Beechwood Park (mansion)
Beechwood Park was a mansion, near Markyate, England. It now houses Beechwood Park School. Ralph de Tony held this site, in the manor of Flamstead, as recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086; as King of England, William the Conqueror would have expected this new Lord of the Manor to protect St Albans Abbey and its pilgrims. Ralph de Tony's grandson Roger IV de Toesny founded a Benedictine nunnery, St Giles in the Wood Priory, Flamstead, in the middle of the 12th century; the Dissolution of the Monasteries resulted in the destruction of the nunnery of St Giles in 1537. The Manor House on the site was used by Henry VIII and by Edward VI. In 1537, the site was let to Sir John Tregonwell by Henry VIII. Shortly afterwards, the king granted it by Letters Patent dated 30 September 1539, to Richard Page and Dame Elizabeth; the property subsequently passed first to George Ferrers, in 1628 to Thomas Saunders of Long Marston. In 1698 his great granddaughter Anne Saunders married Sir Edward Sebright, who belonged to a wealthy Worcestershire family, establishing a family connection for the next two and a half centuries.
One of six children, only Anne herself survived childhood. A monument in St Leonard's Church, Flamstead, is a memorial attributed to William Stanton to the early death of her brothers and sisters. Edward Sebright moved from Worcestershire to his bride's home in Hertfordshire, set about transforming the Tudor building that he found there. Further changes were made in the 18th century. In 1880 the tenant was Mr W. B. Greenfield, who established there in that year one of the three leading herds of pedigree Aberdeen Angus Cattle in England. In 1908 he was the tenant of Bedfordshire; the Sebrights fell on hard times after World War I, relinquished the estate. The Second World War brought changes to Beechwood. Firstly the Sebright family, with the requisitioning of the house by the government, moved into a smaller house that they owned, nearby; the main house became the headquarters for Spillers Foods. An airfield was built in the grounds to land obsolete planes. Specially constructed hangars were used to house these planes and care was taken to camouflage the strip and the hangars.
At the end of the war the house first became a girls' school, which closed in 1961 due to lack of funds. A new coeducational preparatory school was opened in 1964. Beechwood Park School familiarly referred to as "Beechwood", is a co-educational independent day and flexi boarding school in Hertfordshire in England, UK for children from nursery age to year 8, it is set on the site of an old mansion house with extensions put in over the last 50 years including the junior school, middle school, sports hall and performance hall. Most recent developments include the new onsite Woodlands Nursery, which opened in September 2015 and the covered swimming pool complex opened by Karen Pickering MBE in July 2015. Beechwood Park School was formed in 1964 by the amalgamation of two much older prep schools, Shirley House and Heath Brow School. By 1961 the buildings and estate of Beechwood Park were in a terrible state of neglect and disrepair; the former family seat of the aristocratic Sebright family had become a somewhat anarchic girls’ boarding school, an uninhabited ruin.
It was close to demolition when it went on the market in 1961. The Stewart family who owned Shirley House decided to restore it. Shortly after Group Captain Peter Stewart OBE became Estates Manager of Beechwood and he is regarded as the present school's true founder; the school's first head master was Alan Mould. The school roll has since increased to about 530 pupils. Pupils at the school are divided into four houses, named Tudor, Saunders and Stewart in homage to the history of the school and its buildings; the school was used as a location for the film The Dirty Dozen in 1967. The school was the subject of the 1967 song "Beechwood Park" by St. Albans band the Zombies on their Odessey and Oracle album; the song's writer and Zombies' guitarist, Chris White lived at nearby Markyate. On the school speech days a famous figure makes a speech. Previous readers being MBE Karen Pickering. Martin Bayfield, rugby player Julian Bliss Alan Duncan, politician Nigel Lawson, Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Flamstead Priory, Pastscape page School Website Profile on the ISC website Ofsted Social Care Report 2008 Good schools guide: Listing Review
130–136 Piccotts End
130–136 Piccotts End is a medieval timber framed building in Piccotts End in Hertfordshire, England. A hall house, the structure has been divided into a row of cottages. Two of the cottages are of interest. Important murals were discovered at No 132 in the 1950s and the entire building was listed Grade I. Piccotts End is a village near Hemel Hempstead; the original function of the building is not known. It has been suggested that the building was connected with Ashridge Priory, in existence from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century. Inside the house at number 132 are a number of fifteenth-century religious wall paintings, which are of particular interest to historians as a rare example of pre-Reformation English Catholic art; the paintings are thought to originate from around 1470–1500. Following the English Reformation, religious art came to be regarded as a form of idolatry and many works were obliterated or destroyed, they remained hidden for over 400 years. The origins of the paintings is unknown.
