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{Transcriber's note: Some misprints have been corrected, as noted at the end of the e-text. All material added by the transcriber is between braces {}. Text in bold in the original is surrounded by equals signs.}





"Hearty, homely, loving Hertfordshire" —CHARLES LAMB

LONDON METHUEN & CO. LTD. 36 Essex St. Strand

Second Edition, Revised

First Published March 1903 Second Edition, Revised 1922



In the following pages I have endeavoured to give a brief description of Hertfordshire on the lines of Mr. F. G. Brabant's book in this series. The general features of the county are briefly described in the Introduction, in sections approximately corresponding to the sections of the volume on Sussex. I have thought it wise, however, to compress the Introduction within the briefest limits, in order that, in the Gazetteer, I might have space for more adequate treatment than would otherwise have been possible.

I have visited a large proportion of the towns, villages and hamlets of Hertfordshire, and have, so far as possible, written from personal observation.

I desire to thank Mr. John Hopkinson, F.L.S., F.G.S., etc., for his kindness in writing the sections on Climate and Botany; Mr. A. E. Gibbs, F.L.S., F.R.H.S., for his permission to make use of several miscellanies from his pen, and Mr. Alfred Bentley of New Barnet for his courtesy in placing some photographs from his collection at the disposal of Mr. New.



















THE ABBEY CHURCH, ST. ALBANS Frontispiece (From a Photograph by the Graphotone Co., Enfield)

LEAFLESS BEECHES IN NOVEMBER, ASHRIDGE WOODS To face page 2 (From a Photo. by Mr. J. T. Newman, Great Berkhampstead)

ON THE RIVER COLNE 8 (From a Photo. by Mr. J. T. Newman, Great Berkhampstead)

GRAND JUNCTION CANAL AT TRING—THE HIGHEST WATER LEVEL IN ENGLAND 10 (From a Photo. by Mr. J. T. Newman, Great Berkhampstead)

THE PARISH CHURCH, ALDBURY 47 (From a Photo. by Mr. J. T. Newman, Great Berkhampstead)

ASHRIDGE HOUSE 53 (From a Photo. by Mr. J. T. Newman, Great Berkhampstead)

OLD COTTAGE, BALDOCK 59 (From a Photo. by Messrs. Valentine, Dundee)

CASTLE STREET, BERKHAMPSTEAD 72 (From a Photo. by Mr. J. T. Newman, Great Berkhampstead)

BISHOP'S STORTFORD 74 (From a Photograph by Messrs. Frith, Reigate)


CHORLEY WOOD COMMON 87 (From a Photo. by the London Stereoscopic & Photo. Co.)

HATFIELD HOUSE 109 (From a Photo. by Messrs. Valentine, Dundee)

KING JAMES'S DRAWING-ROOM, HATFIELD HOUSE 111 (From a Photo. by Messrs. Valentine, Dundee)



HITCHIN 125 (From a Photograph by Messrs. Frith, Reigate)


OLD COTTAGES NEAR MACKERY END 146 (From a Photograph by the Author)

RICKMANSWORTH 170 (From a Photo. by the London Stereoscopic & Photo. Co.)

THE HIGH STREET, ROYSTON 172 (From a Photo. by Messrs. Valentine, Dundee)

THE FIGHTING COCKS, ST. ALBANS—THE OLDEST INN IN ENGLAND 178 (From a Photo. by Messrs. Valentine, Dundee)

BACON'S MONUMENT 183 (From a Photograph by Messrs. Frith, Reigate)

RUINS OF BACON'S HOUSE 184 (From a Photograph by Messrs. Frith, Reigate)

ST. ALBAN'S SHRINE 192 (From a Photograph by the Graphotone Co., Enfield)

STEVENAGE CHURCH 204 (From a Photograph by Messrs. Frith, Reigate)





Hertfordshire, or Herts, is a county in the S.E. of England. On the S. it is bounded by Middlesex; on the S.W. by Buckinghamshire; on the N.W. by Bedfordshire; on the N. by Cambridgeshire; on the E. by Essex. Its extreme measurement from due E. to W., say from Little Hyde Hall to Puttenham, is about 38 miles; from N. to S., from Mobb's Hole at the top of Ashwell Common to a point just S. of Totteridge Green, about 30 miles; but a longer line, 36 miles in length, may be drawn from Mobb's Hole to Troy Farm in the S.W. Its boundaries are very irregular; the neighbourhood of Long Marston is almost surrounded by Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, that of Hinxworth by Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, and that of Barnet by Middlesex. Its extreme points are:—

N. Lat. 52 deg. 5' (N.) E. Long. 0 deg. 13' (E.) W. Long. 0 deg. 45' (W.) S. Lat. 51 deg. 36' (N.)

Its area is 404,523 acres or 632 square miles. It is one of the smallest counties in England, the still smaller counties being Rutland, Middlesex, Huntingdon, Bedford and Monmouth. Hertfordshire is one of the six home counties.


Hertfordshire, being an inland county, is naturally devoid of many charms to be found in those counties which have a sea-coast. But it has beauties of its own, being particularly varied and undulating. Its scenery is pleasantly diversified by many woods, which however are mostly of but small extent, by swelling cornfields, and by several small and winding streams. There is much rich loam in the many little valley-bottoms traversed by these streams, and other loams of inferior quality are found in abundance on the higher levels of the arable districts. The soil in many parts, owing to the preponderance of chalk, is specially adapted to the cultivation of wheat. Its trees have elicited the admiration of many, particularly its oaks and elms, of which colossal specimens are found here and there throughout the county, and its beeches, of which the beautiful woods on the Chiltern slopes and elsewhere in the W. are largely composed. The hornbeam is almost restricted to Essex and Hertfordshire. The woods of Hertfordshire form indeed its sweetest attraction in the eyes of many. The districts of Rickmansworth, Radlett, Wheathampstead and Breachwood Green, among others, are dotted with coppices of ideal loveliness, and larger woods such as Batch Wood near St. Albans and Bricket Wood near Watford are carpeted with flowers in their season, interspersed with glades, and haunted by jays and doves, by ringlets and brimstones. Hazel woods abound, and parties of village children busily "a-nutting" in the autumn are one of the commonest sights of the county. It abounds, too, in quiet park-like spots which are the delight of artists, and contains many villages and hamlets picturesquely situated upon slopes and embowered among trees. A large proportion of the birds known to English observers are found in the county either regularly or as chance visitors, and will be treated more fully in a separate section. The many narrow, winding, flower-scented lanes are one of the chief beauties of Hertfordshire. The eastern part of the county, though, on the whole, less charming to the eye than the rest, contains some fine manor houses and interesting old parish churches. Its most beautiful part is unquestionably the W., near the Buckinghamshire border; its greatest historic interest centres around St. Albans, with its wonderful old abbey church now largely restored; Berkhampstead, Hertford, Hatfield and Hitchin. The county contains rather less than the average of waste or common land; the stretches of heath used for grazing purposes only aggregating 1,200 acres.

Among the finest panoramic views may be mentioned:—

(1) From the hill near Boxmoor Station.

(2) From the village of Wigginton, looking S.

(3) From the high-road between Graveley and Baldock.

(4) From Windmill Hill, Hitchin, looking W.

There were medicinal waters at Barnet, Northaw, Hemel Hempstead and Welwyn, but these are now disused. Many other details touching physiographical characteristics are mentioned as occasion arises in the Alphabetical Gazetteer which follows this Introduction.

The Geology of Hertfordshire must be here summarised in few words. The predominant formations are the Cretaceous and the Tertiary.

CRETACEOUS.—Ignoring the Gault, which barely touches the county, this formation consists chiefly of Chalk-marl, Lower, Middle and Upper Chalk. A series of Chalk Downs, an extension of the Chiltern Hills, stretches, roughly speaking, from Tring to Royston, forming by far the most prominent natural feature of Hertfordshire. The oldest rocks are in the N.W.

The Chalk Marl is superimposed upon the Gault and Upper Greensand beds, which are confined to the western portion of the county. Its upper layer passes into a sandy limestone, known as Totternhoe stone, which has furnished materials for many churches in the shire. Ashwell, Pirton and Tring may be named as neighbourhoods where this stratum may be traced.

The Lower Chalk is devoid of flints, and rests, in somewhat steeply sloping beds, upon the Totternhoe stone. It forms the western slopes of the Dunstable Downs, and of the Chiltern Hills. It is fossiliferous, one of the commonest of its shells being the Terebratula.

The Middle Chalk, of resonant hardness, is laminated, and has at its base the Melbourn Rock and at its summit the Chalk Rock. Nodules of flint, greenish in appearance, and (rarely) arranged in layers, occur sparsely in the Middle Chalk, which may be traced in the neighbourhood of Boxmoor, Berkhampstead and Baldock, and also in a few other districts.

The Upper Chalk.—Although, as has been stated, the configuration of Hertfordshire is very undulating, we are able to discern a general trend in certain districts. Thus, there is a gradual slope to the S. from the N.W. and central hills, a slope which comprises the larger part of the county. This slope is formed of the Upper Chalk, a formation abounding in layers of black flints. The chalk is whiter than that of the lower beds, and very much softer. Fossil sponges, sea-urchins, etc., are abundant in this formation.

TERTIARY.—Many of the chalk hills of Hertfordshire are strewn with outlying more recent deposits which prove that the lower Tertiary beds were more extensive in remote ages. The beds of sand and clay, of such frequent occurrence in the S.E. districts, contain fossils so distinct from those of the Upper Chalk that an immense interval must have elapsed before those Tertiary deposits were in turn laid down.

The Eocene Formation.—The Thanet Beds, of light-coloured sands, present in some other parts of the London Basin, notably in Kent, are wanting in Hertfordshire. There are, however, some widespread deposits of loamy sands which may possibly be rearranged material from the Thanet Beds.

