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Title: Hertfordshire
Author: Lydekker, Richard
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber’s Note

Words in italics are marked with _underscores_.

Words in small capitals are shown in UPPER CASE.

Variant spelling, inconsistant hyphenation and inconsistant use of
ligatures, have been retained.

One missing full stop has been added, a duplicate word has been
deleted, but otherwise the book is as printed.

Descriptions of the diagrams, have been added by the transcriber, and
are enclosed in {braces}.

Other transcription changes are described in the note at the end of
this book.


  _George Philip & Son, Ltd.      The London Geographical Institute._

  General Editor: F. H. H. GUILLEMARD, M.A., M.D.


  London: FETTER LANE, E.C.

  [Illustration: Publisher’s colophon]

  Edinburgh: 100, PRINCES STREET.
  Berlin: A. ASHER AND CO.
  Leipzig: F. A. BROCKHAUS.
  New York: G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS.
  Bombay and Calcutta: MACMILLAN AND CO., LTD.

  [_All Rights reserved._]

  _Cambridge County Geographies_




  With Maps, Diagrams and Illustrations

  at the University Press




  1. County and Shire. The Name _Hertfordshire_. Its
       Origin and Meaning                                         1

  2. General Characteristics of the County                        4

  3. Size. Shape. Boundaries                                      8

  4. Surface and General Features                                10

  5. Watershed. Rivers                                           16

  6. Geology and Soil                                            25

  7. Natural History                                             38

  8. Climate and Rainfall                                        50

  9. People--Race, Dialect, Settlements, Population              57

  10. Agriculture--Main Cultivations, Woodlands, Stock           62

  11. Special Cultivations                                       67

  12. Industries and Manufactures                                70

  13. Minerals--An Exhausted Industry                            74

  14. History of Hertfordshire                                   76

  15. Antiquities--Prehistoric, Roman, Saxon                     87

  16. Architecture. (_a_) Ecclesiastical--Abbeys and Churches    97

  17. Architecture. (_b_) Military--Castles                     109

  18. Architecture. (_c_) Domestic--Famous Seats, Manor
        Houses, Cottages                                        114

  19. Communications--Past and Present. Roads, Railways,
        Canals                                                  125

  20. Administration and Divisions--Ancient and Modern          135

  21. The Roll of Honour of the County                          141

  22. The Chief Towns and Villages of Hertfordshire             151



  Modern Hertfordshire: Station Road, Letchworth                  4

  Ancient Hertfordshire: Thatched Cottages, Harpenden             5

  An Old Farm-House near Wheathampstead                           7

  A Typical Hertfordshire Village: Much Hadham                   12

  Bancroft, Hitchin                                              15

  Netting the Gade, Cassiobury Park                              21

  Bishop’s Stortford                                             24

  View on the Downs looking towards Wallington from
      the Icknield Way                                           32

  Six Hills, Stevenage (Danish Barrows)                          39

  Tring Park                                                     46

  French Row, St Albans                                          60

  Ancient House at Welwyn, now the Police Station                62

  A Hertfordshire Farm near Rickmansworth                        64

  A Lavender Field, Hitchin                                      69

  Moor Park, near Rickmansworth                                  72

  Canal and Lock, Rickmansworth                                  73

  Monastery Gateway, St Albans                                   77

  The Staircase, Hatfield House                                  83

  Cassiobury                                                     84

  The Rye House: Portions of the Servants’ Quarters              86

  Palaeolithic Flint Implement                                   89

  Neolithic Celt of Greenstone                                   89

  The Devil’s Dyke, Marford                                      92

  Ancient Causeway, Verulam (St Albans)                          93

  Roman Wall in St Germans’ Meadow, Verulam                      94

  St Albans’ Abbey from the south side                           95

  St Peter’s, Tewin                                              99

  St Mary’s, Cheshunt                                           100

  St Helen’s, Wheathampstead                                    101

  St Mary’s, Hemel Hempstead                                    102

  St Albans’ Abbey                                              103

  Ruins of Sopwell Nunnery, St Albans                           106

  The Priory, Hitchin                                           107

  Courtyard in the Biggin Almshouses, Hitchin                   108

  The Priory, King’s Langley                                    109

  Hatfield House, South Front                                   116

  Knebworth House                                               117

  Water End Farm near Wheathampstead                            118

  Christ’s Hospital School, Hertford                            119

  The Grammar School, Hitchin                                   120

  An Old Malting House, Baldock                                 121

  Chequer’s Yard, Watford                                       122

  The “Fighting Cocks,” St Albans                               123

  Waltham Cross                                                 124

  The Ermine Street at Hertford Heath                           126

  The Icknield Way, showing a Ford between Ickleford and
      Wilbury Hill                                              127

  High Street, Stevenage      129

  View on the Great North Road, Codicote Village                130

  Watford                                                       131

  The Grand Junction Canal near Hemel Hempstead                 133

  Haileybury College                                            134

  The Shire Hall, Hertford                                      139

  The Salisbury Statue, Hatfield                                143

  Cecil Rhodes’s Birth-place, Bishop’s Stortford                144

  Ruins of Verulam House, the Residence of Francis,
      Viscount St Albans                                        145

  Francis Bacon, Viscount St Albans                             146

  Charles Lamb                                                  148

  William Cowper                                                149

  Bishop’s Stortford and the River Stort                        155

  The College Chapel, Haileybury                                157

  Letchworth, Open Air School                                   162

  Shrine of St Amphibalus, St Albans’ Abbey                     165

  Diagrams                                                      170


  Hertfordshire, Topographical                         _Front Cover_

         ”       Geological                             _Back Cover_

  England and Wales, showing Annual Rainfall                     55

The illustrations on pp. 7, 32, 60, 62, 64, 83, 86, 92, 93, 94, 95,
100, 101, 102, 106, 108, 109, 116, 118, 119, 121, 122, 123, 124, 126,
127, 130, 133, 139, and 143 are reproduced from photographs by The
Homeland Association, Ltd.; and those on pp. 4, 12, 15, 24, 39, 46, 69,
72, 73, 77, 99, 103, 107, 117, 120, 129, 144, 145, 155, 161, and 165
are from photographs by Messrs F. Frith & Co., Ltd., Reigate. Messrs H.
W. Taunt & Co., of Oxford, supplied the views on pp. 21, 84 and 131; Mr
A. Elsden, of Hertford, those on pp. 134 and 157; and Mr H. Valentine,
of Harpenden, the one on p. 5.

1. County and Shire. The Name _Hertfordshire_. Its Origin and Meaning.

The only true and right way of learning geography (which in its
widest sense comprehends almost everything connected with the earth)
is to become acquainted with the geography--or, strictly speaking,
the topography--and history of the district in which we live.
Modern England is split up into a number of main divisions known as
_counties_, and in some instances also as _shires_; the word _shire_,
when it is used, being added at the end of the county name. Thus we
have the county of Essex or the county of Hertford; but whereas in
the former case the word _shire_ is never added, it may be in the
case of the latter. We then have either the county of Hertford, or
Hertfordshire, as the full designation of the territorial unit in
which we dwell. In official documents our area is always mentioned
under the title of the “County of Hertford”; but imperfectly educated
persons when filling in such documents frequently write the “County of
Hertfordshire.” This is wrong and superfluous; shire being equivalent
to county.

The word _county_ signifies an area of which a _count_ or _earl_ is
the titular head. Here it may be incidentally mentioned that the
title “Earl” is of Saxon origin, which it was attempted to replace
after the Conquest by the Norman-French “Count”; the attempt being
successful only in the case of an Earl’s consort, who is still known
as “Countess.” It also obtained in the case of “County,” which is thus
practically equivalent to “Earldom.”

It now remains to enquire why some counties are also known as shires,
while others are not thus designated. In Anglo-Saxon times England,
in place of being one great kingdom, was split up into a number of
petty kingdoms, each ruled by a separate sovereign. Essex was then a
kingdom by itself, situated in the east of the country; while Wessex
was a western kingdom, and Mercia a sovereignty more in the heart of
the country. Essex and Sussex, being small kingdoms, were constituted
counties by themselves when the country came under a single dominion,
and their names have consequently remained without addition or
alteration from Anglo-Saxon times to our own day. The larger kingdoms,
such as Wessex and Mercia, were, on the other hand, split up into
_shares_, or _shires_,--i.e. that which is shorn or cut off--and their
names have disappeared except as items in history. Hertfordshire, then,
is in great part a _share_ of the ancient kingdom of Mercia, of which,
indeed, it seems to have formed a centre, as the Mercian kings spent at
least a portion of their time at Berghamstedt (Berkhampstead). It is
however only the larger western portion of the county that belonged to
Mercia, a smaller area on the eastern side originally being included
in the kingdom of Essex.

As to the meaning of the name Hertford, there has been some difference
of opinion among archaeologists. In that extremely ancient chronicle,
“Domesday Book,” the name, it appears, is spelt Herudsford, which is
interpreted as meaning “the red ford.” The more general and obvious
interpretation is, however, that of “hart’s-ford,” from the Anglo-Saxon
_heort_, a hart, or stag; and this explanation is supported by the
occurrence in other parts of the country of such names as Oxford,
Horseford, Gatford (= goat’s-ford), Fairford (= sheep’s-ford),
and Swinford. Writing on this subject in a paper on Hertfordshire
place-names published in 1859, the Rev. Henry Hall, after alluding to
the custom of naming fords after animals, concluded as follows:--“At
all events, the custom is so prevalent, and the word hart so common for
Anglo-Saxon localities, as Hart’s-bath, Hartlepool (the Hart’s pool),
Hartly--that though several other derivations have been given for the
capital of the county, none seems so simple, or so satisfactory, as
that which interprets it to mean the hart’s ford.”

This interpretation has been adopted by that division of His Majesty’s
local forces formerly known as the H_a_rtfordshire Militia. Possibly it
is supported by the title of a neighbouring village, Hertingfordbury,
that is to say, the stronghold near Hertingford,--the ford at the
hart’s meadow. Whether or not it has anything to do with the matter, it
may be worthy of mention that red-deer antlers occur in considerable
abundance buried in the peat of Walthamstow, lower down the Lea valley,
in Essex.

2. General Characteristics of the County.

[Illustration: Modern Hertfordshire: Station Road, Letchworth]

Hertford is an inland county, situated in the south-eastern portion of
England, and cut off from the nearest sea by the whole width of Essex,
which forms the greater portion of its eastern border. Neither has it
any great river of its own communicating with the ocean; although the
Lea, which is navigable below Hertford, and falls into the Thames at
Barking in Essex, affords the means of transporting malt (the great
output of Ware) and other products to London and elsewhere by water. As
to canal communication, this will be discussed in a later section.

[Illustration: Ancient Hertfordshire: Thatched Cottages, Harpenden]

Originally Hertford was essentially an agricultural county, as it is
to a great extent at the present day; its northern three-quarters
being noted for its production of corn. The southern portion, on the
other hand, was partly a hay-growing and grazing country. Nowadays,
however, more especially on the great lines of railway, conditions have
materially altered; and large areas have become residential districts,
which in the more southern part are little more than suburbs of the
metropolis. Printing-establishments and factories--moved from London
for the sake of cheapness--have likewise been set up on the outskirts
of many of the larger towns, such as St Albans and Watford, or even in
some of the villages. On the other hand, the old-fashioned timbered and
tiled or thatched cottages formerly so characteristic of the county are
rapidly vanishing and giving place to the modern abominations in brick
and slate. Gone, too, is the old-fashioned and picturesque smock-frock
of the labourer and the shepherd, which was still much in evidence
some five and forty years ago, or even later; its disappearance being
accompanied by the loss of many characteristic local words and phrases,
to some of which reference will be made in a later section. The gangs
of Irish mowers and reapers which used to perambulate the county at hay
and harvest time are likewise a feature of the past.

The scenery of the southern portion of the county differs--owing to
its different geological formation--very markedly from that of the
northern two-thirds; the latter area representing what may be called
typical Hertfordshire. Although there is nothing grand or striking in
the scenery of this part, for quiet and picturesque beauty--whether
of the village with its ancient church nestling in the shelter of
the well-wooded valley, or the winding and tall-hedged lanes (where
they have been suffered to remain)--it would be hard to beat; and in
many instances is fully equal in charm to the much-vaunted Devonshire
scenery, although, it is true, the hedge-banks lack the abundant
growth of ferns characteristic of those of the latter county. Very
characteristic of this part of the county are its open gorse or heath
commons, like those of Harpenden, Gustard Wood, Bower’s Heath, and
Berkhampstead. From the higher chalk downs on the northern marches
of the county extensive views may be obtained over the flats of
Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire; while in like manner the southern
range of chalk hills in the neighbourhood of Elstree presents a
panoramic view over the low-lying clay plains of the southern portion
of the county and Middlesex.

[Illustration: An Old Farm-House near Wheathampstead]

In former days, it may be mentioned in this place, the inhabitants of
most, if not all, of the English counties had nicknames applied to them
by their neighbours; “Hertfordshire Hedgehogs” being the designation
applied to natives of this county, while their neighbours to the
eastward were dubbed “Essex Calves.”

3. Size. Shape. Boundaries.

The maximum length of Hertfordshire, along a line running in a
south-westerly and north-easterly direction, is about twenty-eight
miles; while its greatest breadth, along a line passing near its
centre from the neighbourhood of Tring to that of Bishop’s Stortford,
is very nearly the same. Owing to its extremely irregular outline,
the county has, for its size, a very large circumference, measuring
approximately 130 miles. Here it should be stated that the ancient area
of the county differs somewhat from that of what is now known as the
administrative county. According to the census of 1901, the area of the
ancient, or geographical county, included 406,157 acres, whereas that
of the administrative county is only 404,518 acres[1], or about 630
square miles. The difference in these numbers is due to the fact that
certain portions of the old county, such as that part of the parish of
Caddington originally included in Hertfordshire, have been transferred
to adjacent counties. The figures relating to population, etc. given
in the sequel refer to the administrative county.

[1] In the _Report_ of the Board of Agriculture published in 1905 the
number of acres is given as 402,856; and this is taken as the basis of
calculation in section 10 and in the diagrams.

In size Hertford may be reckoned a medium county, its acreage being
rather less than that of Surrey, and about half that of Essex.

To describe the shape of Hertfordshire is almost an impossibility, on
account of its extremely irregular contour; but as its two maximum
diameters are approximately equal, it may be said to lie in a square,
of which the four angles have been cut away to a greater or less extent
in a curiously irregular manner. The reason of this irregular outline,
seeing that only the eastern border is formed to any great extent by
a river-valley, is very difficult to guess. Where its south-eastern
boundary leaves the Lea valley in the neighbourhood of Waltham Abbey,
Middlesex gives off from Enfield Chase a kind of peninsula running in
a north-westerly direction into Hertfordshire; while, in its turn,
Hertfordshire, a short distance to the south, sends a better-marked and
irregular peninsula (in which stands Chipping Barnet) jutting far into
Middlesex. In consequence of this interlocking arrangement, a portion
of Hertfordshire actually lies to the south of a part of Middlesex,
although, as a whole, the former county is due north of the latter.
Another, but narrower, projection runs from the south-western corner of
the county in the neighbourhood of Rickmansworth so as to cut off the
north-western corner of Middlesex from Buckinghamshire; while a third
prominence, in which Tring is situated, is wedged into Buckinghamshire
from the western side of the county. Other minor projections occur on
the north-western and northern border, of which the most pronounced
is the one north of Baldock, jutting in between Bedfordshire and

As regards boundaries, Hertfordshire is bordered on the east by Essex,
by Middlesex on the south, by Buckinghamshire on the south-west,
by Bedfordshire on the north-west, and, to a small extent, by
Cambridgeshire on the north. From a short distance below the Rye
House to Waltham Abbey the boundary between Hertfordshire and Essex
is a natural one, formed by the rivers Stort and Lea; but the other
boundaries of our county are, for the most part at any rate, purely

It should be added that these boundaries at the present day do not
everywhere accord with those of half a century ago. The parish of
Caddington was, for instance, in former days partly in Hertfordshire
and partly in Bedfordshire, but under the provisions of the Local
Government Act of 1888, confirmed in 1897, the whole of it was included
in the latter county. Certain other alterations were made about the
same time in the boundary.

4. Surface and General Features.

The contours of a district depend almost entirely upon the nature of
its geological formations, and the action of rain, rivers, and frost
upon the rocks of which they are composed. These formations in the case
of this county are briefly described in a later section. Here it must
suffice to state that hard slaty rocks form jagged mountain ranges,
while soft limestones like our Hertfordshire chalk weather into
rounded dome-like hills and ridges, and heavy clays form flat plains.
As the bed-rock, or, as we may say, foundation, of Hertfordshire, is
constituted either by chalk or clay, it is the two latter types of
scenery that mainly characterise this county. It is only, however, on
the north-western and northern borders of the county, as at Ivinghoe
in Bucks, or between Sandon and Pirton, that we find typical chalk
scenery, where the downs forming the north-easterly continuation of the
Chiltern Hills of Buckinghamshire enter our own area. Here we find the
rounded downs and hollow combes characteristic of the South and North
Downs of the south-eastern counties; and the same absence of woods,
except where artificial foresting has been attempted. Some approach
to true chalk scenery is likewise shown on the line of hills on the
London side of Elstree, where they overlook the clay plain forming this
part of northern Middlesex. There is, however, a difference in the
scenery of this part as compared with that of the downs to the north
in that these hills are partially covered with a capping of clay or
gravel, while the beds or layers of which the chalk is composed slope
towards the plains at the base of the ridge instead of in the opposite
direction (see section on GEOLOGY).

Elsewhere the chalk is covered over to a greater or less degree, alike
on the hills and in the valleys, with thick deposits of clay, sand,
and gravel. These communicate to the hills and valleys a contour quite
different from that of chalk downs; and in many parts of the county we
have a series of more or less nearly parallel lines of low undulating
hills separated by wide, open valleys. Examples of this type of scenery
are conspicuous in walking from the valley of the Ver at Redbourn
across the hill on which Rothamsted stands, then descending into the
riverless valley of Harpenden, again crossing the hill to the east of
the latter, and then descending into the valley of the Lea near the
Great Northern railway station.

[Illustration: A Typical Hertfordshire Village: Much Hadham]

This capping of clay permits the growth of forest on the hills, as
do the alluvial deposits in the valleys; so that in its well-wooded
character the scenery of the greater part of the county is altogether
different from that characterising the bare North and South Downs and
the Chiltern Hills. Where the chalk comes near the surface there is
a marked tendency to the growth of beech-trees, splendid examples of
which may be seen in Beechwood Park. Elsewhere in the chalk districts
the elm is the commonest timber-tree; although it should be said that
this species of tree was originally introduced into England from abroad.

Reference has already been made to the numerous open commons dotted
over the chalk area of Hertfordshire. These appear to have been left
as open spaces at the time the country was enclosed, owing to the
sterility of their soil, which is unsuited for growing good crops of
either corn or grass. Many of these commons, as in the neighbourhood
of Harpenden, were enclosed some time previous to the battle of
Waterloo, when corn in this country was so dear, and every available
piece of land capable of growing wheat consequently of great value. It
may be presumed that the commons with the best soil were selected for
enclosure; but most of such enclosed commons produce inferior crops,
partly, it may be, owing to the plan on which they are cultivated.
Till twenty years ago or thereabouts all such commons in the writer’s
own neighbourhood were divided into a number of parallel strips,
separated by grass “baulks”; these strips representing the respective
shares of the copyholders of the district, who had the right of grazing
on the original common. The absence of hedges rendered it necessary
that the same kind of crop should be grown each year on every plot.
This made it not worth the while of the occupiers to spend money on
high cultivation. Of late years many of these enclosed commons have
either been built over, or come under a single ownership, thereby
obliterating one more interesting page in the history of the county.

To the south of the Elstree range of chalk hills the scenery suddenly
changes, and on emerging into Middlesex from the tunnel through
these hills on the Midland Railway we enter an extensive grassy
plain, characterised by its abundance of oak trees, the scarcity of
elms, and the total absence of ash. Parts of this plain, which is
continued through Middlesex to London, form the great grass-growing and
hay-producing district of Eastern Hertfordshire.

