yards) for manufacture into hats and bonnets.
Cheap Chinese labour has completely killed the local
plaiting industry ; but the manufacture of the finished
foreign plait into hats still constitutes an important trade
in St Albans and elsewhere, as well as at Luton and
Dunstable in Bedfordshire ; the sewing of the plait
into hats being done mainly, if not entirely, in large
factories. Tring was a great plait centre.

The manufacture of textile fabrics was formerly carried
on in several parts of the county, but in most of these has
either completely ceased or fallen into decline. About
1802 there were mills for the manufacture both of silk
and cloth at Rickmansworth ; and the occurrence of
the name "Fuller Street" in the records of St Albans


apparently indicates the existence at some unknown date
of the latter industry in that city, and there were certainly
cotton-mills at Sopwell, to the south of it. The Abbey
silk-mills, on the Ver, are still working at St Albans,
although with a much diminished output; but those at
the neighbouring village of Redbourn have been recently
closed. Tring had silk-mills, and canvas was also made

Moor Park, near Rickmansworth

there. Lace-making was probably carried on by some
of the cottagers on the Buckinghamshire side of the
county, where it flourishes to a certain extent at the
present day, and may even still here and there survive.

Nowadays perhaps the most important manufacturing
industry in the county is that carried on at the paper-
mills at Abbot's Langley, where a large amount of high


class paper is turned out. Being on the canal, these mills
have the advantage of water-carriage. Paper, it may be
observed, is made nowadays from wood-pulp and esparto
grass, as well as from linen rags.

Brick-making employs a considerable number of hands
in various parts of the county ; the glacial and other

Canal and Lock, Rickmansworth

superficial deposits on the chalk area frequently yielding
excellent brick-earth ; while the London clay may be
employed for brick-making anywhere in the south-eastern
districts. Bricks from the London clay, which is naturally
blue, turn yellow or white after burning in consequence
of the combustion of the organic colouring matter; but
many of those from the glacial clays are of a full rich red.


At Pepperstock, near Caddington, however, there are
manufactured certain very hard, heather-coloured bricks,
which are much favoured for house-building in north-
western Hertfordshire, although their colour compares
very unfavourably in the matter of effect when contrasted
with the " brick-red " of the more ordinary kinds.

As we approach the Gault plain of Bedfordshire
numerous cement works may be seen at the edge of the
chalk-marl near the northern borders of the county, some
of which may be within the county itself. Chalk is
much worked, as at Hitchin and elsewhere, for lime ;
and, as already mentioned, is dug largely by the farmers
for "chalking" their fields. It is to such diggings that
the deep circular pits (now generally ploughed over) to be
seen in many arable fields are due. The Totternhoe stone
has been, and perhaps still is, quarried locally for building
in some parts of the northern districts of the county.

13. Minerals An Exhausted Industry.

Having referred in the last section to brick-making,
lime, cement, and Totternhoe stone, very little remains
for mention in the present one ; as the absence of mines
is one of the features of Hertfordshire and the adjacent

Reference may, however, again be made to the so-
called coprolite beds of the chalk-marl which were worked
in the neighbourhood of Hitchin in the early part of the
first half of last century as a source of phosphoric acid for


agricultural manure. The irregularly shaped black nodules
of phosphate of lime occur crowded together in a com-
paratively thin bed. They were dug out, and washed
from the marl in which they were embedded on the spot
in large circular tanks through which a wheel was made
to revolve by horse-labour ; and then carted away to be
converted by a chemical process into superphosphate.
After the excavation of the coprolite bed from one strip
of a field, the marl from the next was thrown in, and the
top soil replaced, so that the land was left in as good, or
even better, condition than previously. The industry
was continued till all the beds situated at or above a level
which it paid to work were exhausted.

In winter there is a considerable local trade in gravel
and shingle, dug mainly in the valleys. Twenty years
ago this trade was much more extensive in some districts
than is at present the case ; this being due partly to the
exhaustion of the deposits, partly to the fact that in districts
served by the Midland Railway the use of syenite from
Mount Sorrel and Charnwood Forest, in Leicestershire,
has to a considerable extent replaced flint-gravel as road-
metal on the main highways of the county and in the
metropolitan districts. Formerly, very large quantities
of gravel were sent from St Albans and Harpenden to the
northern metropolitan suburbs such as Hendon and Child's
Hill; but most of that now dug is employed for road-
metal on the local by-roads. Here it should be mentioned
that in Hertfordshire phraseology the term " gravel " is
used exclusively to denote the coarse big-stoned material
used as road-metal ; what is ordinarily denoted as