Historians surmise that the Piccotts End house may have served as a hospice for pilgrims, as it was located close to a pilgrim trail which went via the nearby Monastery of the Bonhommes at Ashridge. At Ashridge, pilgrims could venerate a phial of the Blood of Christ before proceeding to St Albans Abbey to venerate the holy relics of Saint Alban; the art historian E. Clive Rouse has noted that the murals exhibit a technique of woodcut illustration dating from the late 15th and early 16th centuries, suggesting the influence of the artistic style of the Low Countries; the wall paintings consist of five panels, arranged in a type of iconostasis, resembling a large screen covered with icons, set in tiers. In the centre panel is Christ in Majesty, with the "IHS" Sacred Monogram in the halo. In the right panel is depicted the Baptism of Jesus by Saint John the Baptist. On the extreme right is a badly damaged image of Saint Clement, the third Pope with a symbolic anchor on each shoulder and the Papal cross.
The left panel contains a Pietà, on the far left is a representation of Saint Peter wearing the Papal Tiara, with a Papal cross and the Keys of Heaven. In the two lower panels are paintings of figures of St Catherine of Alexandria and Saint Margaret of Antioch emerging from the belly of a dragon. Many figures are depicted wearing typical Tudor dress, they are decorated with orange-red and blue and white foliation with yellow fruit and flowers. A blank space in the lower wall suggests the former presence of an altar, it has been suggested that some of the symbolism contained in the wall paintings indicate connections with the doctrines of Catharism, a sect considered heretical by the Catholic Church. In the 1820s the building was converted for use as a cottage hospital by the anatomist and surgeon Sir Astley Cooper. In the early 1830s the number of patients increased because of injuries to workers constructing the London to Birmingham railway. Accordingly, the hospital moved to larger premises at Cheere House in Hemel Hempstead in 1832.
Dean Incent's House Art in the Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation Medieval art In recent years there has been limited opening of No. 132, owned. The public has been able to visit under the Heritage Open Days scheme. In 2014 a local conservation charity, the Dacorum Heritage Trust, launched an appeal to raise funds to buy the property; the Piccotts End paintings
Holy Trinity Church, Weston
Holy Trinity Church is the parish church for the village of Weston in Hertfordshire. The church building stands to the south-east of the village on high ground, is built of flint and coursed ironstone rubble, it was Grade I listed in 1968. In the churchyard is the supposed grave of the giant Jack o'Legs; the Domesday Book of 1086 says nothing of a church being there. The advowson of the church was awarded by Gilbert de Clare to the Knights Templar before 1148; this was confirmed by William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke. The Knights Templars held the advowson until 1309, when their order was suppressed, it passed to the Knights Hospitallers. In 1481 the inhabitants of Weston complained that their vicar John Hawthorn was'a common player, daily played le Penyprykke and Bowles', he was duly warned to amend his ways under penalty of a fine of 12d. Today the parish comes under the Diocese of St Albans; the current church was built in the traditional cruciform shape in the 12th century, with the south aisle, south porch, new windows, south transept being added in the 15th century.
