A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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HEMEL HEMPSTEAD WITH BOVINGDON AND FLAUNDEN
The parish of Hemel Hempstead is in the west of Hertfordshire. The centre is occupied by the valley of the Gade, which runs through it from north to south, and along the south-western border is that of the River Bulbourne, which forms part of the parish boundary. The Grand Junction Canal passes through the parish and follows the course of the Gade and Bulbourne. In the east and west the parish lies high, being on spurs of the Chilterns. The whole district, especially in the valleys, is well-wooded, and there are a great many horse chestnuts. The park of Gadebridge extends along the valley of the Gade, and a smaller park belonging to the Lockers estate lies above the valley on the west. The parish is on a subsoil of chalk with a small outlier of the Woolwich and Reading Beds near Leverstock Green. The light surface soil yields good wheat and barley, and some root crops are grown. There is also good pasture. In 1905 there were 3,859 acres of arable land, 2,012 of permanent grass, and 156 of woodland. (fn. 1)
The town of Hemel Hempstead is in the centre of the parish on the slopes of the Gade valley, and is sheltered on either side by low hills over which the newer buildings are gradually spreading. Hemel Hempstead, though a busy town, is not yet spoilt, probably because no main railway line passes quite close to it, the nearest important station being at Boxmoor, a mile and a half to the south on the London and North-Western Railway. The ancient High Street is nearly a mile long and very irregular, and is narrow in the middle of the town. In the north of the town on the west of the High Street are some old houses standing back and railed off from the present road and on a lower level. The road curves to the south-west down a gentle incline, at the foot of which the Bury Road strikes off to the west, and the High Street continuing south becomes Marlowes Road.
On the west side of the High Street are the municipal buildings of red brick and stone; they include the Corn Exchange and a Literary Institute, and at the north end a Vestry Hall. The church in its large churchyard is beautifully situated a little off the High Street overlooking the park of Gadebridge and surrounded on three sides by the grounds of the Bury. There is an entrance to the churchyard through iron gates at the back of the Market Square, which was made in 1888, and another under the Assembly Rooms. There are also on the west of the same street some old houses called Keen's Place. They are of brick and timber and painted white. The 'King's Arms' has an old balcony overlooking its courtyard, and there are several other old inns. On the east side of the High Street there are many side passages through the houses into spacious yards, which are said to have been used when Hemel Hempstead was noted as a market for grain. Defoe in his Tour remarks that 'eleven pair of mills stand within four miles of the place, which bring a great trade to it.'
On this same side of the street, rather to the north and a little way off the road, is a building now used as cottages, of brick and plaster with tiled roof, and containing in an upper and a lower room above the fireplaces, the crown, the Tudor rose, and the fleur-de-lys in raised plaster-work. The back of Mr. J. Mellor's (chemist) house probably dates from the time of Henry VIII. When some repairs were being done there recently a small piece of glass was found with the date 1620 scratched on it. The town contains many other ancient houses, but most of them have been obscured from view by newer buildings, and many have been refronted.
The Bury road, on leaving the High Street, leads through a small poor district called Bury Mill End, in which are several very old red cottages. Beyond these the road ascends a steep hill, on the top of which stands a large gabled house of plastered brick called Lockers, a small part of which is of sixteenth-century date, while the larger part has been added much later, and contains two fine early seventeenth-century plaster ceilings on which are medallions of a king's head, lions and unicorns and royal arms in the lower room, and fleurs-de-lys in the upper room, and other designs in high relief. Lockers stands in beautiful wooded grounds, with a fine cedar tree immediately in front of the house; it is the property of Mrs. Harvey Bathurst, but is now unoccupied. Close by is a house called Lockers Park, a boys' school, of which Mr. P. Christopherson is head master.
Among the more important of the modern buildings may be noticed a public hall in George Street, built in 1898. The police station was built in 1895 on the site of the old one. The Hemel Hempstead Joint Isolation Hospital dates from 1887, and the King's College Hospital Convalescent Home was founded in 1878 at Marlowes, a southern district of the town. The West Hertfordshire Infirmary is also to the south of the town between it and Boxmoor station. It was founded in 1826 at Piccott's End, a mile north of the town, but in 1831 Sir John Saunders Sebright built and endowed a larger building at Marlowes. The infirmary was further enlarged in 1863 and 1865, and in 1877 a new building was erected and opened by Princess Mary Adelaide, duchess of Teck.
On the hills south-west of Boxmoor station is a grass common called Rough Down, on which are two disused chalk pits. To many of the houses in Hemel Hempstead is affixed a red disc about 6 in. across, which denotes right of grazing on this common. Once a year these rights are sold at the rate of 7s. 6d. to graze one animal for one year.
Apsley End was formed into an ecclesiastical parish in 1873 from the adjoining parishes of Hemel Hemp stead, Abbots Langley, and King's Langley. It is on the River Gade, on which are several mills. At Apsley Mills are the large envelope and card manufactories of Messrs. Dickinson & Co., who also own Nash Paper Mill. There is also at Apsley a large brush factory, established a few years ago by Messrs. Kent & Sons.
Piccott's End is a large hamlet in the north of the parish on the Leighton Buzzard high road, about ¾ mile from the town of Hemel Hempstead. It contains village schools and a corn mill on the Gade. In the village is a large modern house called Piccott's End, the residence of Miss Lambert. Marchmont House, some parts of which are old, is now the residence of Mr. Gustavus Talbot.
The hamlet of Boxmoor lies a mile and a half to the south-west of Hemel Hempstead town. Its chief street runs along the edge of a long open common, through which the River Bulbourne takes its course. The hamlet lies on the north slope of the river valley, and is joined by continuous lines of houses to Hemel Hempstead. There are fisheries on the Bulbourne and large water-cress beds. The church stands on the east end of the common at a little distance from any houses. The Public Hall in St. John's Road was erected in 1889–90.
The parish of Hemel Hempstead formerly covered an area of 12,440 acres. Since 1841, however, the chapelries of Flaunden and Bovingdon have been counted as separate parishes, and the area is now given as 7,184 acres in Hemel Hempstead, 3,958 acres in Bovingdon, and 919 acres in Flaunden. Prior to this division the parish touched the Buckinghamshire border on the west and south, and the River Chess formed part of the county boundary. The hamlets of Two Waters, Corner Hall, and Crouchfield are still included within this parish, and indeed are practically suburbs of the town of Hemel Hempstead. Boxmoor was formed into a district chapelry out of Hemel Hempstead in 1844, (fn. 2) and in 1850 Leverstock Green was formed as a consolidated chapelry of Holy Trinity out of the parishes of St. Albans, Abbots Langley, and Hemel Hempstead. (fn. 3) In 1872 parts of Boxmoor and Leverstock Green were included in the new consolidated chapelry of St. Mary, Apsley End. (fn. 4)
In 1808 a stone coffin was discovered in Hemel Hempstead churchyard which was thought by some from a supposed inscription upon the lid to contain the ashes of Offa, king of Mercia. There is, however, no evidence in support of such a theory. (fn. 5)
Bovingdon is a small village standing on high land on the road from Chipperfield to Bourne End. In the village there is a well, now disused, with a pentagonal roof supported on pillars of timber. It was built to perpetuate the memory of the Honourable Granville D. Ryder of Westbrook Hay.
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries there seems to have been a large extent of common land in the neighbourhood. Shothanger, Dow Green, Rough Down, Howgrove, Water Moor, Spencer's Field, and Little Spencer's Field commons are mentioned, as well as the common by 'Reade's Ground,' that of Ashridge, and that of Flaunden by the church path. In 1650 Water Moor or Two Water Moor and Boxmoor were said to cover an area of 120 acres; Shrub Hill measured 7 acres, and Bovingdon Green about 4 acres. (fn. 6) A third part of the commons of Shothanger, Dow or Draw Green, and Rough Down were inclosed in 1663. (fn. 7) Boxmoor in 1806 contained 159 acres, and was in 1809 vested in trustees, who were allowed to lease part of the moor for any term not exceeding forty years, and to inclose not more than 40 acres for osier beds. (fn. 8) The moor had been vested in trustees as early as 1594.
The following place-names occur in the thirteenth-century records:—Brachewey, Thinnethorn, Epselspark, Tybeldon Pasture, Bauleweie, Gurihulle, and Lastockinge. Other place-names are Redditch, Elde Marlynges, the Tylekill, Buryfeld, Erlswood, Lords Harts Grove, Little Vessey, Hart Hill, and Westwick Cross. In 1617 Gallows Lane led from the 'boundstone' at the end of Waterend Moor. (fn. 9)
In 1620 there is mention of the town gate-house. (fn. 10)
Richard Field, author of the Book of the Church, and a great maintainer of Protestantism, was born in Hemel Hempstead in 1561, and educated at Berkhampstead School. (fn. 11)
Thomas Birch, F.S.A., and secretary of the Royal Society, received the first rudiments of education at a school in this town kept by Mr. Owen, a Quaker, for whom Birch afterwards acted as usher. (fn. 12) Robert, Lord Clive, was partly educated at a school in the parish. (fn. 13)
Hugh, the third and last earl of Marchmont, Lord Polwarth of Polwarth, resided at Hemel Hempstead and died there in 1794. He was an accomplished statesman, for six years a member of the House of Commons. He was on intimate terms with many distinguished men of his time, including Alexander Pope the poet and Lord Bolingbroke, the three being known as the triumvirate of friends. He was a zealous collector of rare books and manuscripts, and his collection is supposed to have been one of the most curious and valuable in Britain. (fn. 14)
Bovingdon church is the burial-place of Edmund Staunton, president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was appointed president in 1648 on the ejectment of Dr. Robert Newlyn, but was in his turn ejected in 1660, when Dr. Newlyn was reinstated. Staunton retired to Rickmansworth, and resided there for some time, preaching in many of the surrounding parishes. He was silenced like other Nonconformists in 1662, but continued to preach in private meetings. He afterwards moved to Bovingdon, where he died in 1671. (fn. 15)
Thomas Collett Sandars, editor of Justinian's Institutes, which appeared in 1853, was born at 'Lochnere' near Hemel Hempstead, in 1825. (fn. 16)
Seth Partridge, the mathematical writer, is probably identical with the Seth Partridge who died in 1685–6, and was buried in the church of Hemel Hempstead. He describes himself as a surveyor, but his time seems to have been chiefly occupied in teaching various branches of mathematics. His son and grandson, both named Seth, were also buried at Hemel Hempstead. (fn. 17)
Nicholas Stratford, bishop of Chester, was born at Hemel Hempstead in 1633. He was consecrated in 1689, and was one of the prelates to whom were committed the abortive scheme of revising the Prayer Book in that year. He was one of the governors of Queen Anne's Bounty. (fn. 18)
Pre-Roman, Roman, and Anglo-Saxon antiquities found in this neighbourhood point to a fairly continuous series of settlements on or about the site of the present town, but any early history of the borough is involved in great obscurity. In 1167–8 the men of Hemel Hempstead accounted separately for the aid for marrying the king's daughter, (fn. 19) but it was not till 29 December, 1539, that the town received a charter of incorporation from Henry VIII, under the title of 'the Bailiff and Inhabitants,' its government being vested in a bailiff, annually elected by the inhabitants on St. Andrew's day. The first bailiff, William Stephyns, was nominated by the king. (fn. 20) A market, a fair, and a court of piepowder to be held during markets and fairs, were granted at the same time.
