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Parliament, is remarkable for the length of its main street part
of which is known as Marlowes. Its market-day is Thursday,
and there is an annual wool-sale. Corn and cattle are its chief
trade, the straw-plait industry having nearly died out; but near
by is Nash Mills, the site of a large paper factory. The
church, which stands to the west of the main street, is a fine
example of a cruciform twelfth-century parish church; it was
commenced about 1140 and finished some 40 years later. There
is no evidence of any earlier building on the site. (pp. 43, 47,
101, 102, 122, 131, 132, 133, 138, 147.)

Hertford (9322), although by no means the largest town as
regards the number of its population, occupies the first place, as
being the county-town, and the only one in Hertfordshire where
assizes are held. It is also a market-town and borough (with a
mayor and corporation), and formerly returned members of its
own to Parliament, although now it is only the centre of a
parliamentary division of the county. In addition to the assizes
for the whole county, quarter-sessions for the eastern division of
Hertfordshire are held in the Shire Hall. The site of Hertford
Castle a building of great antiquity is now used as the Judges'
lodgings in assize time. Hertford has branches of Christ's
Hospital, for both boys and girls; and within a short distance is
Haileybury College, now a public school, but formerly the training-
place for the civil service of the old East India Company.
Hertford is served by branches of both the Great Eastern and
Great Northern Railways, and has also water communication


with London by way of the Lea. It is a centre of the waning
malting industry. The old church was burnt down some years
ago. (pp. 3, 20, 31, 34, 79, 81, 84, 92, 94, in, 126, 134, 136,
138, 139, 141, 147.)

Hertingfordbury (733), a village on the railway to the
west of Hertford, dating from Norman times. The manor of
Roxford was granted by William the Conqueror to Goisfrede
de Beck for good service rendered.

Hexton (155), a village in a small parish of Cassio Hundred
on the north border of the county jutting into Bedfordshire.
Ancient coins have been found in the parish, which includes the
old earthwork known as Raven sburgh Castle. Hexton seems to
have been granted on two occasions to the monastery of St Alban.

Hitchin (10,072) is one of the most ancient towns in the
county, and is now an important railway centre, as it is the
starting point of the Royston and Cambridge branch of the Great
Northern Railway, on the main line of which the town itself is
situated. Hitchin is one of the four parliamentary centres of the
county, and is noted for its corn and cattle market, and also as
being one of the few places in England where lavender is cultivated
for commercial purposes. Hitchin preserves the remnant of an
ancient monastery in the almshouses known as the Biggin, and
teems with buildings and sites of antiquarian interest. Petty
sessions are held in the town. The parish church is one of great
beauty and interest, mainly of the Decorated and Perpendicular
styles. A picture of the Adoration of the Magi presented in
1774 is believed to be by Rubens, (pp. 14, 68, 69, 74, 105, 106,
108, 120, 128, 136, 141, 142, 145, 149.)

Hoddesdon (4711), an ancient market-town on the eastern
border of the county, approached from either the Broxbourne
or Rye House stations of the Great Eastern Railway. It is
intimately connected with the story of the Rye House Plot (see


page 85). It may be mentioned here that the "great bed of
Ware" is now preserved at the Rye House, (pp. 85, 86.)

The Hormeads Great Hormead (376), Little Hormead
(128) two villages, near the Quin about two miles east of
Buntingford, while the latter is about half a mile south of the
same. Both date from the time of the Conqueror.

IppolitS or HippolitS (840), a village in the Hundred of
Hitchin, dedicated to St Hippolytus patron saint of horses.
Travellers used to take their horses to the high altar, where
miracles were performed on untamed colts.

KeriSWOrth (516), a small and ancient village in Dacorum
Hundred dating from the time of Edward the Confessor, and
formerly belonging to St Paul's Cathedral. The small church
dates from about the year noo, although the tower is later,
(pp. 88, 90, 98.)

King's Langley (1579), a village on the North-Western
Railway notable as the site of the ancient Tudor Palace of
Langley, and of a friary of which portions still remain. The
royal palace and park date at least from 1299. The friary
belonged to the Dominican order, (pp. 81, 82, 107, 141.)

Layston (983) ; the original village is now represented only
by the ruined church of St Bartholomew, situated a short distance
from Buntingford, and of great antiquity.

Letchworth, till recently a very small village on the Great
Northern Railway a little north of Hitchin, has now sprung into
importance as the site of the "Garden City"; an endeavour to
aid in bringing the population back to the land.