"gravel" that is to say the material employed for
garden-paths being locally known as " hoggin." Flints
picked from the fields of the chalk area have a higher
value as road-metal than dug gravel, owing to their
superior hardness ; the so-called " quarry-water," which
is present in all dug gravel, having been long since dried

" Facing " flints for building purposes is an art much
less commonly practised in the county than was the case
in earlier days; and when buildings of faced flint are
contemplated it is generally necessary to send to a distance
in order to secure the services of an expert in the facing

14. History of Hertfordshire.

The history of Hertfordshire includes such a number
of events of primary importance that it is somewhat
difficult to make a selection of those most fitted to appear
in the limited space available. It was in this county that
the offer of the crown of England was made to William
the Conqueror, and it was from here that the first petition
for the redress of grievances was forwarded to Charles I ;
while several important battles have been fought within
its limits.

To the two British tribes who inhabited this part of
England previous to the Roman invasion, reference has
been made in an earlier section. The first landing of
Julius Caesar took place (in Kent) in 55 B.C., and the


second and more successful in 54 B.C. ; while a third
Roman invasion took place under Claudius in 43 A.D.,
from which date the Roman legions held possession of the
whole country till about the year 410 A.D. Whether
Caesar himself ever visited Verulam does not appear to be
definitely ascertained, but it was early in the history of
that great city that the encounter between the British

The Monastery Gateway, St Albans

Queen Boadicea and the Romans took place. During
the Roman period Hertfordshire, which then appears to
have been a well-populated and wealthy district, formed
a part of the province of Flavia Caesariensis.

The next great event was the Saxon Conquest, which
in Kent was ushered in by the landing of a force in the
year 449 A.D. During this part of its history the western,
or larger portion of our county was included, as already


mentioned, in the kingdom of Mercia, while the eastern
and smaller section belonged to that of Essex. Of the
numerous Mercian kings, the most renowned and most
powerful was Offa, whose name survives in Offley, where
he had a palace, and where he died about the year 796,
while still engaged in building the Monastery and Abbey
of St Alban. Mercia at this time made a bid for the
supremacy of the petty kingdoms of this part of England,
but was eventually beaten by Wessex under the able rule
of Egbert.

It was in the reign of the last-mentioned sovereign
that invaders of another nationality namely the Danes
began to make their presence seriously felt in the south ;
but it was not till the time of his son and successor
Aethelwulf that they landed on the east coast. Early in
his reign a council of Mercians and West Saxons was held
at Kingsbury, near St Albans, to devise means for repelling
the invaders; while a second assembly was called for the
same purpose at Bennington in the year 850. Neither
seems to have resulted in effectual measures, for in 851
we find a large Danish fleet which had sailed up the
Thames beating off one of the Saxon kings, who had
marched to stop its progress; and after this event the
county was harried and raided time after time, till it
was eventually divided about the year 880 by a treaty
executed at Wedmore between the Saxon sovereign
Alfred and Guthrum the Dane by a boundary line
running from the mouth of the Lea to its source, and
thence straight across country to Bedford. A few years
later, however, namely in 894, the Danish fleet sailed up


the Lea to Hertford, where Alfred crippled it by cutting
into the banks of the river, so that by loss of water the
vessels became stranded, and the Danish force had to fight
its way to the west of England. After numerous skir-
mishes and fights, and the building of forts at Hertford
and on a small island near Bishop's Stortford, the Danish
invasion was practically crushed by King Edward, who
died in 925. Much, however, still remained to be done
by his son Aethelstan, who stoutly attacked the invaders
after they had made a raid on St Albans in 930. A
memorial of the Danish sojourn still exists in Dacorum,
the name of the western hundred in which Tring is
situated ; there is also evidence to the same effect in the
records of gifts to St Albans Abbey by Danes who had
settled in the neighbourhood. The Mercian shire-system,
which was probably instituted as an aid against the Danes,
is known to have come into force by 957 ; but in place of
Hertfordshire having a sheriff of its own, it shared one
with Essex ; an arrangement which remained in force till
the reign of Elizabeth. This was in Edgar's reign
(957 975)j but even then we do not reach the end
of the Danish trouble, which did not cease till after
Sweyn's invasions between the years ion and 1014,
which were worse than their predecessors, and included
the pillage of Canterbury. About this time occurs the
first mention of " Heorotford " as the name of the county.
Scarcely had the country recovered, in greater or less
degree, from the Danish raids than it was conquered by
the Normans under William I, who soon after the battle
of Hastings marched through the country south of the