The chancel was rebuilt to a Neo-Norman design in brick coated with stucco in 1840 by Thomas Smith for the Rev. Benjamin Donne; the church underwent a restoration in 1867 including the addition of the upper stage of the tower, while the vestry was added in 1880. The nave is rendered and the tower and north transept are of flint and coursed rubble; the nave roof dates to the 15th century, rests on original grotesque corbels. The font dates to the 15th century and is octagonal; the sides of the bowl, moulded, have quatrefoiled panels, the stem is moulded and panelled. The octagonal oak pulpit with open arcading on an octagonal moulded base was moved to the church in 1840 from the Church of St. Mary the Less in Cambridge, where it is said to have been used by Jeremy Taylor; the five bells in the belfry are: the treble by John Waylett. In the churchyard is the grave of Jack o'Legs, according to local legend, lived in a cave in a wood at Weston and who stole food from the people of nearby Baldock; the grave is unusually long and was placed there to fuel belief in the legend.
The Victoria County History: A History of the County of Hertford, London, 1912, 3:175. N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, Harmondsworth, 1953, 402. Holy Trinity, Weston on the Church of England website Photographs of Holy Trinity Church - Hertfordshire Churches in Photographs website
Harpenden is a town in the St Albans City district in the county of Hertfordshire, England. The town's population is just over 30,000. Harpenden is a commuter town, with a direct rail connection through Central London and property prices well over double the national average. Geographically it is located between two much larger neighbours: Luton town and the city of St Albans, it is flanked by the villages of Wheathampstead. There is evidence of pre-Roman Belgic farmers in the area. In 1867 several items were found including a bronze escutcheon, rams-head shaped mounts, a bronze bowl. There are Roman remains in land around Harpenden, for instance the site of a mausoleum in the park at Rothamsted. A tumulus near the river Lea was opened in the 1820s and it contained a stone sarcophagus of Romano-Celtic origin. Five objects dating from around 150 AD, were inside including a glass jug with a Mediterranean stamp and samian ware dishes used for libations. Up to the 13th century the area of the parish consisted of woodland with small hamlets and single farmsteads around cleared areas called "End" or "Green" and there are 19 Ends and 18 Greens in area of Harpenden and Wheathampstead parishes.
Many of these still survive today. Harpenden village grew out of Westminster Abbey's gradual clearing of woodland for farming and settlement within its Wheathampstead manor, granted by Edward the Confessor in 1060. A first reference to a parish church is in 1221 so it is inferred that the village grew up around then; the church of St Nicholas is the oldest church in the town built as a Chapel of ease in 1217. Just beyond the southern edge of the town lies Nomansland Common upon which part of the Second Battle of St Albans was fought during the Wars of the Roses. Nomansland Common saw the first annually contested steeplechase in England, in 1830 when it was organised by Thomas Coleman, the last fight of nineteenth century bare-knuckle fighter, Simon Byrne, it was the haunt of the highwaywoman Lady Katherine Ferrers, better known as the "Wicked Lady". A widespread but now little-known industry of Harpenden was straw-weaving, a trade carried out by women in the nineteenth century. A good straw weaver could make as much as a field labourer.
The straw plaits were taken to the specialist markets in St Albans or Luton and bought by dealers to be converted into straw items such as boaters and other hats or bonnets. The arrival of the railway system from 1860 and the sale of farms for residential development after 1880 radically changed Harpenden's surroundings. First the Dunstable Branch of the Great Northern Railway passed through the Batford area with a station named Harpenden East railway station; the main line of Midland Railway was built in 1868 with a station near the main village which still exists today. The Harpenden and Hemel Hempstead Railway, known locally as the Nicky Line was opened in 1877. Between 1848 and 1914 the common was a regular venue for horse racing. In his History of Hertfordshire in 1879, John Edwin Cussans commented "Notwithstanding that these meetings are under the most unexceptional patronage as regards the Stewards, yet for two days in the year all the London pickpockets and blackguards who happen to be out of gaol are permitted to make Harpenden their own and to make travelling in a first-class carriage on the Midland Railway a danger to men and an impossibility to ladies."
