1642 -1649 - The Civil War - This had a profound effect on everyone in the country and certainly a direct effect on the people of Leverstock Green, along with the other villages surrounding St. Albans. Hertfordshire and St. Albans were strongholds of the Parliamentarians, and volunteers streamed from the villages surrounding St. Albans to join the armies of initially the Earl of Essex (The first Commander in Chief of the Parliamentary forces and owner of Cassiobury Park, Watford), and later those of General Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell. For six years Parliamentary armies were centred on the town of St. Albans, bringing the people of St. Albans and the surrounding area to near starvation.
In the first months of the confusion which followed the outbreak of civil war, fifteen thousand men of Essex's army were close to mutiny as there was a general lack of pay and lack of food, and the countryside in the immediate vicinity of St. Albans suffered as a result. Even if the remaining residents of the Leverstock Green area didn't suffer directly from looting, they certainly would have been on short rations so the great army could be fed; in addition was the worry of what would happen to the local population should the discipline of the army break! At least three times between 1642 and 1644 the Royalists broke through from Oxford, and the battle front came very close. In 1644 terrible tales of sacrilege and brutality ran through the local villages after the Royalists had looted and burned in Dunstable.
The battle of Naseby would have almost certainly seen men from Leverstock Green taking part, as it was the timely intervention of Cromwell with the yeomanry of Hertfordshire, that turned the tide in Roundheads favour. Victory by the Parliamentary armies created even greater burdens on St. Albans and the surrounding villages, as after both Naseby and the siege at Colchester, thousands of Royalist prisoners, together with the victorious armies, were brought back to St. Albans. [S84, p.30]
In addition the researcher's job has been made more difficult as during this period of unrest few, and in some cases, No Baptismal/Burial and Marriage registers were kept properly - if at all. [S294]
11th September 1642 - St. Lawrence's Church register recorded that: "Baptised was Susan the daughter of Henry Field and Susan his wife." [S299]
21st December 1643 - St. Lawrence's Church register recorded that: "Buried was John Field the son of Henry Field." [S299]
1644 - Thomas Childe, owner of Chambersbury and its estate, died. According to the Victoria County History, from now until 1784 there is no record of the manor according to the VCH*, but as in 1784 it is known to have been in the hands of John Filmer the owner of Langleybury; it was thought by the VCH probable that the Langleybury estates and Chambersbury, were merged into one from 1644. This was actually borne out by the wording of HALS document 71532, made May 10th 1624. See entry for that date. [VCH vol.2 p.326; HALS 71532] In addition I have already discovered a record of the manor - with Langleybury for 1766, (see the entry for 6th August 1766) and monumental inscriptions are recorded concerning Chambersbury for 1724, 1725 and 1727 (see entries for these dates). In addition HALS documents 71528 -71554 cover transactions concerning Chambersbury up until 1683.
April 1644 - Hill End was granted to George Took for £800 as part of the marriage settlement of Margery Coningsbye, Tooke's wife. [HALS 1E 26]
6th May 1644 - Thomas Carpenter the elder, of Breakspears died. [GORHAM]
22nd November 1644 - St. Lawrence's Church register recorded that: "Buried was Bridget the wife of Henry Field" [S299]
29th November 1644 - Cockespond (Coxpond), was known to have been occupied by John Long. [HALS 1M33] This probably referred to Great Coxpond Farm, although it is possible it was Little Coxpond Farm.
31st March 1645 - "Deborah daughter of John Long of Coxpond" was baptised at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead. [S294]
6th July 1645 - St. Lawrence's Church register recorded that: "Baptised was Abigail the daughter of Benjamin Fielde and Anne his wife." [S299]
31st August 1645 - "Sary the daughter of Seth Feild of bennetsend" was baptised at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead. [S294]
26th December 1645 - St. Lawrence's Church register recorded that: "Buried was Abigail the daugter of Benjamin Field." She would have been five months old. [S299]
17th February 1645/46 (Click here to see a note about dates.)- Edward Griffith sued John Feild for the money John's great-grandfather, a previous John Feild, had owed him from 1621. ( see entry for 22nd December 1621) The result of this being that the Sheriffe of Hertfordshire ordered an inquisition into the extent of the property owned by John Feild. (See entry for 20th April 1646) [S99, also H.R.O. doc. no. 78475 ( in Latin)] At this time John Field was Lord of the Manor of Leverstock Green alias Market Oak alias Market Dole.