The lowest Eocene deposits in the county are the Reading Beds. These rest directly upon the Chalk and have an average thickness of, say, 25 feet. They may be traced E. to S.W. from the brickfields near Hertford to Hatfield Park; thence to the kilns on Watford Heath and at Bushey; they may also be traced from Watford to Harefield Park. These beds contain flints, usually found close to the Chalk, and consist chiefly of mottled clays, sands, and pebble-beds. Fossils are but rarely found. From the Woolwich and Reading Beds come those conglomerate masses of flint pebbles commonly called Hertfordshire plum-pudding stone. These have usually a silicious matrix and were often used by the Romans and others for making querns for corn-grinding. It is, perhaps, not impertinent to mention here the opinion of geologists that during the Eocene Period a considerable portion of the land usually spoken of as S.E. England was covered by the ocean.

Resting upon the Reading Beds we find that well-known stratum called the London Clay, which is of bluish hue when dug at any considerable depth. It is found in some of the same districts as the Woolwich and Reading Beds, and from Hertford and Watford it extends to N.E. and S.W. respectively until it leaves Hertfordshire. Its direction may be approximately traced by a series of hills, none of which are of any great height.

The Drift.—In Hertfordshire, as elsewhere, the strata whose names are so familiar to geologists do not form the existing surface of the ground. For the origin of this we go back to a comparatively recent period, when disintegration was busily working upon the solid rocks, and glaciers were moving southwards, leaving stones and much loose debris in their wake. Rivers, some of which, as in the Harpenden valley, have long ceased to run, separated the flints from the chalk, forming a gravel which is found in quantities at Harpenden, Wheathampstead and St. Albans, and is, indeed, present in all valley-bottoms, even where no river now runs. Gravel, together with clays, sand, and alluvial loams, forms, for the most part, the actual surface of the county.

The Rivers of Hertfordshire are many, if we include several so small as hardly to deserve the name. They are the Ash, Beane, Bulbourne, Chess, Colne, Gade, Hiz, Ivel, Lea, Maran, Purwell, Quin, Rhee, Rib, Stort and Ver.

1. The Ash rises near Little Hadham, and, passing the village of Widford, joins the Lea at Stanstead.

2. The Beane, rising in the parish of Cottered, runs to Walkern, where it passes close to the church, and flows from thence past Aston and Watton, and into the Lea at Hertford.

3. The Bulbourne rises in the parish of Tring, passes N.E. of Berkhampstead and S.W. of Hemel Hempstead and unites with the Gade at Two Waters.

4. The Chess enters the county from Buckinghamshire at Sarratt Mill, and flowing past Loudwater joins the Gade at Rickmansworth. The Valley of the Chess is one of the prettiest districts in the shire.

5. The Colne rises near Sleap's Hyde, is crossed by the main road from Barnet to St. Albans at London Colney, and by the main road from Edgware to St. Albans at Colney Street. Thence it passes between Bushey Hall and Bushey Lodge, flows through Watford to Rickmansworth where, uniting with the Gade and Chess, it enters Middlesex near Stocker's Farm.

6. The Gade rises near Little Gaddesden, skirts Hemel Hempstead Church on the W. side, and passing King's Langley and Hunton Bridge, flows through Cassiobury Park and joins the Chess and Colne at Rickmansworth.

7. The Hiz, rising at Well Head, S.W. of Hitchin, crosses that town, joins the Purwell at Grove Mill and leaves the county at Cadwell.

8. The Ivel rises near Baldock, flows to Radwell Mill and shortly afterwards enters Bedfordshire.

9. The Lea is the largest river in Hertfordshire. It rises near Leagrave (in Bedfordshire) and flows through the county from N.W. to S.E. Entering Hertfordshire at Hide Mill, it flows past Wheathampstead, Hatfield, Hertford, Ware, and, leaving the county near Waltham Abbey, enters the Thames at Blackwall. Its entire length is about 50 miles. The waterway known as the Lea and Stort Navigation is navigable to Bishop's Stortford.

10. The Maran, or Mimram, rises in the parish of King's Walden, skirts Whitwell on the N., running parallel with the village street, and passing through Welwyn and near Tewin enters the Lea at Hertingfordbury.

11. The Purwell, or Pirall, rises in the parish of Ippollits and passing W. of Great Wymondley runs to Purwell Mill, and joins the Hiz at Grove Mill.

12. The Quin rises in the neighbourhood of Wyddial, and passing Quinbury, unites with the Rib at Braughing.

13. The Rhee, rising a little E. of Ashwell, has but a few miles to flow before it enters Cambridgeshire.

14. The Rib rises at Corney Bury, flows E. of Buntingford, thence turning W. it flows under the bridge at the Adam and Eve, runs to Westmill, Standon and Thundridge, finally uniting with the Lea at Hertford.

15. The Stort enters Hertfordshire from Essex at a point near Cannon Wood Mill, and after passing through Bishop's Stortford forms the extreme E. boundary of the county for some distance before quitting it near Cheshunt.

16. The Ver rises near Flamstead, is crossed by the Dunstable Road, N.W. of Redbourn, then recrossed by it. It then skirts St. Albans on the S. and joins the Colne near Park Street.

In addition to the cutting of the Lea and Stort Navigation already mentioned, there are other artificial waterways:—

The Aylesbury Canal (a branch of the Grand Junction Canal) crosses the extreme western neck of the county, from S. of Puttenham to S. of Gubblecote.

The Grand Junction Canal is largely utilised by barges traversing the W. of Hertfordshire. It is conspicuous at Rickmansworth, Boxmoor, and Berkhampstead; it enters Bedfordshire near Marsworth Reservoir.

The New River was constructed by Sir Hugh Myddelton, a London goldsmith, in 1609-13, and is largely fed by springs at Chadwell near Hertford. Its course in Hertfordshire is mostly close to and parallel with that of the Lea. The New River caused the financial ruin of its projector; one of its shares is now worth a large fortune. The whole story of this undertaking is very interesting; but as the New River was cut in order to bring water to London that story belongs to a volume on Middlesex.


The chief elements of climate are temperature and rainfall. A general idea of the mean temperature and rainfall of Hertfordshire, both monthly and annual, may be gained from an inspection of Bartholomew's Atlas of Meteorology (1899). From that work it appears that the mean annual temperature of the county, if reduced to sea-level (that is, the theoretical mean for its position) would be 50 deg. or a little above it, but that the actual mean varies from 46 deg.-48 deg. on the Chiltern Hills to 48 deg.-50 deg. in the rest and much the greater part of Hertfordshire; also that the mean annual rainfall is between 25 and 30 inches, the latter amount only being approached towards the Chilterns. Thus altitude is seen to have a great effect on both these elements of climate.

Hertfordshire is hilly though not mountainous, a great extent of its surface being considerably elevated above sea-level, with a general south-easterly inclination; it has a dry soil; is well watered with numerous rivers of clear water—already enumerated—chiefly derived from springs in the Chalk; is well but not too densely wooded; and its atmosphere is not contaminated by manufacturing towns. It thus maintains the reputation for salubrity which it gained more than three centuries ago, our earliest county historian, Norden, remarking on the "salutarie" nature of the "aire".

Observations taken at the following meteorological stations during the twelve years 1887 to 1898 have been printed annually in the Transactions of the Hertfordshire Natural History Society, and a brief summary of some of the chief results will here be given.

Royston (London Road): lat. 52 deg. 2' 34'' N.; long. 0 deg. 1' 8'' W.; alt. 301 feet; observer, the late Hale Wortham, F.R.Met.Soc.

Berkhampstead (Rosebank): lat. 51 deg. 45' 40'' N.; long. 0 deg. 33' 30'' W.; alt. 400 feet; observer, Edward Mawley, F.R.Met.Soc.

St. Albans (The Grange): lat. 51 deg. 45' 9'' N.; long. 0 deg. 20' 7'' W.; alt. 380 feet; observer, John Hopkinson, Assoc.Inst.C.E.

Bennington (Bennington House): lat. 51 deg. 53' 45'' N.; long. 0 deg. 20' 7'' W.; alt. 407 feet; observer, Rev. Dr. Parker, F.R.Met.Soc.

New Barnet (Gas Works): lat. 51 deg. 38' 5'' N.; long. 0 deg. 10' 15'' W.; alt. 212 feet; observer, T. H. Martin, M.Inst.C.E.

1. Temperature.—The mean temperature of Hertfordshire, as deduced from the above observations, is 48.3 deg.. It has varied from 47.0 deg. in 1887 to 50.2 deg. in 1898. The mean daily range is 15.9 deg.. It was the least (14.2 deg.) in 1888, and the greatest (18.1 deg.) in 1893. The mean temperature of the seasons is as follows: spring 46.6 deg., summer 60.2 deg., autumn 49.2 deg., winter 37.2 deg.. The warmest month is July, with a mean temperature of 61.0 deg.; the coldest is January, with a mean of 36.1 deg.. August is very little colder than July. In these two months only has the temperature never been below freezing-point (32 deg.). In December and January only has it never exceeded 62 deg.. It increases most rapidly during the month of May, and decreases most rapidly during September and October.

2. Humidity.—The relative humidity of the air, that is the amount of moisture it contains short of complete saturation which is represented by 100, is, at 9 A.M., 82. It has varied from 78 in 1893 to 85 in 1888 and 1889. The air is much drier in spring and summer (78 and 75) than it is in autumn and winter (86 and 89). There is the least amount of moisture in the air from April to August (74 to 78), and the greatest from November to January (90).

3. Cloud.—The mean amount of cloud at 9 A.M., from 0 (clear sky) to 10 (completely overcast), is 6.7. It has varied from 6.0 in 1893 to 7.4 in 1888. Spring, summer, and autumn are about equally cloudy (6.5 to 6.6), and winter is considerably more so (7.2). The sky at 9 A.M. is brightest in September (6.0) and most cloudy in November and January (7.5).

4. Sunshine.—At Berkhampstead only have records of bright sunshine been taken for the whole of the twelve years. Throughout the year the sun shines brightly there for nearly four hours a day (3.9). The average duration in spring is 5.0, in summer 5.8, in autumn 3.2, and in winter 1.6. The duration is least in December and greatest in May; the sun shining for rather more than an hour a day in December and nearly six hours and a half in May. An apparent discrepancy between this and the preceding section is due to a bright day often following a cloudy morning and vice versa.