It is difficult to ascertain what independent powers were ever possessed by the borough. A general meeting of the inhabitants was held yearly on St. Andrew's day, in the court loft, for the purpose of electing a bailiff; and the court of piepowder met usually within the following week. Like the general meeting it was announced by the town crier, and all who had business at it were invited to attend. At the court a jury of some twenty inhabitants was chosen, and these did not confine their attention to business connected with the markets and fairs, but also passed, occasionally, less particular ordinances, and invariably audited the accounts of outgoing bailiffs. (fn. 21) In 1656, the justices of assize examined the customs of the borough, and allowed them by a consequent order. In an accompanying statement it was declared that, in addition to the jury of the piepowder court, the bailiff must, within one month of his election, keep the court called 'a jury of choice inhabitants,' to consider the government of the borough. (fn. 22) There is, however, neither record nor memory of the existence of two juries, and it is probable that the Cromwellian justices gratified here their sense of symmetry by giving a separate individuality to the jurors of the piepowder court when the business of these was general. The borough, indeed, did not lose its connexion with the court of the manor paramount, in which many of its affairs were ordered. Not only the court of piepowder, but also the manorial court-baron and court-leet were held in the court loft over the market-house, (fn. 23) which, in 1663, was maintained by the bailiff. (fn. 24) In the survey of 1617 the jurors declared that they knew of no court rolls, rentals, court books, or surveys in the hands of any but the steward and other officers of the king, then lord of the manor; and it is certain that the jurors did not consider the borough to lie outside their province, since they made explicit declarations as to the market and fair. (fn. 25) It was alleged in 1663 that two books of records belonged to the bailiff and inhabitants; of these one was the Court Roll of Eastbrook, which was certainly a sub-manor to the manor of Hemel Hempstead, and it had been found among the writings of Sir Richard Combes, lately steward of the manor, who, it is said, 'kept the writings belonging to the town, received the book from the bailiff, and kept the counts for the bailiff.' (fn. 26) This quotation seems to express either a mistaken view of the probable fact, that ordinary business of the borough was transacted in the manorial court; or it gives the additional information that the court of piepowder was at this period held by the steward of the manor. The first supposition is strengthened by the record of the transactions of the court-leet of 1593, which included the election of constables and of headborough men. (fn. 27)
In 1584 an agreement was made between the bailiff of the honour of Berkhampstead and the bailiff of the town, in which it was decided that the latter should collect amercements and estreats in the borough, and at the next leet tourn day should account for one-half of such to the bailiff of the honour. He must demand no fines without the consent of the high steward, and must yield a true account of those he levied. (fn. 28)
The borough was staunch in its support of the reformed faith, and until its new incorporation it was customary for the bailiff to take an oath of allegiance to the Protestant Church. (fn. 29) In 1825 and in 1829 the bailiff and inhabitants petitioned the Houses of Parliament against further concessions to Roman Catholics, and against their admission to political power. On the second of these occasions they were encouraged by a letter from Sir Astley Paston Cooper, the famous surgeon, who was then living at Gadebridge Park. (fn. 30)
Hemel Hempstead was not scheduled in the Municipal Corporations Act of 1882, and therefore it retained its ancient constitution. The establishment, however, of the various new local authorities deprived it of all real power. The meetings of the court of piepowder became largely formal; they continued until 2 December, 1897, when the business of the court was the inspection of the municipal buildings, the perambulation of the market, and the collection of tolls. (fn. 31) On 8 June, 1898, a royal charter created Hemel Hempstead a municipal borough in accordance with the Act of 1882. In virtue of this charter the corporation acquired the title of 'the Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses of Hemel Hempstead'; the number of councillors was limited to eighteen, of whom nine are elected by the north and south wards respectively. (fn. 32)
The charter of Henry VIII granted to the bailiff and inhabitants a weekly market on Thursday, and an annual fair on Corpus Christi Day, with all profits and fines arising from fair, market, and court of piepowder. (fn. 33) In 1647 this court decided that a wool market would be of benefit to the town, and therefore ordered that the court loft should be conveniently placed for the sale of wool. (fn. 34)
In 1656 the market was said to be 'of great public resort,' (fn. 35) and in 1666 it is called 'the very granary of London.' (fn. 36) In the former year the inhabitants petitioned the committee for trade and navigation that they might have three more fairs, in October and Lent and at Easter, since their town was a fit place for the sale of country and London goods. They stated that they held their existing market and fair free of toll, except for the enrolment of cattle sold, for pens for cattle and stalls for wares. The petition was subscribed by ninety-seven persons, and was supported by certificates from eleven justices of the peace of Hertfordshire, from the mayor and seventy-eight persons of St. Albans, and from 598 inhabitants of adjacent towns. (fn. 37) In the same year a writ ad quod damnum was issued regarding the proposed fairs, which were subsequently granted, to take place on the Wednesday after the fair of Leighton Buzzard on 13 October, on the second Thursday in Lent, and on Easter Tuesday. (fn. 38) It does not appear that they were enjoyed after the Restoration.
In 1663 the bailiff had received in one year £25 as profits which accrued from stalls and shops in the fair and markets. Out of this sum £3 had been allowed, according to custom, for making a feast for the inhabitants on fair day. All stalls were movable, and some were taken down at the end of each market or fair; they were erected at the cost of the bailiff. (fn. 39)
The importance of the straw-plaiting industry in the beginning of the nineteenth century necessitated special regulations. In 1809 there is an allusion to straw-plait markets, in which, under penalty of 40s., none might buy or sell straw plait before seven o'clock from Michaelmas to Lady Day, or before eight o'clock during the rest of the year. (fn. 40) In 1813 the sale of this commodity was confined to the plait market in Collet's yard, (fn. 41) whose site became the King's Arms yard in 1832, when it was forbidden to expose plait for sale on the general market day. (fn. 42)
In 1803 a statute fair was first held. It was in its beginning a hiring fair, and was under the control of the bailiff. Its receipts, however, dwindled to nothing, and its original use being lost, the bailiff's control ceased, and the fair came to be held in a field behind the Rose and Crown Inn. The charter fair still takes place; it was removed from the streets to the site of the statute fair in or about 1877, and was in 1888 a cattle fair. A corn market and a general market take place weekly. There were, in 1888, moderate charges for stallage, but no tolls. (fn. 43)
In the seventeenth century the market-house, the court loft over it, the shambles, and the standings, shops, and pens in the market-place stood on the east of the churchyard, between it and the street, (fn. 44) and there was a lengthy dispute as to the ownership of their site. In 1623 the shambles, pens and standings, and that part of the market-house and of the demolished church-house then inclosed in the vicar's orchard, the ground to the west of the market, and all appertaining buildings, ways, profits, and commodities were leased by order of Prince Charles, then lord of the manor, and evidently on the presumption that they stood on the lord's waste, to Josias Martin and others for thirty-one years, on condition that the lessees should build an almshouse and a schoolhouse for the poor of the town. (fn. 45) In 1650 the almshouse and schoolhouse had not been built; (fn. 46) and during the Civil War the lessees or their representatives entered upon the church-house, the town loft, and the courthouse, and claimed that these premises were not on the lord's waste but belonged to the bailiff and capital burgesses; that they, the holders, paid rents for them to certain individuals and received rents from them, as churchwardens, for the repair of the church and the relief of the poor; and that their title as churchwardens had been confirmed in 1616. (fn. 47) In 1662–3 the bailiff and inhabitants petitioned the king for a grant for thirty-one years of the waste ground in the common street of the town on which markets and fairs had for long been held, and of which certain persons had tried to obtain a grant to the ruin of the petitioners, and their request was conceded. (fn. 48) In 1663 it was declared, in the course of a suit before the Exchequer, that the market-place, reputed to be part of the king's waste, was used by the bailiff and inhabitants for the good of the town, for the putting out of poor children and the payment of debts. The trustees for the town and the bailiff had taken no money for the setting up of sheep-pens, because they had not built a schoolhouse in accordance with the lease. The defendants in the suit had set up sheep pens on land reputed to be their freehold, for which they paid nothing to the bailiff: they had shops on the old market-place, which was not known to be the king's waste; on the new market-place by the churchyard wall, which was believed to be such; and on land in the market-place let to them by the bailiff, its reputed owner. (fn. 49) Later in this year it was declared that the market-house, court, and shambles were maintained by the bailiff, that the inhabitants of Hemel Hempstead held a lease of the market-place, and that they had never heard of a provision as to the building of an almshouse or a schoolhouse out of the profits. (fn. 50) Finally in 1666 the Attorney-General was ordered, on the petition of the inhabitants, to cease his prosecution and to cause a non prosequendum to be entered on record that the town and county might receive their former benefit from the market. (fn. 51) In 1673 it was decided, after a citation of precedents of the reign of Elizabeth, James I, and Charles I, that the church-house, town loft and court-house belonged to the crown. (fn. 52) In 1730 the stalls and shops in the market-place were leased to Henshaw Halsey for 23¼ years from 1736, with the provision that he should repair the standings and sheep-pens. (fn. 53)