20th April 1646 - An "Inquisition Incenced" was heard before Sir John Garrard the High Sheriffe of Hertfordshire, at St. Albans. The jury, comprising Peire Thomson, Edward Papiff, William Gibson, John Burton, John Hadham, Solomon Smith, Robert Martin, Thomas Rednam, Thomas Burrey, James Arnold, Thomas Dayton and Robert Kilbye, found that in 1621 when the original statute staple was declared by John Feild, that he was in possession of the Manor of Markett Oake, alias Markett Dole. The various buildings comprising the manor ( or farm) were in approximately 12 acres of good arable land, and included barns, orchards and a garden. They were said to be in the parish of St. Michael's. The jury also agreed that John Feild held the right to certain tithes within the parish of Abbotts Langley for 500 years. In payment for the debt undertaken in 1621, the jury then decided to grant possession of Market Oak, Bunce Grove, (also mentioned in the inquisition, and according to the estate survey of 1768, two large parcels of land just beyond Beechtree Cottages.) and the tithes to Edward Griffiths and his heirs. At no time was mention made of the mortgage, taken out with Daniel Finch and his wife in 1641, and on which default was made. Assuming the judgement of the High Sheriff made the 1641 mortgage void, then neither John Feild nor Charles Day should have been able to sell Market Oak to Harbottle Grimston in 1666. Not only do the legalities of the situation appear to have been somewhat muddled, but the actualities also seem somewhat strange with both Sir Samuel Grimston and Francis Dorrington legally letting or selling the property at various times. See the previous section of the Manor of Market Oak for more detailed information on this issue. (See also entries for 19th December 1651; 1666; July 1671) [ S99 (a full transcription of which is in the local library); and HALS doc. no. 78475 ( in Latin)]
19th March 1648 - St. Lawrence's Church register recorded that: "Baptised was William the son of Benjamin Field and 1 his wife." [S299]
22 July 1648 - A Marriage settlement was drawn up settling Blackwater Pond House and farm on Richard Feild the Younger, and his prospective bride Mary Davye from Kimpton in Hertfordshire. This document, a full transcription of which can be read in Leverstock Green and Hemel Hempstead Libraries, is interesting on several counts. Firstly it delineates quite clearly the various fields (i.e. parcels of lands rather than members of the family!) associated with Blackwater Pond House, namely:
" All that Messuage Tenement or farme called or knowne by the name of Blackwater pond house now in the possession or occupacon of the said Richard Feild the'lder And also of all houses Edifices buildings ~~~~~barnes Stable s outhouses yards orcharde gardens backsides freehold Closes lands tenements meadowes pastures feedinge woods underwoods Comons profitte wayes waters wastes wast ground Commodities hereditaments and apurtenances whatsoever to the said Messuage Tenement of Farme belonging used or any wise apperteyning seituate lyeing and being in the parish of St. Michaells~~~~~ in the said County of Hertford And also of and in fower ~ little Closes or pightells of land Conteyning together by estimacon fyfteene acres bee they more or less adjoyning to the said Messuage One Grove called Blackwater Grove Conteyning by estimacon six acres more or lesse, Two Closes Called Colles Conteyning by estimacon Twelve acres more or less abutting upon the Kings highway there leading towards Barkhamsted on the west, One other Close called Colles Conteyning by estimacon eight acres more or less abutting upon Langley Streate on the West, One other Close Called Further Markett lands Conteyning by estimacon seaven ~ acres more or lesse And one other Close called heather Markett lands Conteyning by estimacon seaven acres more or lesse, Or by whatsoever name or names the premisses or any of them are Called or knowne....."