5. Wind.—The prevailing direction of the wind, as recorded at Berkhampstead, St. Albans and Bennington, is from S.W. (sixty-one days in the year) to W. (sixty-two days), and the next most frequent winds are N. to N.E. and S. (each about thirty-seven days). The least frequent are S.E. (twenty-five days). About forty-four days in the year are recorded as calm.

6. Rainfall.—Twelve years is much too short a period to give a trustworthy mean for such a variable element of climate as rainfall, and five stations are much too few to deduce an average from for Hertfordshire. The average rainfall at a varying number of stations for the sixty years 1840 to 1899 (from one station in the first decade of this period to twenty stations in the last decade) was 26.15 inches. In the driest year (1854) 17.67 inches fell, and in the wettest (1852) 37.57 inches. Spring has 5.40 inches, summer 6.97, autumn 7.87, and winter 5.91. The driest months are February and March, each with a mean of 1.65 inch; April is but very little wetter, having 1.69. The wettest month is October, with 2.96 inches, and the next is November with 2.56. The mean number of days of rain in the year, that is of days on which at least 0.01 inch fell, for the thirty years 1870-99, was 167. Autumn and winter have each about six more wet days than spring and summer. The rainfall is greatly affected by the form of the ground, the southern and western hills attracting the rain, which chiefly comes from the S.W., so greatly that with a mean annual fall of about 26 inches there is a difference of 31/2 inches between that of the river-basin of the Colne on the W. and that of the river-basin of the Lea on the E., the former having 28 inches and the latter 241/2. The small portion of the river-basin of the Great Ouse which is within our area has rather less rain than the average for the county.


In his Cybele Britannica, H. C. Watson divided Britain into eighteen botanical provinces of which the Thames and the Ouse occupy the whole of the S.E. of England. The greater part of Hertfordshire is in the Thames province and a small portion in the N. is in that of the Ouse.

In Pryor's Flora of Hertfordshire, published by the Hertfordshire Natural History Society in 1887, which should be referred to for full information on the botany of the county, these botanical provinces are again divided into districts, the Ouse into (1) Cam, (2) Ivel; and the Thames into (3) Thame, (4) Colne, (5) Brent, (6) Lea; both the larger provinces and the smaller districts thus being founded on the natural divisions of a country, drainage areas or catchment basins.

In the following brief notes a few of the rarer or more interesting flowering plants of each district are enumerated.

1. The Cam.—This is the most northern district. It is almost entirely on the Chalk and is very bare of trees. The few plants which are restricted to it are very rare. A meadow-rue, Thalictrum Jacquinianum, and the cat's foot (Antennaria dioica) occur only on Royston and Therfield Heaths; Alisma ranunculoides and Potamogeton coloratus only on Ashwell Common; and of the great burnet (Poterium officinale) the sole record is that of a plant gathered near Ashwell in 1840.

2. The Ivel.—This district is S.W. of that of the Cam, and the Chalk Downs of that district are continued through it. Its rarer plants are Melampyrum arvense, which occurs only in one spot S. of Ashwell; Smyrnium olusatrum, which has been found near Baldock and Pirton; and Silene conica, which was found near Hitchin in 1875. The white helleborine (Cephalanthera pallens), the dwarf orchis (Orchis ustulata), and the musk orchis (Herminium monorchis) occur on the Chalk Downs.

3. The Thame.—A very small tongue-like protrusion[a] of the extreme W. of the county, in which are the Tring Reservoirs. Two of the species confined to the district, Typha angustifolia and Potamogeton Friesii, are water-plants which occur only in these reservoirs or in the canals which they supply. A rare poplar, Populus canescens, grows by the Wilstone reservoir, and the man-orchis (Aceras anthropophora) on terraces cut in the Chalk near Tring.

4. The Colne.—A large district, comprising almost the whole of the western portion of the county. Diplotaxis tenuefolia, Silene nutans, and Hieracium murorum grow only on old walls in St. Albans. Colney Heath is our only habitat for a very rare loosestrife, Lythrum hyssopyfolium, and also for Teesdalia nudicaulis, while there is but one other locality, a different one in each case, for four of its plants, Radiola linoides, Centunculus minimus, Cuscuta epithymum, and Potamogeton acutifolius. The pasque-flower (Anemone pulsatilla) grows abundantly on the Chalk slopes near Aldbury. The rarer orchids of the district are the bog-orchis (Malaxis paludosa), the narrow-leaved helleborine (Cephalanthera ensifolia), and the butterfly orchis (Habenaria bifolia).

5. The Brent.—The smallest district, a protrusion[b] of the county in the S. entirely on the London Clay, and chiefly interesting owing to the presence of Totteridge Green and its ponds. In these ponds grow the great spearwort (Ranunculus lingua) and the sweet-flag (Acorus calamus), the former, however, not being indigenous. The star-fruit (Damasonium stellatum) formerly grew on Totteridge Green, and Chenopodium glaucum at Totteridge, but neither has lately been seen.

6. The Lea.—The largest district, comprising the whole of the E. of the county. The London rocket (Sisymbrium irio) occurs only in the old towns of Hertford and Ware; the true oxlip (Primula elatior) near the head of the River Stort; a very rare broom-rape, Orobanche caerulea, at Hoddesdon, where it is parasitic on the milfoil; and an almost equally rare bedstraw, Galium anglicum, on an old wall of Brocket Park. A rare trefoil, Trifolium glomeratum, is known only at Easneye near Ware; and Hatfield Park is our only locality for the water-soldier (Stratiotes aloides) except where it has evidently been planted. Two species, usually of rare occurrence, Polygonum dumetorum and Apera spica-venta, are frequent in the district.

The indigenous flowering plants of Hertfordshire number 893 species, 679 being Dicotyledons and 214 Monocotyledons. If to these be added 199 aliens, etc., the total number of species recorded is brought up to 1,092. The flora is essentially of a southern type, the northern species being few in number. Owing to the dry soil, xerophiles largely prevail over hygrophiles.

The Ferns and their allies the horsetails and clubmosses are not well represented, both the soil and the air of the county being too dry for them. Another cause for the present scarcity of ferns is the proximity of Hertfordshire to London, for they have been uprooted and taken there for sale in cart-loads. We have twenty-four species of ferns and fern-allies, but not one really rare. The principal varieties are Scolopendrium vulgare, var. multifidum; Athyrium filixfaemina[c], var. convexum; and Polypodium vulgare, var. serratum. Equisetum silvaticum is our rarest horsetail; and our only clubmoss is Lycopodium clavatum.

The Mosses are much better represented than the ferns, 175 species having been recorded. The bog-mosses are represented by six species—Sphagnum intermedium, cuspidatum, subsecundum, acutifolium, squarrosum, and cymbifolium. Tetraphis pellucida occurs in Sherrard's Park Wood, and Polytrichum urnigerum in Hitch Wood. Seligeria pusilla has been found in an old chalk-pit in Brocket Park, and S. paucifolia on chalk nodules in the Tunnel Woods near Watford. Campylopus pyriforme occurs in Berry Grove Wood, Aldenham, and C. flexuosus in Dawley's Wood, Tewin.

Of the Liverworts (Hepaticae) forty-four species are known to occur; and the Stoneworts (Characeae) are represented by seven species—two of Chara, two of Tolypella, and three of Nitella.

The Algae have been pretty fully investigated, especially the Diatomaceae, of the 252 species of Algae known to occur in the county, 156 belonging to that interesting family of microscopic plants. As an illustration of their minute size it may be mentioned that a single drop of water from the saucer of a flower-pot at Hertford, mounted as a microscopic slide, was found to contain 200,000 separate frustules of Achnanthes subsessilis, and it was estimated that these occupied only one twenty-fifth part of the drop. Both species of Chlamidococcus (the old genus Protococcus), C. pluvialis and C. nivalis occur; and the pretty Volvox globator has frequently been found.

Of the Lichens much less is known, only sixty-seven species having been recorded. The most noteworthy are Calicium melanophaeum, found on fir-trees in Bricket Wood; Peltigera polydactyla, on moss-covered ground in Oxhey Woods, Watford; Lecanora phlogina, in the Tunnel Woods, Watford; and Pertusaria globulifera, on trees in the same woods and also in Bricket Wood. As woods in the vicinity of Hertford and of Watford only have been searched for lichens, our list ought to be largely increased by investigation in other parts of the county.

Of the Fungi our chief knowledge is derived from lists of species collected at Fungus Forays of the Hertfordshire Natural History Society and from records of the Mycetozoa by Mr. James Saunders. The number of species recorded for the county is 735, of which fifty-eight are "myxies". Of the Hymenomycetes, or mushroom-like fungi, some very noteworthy finds have been made, nearly all at Forays of the county society. They include two species new to Britain, viz., Agaricus (Nolania) nigripes, found in Aldenham Woods, Watford, and Ag. (Hypholoma) violacea-ater, in Gorhambury Park, St. Albans (by the present writer). Hertfordshire has also furnished the second British records for Ag. (Lepiota) gliodermus (Broxbourne Woods), Ag. (Leptonia) euochrous (Ashridge Woods), Ag. (Psathyrella) aratus (Sherrard's Park, Welwyn), and Paxillus Alexandri (Hatfield Park), this species having first been recorded from Hatfield Park, Essex; and the second and third British record for Agaricus (Clytocybe) Sadleri (Ashridge Park and Cassiobury Park). The very rare Strombilomyces strombilaceus has been found in Grove Park, Watford, and the still rarer Peziza luteo-nitens on the Chalk slopes between Aldbury and Ashridge Park. Lastly it may be mentioned that Mr. Saunders added the "myxie" Physarum citrinum to the British fungus-flora from specimens found by him at Caddington and Welwyn.