A plain very similar in character to that south of Elstree is entered
upon to the northward of Baldock, just after leaving the line of chalk
hills, although the greater portion of this northern plain is situated
in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire. When travelling northward from
London by the Great Northern Railway, observant persons, after passing
through the tunnels traversing the chalk hills north of Hitchin, cannot
fail to notice the general flatness of the country as this great plain
is entered. Although so like the southern plain in general appearance,
this northern plain, as is noticed in the section on Geology, is
composed of much older rocks.

[Illustration: Bancroft, Hitchin]

The heights of some portions of the chalk area above mean sea-level
are, for this part of England, considerable. Thus Great Offley Church
is 554 feet, St Peter’s Church, St Albans, 402 feet, Stevenage 306
feet, Hitchin Church 216 feet, while a hill near Therfield attains the
height of 525 feet. Hastoe Hill near Tring is 709 feet.

5. Watershed. Rivers.

In commencing this section it will be well to devote a few lines to
the proper meaning of the frequently misunderstood term “watershed.”
It means the line of water-division, or water-parting; that is to say
the line along a range of hills from which the streams flow in one
direction on one side, and in the opposite direction on the other. The
ridge-tiles on a roof form an excellent illustration of a watershed.

Every local stream is separated from the one nearest to it by
a watershed; while a river-system, such as that of the Thames,
is separated by a much more important watershed from the other
river-systems which take their origin near its source. Such
river-systems, each enclosed by a single watershed which it shares with
its neighbours, are known as drainage-areas, or catchment-basins.

Practically the whole of Hertfordshire lies in the Thames
drainage-area. At first sight it would be natural to suppose that the
summit of the line of chalk downs forming the continuation of the
Chiltern Hills in the neighbourhood of Tring and continuing thence to
Dunstable would constitute the watershed between two river-systems. But
this is not the case, for the Thames cuts through the Chiltern Hills
between Wallingford and Pangbourne, and thus receives the drainage of
both the northern and the southern flanks of that range. The watershed
formed by the continuation of the Chilterns in the Tring district is
therefore one of second-rate importance.

On the other hand, in the chalk hills near Hitchin we have a
watershed of first class, or primary rank, for it divides the Thames
catchment-area from that of the Great or Bedfordshire Ouse, which flows
into the North Sea miles away from the estuary of the Thames. Only
four comparatively small streams flowing into the Ouse basin lie for
part or the whole of their course within the limits of the county. The
first of these is the Pirre, or Purwell, a small brook which rises in
the parish of Ippolits, and, after passing Much Wymondley, flows into
the Hiz near Ickleford. The Hiz itself rises in a spring at Wellhead,
a short distance southward of Hitchin (formerly also called Hiz), and
after receiving the Purwell, flows to Ickleford, where it leaves the
county, being joined in Bedfordshire by the Ivel, which rises not far
from Baldock, passing Biggleswade to join the Ouse. Below Biggleswade
it flows through Tempsford, where it unites with the Ouse. The last of
the four streams belonging to the Ouse system is the Rhee (a Saxon term
signifying a water-course or river), which springs strongly from the
chalk a short distance west of Ashwell, and after passing Accrington
Bridge and crossing the Ermine Street, eventually falls into the Cam.

The whole of the remaining rivers of the county belong to the Thames
catchment-area. With the exception of the Thame, to be mentioned
immediately in a separate paragraph, these form two main systems,
namely that of the Colne draining the western and that of the Lea the
northern and eastern part of the county; the watershed between these
two systems running in a north-westerly and south-easterly direction
between St Albans and Hatfield, and thence to the north of Chipping

The Thame is almost entirely a Buckinghamshire river, but it rises in
our county and runs on the north side of the great watershed formed by
the continuation of the Chiltern Hills; this watershed constituting a
broad, nearly waterless belt separating the catchment-area of the upper
Thame from that of the Lea. The Thame itself springs from three heads
in the parish of Tring; the first of these rising near the vicarage,
the second at a spot called Dundell, and the third in a spring known as
Bulbourne. The three become united at New Mill, whence, after passing
through Puttenham, the Thame flows by Aylesbury, in Buckinghamshire,
and from there continues its course till it eventually joins the Thames
near the village of Dorchester, a considerable distance below Oxford.

Of the tributaries of the Colne system, the most important is the Ver
(or Verlume), which rises some distance to the east of Cheverell’s
Green, on the Watling Street, and passes through the village of
Flamstead, and thence near the line of the high road to Redbourn,
where it is joined by an intermittent stream, or “bourne,” known as
the Wenmer, or Womer. The latter crosses the road from Harpenden to
Redbourn at the foot of a steep descent; and in the old days its
appearance as a running stream was believed to forbode a death, or
“some extremity of dangerous import.” From Redbourn the Ver continues
its course by way of Shafford Mill, at which place it crosses the high
road, to St Albans, where it passes between the present city and
the ruined walls of ancient Verulam, to which latter it is generally
believed to have given its name. Thence its course is continued
through the old nunnery of Sopwell (of which it supplied the extensive
fish-ponds), and from that point it flows through Park Street to join
the Colne near Colney Street; the latter stream giving the name to
the united rivers, although the Ver is considerably the larger of
the two constituents. The Colne itself rises in the neighbourhood of
Tittenhanger, between St Albans and Hatfield, and passes through London
Colney on its way to join the Ver. Near Watford the Colne receives an
important tributary in the shape of the Gade, which issues from the
chalk in the meadows of Great Gaddesden (to which and Gadebridge it
gives the name), and after passing through Hemel Hempstead and Nash
Mills, is joined at Two Waters by the Bulbourne. The latter rises at
Tring very close to the Bulbourne source of the Thame (the watershed
being here very narrow), and runs by way of the Frith, Dagnalls,
Aldbury Meads, Dudswell Bottom, and North Church to the north-east
side of Berkhampstead, where its volume is increased by two important
springs, and thence to Two Waters. There is also an intermittent stream
known as the Hertfordshire Bourne, which, when running, flows into
the Bulbourne about halfway between Berkhampstead and Boxmoor. It is
reported--and apparently correctly--to flow on the average once in
every seven years; the point from which it flows may be higher up or
lower down in the valley according to the amount of water discharged.

Below Two Waters the Gade (as the united stream is now called) passes
through Kings Langley, Hunton Bridge, and Cassiobury Park to join
the Colne between that park and Watford. After skirting the north
side of Moor Park immediately below the last-named town, the Colne
receives the Chess (giving the name to Chesham, in Buckinghamshire),
which passes through Sarratt in our own county. The Colne then reaches
Rickmansworth, where it forms the boundary between Buckinghamshire
and Middlesex, and thence flowing by way of Uxbridge and Colnbrook,
discharges itself into the Thames above Staines, after a course of
about thirty-five miles.

[Illustration: Netting the Gade, Cassiobury Park]

We pass next to the basin of the Lea or Luy, the Logodunum or
Logrodunum of the ancient Britons, and the largest river in the county.
The Lea itself takes origin in a marsh at Leagrave, or Luigrave, a
little north of Luton (= Lea-town), in Bedfordshire, and after passing
through Luton Hoo, in that county, where it is expanded into a large
artificial lake, enters Hertfordshire at East Hyde, in the valley north
of Harpenden, and flows thence by way of Wheathampstead and Brocket
(where it again expands into another artificial lake) to Hatfield,
whence its course is continued by way of Essendon and the north side
of Bayfordbury Park to Hertford. Just before entering the county town
the Lea receives the Mimram, or Marran, which rises in the parish of
Kings Walden, to the north-west of the Bury, and flows to the eastward
of Kimpton Hoo, and thence by way of Codicote, Welwyn, Digswell (with
added supplies from local springs), Tewin Water, and Hertingfordbury
to its junction with the Lea close to Hertford. In the upper part of
its course the Mimram receives the small brook known as the Kime, from
which Kimpton and Kimpton Hoo take their names.

In Hertford the Lea is divided into two channels, one of which runs
through the eastern portion of the town to cross Great Hertham common,
while the other, which is navigable, passes along the western side to
join its fellow at the aforesaid common.

At about one-third the distance between Hertford and Ware the Lea is
largely augmented by the waters of the Beane (Benefician) and the
Rib, which join close to their union with the main river. The Beane
rises from a ditch in the parish of Ardeley (between Stevenage and
Buntingford), and thence flows in a southward direction by way of
Walkern, Aston, Frogmore, Watton, and Stapleford, passing on its way
through Woodhall Park, at the entrance to which it is reinforced by
several strong springs. Between Watton and Stapleford it also receives
a small brook flowing from Bragbury End.

Starting in an easterly direction from Ardeley or Walkern, we shall
cross the low watershed dividing the valley of the Beane from that of
the Rib; which latter takes its rise near Reed, and after crossing the
Ermine Street at the south end of Buntingford, flows by way of West
Mill and New Bridge to Braughing, where it is joined by the Quin, which
issues from a spring at Barkway, and passing by Hormead and Quinbury
(to which it lends its name), reaches Braughing Priory. Below Braughing
the Rib, as it is now called, flows by way of Hammels, Standon,
Barwick, Thundridge, to cross the Ermine Street at Wade’s Mill, and
thence _viâ_ Ware Westmill and Ware Park to join the Lea with the Beane.

From Luton to Hatfield the course of the Lea pursues a generally
south-easterly direction; at Hatfield it becomes for a short distance
due east, and then trends to the north-east through Hertford to Ware.
Here it takes a sudden bend, so that the remainder of its course
through the county and the adjacent portion of Essex is almost due
south. A direct line from Luton to the Lea near Waltham Abbey measures
about 40 miles; but, owing to its great north-easterly bend, the course
of the Lea between these two points is something like 45 miles.

[Illustration: Bishop’s Stortford (showing the Plain Country)]

The last two rivers on our list are the Ash and the Stort, both of
which in the upper part of their courses run from north to south
nearly parallel with the Beane and the Quin. The Ash rises near Brent
Pelham and thence flowing by Much Hadham and through the parish
of Widford, falls into the Lea above Stanstead Abbots. The Stort,
which is the most easterly tributary of the Lea in the county, is
of Essex origin, taking its rise at the very border of the county,
near Meesdon, and entering it again close to Bishop’s Stortford. Some
distance above Stortford it receives one tributary from the Essex and
a second from the Hertfordshire side, the latter forming for a short
distance the boundary between the two counties. At Stortford the
Stort is wholly within Hertfordshire, but a little below the town it
forms the county boundary for a considerable distance, passing by
way of Sawbridgeworth on the Hertfordshire, and Harlow on the Essex
side, to join the Lea a short distance below the Rye House. From this
point and Hoddesdon nearly to Waltham Abbey the Lea forms the boundary
between Hertfordshire and Essex, finally leaving the former county
near Waltham. The river now constitutes the line of division between
Middlesex and Essex, finally joining the Thames below Bow Bridge, at
Barking, after a course of 45 miles.

Here may conveniently be mentioned the celebrated Chadwell spring, near
Hertford, which after supplying London with a large amount of water
by way of the New River (of which more in a later chapter) for three
hundred years, failed temporarily in 1897, so that water began to flow
into, instead of out of its basin. Previous to this failure the amount
of water discharged daily by the Chadwell spring was estimated at not
less than 2,600,000 gallons. In addition to the temporary failure of
Chadwell, a spring in Woolmers Park, near Hertford, has of late years
completely dried up; both these failures being attributed mainly, if
not entirely, to the tapping of the Hertfordshire water-supply by the
deep borings in London.

6. Geology and Soil.

By Geology we mean the study of the rocks, and we must at the outset
explain that the term _rock_ is used by the geologist without any
reference to the hardness or compactness of the material to which the
name is applied; thus he speaks of loose sand as a rock equally with a
hard substance like granite.

Rocks are of two kinds, (1) those laid down mostly under water, (2)
those due to the action of fire.

The first kind may be compared to sheets of paper one over the other.
These sheets are called _beds_, and such beds are usually formed of
sand (often containing pebbles), mud or clay, and limestone or mixtures
of these materials. They are laid down as flat or nearly flat sheets,
but may afterwards be tilted as the result of movement of the earth’s
crust, just as you may tilt sheets of paper, folding them into arches
and troughs, by pressing them at either end. Again, we may find the
tops of the folds so produced worn away as the result of the wearing
action of rivers, glaciers, and sea-waves upon them, as you might cut
off the tops of the folds of the paper with a pair of shears. This has
happened with the ancient beds forming parts of the earth’s crust, and
we therefore often find them tilted, with the upper parts removed.

The other kinds of rocks are known as igneous rocks, which have been
molten under the action of heat and become solid on cooling. When in
the molten state they have been poured out at the surface as the lava
of volcanoes, or have been forced into other rocks and cooled in the
cracks and other places of weakness. Much material is also thrown out
of volcanoes as volcanic ash and dust, and is piled up on the sides of
the volcano. Such ashy material may be arranged in beds, so that it
partakes to some extent of the qualities of the two great rock groups.

The relations of such beds are of great importance to geologists, for
by means of these beds we can classify the rocks according to age. If
we take two sheets of paper, and lay one on the top of the other on a
table, the upper one has been laid down after the other. Similarly with
two beds, the upper is also the newer, and the newer will remain on the
top after earth-movements, save in very exceptional cases which need
not be regarded here, and for general purposes we may look upon any bed
or set of beds resting on any other in our own country as being the
newer bed or set.

The movements which affect beds may occur at different times. One set
of beds may be laid down flat, then thrown into folds by movement, the
tops of the beds worn off, and another set of beds laid down upon the
worn surface of the older beds, the edges of which will abut against
the oldest of the new set of flatly deposited beds, which latter may in
turn undergo disturbance and renewal of their upper portions.

Again, after the formation of the beds many changes may occur in them.
They may become hardened, pebble-beds being changed into conglomerates,
sands into sandstones, muds and clays into mudstones and shales,
soft deposits of lime into limestone, and loose volcanic ashes into
exceedingly hard rocks. They may also become cracked, and the cracks
are often very regular, running in two directions at right angles one
to the other. Such cracks are known as _joints_, and the joints are
very important in affecting the physical geography of a district. Then,
as the result of great pressure applied sideways, the rocks may be so
changed that they can be split into thin slabs, which usually, though
not necessarily, split along planes standing at high angles to the
horizontal. Rocks affected in this way are known as _slates_.

              NAMES OF SYSTEMS              CHARACTERS OF ROCKS

          { Recent & Pleistocene+------+
          { Pliocene            +------+ sands, superficial deposits
 TERTIARY { Eocene              +------+
          {                     |      | clays and sands chiefly
          { Cretaceous          |      | chalk at top
          {                     |      | sandstones, mud and clays below
          {                     +------+
 SECONDARY{ Jurassic            |      | shales, sandstones and
          {                     |      | oolitic limestones
          {                     +------+
          { Triassic            |      | red sandstones and marls,
          {                     |      |   gypsum and salt
          { Permian             |      | red sandstones & magnesian
          {                     +------+  limestone
          {                     |      |
          {                     |      | sandstones, shales and coals
          { Carboniferous       |      |  at top
          {                     |      | sandstones in middle
          {                     |      | limestone and shales below
          {                     +------+
          {                     |      |
          { Devonian            |      | red sandstones,
          {                     |      | shales, slates and limestones
          {                     +------+
          {                     |      |
          { Silurian            |      | sandstones and shales
          {                     |      | thin limestones
 PRIMARY  {                     +------+
          {                     |      | shales, slates,
          { Ordovician          |      | sandstones and
          {                     |      | thin limestones
          {                     |      |
          {                     +------+
          {                     |      |
          { Cambrian            |      | slates and
          {                     |      | sandstones
          {                     |      |
          {                     |      |
          {                     +------+
          {                     |      |
          {                     |      |
          {                     |      | sandstones,
          { Pre-Cambrian        |      | slates and
          {                     |      | volcanic rocks
          {                     +------+

If we could flatten out all the beds of England, and arrange them one
over the other and bore a shaft through them, we should see them on
the sides of the shaft, the newest appearing at the top and the oldest
at the bottom, as shown in the figure. Such a shaft would have a depth
of between 10,000 and 20,000 feet. The strata are divided into three
great groups called Primary or Palaeozoic, Secondary or Mesozoic, and
Tertiary or Cainozoic, and the lowest of the Primary rocks are the
oldest rocks of Britain, which form as it were the foundation stones on
which the other rocks rest. These may be spoken of as the Pre-Cambrian
rocks. The three great groups are divided into minor divisions known
as systems. The names of these systems are arranged in order in the
table with a very rough indication of their relative importance, though
the divisions above the Eocene have their thickness exaggerated, as
otherwise they would hardly show in the figure. On the right hand side,
the general characters of the rocks of each system are stated.

With these preliminary remarks we may now proceed to a brief account of
the geology of the county.

In Hertfordshire, apart from the soil and the superficial accumulations
of gravel, sand, and clay, only the lower beds or strata of the
Tertiary and the uppermost formations of the Secondary period are

As the greater portion of the subjacent rocks of the county is formed
by the Chalk, it will be convenient to commence with this formation.
The Chalk extends, or “strikes,” across all but the south-eastern
portion of the county in a broad belt, with a general south-westerly
or north-easterly direction, reaching on the northern side, with a
few exceptions, to the border of the county and beyond, while to the
southward its boundary runs approximately through Bushey, South Mims,
Hertford, and Bishop’s Stortford. At Dunstable the Chalk forms what is
called an “escarpment,” that is to say a high and somewhat precipitous
(although rounded) cliff overlooking the great plain formed by the
marls and clays of the underlying strata. As in all true escarpments,
the beds, or strata of the Chalk, which are somewhat tilted by
earth-movements out of their originally horizontal plane, incline, or
“dip” away from the main face of the cliff, that is to say, towards the
south-east; and this south-easterly dip of the Chalk, apart from local
interruptions and folds, continues to its southerly boundary. Now since
the Chalk is a porous formation admirably fitted to collect and retain
the rain-water falling upon it, while it is underlain, as we shall see
shortly, by the impervious Gault Clay of the Bedfordshire plain, and
overlain along its southern boundary by the equally impervious London
Clay, it is obvious that it will hold all the water thus collected,
and that this water will tend to run deep down in the rock in a
south-easterly direction. Hence the northern part of the Chalk zone
forms an almost perfect water-collecting area, which can be tapped
along the southern side of the county by boring through the overlying
London Clay.

The Chalk comprises several main divisions, of which the highest is
known as the Upper Chalk, or the Chalk with flints; this when fully
developed being about 300 feet thick. It is a soft white limestone
traversed by nearly horizontal layers of black, white-coated flint,
which have originated by a process of “segregation” in the rock
subsequent to its deposition as ooze on the old sea-bed. Usually these
layers consist of irregular nodular masses; but there is sometimes a
continuous thin layer of scarcely more than half-an-inch in thickness,
locally known as “chimney-flint.” The south-easterly dip of the Chalk
is shown by the layers of flint to be not more, as a rule, than three
or four degrees. The Upper Chalk extends from the summits of the
hills as far down as Rickmansworth, Watford, Hatfield, and Hertford,
thus forming the bed-rock of the greater portion of the county. By
the wearing away of the overlying Tertiary strata, a small cone, or
“inlier,” of Chalk is exposed at Northaw.

Next comes a bed of about four feet thick known as the Chalk-rock.
It is a hard cream-coloured rock, containing layers of green-coated
nodules, is traversed by numerous vertical joints, and rings to the
stroke of the hammer. Owing to its hardness, it resists the action of
the weather, and is therefore in evidence at or near the summits of
the hills, where it can be traced from close to Berkhampstead Castle
by Boxmoor and Apsley, and thence to the south-west of Dunstable,
Kensworth, the south of Baldock, and so in a north-easterly direction
to Lannock Farm.

[Illustration: View on the Downs looking towards Wallington from the
Icknield Way]

Below the Chalk-rock we come to the Middle Chalk, or Chalk without
flints, which may be so much as 350 feet in thickness, and rises in
a rather steep slope or “step” from the underlying beds to be next
mentioned. Flints are few and far between in the Middle Chalk, which
forms the western slope of the Downs at Royston, as well as beyond
the limits of the county at Luton, and so on to the Chiltern Hills.
Fossils are much more numerous in the Middle than in the Upper Chalk.
The lowest bed of the former is the Melbourn Rock, a hard, nodular
band about 10 feet thick. Next comes the grey and white Lower Chalk,
from 65 to 90 feet thick, after which we reach the Totternhoe Stone.
Although only six feet in thickness, this Totternhoe Stone, which
forms the escarpment of Royston Downs, is of importance as having been
largely employed in the construction of churches and other buildings on
the northern side of the county. It is a sandy grey limestone, which
used to be largely quarried at Totternhoe, with special precautions
in drying. It can be traced from Tring by way of Miswell, Marsworth,
Pirton, and Radwell to Ashwell.