Secondly, it is interesting to note that Bedmond Road was then known as Langley Streate. Thirdly, it also suggests that this Richard Feild and his bride are unlikely to have been the parents of the John Feild who sold the Lordship of the Manor of Market Oak to Samuel Grimston in 1666, and that in all probability Richard Feild was some kind of cousin to the various John Feilds mentioned in connection with the confusion over the manor. [HALS IN23]
21st October 1648 - "Sarah the daughter of John Long of Coxepond" was baptised at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead.[S294]
18th June 1650 - St. Lawrence's Church register recorded that: " Buried was Thomas Field." [S299]
22nd September 1650 - Two baptisms were held this Sunday at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead for "Thomas the sonne of Thomas Studman of Woodwells the same daye Agnes the daughter of James Gladman his Groome"[S294]
September 1651 - Stonehall passed from the Marston Family to Joshua Lomax (or Lomas) for £240. [ HALS 1E 35 ]
19th December 1651 - Edward Griffith, now residing in the parish of Abbotts Langley, was on his deathbed and drew up his will. A complete transcript of the will can be found in Leverstock Green and Hemel Hempstead Libraries. In this will he left Market Oak (i.e. Leverstock Green ) to his daughter Anne:
" Item I give and bequeath to my sayd daughter Anne for her future livelihood and maintenance my farme freehold called Markett Oake and Bunney's Spring and all other the lands thereunto belonging with the appennances sytuate and being in the parish of St. Michael's, 2 in the County of Hertford dureing her life and after her decease to the sayd Francis Dorrington my Grandchilde for ever."
(See section on the Manor of Market Oak and the entry for July 1671, and previous entries for 1621, February 1645, 20th April 1646,) It is also interesting to note that despite the Rev. John King being mentioned in the will, and again despite the wishes of Edward Griffith to be buried in St. Lawrence's Church, there was no apparant entry made by King in the parish register of Edward Griffith's burial.
"Edward Griffith of Abbottts Langley in the County of Hertford gent being infirme and weake of Body but of sound and perfect memory forthwith I blesse and praise Almighty God Doe make and ordaine this this my last will and Testament in manner and forme following first I give and bequeathe my Soule into the hands of Almighty God my Maker and in Jesus Christ my most merciful Redeemer And my body I comend to the earth to be therein decently buried and interred in the Church of Abbotts Langley aforesayd And to my executors hereafter named for the time being shall seeme meeke and convenient ......................... Master Moses Dunnett aforesayd my execotor for the time being to take and receive my rents dues and debts and to paye and discharge my debts and funeral expenses but my mind is that no Mourning apparrell shall be given or worne for me after my decease............ Edward Griffith sealed signed published and declared inn the presence of us John King Christopher Kentish Robert Reading signed"
1651/52 - It was during this period that Sir Harbottle Grimston acquired the reversion of the manors of Gorhambury, Westwick and Pre, thus bringing the manors into the Grimston family. Sir Harbottle greatly consolidated the estate and also greatly improved the farm buildings which fell within his possession. He took a great deal of interest in the estate, which was consequently very well managed and documented. The land-market generally was very active at this time, with landed property becoming concentrated in fewer hands. [S167, p.101]
January 1651/52 ( Stonehall was sold to Sir Harbottle Grimston, and from then on became part of the Gorhambury Estate. [HALS 1E 37,37a, 37b, & 37c]
20th February 1651/52 - This was the February following the December 1651 entry. See note at the start of the transcript of Edward Griffith's will (transcript held at the local library) or the above reference to dates for the explanation of the dual date. This was the date when Edward Griffith's Will was proved. [S98]
1653 - Hillend was conveyed to Harbottle Grimston for £1,080, and from then on became part of the Gorhambury Esate. It is interesting to note the fall in property prices since 1637, possibly due to the Civil War. [HALS 1E 41 ]
1653 - 1671/72 - St. Lawrence parish register shows no entries at all for the years 1653 - 1671, and then jump again to 1680, apearing to have more regular entries from 1681 - though these entries were very faint and virtually illegible until the instalment of the new Vicar, John Maslove in 1684. This was no doubt due to the vagaries of John King's cure as the Vicar of Abbots Langley. (See entry for 1626)
1654 - Elkanah Settle, owner of Tile Kiln House and 28 acres of land adjoining it, was elected Bailiff of Hemel Hempstead. [S1, p74]
4th July 1654 - Richard Hannell leased 4.5 acres of land in the Blackreadings area from John Dell. Hannell was noted as being a blacksmith. Later, in 1668 Richard Hannell appeared to purchase the property and other neighbouring lands from his son James, who was a grocer in Redbourne. In total Richard Hannell paid his son over £300 for the various properties. He was still noted as being a blacksmith. As the 1655 Rental showed Hannell to be dwelling in his freehold property in Westwick, it seems likely that he now operated his smithy from the premises. From the various descriptions, together with the fact that the property was held freehold, it would seem likely that this referred to what we now call Westwick Cottage, together with some of its adjoining land. [HALS IA45, IM26, IM37 & 37a, IM42, 42a & 42b] 4 .