The Birds of Hertfordshire have been carefully observed, and the appearance of rare visitors has been duly recorded. At a lecture delivered at St. Albans in 1902, Mr. Alan F. Crossman, F.L.S., F.Z.S., stated that 212 species had been known to visit the county, and mentioned, inter alia, that the kingfisher is more numerous in Hertfordshire than formerly, that the heron nested in the county for the first time in 1901, and that the appearance of the bearded titmouse had been noticed on but three occasions. During the last forty years the following birds, among others, have been noticed as occasional visitants: the storm-petrel (Procellaria pelagica), golden oriole (Oriolus galbula), whooper-swan (Cygnus musicus), snow-bunting (Plectrophanes nivalis), greater spotted woodpecker (Picus major), black tern (Hydrochelidon nigra), great northern diver (Colymbus glacialis), herring-gull (Larus argentatus), cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), tufted duck (Fuligula cristata), hoopoe (Upopa epops), crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), sheldrake (Tadorna cornuta), Guillemot[d] (Lornvia troile), Pallas' sandgrouse (Syrrhaptes paradoxus), rock thrush (Monticola saxatilis), black redstart (Ruticilla titys), Dartford warbler (Silvia undata), grasshopper warbler (Locustella naevia)[d], waxwing (Ampelis garrulus), twite (Linota flavirostris), hen harrier (Circus cyaneus), buzzard (Buteo vulgaris), redshank (Totanus calidris), greenshank (Totanus cunescens) and the little auk (Mergulus alle).

The lapwing is thought to be increasing in numbers; the writer frequently observed considerable flocks during his recent rambles in the county. Finches are perhaps as numerous in Hertfordshire as in any other county of equal size; the large flocks of hen chaffinches that haunt the farmyards in winter being quite a notable feature. The goldfinch, it is to be feared, is rapidly becoming scarcer; as are also the jay, the woodcock and other birds much more numerous a few years back. Fieldfares and redwings visit the county in great numbers from the N. during the winter; one morning in the winter of 1886 the writer saw many thousands of fieldfares pass over St. Albans from the direction of Luton. The redwing, being largely insectivorous, is often picked up dead in the fields when the frost is unusually severe and food proportionally difficult to obtain.

The presence of many woods and small streams attracts a good proportion of the smaller English migrants; the nightingale and the cuckoo are heard almost throughout the county. Moorhens, coots and dabchicks are abundant; the reed-sparrow is heard only in a few districts. Titmice, great, blue and long-tailed, are well distributed.


Comparatively little peculiar to the county is known of the early inhabitants of Hertfordshire. They seem from the earliest times to have been scattered over the county in many small groups, rather than to have concentrated at a few centres. Singularly enough, this almost uniform dispersion of population is still largely maintained, for, unlike so many other counties, Hertfordshire has not within its borders a single large town. The larger among them, i.e., Watford, St. Albans, Hitchin, Hertford and Bishop's Stortford, are not collectively equal in population to even such towns as Bolton, Halifax or Croydon. Another feature to be noted is that, owing to the county's proximity to London, it is now the home of persons of many nations and tongues, and only in the smaller villages between the railroads are there left any traits of local character or peculiarities of idiom. It is hardly necessary to say that this conglomeration of peoples is common to all the home counties, though mostly so, as I venture to think, in Hertfordshire and Surrey. The Essex peasant is still strongly differentiated from his neighbours.

Grose, writing towards the end of the eighteenth century, stated that the population of Hertfordshire was 95,000. They must have been well dispersed, for he tells us that the county contained at that period 949 villages; by the word "village," however, he seems to mean any separate community, including small hamlets. Some interesting figures are to be found in Tymms's Compendium of the History of the Home Circuit. He states that in 1821 the county contained 129,714 inhabitants, comprising 26,170 families and living in 23,687 houses. Of these families no fewer than 13,485 were engaged in agriculture. From the same source I quote the following figures relating to the year 1821:—

Houses. Inhabitants. Hemel Hempstead 1,012 5,193 Watford 940 4,713 Hitchin 915 4,486 St. Albans 735 4,472 Cheshunt 847 4,376 Hertford 656 4,265

In 1881 the population of the county was 203,069; in 1891 it had increased by about one-eleventh to 220,162; in 1921 it was 333,236.

In the days of William I. the whole of the possessions and estates of Hertfordshire belonged to the King and forty-four persons who shared his favour, amongst whom may be mentioned the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of London, Winchester, Chester, Bayeux and Liseux, and the Abbots of Westminster, Ely, St. Albans, Charteris and Ramsey.

To go as far back as the Heptarchy, we find the land mostly owned by Mercians, East Saxons and by the Kings of Kent, and thus there gradually sprang up that "Middle English" population which for so long formed a large proportion of the inhabitants of Hertfordshire, Middlesex and Essex. How thoroughly such persons separated into small communities and settled down in every part of the county may be ascertained by the many "buries" found at a little distance from the town or village—Redbourn-bury, Ardeley-bury, Bayford-bury, Langley-bury, Harpenden-bury, etc.


1. Roads.—Hertfordshire, as one of the home-counties, is crossed by many fine roads from the N.E., E. and N.W., as they gradually converge towards their common goal—London. Among them may be mentioned the Old North Road, from Royston through Buntingford and Ware to Waltham Cross; the Great North Road from Baldock through Stevenage, Welwyn and Hatfield to Barnet; and the Dunstable Road through Market Street, Redbourn and St. Albans, which meets the last-mentioned road at Barnet.[1] We may contrast these roads at the present day with the rough paths infested with robbers existing in the days when the country between Barnet and St. Albans was little better than a continuous, tangled forest; or even with the same roads in the days when Evelyn and Pepys frequently rode along them—and found them exceedingly bad. The cyclist wishing to ride northwards through Hertfordshire has comparatively stiff hills to mount at Elstree, High Barnet, Ridge, near South Mimms, and at St. Albans. He should also beware of the descent into Wheathampstead, of the dip between Bushey and Watford, and of the gritty roadways in the neighbourhood of Baldock. Most of the roads are well kept, particularly since they have been cared for by the County Council, and the traveller's book at the inn usually contains fewer anathemas touching the state of the highways than in some other counties which might be named.

[Footnote 1: There has been much dispute as to the exact trend of the "Great North Road". After careful inquiry I believe that the above paragraph states the case correctly. Much misunderstanding has doubtless arisen by confounding the "Old" with the "Great" North Road.]

Railways.—Few counties in England are so well served with railroad communications; the London and North Western, Midland, Great Northern and Great Eastern running well across its face.

The London and North Western enters the county 1/2 mile N.W. of Pinner, and has stations on its main route at Bushey, Watford, King's Langley, Boxmoor, Berkhampstead and Tring. It crosses the Bedfordshire border near Ivinghoe. From Watford it has a branch to Rickmansworth; and to Bricket Wood, Park Street and St. Albans; it has also a station at Marston Gate, on its branch line to Aylesbury.

The Midland enters the county during its passage through the Elstree tunnel and runs nearly due N., having stations at Elstree, Radlett, St. Albans and Harpenden. It has also a branch with stations at Hemel Hempstead and Redbourn.

The Great Northern main line crosses a small tongue of the county upon which it has stations at Oakleigh Park and New Barnet. It then traverses the Hadley Wood district of Middlesex, entering Hertfordshire again at Warren Gate, and has stations at Hatfield, Welwyn, Knebworth, Stevenage and Hitchin. From Hatfield it has three branches: (1) to Smallford and St. Albans; (2) to Ayot, Wheathampstead and Harpenden; (3) to Cole Green, Hertingfordbury and Hertford. At Hitchin it has a branch to Baldock, Ashwell and Royston.

The Great Eastern enters the county at Waltham Cross and skirts the whole of the S.E. quarter, running on Essex soil from near the Rye House almost to Sawbridgeworth. It has stations in Hertfordshire at Waltham Cross, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Sawbridgeworth and Bishop's Stortford. It enters Essex again near the last-named station. It has also important branches, (1) from Broxbourne to Rye House, St. Margaret's, Ware, and Hertford; (2) from St. Margaret's to Mardock, Widford, Hadham, Standon, Braughing, West Mill and Buntingford.

In addition, the Metropolitan Railway has an extension which crosses the S.W. extremity of the county, having stations at Rickmansworth and Chorley Wood. The Great Northern Railway has a branch from Finsbury Park to High Barnet, with a station at Totteridge.


1. Agriculture.—Charles Lamb used no mere haphazard expression when he wrote of Hertfordshire as "that fine corn county". Forty years ago the county contained 339,187 acres under arable cultivation, of which considerably more than half were utilised for corn; and the proportion thus used is still much larger than might be supposed. (In 1897 it amounted to about 125,000 acres.) At the same period there were about 60,000 acres under wheat alone; for this grain, of which a large white variety is much cultivated, the county has long been famous. To this circumstance the village of Wheathampstead is indebted for its name. Barley and oats are also staple crops. The first Swede turnips ever produced in England were grown on a farm near Berkhampstead. Watercress is extensively cultivated, enormous quantities being sent into London from St. Albans, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhampstead, Welwyn and many other districts. Much manure is brought to the farms from the London stables, and by its aid large second crops of vegetables are frequently obtained. Clover, turnips and tares may be mentioned among other crops prominently cultivated. Fruit is also sent to London, particularly from the district lying between Tring, Watford and St. Albans, but none of the orchards are large.

The number of pigs reared in the county is—or was quite recently—rather above the average (per 100 acres under cultivation) for all England; the number of cattle rather below, and of sheep much below, this average.

2. Manufactures are fairly numerous.

(a) Straw Plait has for over 200 years been extensively made by hand for the Luton dealers. The wages earned by peasant girls and women in this employment were formerly high; 100 years ago a woman, if dexterous, might earn as much as L1 a week, but the increase in machinery and the competition from foreign plait has almost destroyed this cottage industry in some districts. During the last four decades several large straw hat manufactories have been erected in St. Albans, and the trade enlarged, although the conditions of production are altered.

(b) Malting is still extensively carried on at Ware, which has been the centre of the industry for many years; it is said, indeed, to be the largest malting town in England. There are nearly 100 malting houses, many of them being beside the River Lea, navigable from this town for barges W. to Hertford and S. to London. There are extensive Breweries at St. Albans, Watford, Hertford, High Barnet, Baldock, Hitchin, Hatfield, Tring, Berkhampstead, and other places.

(c) Brick Fields are worked at Watford, St. Albans, Hemel Hempstead, Broxbourne, Bishop's Stortford, Hitchin and elsewhere.

(d) Brushes of many kinds are manufactured at St. Albans and Berkhampstead.