Thames till he reached Berkhampstead in this county,
where he built the castle whose foundations and earth-
works remain to this day. By relentless severity against
all who stood in his way on the march, William had suc-
ceeded in instilling a wholesome fear into the Saxon (or,
as we now say, English) inhabitants of the country ; and,
although he is reported to have been successfully opposed
by Frederic, Abbot of St Albans, he was finally tendered
the submission of the people and the English crown at

To follow in detail the events of the troublous times
which succeeded the conquest is here impossible ; and it
must suffice to state that at Christmas, 1 1 16, Henry I paid
a visit to St Albans for the purpose apparently of quelling
trouble among the turbulent Norman barons who had
now become the paramount lords. Stephen also held a
court at St Albans in 1143 in connection with other
troubles. With the bare mention that several Hertford-
shire barons accompanied Richard I in his crusade to the
Holy Land, we may pass on to the quarrel between
King John and his barons, which has a very intimate
connection with our county ; among the opposing noble-
men being Robert Fitzwalter, their leader, and the Earls
of Essex and of Hertford. The barons advanced from
Northampton to Bedford, while the main body of their
army marched to Ware and thence to London. The
signing of Magna Charta produced temporary peace ; but
this was soon succeeded by fiercer fighting than ever in
this county. At the commencement of 1215 John him-
self was in St Albans, and also had possession of Hertford


and Berkhampstead castles. In May of the same year
Louis landed from France, and in due course besieged
Hertford and Berkhampstead till they surrendered, and
then proceeded to St Albans, where he was for some
time defied by the abbot. At the departure of Louis the
castles were restored to the king.

The next event is the looting of St Albans by
Fulke de Breaute and his band in 1217.

The trouble with the barons continued into the reign
of Henry III; and in the year 1261 the autumn parliament
was held at St Albans. Up to 1295 the shires alone sent
representatives to parliament but in the session held at
St Albans in that year the cities, boroughs, and chief
towns were each permitted to elect two parliamentary
burgesses. During the reign of Edward II the county
was considerably involved in the affairs of Sir Piers de
Gaveston, who spent much of his time at King's Langley,
where Edward had a palace, and where Gaveston was
buried after his execution in 1312. During that year the
papal envoy met the barons at St Albans with a view to
the settlement of their differences with the king; and in
July, 1321, the barons marched through that city on their
way to London. During the fourteenth century the
county suffered severely from plague ; but in spite of this
Edward III spent much time at Langley; and in 1361
the king and queen came to Berkhampstead to take leave
of the Black Prince (to whom the castle had been given)
previous to his departure for Aquitaine.

In 1381, owing to exactions on the part of the king
and the abbot of St Albans, there broke out the peasants'

L. H. 6


revolt, in which Hertfordshire men took a large share.
Indeed after the execution of Wat Tyler the king pro-
posed to go himself to St Albans to punish the insurgents,
but was persuaded to send a commission in his stead ;
although a short time later, after another riot, his majesty
appeared in person in that city at the head of an armed

With the bare mention that in the second year of his
reign King Henry IV visited the abbey, we pass on to
the Wars of the Roses, and especially the first battle of
St Albans, which was fought in May, 1455. The
Lancastrians, or royalists, held the main street of the city
till the Yorkists, under the leadership of the Duke of
Warwick, burst through the defences from the direction
of Sopwell and cut the royalist position in half. In less
than an hour they had the city in their own hands, after
a great carnage, during which King Henry VI himself
was wounded. In 1458 the king visited Berkhampstead
with the object of quelling the strife, but to no purpose ;
and in February, 1461, the two factions again fought an
engagement at St Albans, this time at Bernard's Heath,
to the northward of St Peter's Church. This second
battle of St Albans ended in a victory for the king. On
I4th April, 1471, Edward defeated Warwick in the great
battle of Barnet, on the south-east border of the county.