In 1638 the vicar of Hemel Hempstead leased to the bailiff, on behalf of the inhabitants, and for twenty-one years, a part of the market-house which was called the women's market-house, with its stands, stalls, and other appurtenances. It had been built formerly by some of the parishioners on land which belonged to the vicar. (fn. 54)
The ancient market-place was occupied in the beginning of the nineteenth century by a long range of corn lofts which stood on wooden pillars, and underneath which the open markets were held. The court loft was at the north end. In 1825 a town hall was erected in the centre of these buildings; in 1851–52 it was demolished with the northern portion of the market-house, and a new town hall was built above the open market-place, which was preserved until, in 1857, it was inclosed to form a corn exchange. The stalls, which had been a part of the market, were then transferred to the street. In 1868 the remaining south part of the market-house was pulled down, and a new market-house, with corn stores above it, was erected on the site. The town acquired, before 1888, part of the churchyard, with which and with some town land a new marketplace was formed. (fn. 55)
Money, not inclusive of the wheat and oats due to the king, then lord of the manor, was collected in Hemel Hempstead in 1617, and was devoted to the house of correction, to the gaol, and to maimed soldiers, in the proportion of one, three, and six. (fn. 56) In 1700 'proper work and labour' were provided for the 'constant employment of poor persons' committed to the house of correction, which was maintained in 1741. (fn. 57) There were free schools in the borough in 1694. (fn. 58) The Royal British School for boys existed in 1832 and previously, and was the property of trustees. (fn. 59) In 1813 the use of the court-room was granted for a school of industry, to be held at the pleasure of the bailiff. (fn. 60)
The manor of HEMEL HEMPSTEAD was held before the Conquest by two brothers who were men of Earl Lewin. It was given by William I to the count of Mortain, who held it at the time of the Domesday Survey; (fn. 61) and henceforth it followed the descent of the honour of Great Berkhampstead, of which it was held, (fn. 62) until it was conferred about 1285 on the rector and brothers of the college of Ashridge by Edmund, earl of Cornwall. (fn. 63) Edmund's grant included lands and tenements which he had of the gift of William son of Ulian Chenduit, William de Bliburgh, Geoffrey le Somenur, and John Godsalm'; and lands to which he had established his claim, as his villeinage, in the court of the king, against William de Bliburgh, John Godsalm,' Hugh de Stretelee, John de la Bruere, Agnes his mother, and Joan daughter of Edmund Blakethorne. (fn. 64) It is probable that some small holders had become his men, and that the tenure of others had been debased. During the first half of the thirteenth century half a fee in Hemel Hempstead, afterwards the whole or part of the brothers' possessions there, (fn. 65) was held of Richard, earl of Cornwall, by a certain Germanus, and was inherited by his daughter Lucy Lovell, (fn. 66) whose son and heir was William. (fn. 67) In 1286–7 Edmund manumitted all the villeins of Hemel Hempstead. (fn. 68) He had held the return of all royal writs which touched the manor or its men, pleas vetiti namii, pleas of the crown except appeals and outlawries, goods of felons and fugitives when justices itinerant came to Berkhampstead, view of frankpledge, assize of bread and ale, pleas of raising hue and cry and of bloodshed, perquisites of the woods of Eastbrook and Bovingdon, and the pasture of the Frith. (fn. 69) In the confirmation of the grant to Ashridge Edward I reserved the royal warren of Le Frith, but conceded in this wood rights of pasture, of keeping pigs without payment of pannage, and of taking hares and rabbits; and the rights of housebote and heybote for the inclosures of the park of Ashridge. (fn. 70) Free warren in Hemel Hempstead, Bovingdon, Frithesden, and Gaddesden was granted in 1309. (fn. 71) In 1287 the rector claimed the additional privileges of gallows, tumbrel, and pillory. (fn. 72) The earl's grant was further ratified by Edward II; and, in 1336, by Edward III, who at the same time, because the brothers had no means to cultivate certain lands and waters in the manor, authorized some existing leases, and licensed the making of others. (fn. 73) The various charters, embodying the manorial privileges, were confirmed by letters patent of Edward IV, Henry VII, Henry VIII, and by Elizabeth. (fn. 74) At the dissolution of religious houses the manor accrued to the crown. It was held by Elizabeth before her accession; (fn. 75) in 1610 it was granted to Prince Henry of Wales, (fn. 76) and, after his death, to Prince Charles. (fn. 77) In 1650 it was sold with the other possessions of the late king. (fn. 78)
A moiety of the manor was then acquired by John Rayner, (fn. 79) who, with his wife Joan, sold it in 1651 to William Taylor, alderman of York, William Wood, merchant of London, and to John Clayton, junior, Thomas Oates, William Scudamore, and John Crowther, all of Yorkshire. (fn. 80) These persons in 1653–4 conveyed part of their interest to James Danby and Nicholas Sanderton, of Yorkshire. (fn. 81) In 1655 the eight possessors of the moiety of the manor sold it to Richard Combes of Gray's Inn and Hemel Hempstead, who paid £1,000 to Taylor and Scudamore, and 5s. to Clayton, Wood, Oates, Crowther, Danby, and Sanderson (fn. 82); Richard had already, in 1651, received a grant of the Oate Barne and the Wheat Barne, then in the possession of Tobias Combes, and part of the late possessions of the dean and chapter of St. Paul's. (fn. 83) The other half of the manor of Hemel Hempstead was conferred by the trustees in 1651 on John Grove of Westminster and other original creditors. (fn. 84) The whole manor reverted to the crown at the Restoration, but Richard Combes received in 1660 a grant of the office of steward of the manor, of the custody of the courtleet and the view of frankpledge. (fn. 85) Before 1662–3 he had been knighted; (fn. 86) in 1675 or 1676 he died, and Denzil Holles succeeded him as steward. (fn. 87) The manor was bestowed by Charles II on his queen Katherine of Braganza, in 1665. (fn. 88) In 1702 a lease of it was granted to Thomas Halsey, (fn. 89) to whose son Henshaw it was renewed in 1736 for 23¼ years. The lessee was bound to repair standings and sheep pens in the market. (fn. 90) Thomas Halsey, nephew of Henshaw, obtained a lease for thirty-one years in 1784, (fn. 91) and died in 1788. (fn. 92) His trustees in 1815 purchased the manor of the crown to the use of Sarah, only daughter and heir of Thomas Halsey, and Joseph Thompson Halsey her husband, for their lives with remainder to their heirs male, and contingent remainder to their right heirs. (fn. 93) In 1869, on the death of Sarah, (fn. 94) whose second husband was the Rev. John Fitz Moore Halsey, (fn. 95) the manor came to her grandson the Rt. Hon. Thomas Frederick Halsey, (fn. 96) the present possessor.
The dairy and meadows of Hemel Hempstead and the stock, which consisted of a bull, twelve cows, a boar and a sow, were in 1535 leased by Thomas Waterhouse, the last rector of Ashridge, to Richard Combes and to John Waterhouse, (fn. 97) who, since his daughter Agnes married Robert Combes, (fn. 98) was probably Richard's grandfather. The royal grant of a charter to the borough is said to have been an outcome of the king's favour to this John. (fn. 99) Richard Combes bought from the crown in 1540, for £108, the reversion and yearly rent of the premises in his tenure, and also other possessions of the late college, which were charged with an annual rent of £12 and were the site of the manor of Hempstedbury or Hemel Hempstead, different meadows, the water-mill of Bury, and the watercourse and fishery attached to it. (fn. 100) The property was settled on Richard and his wife Alice in 1557, (fn. 101) and he was succeeded in 1595 by his son Francis. (fn. 102) In a survey made in 1617 it was stated that the house in which Francis Combes, esq., dwelt, with certain lands, was in the manor of Hemel Hempstead, but not parcel thereof. The jurors had heard, however, that certain demesne lands had been granted to Mr. Combes. (fn. 103) The house indicated must be the old Bury whose independent ownership has survived. Francis was succeeded in 1626 by a son of his own name, (fn. 104) who held a lease from the dean and chapter of St. Paul's of the tithes of Hemel Hempstead; and a document in the archives of the cathedral describes him as 'always an enemy to the ministry, to injure those who stood up for prelacy. He came only three times to church in three years, and then only in hopes to be elected a parliament man.' It is further stated that he destroyed seventeen acres of firewood and timber. He bought certain lands from the dean and chapter. (fn. 105) In 1641 he died and was succeeded by his brother Tobias, (fn. 106) whose possessions were probably sequestered under the Commonwealth. (fn. 107) Sir Richard Combes, the steward, may have been a member of this family.
It is said that John Waterhouse entertained Henry VIII in the Bury, of which the porch, surmounted by an upper story on which the arms of Richard Combes are carved, is still standing. Local tradition has named it 'Charter Tower,' and made it the site of the granting of the charter, but the porch is of later date than 1539. Richard Combes is alleged to have pulled down the old house and to have built another, which in its turn was demolished in or about the year 1790, when Mr. Ginger built a new house on its site. The existing house is more modern, and is a square building of brick. The Bury was the property of Mr. Hilton in 1819, and the residence of Mr. Harry Grover, solicitor and banker at Hemel Hempstead, from about 1800 to 1850, and of Lieut-Col. William H. D. Jones in 1899. It is now inhabited by Mr. George Crawley. There is said to be an underground passage in the garden of the Bury. (fn. 108)
In the surveys of the manor made in 1617 (fn. 109) and 1650, (fn. 110) the boundaries, extent, and customs, are very fully set forth. The boundaries of the moiety of the manor sold to John Grove were from a great willow by the river side upon the borders of King's Langley towards the east, through certain lands called Chapman's lands, and so through the land called Bowstridge Lane towards the south, and from the upper end of the same lane to a place called Latimers in the south; from thence to a river called Cheyneys River, towards the west, and thus to Ashridge Common on the west; from thence to a hill called Layehill to the north-west and to Bourne End to the north, and thence to Long Lane, which extended to Water End on the north, and thence to Houlesmeare End towards the north-east; from thence to Leverstock Green to the great willow first mentioned.