(e) Hurdles are made at Barkway, Croxley Green, Breachwood Green, Chorley Wood, Albury, and at one or two other places.

(f) Iron Foundries are at Hertford, Ippollitts, Royston, Colne Valley (Watford), Hitchin and Puckeridge.

(g) Paper is made at Croxley Mills, King's Langley, and Nash Mills.

(h) Silk is made at the large mill on the River Ver, St. Albans, and at Redbourn.

(i) Photographic plates, paper, etc., are made at Watford, Boreham Wood and Barnet.

(j) Lavender Water is made at Hitchin, from lavender grown in fields close by.

Gravel abounds in many districts, and pits are extensively worked at Rickmansworth, Hertford and at Heath, Wheathampstead, Watford and Harpenden.

There are windmills at Cromer, Albury, Goff's Oak, Anstey, Arkley, Much Hadham, Weston, Tring and Bushey Heath. Water mills are too numerous to specify, there being several on many of the small rivers named in Section II.


Hertfordshire was formerly a part of Mercia and of Essex. Its share in what is usually called "History" can hardly be called great; but many interesting details of its story are recorded in the histories of Chauncy, Salmon, Clutterbuck, and Cussans. Among smaller works the following will be found useful: Cobb's Berkhampstead; Gibbs' Historical Records of St. Albans; Nicholson's Abbey of St. Albans; Bishop's Hitchin and Neighbourhood, and Bygone Hertfordshire by various writers.

The story of Hertfordshire may be said to commence with the sack of the great Roman city of Verulamium by the followers of Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni[e] (A.D. 61). Our knowledge of the event is largely drawn from Tacitus, and Dion Cassius, who give revolting details of the torture of the inhabitants by the Britons. The martyrdom of St. Alban (circa A.D. 304) the Synod of Verulam (429), the second destruction of that city by the Saxons towards the end of the sixth century and the siege of Hertford by the Danes in 896, when Alfred the Great grounded their vessels by cutting the river banks, are some of the more prominent episodes of pre-Conquest times. William I., entering the county from the direction of Wallingford, met the Saxon nobles in council at Berkhampstead immediately before his coronation at Westminster. The castles of Hertford and Berkhampstead were captured by the revolted barons.

There was a dangerous insurrection of the peasantry in the days of Richard II. Three important battles were fought in Hertfordshire, during the Wars of the Roses: (1) At St. Albans on 23rd (?) May, 1455; (2) on Bernard's Heath, St. Albans, 17th February, 1461; (3) near Chipping Barnet, 14th April, 1471; these battles are mentioned more fully in the Sections on St. Albans and Barnet.

The residence of the Princess Elizabeth at Ashridge Park and her subsequent captivity at Hatfield up to the time of her accession (1558) may be here mentioned, but the more casual visits of monarchs are referred to as occasion requires.

The county was not the scene of any considerable engagement during the great Rebellion; but the Parliamentary troops are held responsible for much ecclesiastical sacrilege at St. Albans, Hitchin and elsewhere, and it was from Theobalds that Charles I. set out to meet his army in 1642. In 1647, when a prisoner in the care of Cornet Joyce, he was taken from Leighton Buzzard to Baldock and from thence to Royston. The march of Cromwell from Cambridge to St. Albans towards the end of the war is recorded rather too literally on the interior of several churches.

Of importance in history was the Rye House Plot (1683), a carefully laid but abortive scheme to murder Charles II. and James, Duke of York, on their way to London from Newmarket. (See Rye House.)


The antiquities of Hertfordshire have been carefully studied and well repay the labour that has been bestowed upon them. A few words under several heads will suffice to show that the subject is a large one.

1. Prehistoric.Paleolithic man—in whom we are all so interested, but of whom we know so little—must have dwelt in Hertfordshire for a long period, a period to be measured by centuries rather than by years. Perhaps, however, the word "dwelt" is hardly appropriate here; for doubtless, for the most part, the rude flint-shaper and skin-clad hunter roamed at random over this tract of land wherever necessity led him. It is usual to speak of him as a troglodyte, or cave-dweller, but the caves of Hertfordshire are, and probably were few, and his life in such a district would therefore be more than usually nomadic. As is often the case, we find traces of him in the river-valleys more frequently than elsewhere, and it is in beds of clay, conjectured to be of lacustrine origin, that we find those rudely shapen flint nodules which served him for tools. Such implements have been found in the Valley of the Gade by Sir John Evans, K.C.B.; in more central neighbourhoods by Mr. Worthington G. Smith; and many axes, knives, etc., were discovered only a few years ago near Hitchin. Implements of the Neolithic Age are naturally more numerous and form in themselves an interesting study in the evolution of manual skill. Flint axe-heads, wonderfully polished, have been found at Albury, Abbot's Langley, Panshanger and Ware; chipped flints of more fragmentary character have been found near St. Albans and elsewhere; flint arrow-heads were discovered at Tring Grove nearly 170 years ago. The great number of natural flints found in the county make it very difficult to recognise these archaeological treasures, many of which must thus escape detection and be destroyed. Some details of the discovery of Prehistoric implements are given in the Gazetteer.

2. Pre-Roman.—The earliest inhabitants of Hertfordshire in times more or less "historic" were of Celtic blood; these, after a settlement of considerable duration, were driven out by Belgic invaders, of whom the Cassii, or Cateuchlani, seem to have been one of the most powerful tribes. The Cassii, who shared at least a part of the district with the Trinobantes, were numerous and war-like when Caesar invaded Britain; their chief, Cassivellaunus, is believed to have lived near what is now St. Albans. He was chosen as leader by the British, and offered stout resistance to the Romans, but was driven back and his capital—wherever it was—stormed and captured. Earth works, supposed to have been erected by these Pre-Roman inhabitants, still remain at Hexton, Ashwell, Great Wymondley, Tingley Wood, and elsewhere, but are rapidly disappearing in the general obliteration of ancient landmarks. Grymes-dyke, still to be traced on Berkhampstead Common, is the most famous; but many others are marked in a map prepared by Sir John Evans. Some of these are hardly more than conjectural sites; a few will be mentioned in the Gazetteer. Bronze Celts of many kinds are in the possession of Mr. W. Ransom, F.S.A.; some of these were found at Cumberlow Green. Relics of the Bronze Age in the county include two bracelets of gold found at Little Amwell; and many narrow hatchets, or palstaves, from the neighbourhood of Hitchin.

To the Late Celtic Period belong the imperfect iron sword-blade, in a bronze sheath, discovered at Bourne End and now in the British Museum; also the two bronze helmets, one from the neighbourhood of Hitchin, and one from Tring. At Hitchin, too, was discovered some pottery of the same period.

3. Roman.—Hertfordshire formed a part of the Flavia Caesariensis of the Romans—the district E. of the Severn and N. of the Thames. Most important of their stations was the municipium at Verulamium (W. of St. Albans) of which some fragments of wall yet remain in the neighbourhood of the River Ver and the Verulam Woods; here, too, is the site of the only Roman theatre known in Britain (of amphitheatres there are many remains). There were also stations at Cheshunt (Ceaster), at Braughing (ad Fines), at Berkhampstead (Durocobrivis?), at Ashwell, Wilbury Hill, etc.; there was a cemetery at Sarratt; a sepulchre at Royston. Roman villas have been unearthed at Purwell Mill, Abbots Langley and Boxmoor. The Roman coins found in the county would, if brought together, form an exceedingly valuable collection. They have been found in considerable numbers at St. Albans, Ware, Hoddesdon, Hitchin, Willian, Ashwell, Caldecote, Boxmoor, and many other places. Small bronze coins, known as minimi, have been recently found at St. Albans, and are now in the city museum. They date from after the year 345, when the earliest specimens of this type were struck, and are conjectured to be copies of coins issued under Constantius II. (337-61) and Julian the Apostate (361-3). On the obverse is the "Imperial Head"; on the reverse a soldier striking with his spear at a man on horseback. The coins, however, are assigned by at least one numismatist to a later date. They may have issued from a Romano-British mint at Verulamium. The famous Watling Street entered the county at Elstree and crossed it by way of St. Albans and Redbourn to Dunstable (Beds); the Icknield Way ran N.W. through Ickleford, Baldock and Royston; Akeman Street passed through Watford, Berkhampstead and Tring; Ermine Street, entering Hertfordshire at Waltham, passed through Ware and Braughing to Royston.

4. Saxon.—A few fragmentary remains at Berkhampstead, Bennington, Offley and Hitchin have been thought to mark the sites of the palaces of Mercian kings; but genuine Saxon remains are scarcely found except, perhaps, among the foundations of a few churches, e.g., St. Michael's at St. Albans, Standon and Wheathampstead.

Mention must however be made of the story, narrated in Archaeologia, of the discovery of the sepulchre of St. Amphibalus at a spot near Redbourn called the "Hills of the Banners". St. Alban himself appeared to a layman in a vision and told him where the saint's bones were to be found,—indeed, he is said to have himself gone thither to point out the spot. This was during the abbacy of Symon (1167-83). We learn from Roger of Wendover that the remains of St. Amphibalus were found lying between those of two other men; the bones of seven others were also lying close by. Among the relics found with the bones of the saint were two large knives, one of which was in his skull. We know that the holy relics were deemed worthy of solemn removal to the Abbey of St. Albans; his shrine there is mentioned in the Gazetteer.

In the Antiquary (vol. xi.) mention is made of the supposed discovery of an Anglo-Saxon burial ground in a field near Sandridge. Many bones and some implements were unearthed, and pronounced by local experts to date from Saxon times. They were buried again by some ignorant person.

A bronze brooch, discovered at Boxmoor, has been assigned to "the latest period of true Anglo-Saxon art". A gold ornament, resembling an armlet, was found at the village of Park Street, near St. Albans; it is thought to date from A.D. 700-1000.

5. Churches.—These will be separately mentioned in due order, especially St. Albans Abbey, the unique meeting ground of all Styles; but a few sentences touching the predominant periods may be permissible here:—

Norman work is found in many places; Anstey, Bengeo, Barley, East Barnet, Graveley, Hemel Hempstead, Little Hormead, and Ickleford are largely of this period, and Norman features are mingled with later work at Abbots Langley, Baldock, Weston, Great Munden, Great Wymondley, Knebworth, Redbourn, Sarratt, and the churches of SS. Michael and Stephen at St. Albans. There are Norman fonts at Broxbourne, Bishop's Stortford (found beneath the flooring in 1869) Anstey, Buckland, Harpenden, Great Wymondley and Standon.