It is interesting to note that more than a century later (1768) another Richard Hannell was the copyhold owner of Dell Cottage in Westwick Row along with 9 acres of land. As the estate survey which gives us this information failed to give information on freehold property, it is interesting to speculate as to whether the same family also still held adjoining or nearly adjoining land, and if so, whether or not they still practised as Blacksmiths. The latter is unlikely as we know that another Blacksmith now operated in what has become known as Blacksmith's Row. [HALS D/EV M39] To find out more about the Hannell family click here.
March 1655 - A Rental of the Manor of Gorhambury, Westwick and Pray was drawn up for Sir Harbottle Grimston. Like the earlier survey of 1569 for Nicholas Bacon, this rental is very detailed and provides us with a great deal of information about the various holdings in the area, and also about the many families and individuals associated with the both the land and the various dwellings in the area.
I shan't print large extracts from the survey here, as the transcript runs to 21x A4 pages of typescript. The condition of the original document is generally very good. However, the steward who wrote the document originally, either wanted it as a rough copy for a fair draft, or else used it as a working document to which additional notes, either within the lines of the text, or in the margin, were added. Many of the words used were abbreviated. For example; cont for conteyninge, or pish for parish. Although the same hand wrote the document throughout, in some cases the writing was extremely neat and clear, whereas in others it was more of a careless scrawl, making transcription somewhat difficult in places. The main body of information was written in a central column, but notes had been frequently made, and sometimes added later in the left hand margin. The annual "rent" due, that is the amount due by custom to be paid to the lord of the manor for the privilege of owning the land, was noted in the right hand margin.
Unlike the 1569 survey, it only covers the freehold and copyhold property within the manors belonging to others. Land held by Harbottle Grimston himself was not included, and so quite large stretches of land and the farms thereon were not included in this rental. For example, Sir Harbottle Grimston having acquired Hillend Farm and the land associated with it a few years previously, it was not included, neither was the demesne land farmed by Henry Knight in the 1569 survey. It was some of the land taken from both these large farm holdings which Sir Harbottle Grimstone decided to incorporate into the farm lands associated with Westwick Hall, which was not to be built for another three years. It does however, show that the majority of the land around Leverstock Green was still the freehold or copyhold property of a large number of individuals and familles - a situation which was to have almost completely been reversed by the end of the century.
Comparing the information between the survey of 1569 and this rental, bearing in mind the above limitations, can be interesting. Some families are still prominent in the area - such as the Lazebys and the Finches and the Fields; whilst others, such as the Dells, although still around, their fortunes were obviously on the wane. The Lazeby family obviously still held the farm and associated lands to what is today known as Westwick Row Farm, and the Field's still held a copyhold interest in some of the land around Blackwater Lane and Wood.
Amongst the other important land holders was Richard Younge who now held "one Measuage or tenement knowne by the name of Wards & all Barnes Stables Orchards garden and yards to ye same belonginge...", along with considerable acreage for which he had to pay an annual due of £1 8s 0d. Joseph Ewer also had a considerable holding, totalling an annual due £1 18s 4d plus another shilling for the land he had acquired as part of his wife's dower. Thomas Carpenter had at this time another large holding:
" all that Measuage or tenement called by ye name of Breakspeares with all edifices & buildings except foure bays of barne which hee intended shortly to demolish, with gardins Orchards & Curtilage to the same belonginge conteyning by estimacon iii acres, lyinge in the parish of St. Michaells....,"
John Tyler, distinguished with the sobriquet of gentleman, held "one messuage or tenement with Orchards and yards therunto belonginge called Megdales."
Three of the most interesting smaller entries relating to holdings at the centre of today's Leverstock Green were James Dagnall, Ann Pope (a widow), and William Hatten Smyth. Their entries read as follows:
"James Dagnall for a Cottage or tenement Orchard garden and backside abuttinge upon Leverstocke Greene south west and upon the land of the Widdow Pope north east."
"Ann Pope Widdow for ten acres of land lyinge at Westwicke abuttinge upon Leverstocke Greene south west & upon Twitchell Lane south east and upon a feild of Joseph Ewers called Homefeild north east and upon a close of Thomas Kentish the younger called Newelings north west."