A court-leet and a court-baron belonged to the manor and were held on Tuesday after Trinity Sunday 'in a loft over the Markett House commonly called the Courte lofte.' (fn. 111) Head-borough men, 'desyners,' and others owed suit to the court and were amerced for default by the affeerers. (fn. 112) At the courtleet held in 1593 there was an election of three constables for Hemel Hempstead, one for Bovingdon, and one for Flaunden; of seven head-borough men for Hemel Hempstead, three for Bovingdon, and one for Flaunden; and for all the manor, of two triers of flesh and fish and one trier of ale. (fn. 113) The lord's court was held at his pleasure every three weeks, and an extraordinary court of eighteen might be summoned by the steward if there were variance between lord and tenant or tenant and tenant. (fn. 114) No tenant might implead another outside the lord's court, in matters within its cognizance, without a licence obtained in it, on pain of forfeiture of his estate. (fn. 115)
The customary fine payable upon admission of a copyhold tenant was half a year's quit-rent; and the heriot was the second best 'live or quick beast' after the best had been chosen by the heir, the best good 'whether the same were gowne, coate, cupp, pott, or pann' if the dead man had had only one beast, and the second best good if he had none.
No bastard nor unenfranchised alien could inherit. (fn. 116) Tenants might sell wood and timber. The offence of removing timber from within another's hedge was punished by the stocks and by a fine of 13s. Any man of the manor who harboured a stranger must find security sufficient to exonerate the parish with which the manor coincided. (fn. 117) In 1520 it was declared that no tenants or inhabitants might fish in the lord's waters, nor hunt, hawk or take the beasts and the fowls of warrens within the lordship, without the lord's licence. (fn. 118) The jurors of 1617 stated that, in their belief, hunting, hawking, and fowling belonged to the lord, who was Prince Charles; but that he held then no water, park, nor warren, and no common except a few trees, and that there were none who dug his soil. Waifs and strays taken in the manor by the bailiff belonged to him. The Frith, like Francis Combes' dwelling, and certain other lands, was said, in 1617, to be in the manor but not of it. (fn. 119)
Water Moor or Two Water Moor and Boxmoor, together with the liberties of fishing in the water that ran in and through these meadows, were claimed by the inhabitants of Hempstead and Bovingdon, within the said manors, by force of an indenture bearing date 26 April, 1594, by which they had been lawfully conveyed to John Rolfe, Richard Pope, and others, in trust for the inhabitants of Hemel Hempstead and Bovingdon. John Rolfe and Richard Pope afterwards enfeoffed and confirmed the premises to Francis Combes, Thomas Howe, and others, to the same use. (fn. 120) These commons were held in free socage as of the manor of East Greenwich. (fn. 121) In 1617 the inhabitants of the manor were said to have enjoyed their commons from 'time out of mind' by prescriptive right, as belonging to their lands and tenements. (fn. 122) The township had, in 1593, no pillory. (fn. 123) The lord of the manor was obliged, in 1650, to repair the common pound. (fn. 124)
In the Domesday Survey there is mention of four mills in Hemel Hempstead. (fn. 125) Pikotmill, two water-mills, and a court mill are mentioned in 1268–9; (fn. 126) and five mills were confirmed to the house of Ashridge in 1290; they were Picotesmilne, Burmilne, Welpesburnemilne, Fellingmelne and Tuewatirmelne; (fn. 127) and they are numbered among the possessions of the house, in 1540–1, as Pyggottes Mill, Burn Myll, Bury Mill, le Fulling myll, and le Covent Myll. (fn. 128) The history of Bury Mill is that of Bury House; it still stands near the ruins of the Charter Tower. In 1580–2 two corn mills under one roof called Pickett's End Mills, two fulling mills under one roof with a house, a garden, and fishing on Two Waters Moor, and two other corn-mills called Covent Mill under one roof, with tenements at Frogmore, were let to John, Henry, and Edward Waterhouse for the life of the survivor. (fn. 129) These were all water-mills and were stated, in 1617, to be the only premises in the manor held under a lease of the prince. (fn. 130) In 1650 Henry and Edward Waterhouse were apparently still alive; and therefore grants of the same mills to Elizabeth Smithson or Taylor in 1590–1, (fn. 131) and to Edward Ferrers and Francis Phillips in 1609, (fn. 132) can have concerned only the rent paid by the lessees. Two water-mills and mills at Piccott's End and Frogmore are still in existence. At Frogmore Mill in 1804 Miss H. F. T. Fourdrinier started the first paper-machine for making continuous webs of paper. (fn. 133)
The manor of FLAUNDEN (Flanden, Flandine, Flawenden) was included in the liberty of Berkhampstead. (fn. 134) It appears to have been held, in the thirteenth century, by Thomas son of Nicholas de Flaunden, who, by several grants of lands and rents, conveyed it, before 1279, to Sir Hugh son of Otto. In descriptions of the boundaries of land thus granted there occur mentions of roads called Church Wey and Fryhtdene Wey; of the bank Pitelburn, the boundary of the Newemede which was taken from the Oldemede; of Boynhulle; of Pelhameslond; and of 20 acres of wood. (fn. 135) In 1279 Sir Hugh, for his laudable service, received a grant from the king of free warren in the demesne lands of his manor of Flaunden, provided these did not lie within the metes of the royal forest. (fn. 136) The manor was held of Hemel Hempstead, for during the thirteenth century Edmund of Cornwall gave licence to a man of Flaunden to leave his tithing. (fn. 137) It must have been conveyed to the house of Ashridge by the inclusion, in the earl's grant, of the homage and services of the heirs of the late Thomas de Flaunden, which were due for a tenement in Hemel Hempstead. (fn. 138) In 1303 the rector and brethren held a quarter of a fee in Flaunden, of the king in frankalmoign, by the gift of Edmund, earl of Cornwall. (fn. 139) Flaunden became merged in the manor paramount, (fn. 140) and no separate mention of it occurs in the enumeration of the possessions of the college in 1540–1. The tradition of its separate identity survived, however. In the survey of 1617 it was stated that the hamlet of Flaunden was within the manor, but that the inhabitants were liable to no common fines except head silver, which they paid at the general court-leet with the other men of the manor. (fn. 141) At the time of the Dissolution a yearly rent of 1s. accrued to the abbey of St. Albans from land in Flaunden. (fn. 142)
The manor of BOVINGDON (Bovenden) has been annexed to the manor of Hemel Hempstead from the time when there is first evidence of its existence. (fn. 143) In the survey of 1617 there are exactly parallel references to Bovingdon and to Flaunden. (fn. 144) In early times Bovingdon appears to have consisted entirely of woodland and waste, and in 1289–90 it comprised 10 acres of wood, and 254 acres of waste land, whereon the queen and her tenants of Langley, and others had rights of common. (fn. 145)
The manor of WESTBROOK HAY (Westbrookehaynes, Hay, Estbrokehay and Westhay) in Bovingdon was held of the manor of Hemel Hempstead. (fn. 146) It is first mentioned in grants made by Queen Eleanor, and confirmed by King John in 1199 (fn. 147) and 1204, (fn. 148) of 2 acres in 'Estbroc,' and of 30 acres of assart in the wood of 'Estbroc' to the church of St. Mary of Pré, near St. Albans. This manor was not included in the grant to the house of Ashridge. In 1238 there is reference to the court of Robert de Hagh, clerk, at Hayha, in the parish of Hemel Hempstead (fn. 149); in 1249–50 Frethesenta de Haya was involved in a suit concerning one-third of the manor of La Haye. (fn. 150) It is, therefore, probable that Robert had held the manor, and that Frethesenta claimed the third part as his widow. John de la Hay for his good services received in 1312 a royal grant for life of all lands at La Haye, lately the property of Thomas of Chetyndon and Thomas le Bercher, which the king held of the gift of Piers Gaveston, earl of Cornwall (fn. 151); and thus the possessions of the family must have gained importance. This John may have been he who was justice in Essex in 1311. (fn. 152) He received, in 1325, a licence to have an oratory in his manor. (fn. 153) Before 1334–5 the reversion of the messuage with 100 acres of land, granted to him by the king, had been conferred on Hugh de Turplyngton. (fn. 154) In this year it was found by an inquisition that Walter son of Hugh was free to confer such reversion on Thomas de la Hay, son of John. (fn. 155) In 1335, however, the king revoked his grant to Hugh on the ground that it had been obtained to his prejudice and by the procurement of Roger, earl of March; and transferred the messuage and lands in question to John de Molyns, king's yeoman. At this date John de la Hay, the grantee of 1312, was dead. John de Molyns, in the next year, transferred the property he had received to John de la Hay, parson of the church of Weston Turville, and his heirs, (fn. 156) and the action received royal confirmation. (fn. 157) It is uncertain whether the elder John de la Hay was succeeded in his tenancy of the manor by his son Thomas, by John the parson, by neither of them, or by both in succession. In 1344–5 Edward de la Hay received a licence to alienate lands in Hemel Hempstead to the house of Ashridge, and was probably the holder of the manor. (fn. 158) It is called the manors of Westhay and Estbrokehay in 1442–3, when these were settled on Richard de la Hay and his wife Margaret, and on their sons Matthew, William, and Robert. (fn. 159) Such settlement was declared void in 1454–5, and the manor was entailed on Matthew and his heirs male. (fn. 160) The succeeding members of this family to hold the manor cannot be traced. The last of the name, Edward, devised it before 1541 to his two daughters, (fn. 161) in the two portions of Estbrokehay and Westbrokehay, severally. Of these the first fell to his daughter Mary Goodere, a widow in 1538. (fn. 162) In 1594 an interest in the manor, once of Edward de la Hay, was held by John Pare and his wife Lucy, who were probably Mary's heirs or successors, and who conveyed their estate to James Mayne, the ultimate holder of Westbrook Hay. (fn. 163)
This manor was, in 1581, held by Ralph Bullocke, gentleman, and Mary his wife, (fn. 164) one of whom may have been a descendant of the other daughter of Edward de la Hay. In 1589 Ralph and Mary granted its reversion with forty messuages, land in Bovingdon, Hemel Hempstead, and Great Gaddesden, to Roger Horton, whose wife was Margery. (fn. 165) They subsequently, in 1592, alienated their life interest to Richard Horton in return for a rent. (fn. 166)
Within their lifetime a lease of the manor for nine years was conveyed to Henry Mayne by Roger Horton, who, in 1592, sold the manor to James Mayne, son of Henry, and to the heirs of James. (fn. 167) These transactions appear to have amounted to a conveyance of the manor to Henry Mayne, and a settlement of it on his son, in tail. Such settlement was repeated in 1602 on the marriage of James to Mary, daughter of the late John Andrews of Hitchin. (fn. 168) In 1604 Henry died in possession of the manor, and was succeeded by James, who died in 1625, and whose son and heir was another James. (fn. 169) This James was followed by his son John, a ward of the king, (fn. 170) who died before his majority, in 1645, and left as heirs his sisters Mary and Sarah, both under age. (fn. 171) In 1650 the manor belonged to Mrs. Sarah Mayne and Mr. Richard Wood, probably trustees for Mary and Sarah. (fn. 172) Mary married Thomas Engeham, and in 1656 he and Mary his wife conveyed half the manor to Joshua Lomax, (fn. 173) who in 1667 acquired the second half from William Glascock, (fn. 174) whose wife was Sarah, the other daughter of James Mayne. (fn. 175) Joshua was lord of all the manor in 1676, (fn. 176) and was succeeded by his son Thomas, who held it in 1691 (fn. 177) and in 1694. (fn. 178) His heir was his daughter Anne, who married Richard Ryder. (fn. 179) From Richard and Anne the manor passed to their son Lomax, who died childless in 1779, and whose possessions were inherited by his brother Thomas. (fn. 180) Clutterbuck states that Thomas, who died in 1812, devised the manor to the Right Hon. Richard Ryder, (fn. 181) brother of Dudley earl of Harrowby, who died without surviving issue in 1832; (fn. 182) and Cussans gives the further information that Richard bequeathed the manor to his nephew, (fn. 183) the Hon. Granville Dudley Ryder, the son of Dudley, Lord Harrowby. (fn. 184) The manor is now held by Mr. Dudley Henry Ryder, J.P.