Early English churches are at Ashwell, Brent Pelham, Digswell, Furneaux Pelham, Great Munden (Norman doorway), Knebworth, Royston, Stevenage and Wheathampstead. Some of these, e.g., Digswell and Knebworth, are pleasantly situated and others contain features of great interest, but on the whole they can hardly boast of much architectural beauty.

Decorated churches are rarely found without prominent transitional features, the purest structures dating from that period being those at Flamstead, Hatfield, North Mimms, Standon, and Ware. Early Decorated portions are noticeable among Norman surroundings at Hemel Hempstead, and among Early English at Wheathampstead; Late Decorated is found with Perpendicular at Hitchin. Standon is the only W. porch in the county. Flamstead and Wheathampstead are the only churches in the county that have retained their original vestries, N. of the chancel.

Perpendicular churches are fairly numerous in Hertfordshire. Almost purely Perpendicular structures are those at Bishop's Stortford, Bennington, Broxbourne, Clothall, Hunsdon, King's Langley, Sandon, St. Peters (St. Albans), Tring and Watford. Churches later than Perpendicular cannot be mentioned as antiquities.

A characteristic feature of Hertfordshire churches—rare elsewhere—is the narrow tapering fleche, or leaded spire; a feature almost wholly absent is the apse, which is, I believe, present only at Bengeo, Great Wymondley, and Amwell.


Comparatively few really famous men have been born in Hertfordshire, but very many have resided in the county, or have at least been associated with it sufficiently to justify the mention of their names here.

1. Men of Letters.—Chaucer was clerk of the works at Berkhampstead Castle in the time of Richard II.; Matthew Paris, the chronicler, lived and wrote in the great Benedictine monastery at St. Albans; Sir John Maundeville, once called the "father of English prose," was, according to his own narrative, born at St. Albans and, if we may trust an old inscription, was buried in the abbey;[2] Dr. Cotton, the poet, lived and died in the same town, where the poet Cowper lodged with him at the "Collegium Insanorum". Bacon lived at Gorhambury and was buried in the neighbouring church of St. Michael. Bulwer Lytton lived and wrote at Knebworth, where he was visited by Forster, Dickens and others. George Chapman translated much of Homer at Hitchin, and is believed to have been born in that town. Young, the author of the Night Thoughts, was for many years Rector of Welwyn; his son was visited there by Boswell and Dr. Johnson. Macaulay was at school at Aspenden. John Scott, the Quaker poet, lived at Amwell; Lee, the dramatist, was born at Hatfield. Skelton probably stayed at Ashridge just before the Dissolution of the Monasteries; Sir Thomas More lived awhile at Gobions, North Mimms. Cowper was born at Berkhampstead. The county has been immortalised by Walton and Lamb in writings known to all.

[Footnote 2: As most readers are aware, it is now, to say the least, gravely questioned whether "Sir John Maundeville" was ever more than a name.]

2. Divines.—Bunyan laboured and preached much in Hitchin and its neighbourhood; Baxter preached at Sarratt and elsewhere, and lived awhile at Totteridge; Isaac Watts lived for many years at Theobalds near Cheshunt; Philip Doddridge was at school at St. Albans. Fox, in his Journal, mentions visiting Hitchin, Baldock and other places. Tillotson was a curate at Cheshunt; Ken was born at Little Berkhampstead; Nathaniel Field, a man of prodigious learning, chaplain to James I., was born at Hemel Hempstead. William Penn, whom many considered a divine indeed, lived with his beautiful wife at Basing House, Rickmansworth; Godwin was an Independent minister at Ware. Ridley and Bonner were much in the county. Fleetwood, afterwards Bishop of Worcester, was Rector of Anstey; Cudworth was Vicar of Ashwell; Warham was Rector of Barley; Horsley was Rector of Thorley. The two Sherlocks, respectively Master of the Temple and Bishop of London, were Rectors of Therfield. Lightfoot, the Great Hebraist, was Rector of Great Munden.

To classify other celebrities connected with the county would require almost as many headings as names. Henry Bessemer was born at Charlton near Hitchin; Cardinal Wolsey lived at Delamere House, Great Wymondley; the munificent Somers lived at North Mimms; Nicholas Breakspeare, who became Pope Adrian IV., was born at Abbots Langley; Piers Gaveston was much at Berkhampstead and was buried in the priory church at King's Langley; Sir Robert Cecil, first Earl of Salisbury, lived at Theobalds and is buried at Hatfield; Lords Melbourne and Palmerston lived much at Brocket Hall, where the latter died; Sir Ralph Sadleir, statesman and ambassador to Scotland, who is said to have rallied the English at Pinkie, lived at Standon and is buried in the church.

Many noble or illustrious families have resided in Hertfordshire. Some of the owners of old manors are mentioned in the Gazetteer; but a few prominent families may be here named. The Cecils have been Lords of Hatfield since James I. gave the manor to the first Earl of Salisbury in exchange for that at Theobalds. The Cowpers have resided at Panshanger since the erection of their castellated mansion in the Park a century ago by the fifth earl. The Egertons, Dukes and Earls of Bridgewater, lived at Ashridge; one of them, Francis, third duke, is known in history as "the father of British inland navigation," and another was the projector of the famous Bridgewater Treatises. The Capells, Earls of Essex, have owned the beautiful estate at Cassiobury Park since the father of the first earl obtained it by marriage during the reign of Charles I. The Rothschild family have an estate at Tring; Lord Ebury is the owner of Moor Park; Lord Lytton still owns the grand old house of the great novelist at Knebworth, founded nearly 350 years ago. The Earl of Cavan has a house at Wheathampstead; Viscount Hampden at Kimpton Hoo; Earl Strathmore at St. Paul's Walden Bury; the Earl of Clarenden (Lord Lieut. of Herts) at the Grove, Leavesden; Lord Grimthorpe lived at St. Albans. Gorhambury, near St. Albans, is the home of the Earl of Verulam. Mgr. Robert Hugh Benson lived and wrote many novels at Hare Street House, near Buntingford.


Abbreviations of architectural terms:— E.E. = Early English. Dec. = Decorated. Perp. = Perpendicular.

ABBOTS LANGLEY (11/2 mile S.E. of King's Langley Station) is a village on prettily wooded high ground near the river Gade. It is famous as the birthplace of Nicholas Breakspeare, who, having vainly endeavoured to be admitted as a monk in the great Benedictine monastery at St. Albans, studied at Paris and eventually became Pope Adrian IV. He died in 1158 at Anagni; tradition states that he was choked with a fly whilst drinking. The village probably owes its name, first, to its length, "Langley" signifying a long land; second, to the fact that in the days of Edward the Confessor it was given to the Abbots of St. Albans by Egelwine the Black and Wincelfled[f] his wife. An entry in Domesday records that there were two mills on this manor, yielding 30s. rent yearly, and wood to feed 300 hogs. The Church of St. Lawrence has nave, aisles and clerestory; a chancel with S. aisle, and square embattled tower. The windows are mostly Perp., but those of the S. aisle are Dec. Note (1) the monument to Lord Chief Justice Raymond, died 1732; (2) the brasses in nave to Thos. Cogdell and his two wives, 1607, and to Ralph Horwode and family, 1478. Late in the reign of Henry VIII. the vicarage was rated at L10 per annum. An inscription in the chancel, copied in Chauncy, reads "Here lieth Robert Nevil and Elizabeth his wife, which Robert deceased the 28th of April in the year of our Lord God 1475. This World is but a Vanity, to Day a man, to Morrow none." Prince Charles held a Court at Abbots Langley during the Reign of James I.

ALBURY (31/2 miles E. of Braughing Station) is a village near the river Ash. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, dates from the fourteenth century; it was recently restored. There was an earlier structure so far back as the days of Stephen, in whose reign Robert de Sigillo gave the profits of the church at Eldeberei to Geoffery, first Treasurer of St. Paul's Church, London. An interesting will, dated 4th November, 1589, records that Marmaduke Bickerdy, Vicar of Aldebury, gave an acre of land in the neighbourhood to provide a sum for distribution among the poor on every Good Friday. In the chancel the mutilated effigies of a man and woman are said to represent Sir Walter de la Lee and his wife. Sir Walter sat in nine Parliaments in the interests of the county—at Westminster, Northampton and Cambridge, and was Sheriff of Herts and Essex. He died during the reign of Richard II. Albury Hall, close by, is a fine old mansion, where the "Religeous, Just and Charitable" Sir Edward Atkins, Knight, and Baron of the Exchequer, died in 1669. The village is usually a quiet spot, with little business, but it is pleasantly situated; the proximity of the river and some scattered cottages and farms enhance its attractiveness.

Albury End is a small hamlet about 1 mile S.W. of Albury.

ALDBURY (11/2 mile E. from Tring Station) is a village on the Buckinghamshire border, nestled in a beautiful valley close to Ashridge Park (q.v.). It is the "Clinton Magna" of Bessie Costrell, and the author of that story, Mrs. Humphrey Ward, lived at Stocks, a few minutes' walk from the village. On the Tring side Aldbury is sheltered by swelling fields and to the E. beech woods cover the hillside, which is topped by the "Aldbury Monument," a granite column about 100 feet high erected to the memory of Francis, third Duke of Bridgewater, whose labours and enterprise for the extension of canals earned for him the well-known title "the father of inland navigation". As a village of the Old English type Aldbury has perhaps no equal in the county. In the centre is the green and pond, under the shadow of an enormous elm; close by stand the stocks and whipping-post, recently in excellent preservation. The Church of St. John the Baptist is E.E.; it was restored in 1867. Visitors should notice the old sundial on a pedestal in the churchyard, and the Verney Chapel, which is separated from the nave by a screen of stone, and contains a monument to Sir Robert Whittingham, who was slain at the battle of Tewkesbury. The church also contains memorials of the Hides and Harcourts, families who left several charities to the poor of the parish. In the days of Edward the Confessor the manor of Aldeberie[g] was held by one Alwin, the king's thane. The ascent of the wooded slope towards the Bridgewater monument takes the visitor through one of the most beautiful districts in the county, and a noble prospect stretches before him as he looks back through the beeches towards the village in the valley beneath.