North Mimms (i 1 12), a village on the North road, situated
some distance to the south-east of St Albans. A manor of North
Mimms was in existence at the Conquest. The parish includes
L. H. II



three large parks, Brookman's, Potterells, and North Mimms.
The church, which is rich in monuments, dates from the four-
teenth century.

Offley (1001), or Great Offley, which lies on the Bedfordshire
border of the county, between Luton and Hitchin, takes its name
from Offa II, king of Mercia, who died there in his palace. The
church of St Mary Magdalene is built in the Perpendicular style,
with an apsidal chancel. Mrs Thrale, the friend of Dr Johnson,
lived as a girl at Offley Place, {pp. 14, 105, 128, 141, 147.)

Letchworth, Open Air School

Redbourn (1932), a village on the Chester and Holyhead
road, in the valley of the Ver, about four miles north-west of
St Albans; it has a station on the Harpenden and Hemel Hemp-
stead branch of the Midland Railway. The manor of Redbourn
was given to St Albans' Abbey in the reign of Edward the Con-
fessor. The church, which is some distance from the main street,
was dedicated between 1094 and 1 109, but the chancel appears to


have been rebuilt about 1340. Near Church End are the ancient
earthworks known as the Aubreys, (pp. 12, 67, 72, 126.)

Rickmansworth (5627), at the junction of the Colne, Gade,
and Chess rivers, is a town in the south-western corner of the
county, close to the Bucks and Middlesex borders. It has several
ancient almshouses, of which one dates from 1680. Immediately
to the south-east is Moor Park, the seat of Lord Ebury, where
Lord Anson formerly lived. This once belonged to the abbots
of St Albans, but was given by Henry VII to the Earl of Oxford,
and in the reign of Henry VIII was the property of Cardinal
Wolsey. The present house is of comparatively modern date.
The Bury is an excellent specimen of an early seventeenth century
mansion. The church appears to have been rebuilt in the fifteenth
century. Rickmeresworth was the old name of the town. There
are a number of manors in the parish, (pp. 20, 31, 71, 73,
131, 132.)

Royston (3517) is situated on the Icknield Way, actually on
the Cambridgeshire border, and is served by a station on the
Cambridge branch of the Great Northern. The town, which has
a market, stands just at the foot of the chalk downs; it has the
honour of giving the name to one of the species, or races, of
British birds, to wit, the Royston crow. The church is that of
an Augustinian priory now demolished. James I had a hunting
seat here. (pp. 32, 33, 45, 93, 128.)

St Albans (16,019), situated about twenty miles north-
west of London by rail, enjoys the distinction of being the only
town in Hertfordshire entitled to style itself a "city." It is the
direct modern successor of the Roman city of Verulamium, lying
on the opposite side of the Ver, and itself dates from Saxon times,
its ancient monastery having been founded by the Mercian king
Offa II in 793, in memory of Alban, the first English Christian
martyr. The city has a mayor and corporation, and was formerly
a parliamentary borough in its own right, although at the present

II 2


day it forms the centre of an electoral district returning one
member to the House of Commons. It is also the centre of the
western division of Hertfordshire; a division corresponding in
the main to the- old Liberty of St Albans, the area lying within
the jurisdiction of the abbot. Quarter-sessions for the western
division of the county are held in the Court House, and likewise
petty-sessions for the St Albans division of the county, as well as
city petty-sessions for St Albans itself. At these last the city
magistrates sit; the cases being brought before them by the local
police force, which is distinct from that of the county. The city
is the see of the bishopric of St Albans, and its crowning glory
is its Abbey, now raised to the dignity of a cathedral. Offa's
abbey was attacked and plundered by the Danes, and a rebuilding
of the monastic church was contemplated by Ealdred, the eighth
abbot, who collected building materials from Verulam. The
long-deferred work, on a new site, was however not undertaken
till the time of Paul of Caen, the first Norman abbot (1077-93).
This abbot rebuilt the church and nearly all the monastic buildings
with the materials collected by his predecessor ; and apparently
made a clean sweep of the original structures. Although the
fabric appears to have been completed by Abbot Paul, the
consecration did not take place till 1115. Between 1195 and
1214 Abbot John de Cella commenced a new west front, but only
part of the original design was carried out. In 1257 the eastern
end was in a dangerous condition, and the two easternmost bays
were pulled down ; and eventually a presbytery and a Lady
Chapel with vestibule were added. Extensive alterations and
rebuilding were carried out previous to 1326, and again between
1335 and 1340. Other works were carried out by John de
Wheathampstead between 1451 and 1484, including the rebuild-
ing of St Andrew's chapel. In 1553 the abbey was sold to the
Mayor and Burgesses as a parish church, when the Lady Chapel
was cut off" from the rest of the building by a public passage and
used as a grammar school. This passage remained till about