The Totternhoe Stone really forms the top of the Chalk-marl, which is
some 80 feet thick, and consists of buff crumbling marly limestones. It
forms a strip of low ground at the base of the Chalk escarpment. At the
bottom of the Chalk occurs the so-called coprolite-bed, which contains
large quantities of phosphate nodules. Forty years ago these beds were
extensively worked between Hitchin and Cambridge for the sake of the

Only on the northern border of the county, between Hitchin and Baldock,
and also near Tring and then merely to a very small extent, are any
of the beds underlying the Chalk exposed. These comprise, firstly the
Upper Greensand, which is either a sandy marl or a sandstone with green
grains, and secondly, a dark blue impervious clay known as the Gault.
These formations constitute the plain at the foot of the Chalk hills
in Bedfordshire, the scenery of which is very similar to that of the
London Clay plain in eastern Hertfordshire and Middlesex.

It is important to add that, at a gradually increasing depth as we
proceed south, the Gault underlies the whole of the Hertfordshire
Chalk, and renders the latter such an excellent water-bearing
formation. If the Gault be perforated we come upon the Lower Greensand,
another excellent water-bearing stratum, which comes to the surface in
the neighbourhood of Silsoe, in Bedfordshire.

We may now turn to the formations overlying the Chalk in the southern
half of the county. Here it should be mentioned that all the formations
hitherto described overlie (or underlie) one another in what is termed
conformable sequence; that is to say, there is no break between them,
but a more or less nearly complete passage from one to another. Between
the Chalk and the overlying Tertiary formations, there is, on the other
hand, a great break or “unconformity”; the surface of the Chalk having
been worn into a very irregular contour, above which we pass suddenly
to the Tertiary beds, generally containing at their base a number of
rolled chalk flints. This indicates that before the Tertiary beds were
laid down, the Chalk had become dry land; after which a portion of it
once more subsided beneath the ocean. The Tertiary beds are in fact
formed for the most part from the _débris_, or wearing away of the old
Chalk land.

The lowest Tertiary stratum of eastern and southern Hertfordshire is
known as the Woolwich and Reading beds. These consist of alternations
of bright-coloured plastic clays and sandy or pebble-beds; their
maximum thickness in the county being about 35 feet. They form a band
extending from Harefield Park to Watford, and thence to Hatfield and
Hertford. Below the Woolwich and Reading beds we come on the London
Clay, of which the basement bed contains a layer of flint pebbles,
although the remainder of this thick formation is a stiff blue clay,
turning brown when exposed to the action of the weather. Originally
these Tertiary formations must have extended all over the Chalk of
central Hertfordshire, as is demonstrated by the occurrence of patches,
or “outliers,” of them over a zone of considerable width. Such Tertiary
outliers occur at Micklefield Hall, Micklefield Green, Sarratt, Abbot’s
Langley, Bedmond, Bennet’s End, and Leverstock Green, and in the
northern, or St Peter’s portion of St Albans.

Closely connected with these Tertiary formations is the well-known
Hertfordshire pudding-stone; a conglomerate formed of stained
flint-pebbles cemented together by a flinty matrix as hard as the
pebbles themselves, so that a fracture forms a clean surface traversing
both pebbles and cement. This pudding-stone is usually found in
the gravels (or washed out of them) in irregular masses, weighing
from a few pounds to as many tons. It is stated, however, to occur
in its original bedding between Aldenham and Shenley; and the rock
evidently represents a hardened zone of the Woolwich and Reading beds.
Pudding-stone is found in special abundance at St Albans and again in
the neighbourhood of Great Gaddesden. In some St Albans specimens the
pebbles are stained black for a considerable thickness by the oxides of
iron, while the central core is bright red or orange. Such specimens,
when cut and polished, form ornamental stones of great beauty; but, on
account of their hardness, the expense of cutting is very heavy.

Except on the higher part of the Chalk Downs, and very generally along
a narrow band half way up the sides of the valleys, the aforesaid
formations are but rarely exposed in the county at the surface, on
account of being overlaid with superficial deposits of gravel, clay,
etc., which are of post-Tertiary age, and were deposited for the most
part during the time that man has been an inhabitant of the world.
These superficial beds are very frequently termed “drift,” on account
of a large portion being formed by ice, at the time that northern
Europe was under the influence of the great glacial period. Over most
of the chalk area the denuded surface of the Chalk is covered with a
thick layer of stiff clay full of flints, this layer being formed by
the disintegration of the Chalk itself, the soluble calcareous portion
being dissolved and carried away, while the insoluble flints and clay
remain. Above this layer in the neighbourhood of Hertford, Barnet, and
elsewhere, is a series of gravelly beds assigned to the middle division
of the glacial period; while these in turn are overlaid locally,
as at Bricket Wood, between St Albans and Watford, by the chalky
Boulder-clay, of upper glacial age, which is there some twenty feet
in thickness. In other places, as at Harpenden, the hills are capped
by a still greater thickness of clayey deposits, mingled with flints,
resting upon a very irregular surface of Chalk, which appears to be
for the most part of glacial origin. Speaking generally, Boulder-clay
is characteristic of the east, and clay with flints and gravel of the
western side of the county.

Half way down the sides of the hills, in the district last named, the
Chalk is more or less completely exposed at the surface along a narrow
zone, below which we come upon deposits of gravel, sand, and clay
filling the bottoms of the valleys. At Bowling Alley, Harpenden, these
deposits are fully forty feet in thickness. Although they have been
supposed to be the result of river action, it is more probable that
they are due to rain-wash. Indeed this is practically proved in the
case of the valley leading from Harpenden towards No-Man’s-Land, where
the lower end is blocked by a ridge of gravel, which could not possibly
have been formed by river action. The stones in these valley-gravels
are of irregular shape, and thus quite different from the rounded
pebbles of the gravels of the Woolwich and Reading beds, as seen at St
Peter’s, St Albans. At Harpenden the uppermost layer of valley-gravel
is extremely clean and sharp, generally of a golden yellow colour with
blackish veins. Deposits of brick-earth occur locally throughout the
Chalk area.

Over the greater part of the county the soil is the result of the
decomposition of the foregoing superficial formations; and is
consequently in most cases of a stiffer and more clayey character on
the hill-tops than in the valleys, where it frequently forms only a
bed of a foot, or even less, in thickness above the sharp, running
gravel. Everywhere in the Chalk districts the soil contains a vast
number of flints; but it is, nevertheless, admirably adapted for
corn-growing, and especially for malting-grain; Hertford being one of
the four English counties best suited to crops of the latter nature.
On many of the unenclosed commons the soil is, however, of a poor and
hungry nature, producing various kinds of inferior grass, together
with spring-flowering gorse, as on Harpenden Common, or heather, as
at Kingsbourn Green, between Harpenden and Luton, and at Gustard
Wood, near Wheathampstead. On the higher Chalk Downs near Dunstable
and Royston there is little or no soil properly so-called; the short,
but sweet and nourishing grass growing on the chalk itself. A very
different type of soil obtains in the London Clay area in the south and
east of the county; this being heavy and clayey, and thus better suited
for grass than for corn; in fact in the old days the Middlesex portion
of this district was known to the country people as the “Hay-country.”
Along many of the river-valleys peaty soils of a marshy and swampy
nature prevail.

7. Natural History.

In former days, when the mammoth or hairy elephant, the extinct woolly
rhinoceros, and the wild ox, together with the African hippopotamus
and spotted hyaena roamed over the Thames valley and afforded sport to
our prehistoric ancestors, England was joined to the Continent across
what is now the English Channel; so that the animals and plants of
the southern portion of our islands, at any rate, were more or less
nearly identical with those of France and Belgium. The advent of the
great ice age, or glacial period, caused, however, a vast disturbance
of the fauna and flora (as the assemblages of animals and plants
characteristic of different countries are respectively termed),
especially as about this time there occurred several oscillations in
the level of our country, during one or more of which Great Britain
was temporarily separated from the Continent. How much or how little
these and other changes had to do with the poverty of the British fauna
as compared with that of the Continent is too long and difficult a
question to be discussed in this place; but certain it is that even
the southern counties of England do possess fewer species of animals
and plants than France or Belgium; that this poverty increases with
the distance from the Continent; and that Ireland is much poorer in
species than England. It may perhaps be well to add, although it does
not really concern our subject, that there appears to have been another
land-connection by means of which Scotland and Ireland received a
portion of their faunas from Scandinavia by way of what is now the
North Sea.

[Illustration: Six Hills, Stevenage (Danish Barrows)]

At the date of the final insulation of Great Britain from the Continent
there is every reason to believe that all the land animals of the
former were identical with species inhabiting adjacent regions of the
latter. And even at the present day, when isolation has for centuries
been exerting its influence on the non-migratory (and in some degree
also on the migratory) animals, there are no species of quadrupeds
(mammals), birds, or reptiles absolutely peculiar to our islands, with
the exception of the grouse; and in the opinion of many naturalists
that bird should be regarded rather as a local variety or race of the
willow-grouse of Scandinavia than as a distinct species.

Minor variations, however, characterise many, if not indeed all, of our
British quadrupeds and birds when contrasted with their continental
representatives. The British squirrel is, for instance, very markedly
distinct from all the continental races of that animal in the matter
of colouring, while somewhat less decided differences characterise our
badger, hare, field-mice, etc. Similarly, among birds, the British
coal-tit is so decidedly distinct from its continental representatives
that it is regarded by some naturalists as entitled to rank as a
species by itself; and minor differences from their continental cousins
are displayed by the British redbreast, bullfinch, great titmouse,
and many other resident species. Indeed, if careful comparisons were
instituted between sufficiently large series of specimens, it is almost
certain that all species of resident British land animals, as well as
exclusively fresh-water fishes, would display certain differences from
their foreign representatives; while in some instances, at any rate, as
is already known to be the case in regard to certain species, more than
one local race of an animal may exist in our own islands.

It is, however, a question as to what is to be gained by the
recognition of such comparatively trifling local differences in animals
(and still more by assigning to them distinct technical names), as the
splitting process may be carried to an almost endless degree. A large
London fishmonger is, for instance (as the writer is informed), able
to distinguish a Tay from a Severn or Avon salmon; while a wholesale
game-dealer will in like manner discriminate between a Perthshire and a
Yorkshire grouse. In like manner a Hertfordshire badger or stoat may be
distinguished from their Midland or North of England representatives;
but it is difficult to see in what respect we should be the better for
the recognising of the existence of such differences.

Accordingly, the fauna and flora of Hertfordshire may be regarded for
all practical purposes as more or less completely identical with that
of the south-east of England generally; and nothing would be gained,
even if space permitted, by giving lists of the species which have been
found within the limits of our county.

The fauna and flora of Hertfordshire, like those of other counties
with varying geological formations, are not, however, by any means
the same everywhere. On the contrary, there are well-marked local
differences mainly associated with what naturalists call “station”;
that is to say, differences of elevation, soil, geological formation,
climate, etc., etc. The animals and plants of the high chalk downs
in the neighbourhood of Gaddesden, Dunstable, and Ashwell, are for
instance more or less markedly distinct from those of the lower level
corn-growing areas of the centre of the county. On these elevated
tracts we find, for example, wheatears, stone-curlews (near Tring),
blue butterflies, burnet-moths, small brown-banded white snails,
a periwinkle-like snail with a horny door to its shell known as
Cyclostoma, blue gentians, certain orchids, and many other kinds of
plants rarely or never seen on the low grounds. The open commons and
heaths, on the other hand, as has been already mentioned, are the
home of heather and gorse, together with various distinctive birds
and reptiles, such as stonechats, whinchats, titlarks, goldfinches,
vipers, slow-worms, and lizards. In the river-bottoms and other
swampy localities we find marsh and water-birds, such as yellow
wagtails, snipes, sandpipers, grebes (at Tring), herons, moorhens,
water-rails, coots, dabchicks, and wild duck, together with (locally)
the common grass or water snake, amber-snails, marsh-marigolds, purple
loose-strife, ragged robin, reeds, and yellow flags.

Beech trees, as mentioned above, form the predominant timber on the
chalk-lands other than the high downs, while on the heavier soils of
the centre of the county their place is mainly taken by elm and ash.
On these lowlands and other open cultivated tracts are found such
birds as partridges, corncrakes, lapwings, pipits, and larks; while
in the coppices, hedgerows, and gardens we look for nightingales (from
which bird Harpenden takes its name, _haerpen_ being a nightingale
and _dene_ a valley in Anglo-Saxon), blackcaps, whitethroats, wrens,
and nuthatches; while the woods are the resort of green and spotted
woodpeckers, wood-pigeons, jays, and pheasants. The low grass-growing
clay-plains on the southern side of the county support, as already
stated, an abundant growth of oaks to the almost complete exclusion
of other timber trees; and this area doubtless also presents certain
peculiarities in its fauna distinguishing it from the corn-growing
tract to the north. The oaks grow to a very great size, especially at
Sacombe and Woodhall Park, and three notable specimens in the county
are Queen Elizabeth’s oak at Hatfield, Goff’s oak at Cheshunt, and the
Panshanger oak.

In addition to these local peculiarities in the fauna dependent upon
elevation, geological formation, soil, and the presence or absence
of forest, there are, however, certain others for which climate may
possibly account.

A case in point is afforded by the distribution of stag-beetles and
magpies in the county. Both these species are unknown in the district
immediately round Harpenden, while the former, at any rate, are
likewise unknown in the St Albans district, and apparently between that
city and London. If, however, we travel from Harpenden to the east,
magpies may be met with when we reach Codicote, while in the opposite
direction they occur in the Hemel Hempstead district. As to the exact
point where stag-beetles make their appearance in the latter direction
the writer has no information, but they are to be met with in the
neighbourhood of Rickmansworth and elsewhere on the Buckinghamshire
border, and become quite common in that county. Grass-snakes, so
far as the writer is aware, are likewise absent from the Harpenden
neighbourhood, although on the Cambridgeshire side of the county they
are quite common, as they are across the border.

If the local distribution of these species were carefully worked out
and mapped, we might perhaps be able to account for what is at present
a puzzle.

With the increase of population and building the wild fauna of
Hertfordshire, like that of England generally, has been gradually
becoming poorer in species--probably indeed from the time the mammoth
and the woolly rhinoceros were exterminated, as they possibly were, by
our prehistoric ancestors. When the wolf, the bear, the wild cat, and
the beaver disappeared, is quite unknown; but it is in comparatively
modern times that the marten has been exterminated, a solitary
individual of this species having been killed in the county within a
score of miles of London, that is to say near Watford, so recently as
December, 1872. Polecats appear to have almost if not quite disappeared
from the county, although a straggler may occasionally enter from
Buckinghamshire, where a few still survive; and one was trapped in Ware
Park about 1885. Otters are rare, although a few occasionally appear
in the lower part of the Lea valley, and some may enter the county
from Buckinghamshire, in parts of which they are much more common,
the Buckinghamshire Otter-hounds having killed over a score of these
animals in 1908. Some years ago badgers were to be found in many parts
of the county, a well-known haunt previous to 1840 being “Badger’s
Dell” in Cassiobury Park. They still occur locally in certain parts of
the Buckinghamshire side of the county, and probably elsewhere. Foxes
owe their preservation mainly to the sporting instincts of the county
gentry and farmers.

Among birds that have disappeared from the county, the most to be
regretted is the bustard, which in the early part of last century
was still to be found in the neighbourhood of Royston, although
the precise date of its extermination from this part of England is
unknown. The bittern, too, is, at the very most, known only as an
occasional straggler; but a specimen was shot in a small marshy pond on
Harpenden Common some time previous to 1860. The Royston crow, by some
naturalists held to be only a form of the common crow, has been named
from the Hertfordshire town, though a widespread species throughout
many parts of Europe.

Neither has extermination been confined to animals. Fern-hunters
have in some instances made a clean sweep of certain species of
ferns from many districts, if not from the county generally; and
nowadays aspleniums, shield-ferns, polypodies, and false maidenhair
(_trichomanes_) have completely disappeared from the Harpenden high
roads and lanes; the present writer possessing in his garden what he
believes to be the sole remaining indigenous specimen of the last-named

Among localities specially celebrated for birds in the county are
Tring reservoirs, where vast flocks of water-birds congregate,
especially in winter. Here breeds the great crested grebe; and here,
too, was shot in 1901 the only known British example of the white-eyed
pochard. The neighbouring downs, as already mentioned, form one of the
chief English resorts of the stone-curlew, or thick-knee; a species of
especial interest on account of the remarkable manner in which both
birds and eggs assimilate to their surroundings.

[Illustration: Tring Park]

Rare birds, as well as various maritime species driven from their
normal resorts by stress of weather, make their appearance occasionally
in various parts of the county, but references to very few of such
cases must suffice. During the great visitation of sand-grouse (a bird
normally characteristic of the steppes of Central Asia) to the British
Isles in 1863, some individuals reached this county. In the early part
of last century a little auk, or rotche, was taken on the millhead at
Wheathampstead during very severe weather; a great northern diver has
been seen on Tring reservoir; a pair of storm petrels were killed some
five-and-twenty years ago at Hemel Hempstead, where snow-buntings have
likewise been seen; while various species of gulls from time to time
put in an appearance in winter. Among recent events of this nature the
appearance at Harpenden of an immature specimen of the great purple
heron is certainly noteworthy. In 1878 the late Mr J. E. Littleboy had
recorded 201 species of birds from the county, and a few others have
been added since, bringing up the number to 210 in 1902.

In regard to fishes, it is of interest to quote the following passage
from Sir Henry Chauncy’s _Historical Antiquities of Hertfordshire_,
published early in the eighteenth century. After referring to its other
fish, it is there stated, in the author’s quaint language, that the
river Lea also contains “some Salmons; which (like young Deer) have
several denominations: the first Year they are called Salmon-smelts,
the second Year Salmon-sprats, the third Year Salmon-forktails, the
fourth Year Salmon-peall, the fifth Year Salmonets, and the sixth Year
Salmon; and if these Fish had free Passage by the Mills, and thro’ the
Sluices at Waltham up the Stream towards Ware and Hertford, where they
might Spawn in fresh Water and were carefully preserved from Pochers,
they would greatly increase in that River, and be of great benefit,
as well to the City of London as the Country; for some Water-men have
observed, that they delight in this Stream, and play much about those
Sluices at Waltham.”

Chauncy likewise mentions that trout from the Lea below Hertford, where
it has peaty banks, are much less red than those from the gravelly
streams of the chalk districts.

For botanical purposes the county has been divided into six districts
corresponding to the river-basins; the first two belonging to the Ouse
system, and comprising the Cam and the Ivel basins, and the other four,
comprising the Thame, the Colne, the Brent, and the Lea, pertaining
to the Thames system. Of these the Lea area is the largest, the Colne
next in size, the Ivel considerably smaller, and the other three quite
small. In some respects the local characters of the flora are, however,
better brought out by taking the geological formations as a basis of
division. The Upper Chalk area, capped with much Boulder-clay on the
eastern, and with clay-and-flints and gravel on the western side,
corresponds very closely as regards these divisions with the Lea and
the Colne basins. The Middle Chalk, which as we have seen is exposed on
the flanks of the continuation of the Chiltern Hills in the north-west,
is peculiar in being the only area in the county in which grows the
pasque-flower, or anemone; this chiefly flourishing on south-westerly
slopes, as at Aldbury Towers, near Tring. The Middle Chalk is also the
chief home of the various kinds of orchis; the dwarf, the man, and the
butterfly orchis being apparently restricted to this formation. The
Tertiary area has a vegetation of a totally different type from the
so-called “dry-plant type” characteristic of the Chalk area, but it
cannot be further mentioned here.