ALDENHAM (2 miles S.W. from Radlett Station M.R.) is a village pleasantly situated near the river Colne, reached by way of Berry Grove at the W. end of the village. The churchyard is locally famous for the tombs of a man and woman named Hutchinson, which, singularly enough, have been riven apart and almost destroyed by three sycamore trees about a century old. The Church of St. John the Baptist is largely Perp. with earlier portions, and is worth a visit, if only for the oaken nave-roof, believed to date from about 1480, and for the font of Purbeck marble, probably 750 years old. An object of greater interest in some eyes is the fine parish chest, formed from one massive piece of oak nearly ten feet in length, and furnished with iron clamps and hinges of great size; there are few finer old parish chests in England. Note also (1) the triple sedilia in chancel; (2) the many brasses dating from 1450, several of which are to the Cary family; (3) two palimpsest brasses in the vestry, one of which bears a portion of a mutilated inscription to one Long, an alderman of London, who died in 1536. The church was restored in 1882 by Sir A. W. Blomfield, F.S.A. Aldenham House, property of Lord Aldenham, dates from the days of Charles II., and stands in a park of about 300 acres.

Aldenham Abbey, once known as Wall Hall, stands close to the parish church; it is about a century old, and belongs to the Stuart family.

Aldwick Farm is 1 mile N.E. from Marston Gate Station, L.&N.W.R.

Allen's Green, a hamlet 2 miles N.W. from Sawbridgeworth, contains little of interest.

Almshoebury (11/2 mile W. of Stevenage Station, G.N.R.) is about fifteen minutes' walk from the ruins of Minsden Chapel (q.v.).

AMWELL is a tiny hamlet 1 mile S.W. of Wheathampstead Station, G.N.R.

AMWELL, GREAT, a parish and village 11/2 mile S.E. of Ware Station, G.E.R., is very prettily situated near the New River, and is known by name to many who have never visited the neighbourhood, for the village is frequently mentioned in the essays and letters of Charles Lamb. The church stands on a wooded slope; near by are the village stocks, the tiny island upon which stands a monument to Sir Hugh Myddelton, the projector of the New River, and the stone bearing some lines written by John Scott, the Quaker. The grotto constructed by the poet may still be seen near the railway station at Ware. The church is an architectural conglomeration, with several stained windows, one of which was contributed by the children of the parish as an Easter offering nearly seventy years ago. The structure was restored in 1866. There is a piscina in the chancel, and one in the S. wall of the nave; there are also two hagioscopes. "The chancel arch," writes Canon Benham, "seems to me Anglo-Saxon, and the chancel is a most curious apse." Thomas Warner, a friend of Shakespeare, and Isaac Reed, a Shakespearian commentator, were both buried here.

Amwell End, once at the N.W. extremity of the parish of Great Amwell, is now a part of Ware (q.v.).

Amwell, Little (about 11/2 mile S.W. from Great Amwell), was formerly a liberty in the parish of All Saints, Hertford; it has formed a separate civil and ecclesiastical parish since 1864. The Church of Holy Trinity is E.E. in style; it was erected in 1863. The district is now usually called Hertford Heath. An interesting, pleasant ramble may be enjoyed by walking from Hertford to Little Amwell, Great Amwell, and thence to Ware, or vice versa.

ANSTEY (about 41/2 miles N.E. from Buntingford Station, G.E.R.) has a cruciform church of mixed styles: the nave is Dec., the transepts E.E., the S. porch Perp. The tower rests upon four Norman arches; the font also is Norman. The church was restored in 1871; many features of architectural interest being wisely retained. The recumbent effigy in the recess in S. transept is thought to be that of Richard de Anestie, who founded the church in the fourteenth century. We learn from Domesday Book that at the time of the Great Survey there was "pannage" (i.e. acorn woods) at Anestie sufficient to feed fifty hogs, and that the manor was worth fourteen pounds a year. There was once a castle here, built soon after the Conquest, the site of which is supposed to be marked by the remains of a moat still to be traced in the grounds of Anstey Hall. The churchyard is entered by a covered lich-gate.

Appleby Street is a hamlet 3 miles N.W. from Cheshunt Station, S.E.R., and about 2 miles N.W. from the village.

APSLEY END (about 11/2 mile S. from Hemel Hempstead Station, M.R., and 11/4 mile S.E. from Boxmoor Station, L.&N.W.R.) is an ecclesiastical parish near the river Gade. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, was built in E. Dec. style in 1871, and is well furnished and decorated. One of the prettiest prospects in the neighbourhood is that from Abbot's Hill, a fine private residence, flanked by woods. The Gade and Bulbourne Rivers unite, a little N.W. from the village, at a place called Two Waters (q.v.).

Archer's Green is on the river Maran, about 1/2 a mile S.E. from Tewin Church and 13/4 mile N.W. from Cole Green Station, G.N.R. It adjoins Panshanger Park (q.v.).

ARDELEY, otherwise Yardley (6 miles S.W. from Buntingford Station, G.E.R.), is a village and parish in a purely agricultural district. It is famous through its connection with the Chauncy family, who resided at Ardeley Bury for many generations; one of them, Sir Henry Chauncy, was the author of a well-known history of Hertfordshire. The family monument is outside of the church of St. Lawrence, some existing portions of which date from the thirteenth century. The roofs of nave and aisles are noticeable for the angels which they bear, of Tudor character; visitors should observe, too, the early window in the restored chancel. Ardeley Bury, in the days of Sir Henry Chauncy, was an Elizabethan manor-house dating from about the year 1580, surrounded by a moat; it was almost entirely rebuilt of brick in 1815-20, when it became a castellated, imposing mansion. The manor of Erdeley was owned by a succession of Saxon kings until Athelstan bestowed it upon the church of St. Paul, London, as recorded in Dugdale's Monasticon Anglicanum; it was of the Dean and Chapter that the Chauncys rented their estate. The river Beane rises near here. A stroll around Ardeley and Ardeley Bury leads the visitor into some of the quietest spots to be found in the county. The windmill on the hill above Cromer, near by, is useful as a landmark when threading the many winding lanes in the neighbourhood.

ARKLEY (1 mile W. from High Barnet) consists chiefly of a few small houses at a spot once called Barnet Common. The view is extensive in every direction, the village (strictly speaking the chapelry) lying on high ground. The chapel of St. Peter was erected in 1840, the style being a variety of Low Gothic; a chancel (E.E.) was added in 1898, and has a good groined roof.

ASH, river; see Introduction, Section VI.

Ashbrook consists of a few cottages and a beer-shop, 1 mile N.E. from St. Ippollit's village, and midway between Hitchin and Stevenage Stations, G.N.R.

ASHRIDGE is in a beautifully undulating district, immediately N. of Berkhampstead Common, 1 mile E. from Aldbury Church and about 2 miles E. from Tring Station, L.&N.W.R. The present house, the seat of Earl Brownlow, stands in a park of about 1,000 acres, well known for the deer which are kept there; it was built by the first Earl of Bridgewater, or rather by his architect, Wyatt, in 1808-14. It is a huge structure, its greatest width being 1,000 feet; conspicuous portions are the turreted centre, some good arched doorways and the large Gothic porch. The site was formerly occupied by the palace of Edmund Crouchback, Earl of Cornwall, and by the monastery which he built, adjoining the palace, for the monks of the Order of Bonhommes, an Order which he himself brought to this country from France. The earl died here, but his bones were subsequently removed to Hailes Abbey in Gloucestershire. The house contains some fine pictures, including, in addition to works by modern masters, Rubens' "Death of Hippolytus," Luini's "Holy Family" and Titian's "Three Caesars". In the chapel is a fine brass to John Swynstede, Prebendary of Lincoln, 1395. It was brought here from Edlesborough Church.

ASHWELL is a village of considerable size on the Cambridgeshire border. The village is 21/2 miles N.W. from Ashwell Station, G.N.R. The parish is very ancient, and is believed to have been the site of a British settlement and of a Roman station. The former theory is considered proved by the existing entrenchments, S.W. from the village, called Arbury Banks; the latter theory is supported by the fact that very many Roman relics, especially coins, have been discovered in the neighbourhood. That it was formerly a place of importance has been mentioned in the Introduction (Section V.); it was a town in Norman times, and held four fairs each year. The Rhee, a tributary of the Cam, rises in this village, at a spot surrounded by ash trees, and to this fact the parish is thought to owe its name. When Sir H. Rider Haggard was at Ashwell recently he was unable to say much for its agricultural prosperity and outlook; but in Chauncy's day the district produced "all sorts of excellent Grain, especially Barley, which has greatly encouraged the trade of Malting in this Borrough". The same writer mentions the stone quarry, from which he tells as that several neighbouring churches had been built or repaired. The Church of St. Mary the Virgin is mostly E.E. and is conspicuous for its spire-topped western tower, 176 feet high, being equal to the length of the church. Note (1) the large ambry in the S. aisle, once the lady-chapel, where is also a fragmentary reredos; (2) the curious inscriptions on the inner side of the tower walls, mostly undecipherable, one of which refers to the plague that attacked the town in the fourteenth century; (3) the really fine oaken pulpit, dating from the year 1627. There was formerly a small monastic house in the town, a cell to Westminster Abbey. From the village it is an open, breezy walk N. to Ashwell Common or S.E. to Ashwell Field, between the village and the station.