"William Hatten Smyth in the right of Sarah his wife daughter and heyre of Joseph Heyward for one Cottage with a backside with th'appertenances abbuttinge upon the land of the Widdow Popes & a close of Thomas Kentish the younger called Newelings north east and upon Leverstocke greene South west."
For those readers trying to trace their family's histories, the document (see above) refers to the following people:
Thomas Birchmore; John Branch in the right of Elizabeth his wife one of the daughters and Coheyers of Robert Dell; John Bradwine; Mistress Allice Bristoe; Thomas Carpenter Sonne & heyre apparent of Thomas Carpenter the younger; Edward Cawton and Martha his wife; Mary Cawton the daughter of the sayd Edward; James Dagnall; Edward Crosbie gent; John Dell; John Dell the younger; John Doggett; D Francis Dorrington of Kings Langly gent; Gowine Dyer; James Ewer and Rose his wife (nee Morris); Joseph Ewer; Elizabeth Fanch (probably Finch) daughter of Thomas Carpenter the elder; John Fanch her sonne; Richard Feild; Richard Feild the younger; Susan Finch, John Finch the son of Joseph Finch; Richard Finch sonne and heyer of Richard Finch; John Finch for an acre and a halfe of land called Harpes wich hee had of the surrender of Tho. Hill and Joane his wife & Elizabeth Hillyard spinsteer; Joseph Francis; Mistress Hannah Gape John Gape sonne and heyer of Ralph Gape; James Grunning; Mathew Hannell sonne of Richard Hannell; Richard Hannell; William Hatten Smyth; Thomas Hill in the right of Joane his wife; Thomas Hoddesden sonne & heyer of Alice Hoddesden who was one of the daughters & Coheyres of Robert Dell; William Kentish;Thomas Kentish the elder gent;Thomas Kentish ye younger; Robert Lazeby; Christopher Longe;Robert Longe; Mr______ Mayne; Thomas Marston ; John Norris; Rose Norris; Jonathan Parker; Thomas Partridge; Hannah Payne; Sarah Payne; Ann Pope; Richard Rutland in the right of Joane his wife late the wife of Thomas Roberts; Henry Smyth the younger in the right of Ann his wife, daughter of Robert Lazeby; Thomas Snellinge gent; John Spire; John Twydll; Joseph Tyler gent.; Joseph Winsor sonne heyer of Joane Winsor; Thomas Woodward of St. Albans, a Shoemaker; and Richard Younge. [HALS IA45]
11th October 1655 - Having recently acquired Hillend, a contract was drawn up between Thomas Evans, a St. Albans bricklayer and Harbottle Grimstone, to undertake various repairs on the property, for which he was to receive £34. The contract showed that Thomas Evans was to :
"...lay the hearth and make a new stocke to Chimney in hall, hee is to craft the partition in the Kitchen and new lay with bricke the floor in the little room to be parted from ye Kitchen Hee is to mend the hearth in the Kitchen and new bottome ye Oven Hee is to mend and plaster all the walls about the outhouses and within and without wherever they are defective, hee is to amend and make good all the underpineings about the dwellinge house and outhouses wherever it is defective, and hee new underpine the new porche to be built to the barne; and hee is to repayre and fixe where need requires all the tylinge about the house and outhouses Hee is to floore with bricke and slate ye room under for a dayry and to new pirch the flume entry, hee is to repayre all the Chimneys about the house and make up the holes in the Chimney in the smoke hole hee is to finde all the materialls to be used about the sayd worke And to doe other bricklayers worke that is needfull or necessary..." [HALS IE46A]
At the same time a contract was drawn up between Joseph Carter the elder, a local carpenter, and Harbottle Grimston, to complete the necessary woodwork and other similar work connected with the repairs to HillEnd: "that hee the sayd Joseph Carter shall and will board and give the roome next the hall within the house called HIll End farme where John Dorvell now dwells, and new lay the board, and Gives in the hall wherever they are defective, and to studd and quarter ye partition in the kitchen and make a doore to the same and sett up a shelfe in the little room to be parted from the Kitchen, and to take up the defective planciers5* in the Kitchen and new lay them home to the sayd partition, hee is to new grounde fill ye doore way into the orchard and the partition betweene the Kitchen and the Stone Entry and he mend and batten the doore into the Orchard and make a new door in the Stone Entry and another into the roome intended for a buttery, he is to make a partition in the roome above the Stone Entry as Goodman Dorvill shall Direct and to ammend the planciers in the mens Chamber, hee is to new ground sell the dwellinge house and outhouses where ever they want, hee is to make a new porche to the great barne xi foote square, and to planke and board the same, hee is to fasten and nayle all the boards about the barnes and outhouses that are sound and good, and to take up such as are defective and putt new board in the roome thereof, he is to mend and make good all the doores about that barne and the barne next it, hee is to pile and