In the five adjacent counties there occur 110 species of flowering
plants unknown in Hertfordshire. On the other hand, Hertfordshire has
about a dozen plants (exclusive of varieties of the bramble) unknown
in the adjacent counties. Of the 893 native flowering plants of
Hertfordshire about 110 have not been recorded from Cambridgeshire,
while about 120 are wanting in Bedfordshire, 170 in Buckinghamshire,
140 in Middlesex, and 100 in Essex. These figures may, however, be
subject to considerable modification by future research. The following
passage on the relations of the Hertfordshire flora is quoted from the
_Victoria History of the Counties of England_:--

“Taking the number of species in any adjoining county which are absent
from Hertfordshire as the best index of the degree of relationship,
it would appear that the flora of Bucks is the most nearly allied to
that of Herts, and that those of Cambridge and Essex are the most
divergent.... This is just what might be expected from the physical
features and geological structure of these counties. The floras of
Cambridge and Essex have also a more northern or north-eastern facies
[character] than that of Hertfordshire, which is of a decidedly
southern type. The large number of Hertfordshire species which have not
yet been recorded from Buckinghamshire is probably due to the flora
of that county not having been so thoroughly investigated as ours has

8. Climate and Rainfall.

In its original sense the word climate meant the degree of inclination
of the sun’s rays at any particular spot at a specified date; but
nowadays it is employed to designate the average type of weather
experienced in a district. In this latter sense it comprises the
results of the combined effects of temperature, atmospheric pressure,
the degree of moisture in the air, the direction and force of the
wind, and the amount of rainfall; the study of climate constituting
the science of meteorology. Although the climate of the British Isles
is of an exceedingly changeable type, yet the average of the seasonal
changes is far from being the same in all parts of the country. Taking
temperature alone, we find, for instance, that while the average for
the whole year in Shetland is as low as 43° Fahrenheit, in the Scilly
Islands it rises to 53°. It is a very general idea that in our islands
the winter temperature of a place depends upon whether it is situated
in the north or the south. This, however, is a mistake, the temperature
having little relation to latitude, but growing colder as we pass from
the west to the eastern side of the country; the south of England, as
a whole, being milder than the north, not because it is the south,
but because it includes such a large extent of land in the west. The
degree of elevation above the sea-level has much to do with temperature
and the amount of moisture in the air; high lands being, as a rule,
colder and drier in winter than those lying at lower levels. On account
of the comparatively high elevation of a considerable proportion of
its area and its easterly position, coupled with the prevalence of
north-easterly and easterly winds in spring, Hertfordshire ought to
have, on the whole, a cold and bracing climate for the greater part of
the year; and, as a matter of fact, such is the case. Indeed, it is
commonly said that northern Hertfordshire is so cold and bracing, that
only strong and robust constitutions can stand it; but that for those
blessed with such constitutions it is one of the healthiest counties in
the kingdom.

Hertfordshire, however, like England on a small scale, has local
climates of its own, dependent upon differences in elevation above the
sea-level, in the amount of rainfall, in the nature of the geological
formation and soil, and also in aspect, especially as regards
protection from the east wind in spring. The slope of a hill facing
south or south-west receives for instance far more sun in winter than
one which looks in the opposite direction; while it also escapes the
full blast of the bitter east wind. Places situated on chalk, and above
all on gravel, are drier, and consequently--if on the same level and
with a similar aspect--also warmer than those on cold, heavy clay or

As if to confirm and perpetuate the above-mentioned popular error, it
happens that the northern and north-western districts of the county,
that is to say, those constituting the chalk area, are very much colder
and more bracing than those to the south and east, whose substratum
is clay. This difference depends, however, not on differences of
latitude, but on the lower elevation of the southern as compared with
the northern districts, coupled with the protection from cold winds
afforded to the low lands by the high ground. To those who are in the
habit of travelling by the Midland railway from the north-western
corner of the county to London, the differences between the climate
of the northern and the southern districts is made self-apparent in
early spring by the extraordinary difference in the condition of the
hedges and trees on the two sides of the Elstree tunnel. It is true
that on this particular route the district south of the tunnel is in
Middlesex, but to the eastward much of the lowland is in Herts. On the
northern side of the range of chalk-hills pierced by this tunnel the
hawthorn hedges may be seen at a certain period of the spring to be
absolutely devoid of a sign of green; while on the opposite side they
will be in full leaf. There is, in fact, about a fortnight’s difference
between the Elstree and the Mill Hill side of this range in regard to
the development of spring-vegetation; and while the northern side is
exposed to the full force of the east wind, the combes and valleys with
a south-westerly aspect near the summit of the opposite flank are so
warm and sheltered that hardy species of bamboo and palm will grow in
the open air almost as luxuriantly as in similar situations in Surrey
or Sussex.

We see, then, as has been well remarked, that the division of the
county, along the line indicated in the section on its geology, into
two very unequal portions--namely, a large north-western area with a
relatively dry soil and atmosphere, and a smaller south-eastern tract
with a comparatively moist soil and atmosphere--forms a sufficient
approach to an accurate climatic division.

Here we may mention that the daily temperature and the amount of
moisture in the air, together with the barometric pressure and a number
of other details, are recorded at the Meteorological Office in London
from reports received from a host of observing stations (either public
or private) scattered at intervals all over the country; and at the end
of each year the averages, or “means,” of these observations are worked
out for the British Isles and England generally, and likewise for the
various counties and other local districts. This enables comparisons
to be instituted between the climates of different places with much
greater accuracy than would otherwise be possible.

In the year 1905 the mean temperature for the whole of England
was 48·7°, while that of Hertfordshire was 48·9°, as deduced from
observations taken at four stations, of which Bennington showed
the lowest mean of 48·4°, and New Barnet the highest of 50·2°. The
aforesaid county mean of 48·9° was, however, 0·6° above the average;
the average mean for a series of years thus being 47·8°, or about 1°
lower than that for England generally.

If we turn to the map here given we notice that, speaking generally,
the rainfall of England decreases steadily as we pass from west to
east. The moisture-laden clouds, driven by the prevalent winds across
the Atlantic, precipitate their contents on reaching the land, more
especially if the land be high, and in consequence the country beyond
is less wet. Hertfordshire occupies a middle position between the heavy
averages of Wales and S.W. England and the minimum of Essex and the
neighbourhood of the Wash, as we should expect. The difference between
the average of the various stations in our country is remarkable. In
the year 1905, which is taken throughout as the basis of comparison,
the highest rainfall in England and Wales occurred at Glas Lyn, near
Snowdon, and was no less than 176·6 inches; whereas the lowest was
registered at Shoeburyness, in Essex, this being only 14·57 inches;
while the average rainfall for Great Britain was 27·17 inches. In
Hertfordshire, as we shall see, the average in that year for the whole
county was 23·47 inches, but this is 1·5 inches below the general
average for a series of years, which is 24·52 inches. In the same year
the average for the four chief observing stations in the county was,
however, 24·22 inches, with a maximum of 25·88 inches at New Barnet and
a minimum of 22·51 inches at Bennington. These extremes were exceeded
by a maximum of 28·29 inches at Pendley Manor, Tring, and a minimum of
19·31 inches (or rather more than 5 inches above the Essex minimum) at
Hillside, Buntingford.

[Illustration: ENGLAND & WALES



(_The figures show the annual rainfall in inches._)]

For a succession of years it has, however, been observed that the
rainfall of Hertfordshire is in excess of that of all the adjacent
counties to the west and south. This is shown by the following
comparative average rainfalls for 1905; viz.: Bedfordshire (23
stations), 20·47 ins.; Buckinghamshire (32 stations), 22·06 ins.;
Middlesex, exclusive of London (49 stations), 22·26 ins.; and
Hertfordshire (51 stations), 23·47 ins. Of the 104 stations exclusive
of Hertfordshire, the combined mean rainfall is 21·6 inches;
Hertfordshire thus showing an excess over the average rainfall in the
adjoining counties of nearly two inches in actual amount.

As a whole, and in spite of the excess over its neighbour in the
matter of rainfall, Hertford may be reckoned among the relatively dry
counties; its average in 1905 being nearly four inches below that for
England generally in the same year.

At Bennington there were recorded 1523 hours of bright sunshine during
the year, and 54 absolutely sunless days. Throughout Great Britain as a
whole there were 186 days in the same year on which a minimum of 0·005
inch of rain fell; all such days with that or a greater quantity of
rain being officially known as rain-days. At Greenwich, where the total
amount of rainfall was 23·024 inches, the rain-days numbered 161, and
the wettest month was June when 4·323 inches of rain were registered.
June was also the wettest month of the year in Hertfordshire, but the
amount of rain was much less than at Greenwich, being only 3·46 inches.

As regards bright sunshine, the number of hours in England as a whole
amounted to 1535, while in Kent the number reached 1667·8, and at
Tunbridge Wells 1712·4 hours.

In respect to the number of wet days during the year in question
Hertfordshire therefore occupied a very creditable position, although
its record for sunshine was less satisfactory.

9. People--Race, Dialect, Settlements, Population.

Previous to the Roman occupation of Britain Hertfordshire was inhabited
by two British tribes,--the Cattyeuchlani, whose capital appears to
have been Verulam or St Albans, and the Trinobantes. To what extent
these original British inhabitants of the county survived the Roman
and Saxon invasions is unknown; but it may be taken as certain that at
an early date Anglo-Saxon was the language spoken in this part of the
country. Forty years ago Anglo-Saxon idioms and words still lingered
among the labouring rural population in the Harpenden district (and
probably elsewhere), which have apparently now disappeared completely.
Instead of _houses_, the Anglo-Saxon plural _housen_ was, for instance,
always used by the old people; while when a log of timber was cut the
wrong way of the grain they would say that it would be sure to _spalt_
(equivalent to the German _spalten_), instead of to split.

Of the Anglo-Saxon language there were originally two chief dialects,
a northern and a southern; but after the Norman conquest the number
of such dialects was increased to half-a-dozen. According to Dr A. J.
Ellis’s _English Dialects_, southern Hertfordshire comes within the
domain of the south-eastern dialect, which also prevailed in Middlesex,
south-eastern Buckinghamshire, and south-western Essex. Throughout
this area there is, however, an underlying basis of the middle eastern
dialect, which is still to be detected in northern Hertfordshire, as
well as in Essex, Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, and Northamptonshire.
It accordingly appears that if the East Anglian counties of
Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, and Norfolk be eliminated, the whole of the
country lying to the eastward of the Chiltern Hills, as well as the
high grounds of Northamptonshire, had one dialect in common, which was
the speech of the early Teuton settlers of this part of England. This
dialect, during the course of fourteen centuries, has been gradually
modified and altered by the speech of London till it has resulted in
the modern English of this part of south-eastern England.

According to Mr R. A. Smith, writing in the _Victoria History of
the Counties of England_, “The grouping of dialects in this part
of the country would thus unite Hertfordshire with Essex, and lead
us to expect from archæology some indications of Saxon rather
than of Anglian influence in the county. The few results already
obtained in Hertfordshire certainly show a marked absence of Anglian
characteristics, but many discoveries must be made before the
peculiarities of East Saxon remains can be demonstrated. To the west
of the Chilterns enough has been recovered from graves to show that
the settlers in the upper Thames valley, presumably the Saxons of the
West, were homogeneous [uniform in characteristics] and distinguishable
from their neighbours; but at present nothing has been found to link
them with the people of Essex, who probably reached the eastern slopes
of the Chilterns at one time, but were mainly confined to the north of
Essex and the neighbourhood of London. In fact, the few discoveries in
this district point rather to a connection with Kent [the country of
the British tribe of Cantii] than with Wessex.”

Whatever may be the precise state of the case with regard to these
details, it may be taken as certain that the present population of
Hertfordshire is mainly descended from the Saxons who came to Britain
in the fifth and sixth centuries. There must have been, however,
a certain mixture of ancient British blood; while later, and more
especially among the higher classes, this was followed by the infusion
of a Norman strain. Otherwise the population of the county does not
appear to have been much influenced by foreign immigration, although
there was a settlement of Huguenots in St Albans, who have left
their mark in the name of one of the streets--French Row--near the

[Illustration: French Row, St Albans]

Passing on to the present day, we have the somewhat curious anomaly
that the population of the administrative county is somewhat larger
than that of the original county; this being due to the inclusion in
the former of some thickly populated areas. The population of the
administrative county in the census of 1901 was given as 258,423; ten
years previously it was 226,587, thus showing a very marked increase;
that of the ancient county was 250,152 persons. The number of persons
to a square mile in Hertfordshire, on the latter basis at the former
date, was thus about 398, against 558 for England and Wales generally.
During the last twenty-five years the increase of the population
has mainly taken place on the three great lines of railways, the
Great Northern, the Midland, and the North-Western, at such places
as Barnet, Hitchin, St Albans, Harpenden, and Watford. St Albans has
indeed altogether outstripped the county town in point of numbers;
its population being 16,019 in 1901 against the 9,322 of Hertford. In
common with England generally, there has of late years been a marked
tendency for the rural population to migrate to the larger villages and
towns; and this dominance of the urban population has been accentuated
by the transference to St Albans and elsewhere of large manufacturing
and printing establishments from the metropolis. The urban districts
on the lines of railway likewise constitute the residence of a large
population of men having daily business in London.

As in the country generally, the females in 1901 largely exceeded the
male population in numbers; the total for the former being 18,176, and
for the latter 16,723. The great majority of these lived in houses,
of which 54,963 were inhabited at the date in question. In addition
to these, 71 were living in military barracks; something like another
5,200 were maintained in workhouses, hospitals, asylums, industrial
schools, etc., while barges on the canals accounted for about another
147. It should be added that the county contains several large London
asylums; it would therefore give a very exaggerated proportion, as
compared with the true state of the case, if the number of lunatics
resident in the county were quoted.

[Illustration: Ancient House at Welwyn, now the Police Station]

10. Agriculture--Main Cultivations, Woodlands, Stock.

As already mentioned, the greater portion of Hertfordshire, that is
to say, most of the chalk area, exclusive of the downs, commons,
woods, and private parks, was in former years devoted to corn, for the
cultivation of which its soil is particularly well suited. Indeed the
county had the reputation of growing not only the best barley for
malting, but likewise the best wheat-straw (that is to say, the hardest
and whitest) for plaiting. The wheat itself was also of specially good
quality and hardness, and there was likewise an abundance of mills
in which it could be converted into flour. A noteworthy feature of
Hertfordshire agriculture is the practice of mixing chalk with the
soils, especially where they are clayey; this resulting in a decided
increase in fertility.

A century and a half ago wheat, barley, and oats formed the chief
cereal crops; beans being better suited to the Vale of Aylesbury, while
peas are profitable only on the very light chalky grounds. Clover,
lucerne, trefoil, turnips, and (in later times) swedes and mangold
are also extensively grown. In this connection it is interesting to
note that the first crops of red clover and of swede turnips ever
grown in this country were sown at Broadby Farm, near Berkhampstead;
a spot celebrated in literature as having been the home of Peter the
Wild Boy in 1725. A certain amount of grass land was intermingled with
that under cereal and root cultivation; while, as mentioned in earlier
sections, most of the heavy land in the south and south-east of the
county is under grass.

“Hertfordshire farming,” observes a recent writer, “has undergone
little material change since Ellis’s description of it in 1732; the
hay-crop has become a more prominent feature perhaps, potatoes on the
lighter soils have gained a leading place in the rotation, and the
standard of fertility has been raised all round; otherwise a farm on
the high chalk-plateau was farmed in 1732 pretty much on the same lines
as it is to-day. Ellis gives a list of the chief weeds, ‘crow-garlick,
wild oat, carlock, poppy, mayweed, bindweed, dock, crow-needle, black
bent’: they are not less troublesome nor any nearer extinction at the
present time, the last grass in particular being very characteristic of
corn-land on the ‘clay with flints’.”

[Illustration: A Hertfordshire Farm near Rickmansworth]

Every year the Board of Agriculture publishes a return in which the
number of acres in each county devoted to each particular kind of
crop is duly recorded, the classification adopted being as follows,
viz.: corn crops; green crops; clover, sainfoin, and grasses for hay;
grass not for hay; flax; hops; small fruits; and orchards. Such land
as produces none of these crops is classed as bare fallow, of which
Hertfordshire in 1905 possessed 14,275 acres.

Of the total of 402,856[2] acres in the county, 329,641 were
under cultivation in that year; 1917 were orchards, 26,568 were
woodland, while 1657 acres consisted of heaths and commons used as
grazing-grounds. At the same date there were 116,700 acres under
corn-cultivation; that is to say, something approaching one-fourth the
total acreage, against about one-seventh in Kent. Green crops accounted
for 32,702 acres, while of the remainder there were 36,831 under
clover, sainfoin, and grasses, 3315 under lucerne, meadows claimed
54,589 acres, pasture 70,678, and small fruits 544. Of the corn-grazing
area, wheat occupied 51,691, oats 36,946, and barley 27,960 acres.

[2] See page 8 and footnote.

It is thus apparent that out of the 329,641 acres of cultivated
land no less than 200,000, or more than half the whole area of the
county, and about 60 per cent. of the total farming land, was still
under the plough; this large proportion being at the time exceeded
only in six English counties. The increase in permanent pasture has,
however, been steadily progressing since the great fall in the price
of cereals in the seventies; this being aided by the improvements in
the means of communication throughout the country, which have tended
to rob Hertfordshire of its original special advantage (owing to its
proximity) in the matter of supplying the metropolis with corn and

The subject of Hertfordshire agriculture cannot be dismissed without
mention of the fact that the world-renowned agricultural station at
Rothamsted, in Harpenden parish, founded and endowed by the late Sir J.
B. Lawes, is included within its limits. This includes a laboratory,
under a Director, situated on the west side of Harpenden common, and
certain plots of land in the park at Rothamsted where agricultural
experiments have been carried on for more than sixty years. The whole
station is administered by a committee, mainly appointed by the Royal

Fruit is grown only to a comparatively small extent in Hertfordshire.
Very characteristic of the county are, however, the orchards (now for
the most part more or less neglected) of small black cherries, known
as Hertfordshire blacks, and also as “mazzards,” which are situated
near the homesteads of most of the older farms. These are probably a
cultivated variety of the wild black cherry of the neighbouring woods.

On the rich-soiled, low-lying lands of the Lea valley on the
south-eastern side of the county are situated numerous market-gardens
and nurseries. The growing of tomatos (at Harpenden), cucumbers, and
grapes under glass is carried on in several parts of the county on a
more or less extensive scale.

Elm, oak, beech, and ash form the most common timber-trees of the
county, but the predominance of each kind in particular districts
depends, as already mentioned, on the nature of the geological
formation. The undergrowth in the woods, which should be cut every 12
or 13 years, consists mainly of hazel.

As regards the number of the larger and commoner kinds of domesticated
animals, sheep in 1905 reached a total of 94,461, or about 234 to every
1000 acres; the average for England generally being 445 per 1000 acres.
The prevailing breeds are the Hampshire Down, the South Down, and the
Dorset; the latter being favoured on account of their early lambing.

Hertfordshire is not a great horse-breeding county, and in 1905 the
number of these animals was only 15,070. Cattle numbered 38,636, and
pigs 25,338. Shorthorns are the favourite breed of cattle among the
farmers; and although in the chalk districts the soil is not specially
well suited for dairy purposes, farms near the main railways despatch a
considerable amount of milk to London. The number of horses was nearly
the same as in 1901, but cattle showed an increase of nearly 2000 head.
Sheep, however, had decreased by over 2000 and pigs by more than 6000.

11. Special Cultivations.

The most important special cultivation in Hertfordshire is undoubtedly
watercress, which is very extensively grown in the river-valleys over
a broad belt of country extending from the Welwyn district, through
the parishes of Harpenden, Wheathampstead and Redbourn, and thence to
Amersham and Rickmansworth, as well as to the Vale of Aylesbury in
Buckinghamshire; this district being reported to be the best in England
for this particular crop. The cress is grown in beds cut through the
low-ground from one bend of the river to another, so that a constant,
but regulated stream of water is continually flowing through. The seed
is sown in special beds, and the young cress carefully planted out in
regular rows in the mud of the permanent beds during the autumn. Much
care has to be exercised in tending and weeding the crop, from which
two prolonged cuttings are obtained annually; the spring cutting being,
however, much larger and better than the autumn one.