ASPENDEN (1 mile S.W. from Buntingford Station, G.E.R.) may be reached from the Old North Road by turning to the left before entering Buntingford. It is a small, quiet, unimportant village; but much of it is picturesque and interesting. Readers will remember that Macaulay was at school here, and that it was the birthplace of Seth Ward, mathematician and bishop, a contemporary and antagonist of Thomas Hobbes. The church is a flint structure,—a conglomeration of many styles. Notable features are the Easter sepulchre in the N. wall of chancel, the Norman window close to it, the piscina, ambry and credence table, discovered during the restoration of the church by Sir A. W. Blomfield in 1873. There are also memorial windows to members of the Lushington family, and an altar tomb, under a canopy of marble, to "Sir Robert Clyfford" (d. 1508), who built the church porch in 1500, and to his wife Elizabeth. The tomb bears brass effigies of these worthies, which were once in the Church of St. Michael, Cornhill, but were brought to Aspenden at the time of the fire of London. The aisle (S.) was built by Sir Ralph Jocelyn in 1478. This Sir Ralph was lord of the manor; he is remembered in history for his sally against Thomas Nevill, when that adventurer attempted to rescue Henry VI. from the Tower. He was twice Lord Mayor of London (1464 and 1476). He died in 1478 and was buried at Sawbridgeworth.

ASTON (21/4 miles N.E. from Knebworth Station, G.N.R.) has an ancient church restored in 1883. There is E.E. work in parts of nave and chancel, but other portions are largely Perp., especially the tower, which is embattled. The alabaster reredos and several memorial windows are worth notice; nor should visitors overlook the brass at the foot of the chancel steps to one John Kent, his wife and ten children. This worthy died in 1592; he was a servant of Edward VI., Mary and Elizabeth. The village is scattered upon a hill a little W. from the river Beane, and dates from Saxon times. The manor was once owned by three men under the protection of Archbishop Stigand; afterwards by the Abbot of Reading. It fell to the Crown at the Dissolution, like so many other properties.

Aston Bury is a fine manor house of red brick, about 3/4 mile S. from the village, formerly the property of the Boteler family. The prospect from the N. windows is a noble one, the district being varied and undulating.

Aston End, a hamlet 1 mile N.W. from Aston, may be reached from Stevenage Station, G.N.R., about 21/2 miles. There is little here of interest, but the neighbourhood is very pleasant and largely agricultural.

Astrope Hamlet (1/2 mile E. from Puttenham) is midway between the village of Long Marston and the Aylesbury Canal. It is close to the Bucks border.

Astwick Farm is 2 miles N.W. from Hatfield Station, G.N.R.

Attimore Hall is 11/2 mile S.W. from Welwyn Station, G.N.R.

Aubrey Camp (3/4 mile S.W. from Redbourn) is conjectured to be the site of an early British encampment.

Austage End lies in the parish of King's Walden, in a purely agricultural district.

Ayot Green is about 1/2 mile S.E. from and in the parish of Ayot St. Peter's (q.v.).

AYOT ST. LAWRENCE (21/2 miles N.E. from Wheathampstead Station and about the same distance N.W. from Ayot Station, G.N.R.) has a new and an old church. The former is in Ayot Park, and was designed by Revett in a classical style. Note (1) the Eastern portico, with colonnade on either side; (2) the memorial to Sir Lionel Lyde, Bart. (d. 1791), and to the architect of the church (d. 1804). The earlier structure, still in ruins near the middle of the village, was Dec. of an early period, with several singular features; the tower, however, was Perp. "The Windows ... have been adorn'd with curious Pictures, in stained and painted Glass, beyond many other Churches." The village has at different times been styled Eye, Aiot, Great Aiot, and Ayot St. Lawrence, and was a parcel of the property of Harold Godwin. Ayot House, standing in a beautiful park of 200 acres, was once the property and residence of Sir William Parr, brother to Catherine Parr, Queen of Henry VIII. A room in an older building in the rear of the present mansion was once, according to local tradition, the prison of Catherine Parr. There are shoes at Ayot House which belonged to Anne Boleyn and a hat of Henry VIII.

AYOT ST. PETER'S (1/4 mile N. from Ayot Station, G.N.R.) lies in a pretty district watered by the rivers Maran and Lea. The village is small, but has a commodious Parish Room, containing a small library. There was a mill here in the time of the Great Survey, the rent of which was three shillings and 200 eels from the mill-pool per annum. A church, bearing "a short spire erected upon the tower," stood on the hill-top in Chauncy's day; in 1751 an octagonal structure of red brick was built by the rector (Dr. Freeman) some distance from the village. This church was demolished in 1862 and a new one built upon its site; in 1874 this was in turn destroyed by lightning, and in 1875 the present church of St. Peter, E.E. in style, was erected much nearer to the village. It contains a very fine pulpit, carved by Miss Bonham, of Norwood, upon which the figures of SS. Alban and Helen are conspicuous among others. There are several memorial windows, tastefully designed, one of which, to the memory of Mrs. I. A. Robinson, was designed by the architect (J. P. Seddon). A delightful stroll may be taken from the village, westwards to Wheathampstead or Lamer Park, or northwards to Codicote or Kimpton. Nightingales are plentiful in the neighbourhood; the numerous thickets, dense and secluded, affording excellent shelter to this shy songster.

Baas Hill is 3/4 mile W. from Broxbourne Station, G.E.R.

Babb's Green (nearly midway between Mardock and Widford Station, G.E.R.) is a small hamlet.

Baker's Grove is 11/2 miles S.W. from Stevenage Station, G.N.R.

BALDOCK, a small town in the northern extremity of the county, lies between the chalk hills at the junction of the Great North Road and the Roman Icknield Way. The malting industry is still busily pursued, although the town is not so exclusively devoted to it as formerly. Very fine barley was grown in the district before the reign of Elizabeth, and the horse fairs, of which there are several annually, are well attended. The township was founded by the Knights Templars, in whose time there stood a Lazar-house a little eastwards from the town. The church, dating from the fourteenth century, is large, and of considerable architectural interest. The chancel and adjoining chapels are Perp. and contain sedilia and piscinae; the nave has eight bays and a lofty clerestory. The rood-screen is co-extensive with the width of the entire church; the octagonal font is of great antiquity (probably not less than 700 years); there are several brasses, two of which are of the early part of the fifteenth century. Note also (1) the defaced slab, with Lombardic inscription to Reynaud de Argenthem, (2) the piscina-like recess in the N. chapel, (3) the Dec. pillars and arches of nave, (4) the fine old chest near rood-screen (N. chapel). Baldock has been the recipient of many bequests; existing charities are in the name of Roe, Wynne, Pryor, Cooch, Clarkson, Smith, Parker, and a few others, the whole aggregating a considerable annual sum. The Wynne Almshouses are in the spacious High Street, where are also the fine town hall and fire station, erected in 1896-7. Some side streets between the church and station are noticeable for the variety of cottage architecture which they display.

BARKWAY (4 miles S.E. from Royston station, G.N.R.) was a village of some importance in the old coaching days, for it is on the main road from Ware to Cambridge. It was partly burnt in 1592. There are many quaint houses in the neighbourhood, and one or two inns seem to still retain something of the atmosphere of the old regime. Near the village, at a spot called Rokey Wood, a small bronze statue of Mars was discovered some years ago. It is of Roman workmanship and is now in the British Museum. Cyclists riding northwards or eastwards from Barkway will find many hills to test their powers; but the air is exceptionally good and the district decidedly worth visiting. The church (flint, with stone quoins) is Perp. with embattled and pinnacled western tower; it was restored in 1861. Several memorials are worth noticing: (1) marble sarcophagus, with bust by Rysbrach, to Admiral Sir John Jennings (d. 1743); (2) brass on N. wall, found in the flooring during restoration, to Robert Poynard (d. 1561), his wives Bridget and Joan, and his four daughters; (3) monuments to Chester and Clinton families in chancel. The once annual Pedlars' Fair has been discontinued; as has also the Tuesday market, which dated from the days of Henry III. In Saxon times the village was called Bergwant, i.e., the way over the hill.

BARLEY, a village on the Essex border, is 2 miles N.E. from Barkway, and lies on the same high road. The Church of St. Margaret was restored in 1872, in fourteenth century Gothic, but the tower, which is Norman, still stands. During the restoration some curious jars, of ancient make, were found in the chancel walls, but were broken in the efforts to dislodge them. There is a brass to Andrew Willet, D.D., rector of the parish and author of Synopsis Papismi (d. 1621).

Some interesting data for a book on the antiquities of Barley are preserved in the pre-Reformation "Parish Hutch". I may mention the "towne house ... tyme out of mynde used and employed for the keeping of maides' marriages," and the "Playstoe" or "common playinge place for the younge people and other inhabitants of the said towne". This "towne house" may still be seen near the church.

Barleycroft End is S.E. from Furneaux Pelham (q.v.). It almost adjoins that village.

BARNET, EAST (1/2 mile from Oakleigh Park Station, G.N.R.) is surrounded by Middlesex except to the N.W. where it adjoins New Barnet. The old village is situated at the meeting of the roads from High Barnet, Southgate and Enfield. The Church of St. Mary the Virgin is very interesting; it stands on the hill-top, at a sharp bend in the road, about 1/2 mile S. from the village. It is said to have been founded about the year 1100 by an abbot of St. Albans; if this date is approximately correct this abbot must have been Richard d'Aubeny or de Albini, who ruled the great monastery from 1097 to 1119, and in whose day the whole manor (including Chipping or High Barnet) belonged to the Abbey of St. Albans. The structure is Early Norman, with a western tower of brick, through the lower portion of which the church is entered. The N. wall is probably the most ancient church wall in this part of the county. There is a lich-gate at the N. entrance to the churchyard. A son of Bishop Burnet, the historian, was once rector here, and is buried in the church. Tradition states that Thomson the poet was tutor to the son of Lord Binning when that nobleman lived at the old Manor House, the site of which is now a part of the rectory garden. Near the church, too, stood once a house in which Lady Arabella Stuart was confined. Belmont House (C. A. Hanbury, Esq., D.L., J.P.) marks the site where stood Mount Pleasant, once the property of the Belted Will Howard, Warden of the Western Marches, referred to in the "Lay of the Last Minstrel". Little Grove, a house on Cat Hill (Mrs. Stern), stands where stood formerly the house of the widow of Sir Richard Fanshawe, Bart., Ambassador to Spain in the reign of Charles I. The whole neighbourhood is varied and undulating; the eastern extremity of the parish touched the confines of Enfield Chace until late in the eighteenth century.

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