land pine the horse pound where it wants and to pale in the other pond, he is to new ground sell the end of the granary and to remove the stayes therof and make them to goe out of the yard up to the farme, Hee is to look up sheed at the end of the barne and to ground sell the sayd sheed, Hee is to take downe the porche and partition in the hay barne, and studd up the walls, and to make a payre of great doors to ye sayd barne on the yarde side and a little doore over against them - on the otherside, hee is to make a doore to pitch Corne into the Barne at the end of the dwellinge house, hee is to hew same and ryve all the timber board plank pale and late to bee used about the sayd worke, And to doe all other Carpenters worke whatsoever that is necessary or needfull to bee done about the sayd house and outhouses, for such worke hee is to have fouteene pounds whereof he hath received in hand seaven pounds......."
By May 9th of the following year Joseph Carter received the last part of his payment..."in full discharge of all the money due upon the contract and also forty shillings more as the free gift of the sayd Sir Harbottle Grimston."
Various other receipts and bills are collected together with the above two contracts, some of which relate to this particular contract, and one or two, which although obviously connected with Hillend, are for work done at other times. A full transcript of them all can be seen at the local library, and they make fascinating reading as they list the price of various ironmongery such as nailes and hooks. It would also appear that the Carter family all worked in the family carpenters business, as Joseph Carter "senneor" and Joseph Carter "Juner" were mentioned, as well as John Carter.
Rates of pay were also given with the Carter family members each receiving 3 shillings for 2 days work in November 1655. However another undated bill gives a price of ten shillings for 6 days work from the two Joseph Carters. Yet another bill claims five shillings for three days work. A John Jeromes, however, did not demand quite such a high fee, receiving 3s 6d for three days work and 6s 8d for 5 days work respectively. [HALS IE46A]
Amongst the miscellaneous bills with the two contracts was a bill for glazing. The year was not given, though the date was 14th November. The Glazier's name was obviously Kamping. When compared with the cost of a days labour, it can be seen that glass was a very expensive commodity:
The 14 November
payd to Goodmand kamping
the glaser for 17 font of new
glase.......................0 - 8 - 6
for mending the outer
glast.......................0 - 6 - 0
The somme is 0 - 14- 6 [HALS IE46A]
1656 - A rental for the Grimston estate, dated in 1656 covers much of the land in the western part of the parish of St. Michael's, and therefore in our study area. Unlike HALS IA45, this rental does not give a highly detailed breakdown of each parcel of land, but is nevertheless extremely useful. It is information from this rental [ HALS X.B. 31], which was used by Jonathan Hunn in his reconstruction of the mid 17th century landscape .[S167, p121] The survey showed that nearly all the land was used for arable farming.
11th March 1656 - The Baptist church ( presumably the congregation rather than a specific building) of Hemel Hempstead joined the Abingdon Association. The first pastor of this church was Samuel Ewer, who lived at WoodLane End House (farm) at the corner of Leverstock Green Road and Woodlane End. See entries for 1657,1679 and 1708. [S42,p.208]
14th September 1657 - A bill for repairs at Hillend Farm, presumably for thatching, (given as thing, theing and thatng in the document) gave this date as the first of three dates when work was carried out by John Dorvell at the farm. The total bill for work done between 14th September 1657 & 16th November 1658 was £3 6s 11d. The daily rate for thatching was apparently 2s 6d. [HALS, IE46a]
13th-16th October 1657 - The Baptist congregation in Hemel Hempstead were amongst those who proposed that Kensworth, and other eastern (presumably Baptist) churches should form a separate association. (see entry for 11th March 1656) [S142, p.208]
20th August 1658 - An Indenture between Sir Harbottle Grimston and John Waller of this date is both an important and interesting document. A full transcript of the document is held at the local libraries. Firstly it gives us the date of the building of Westwick Hall, which although now cut off from Leverstock Green by the motorway, was and remains one of the two principle farm houses in the area. Secondly it gives us valuable information as to the site of the old tithe barn for the manor, along with the probable location of an important `manor house' off Westwick Row near to the present Westwick Warren. My arguments for believing the `Old House' and tithe barn to have been sited immediately off Westwick Row are given in a letter to Channel Four's 'Time Team' dated 12/2/95 [S188], and also in the section on the Middle Ages sub-headed The Great Tithe Barn of Westwick.