After cutting, the watercress is tied up in bundles and packed in
flat, oblong, osier hampers, or baskets; of which, during the spring
season, huge stacks may be seen at the local railway stations awaiting
despatch, either to the metropolis, or to the great manufacturing towns
of the Midlands. For ordinary purposes the land on which watercress
is grown is almost valueless; but the watercress beds yield a big
rental. To furnish material for the aforesaid watercress hampers, as
well as for basket-work generally, osiers are cultivated in some of the
river-valleys, as in the Lea a mile or so above Wheathampstead, where
there are extensive beds.

Next in importance to the cultivation of watercress in the
Harpenden-Redbourn district is that of lavender at Hitchin, where
numerous fields on a spur of the chalk range near Windmill Hill are
devoted to the growth of this fragrant plant. In late summer or early
autumn the terminal spikes of blossom are nipped from their long stems,
and garnered for the sake of their contained oil, which is distilled
into lavender-water in Hitchin itself. Lavender-water has been
produced at Hitchin for a period of fully eighty years. The growing of
lavender as an industry is extremely restricted in England.

[Illustration: A Lavender Field, Hitchin]

12. Industries and Manufactures.

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

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

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

In former years, say up to about 1865, the straw-plait industry
afforded employment to a whole army of workers in north-western Herts
and the neighbouring districts of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire;
and at that date the women and children might be seen in summer
plaiting the straw at almost every cottage-door in each village or
town. As already mentioned, the chalk districts of the county grow
wheat-straw specially well suited for plait. The straws to be used
were selected and pulled one by one from the sheaves before the latter
were threshed; and, after having the corn-ears cut off, were done up
into bundles. The latter were in turn cut into such lengths as could
be obtained free from knots, and tied up into smaller bundles ready
for sale to the workers. Before being employed in plaiting, each straw
was split longitudinally into several strips by means of a brass
instrument, which consisted of a handle and a pointed, star-shaped head
bent down at right angles to the former. The finished plait was sold
at so much per “score” (that is to say twenty yards) for manufacture
into hats and bonnets. Cheap Chinese labour has completely killed the
local plaiting industry; but the manufacture of the finished foreign
plait into hats still constitutes an important trade in St Albans and
elsewhere, as well as at Luton and Dunstable in Bedfordshire; the
sewing of the plait into hats being done mainly, if not entirely, in
large factories. Tring was a great plait centre.

The manufacture of textile fabrics was formerly carried on in several
parts of the county, but in most of these has either completely ceased
or fallen into decline. About 1802 there were mills for the manufacture
both of silk and cloth at Rickmansworth; and the occurrence of the name
“Fuller Street” in the records of St Albans apparently indicates the
existence at some unknown date of the latter industry in that city, and
there were certainly cotton-mills at Sopwell, to the south of it. The
Abbey silk-mills, on the Ver, are still working at St Albans, although
with a much diminished output; but those at the neighbouring village of
Redbourn have been recently closed. Tring had silk-mills, and canvas
was also made there. Lace-making was probably carried on by some of
the cottagers on the Buckinghamshire side of the county, where it
flourishes to a certain extent at the present day, and may even still
here and there survive.

[Illustration: Moor Park, near Rickmansworth]

Nowadays perhaps the most important manufacturing industry in the
county is that carried on at the paper-mills at Abbot’s Langley, where
a large amount of high class paper is turned out. Being on the canal,
these mills have the advantage of water-carriage. Paper, it may be
observed, is made nowadays from wood-pulp and esparto grass, as well as
from linen rags.

[Illustration: Canal and Lock, Rickmansworth]

Brick-making employs a considerable number of hands in various parts
of the county; the glacial and other superficial deposits on the chalk
area frequently yielding excellent brick-earth; while the London
clay may be employed for brick-making anywhere in the south-eastern
districts. Bricks from the London clay, which is naturally blue, turn
yellow or white after burning in consequence of the combustion of the
organic colouring matter; but many of those from the glacial clays are
of a full rich red At Pepperstock, near Caddington, however, there are
manufactured certain very hard, heather-coloured bricks, which are much
favoured for house-building in north-western Hertfordshire, although
their colour compares very unfavourably in the matter of effect when
contrasted with the “brick-red” of the more ordinary kinds.

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

13. Minerals--An Exhausted Industry.

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

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

In winter there is a considerable local trade in gravel and shingle,
dug mainly in the valleys. Twenty years ago this trade was much more
extensive in some districts than is at present the case; this being due
partly to the exhaustion of the deposits, partly to the fact that in
districts served by the Midland Railway the use of syenite from Mount
Sorrel and Charnwood Forest, in Leicestershire, has to a considerable
extent replaced flint-gravel as road-metal on the main highways of
the county and in the metropolitan districts. Formerly, very large
quantities of gravel were sent from St Albans and Harpenden to the
northern metropolitan suburbs such as Hendon and Child’s Hill; but
most of that now dug is employed for road-metal on the local by-roads.
Here it should be mentioned that in Hertfordshire phraseology the term
“gravel” is used exclusively to denote the coarse big-stoned material
used as road-metal; what is ordinarily denoted as “gravel”--that is
to say the material employed for garden-paths--being locally known as
“hoggin.” Flints picked from the fields of the chalk area have a higher
value as road-metal than dug gravel, owing to their superior hardness;
the so-called “quarry-water,” which is present in all dug gravel,
having been long since dried out.

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

14. History of Hertfordshire.

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

To the two British tribes who inhabited this part of England previous
to the Roman invasion, reference has been made in an earlier section.
The first landing of Julius Caesar took place (in Kent) in 55 B.C.,
and the second and more successful in 54 B.C.; while a third Roman
invasion took place under Claudius in 43 A.D., from which date the
Roman legions held possession of the whole country till about the year
410 A.D. Whether Caesar himself ever visited Verulam does not appear
to be definitely ascertained, but it was early in the history of that
great city that the encounter between the British Queen Boadicea and
the Romans took place. During the Roman period Hertfordshire, which
then appears to have been a well-populated and wealthy district, formed
a part of the province of Flavia Caesariensis.

[Illustration: The Monastery Gateway, St Albans]

The next great event was the Saxon Conquest, which in Kent was ushered
in by the landing of a force in the year 449 A.D. During this part of
its history the western, or larger portion of our county was included,
as already mentioned, in the kingdom of Mercia, while the eastern and
smaller section belonged to that of Essex. Of the numerous Mercian
kings, the most renowned and most powerful was Offa, whose name
survives in Offley, where he had a palace, and where he died about the
year 796, while still engaged in building the Monastery and Abbey of St
Alban. Mercia at this time made a bid for the supremacy of the petty
kingdoms of this part of England, but was eventually beaten by Wessex
under the able rule of Egbert.

It was in the reign of the last-mentioned sovereign that invaders of
another nationality--namely the Danes--began to make their presence
seriously felt in the south; but it was not till the time of his son
and successor Aethelwulf that they landed on the east coast. Early in
his reign a council of Mercians and West Saxons was held at Kingsbury,
near St Albans, to devise means for repelling the invaders; while a
second assembly was called for the same purpose at Bennington in the
year 850. Neither seems to have resulted in effectual measures, for in
851 we find a large Danish fleet which had sailed up the Thames beating
off one of the Saxon kings, who had marched to stop its progress; and
after this event the county was harried and raided time after time,
till it was eventually divided about the year 880 by a treaty executed
at Wedmore between the Saxon sovereign Alfred and Guthrum the Dane by
a boundary line running from the mouth of the Lea to its source, and
thence straight across country to Bedford. A few years later, however,
namely in 894, the Danish fleet sailed up the Lea to Hertford, where
Alfred crippled it by cutting into the banks of the river, so that by
loss of water the vessels became stranded, and the Danish force had to
fight its way to the west of England. After numerous skirmishes and
fights, and the building of forts at Hertford and on a small island
near Bishop’s Stortford, the Danish invasion was practically crushed
by King Edward, who died in 925. Much, however, still remained to be
done by his son Aethelstan, who stoutly attacked the invaders after
they had made a raid on St Albans in 930. A memorial of the Danish
sojourn still exists in Dacorum, the name of the western hundred in
which Tring is situated; there is also evidence to the same effect in
the records of gifts to St Albans Abbey by Danes who had settled in the
neighbourhood. The Mercian shire-system, which was probably instituted
as an aid against the Danes, is known to have come into force by 957;
but in place of Hertfordshire having a sheriff of its own, it shared
one with Essex; an arrangement which remained in force till the reign
of Elizabeth. This was in Edgar’s reign (957–975); but even then we do
not reach the end of the Danish trouble, which did not cease till after
Sweyn’s invasions between the years 1011 and 1014, which were worse
than their predecessors, and included the pillage of Canterbury. About
this time occurs the first mention of “Heorotford” as the name of the

Scarcely had the country recovered, in greater or less degree, from the
Danish raids than it was conquered by the Normans under William I, who
soon after the battle of Hastings marched through the country south
of the Thames till he reached Berkhampstead in this county, where he
built the castle whose foundations and earthworks remain to this day.
By relentless severity against all who stood in his way on the march,
William had succeeded in instilling a wholesome fear into the Saxon
(or, as we now say, English) inhabitants of the country; and, although
he is reported to have been successfully opposed by Frederic, Abbot of
St Albans, he was finally tendered the submission of the people and the
English crown at Berkhampstead.

To follow in detail the events of the troublous times which succeeded
the conquest is here impossible; and it must suffice to state that at
Christmas, 1116, Henry I paid a visit to St Albans for the purpose
apparently of quelling trouble among the turbulent Norman barons who
had now become the paramount lords. Stephen also held a court at St
Albans in 1143 in connection with other troubles. With the bare mention
that several Hertfordshire barons accompanied Richard I in his crusade
to the Holy Land, we may pass on to the quarrel between King John and
his barons, which has a very intimate connection with our county; among
the opposing noblemen being Robert Fitzwalter, their leader, and the
Earls of Essex and of Hertford. The barons advanced from Northampton to
Bedford, while the main body of their army marched to Ware and thence
to London. The signing of Magna Charta produced temporary peace; but
this was soon succeeded by fiercer fighting than ever in this county.
At the commencement of 1215 John himself was in St Albans, and also had
possession of Hertford and Berkhampstead castles. In May of the same
year Louis landed from France, and in due course besieged Hertford and
Berkhampstead till they surrendered, and then proceeded to St Albans,
where he was for some time defied by the abbot. At the departure of
Louis the castles were restored to the king.

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

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

In 1381, owing to exactions on the part of the king and the abbot of St
Albans, there broke out the peasants’ revolt, in which Hertfordshire
men took a large share. Indeed after the execution of Wat Tyler the
king proposed to go himself to St Albans to punish the insurgents, but
was persuaded to send a commission in his stead; although a short time
later, after another riot, his majesty appeared in person in that city
at the head of an armed force.

With the bare mention that in the second year of his reign King
Henry IV visited the abbey, we pass on to the Wars of the Roses, and
especially the first battle of St Albans, which was fought in May,
1455. The Lancastrians, or royalists, held the main street of the city
till the Yorkists, under the leadership of the Duke of Warwick, burst
through the defences from the direction of Sopwell and cut the royalist
position in half. In less than an hour they had the city in their own
hands, after a great carnage, during which King Henry VI himself was
wounded. In 1458 the king visited Berkhampstead with the object of
quelling the strife, but to no purpose; and in February, 1461, the
two factions again fought an engagement at St Albans, this time at
Bernard’s Heath, to the northward of St Peter’s Church. This second
battle of St Albans ended in a victory for the king. On 14th April,
1471, Edward defeated Warwick in the great battle of Barnet, on the
south-east border of the county.

[Illustration: The Staircase, Hatfield House]

Hertfordshire had much to do with royalty during the reign of King
Henry VIII, the palace at King’s Langley being bestowed on Queen
Catherine, while the king himself spent much time at Hunsdon House, and
also had a residence at Tittenhanger. There is, moreover, a tradition
that he was married to Anne Boleyn at Sopwell. The Princess Mary lived
for a time at Hertford Castle previous to her removal to Hunsdon, where
Princess Elizabeth also lived before her long sojourn at Hatfield, in
which beautiful park she was informed of her accession to the throne.
When queen, Elizabeth continued to be a frequent visitor to the county;
and in her reign, owing to plague in London, the law courts were held
for a time at St Albans, while, for the same reason, Parliament sat
at Hertford in 1564 and 1581. The sovereign herself came as a guest
to Lord Burleigh at Theobalds, to the Earl of Essex at Cassiobury,
and to Sir Nicholas Bacon at Gorhambury. James I likewise spent much
time in the county, having an establishment at Royston, and dying at
Theobalds. During the civil wars Hertfordshire men played an important
part in connection with what was known as the Eastern Association; and
in 1643, when the High Sheriff ventured to read a royal proclamation
in the market-place at St Albans, he was arrested by Cromwell himself.
To follow the fortunes of Hertfordshire during the conflict between
Charles I and Parliament would occupy too much space; and it must
suffice to mention that in 1660 Sir Harbottle Grimston of Gorhambury
was Speaker of the House of Commons and took a leading part in the
restoration of King Charles II.

[Illustration: Cassiobury]

The last event in the history of the county to which space admits
allusion is the Rye House Plot. “In the spring of 1683,” to quote the
words of a well-known local writer, “Charles II and James Duke of York
went to see the races at Newmarket. Just opposite to the Rye House Inn
there stood then a castle, built in the days of Henry VI, and in that
castle lived one Rumbold, formerly an officer in the parliamentary
army. Rumbold and about a score of equally reckless malcontents put
their heads together over their tankards, and, so far as can be
gathered from many rather contradictory narratives, they formed a
plot to delay the royal party on the return journey from Newmarket to
London, by placing an overturned cart in the road-way, in order that
they might shoot the King and the Duke of York in the confusion. The
conspiracy was frustrated, for the royal party returned earlier than
Rumbold had been led to expect, and presently the plot leaked out.
The Rye House was searched, incriminating papers were discovered, and
the affair culminated in the arrest of those nobler patriots who, in
concert with Argyle, had been planning the overthrow of what they
honestly regarded as a corrupt government.”

[Illustration: The Rye House. Portions of the Servants Quarters]

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

15. Antiquities--Prehistoric, Roman, Saxon.

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

The Prehistoric period for lack of all other means of dating has
been divided by antiquarians, according to the material of which man
formed his implements, into the Stone, the Bronze, and the late-Celtic
or Iron Ages; the Stone age being further divided into an older, or
Palaeolithic, section, in which all the so-called “celts,” or flint
implements, were formed simply by chipping, and a newer Neolithic
section, in which they were often ground and polished. In connection
with these implements attention may be directed to some of the
ancient earthworks in the county, although the age of many of these is
unknown, and in some cases may be later than the Roman occupation. The
antiquities newer than the late-Celtic age are described as referable
to the Roman or the Saxon period, as the case may be. These correspond
with the history of England from 55 B.C. to 1066 A.D.

Palaeolithic implements are found locally in certain parts of the
county, although from the gravels of a very considerable area,
especially the Harpenden district, they appear to be absent. The larger
implements, or “celts,” which are often six or seven inches in length,
seem to have been employed for all purposes, and to have been held in
the hand, without handle or shaft, although some of them might easily
be used as spear-heads. The first discovery of an implement of this
type in the county was made near Bedmond, Abbot’s Langley, in 1861. A
few specimens have been obtained in other parts of the Colne basin;
but in the district round Kensworth and Caddington vast numbers have
been discovered, although for the most part just outside the county
boundary. In fact, near Caddington the Stone-age men had a great
manufactory of these implements:--a kind of Palaeolithic Sheffield. In
the basin of the Lea a few flakes, etc., have been found at or near
Ayot St Peter, Welwyn, Hertford, Bengeo, Ware, Amwell, Hoddesdon,
Ippolits, Stocking Pelham, and elsewhere. Much more important is a
“find” at Hitchin, near the source of the Hiz, and thus situated, in
part at any rate, in the Ouse basin. These implements, which were first
brought to notice in 1877, occur in clay-pits worked for brick-earth,
and are accompanied by bones of the mammoth, hippopotamus, and

[Illustration: Palaeolithic Flint Implement

(_From Kent’s Cavern, Torquay_)]

[Illustration: Neolithic Celt of Greenstone

(_From Bridlington, Yorks._)]

Between the Palaeolithic and Neolithic age exists a gap of untold
length, for the land had again to be re-peopled. Chipped, or rough-hewn
celts, or hatchets, of the latter age have been picked up in fields
near Abbot’s Langley, Bedmond, Kensworth, Wheathampstead, Markyate
Street, and Weston. Polished celts are more rare, but specimens have
been found at Panshanger, King’s Langley, Aldbury (near Stortford),
Ashwell, and between Hitchin and Pirton. Perforated axe-heads and
hammer-heads of stone, which may belong to the close of the Neolithic
or commencement of the Bronze age, are still more uncommon, although
a few such have been found, notably a hammer, near Sandridge, now
preserved in the British Museum. Much the same remark applies to
chipped arrow-heads--the fairy darts of a more poetical age--but a few
beautiful specimens have been found near Tring, some so long ago as the
year 1763 or thereabouts, and others at Ashwell and Hunsdon.

After a time man learnt the use of metal. The smelting of iron was
at first beyond his power, and he employed the mixture of copper
and tin which we term bronze. Of this age specimens of winged celts
and palstaves (a narrow hatchet, with a tang or socket for a haft)
have been found in various parts of the county, as well as socketed
celts, daggers, swords, spear-heads, and the like. The most important
discovery of this nature was made in 1876 during drainage operations at
Cumberlow Green, near Baldock, when some forty bronze implements were
found in a well-like hole. Gold ornaments, probably referable to the
same epoch, have been found at Little Amwell and at Mardox, near Ware.

We now come to the early Iron Age, when man had succeeded in mastering
this metal. Of this a very brief notice must suffice. Primitive coins,
without inscription, of the type issued by Philip II of Macedon, and
hence known as Philippi, were probably coined in the county in early
British times; but after the Roman invasion a number of British coins
were struck at Verulamium, among the most interesting of which are
those of Tarciovanus, who reigned in that city from (probably) about
30 B.C. to about 5 A.D. A large number of his coins have been found at
Verulam, as well as those of other British sovereigns. Tarciovanus, it
may be added, was the father of Cunovelinus (Shakespeare’s Cymbeline),
whose capital was Camulodunum, the modern Colchester.

[Illustration: The Devil’s Dyke, Marford]

Earthworks of great but unknown antiquity are by no means uncommon
in Hertfordshire; one of the most important being Grimes-ditch, or
Grimm’s Dyke, traces of which remain on Berkhampstead common, as well
as on the opposite side of the Bulbourne valley, while a deep ditch
runs in a bold sweep from near Great Berkhampstead through Northchurch
and Wiggington to the north of Cholesbury camp, and thence into
Buckinghamshire. Beech Bottom forms another great dyke lying between
the site of Verulam and Sandridge, and is probably pre-Roman, and
possibly connected with the encampment east of Wheathampstead known
as the Moats or the Slad. The latter forms part of a great system of
earthworks of which the opposite side is marked by the Devil’s Dyke
at Marford. The great earthworks running outside of and parallel to
parts of the Roman wall at Verulam are likewise older than the latter.
Berkhampstead Castle may stand on the site of an earlier camp, as
British and Roman coins have been found there; but the mound or keep,
as at Bishop’s Stortford, Pirton, and Hertford Castles, is probably
Saxon. On the other hand, the well-preserved camp near Redbourn, known
as the Aubreys, Auberys, or Aubury, is certainly pre-Roman; and the
same is probably the case with some of the numerous other earthworks
dotted over the county, such as Arbury Banks, Ashwell. A few barrows or
tombs of pre-Roman age have been opened and examined in various parts
of the county, as at Therfield, Royston, and Easneye near Ware.

[Illustration: Ancient Causeway, Verulam]

In evidence of the Roman occupation of Britain Hertfordshire is
unusually rich, although limitations of space prevent anything like
justice being done to this part of the subject. The county is, in the
first place, traversed from south to north by three main Roman roads,
the Watling Street, running through St Albans and Markyate, the Ermine
Street, passing through Hertford, and the Icknield Way, traversing
Hatfield and Baldock; as well as by the Roman Way, connecting the
latter town with Hertford. Of these we shall speak presently. The
crowning Roman glory of Hertfordshire is, however, the city of
Verulamium, or Verulam, situated on the hill on the opposite side of
the Ver to St Albans. Much of the foundations of this city lie buried
within the area partially enclosed by the remains of the massive walls;
and the ploughman within that ring is constantly turning up coins,
fragments of pottery and glass, and other articles.

