Leverstock Green Farm
alias Carpenter's Farm in the parish of Abbots Langley
Leverstock Green farm, previously known as Carpenter's Farm, stands at the very centre of the Leverstock Green community at the head of a dry valley, and alongside Leverstock Green proper - that is the wide stretch of common land known as Leverstock Green which ran (and to a large extent still runs) alongside the old Roman Road from the present day Church Cottages up as far as the start of High Street Green. It was therefore in an excellent location especially as by the middle ages the principle highway from London (The Berkhamsted Highway), via St. Albans to Berkhamsted followed this Roman Road from Leverstock Green to where it turned off west to run down to the Gade Valley and Hemel Hempstead and thence on to Berkhamsted. It is a listed building:

Leverstock Green Farmhouse, Leverstock Green Road.

Grade II

16th or 17th century. Timber framed, whitewashed roughcast and some sham half
timbering.  Gabled old tiled roof with red brick stacks.  Flush casement with
glazing bars. Two storeys with modern brick wing.  One storey wing on left.

A great deal is known about the history of the farm, as fortunately much of the documentation concerning the right to title of the land is held either at HALS or by the present property owner Mr. Peter Webber.

It is clear from the documents we have that until the latter part of the 20th century, the farm, as a working farm, occupied the same lands more or less for many centuries.  The holding itself, with the exception of two fields in the parish of St. Michaels, at the junction of present day Pancake Lane and the A4147 (running back up Pancake Lane) being confined to the furlong strip between the boundary between the parishes of Hemel Hempstead and Abbots Langley, and the ancient Saxon/Medieval furlong field boundary marked by Peas Lane.  Peas Lane for the most part now having become Peascroft Road and Malmes Croft, with the footpath joining the two.  It therefore seems likely that this land as a single unit predates by several centuries the present farm building - and it may be the present building was built on the site of an earlier dwelling.  In any case, the land was certainly in cultivation in early Medieval times, and probably in Saxon if not earlier times as well.

The following are extracts from the Leverstock Green Chronicle concerning Leverstock Green Farm (or Carpenter's Farm as it was previously known) and its owners and occupiers:

17th Century:

Assocated with Carpenters Farm (Leverstock Green Farm) this century were: James Marston and Dorothy Marston his mother, Richard Long a mealman from Abbots Langley, his son Jeremiah and Jeremiah's wife Mary, Thomas Carpenter, Elizabeth Pope, William Morris, John Hawkins. [HALS 80740-80748]

6th October 1669 - A small estate, much of which was to become known later in the century as Carpenters Farm, and by the late 19th century as Leverstock Green Farm, was sold for £1060. The estate was approximately 100 acres in extent and although this particular document didn't give precise details of its location, a reference in document 80756 allows us to place it with certainty. (See entry for 3rd December 1718)

The farm estate was "late in the tenure of or occupacon of William Morris and now or late in the tenure and occupacon of John Hawkins."   The sale was between:  "James Marston Citizen and Milliner of London, son & heir of Henry Marston deceased late of Abbots Langley and Dorothy Marston Widow relict of Henry Marston; and Richard Long Mealman of Abbots Langley."

The estate was "to be held directly of the King as of his manor of East Greenwich in free and comon Sovage." It seems likely that this was the case due to the fact that much of the manor of Abbots Langley had become part of the lordship of Henry Prince of Wales (eldest son of James Il) in 1610. It was leased to Francis Bacon (of Gorhambury) in trust for Prince Charles (Charles I), but by 1641 had passed into the hands of Frances Combe of Hemel Hempstead - though exactly how and when is uncertain. (See also entry for 21 May 1641.)  It is possible that part at least of the manorial rights had been retained by Charles I, and later by his son. However, later records show it to have been part of the Manor of Abbots Langley proper, with no reference yet discovered as to how the lands in question were returned to their original manorial title.