The relevant part of the Indenture stated that Harbottle Grimston leased "that manor house or capital Messuage called Westwick Hall, And also all and singular the houses, outhouses buildings, barnes, stables, yards, orchards," to John Waller. The Hall was to be re-edifyed (that is rebuilt) by Sir Harbottle Grimston and the grounds relaid, "from "part of the lands now in the tenure and occupation of Richard Feild the elder or his assignees." Waller also obtained "that homestall where the old house now doth or lately did stand with the yards and orchard belonging to the same old house, conteyning by estimation three roods. And all that pightle of pasture ground neere the sayd old house where the tyth barne formerly stood called barn pightle conteyning by estimation three roods, And all that pightle of land or pasture neere the sayd old house, viz Orchard conteyning by estimation two acres, And one meadow called the little Mead neere the sayd old house conteyning by estimation one acre, and all that close of arable land called the Hurdles....."
Although the document stated that the property was to be rebuilt, there is no evidence as yet to suggest that a building existed on that site before 1658. In fact the map of 1634 and other documents show quite clearly that Westwick Hall did not exist before that date. Document IL1, written in 1637 is given in the Gorhambury catalogue as referring to Westwick Hall. However, the document merely states that Richard Feild lived in Westwick Manor and he was to be leased that "messuage or tenement houses edifice and buildinge.....situate at Westwick aforesayd now in the tenure or occupation of one_________Dell widdowe". The house in question was that occupied by Henry Knight in 1569, and still standing in the 1840 Tithe survey, showing as field No. 291. It had been demolished by the 1st Edition O.S. map of 1877. Feild was however also leased the land which later went with Westwick Hall to John Waller in 1658. According to the indenture, Westwick Hall was to be built on "some part of the land now in the tenure of Richard Feild", which suggests to me that its exact site was yet to be determined in 1658. [HALS IL1]
The total acreage which went with Westwick Hall was considerable, much of the land being in the area between Westwick Row and the Hall. Together it was to cost Waller £100 per annum. He was in addition barred from cultivating the area " where the old house doth or lately did stand" together with the meadow where the barn had stood, unless he obtained special licence to do so from Sir Harbottle Grimston and paid an extra £4 a year per acre for the privilege. The farm's rent was increased only a few years later. [HALS 1L4] Westwick Hall remained with the Waller family until 1713. [HALS 1L3 - 1L8]
After detailing the various parcels of land leased in the agreement, the document went on to specify various farming methods to be carried out on the farm, and was by nature of being one of the earliest "green" documents in that it was quite specific about replanting hedges and trees, ensuring that some of the hedges and pollards etc.. were at least seven years old, and leaving a minimum of a pole's width between hedges and the ploughed land. The lease for much of the land which had preceded this one, i.e. the 1637 lease to Richard Field, was equally specific. (See entry for [HALS IL3]
26th April 1659 – The following Feoffes from the Leverstock Green area were appointed by Indenture to the Boxmoor Trust:
·William Longe of Cox Pond ·Wiliam Longe the Younger of Cox Pond ·Elkanah Settle (Tile Kiln)
Other names such as John Field, associated with Leverstock Green were also on the list, but there is no evidence to prove they were the same people. [S417]
Mid 17th Century - Jonathan Hunn has reconstructed the mid 17th century landscape of the west side of St. Michael's, based on HALS X.B.31 and IL3.[S167,Fig.45,p.116] Although the map covers an area somewhat larger than our area of study, I think it is useful to reproduce the whole of the map here. As can be seen the map shows very little change in field boundaries from that of the 16th century. It does not, however include all the known information concerning some of the properties in the area, Blackwater Farm for example, being omitted, also many of the dwellings along Westwick Row.