[Illustration: Roman Wall in St Germans’ Meadow, Verulam]

In one place are buried the apparently complete foundations of an
amphitheatre, which was opened out many years ago, but again covered
up after examination. Of the walls considerable portions, in a more or
less damaged condition, still remain to bear eloquent testimony to the
lasting character of Roman masonry; and much more would have persisted
had they not been used as a convenient source of materials for the
construction of St Albans’ Abbey and other ancient buildings. The
basement of a Roman villa, in a fine state of preservation, was opened
out at Sarratt Bottom in 1908, and plans of the structure prepared,
after which the excavations were filled in. Other Roman remains are
known to exist in the district.

[Illustration: St Albans’ Abbey from the South Side]

Ravensburgh Castle, Hexton, is a well-known Roman camp, built on an
earlier foundation; and remains of Roman camps exist at Braughing
and several other places in the county, although in many cases the
precise age of such ancient stations does not appear to be definitely

Isolated Roman remains of various kinds occur in many parts of
Hertfordshire. From the writer’s own neighbourhood the British Museum
possesses a Roman altar found many years ago at Harpenden, as well as
a Romano-British stone coffin, containing a glass vessel and pottery,
found near Pickford Mill in the Lea valley, east of Harpenden, in 1827.
The remains of another Roman interment, including fine specimens of
amphorae, or large two-handled pottery vessels, were found about the
year 1865 near Harpenden station on the Great Northern railway, and
Barkway has yielded a fine bronze statuette of Mars.

Reference may here be made to the ancient millstones, for hand use,
made of Hertfordshire pudding-stone, and known as querns, of which the
writer gave two fine specimens from Harpenden to the British Museum.
Both stones have one flat and one convex surface, but the convexity
is much greater in the upper stone, which is almost conical, and is
completely perforated at the centre. When in use, a stick, to serve
as the axis of rotation, was inserted in this hole and received in
a socket in the nether stone. The labour involved in making these
pudding-stone querns must have been enormous.

With the Saxon period we reach the age of church building; but
apart from such portions of certain churches as are of that age,
Hertfordshire is exceedingly poor in evidence of the Saxon dominion.
A glass Anglo-Saxon basin, together with a bronze Frankish pot of
late sixth or early seventh century work, was, however, discovered at
Wheathampstead in 1886. Anglo-Saxon relics are believed also to have
been unearthed at Redbourn at a very early period, when they were
attributed to St Amphibalus; and a Saxon burial-place appears to have
been found near Sandridge in modern times, although unfortunately
ploughed over. Apart from the above, there are only a few isolated
“finds,” such as of the coins known as minimi, and of a gold ornament
discovered at Park Street in 1744.

16. Architecture. (_a_) Ecclesiastical--Abbeys and Churches.

The architecture of Hertfordshire buildings may be most conveniently
discussed under three separate sections, namely:--(_a_) ecclesiastical,
or buildings related to the church; (_b_) military, or castles; and
(_c_) domestic, or dwelling houses and cottages.

As in England generally, the architecture of the older buildings
of all three classes has been affected to a greater or less degree
by the nature of the building materials most easily accessible.
Throughout the northern chalk area of the county the Totternhoe stone
of Bedfordshire and the northern flanks of Hertfordshire was largely
employed in church building, both for inside and outside work, to
the latter of which it is but ill suited. Flint--in the better class
of work “faced” or “dressed” by fracture so as to present a flattened
outer face--was also very extensively used. The Norman builders
of the tower of St Albans found, however, a quarry ready to their
hands in the adjacent walls of Verulam, and we accordingly find this
part of the structure made almost entirely of the characteristic
Roman bricks or tiles. Contemporaneous brick was also locally used
to a very considerable extent even in the chalk districts; and in
the north-western part of the county there are numerous beautiful
examples of Tudor brick chimneys, as at Water End. Timber in the old
days was, however, much cheaper than bricks, and we consequently find
many of the older buildings--especially cottages--constructed of a
framework of wood, arranged in the fashion of a net, with the large
“meshes” filled in with brick. This type of work is locally known as
brick and studding and to the architect as half-timbered work. Other
buildings were largely constructed of a wooden framework overlain with
lath-and-plaster work.

Many of the churches built of flint or Totternhoe stone have their
angles or quoins made of harder material; in many instances of stone
apparently from Northamptonshire, but in other cases of Roman brick;
similar materials being also used in the arches of some of the churches.

[Illustration: St Peter’s, Tewin]

A large number of Hertfordshire churches have relatively low
battlemented towers, frequently with a short spire or steeple in the
centre as at Tewin, or a turret in one corner. Kensworth is an example
of such a battlemented tower without either spire or turret; St
Mary’s, Hitchin, Tring, Northchurch, Barnet, Bushey, King’s Walden,
Cheshunt, and Watford are examples of towers with a turret in one
angle, while at Ashwell there are turrets in all four corners. Some of
the smaller churches, like St Michael’s, St Albans, originally had no
aisles. Clothall church is peculiar in that the roof of the tower forms
a four-sided cone; while the roof of the church at Sarratt is equally
unique in being saddle-backed, that is to say, having a ridge running
at right angles to that of the roof of the nave and chancel.

[Illustration: St Mary’s, Cheshunt]

Apparently there is no wholly Saxon church in the county, although
several of the older ones were constructed on the site of Saxon
buildings, many of which were probably of wood, and thus either
perished through decay or were burnt during the Danish raids. On the
other hand, there are remains of Saxon work in St Albans’ Abbey, and
there are several Hertfordshire churches which are referred with a
greater or less degree of certainty to the period before the Norman
conquest; the original part of St Michael’s, in St Albans, and of St
Stephen’s, to the south-west of that town, may be cited as examples,
both dating from the middle of the tenth century. The church of
Sandridge--on the road from St Albans to Wheathampstead--may likewise
date from the same epoch.

[Illustration: St Helen’s, Wheathampstead]

[Illustration: St Mary’s, Hemel Hempstead]

Of Norman churches there are numerous examples, among which may be
cited as a fine specimen St Mary’s, Hemel Hempstead, whose tall
octagonal tower and spire are visible from a long distance. The
Norman arches of the nave are of great solidity, while the western
doorway, dating from about 1140, is a magnificent example of the work
of the period. Sarratt church is also largely Norman, as was also
the old church of St Nicholas, Harpenden, unfortunately pulled down
(with the exception of the much later tower) nearly half a century
ago. A considerable portion of St Albans’ Abbey (now cathedral), the
pride of the whole county, is also Norman; the tower of Roman brick
being, apart from modern additions, wholly of that period. The old
Saxon Church of King Offa, which stood on or near the site of the
present building, appears to have been completely swept away by Abbot
Paul of Caen (1077–1093), the founder of the present abbey, which
although completed by him, was not consecrated till 1115. “It is to
be inferred,” according to the _Victoria History of Hertfordshire_,
“that a clean sweep was made of the old buildings, and no evidence
as to their site has been preserved. The Norman Abbot’s contempt for
his Saxon predecessors ... led him to destroy their tombs, and he
doubtless laid out his new building without attempting in any way to
accommodate them to those previously existing on the site. But he
preserved and used up in his new church some of the stonework of the
old building, giving a very prominent place to the turned shafts which
still remain in the transept, and are the most notable relics of the
Saxon building.” In the present nave, which is the second longest in
England, the first six pillars on the north side belong to the original
structure of Abbot Paul; after which we come to Early English (Pointed)
work; this being continued to the west end of the building and back to
the fifth pillar on the south side, whence Decorated work extends to St
Cuthbert’s screen. The Norman work (1077–1093) of one side thus faces
Decorated work (1308–1326) on the other, but this is due to accident
rather than design, the Norman pillars having given way early in the
church’s history. It has recently been suggested that the Abbey stands
on the site of the old Roman amphitheatre, and that St Peter’s Street,
St Albans, marks the position of the Roman _cursus_, or race-course.

[Illustration: St Albans’ Abbey]

Of the Decorated style, in vogue during the reigns of the three
Edwards, in other words, throughout the fourteenth century, in addition
to the beautiful work in St Albans’ Abbey, we have examples in Abbot’s
Langley, Clothall, and Hitchin churches. Abbot’s Langley has also some
fine Norman work in the nave. Many of the churches of the Perpendicular
period, like St Mary’s, Hitchin, have large and beautiful porches. Most
of the windows in Abbot’s Langley church are Perpendicular, although
some on the south side are Decorated; and Tring and Offley churches are
wholly of the Perpendicular style.

Previous to the Reformation, Hertfordshire, like other counties,
possessed numerous religious houses, such as priories, monasteries,
nunneries, and hospitals; all of which, commencing with the smaller
ones, were suppressed by Henry VIII, whose chief agent in the work was
Thomas Cromwell. In many instances the sole evidence of the existence
of such establishments is the survival of the word “Abbey” or “Priory”
as the name of a private mansion, but sometimes their gateways, towers,
or merely ruins, still remain.

[Illustration: Ruins of Sopwell Nunnery, St Albans]

The neighbourhood of St Albans is especially rich in relics of this
nature. To the south, on the banks of the Ver, are the famous ruined
walls of Sopwell Nunnery, a building known to have been in existence
so early as 1119; but of the monastery there remains only the fine
gate-house (long misused as a gaol), together with traces of the
cloister arches on the south wall of the abbey. From documentary
evidence, however, aided by excavations in the abbey orchard, it has
been found possible to make a ground-plan of the whole establishment.
The last traces of the hospital of St Mary-de-Pré vanished only during
the last century; the name surviving in a private house by the Ver,
which is known as the Pré.

[Illustration: The Priory, Hitchin]

Hitchin formerly possessed a large priory, as is indicated by the
designation of the home of the Delmé-Radcliffes; as well as by the
existence in the town itself of certain almshouses known as the
“Biggin.” The latter were purchased by a private gentleman in 1545,
being at that time part of the disestablished “Priory of Bygyng in the
town of Hychen.” The Biggin, which was once inhabited by Gilbertine
nuns, has a beautiful wooden corridor. “The Priory” as the title of
a house in the main street of Redbourn, and “The Cell” as that of a
mansion further down the road, at Markyate, are but two among many
other traces of monastic institutions in the county.

[Illustration: Courtyard in the Biggin Almshouses, Hitchin]

Of King’s Langley Priory, which is known to have been in existence in
1400, a considerable portion still exists. Ashridge House now occupies
the site of a large monastery and college, of which there are many
remains. A brief reference may here be made to St Albans’ clock-tower,
which was erected between 1403 and 1412, and from which the curfew was
rung till so late as 1861, while a bell was also rung early in the
morning to awaken work-people.

[Illustration: The Priory, King’s Langley]

17. Architecture. (_b_) Military--Castles.

Like most other counties in the south of England, Hertfordshire
possesses the remains of several Norman castles, most of which
appear to date back no further than the Conquest, while others, like
Berkhampstead (where, as we have seen in a previous section, Mercian
kings held their courts), have been supposed to be constructed on the
site of earlier buildings of a similar nature.

The total number of castles built by the Normans to overawe their
new English subjects is stated to have been about 1100. These, as may
naturally be surmised, varied considerably in size, some being royal
castles, constructed for the defence of the country generally and ruled
by a constable or guardian, while others belonged to individual Norman
noblemen for the defence of their own estates, and were for the most
part the terror of the surrounding districts.

A Norman castle of the highest type occupied a large area, the lofty
and massive outer wall enclosing a space of several acres, and being
surmounted with towers and protected by bastions, while it was also
surrounded by a moat or ditch. Within the enclosure thus formed were
three main divisions, the first of which was the outer bailey, or
courtyard, entered by a towered gateway furnished with a portcullis
(that is to say, a gate which could be dropped down from, and drawn
up into, the tower by means of a system of chains and pulleys) and a
drawbridge. The stables and other buildings were contained in this
court. Next came the inner bailey, or quadrangle, likewise entered
through a towered and fortified gateway, and containing the chapel,
the barracks, and the keep. Lastly, we have the keep or donjon itself,
which always contained a well, and constituted the final portion which
was defended during a protracted siege when the garrison was hard
pressed. In choosing the site for such a military castle, either a
more or less isolated and steep hill or rock might be selected, or a
situation in marshy low-lands, where access might be rendered difficult
or impossible by damming back the waters.

The Norman castle at Berkhampstead, which stood close to the present
railway due east of the station, and portions of the ruins of which
may be seen from the train, was built by Robert Earl of Morton,
brother of William the Conqueror. According to a recent writer, the
earthworks of this castle represent the original fortress founded by
the Conqueror, and the appellation of a “burh” to the structure is
consequently erroneous. A Saxon “burh” or “burg” was a fortified town,
whereas the moated mound of Berkhampstead, like those at Hertford,
Bishop’s Stortford, Anstey, Bennington, and Pirton, are essentially
Norman castles of the type known as “mottes,” or, from their shape,
as “mount and bailey castles.” It is a common idea that Berkhampstead
was originally a stone castle, but the earthworks now remaining really
represent the fortress itself. In the reign of Henry II the custody of
Berkhampstead Castle was entrusted to Thomas à Becket, who replaced
the old wooden defences (such as stockades, palisades, and towers)
originally crowning the banks, by walls of flint rubble, remains of
which still partly surround the enclosure.

Hertford Castle, the site of which forms the residence of His Majesty’s
judges during the assizes, was built by Edward the Elder about the year
905; and after the conquest William I placed both castle and town in
the custody of Peter de Valoignes. Other ancient castles and baileys in
the county include the following, viz:--

Anstey Castle, situated about a mile from the eastern border of
Hertfordshire, on the watershed between the Stort and the Quin.
Bennington Castle, built on high ground about a mile from the river
Beane and some two miles from Walkern Bury; the ruins include the
remains of a small, square keep, as well as of a bailey. Waytemore
Castle, Bishop’s Stortford, belonging to the Bishop of London, is an
excellent example of the type of fortress which owes the main part of
its strength to being situated in a practically impassable morass; that
is to say, when the latter was kept well flooded. The flint rubble
walls of the keep are fully a dozen feet in thickness.

Smaller baileys existed at High Down, near Pirton; at Periwinkle
Hill, on nearly level ground, midway between Reed and Barkway; and
also at Walkern, on the Beane, about a mile and a half distant from
the village. In the last of these it is noteworthy that the church is
situated close to the castle, although, unlike the one at Anstey, it
does not appear to have been included in an outer ward.

The class of defensive works known as homestead moats--that is to say,
simple enclosures formed into islands by means of moats containing
water--do not, perhaps, strictly speaking, come under the title of
either architectural or military structures. Still this seems the most
convenient place in which to mention them. The northern and eastern
districts of Hertfordshire are remarkable for the enormous number of
these homestead moats; these districts being equalled in this respect
only by Essex and Suffolk. On the western side of the county they are
comparatively uncommon.

“These enclosures,” observes a writer in the _Victoria History_ of the
county, “vary greatly in size, shape, and position, and it is obvious
that they do not all belong to one period, for in all ages to surround
a piece of land with a ditch has been one of the most elementary forms
of defence. There are, however, as with the larger earthworks, certain
typical forms.... It should be noted that the typical feature of a
homestead moat is that the earth, dug to form the deep surrounding
ditch, was thrown on to the inclosure and spread, thus raising the
island slightly above the surrounding level. The construction of moats,
except for ornamental purposes, having ceased when the state of the
country no longer necessitated such protective measures against men
or wild beasts, they often fell into decay, or were partially filled
up, and their vestiges converted into ponds, while many may have been
obliterated as interfering with agriculture, but there still remain a
large number.”

To reproduce the list of these would occupy far too much space; and it
must suffice to mention that examples of homestead moats may be seen in
the parishes of Ashwell, Braughing, Pirton, and Sawbridgeworth.

A step in advance of the homestead moat was formed by earthworks
made on the same plan as the latter, but provided with a rampart and
a “fosse,” or ditch, and in some cases also with outer defences. Of
this type of earthwork three examples are definitely known to occur in
the county, namely one at Bygrave, a second at Whomerley Wood to the
south-east of Stevenage, and a third at Well Wood, Watton.

Yet another kind of defensive earthwork is to be found in the shape of
walls, ramparts, or ditches surrounding the sites of ancient villages.
Of this we have a local example in Kingsbury Castle, an old fortified
village lying to the south-west of the city of St Albans, and covering
an area of about 27½ acres. The village stood upon a hill, of which
the summit has been planed off and the material employed to form steep
banks or ramparts, one of which was partially thrown down to form the
present Verulam Road, while another portion persists in the shape of
a steep fall in the gardens or yards at the back of the houses on the
north side of Fishpool Street. The main structure of the castle was
demolished during the tenth century, and the remnant about the year
1152. It may be added that the clay-pits on the north side of Kingsbury
Castle are the reputed source of the material of the Roman bricks of
which Verulam is built.

The gigantic earthworks of the type of Beech Bottom and Grimm’s Dyke
have been mentioned in an earlier section.

18. Architecture. (_c_) Domestic--Famous Seats, Manor Houses, Cottages.

With the advent of less troublous times at the close of the Wars of
the Roses a marked change is noticeable in the plan and architecture
of the residences of the great noblemen and country gentlemen. The
need for castles or fortified houses ceased to exist; and attention
was consequently directed to comfort rather than strength in the
construction of country mansions. Fortunately a number of these fine
old Tudor residences have survived in different parts of the country;
but many have been replaced by other later structures built on the old

These Tudor mansions usually took the form of a large house built round
a quadrangle, the hall occupying the middle portion of the building,
with flanking wings on both sides. The building material depended upon
the locality and on the taste and means of the owner; but in this
county brick was extensively employed by the Tudor, and still more so
by the Stuart builders.

In lordly country seats, as well as in mansions of a less pretentious
type, dating from the Tudor period downward, Hertfordshire, owing
doubtless to its well-wooded and picturesque scenery, its good soil,
bracing climate, and proximity to the metropolis, is especially rich,
and in this respect presents a marked contrast to the neighbouring
county of Essex. The majority of these houses, however, have been
either completely rebuilt or more or less extensively altered at later

[Illustration: Hatfield House, South Front]

Among the few of these noble residences that can be mentioned here,
Hatfield House, which was built between the years 1605 and 1611 by
the first Earl of Salisbury, presents a magnificent specimen of
early Jacobean architecture in brick and stone, mellowed by time to
exquisitely soft tints. The original palace, where Edward VI lived,
and where Elizabeth was kept in captivity, now forms the stables.
The mention of the virgin queen naturally leads on to Ashridge, near
Berkhampstead, formerly the seat of the Dukes of Bridgewater, where
Elizabeth also spent a considerable time in her early days. Although
the present building, which stands partly in Hertfordshire and partly
in Buckinghamshire, is mostly modern Gothic, the fine vaulted cellar
is a remnant of the old monastery and college which formerly occupied
the site. Knebworth, near Stevenage, the home of the Earls of Lytton,
although now a comparatively modern Gothic building, was originally
a Tudor mansion, dating from the reign of Henry VII, the present
house occupying the position of one of the four wings of the original
building. Tittenhanger, between St Albans and Colney, occupies the
site of a royal residence dating from the fourteenth and early part of
the fifteenth century; the present mansion, notable for its grand oak
staircase, is stated to have been built in 1654, although the style of
the brickwork suggests the early part of the eighteenth century. Little
Hadham Hall, at the village of that name, is a splendid example of
Elizabethan architecture in red brick.

[Illustration: Knebworth]

A very interesting mansion is Salisbury House, Shenley, built some time
before 1669; much of the original brick building still remaining as
an excellent example of Stuart architecture. The house is surrounded
by a broad moat, and is approached by a bridge. Mackery End, near
Wheathampstead, contains some fine examples of sixteenth century
architecture; and Rothamsted, near Harpenden, is in the main a
seventeenth century brick mansion, dating from between 1630 and 1650,
although it has older portions, and the hall belonged to a house
constructed of timber on a flint base.