In 1565 John Somerford and Jane his wife conveyed the manor of MARESCHALL in Bovingdon to Thomas Penyston. (fn. 185) It probably afterwards became known as the manor of Peniston or Penneston, which is mentioned in a survey of Bovingdon in 1676, and was then held by Joshua Lomax freely by charter for fealty and suit of court, and a yearly rent of 60s. 2d. (fn. 186) This manor seems to have become annexed to Westbrook Hay, and descended with it to the Ryder family. (fn. 187)
The manor of AIGNELLS (Aynells, Agnells, Agnews, Agnalls) was held of the manor of Hemel Hempstead in free socage by the service of 40s. yearly. (fn. 188) It was long in the tenure of the family of Aignel, who were, from a remote period, landholders in Hemel Hempstead. William Aignel received a grant of land there in the twelfth century; (fn. 189) in the first half of the thirteenth century Lucy Lovell, daughter of Germanus, conferred half a virgate of land in Bovingdon on a William Aignel; (fn. 190) in 1269 Adam Aignel, who appears to have been the son of William, acknowledged a debt, (fn. 191) and in 1315–16 there is mention of Sir John Aignel and of John his son, who were respectively son and grandson of Adam. (fn. 192) The latter is identical with a John Aignel, who made grants of land in Hemel Hempstead, and who had a son William, whose son John (fn. 193) died a minor in 1361, when he held of the rector of Ashridge, in Hemel Hempstead, a very ruinous messuage and a carucate of land of the annual rent of 30s. His son John succeeded him at the age of three, (fn. 194) and at his death, early in the fifteenth century, the manor passed to Joan his kinswoman and heir, who, it would seem, married as a second husband John Spendlove or Spenlow. (fn. 195) In 1423–4 Henry Frowick released to John Spendlove and Joan all his right in lands which formerly belonged to John Aignel in Redbourn and Hemel Hempstead. (fn. 196) John and Joan had a son, Edward Spendlove, who conveyed the manor to his mother Joan on 30 September, 1465. (fn. 197) Edward, the son, had two daughters, Eleanor, who married Edward Bestney of St. Albans, and Agnes, who married Thomas Billington of West Chester. (fn. 198) The manor of Aignells seems to have fallen to the share of the latter of these ladies, who with her husband conveyed it in 1516 to William Stanley and Thomas Lucas. (fn. 199) It subsequently came to the Coningsby family, and in 1544 John Coningsby conveyed it to William Cade and Simon Potter and the heirs of Simon, (fn. 200) for the purposes of some settlement. In 1564 Henry Coningsby, son of John, sold it to John Besouthe, (fn. 201) who held it in 1595. (fn. 202) He, or possibly his son, was alive in 1621, when John Besouthe had dealings with a Thomas Martyn as to land at Redbourn, the adjoining parish. (fn. 203) John died seised of the manor in 1643, leaving as his heirs his daughters, Hester Martyn and Mary King, (fn. 204) upon whom he had settled Aignells in 1641. (fn. 205) They held the manor jointly in 1650, (fn. 206) and in 1676 Mrs. King's moiety had passed to her son, Francis King. (fn. 207) Mrs. Martyn had apparently married William Houlker, who held the other half of the manor in 1676 (fn. 208) and in 1688. (fn. 209) This portion of the manor came, according to Clutterbuck, into the possession of John Houlker, and passed at his death to his two daughters, Hannah and Elizabeth. (fn. 210) In 1718 their property was in the possession of Hannah Heydon, Hannah Meadowe, and Hester Leigh, who held it jointly with their respective husbands, James Heydon, Peter Meadowe, and Joshua Leigh. (fn. 211) These persons conveyed their moiety of Aignells to Henry Hunt, (fn. 212) who, in 1721, sold it to Robert Burton. He, in 1734, alienated the reversion after his death to Francis Meyrick, Elizabeth his wife, and their daughter Jane. (fn. 213) Francis and Elizabeth were the holders in 1737; (fn. 214) Elizabeth and Jane in 1748. (fn. 215) By a will, dated 10 January, 1804, Jane Meyrick conveyed her half of the manor to Edward Gordon, (fn. 216) who, with his wife, Jane Marie, held it in 1809. (fn. 217) In 1814 he conveyed it to trustees for the use of Thomas George Lyon Bowes, infant son of the Hon. Thomas Lyon Bowes, afterwards earl of Strathmore, and Mary Elizabeth Louisa Rodney, his wife. The other half of the manor belonged to this lady as heir of her father, George Carpenter of Redbourn, and thus the manor became reunited. (fn. 218) In 1823 Thomas George, Lord Glamis, and Charlotte, his wife, conveyed the manor to George Hundleby, (fn. 219) perhaps for a settlement upon Charlotte, to whom the manor came on the death of Lord Glamis in 1834. (fn. 220) His eldest son, Thomas George, succeeded his grandfather, Thomas Lyon, in the earldom in 1846, and died without issue in 1854, when he was succeeded by his brother Claude, thirteenth earl of Strathmore. (fn. 221) Charlotte, widow of Lord Glamis, died in 1881, and Claude died in 1904, when he was succeeded by his eldest son, Claude George, the present earl. (fn. 222) This manor seems now to have lost all manorial rights; and its site is probably marked by Agnells Farm in the north-east of the parish, popularly called St. Agnells, as the result, presumably, of an unhappy guess at the origin of its name.
The manor of WOODHALL was held of the king for the service of the twentieth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 223) In 1199 King John granted to Agatha, nurse of his mother Eleanor, queen of England, part of the common wood which the queen held with the abbot of St. Albans in the manor of Hemel Hempstead, with land and pasture and a rent of 2s. 10d., which three villeins who dwelt next that wood were wont to pay. This land was to be held of the queen for the rent of a pound of cummin at Michaelmas. (fn. 224) In 1228 Agatha, wife of William de Gatesden, granted land in Hemel Hempstead, held of the king for this same rent, to the church of St. Giles in the Wood. (fn. 225) From the Ministers' Accounts of the reign of Henry VIII, it appears that the priory of St. Giles held the manor of Woodhall in Hemel Hempstead, in which the land granted to them by Agatha (fn. 226) may be recognized. This manor was leased by Agnes Croke prioress of St. Giles in the Wood to John Marston son of John Marston and Joan his wife for a term of twenty-four years from Michaelmas 1538, when a former lease to John Marston the elder would have expired. (fn. 227) The prioress paid a rent of 2s. to the rector of Ashridge for this manor. It was granted in 1539 to Sir Richard Page, (fn. 228) and descended with the manor of Beechwood in Flamstead (q.v.) to his daughter Elizabeth wife of William Skipwith. It was evidently let by William and Elizabeth Skipwith to John Yonge, for he in 1570–1 obtained licence to alienate the manor of Woodhall, held of them, to William and Francis Marston, who were to hold it of John and his heirs for fifteen years, with remainder, after the death of Francis son of William, to Sir William Skipwith and the heirs of Elizabeth. (fn. 229) In 1574 Sir William Skipwith, and Richard Skipwith and Mary his wife conveyed the manor to William Marston, (fn. 230) who in 1577 granted it to Francis Marston. (fn. 231) Francis died seised of the manor in 1580, leaving his brother William his heir, (fn. 232) and William died in 1602, one month after he had conveyed this manor to his son Joseph who had married Mary daughter of Thomas Porter of Ayot St. Lawrence. (fn. 233) Joseph died seised of the manor in 1637, and his son Joseph was his heir. (fn. 234) The manor remained in the family of Marston till 1725, when William Marston and Sarah his wife conveyed it to George Carpenter. (fn. 235) the holder of half the manor of Aignells; and thus it became united with that manor in the possession of the earls of Strathmore, (fn. 236) and lost with it all manorial rights. Woodhall Farm, which probably marks the site of this manor, lies in the east of the parish.