The Marstons and Richard Long had to go "before the Kings Majestyes Justices of the Court of Common Pleas att Westmister or some other thereunto lawfully authorised one or more Fine or Fines"

From this date onwards there is a very clearly documented record of the various owners and several of the tenants of the estate until the present day, it being only broken into smaller sections earlier this century. It would, however, have appeared not to have included the wasteland abutting on to the main highway and upon which Blacksmiths Cottages were later built. This was instead  part of the manor of Abbots Langley throughout.  [HALS 80740 (and 80741-80785; S176 - S183 and S262]

21st November 1671  - Richard Long sold the freehold of :

"All that close of arable land known by the name of the Heath conteyning by estimacon seaven acres more or lesse now in the tenure and occupacon of the sayd Thomas Carpenter or his Assignes lyeing and being in Abbots Langley aforesayd heretofore the lands of Henry Marston Deceased adjoining to a lane called Pease Lane north the land of Daniel Lea South and the land  of the sayd Thomas Carpenter west or howsoever otherwise the same is abutted or bounded with all wayes passages profitts Comodityes and appertenances theretofore belonging"

This 7 acre plot was roughly where Hobbs Hill Wood Primary School is today and stretched as far towards Nash Mills slightly beyond the end of where the present Peascroft Road joins Barnacres and Leys Road. ( See map of Carpenters Farm estate.)  The Pease Lane referred to and which formed the principle boundary to much of the farm was the original lane following the medieval field boundary from which the present Malmes Croft and Peascroft Road were formed. Pease Lane bounded the estate and turned north where Peascroft Road now meets Barnacres and Leys Road. The modern road which joins Leys Road called Long John is named after one of the fields named in the estate - also Long John. The main part of this small estate was formed out of one of the old medieval furlong strips.

A full transcript of the above mentioned document can be found at Leverstock Green and Hemel Libraries.  It would appear that Thomas Carpenter had to take out a mortgage to help pay for the property as documents dated  18th January 1671/2 and 27th March 1673 refer to this. [HALS 80741; 80743 and 80744 A full transcript of this latter document can also be found at the local libraries.]

Although no such individual documentation appears to have survived, it seems probable that at the same time that Thomas Carpenter bought The Heath he also purchased the copyhold to the rest of the estate, and this was documented separately, as they were in 1718. [HALS 80755-6]  The reason for the separate documentation was the fact that The Heath was freehold, whereas the rest of the estate was copyhold, as is shown quite clearly from HALS documents 80799 & 80800.

18th January 1671/2  - Thomas Carpenter took out a mortgage on the area known as The Heath for £35 7s with Thomas Draper, a clerk from Redbourn. [HALS 80745; 80748]

27th December 1676 - From a copy of a court roll dated 2nd March 1676/7 we know that Thomas Carpenter surrendered the lands which had become known as Carpenter's Farm, back to  Richard Long the freeholder.  This document proves that there should indeed have been  an additional document for the copyhold sale of the property, probably in 1671 at the same time as he bought the freehold to The Heath. A full translation of the document can be found at the local library, but as can be seen from the extract below a very detailed account of the various fields making up the property and their exact location in relation to one another and their neighbours is given.

" .... one messuage and tenement  situated at Leverstock greene with the house stables edifices yards orchards gardens and all and singular the pastures to be considered one close of land called Ivons croft containing by estimation 5 acres more or less abbutting onto the lands of Daniel Lea in part to the south and situated on Pea Lane and partly to the north by one close of land called Farther feild  with a coppice adjoining containing 3 acres more or less abbutting partly on the land of Elland Settle and partly westwards on  Pea Lane and east and south and four acres more or less of brushwood called Hobbs Gill and to the west one close called Hither Hobs Gills containing four acres more or less next to a copse bounded on the west by one close called Upper Thornes Close containing 3 acres more or less adjoining a close called Hither Hobs Gill and to the west one close called Johns Thornes Close alias Long Johns now divided in two containing six acres more or less abutting on to Pea Lane  and to the east and south the land of Sara Long widow and Elland Settle and to the north and west one close of land called Middle Thornes Close containing three acres more or less and at the end to the north and west one close called Hither Long Johns containing three acres more or less and next to that one called  Middle Thornes Close above  and to the west one close called Hither Thornes Close containing seven acres more or less and adjoining a close called Long Johns  above and to the west one close called Thornes Croftes  containing two acres more or less and joining a close to the west. And all the statutory tithes growing renewing and increasing...."