Of fine old houses now forming farm-homesteads there are many examples
on the western side of the county. Among these is Turner’s Hall, to the
north-west of Harpenden, now considerably modernised.

[Illustration: Water End Farm near Wheathampstead

(_Elizabethan Manor-House_)]

Another very interesting building of this type is Water End Farm, in
the parish of Sandridge, situated on the banks of the Lea about two
miles from Wheathampstead, and stated to have been built about 1610.
It is constructed of brick and has the straight-gabled, mullioned
style characteristic of the later part of the reign of Elizabeth
and the commencement of that of James I. Like many other houses of
Elizabethan times it is constructed in the form of the letter E, and
its three stacks of brick chimneys, with octagonal shafts and moulded
brick caps and bases, are especially characteristic of the style of
this period.

[Illustration: Christ’s Hospital School, Hertford]

Of later date are the Marlborough Buildings, or Almshouses, St Albans,
erected by Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough in 1736, and affording a fine
example of the brick architecture of that period in an excellent state
of preservation. Here also may be mentioned the Blue-Coat School at
Hertford, and the Boys’ Grammar School at Hitchin.

[Illustration: The Grammar School, Hitchin]

Forty years ago the county abounded in picturesque brick-and-timber
cottages, roofed with either tiles or thatch; but these are
disappearing yearly under the hand of the speculative builder, to
be replaced by hideous box-like buildings of brick and slate. Some,
however, still survive, either in the towns or the smaller hamlets,
such as picturesque Amswell, near Wheathampstead, which may be cited as
an ideal example of one of the smaller Hertfordshire villages.

As has been well remarked in another volume of the present series, the
great difference between these ancient cottages and houses and the
great majority of their modern successors is that while the former
harmonise with their surroundings, reflect not a little of the spirit
of the builder, and improve, like good wine, with age, the latter are
altogether out of keeping, and are likely to become, if possible, still
more offensive and objectionable with the advance of time.

[Illustration: An Old Malting House, Baldock]

While most of the old Hertfordshire cottages were of brick and timber,
others were built of flint with brick facings, or more rarely of
rounded pebbles from the Woolwich and Reading beds, or with brick
courses and window-mullions; some were of feather-edge boarding, and
others again of rubble and plaster.

[Illustration: Chequer’s Yard, Watford]

In Hemel Hempstead High Street is a building, now converted into
cottages, which contains above the fireplaces on the ground and first
floors the Tudor rose and fleur-de-lys in plaster-work; while the back
of a neighbouring building probably dates from the time of Henry VIII.
Excellent examples of the old brick-and-timber cottages are to be seen
in the village of Northchurch, and also at Aldbury, east of Tring,
where the old parish stocks are likewise preserved. Most of these
Aldbury cottages are tiled, although a few are covered with thatch, a
style of roofing much less common in that district than in many parts
of the county. Watford has still a number of old cottages, notably
in Farthing Lane and Chequer’s Yard, and in St Albans, especially in
the market-place and French Row, there are several dating from the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. There is also a very remarkable
old hexagonal wooden house near the ford across the Ver at St Michael’s
silk-mills, said to be one of the oldest licensed houses in England.

[Illustration: The “Fighting Cocks,” St Albans

(_Ancient Inn near the Ford across the Ver_)]

Did space permit, reference might be made to old houses in Hertford,
Berkhampstead, and other towns and villages, but the facts mentioned
are sufficient to indicate the interest of the county to antiquarians
in the matter of ancient buildings, and before concluding this
section we must not omit to mention what is certainly not the least
interesting of all Hertfordshire antiquities--the Cross at Waltham
which Edward erected to his beloved Queen Eleanor; the last before
arriving in London of the fifteen commemorating the resting-place of
her body on its journey from Grantham to Westminster Abbey in 1290.

[Illustration: Waltham Cross]

19. Communications--Past and Present. Roads, Railways, Canals.

Lying as it does on the direct route from the metropolis to the north
and north-west of England, and containing in its western portion
the formerly important city of Verulam, Hertfordshire, as might
be expected, is traversed by several trunk roads leading in those
directions, two of which date from Roman times. What these lines of
communication were in pre-Roman days we have no means of knowing,
although it is probable that they were little more than rude tracks
through the great forest, or “weald,” which in those days extended some
forty miles to the north of London, and afforded shelter to the great
wild ox, red deer, wild boars, bears, and wolves. Road-making was a
special attribute of the ancient Romans; and after they had constructed
highways from their early stations in Kent, they probably set to work
on those in the counties to the northward of London. So well made and
so straight were these ancient Roman roads that many of them (with in
some cases a certain amount of local deviation) have remained the main
highways of the country down to the present day. Immediately before
the introduction of railways, when the coaching traffic was brought
to its highest pitch of development, these main trunk roads--thanks to
the invention of Macadam--were maintained in superb condition, though
with the extension of the railway system some of them were allowed to

[Illustration: The Ermine Street at Hertford Heath]

There are three great Roman roads traversing Hertfordshire--Watling
Street, the Icknield Way, and Ermine Street. Watling Street starts
from Dover, and after passing through London, enters the county to the
south of Elstree, whence it is continued through Colney Street, Park
Street and St Stephens to St Albans, and thence on through Redbourn
and Markyate Street, and so to Dunstable whence it eventually reached
Chester and Holyhead. Although frequently miscalled the North Road,
the modern representative of Watling Street is known as the Chester and
Holyhead road. Originally the Roman road in the neighbourhood of St
Albans ran altogether to the west of the Ver, from Gorham Block to the
Pondyards; this section of the modern road, which crosses the river to
enter the city, having been constructed during the years 1826–1834.

[Illustration: The Icknield Way, showing a Ford between Ickleford and
Wilbury Hill]

The Icknield Way (taking its name apparently from the British tribe of
the Iceni) may be the oldest of the three great tracks, and originally
of pre-Roman age, as, like the Pilgrims’ Way in Kent, it mainly follows
the line of the chalk downs. It may be called a cross-country road
from the west of England, cutting the Watling Street at Dunstable, and
thence extending in a north-easterly direction across Hertfordshire
through Little Offley, Ickleford, and Baldock, and thence by way of
Royston, where it crosses the Ermine Street, to Newmarket and Yarmouth.

The Ermine Street, the third great Roman road, takes, on the other
hand, a northern direction, passing through Cheshunt, Wormley,
Broxbourne, and Wadesmill, and so by way of Buntingford to Royston.
There is however some difference of opinion about its course.

[Illustration: High Street, Stevenage]

Of modern roads, the Chester and Holyhead road has been already
mentioned as following in the main the line of the Old Watling
Street. Of equal importance is the Great North Road to York, passing
through Barnet, Hatfield, Welwyn, Codicote, Stevenage, and Hitchin.
Of other highways it must suffice to mention that the Bedford road
branches off from the Chester and Holyhead at St Albans to run through
Harpenden, and so on to Luton, in Bedfordshire; while the main road
from London to Cambridge and Norwich takes the line of the Lea valley
on the eastern side of the county, which it leaves a short distance to
the northward of Bishop’s Stortford.

[Illustration: View on the ‘Great North Road,’ Codicote Village]

In coaching days St Albans was a far more bustling and busy town than
it is at the present day; a very large number of coaches passing daily
through the city each way, the majority running on the Holyhead and
Chester road, but a certain number taking the Bedford line. The two
chief coaching and posting inns were the Peahen and the White Hart,
both of which are still in existence.

The speed and smartness with which the mail-coaches were run in
the days immediately preceding their abolition was little short of

[Illustration: Watford]

The first half of the nineteenth century saw the introduction
of railways, which gradually but surely killed the old coaching
traffic. One of the first lines to be opened was the London and
North-Western--in 1838--which traverses the south-western side of
the county, passing through Watford, Boxmoor, Berkhampstead, and the
outskirts of Tring. In 1853 a branch line was opened from Watford
to St Albans, and another to Rickmansworth in 1862. With a short
break between Boxmoor and Hemel Hempstead, the North-Western system
is connected with the Midland by means of a branch line from the
last-named town to Harpenden. The main line of the Midland, which
traverses the western half of the county by way of Elstree, St Albans,
and Harpenden, was opened in 1868. Both St Albans and Harpenden
have branches of the Great Northern Railway to Hatfield, which is
on the main line; the latter continuing through Welwyn, Stevenage,
and Hitchin. By means of a branch line of the Great Northern from
Hatfield to Hertford, we reach the Great Eastern, the fourth great
railway in the county, the main line of which runs through Broxbourne,
Sawbridgeworth, and Bishop’s Stortford, but connected also with Ware
and Hertford, and having a branch from St Margaret’s to Buntingford.

With such a multiplicity of lines, it might well be imagined that
railway communication between nearly all parts of the county would be
well-nigh perfect. As a matter of fact, this is by no means the case;
and the journey by rail from the western to the eastern side, owing to
changes and delays, is so slow and tedious, that it is frequently found
convenient to hold important Hertfordshire meetings, like those of the
County Council, in London.

As regards water-communication, the western side of the county is
served by the Grand Junction Canal, which, after leaving Leighton
Buzzard, enters the county near Tring, and thence runs by way of
Berkhampstead, Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead, Runton Bridge, Watford and
Rickmansworth in a south-easterly and southerly direction to London. A
considerable amount of barge-traffic is still carried on this canal,
although nothing approaching that in pre-railway times. In those days
the whole of the coal-supply for north-western Herts came by canal
to Boxmoor, whence it had to be carted for long distances--some 14
miles to Harpenden, for instance. As there are at least two very steep
hills--which become impossible for heavily laden teams when the roads
are slippery--between Boxmoor and Harpenden, the inhabitants of the
latter picturesque village were apt to run short of firing at Christmas.

[Illustration: The Grand Junction Canal near Hemel Hempstead]

On the other side of the county the Lea is navigable for barges as far
up as Ware and Hertford; and here too a considerable amount of heavy
traffic is still carried on by water.

[Illustration: Haileybury College]

In this place mention may conveniently be made of the New River,
running from the valley of the Lea near the Rye House, at a gradually
increasing distance from that river, to the metropolis. The New River,
or Middleton’s Waters, as it used also to be called, was constructed in
the reign of James I, at first almost entirely by Sir Hugh Middleton,
but later on by a company with a special charter, for the purpose of
supplying north London with drinking-water. The chief sources of the
New River are the springs at Chadwell and Amwell. At the present time
an original £100 share in the New River Company is worth an almost
fabulous price.

20. Administration and Divisions--Ancient and Modern.

The present administration and administrative divisions of
Hertfordshire, like those of other English counties, have been
gradually evolved and developed from those of our Saxon forefathers;
each alteration in the form of local government and of local
administrative boundaries being based on the previously existing
system. By the Saxons each county was divided into a number of
main divisions known as hundreds, or wapentakes, each governed
by a hundreder, or centenary (the equivalent of the Old German
_Zentgrafen_), and each having a name of its own. Hertfordshire is
now divided into eight hundreds, the names of which, commencing on
the western side of the county, are as follows: Dacorum (including
Tring), Cassio (with the important towns of St Albans, Watford, and
Rickmansworth), Hertford, Braughing, Broadwater (occupying nearly
the centre), Hitchin and Pirton (on the north-west corner), Odsey (in
the extreme north), and Edwinstree (on the north-east). Originally
they were more numerous, Cassio, for instance, being much smaller
than at present, while the Hitchin division was reckoned only as a
half-hundred. The origin of the names of most of the hundreds are
self-apparent; but that of Cassio (originally Kayso) appears to be
unknown, while that of Dacorum has some connection with the Danes,
perhaps referring to a Danish settlement.

One of the most remarkable facts connected with the hundreds of
Hertfordshire is that three of them do not lie within what farmers call
a ring-fence. Dacorum, for instance, has two outlying areas in the
south-eastern corner of Cassio, and a third wedged in between Cassio on
the west, Broadwater on the north, and an outlying portion of Cassio
on the east. Broadwater, again, has a small outlier on the Middlesex
border of the south-eastern “peninsula” of Cassio; while Cassio itself,
inclusive of the one already mentioned, has no less than eight of these
curious outliers, one situated in the extreme north in the hundred of

Each hundred originally had its own court, or “hundred-mote,” which
met monthly; and it was divided, as at present, into townships, or
parishes. The parish, in turn, had its own council, or _gemot_, where
every freeman had a right to appear. This assembly or council made its
own local by-laws, to enforce which it had a reeve, a bailiff, and a
tithingman, with the powers of a constable. The reeve was chairman of
the township _gemot_, and could summon that assembly at pleasure.

Passing on to more modern times, we find Hertfordshire occupying a
peculiar position in regard to local government and administration in
that it possessed a kind of _imperium in imperio_ in the shape of what
was known as the Liberty of St Alban; in other words, a large area
on the western side of the county originally under the jurisdiction
of the abbots of St Albans, who had the power of inflicting the
death-penalty. Originally there was a separate Commission of the Peace
for the Liberty, so that a Justice for the County had no jurisdiction
in the former unless he had been specially inducted. This arrangement
was found, however, to be inconvenient, and the Liberty, as such, was
abolished, although it was taken as a basis for the splitting of the
county into a western and an eastern division for judicial purposes.

The chief officers of the county are the Lord Lieutenant and the High
Sheriff; the former (who in Hertfordshire is always a nobleman) being
the direct local representative of the sovereign, and having the
appointment of magistrates and the officers of the territorial forces,
while the latter (who is a commoner) is the head of the executive
department in the administration of justice. The Lord Lieutenant holds
office for life, or during the sovereign’s pleasure, but the Sheriff
is appointed annually by the Crown. Deputy Lieutenants are supposed to
act, in case of need, for the Lord Lieutenant.

Formerly the greater part of the business of the county was conducted
by the Justices of the Peace, or Magistrates, at Quarter Sessions,
but most of this is now transferred to the County Council, which, as
previously stated, often meets in London. This County Council, which
was first established in 1888, is composed of Aldermen and Councillors;
the latter of whom are elected, while the former are what is called
“co-opted,” that is to say, selected by the Council itself, either
from its own body, or from the general public. The duties of the
County Council include the maintenance of high roads and bridges; the
appointment and control, in conjunction with the magistrates, of the
police; the management of reformatories and lunatic asylums; and, in a
word, the general carrying out of the laws enacted by Parliament.

According to a scheme elaborated in an Act of Parliament passed in
1894, the more important minor local bodies are denominated District
Councils, and those whose function is less Parish Councils; the former
having control of the more populous towns and villages, other than
cities and boroughs, and the latter those with fewer inhabitants. For
this purpose many parishes are divided into a more populous Urban and
a less populous Rural District. Certain towns in the county rank,
however, as cities, or boroughs, and have larger powers and different
forms of government; being ruled by a Mayor and Corporation, and having
magistrates and a police force distinct from those of the county. Among
these privileged towns, St Albans ranks as a city, while Hertford
and Hemel Hempstead are boroughs. Hemel Hempstead is a very ancient
borough, and has, in addition to its Mayor, an official known as the
High Bailiff.

The county is likewise divided into a number of Poor Law Unions, each
with a Board of Guardians, whose duty it is to manage the workhouses,
and appoint officers to carry out the work of relieving the poor and
those incapacitated by age or other cause from earning their own living.

[Illustration: The Shire Hall, Hertford]

As regards the administration of justice, Assizes are held by His
Majesty’s Judges three or four times a year at the Shire Hall,
Hertford, for the whole county; the Grand Jury on such occasions being
composed entirely, or mainly, of magistrates. Quarter Sessions, on the
other hand, are held four times a year at Hertford for the eastern, and
at the Court House, St Albans, for the western division of the county;
these courts being constituted by the magistrates for the county and
the mayors of the boroughs and city. Petty Sessions are held weekly,
fortnightly, or monthly at a number of the towns and larger villages.
In most cases the county magistrates in the immediate neighbourhood
preside at these sessions; but the city of St Albans and the two
boroughs have magistrates of their own, who also hold petty sessions
for trying cases which occur within the area of their jurisdiction.

St Albans is the centre of an episcopal diocese, which includes
most of that portion of London situated within the county of Essex.
Arrangements are, however, now in progress for relieving the Bishop of
St Albans of the care of that part of the diocese commonly known as
“London Over the Border.”

The diocese, so far as Hertfordshire is concerned, is divided into
archdeaconries, rural deaneries, and parishes. The latter are very
numerous, although somewhat less so than the civil parishes, for the
purposes of which, as already mentioned, the ecclesiastical parishes
are frequently split into an urban and a rural section. There are
170 ecclesiastical parishes situated wholly or partly within the old
county, of which 164 are included in the diocese of St Albans; while
three belong to Ely, two to Oxford, and part of one (Northwood) to

The larger towns, the city, and the two boroughs have Education
Committees of their own; but for the rest of the county a Committee of
this nature is appointed by the County Council.

Hertfordshire has four parliamentary divisions, namely, Hertford,
Hitchin, St Albans, and Watford, each of which returns one member to
the House of Commons. The county is thus represented only by four
members, as against fifteen for Kent.

21. The Roll of Honour of the County.

Hertfordshire cannot hope to rival such counties as Norfolk or Kent in
its roll of distinguished names, but it can show a fairly long list of
persons connected with the county who have been famous.

Since reference has already been made in several of the foregoing
sections to the visits of English sovereigns to the county, or to their
residence within its borders, very brief mention of the connection
between royalty and the county will suffice in this place. Neither here
nor elsewhere in these pages is any attempt made to give a complete
list of such visits.

The names of Boadicea, queen of the Iceni, and of Offa, king of
Mercia, who had his palace at Offley, dying there in 796, will always
be specially connected with Hertfordshire. In a somewhat less degree
the same may be said of William the Conqueror, to whom, as already
mentioned, the crown of this realm was offered at Berkhampstead. Edward
II and Edward III frequently resided at Langley Palace, where Edmund de
Langley, the founder of the White Rose faction, was born in 1341; and
the same residence was also used by Richard II. Henry I and his consort
Matilda were present at the dedication of St Albans’ Abbey on its
completion by Abbot Paul; and Henry VI was at the first battle of St
Albans, where he was wounded. Henry VIII, as mentioned on page 82, was
still more intimately connected with Hertfordshire, and the manor of
Hitchin was conferred by him in turn on Anne Boleyn and her successors.
Reference has already been made to the residence of Queen Mary, in her
youth, at Ashridge, and of Queen Elizabeth (before her ascent to the
throne) both there and at Hatfield; while, as sovereign, Elizabeth
also visited St Albans on two or three occasions as the guest of Sir
Nicholas Bacon at Gorhambury, and also went to other great houses in
the county. James I, as mentioned on the same page, spent much time
at Royston, and died at Theobalds. The Rye House plot, so called from
the meeting-place of the conspirators at Broxbourne, as stated in an
earlier section, was devised for the purpose of assassinating Charles
II while on his way through the county.

In connection with personages of royal blood, mention may be made of
Humphry, Duke of Gloucester, whose name is so intimately associated
with St Albans’ Abbey, to the monastery of which he was admitted a
member in 1423; and also of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, who was
born at Sandridge in the eighteenth century, and built and endowed the
almshouses bearing her name in St Albans.

Among great statesmen connected with the county a prominent place must
be assigned to Queen Elizabeth’s councillors and favourites, Lord
Burleigh and the Earl of Essex. To her reign likewise belongs Sir
Nicholas Bacon, Keeper of the Great Seal, and owner of Gorhambury,
where he died in 1578. Nearly a century later (1652), Gorhambury came
into the possession of Sir Harbottle Grimston, well known as Speaker of
the House of Commons.

[Illustration: The Salisbury Statue, Hatfield]

Passing on to the Victorian age, we have two great statesmen, namely,
Lord Melbourne and Lord Palmerston, both of whom lived at Brocket,
where the former died; and, subsequently, the late Marquis of
Salisbury, owner of stately Hatfield. The first Viscount Hampden,
sometime Speaker of the House of Commons, was also a Hertfordshire man,
with his residence at Kimpton Hoo. Cecil Rhodes, the South African
premier and “Empire-builder,” likewise claims a place in the roll of
honour of the county, having been born at Bishop’s Stortford rectory,
and Commodore Anson, the great circumnavigator, though not a native,
lived at Moor Park, where he died in 1762.