Golf has been played on the Common since 1894 and it was at that time Harpenden Golf Club was set up by a group of Harpenden people with the help and a financial contribution of 5 pounds from Sir John Bennet Lawes of Rothamsted Manor. The club moved to a new course at Hammonds End in 1931, at which time Harpenden Common Golf Club was formed by those who wanted to remain at the Common. In 1932 Bamville Cricket club shares part of the Common with the Golfers. Harpenden is the home of Rothamsted Manor and Rothamsted Research, a leading centre for agricultural research. In front of its main building, which faces the common, is a stone, erected in 1893, commemorating 50 years of experiments by Sir John Bennet Lawes and Joseph Henry Gilbert.. Lawes inherited the family estate at Rothamsted in 1834. Acknowledged as "the father of agricultural science", his early field experiments on Hertfordshire farms led him to patent a phosphate fertiliser, the sales of which enriched him immensely. With the proceeds, he established the experimental station.
The station continued the development of the artificial fertilisers on which most modern farmers now depend. Some of the long-term'classical field experiments' begun by Lawes and Gilbert remain in place to this day representing a unique resource for agricultural and environmental research. In 1913 the National Children’s Home moved to Harpenden with a large site Highfield Oval, home to over 200 children; the site featured a print works, a carpenters’ and joiners’ shop, a bootmakers shop and a farm where boys undertook apprenticeships. Girls were trained in domestic service with some being trained in sewing and office work; the children lived in a "family" of 8-10 children each run by a house mother. The chapel was gift from Joseph Rank and was built in 1928; the home was run on site until 1985. The site is now the head office of Youth with a Mission an international Christian missionary organization; the Harpenden Growth Study, one of the earliest longitudinal tests, was overseen by James Mourilyan Tanne
St Mary's Church, Ware
St Mary's Church is a grade I listed parish church in Ware, England. There has been a church on the site since the Norman Conquest; the Domesday Book mentions the presence of a priest at Ware, the existence of a church is confirmed by a reference in another document from the reign of William the Conqueror, a charter given to Hugh de Grandmesnil. The chancel, the oldest part of the present building, dates from the thirteenth century, when the church served the town and the monks of the Benedictine priory; the church was restored in the nineteenth century by George Godwin. The building is faced in flint; the tower is surmounted by a short spire of the type known as a "Hertfordshire spike". Charles Chauncy, who served as vicar of the church in the reign of Charles I, emigrated to America where he became President of Harvard. In the 16th century the Fanshawe family acquired an estate at Ware, members of the family were buried in the church: for example, Thomas Fanshawe Sir Richard Fanshawe, a politician and writer who served as Charles II´s ambassador to Spain.
1.^ Flèche or short spire rising from a church-tower, its base concealed by a parapet, common in Herts. England. Pevsner, N. Cherry. "BoE, Hertfordshire". Media related to St Mary's church, Hertfordshire at Wikimedia Commons
Hatfield House is a country house set in a large park, the Great Park, on the eastern side of the town of Hatfield, England. The present Jacobean house, a leading example of the prodigy house, was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I and has been the home of the Cecil family since, it is a prime example of Jacobean architecture. The estate includes surviving parts of an earlier palace; the house the home of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury, is open to the public. An earlier building on the site was the Royal Palace of Hatfield. Only part of this still exists, a short distance from the present house; that palace was the childhood home and favourite residence of Queen Elizabeth I. Built in 1497 by the Bishop of Ely, King Henry VII's minister John Cardinal Morton, it comprised four wings in a square surrounding a central courtyard; the palace was seized by Henry VIII with other church properties. The nearby parish church of St Etheldreda's, in Old Hatfield once served the Bishops Palace as well as the village.