1662 - The Act of Uniformity was passed, which required adherence to The Thirty Nine Articles, and the use of the Prayer Book compulsory in English Churches. This was to have a profound effect on many of the inhabitants of the area, and in particular upon the Rev. John King, who in refusing to sign the Articles was forced out of office along with 1600 other priests in the Church of England.
One of the chief results of the Act was to create a firm division between the Church of England and the Nonconformists which was to a large extent, to persist to the second half of the twentieth century. Anyone who wished to have any share in the government of their town or village had to confirm to the Acts, and until relatively recently it was illegal to hold office unless a practising member of the established Church. However, Leverstock Green being on the outskirts of both Hemel and St. Albans, it tended to attract the establishment of groups of Nonconformists who would meet in out of the way barns and other such places where they were less likely to be found and reported upon. Later these groups were to be licensed.
The influence of the Rev. King may have also played a strong part in this tendency, as despite being evicted from his living at Abbots Langley, he still lived in the parish despite the appointment of another Vicar, Thomas Wright, and 10 years later registered his home as a place of worship. King's influence must have still dominated the village and surrounding area as the inscription on his gravestone testifies. (See entry for 1679.) [S262; S255; S48, pp254-256; S88, pp56-58; S69.]
1663 - 1725 - Henry Child is known to have been the "patron" of St. Lawrence's Church Abbots Langley, having taken over from Lord Bruce of Kinlos. [S88] As the Ibgraves and Lord Bruce had acquired Chambersbury as part of the revenues relating to the living of St. Lawrence's, and as Sir John Filmer was known to be in possession of Chambersbury in the 18th century (as well as Langleybury and other holdings connected with, as well as the patronage of St. Lawrence's church), it is reasonable to presume that the five other persons known to have held the patronage, would also have been in possession of Chambersbury. Therefore I assume Henry Child to have been the owner and "squire" of Chambersbury between 1663 and 1725.[ S88 ]
This view is strengthened by the fact that Thomas Child was known to have been Lord of the manor of Chambersbury at his death in 1644, and that as the manor of Abbots Langley alias Langleybury had been granted to a William Childe in 1536, and remained with the Childe family until 1711, the two manors can be considered to have merged from 1624. [VCH, Vol 2, p 324; HALS 71532;S239]
18th April 1664 - The rent on Westwick Hall and its lands was increased by just over 7% to an annual figure of £107. 7s. 4d. [HALS 1L4]
12th November 1664 - "John, son of John Puddephat of Bennetts End" was Baptised at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead.[S294]
1666 - John Field and Mary his wife (descendants of Benjamin Field, 1634), sold the manor of Leverlestocke etc.. to Harbottle Grimston. (Sir Samuel Grimston - see 1688 - was his son [S20 ], and they were ancestors of the Earls of Verulam.) It would appear to have been just the manorial rights which were sold to Grimston, not the lands of the manor. However, there is still some confusion as the correct legalities of the situation as Francis Dorrignton, Edward Griffiths heir, is noted as being Lord of the Manor in document HALS IN24. Whatever the strict legalities of the situation, after 1666 the manorial rights of Leverlestocke etc.. generally merged with those of Gorhambury. (See section on The Manor of Market Oak and the entry for July 1671, and previous entries for 1621, February 1645, 20th April 1646,)
Whatever the strict legalities of the situation, Francis Dorrington was obviously known at the very least to the steward working for Harbottle Grimstone, and he held the undisputed freehold rights to land within the manor of Westwick, "nemely 13 acres of freehold land called Bunsgrove by ye eyarly rent of xxiid heretofore the lands of John Feild as Roll 3rd November 11 Car" (i.e. 1660) [HALS IA45; S98; VCH p.400; HALS IN24 - IN26a]
There was yet another major outbreak of plague, which spread outwards from London. [S1 ]
19th May 1666 - The one and a half acres of land known as Harpes was surrendered to Harbottle Grimston for ever. This triangular section of land was still known by this name at the time of the 19th century tithe survey, and still retains it's triangular (harp) shape. It is the piece of land at the Hemel Hempstead Road end of Blackwater Lane, recently developed as a Plymouth Brethren Meeting House, and previously the site of Westwick House. [HALS IK4; S96]