Shrine of St Amphibalus, St Albans' Abbey


1870, when the Lady Chapel was once more rejoined to the main
fabric. About this time a restoration of portions of the building
was undertaken by a county committee, when the low-pitched
roof of the nave was replaced by a high-pitched one on the lines
of a much earlier structure. Soon after, the tower was in danger
of collapsing, owing to crush in the supporting pillars, and the
whole structure had to be shored up previous to underpinning.
Finally, the late Lord Grimthorpe undertook the completion of
the "restoration," which was carried out in substantial but drastic
style. His most notable work comprised the complete rebuilding
of the west front in a peculiar style, the repointing of the tower,
and the replacing of its brick turrets by stone " pepper-pots."

The clock-tower in the centre of the city, from which the
curfew was rung till the sixties, is another interesting building,
as is also the old gateway of the monastery, now used as a
grammar school. Near by the city are the ruins of Sopwell
nunnery. The city has three parishes, those of the Abbey, St
Peter, and St Michael, but it is also extending into the parish
of Sandridge. On the further side of the Ver is situated St
Stephen's. St Albans is rapidly increasing as a residential district,
and also as a manufacturing centre, a number of industrial
establishments from London having been recently set up in its
environs. Straw-plait still remains, however, the chief trade,
although the actual plaiting of the straw has been killed by
foreign competition. A market is held every Saturday. St
Albans has a museum, unfortunately not restricted to local
antiquities and natural history objects. There are three railway
stations, one on the Midland, the second the terminus of a
branch line from the North-Western at Watford, and the third
that of a branch of the Great Northern from Hatfield. St Peter's
church stands on the site of a Saxon church built in the latter
half of the tenth century; this was replaced in less than 200 years
by a Norman edifice, remains of which were found during the
alterations carried out by the late Lord Grimthorpe. St Michael's
church contains Bacon's tomb.


Two notable battles were fought at St Albans during the
Wars of the Roses. In 1455 the Yorkists and in 1461 the
Lancastrians were victorious, (pp. 14, 18, 35, 57, 59, 60, 61,
71, 72, 75, 80, 81, 82, 84, 94, 98, 102, 103, 104, 105, 107, 123,
124, 126, 128, 130, 137, 138, 140, 141, 142, 149.)

Sawbridgeworth (2 08 5) r pronounced Satsworth, is a town
on the eastern border of the county, to the south of Bishop's
Stortford, with a station on the Great Eastern Railway. It was
originally known as Sabricstworth, being the seat of the family of
Say, or de Say. It has a history dating from the Conquest,
(pp. 113, 132.)

Shenley (1120) a village about four miles to the southward
of St Albans; the manor in the time of Stephen belonged to the
de Mandeviles, who had also the church.

Standon (1577), a village and manor, with a station on the
Great Eastern Railway about midway between Buntingford and
Stanstead Abbots. Standon Lordship was the seat of the Lords
Aston of Forfar, who inherited it from the Sadler family. The
living originally belonged to the Knights Templars.

Stanstead Abbots (1484), now a parish and manor, but
formerly a borough, is a village lying east of Hertford, near
St Margaret's station on the Great Eastern Railway.

Stevenage (3957), a market-town on the Great North
Road and Great Northern Railway, between Welwyn and Hitchin.
The town originally stood near to the church of St Nicholas, now
half-a-mile distant; but after a disastrous fire, a new settlement
sprang up on each side of the North Road, which runs to the
south-west of the old church. The fortieth, and last, abbot of
St Albans was Richard Boreham de Stevenage, elected in 1538,
and dismissed the following year on the dissolution of the
monasteries. Elmwood House, now pulled down, was the home
of Lucas, the Hertfordshire hermit, (pp. 14, 39, 116, 128, 129.)


Tring (4349) forms the extreme western outpost of Hertford-
shire, being situated in the peninsula projecting from this part
of the county into the heart of Buckinghamshire. It has a station
on the North-Western Railway some considerable distance from
the town itself; and of late years has become well-known in the
scientific world on account of the private natural history museum
established by the Hon. Walter Rothschild in Tring Park, the
seat of Lord Rothschild. Tring was formerly one of the centres
of the straw-plait industry, (pp. 18,42,46,47,54, 72,90,99, 105.)