[Illustration: Cecil Rhodes’s Birth-place, Bishop’s Stortford]

Dame Juliana Berners, imaginary prioress of Sopwell nunnery, who was
supposed to have written the immortal _Treatyse on Fysshynge with
an Angle_, the first work on angling ever published in England, has
been shown to be a myth. Among names famous in literature and science
the greatest connected with the county is perhaps that of the great
philosopher Sir Francis Bacon, afterwards Lord Verulam and Viscount
St Albans, who, during his father’s residence at Gorhambury, lived
in Verulam House, at the Pondyards. On the death of his father Sir
Nicholas Bacon he succeeded to Gorhambury. By a curious error he is
frequently called Lord Bacon, although no such title was ever in
existence. John Bunyan claims a place among Hertfordshire literary
worthies as he was connected with a chapel at Hitchin.

[Illustration: Ruins of Verulam House, the Residence of Francis,
Viscount St Albans]

[Illustration: Francis Bacon, Viscount St Albans]

Two of the greatest literary names connected with the county are those
of William Cowper the poet, and Charles Lamb, author of the _Essays of
Elia_, unsurpassed as a master of delicately humorous prose, whether as
essayist or letter-writer. The former was born at Berkhampstead rectory
in the year 1731; but Lamb was chiefly a visitor to the county, though,
as he tells us in the _Essays_, he was once a Hertfordshire landowner,
and his cottage at West Hill Green, about 2½ miles from Puckeridge,
still exists. Mackery End Farm was the residence of the Brutons, who
were his relatives, and it was to their house that his visits were
made; so that the neighbourhood is essentially Lamb’s country. It is a
question whether the Lyttons or the beauties of Knebworth, their home,
are the more famous. The great novelist, author of _The Last Days of
Pompeii_, _The Caxtons_, and innumerable other tales, as well as such
successful plays as _The Lady of Lyons_ and _Money_, was best known to
readers in the middle of the last century as Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton,
though he began life as Mr Bulwer and died Lord Lytton. His son, poet,
Ambassador, and Viceroy, who wrote under the name of “Owen Meredith,”
was scarcely less distinguished, and received an Earldom in 1880. Here,
too, mention may be made of Mrs Thrale, the friend of Dr Johnson, who
was often at Offley Place, where her husband, whose family was long
connected with St Albans, was born. Offley Place was at this time a
fine old Elizabethan mansion, although it has since been rebuilt.
Gadebridge Park, Hemel Hempstead, was the residence of the great
surgeon Sir Astley Paston Cooper. But a greater distinction attaches to
the name of Rothamsted, near Harpenden, as being the residence of the
late Sir John Bennet Lawes, Bart., who, with his scientific colleague
Sir Henry Gilbert, conducted the experiments which made their names
famous throughout the agricultural world. Sir John Lawes first obtained
the idea of using fossilised phosphates for manure from Professor
Henslow, the great Cambridge botanist (himself sometime a resident
at Hall Place, St Albans), who sent him specimens obtained from the
Essex “Crag,” with a suggestion that they might be used as a source
of phosphoric acid. Yarrell, the naturalist, lies buried in Bayford
churchyard, with many members of his family. Last in the scientific
and literary list, we have the name of Sir John Evans, the great
antiquarian and numismatist of Nash Mills, Hemel Hempstead, who died so
recently as 1908. To Evans, in conjunction with the late Sir Joseph
Prestwich, is mainly due the credit of definitely establishing the fact
that the so-called flint “celts” are really the work of prehistoric
man. His most important and best work is _Ancient Stone Implements_.

[Illustration: Charles Lamb]

[Illustration: William Cowper]

Among great ecclesiastics mention must be made of Nicholas Breakspear,
born near Abbot’s Langley towards the close of the eleventh century,
who subsequently became Pope as Adrian IV; being the only Englishman
who has occupied the papal chair. Reference may also be made to
Cardinal Wolsey, who spent a considerable portion of his time at
Delamere House. Nor must we omit Young, the author of the _Night
Thoughts_ and Rector of Welwyn, or that great maker of hymns, Dr Watts,
who as the 36-year guest of Sir Thomas Abney resided at Theobalds,
where he died. Among distinguished lawyers, the most prominent name
is that of Lord Grimthorpe (formerly Sir Edmund Beckett), who was,
however, connected with the county, not in his professional capacity,
but as the restorer of St Albans’ Abbey and other churches in the
neighbourhood. Much criticism has been expended on Lord Grimthorpe’s
modes of “restoration,” which were certainly of a drastic character. It
must, however, be remembered that when he undertook the restoration of
St Albans’ Abbey it was in a dangerous condition, and sufficient money
was not forthcoming to make it secure. The result is that the abbey,
although in many ways unlike its former self, will stand for centuries.
Lord Grimthorpe, who was a Yorkshireman, built himself a residence at
Batchwood, near St Albans.

As another well-known lawyer and also a judge, mention may be made of
Lord Brampton (Sir Henry Hawkins), who came of a family long connected
with Hitchin, at which town he was born.

Sir Henry Chauncy, the antiquary and historian of the county, to whom
reference has so often been made in this book, lived, and died in 1700,
at Yardley; and Balfe, the composer, made his home at Rowney Abbey,
close by, till his death in 1870.


(The figures in brackets after each name give the population in 1901,
    and those at the end of the sections give the references to the

Abbot’s Langley (3342), a village situated on the Gade, with a station
on the North-Western Railway; it was bestowed in the time of Edward the
Confessor upon the then abbot of St Albans, whence its name. Hunton
Mill, on the Gade, was granted to Sir Richard Lee in 1544, and both
this and Nash Mills were farmed from the abbot of St Albans between
1349 and 1396. The present church, dedicated to St Lawrence, cannot be
traced farther back than the close of the twelfth century. A west tower
was added about 1200. (pp. 72, 90, 105, 149.)

Aldenham (2437), a village and manor lying to the north-east of
Watford. It has a grammar school; and near by is Aldenham Abbey, the
seat of Lord Aldenham. In 1898 two Roman kilns were discovered in
the parish. The church, which has been restored, contains one small
twelfth-century window; no trace of the chancel remains.

The Amwells--Great Amwell (1421), and Little Amwell (930)--small
villages not far from the Rye House. Amwell is associated with the name
of the Quaker poet, John Scott, who lived there for some time after
1740. Near by is Haileybury, formerly the training college for the
officials of the East India Company, but now a public school. (p. 135.)

Ashridge, a domain in Little Gaddesden parish, situated on the
Buckinghamshire border of the county, and celebrated for its splendid
beech woods. It was formerly the property of the Dukes of Bridgewater,
being acquired by the Egertons in 1604, but it is now owned by Earl
Brownlow. A building, formerly the porter’s lodge, includes some
remains of an old monastic college. The present house, which stands
partly in Buckinghamshire, was built by the eighth Earl of Bridgewater.
(pp. 115, 142.)

Ashwell (1281), a village on the Cambridgeshire border of the county,
with a station some distance away on the Royston and Cambridge branch
of the Great Northern Railway. Ashwell, which was formerly a town,
had a fair and a market in the time of William the Conqueror. It was
severely visited by the plague. Its church-tower is the only one in the
county built wholly of stone. (pp. 92, 113.)

Baldock (2057) is a market-town on the Icknield Way, to the north-west
of Hitchin, with a station on the above-mentioned branch of the Great
Northern Railway. It dates from Norman times, when it was known as
Baudok. During the Crusades, Baldock, like St Albans, Berkhampstead,
and Hoddesdon, had a lazar-house for lepers, who were at that time
numerous all over England. The list of Rectors is complete from the
days of the Knights Hospitallers in 1317. The church contains much
Decorated and Perpendicular work. (pp. 90, 94, 128.)

Barkway (661), originally Berkway, is a small town and manor situated a
few miles to the north-east of Buntingford. (p. 96.)

Barnet, or Chipping Barnet, originally Chipping Bernet (7876), a large
and important market-town near the Middlesex border of the county, with
a station (High Barnet) on a branch of the Great Northern Railway. Near
by are New Barnet and East Barnet, with a station on the main line, and
having a population of 10,024. The name Barnet is a corruption of the
Saxon _Bergnet_, signifying a little hill; the site of the town then
forming a small rising in the midst of the great forest; the prefix
Chipping = market is a word of Scandinavian origin, represented in the
Swedish Jonköping and the Danish Kjøbenhavn = (Copenhagen). Barnet
was the scene of a battle in 1471, when the Yorkists defeated the
Lancastrians, killing their leader, Warwick the king-maker. The market
was famous for its cattle; and in addition to this there is an annual
horse-fair, which formerly attracted dealers from all parts of the
country. (pp. 9, 53, 54, 82, 99, 128.)

East Barnet (2867), known as La Barnette in the thirteenth century, and
Low Barnet in the fifteenth century, is situated on the stream known as
Pymmes’ Brook, on the western side of the valley of which stands the
almost deserted old parish church.

Bayford (330), a village nearly midway between Hatfield and Hoddesdon.
In the churchyard is buried William Yarrell the naturalist. Bayfordbury
is celebrated for its collection of portraits of members of the Kitcat
Club painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller. (p. 147.)

Bengeo (3063), formerly Bengehoo, a village in the valley of the Beane
one mile north of Hertford. The old church, now little used, is one
of the oldest in the county, dating apparently from the early Norman
period. Together with Great Wymondley church, it is peculiar, so far as
Hertfordshire is concerned, in having an apsidal chancel. In place of a
tower, it has a wooden bell-cote. Panshanger, formerly the property of
the late Lord Cowper, is near by.

Bennington (522), a market-town and manor, situated on the Beane,
from which it takes its name; it was an important place in the ninth
century, when it was the residence of the kings of Mercia. The church
is fourteenth century. (pp. 53, 54, 56, 78, 111.)

Berkhampstead, or Berkhampstead Magna (5140), an important
market-town[3] on the London and North-Western Railway and Grand
Junction Canal, and one of the oldest in the county, the castle dating
from Norman times, and being possibly on the site of an earlier
Saxon edifice. It was here that the crown of England was offered to
William the Conqueror. The manor and castle were granted first to
Piers Gaveston and subsequently to Edward the Black Prince, but were
afterwards annexed to the Duchy of Cornwall. Berkhampstead, which
is now a petty-sessions town, and has an ancient grammar school,
formerly returned burgesses to Parliament. Its almshouses were built
in 1684. Cowper was born here. Berkhampstead Parva and Berkhampstead
St Mary’s--the latter now generally known as Northchurch--are villages
in the neighbourhood. The church dates from the thirteenth century; it
contains the beautiful Torrington tomb. (pp. 2, 7, 63, 80, 81, 82, 91,
92, 109, 111, 131, 132, 141.)

[3] The market at Berkhampstead has been discontinued for many years.

Bishop’s Stortford (7143) is the most important town on the Essex
border of the county, and has a station on the main line of the Great
Eastern Railway, and a bridge over the Stort. The town, which has a
market, possessed a considerable trade in Saxon times, and was the
property of the Bishop of London, and to protect this, and for the
purpose of consolidating his own rights, William the Conqueror built
a small castle here. Bishop’s Stortford has a grammar school, and
formerly returned members to Parliament. The church, which dates from
the tenth century, is an imposing Perpendicular edifice, and stands on
the site of an earlier building. (pp. 23, 24, 79, 92, 112, 132, 144.)

[Illustration: Bishop’s Stortford, and the River Stort]

Boxmoor (1127), a small town on the Grand Junction Canal and North
Western Railway. A Roman villa was discovered here some years ago. (pp.
132, 133.)

Braughing (930), a village to the north-west of Stortford, on the
Cambridge road, with a station on the Great Eastern Railway, situated
in the valley of the Quin. It dates from Saxon times, when it was
known as Brooking; and it was granted a market by Stephen. A Roman
sarcophagus and many Roman coins have been discovered in the parish.
(pp. 22, 113, 136.)

Broxbourne (748) is also a village on the Great Eastern Railway, to the
south of Hoddesdon: it contains an almshouse for poor widows founded in
the year 1728. The village is intimately connected with the Rye House
Plot. (pp. 128, 142.)

Buntingford (1272) is a market-town, with almshouses, on a branch of
the Great Eastern Railway running northwards from Stortford. It was
granted a market by Edward III. (pp. 54, 128.)

Bushey (2838), a parish in the south of the county, separated from
Watford about 1166. The village is now the site of the Herkomer Art
School. The church was “restored” in 1871, when a late Gothic window
was removed.

Bygrave (148), a small market-town a short distance north-east of

Cassiobury, a park and mansion at the north-west of Watford which has
for many generations been the residence of the Earls of Essex. The
present house is modern. (pp. 20, 21, 45, 84, 85, 136.)

Cheshunt (12,292) is a large market-town in the south-eastern corner
of the county, nearly north-west of Waltham Abbey, with a station
on the Great Eastern and some distance from the town itself. It is
celebrated for its nursery gardens, roses being especially cultivated.
Within Cheshunt parish is situated Theobald’s Park, at one time a royal
residence. Cheshunt Park is on the opposite, or north side of the town;
and near by are the remains of an old nunnery. (pp. 43, 99, 100, 128.)

Codicote (1145), a small village to the north-west of Welwyn. The
church was an ancient one, but a drastic “restoration” in 1853
destroyed much of the evidence of the age of its constituent portions.
(pp. 43, 128, 130.)

Elstree (1323), a village on the southern border of the county lying a
little west of the Midland Railway, on which it has a station. It is
rapidly becoming a suburb of London. (pp. 7, 11, 52, 126, 132.)

Flamstead (1039), a village near the Watling Street to the north of
Redbourn. The name is supposed to be a corruption of Verlampstead,
the Ver flowing in the valley below the village. The Thomas Saunders
almshouses were built in 1669. Beechwood, the seat of the Sebright
family is in the parish.

Great Gaddesden (746), a village in Dacorum Hundred to the north
of Hemel Hempstead. Gaddesden Place, which was burnt down in 1905
and rebuilt, is the seat of the Halsey family, who possessed the
neighbouring “Golden Parsonage” so long ago as 1544. The church
probably dates from the twelfth century. (pp. 19, 35, 42.)

The Hadhams--Much Hadham (1199), Little Hadham (655)--two villages
lying respectively to the south-west and north-west of Bishop
Stortford, and known to have been in existence in the time of the
Conqueror. The manor of Hadham Hall was granted by the crown to the
Bishops of London at the time when the survey recorded in Domesday
books was made. (pp. 12, 117.)

Harpenden (4725), a large village or small town on the Midland Railway,
almost exactly half-way between St Albans and Luton. During the last
twenty years Harpenden (“the valley of nightingales”) has nearly
doubled in size, and is rapidly increasing. Within the parish is the
agricultural experiment-station of Rothamsted; the laboratory being
situated on the borders of the village itself. About a mile to the
north is Shire-Mere, a small green partly in Hertfordshire and partly
in Bedfordshire, and in consequence a favourite site for prize-fights
in the old days. Harpenden has branch-lines connected with the Great
Northern and the North-Western Railways. With the exception of the more
modern tower, the church, which was largely Norman, was pulled down and
rebuilt in the sixties. A Norman arch remains in the tower. (pp. 7, 36,
37, 38, 43, 45, 47, 66, 67, 75, 96, 117, 130, 132.)

Hatfield, or King’s Hatfield (4330), is a small town on the main line
of the Great Northern Railway, chiefly noteworthy on account of its
connection with Hatfield House, the seat of the Cecils, Marquises of
Salisbury. As mentioned above, Hatfield was at one time a royal palace;
but the original building is now used as a stable and riding-school,
the present house being of Jacobean date. The residence at Hatfield of
Queen Elizabeth is connected with the old palace. Among the features
of Hatfield House are the marble hall, its oak-panelled walls hung
with tapestry, and its panelled ceiling painted; the grand staircase,
hung with portraits; the long gallery, with its armour and pictures;
King James’s drawing-room, a magnificently decorated apartment; the
great dining-room, with a bust of Lord Burleigh; the armoury; and
the beautiful chapel, with its exquisite Flemish window and a marble
altar-piece. Hatfield is an important railway centre for the county,
the Great Northern having branches to Hertford, St Albans, and
Harpenden and Luton. Petty sessions are held in the town. In the church
are the monuments of the Cecil family, and a statue of the late Lord
Salisbury, erected by county subscription, stands at the park entrance.
(pp. 20, 23, 31, 34, 43, 83, 115, 116, 128, 132, 142.)

Hemel Hempstead (11,264) is an ancient borough and market-town on
the western side of the county connected with the main line of the
North-Western Railway at Boxmoor, and also served by a branch joining
the main line of the Midland at Harpenden. In addition to a mayor,
Hempstead has a borough official known as the high bailiff[4]. The
town, which is situated in the Gade valley, and formerly returned
members of its own to 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.)

[4] The office of high bailiff of Hemel Hempstead is held by the mayor.

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, 111, 126, 134, 136, 138, 139, 141, 147.)

[Illustration: The College Chapel, Haileybury]

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 Ravensburgh 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

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.

Kensworth (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 1100,
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.

[Illustration: Letchworth, Open Air School]

North Mimms (1112), 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 three large parks, Brookman’s,
Potterells, and North Mimms. The church, which is rich in monuments,
dates from the fourteenth 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.)

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 Hempstead branch of the Midland
Railway. The manor of Redbourn was given to St Albans’ Abbey in the
reign of Edward the Confessor. The church, which is some distance from
the main street, was dedicated between 1094 and 1109, 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 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 rebuilding 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 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.”

[Illustration: Shrine of St Amphibalus, St Albans’ Abbey]

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 (2085), 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 Hertfordshire, 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.)

Waltham 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, 125.)

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.)

Watford (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, 131, 132, 141.)

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. 113.)

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.)

[Illustration: {Stack of rectangles with areas proportional to

  173,280 1861
  192,226 1871
  203,140 1881
  220,162 1891
  250,152 1901

Fig. 1. Diagram showing the increase in the population of Hertfordshire
from 1861 to 1901]

[Illustration: {Squares with density represented by dots.}

  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]

[Illustration: {rectangular chart}

  ENGLAND & WALES _Total 32,527,843_

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

[Illustration: {rectangular chart}

  ENGLAND & WALES _Total 37,327,479 acres_

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

[Illustration: {Pie chart}

  _Permanent Pasture                125,267_
  _Area not under Permanent Pasture 277,589_

Fig. 5. Proportionate area of Permanent Pasture to total area of

[Illustration: {Pie chart}

  _Area not under Corn Crops 286,156_
  _Corn Crops                116,700_

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

[Illustration: {Pie chart}

  _Barley 27,960_
  _Wheat  51,691_
  _Oats   36,946_

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

[Illustration: {Pie chart}

  _Meadows and Permanent Pasture   125,267_
  _Green Crops and Rotation Grasses 72,848_
  _Corn Crops                      116,700_
  _Woodlands                        26,568_
  _Bare Fallow, Fruits              16,736_
  _Remaining area of Herts          44,737_

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

[Illustration: {Pie chart}

  _Horses       15,070_
  _Pigs         25,338_
  _other Cattle 38,636_
  _Sheep        94,461_

Fig. 9. Comparative numbers of Live Stock in Herts]






  _George Philip & Son, Ltd._      _The London Geographical Institute._

Transcriber’s Note

On page 43, in the diagram of geological systems, the Names of Systems
were originally printed in bold.

In the last chapter, the Names of Towns and Villages were originally
printed in bold and in a large font.

Under each map, “Ltd.” or “LTD.”, in the name of the printer was
originally printed with the “td” or “TD” raised above the line with a
dot underneath.

The errata listed on a slip bound into this book have been applied to
this text.  It reads:



  Page 33, line 12 from bottom, _after_ Baldock, _add_ and also near

    ”  61, line 6 from top, _for_ Great Western _read_ North-Western.

    ” 132, line 13 from top, _for_ Stortford, _read_ St Margaret’s.

    ” 144, line 2, _for_ The late Viscount Peel _read_ The first
            Viscount Hampden.

    ” 153, line 5 from top, _dele_ has a castle and.

    ” 154. The market at Berkhampstead has been discontinued for
            many years.

    ” 159. The office of high bailiff of Hemel Hempstead is held by the

The changes to pages 154 and 159 have been made by adding footnotes.

Figures have been moved to be near the text they illustrate. The page
numbers in the Table of Illustrations refer to the page number of their
original position in the printed book.

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