The so-called manor of BUERS (Bures, Beavers, Bewers), in Boxhamsted, was held in the early part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth by Robert Eames, who held it of the queen as of the manor of Hemel Hempstead in free socage for a rent of 43s. per annum, (fn. 237) and sold it to John Axtell of Hemel Hempstead. (fn. 238) In 1676 it was held by Thomas Fryer freely by charter for fealty and suit at court, and a yearly rent of 23s. 3¼d. (fn. 239) In 1741 it had come into possession of Clerke Willshawe, who conveyed it jointly with Richard Clarke and Elizabeth Willshawe to Edward Grubbe. (fn. 240)
The manor of HAYBARNES (Heibournes, Herbournes, Haybournes) or EMES was held freely by charter for fealty and suit at court, and an annual rent. (fn. 241) Robert Eames held this manor at the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth, (fn. 242) and from his family it doubtless acquired its alternative name. In 1673 John Pratt conveyed it by fine to Nehemiah Neale, (fn. 243) evidently in the course of a settlement, for Jonathan Pratt held it in 1676. (fn. 244) In 1727 Thomas Chevall, William Ginger, Lucy le Wis, James Oliver, Edmund Turney, Isaac Field, and William Burr, sold the manor to Richard Hale, M.D. (fn. 245) In 1779 it was held by Christopher Tower, who in 1825 conveyed it to Henry Hoyle Oddie, jun. (fn. 246)
GADEBRIDGE was the property of Sir Astley Paston Cooper, the eminent surgeon. He was appointed surgeon to the king in 1828, and had for some years previous to that date spent much of his time at Gadebridge. From 1825 he took his home farm into his own hands, and one of his experiments was to buy lame or ill-fed horses at Smithfield, and to feed and doctor them himself. (fn. 247) At his death in 1841 he was succeeded by his brother, who died in 1866, and whose son Sir Astley Paston Paston Cooper, the third baronet, left Gadebridge away from his surviving son Charles. His daughter, who succeeded him, married Harvey Bathurst, who changed his name to Paston Cooper, and who lived for some time at Gadebridge Park. The house is Georgian, and the present owner is Lieut.-Col. Lionel Paston Cooper, J.P.
The church of Hemel Hempstead is dedicated in honour of OUR LADY, and stands to the west of the main street, on a site falling from east to west. It is built of flint rubble walling with Totternhoe stone ashlar, and consists of vaulted chancel with north vestries, central tower with a vice at the south-east angle and a leaded wood spire, north and south transepts, and nave with north and south aisles and porches.
With the exception of the porches, and the modern vestries on the north, the church retains its original ground plan unaltered, and is a fine and valuable example of a cruciform twelfth-century parish church, begun about 1140, and completed some forty years later. No evidence of any older building is to be seen.
The original walling is of flints in a yellow-brown mortar, with a good deal of Roman brick, the work being brought to a fair face with mortar, with which the flint work is partly covered. The later flint walling can be distinguished from the early work by having less mortar and no brick. At a much more recent date a coat of plaster, now removed, was laid on, the twelfth-century strings on the chancel and transepts being cut away to give a level surface. The north-west angle of the nave stands on a large block of pudding-stone. The chancel roof is covered with red tiles; all other roofs are of low pitch and leaded.
The chancel, measuring 36 ft. by 16 ft. inside, is the earliest part of the building, vaulted in two bays with a groined vault springing from angle-shafts, the cross springers taking the form of a stilted roundheaded arch, in order that the diagonals may form true semicircles. Of the original windows only one is left, that in the north wall of the east bay. It is a wide round-headed light with jamb shafts internally and externally, its outer arch having a ring of zigzag of the normal type, while the rear arch has the more elaborate pattern known as interlocking zigzag. The shafts on the internal splay are slender, with capitals and bases, the shaft section being carried round the head as a plain roll. Two strings with billet-moulding ran round the walls both inside and outside at the level of the window-sills and the springing of the window arches, but have been much cut away in later times. The east window is a fifteenth-century insertion of three lights, and the two south windows are of the fourteenth century, of three lights with excellent details; the tracery being modern. The rear arches spring from tall shafts with foliated capitals, and are enriched with mouldings and small four-leaved flowers. The pitch of the gable has been heightened, probably in the fifteenth century, and buttresses added at the eastern angles, the original buttresses being cut away; their projection was probably too slight for the thrust of the vault.
On the north of the west bay of the chancel is a narrow room, contemporary with it, 13 ft. long by 6ft. 3 in. wide, vaulted in two bays, and opening at the west by a doorway to the north transept, and at the north-west and east to modern vestries. It had a small round-headed window at the east, the opening of which was replaced in the fourteenth century by a square-headed unglazed loop, which retains its ancient iron stanchions, and is probably contemporary with the shouldered doorway below it. The east bay of this room was thrown open to the chancel late in the fifteenth century, the east jamb of the opening thus formed being cut back to give a view of the high altar. The opening is now blocked. Over the vaulted room was a second room, now destroyed, which opened by a plain round-headed doorway to a loft or gallery in the north transept, and towards the chancel it now has a wide modern arch of twelfth-century style at this level.
The arches of the crossing are round-headed, and considerably stilted, of two square orders with a roll on the soffit, and a third square order on the inner side. Only the west face of the west arch has any ornament; it has two rings of horizontal zigzag and a billet-moulded label. The tower piers have halfround responds and angle-shafts; and the capitals are of various types, with scallops or leaf-patterns.
The north transept is filled with the organ. It has a restored fifteenth-century north window of three lights, and a good fifteenth-century roof with arched braces to the tie-beams and pierced tracery in the spandrels, and stone half-octagonal corbels. The south transept has a similar roof. In its east wall is a two-light fifteenth-century window with a quatrefoil in the head; and in the south wall a three-light window of somewhat later date, much restored, with a small sixteenth-century doorway below it to the west. At the east end of this wall is a small trefoiled fourteenth-century piscina. In the west wall is an original twelfth-century window, like that in the chancel but without its enriched rear arch and shafts. In the angle made by the chancel and south transept is a stone vise, square in plan at the ground but becoming circular at the level of the eaves of the transept, and finishing at the belfry stage of the tower with a weathered stone cap.
The nave is of six bays, 73 ft. long by 43 ft. wide including the aisles, which are 10 ft. 6 in. wide to the centre of the pillars of the arcades. The arcades have round pillars with moulded bases on square-moulded plinths, compound scalloped capitals, and round arches of two orders, the inner square, the outer moulded or otherwise enriched; a label with billet mould runs continuously to the west end, across which it is carried as a string, arched over the head of the west doorway. The east arch of the north arcade, and the west arch of the south have the interlocking zigzag on the outer order, while the east arch of the south arcade, and the west of the north have zigzag of ordinary type. The outer orders of all other arches are moulded with a channelled roll and a hollow, the enrichment being therefore confined to the eastern and western pairs of arches. (fn. 248)
The clearstories of the nave have round-headed windows of the type already described in the south transept, but all their external stonework, and some of the internal, is new. The second window from the east on the south side is altogether new, having been replaced in the end of the fifteenth century by a window whose head remains in the wall above. The alteration was probably made to give more light to the rood. The nave roof is plain work of the fifteenth century, its east bay being ceiled with wood to the underside of the tie-beams, forming a ceiling over the rood. Some remains of painting are to be seen on the central panel and elsewhere. The clear-story walls were raised some 2 ft. when the roof was put on. The walls of the aisles are in great part original, (fn. 249) with two-light fifteenth-century windows inserted; the sills of the twelfth-century windows remain on the south side. There are no windows at the west ends of the aisles, but the nave has a restored three-light fifteenth-century window over the west doorway, which is a fine though much-restored example of late twelfth-century work, with a semicircular head of three enriched orders with shafts in the jambs. The north doorway of the nave is of the fifteenth century with a shallow porch of the same date over it, with modern outer arch and windows: the south doorway is of the fourteenth century, and opens to a contemporary porch with a wellmoulded outer arch and three-light trefoiled windows on the east and west. It has been much restored and may once have had a room over it.
The central tower is of two stages above the roofs, having in the lower stage two plain recessed roundheaded windows on each face, and in the upper stage coupled belfry openings with jamb-shafts and moulded semicircular arched heads. Over these on each face is a circular opening, with zigzag ornament in two cases, (fn. 250) and near the angles of the tower at the same level two plain niches on each face, with pointed arches. The parapet of the tower is flat with simple corbels, probably a renewal of the original work, and the whole is finished by a tall and slender wooden spire, leaded in herringbone pattern, which may be as early as the thirteenth century.
Of ancient fittings there is little to be seen. Besides the piscina in the south transept there is another in the chancel, below the sill of the south window of the east bay, and contemporary with it. The font is modern, elaborately carved in pseudo-twelfth-century style. All seating, &c., is modern.
In the room over the north-west vestry is a fine wooden chest bound with iron, with two ring-handles at either end; there is little to show its date, but it may be of the thirteenth or fourteenth century.
There are eight bells, the treble and second by Lester and Pack of Whitechapel, 1759; third by Chandler of Drayton Parslow, 1688; fourth by Robert Oldfield, 1633; the fifth is inscribed 'lawdate domini' (sic) in black-letter smalls, and is the work of John Dyer, an itinerant founder, c. 1590; sixth 1604 by Robert Mot of Whitechapel; seventh by Robert Oldfeild, 1617, with an inscription 'Sana manet Christi plebisque religio vana'; and the tenor is by Lester and Pack, 1767. The registers are as follows:—i, 1556–1657; ii, to 1707; iii, to 1763, marriages to 1753 only, the date of the Act for the use of printed forms for marriage registers; iv, baptisms and burials to 1797; v, the same to 1812; vi and vii, marriages 1754–1812. The Communion plate consists of a covered chalice hall-marked for 1563 and a modern set comprising a chalice, two patens, and a flagon of 1879.
At the west end of the south aisle, on a slab built into the wall, is a fourteenth-century brass with figures of Robert Albyn and his wife Marg(aret), with an incomplete inscription in French. (fn. 251) Above the figures are two shields, the first bearing on a bend three birds, an unidentified coat. Weever notes this inscription as complete in his Funeral, Monuments (1631), p. 256, and says that the brass was on 'a faire Tombe of marble and Tuch.'
The church of ST. MARY MAGDALEN, FLAUNDEN, is a plain rectangular building of flint with red-brick dressings, with a south-west porch and west bell turret, built in 1838, its only claim to distinction being that it is said to be the first work of Sir Gilbert Scott. (fn. 252) It contains nothing of note except the font from the old church, which has an octagonal bowl with quatrefoils on each face, and stands on a modern stem and base—the bowl may be fifteenth-century work. The porch is paved with mediaeval tiles from the old church, set here no doubt with the best intentions, though a more certain way of ensuring their final destruction could hardly have been found. They are of the usual fabric, with slip patterns on a red body covered with a yellow glaze, the most interesting design being a crowned bust with raised hands, set in an incised circle. There are also single and four-tile patterns of common type.