\7altham Cross (5291), a town on the Essex border of the
county, with a station on the Great Eastern Railway, which takes
its name from one of the crosses erected at the resting-places on
the funeral route of Queen Eleanor from Grantham. (pp. 124,

Ware (5573), an ancient town to the north-east of Hertford,
situated on the river Lea (which is here navigable), and on a
branch of the Great Eastern Railway. Ware, which is associated
with the story of "John Gilpin," is the chief centre of the malting
industry in the county; the grant of a market was made by
King Henry III in the year 1254. (pp. 5, 44, 70, 80.)

(29,327) is by far the largest town in the county,
being the only one with a population which exceeded 20,000 at
the census of 1901. It is situated in the south-western corner of
the county, and is traversed by the Colne; it has a station on the
North-Western Railway, from which a branch line runs to
St Albans. A market has existed since the time of Henry II,
and is stated to have been granted by Henry I. Watford played
an important part in Wat Tyler's rising. The Grove, the seat
of the Earls of Clarendon, and Cassiobury, that of the Earls of
Essex, are situated in the vicinity of the town. Watford is the
centre of the West Herts parliamentary division and has numerous
mills and factories. The parish church contains some magnificent
monuments by Nicholas Stone, (pp. 6, 31, 34, 44, 99, 122, 123,


Watton or Watton -at -Stone (710), a village in the
valley of the Beane, near the centre of the county, taking its
name from the number of springs in the neighbourhood Wat, in
Saxon, signifying a moist place. Watton, which was in existence
as a manor in the time of the Conqueror, was the home of the
ancient family of Boteler, whose seat was the present Woodhall
Park, now the property of the Abel Smith family. Near by is
the manor house of Aston Bury, a fine example of a sixteenth
century house, also once belonging to the Botelers, with tall,
twisted chimneys, a magnificent staircase, and an upper room
occupying the whole width of the building, (p. 1 13.)

Welwyn (1660), a village on the Great Northern Railway
between Hatfield and Stevenage. Young, who was born near
Bishop's Waltham in Hampshire, became Rector of the place,
wrote his Night Thoughts here, and is buried in the churchyard.
Two centuries ago Welwyn was celebrated for its chalybeate
springs, (pp. 62, 128, 149.)

Wheathampstead (2405), a village in the valley of the
Lea, between Luton and Hatfield, with a station on the Luton and
Dunstable branch of the Great Northern Railway. The parish
originally included Harpenden, which was separated about 1860
One of the oldest buildings is Wheathampstead Place, or Place
Farm, which dates back to the time of Queen Elizabeth, and has
some fine Tudor chimneys; it was formerly the property of the
Brockett family, whose monuments are in the church. The
church itself, which is a cruciform edifice with a central tower,
is dedicated to St Helen, and was judiciously restored in the
sixties; the chancel with its three beautiful lancet windows was
built about 1230, the tower was rebuilt towards the close of the
thirteenth century, and the north transept between 1330-40.
The parish includes the manors of Mackery End and Lamer; the
latter taking its name from the de la Mare family, by whom
it was held in the fourteenth century. Lamer House was rebuilt
about 1761. (pp. 38, 67, 90, 97, 101.)







203, 140






Fig. i. Diagram showing the increase in the population
of Hertfordshire from 1861 to 1901

England and Wales 558 Herts 409 Lancashire 2347

Fig. 2. Comparative density of the population of Hertfordshire
to the sq. mile in 1901. Each dot represents 10 persons


Total 32,527,843


Fig. 3. The population of Herts (258,423) as compared
with that of England and Wales


Total 37,327,479 acres


Fig. 4. The area of Herts (404,518 acres) as compared
with that of England and Wales

Permanent Pasture

Area not under Permanent
Pasture 277,589

Fig. 5. Proportionate area of Permanent Pasture



Area not under Corn Crops
286, 156

Fig. 6. Proportionate acreage of Corn Crops
to total area of County

Fig. 7. Proportionate acreage of Oats, Wheat,
and Barley in Herts



Meadows and

Permanent Pasture


rea of Herts


Green Crops and
Rotation Grasses

Corn Crops

Fig. 8. Proportionate acreage of land under Cultivation
and Not under Cultivation in the County

Fig. 9. Comparative numbers of Live Stock in Herts

CamlmDgr :



This book is DUE on the last date stamped below

2 9 1949
REB 15:1950
4 196Q

MAY 4 1961


670 Lydekker -

A 000 989 202 7


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9

Online LibraryRichard LydekkerHertfordshire, by R. Lydekker → online text (page 9 of 9)