Henry VIII's children, King Edward VI and the future Queen Elizabeth I, spent their youth at Hatfield Palace. His eldest daughter, who reigned as Queen Mary I, lived there between 1533 and 1536, when she was sent to wait on the Princess Elizabeth, as punishment for refusing to recognise Henry's marriage to Anne Boleyn and his religious reforms. In 1548, when she was only 15 years old, Elizabeth was under suspicion of having illegally agreed to marry Thomas Seymour, the House and her servants were seized by Edward VI's agent Robert Tyrwhit, she was interrogated there, she defended her conduct with wit and defiance. Seymour was executed in 1549 for numerous other crimes against the crown. After her two months of imprisonment in the Tower of London by her sister Queen Mary, Elizabeth returned to Hatfield; the Queen Elizabeth Oak on the grounds of the estate is said to be the location where Elizabeth was told she was Queen following Mary's death, but is considered unlikely as Mary died in November.
In November 1558, Elizabeth held her first Council of State in the Great Hall. Hatfield House is a popular tourist attraction because it has so many objects associated with Queen Elizabeth I, including some gloves and a pair of silk stockings that are believed to have been the first ones in England; the library displays a 22-foot long illuminated parchment roll showing the pedigree of the Queen with ancestors back to Adam and Eve. The Marble Hall holds the "Rainbow Portrait" of Elizabeth. Elizabeth's successor, King James I, did not like the palace much and so gave it to Elizabeth's chief minister Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury in 1607, in exchange for Theobalds Palace, the Cecils' family home on the current site of Cedars Park, Broxbourne. Cecil, who liked building, tore down three wings of the royal palace in 1608 and used the bricks to build the present structure; the richly carved wooden Grand Staircase and the rare stained glass window in the private chapel are among the house's original Jacobean features.
Cecil's descendant, Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, was three times prime minister during the closing years of Queen Victoria's reign. The city of Salisbury, Rhodesia was founded in his time, named for him, he is known for putting members of his family into the Government while Prime Minister. As his first name was Robert, this habit is sometimes said to have given rise to the popular expression'Bob's your uncle'. During World War II, Hatfield house was the location of the first Civil Resettlement Unit, acted as Headquarters for the scheme. CRUs were created to help repatriated British prisoners of war to transition back to civilian life, the luxurious setting of Hatfield was considered beneficial to these men. On 12 July 1945, the King and Queen visited the CRU at Hatfield, which generated significant news coverage; the Gardens, covering 42 acres, date from the early 17th century, were laid out by John Tradescant the elder. Tradescant visited Europe and brought back trees and plants that had never been grown in England.
The gardens included orchards, scented plants, water parterres, herb gardens and a foot maze. They were neglected in the 18th century, but restoration began in Victorian times and continues under the present Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury. During World War I, the grounds were used to test the first British tanks. An area was dug with trenches and craters and covered with barbed-wire to represent no man's land and German trench lines on the Western Front. To commemorate this, the only surviving Mark I tank was sited at Hatfield from 1919 until 1970 before being moved to The Tank Museum, Bovington; the Rhodesian Light Infantry Regimental Association has placed its'Troopie' memorial statue on the grounds of Hatfield House, due to the long association of the Cecil family with Southern Rhodesia. Around its base is a roll of regimental members who fell in the Rhodesian Bush War and several inscriptions, including'In reconciliation and hope for future peace in Zimbabwe'; the State Rooms can be seen in the midweek guided tours, visitors can look around in their own time at weekends.
On Friday, the Garden Connoisseur's Day, the House is open for guided tours and for pre-booked specialist groups. There are five miles of marked trails; the hall and staircase were used in 1984 film Greystoke: The Legend of Lord of the Apes. Portions of the house and exterior were used in the 1992 film Orlando, starring Tilda Swinton as Orlando, Billy Zan
The Eleanor crosses were a series of twelve tall and lavishly decorated stone monuments topped with crosses, of which three survive nearly intact, in a line down part of the east of England. King Edward I had the crosses erected between 1291 and 1294 in memory of his wife Eleanor of Castile, marking the nightly resting-places along the route taken when her body was transported to London. Several artists worked on the crosses, as the "Expense Rolls" of the Crown show, with some of the work being divided between the main figures, sent from London, the framework, made locally. "Alexander of Abingdon" and "William of Ireland", both of whom had worked at Westminster Abbey, were the leading sculptors of figures. Upon her death in 1290 at Harby, near the city of Lincoln, the body of Queen Eleanor was carried to Lincoln where she was embalmed either at the Gilbertine priory of St Catherine, Lincoln in the south of Lincoln, or at the priory of the Dominicans, her viscera, less her heart, were sent to the Angel Choir of Lincoln Cathedral for burial, where they still rest.