In the turret is one bell, by William Knight, of Reading, 1578, inscribed 'Gloria in excelsc (sic) deo.' Another by the same founder and of the same date, formerly at Flaunden, is now at St. John's, Uxbridge. (fn. 253) The plate consists of a fine communion cup and cover paten of 1576, the date 1577 being engraved on the foot of the paten; and a small rectangular salver of 1731, inscribed 'Donum Richardi Prince Gen: 1738.' The registers begin in 1729.
The old church was abandoned in 1838 and left to decay. It stands in a spinney of fir trees in the low meadows near the river, approached only by a field path, and is rapidly succumbing to the combined attacks of ivy and the vandalism of the casual visitor. This is the more to be deplored because it is a building of most unusual type, being in plan an equallimbed cross, measuring internally 36 ft. from east to west by 37 ft. across the transepts. The nave and chancel are 13 ft. wide, and the transepts 10 ft. 6 in. It seems to have been built about 1230, and retains a west doorway of this date, with a plain pointed head, and a moulded label with mask dripstones. (fn. 254)
Of the chancel, parts of the north and south walls alone remain, the east wall having fallen. In the north wall is part of a small arched recess, its western half being destroyed by a late opening with brick jambs and an external brick buttress, while of the south wall little remains beyond the sill of a two-light fifteenth-century window. The walls and gables of both transepts and of the nave stand to their full height though entirely unroofed, and in the north wall of the north transept are the jambs of an original window, the lights having been replaced by a wooden casement, of which only the lintel now remains. In the south transept the south window, of three cinquefoiled lights, c. 1475, is still intact, and on the east wall are traces of a stone reredos with a central niche over it, the small thirteenth-century piscina belonging to the altar formerly here being set in the south wall close by.
The walls are of an uniform thickness of 2 ft. 6 in., and the inner angles of the transept show that there have been no arches or tower of masonry at the crossing. The materials of the building are flint rubble with stone dressings, and in the foundations, blocks of pudding-stone occur in places.
The church of ST. LAWRENCE, BOVINGDON, stands to the east of the village, in a large churchyard, and consists of chancel 27 ft. by 17 ft. with north vestry, nave of five bays 59 ft. by 20 ft., with north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower, the aisles overlapping the eastern half of the tower.
With the exception of the tower, the whole church was rebuilt in 1845, nothing of the old church being preserved. Of the tower itself only the lower parts of the walls are ancient, the stonework of the west doorway and window over it being modern.
There are in the floor of the chancel several brass plates recording the burials of members of the Maynes family, and under the tower is placed a good early fifteenth-century stone effigy of a knight wearing a pointed bascinet with camail and hauberk. The close-fitting tunic seems to be of leather, but the elbow cops and leg defences are of plate. The swordbelt is jewelled, and at the head are figures of angels, while the feet rest on a hound.
The font and all wooden fittings in the church are modern. There are three bells, the treble by Chandler, 1663, the second by W. Whitmore, working for John Hodson of London, 1654, and the tenor by C. & G. Mears, 1845.
The first book of registers contains entries from 1674 to 1729; the second, baptisms and burials 1730–82, and marriages to 1759; the third baptisms and burials 1782–1812; and the fourth marriages 1760 to 1812.
The tithe of the church of Hemel Hempstead was given by William, count of Mortain, to the church of St. Mary of Grestain, in Normandy, (fn. 255) and therefore it is probable that the church formed part of the Conqueror's grant to Robert of Mortain, and accrued to the crown with the manor. It seems to have been granted by the king to the canons of St. Bartholomew, London, for in 1201 they paid a fine of 200 marks for confirmation of the grant. (fn. 256) In 1209 it was held by Silvius de Gresco, perhaps an officer of the priory, who paid 40 marks that he might hold this church and others in peace. (fn. 257) Before 1235 the advowson was in the tenure of Edmund, earl of Cornwall, (fn. 258) and in 1278 a grant of this church made by Edmund to the monastery of Hailes was confirmed by the king. (fn. 259) This gift must afterwards have been withdrawn, for the earl granted it with the manor to the rector and brothers of Ashridge. (fn. 260) Edmund's right to the advowson is not clear, for the canons of ****St. Bartholomew appear to have claimed it until 1323, when they released to the rector of Ashridge all their right in the advowson of the church of Hemel Hempstead, and in the chapels thereto belonging, and all charters and instruments which they held with regard to the said church. (fn. 261) The tithe, however, was confirmed to the church of St. Mary of Grestain in 1189 and in 1315–16, (fn. 262) but probably lapsed to the house of Ashridge. The grant of Edmund earl of Cornwall was confirmed by Edward I (fn. 263) and Boniface VIII, (fn. 264) and the church was appropriated to them in 1306. (fn. 265) In 1235 the vicarage was said to be of the annual value of 30 marks. The altar dues of the chapelries of Bovingdon and Flaunden were assigned to it then (fn. 266) and in 1247. (fn. 267)
After the Dissolution the rectory and advowson of the vicarage were granted in 1544 to the dean and chapter of St. Paul's, London. (fn. 268) The right of presentation remained in their hands until 1874, but the right of nomination was vested in the bishops of Lincoln, (fn. 269) and was transferred in 1852 to the bishop of Peterborough. (fn. 270) In 1874 the advowson was exchanged with the crown, in which it is now vested. (fn. 271)
There seems to be some doubt as to how or when the bishops of Lincoln acquired the right of nomination to the church of Hemel Hempstead. The account books of the Dean and Chapter were burnt in the Great Fire, so that they had no means of discovering whether the practice had ever varied. A search among the Lincoln records showed that in 1320 the vicar had been nominated by the bishop of Lincoln and presented by the rector and convent of Ashridge. This practice had been repeated in 1333, 1335, 1372, 1411, and 1504. (fn. 272)
In 1610 the church of Hemel Hempstead was reported to be in such bad repair that the rain came into the church; and when Robert Coleman was presented for failing to remove his hat in church, he alleged that he did so 'by reason that it raineth upon him as he sitteth in church.' (fn. 273)
The incumbent of Hemel Hempstead was sequestered during the Commonwealth, and his successor, John Warren, paid £40 for firstfruits, tenths and other charges. Richard Combes paid to him £47 of augmentable profits, yearly and he petitioned the Protector, in 1656, for another augmentation. The council thereupon referred to the trustees for ministers to settle an augmentation on him. (fn. 274)
In 1238 licence was granted to Robert de Hagh, clerk, and his heirs, to have a chapel in his court of Hayha, in the parish of Hemel Hempstead, without font or bells or right of burials, (fn. 275) and in 1325 John de la Hay was allowed to celebrate divine service in his oratory in his manor of Westbrook Hay at Hemel Hempstead. (fn. 276) A similar licence was granted in 1323–4 to Walter la Enneysi in his manor of Hemel Hempstead, (fn. 277) and in 1332 a licence was conferred on Sir William la Zouche to have a chapel in his manor of Hemel Hempstead, for a year. (fn. 278)
Sir Astley Paston Cooper, of Gadebridge, bart., presented a piece of ground at the top of Queen Street, near the Union Workhouse, for the purpose of erecting thereon a new church, as a chapel of ease to the parish church, which had proved incapable of accommodating the increasing population. The church, dedicated in honour of St. Paul, was built by subscription, and consecrated in 1869. (fn. 279)
The first church of St. John the Evangelist at Boxmoor was opened in 1830, and the present structure was finished in 1874 and enlarged westward in 1893. It was a chapel of ease to the parish church of Hemel Hempstead until 1844, when, by an order in council, its own ecclesiastical parish was formed. The living is a vicarage in the gift of the vicar for the time being of the 'collegiate and parish church' of St. Mary, Hemel Hempstead. (fn. 280) The registers date from 1820.
When a vicar was instituted in the parish church in 1235, it was ordered that he must serve the chapels of Bovingdon and Flaunden by means of two fit chaplains. He must keep in good state the books, ornaments and churchyards of the church and chapels; and 20s. annually were allowed to him for the sustenance of the chaplain of Bovingdon. (fn. 281) The vicar still nominated and provided the chaplains in 1638, when it was stated, in a church terrier of Hemel Hempstead that the allowance of the curate of Bovingdon chapel, which was 20s. as before, was paid to the vicar by the inhabitants of the hamlet, that the two curates held their respective privy tithes and churchyards, and that they had a house in which they lived at West Bovingdon, and an orchard and a garden which belonged to it. According to 'ancient writings,' there was a curate's house at Flaunden, but the memory of its site was lost. Two pence an acre were paid for privy tithes as at the mother church. (fn. 282)
A bull of 1478 authorized burials in Flaunden churchyard, since it was 5 miles distant from the mother church. (fn. 283) Clutterbuck describes the old church of Flaunden, as it existed in 1815, as 'a mean structure, containing no memorials of the dead within its walls, and partly inhabited by poor families.' (fn. 284) The living is a chapelry, consolidated in 1876 with the rectory of Latimer in Buckinghamshire, (fn. 285) and is in the gift of Lord Chesham and others.
Salmon records, in 1728, that Flaunden was a chapel of ease to the church of Hemel Hempstead, 'hard for a stranger to find, and the curate for want of endowment cannot find the way thither more than one Sunday in a month, and that in an afternoon.' (fn. 286) Cussans narrates, 'on the appointed fourth Sunday, if the weather were fine, a man was stationed on the top of the tower of Bovingdon church, whence he commanded a view of the road leading from Hemel Hempstead. If he saw the parson or his curate approaching, he would descend and ring the bell to summon the parishioners to church. If it rained or snowed, it was quite unnecessary to place a man on the look out. It sometimes happened that for three consecutive months there was no divine service held either at Bovingdon or Flaunden.' The living of Bovingdon is a vicarage in the gift of five trustees.
The church of St. Mary, Apsley End, was erected in 1871, mainly at the expense of Charles Longman, then head of the firm of John Dickinson & Co., aided by other members of the firm. (fn. 287) The living is a vicarage in the gift of trustees.