Hertfordshire had much to do with royalty during the
reign of King Henry VIII, the palace at King's Langley
being bestowed on Queen Catherine, while the king
himself spent much time at Hunsdon House, and also had
a residence at Tittenhanger. There is, moreover, a

The Staircase, Hatfield House




tradition that he was married to Anne Boleyn at Sopwell.
The Princess Mary lived for a time at Hertford Castle
previous to her removal to Hunsdon, where Princess
Elizabeth also lived before her long sojourn at Hatfield,
in which beautiful park she was informed of her accession


to the throne. When queen, Elizabeth continued to be
a frequent visitor to the county ; and in her reign, owing
to plague in London, the law courts were held for a time
at St Albans, while, for the same reason, Parliament sat
at Hertford in 1564 and 1581. The sovereign herself


came as a guest to Lord Burleigh at Theobalds, to the
Earl of Essex at Cassiobury, and to Sir Nicholas Bacon at
Gorhambury. James I likewise spent much time in the
county, having an establishment at Royston, and dying at
Theobalds. During the civil wars Hertfordshire men
played an important part in connection with what was
known as the Eastern Association; and in 1643, wnen
the High Sheriff ventured to read a royal proclamation
in the market-place at St Albans, he was arrested by
Cromwell himself. To follow the fortunes of Hertford-
shire during the conflict between Charles I and Parliament
would occupy too much space; and it must suffice to
mention that in 1660 Sir Harbottle Grimston of Gorham-
bury was Speaker of the House of Commons and took a
leading part in the restoration of King Charles II.

The last event in the history of the county to which
space admits allusion is the Rye House Plot. "In the
spring of 1683," to quote the words of a well-known
local writer, " Charles II and James Duke of York went
to see the races *at Newmarket. Just opposite to the
Rye House Inn there stood then a castle, built in the
days of Henry VI, and in that castle lived one Rumbold,
formerly an officer in the parliamentary army. Rumbold
and about a score of equally reckless malcontents put their
heads together over their tankards, and, so far as can be
gathered from many rather contradictory narratives, they
formed a plot to delay the royal party on the return
journey from Newmarket to London, by placing an
overturned cart in the road-way, in order that they
might shoot the King and the Duke of York in the


confusion. The conspiracy was frustrated, for the royal
party returned earlier than Rumbold had been led to
expect, and presently the plot leaked out. The Rye
House was searched, incriminating papers were discovered,
and the affair culminated in the arrest of those nobler
patriots who, in concert with Argyle, had been planning

The Rye House. Portions 01 the Servants Quarters

the overthrow of what they honestly regarded as a corrupt

The Rye House, it may be added, is situated in the
south-eastern border of the county, a short distance north-
east of Hoddesdon.


15. Antiquities Prehistoric, Roman,

The earliest evidence of the presence of man in
Hertfordshire is afforded, as elsewhere in this country,
not by written or sculptured records, but by stone imple-
ments of various shapes and types. The very earliest of
these implements, at any rate, belong to a time when the
mammoth inhabited this country, which was then united
to the continent ; and their age must be reckoned by
thousands, if not by tens of thousands, of years. The
period to which all these implements belong, being before
all human records, is known as the Prehistoric ; and it is
important to mention that this term should be restricted
to the epoch intervening between the time of the forma-
tion of the uppermost portion of the Tertiary beds and
the first dawn of history. We often find the term
"prehistoric monsters" applied to the great reptiles of
the Chalk and Oolites ; but such a usage, although
etymologically justifiable, is technically wrong.

The Prehistoric period for lack of all other means of
dating has been divided by antiquarians, according to the
material of which man formed his implements, into the
Stone, the Bronze, and the late-Celtic or Iron Ages ; the
Stone age being further divided into an older, or Palaeolithic,
section, in which all the so-called "celts," or flint imple-
ments, were formed simply by chipping, and a newer
Neolithic section, in which they were often- ground and
polished. In connection with these implements attention


may be directed to some of the ancient earthworks in the
county, although the age of many of these is unknown,
and in some cases may be later than the Roman occupa-
tion. The antiquities newer than the late-Celtic age are
described as referable to the Roman or the Saxon period,
as the case may be. These correspond with the history
of England from 55 B.C. to 1066 A.D.

Palaeolithic implements are found locally in certain
parts of the county, although from the gravels of a very
considerable area, especially the Harpenden district, they
appear to be absent. The larger implements, or "celts,"
which are often six or seven inches in length, seem to
have been employed for all purposes, and to have been
held in the hand, without handle or shaft, although some
of them might easily be used as spear-heads. The first
discovery of an implement of this type in the county was
made near Bedmond, Abbot's Langley, in 1861. A few
specimens have been obtained in other parts of the Colne
basin ; but in the district round Kensworth and Cadding-
ton vast numbers have been discovered, although for the
most part just outside the county boundary. In fact, near
Caddington the Stone-age men had a great manufactory
of these implements : a kind of Palaeolithic Sheffield.
In the basin of the Lea a few flakes, etc., have been found
at or near Ayot St Peter, Welwyn, Hertford, Bengeo,
Ware, Amwell, Hoddesdon, Ippolits, Stocking Pelham,

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