Her body was sent to London, taking 12 days to reach Westminster Abbey. The crosses were erected at the places. At Westminster she was buried at the feet of her father-in-law King Henry III, her heart travelled with the body and was buried in the abbey church at the London Dominicans' priory at Blackfriars, along with that of her young son Alphonso, Earl of Chester. A similar event had taken place in France for the body of King Louis IX in 1271, although his memorial crosses, unlike Eleanor's, were erected in part as a manifesto for canonisation, they were at least in part intended as cenotaphs to encourage prayers for her soul from passers-by and pilgrims. The only three crosses still standing are those at Geddington, just outside Northampton, Waltham Cross, although remnants of the lost ones can be seen at other sites; the only remaining piece of the Lincoln Eleanor cross is in the grounds of Lincoln Castle. The cross stood at St Catherine's, an area at the end of Lincoln's High Street. No part survives of the Grantham Cross in Lincolnshire, though the records of the 18th-century antiquary, William Stukeley, suggest that it featured Eleanor's coats of arms.
Only a small marble fragment survives of the Stamford Cross in Lincolnshire, a carved rose excavated by William Stukeley. Following the closure of Stamford Museum, the carved fragment is displayed in the Discover Stamford area at the town's library. Stukeley's sketch of the top portion of the Stamford Cross, which suggests that it stylistically resembled the Geddington Cross, is preserved in his diaries in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. See below for the modern monument erected by the Smith of Derby Group. Still standing, the Geddington Cross in Northamptonshire is the best-preserved of the three survivors, it is unique among the surviving crosses in having a triangular plan, a taller and more slender profile with a lower tier covered with rosette diapering, instead of the arch-and-gable motif with tracery which appears on both the others. The Northampton cross in Hardingstone in Northamptonshire is still standing at the edge of Delapré Abbey, on the side of the A508 leading out of Northampton, just north of the junction with the A45.
This cross was begun in 1291 by John of Battle. He worked with William of Ireland to carve the statues: William was paid £3 6s. 8d. per figure. The cross is octagonal in shape and set on steps: the present steps are replacements, it is built in three tiers and had a crowning terminal a cross. It is not known. A local anecdote says that it was knocked off by a low-flying aircraft from a nearby airfield in the Second World War. However, the cross appears to have been lost by 1460: there is mention of a "headless cross" at the site from which Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury, watched Margaret of Anjou's flight following the Battle of Northampton. A replacement cross was installed in the first restoration of 1713, but was replaced by the picturesque broken shaft, seen today by a further restoration in 1840; the Cross is referred to in Daniel Defoe's Tour thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain, in his report on the Great Fire of Northampton in 1675, "...a townsman being at Queen's Cross upon a hill on the south side of the town, about two miles off, saw the fire at one end of the town newly begun, that before he could get to the town it was burning at the remotest end, opposite where he first saw it."
Its bottom tier features open books. These included painted inscriptions of Eleanor's biography and of prayers for her soul to be said by viewers, now lost; the Stony Stratford Cross in Buckinghamshire stood at the lower end of the town, towards the River Ouse, on Watling Street, although its exact location is hotly debated. It is said to have been of a tall elegant design; the base survived for some time. This commemorative plaque on the wall of 157 High Street is all, now visible, reads: Near this spot stood the Cross erected by King Edward the I to mark the place in Stony Stratford where the body of Queen Eleanor rested on its way from Harby in Nottinghamshire to Westminster Abbey in 1290 (approximately at 51°59′20