The first Baptists in Hertfordshire appeared in the parish of Hemel Hempstead in 1642, when George Kendall became vicar of the parish church. He was himself at that time a Baptist and permitted in his parish the preaching of a strong Baptist advocate named Baldwin. The inhabitants of Hemel Hempstead complained in 1643–4 that Kendall refused to administer the sacrament of baptism, and shortly afterwards he was committed to Newgate. (fn. 288) The first certificate of a Nonconformist meeting-house was given in 1690 to Anabaptists. The Quakers obtained their first licence in 1699, (fn. 289) but in 1683 there was a Quakers' meeting constantly held every Sunday at Woodgreen in Hemel Hempstead. (fn. 290) The Presbyterians appeared in this parish in 1702, and certified a house in Croutchfield in 1706. The Baptists met in 1712 in a house called Wood Lane End House, abutting on the High Street Green, on the south-west, and on a lane called Wood Lane on the north, and also in a house called Ward's End, abutting on a highway leading from Lockers to Berkhampstead on the north-east. In the same year they took out a licence for a house called Waterside House, abutting on the tan-yard next to the Waterside and Moore on the south-east. A new meeting-house was erected in 1731 for Baptists, who formerly used to meet at Marlowes. A house at Two Waters was registered for Dissenters in 1736, and at Boxmoor in 1808; a stable at Leverstock Green was used in 1820. Samuel Ewer was probably the first pastor of the Baptist church at Marlowes. The present chapel was opened in 1861, and a large schoolroom and minister's house were afterwards added. The church has a large Sunday school, and supports a ragged school and a village chapel at Leverstock Green.
The Independents, who have had a place of worship here since 1690, deserted their old chapel about 1880. There are also Congregational, Wesleyan, and Primitive Methodist chapels, a meeting-house of the Society of Friends, and a church belonging to the Reformed Church of England. (fn. 291)
The Presbyterian chapel at Box Lane was built soon after the passing of the Toleration Act, for in the first trust deed dated 1697 the chapel is spoken of as 'lately erected.' There was, however, a place of worship there half a century before the passing of the Act, and this perhaps accounts for its out-of-the-way situation. The deed mentioned above is signed by the proprietors, Thomas Lomax, lord of Westbrook and Mary his wife, and they transferred the chapel to twelve trustees. Box Lane chapel is now a Congregational chapel.
The first certificate for a meeting-house for Anabaptists in Bovingdon was issued in 1702. The Boxmoor Baptist church owes its origin to the efforts of Mrs. Ann Hobson and Miss Mary Carey, sister of Carey the missionary. In 1822 they opened a room at Two Waters, and a Sunday school was begun there. In 1825 a chapel was erected and a church formed in the following year. A new chapel upon the same site was opened in 1864, and about the same time a small Wesleyan chapel at Bovingdon began to be occupied by the Baptists. At Boxmoor there are Baptist and Primitive Methodist chapels and a Roman Catholic chapel in St. John's Road.
The first licence for a meeting-house in Flaunden was given in 1698, and for a place of meeting for Quakers in 1699. The church in Union Chapel, Flaunden, was formed in 1836, and in 1850 the members united with the church at Chipperfield. There is now a Baptist chapel at Flaunden.
In 1641 Francis Combes by his will charged his estates called Hempstead Bury with the payment of 20 marks a year for ever, for a lecture every Thursday, and with £10 a year for ever for teaching poor children to read English, write, and cast accounts.
The sum of £13 6s. 8d. (less land tax) is paid by Sir Charles Paston Cooper, bart., in respect of the Lecture Charity, and the £10 for education is applied for the benefit of the George Street National Schools. See also city of St. Albans.
In 1796 Thomas Warren by his will gave to his trustees £1,200 consols upon trust out of the dividends to apply £7 10s. among fifty widows, 3s. to each, or failing that number, to widowers, single women, single men, in such order of preference, or failing these, for poor generally; and on further trust to establish a free school for teaching thirteen poor boys. By an order of the Charity Commissioners of 9 March, 1894, trustees were appointed and the income of the charity so far as the same was applicable to educational purposes was directed to be applied in the promotion of Church of England teaching in connexion with public elementary schools. Under an order of the Board of Education Act, 1899, the sum of £900 consols has been apportioned to the Educational Foundation, and £300 consols for eleemosynary purposes. The educational portion is divided between the National Schools of Hemel Hempstead, Boxmoor, and Apsley End, and gifts are made to widows.
In 1813 Benjamin Collett of Downing Street, Westminster, being deprived of sight, by his will left £500 Navy five per cent. stock, the dividends to be applied for the benefit of four indigent and blind persons in the parish or neighbourhood of Hemel Hempstead. The legacy is now represented by £472 10s. consols with the official trustees.
In 1814 Mary Field by her will devised to trustees a copyhold cottage and personal effects upon trust for sale, the proceeds to be invested, and the income applied yearly in the purchase of bread and coals among poor old men and widows, 5s. to the parish clerk for keeping up certain graves, and also in the payment of 10s. yearly to the mistress of the Sunday school of the parish. The testatrix also left £200 to be laid out in augmentation of the principal stock. The demise of the real estate being void in mortmain, a sum of £200 only was received under the will, which, with accumulations, is now represented by £336 2s. consols with the official trustees, of which the sum of £20 consols has been apportioned to the educational branch of the charity. The income of the eleemosynary portion is distributed in coal by the vicar and churchwardens.
In 1826 William Norris bequeathed to the Dorcas Society £100, and in 1841 Mary Ann Evans bequeathed to the same society £19 19s. The trust fund consists of £120 in the savings bank. By an order made under the Local Government Act, 1894, the parish council appoint three of their body to act as trustees.
In 1891 Miss Jane Godwin by her will, proved on 16 September, 1893, gave to the vicar and churchwardens of St. Mary and St. Paul £1,000 consols upon trust to apply the dividends on 5 February annually (the date of her mother's birth) in gifts of coals to eighty of the poor widows or other poor inhabitants of the parishes of St. Mary and St. Paul; also to the vicar and churchwardens of St. Mary's £1,500 consols upon trust to apply the interest thereof towards the repairs and structural support and maintenance of the parish church of St. Mary's; also to the vicar and churchwardens of St. Paul's £500 consols upon the like trusts for the repair of St. Paul's.
Miss Jane Godwin likewise bequeathed to trustees £2,000 consols upon trust to apply the income thereof by way of five life annuities equally between five poor permanently blind persons to be elected on 11 January annually (the date of her birth), being residents in the parish for three years at least, previous to such election, and so long as they should continue so to reside. The dividends are applied in payments of £12 10s. a quarter to five blind persons.
Miss Jane Godwin further bequeathed £300 consols, the income thereof to be paid to the treasurer of the Church of England Schools in George Street, but in case of discontinuance of the said schools as schools in connexion with the teaching and principles of the Established Church, then she directed that the income should be applied for the benefit of the poor of the parishes of St. Mary and St. Paul, or either of them, and the same testatrix gave to the treasurer of the West Herts Infirmary £500 consols, one moiety of the income to be applied in aid of the chaplain's fund, and the other moiety thereof in aid of the general funds of the institution.
In 1813 Benjamin Collett by will left £250 Navy five per cents., the dividends to be applied for the benefit of the Baptist minister. The legacy is now represented by £236 5s. consols, producing £5 18s. a year.
In 1893 George Rolph by his will left £2,000 for the endowment of the Reformed Episcopal Church, known as Christ Church. The legacy is represented by £1,800 consols with the official trustees. By an order of the Charity Commissioners of 17 October, 1899, trustees were appointed for the administration of the charity.
The Boxmoor Estate is governed by an Act, 49 George III, cap. 169 (1809), the earliest document recited therein being an indenture of 26 April, 36 Eliz. By section 8 of the Act it is provided that the rents and profits of the moor, wharf, hereditaments, and premises, and the personal property belonging to the trust should be applied in payment of costs attending the draining or otherwise improving, using and possessing the moor for the best use and advantage of the inhabitants of Hemel Hempstead and Bovingdon, and for the application of the residue, as to three-fourths thereof, as the inhabitant householders of Hemel Hempstead should direct, for the use and advantage of the inhabitants of that parish, and as to the remaining one-fourth in like manner for the hamlet of Bovingdon.
The Charity Estates consist of: i. The Moor Pasture Land, containing about 150 acres, houses, cottages, and ground let on leases, and cottages let on weekly tenancies; ii. the commons, known as Rough Down, Sheethanger, and Dew Green Commons containing about 84 acres, acquired from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1886; iii. a sum of £959 14s. 11d. consols in Court, and £696 6s. 8d. on deposit at Lloyd's Bank. The total income (including receipts from baths and gravel diggings) amounts to about £650 a year, out of which grants are made for public purposes, such as to the Hemel Hempstead Recreation Ground Committee, the Fire Brigade, the Town Improvement Fund, and to the churchwardens of the several districts. The Bovingdon share of surplus income is also voted to various public purposes, and for the parochial schools.
In 1701 the Rev. Michael Roberts by his will devised two several annuities of £10 to be paid to the minister or curate of Bovingdon, and five crowns to be bestowed on poor families frequenting the church and receiving the sacrament there. These payments are made by the owner of Crow Foot Mead at Bourne End and are duly applied. An annual sum of £1 6s. 8d. is also paid by Christopher L. Gotto, esq., the owner of Bovingdon Lodge Estate, and applied as to 6s. 8d. for a sermon on St. John's Day, and £1 in the distribution of bread after the service.
In 1897 Henry Richard Woodman by his will directed his trustees to invest such an amount as would produce by the income thereof two pounds of meat and two loaves of bread to be given annually at Christmas to each of the twelve oldest poor men and to each of the twelve oldest poor women in Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead. A sum of £150 was set aside to provide for the meat and bread, which was in 1898 invested in £143 3s. consols with the official trustees.
In 1900 Nathaniel Wishart Robinson by his will, proved on 25 February, bequeathed £500 to be invested, and income to be applied in lighting, warming, and repairing the church of the Holy Trinity, Leverstock Green. The legacy is represented by £497 3s. consols in the names of the Rev. Arthur Durrant, the vicar, and Messrs. Arthur Seabrook and William Charles Child, the churchwardens.