It is interesting to note that some of the woods and fields were known as Hobs Gill.  Right up until earlier this century they were known as Hobs Gill Wood or occasionally Hob Jo Wood. I believe they only became to be called Hobbs Hill when incorrectly transcribed by a clerk from one document to another.  This mistake has now been perpetuated in the name of the Primary School opposite to the original wood. The school itself being built in part on land which was originally part of Carpenter's Farm, i.e. The Heath.   [HALS 80745]

18th Century

Associated with Leverstock Green Farm (Carpenters Farm) this century were Jeremiah Long and his wife Mary, Dr. Richard Hale of St. Giles's and by bequest from Dr. Hale, the Tower family. [HALS 80750-80770, 80798-80800, 80821] James Preston, [HALS 80779] William Finch HALS D/EV M39]

3rd October 1718 - Jeremiah Long agreed to sell to Dr. Richard Hale, a physician from St. Giles' in London, for £870, the estate known as Carpenters Farm. (Leverstock Green Farm).  This included copyhold land on the opposite side of the highway and therefore in the manor of Gorhambury, and the freehold parcel of land called The Heath, as well as the principle copyhold acreage of the farm. It is noticeable that at sometime during the previous 14 years, the fields called Greenhills (within the manor of Gorhambury) had ceased to form part of the estate.  A memo written in Dr. Hale's own  handwriting said:

That it is agreed this 3rd Oct.: 1718 between Dr. Hale of St. Giles's London, & Mr. Jeremiah Long of Abbots Langley Hertfordshire that the said Dr. Hale shall give Mr. Long the summe of eight hundred and seventy pounds for an Estate in Abbots Langley & Gorhambury   called Carpenters of the yearly value of thirty eight Pounds. pr an: the said Mr Long making out a good and clear title to the said estate. This estate to be conveyed on the second Monday in November next.

                             Witness our hands
                               Rich: Hale.
The rent from Mich: last
to belong to Dr. Hale.                                   
                                Jer: Long
                                            [HALS 80751]

November 1718 - February 1718/19 -  There is considerable documentation concerning the conveyance of Carpenters Farm to Dr. Richard Hale dated during this period, much of it of considerable interest. As a result of all these legal manoeuvres Dr. Hale became the freehold owner of the land called The Heath, the copyholder of the land within the manor of Gorhambury, and I think the freeholder of the land which ran along Pease Lane.  In the latter case some of the documents can be rather confusing as the estate is referred to as being copyhold of the manor of Abbots Langley, yet terms used in the various documents imply the eventual transfer of the freehold.

Dr Hale was in any case the owner of the property and he was eventually, after an initial refusal by William Greenhill, Lord of the Manor, allowed to entail the property. As he had no children of his own, it passed to his sister's son Thomas Tower,(  along with a great deal of other property, some in Essex, and a great deal in the Hemel area, including Gadebridge House and its estate.)

The Carpenters Farm (or Leverstock Green Farm as it was later to become) estate was to remain in the Tower family until sold to John Knox Hart in 1885. [HALS documents 80752 - 80785]

Transcripts of documents relating to this  four month period, i.e. 80755, 80756, & 80759 appear in a separate appendix. Notes from, and  partial transcripts of the other documents relating to that period, also appear in a
separate appendix.

10 December 1723 - Mary Long, wife of Jeremiah Long died, aged 64. Described on his wife's memorial, originally to be found within St. Lawrence's Church Abbots Langley, as a yeoman Jeremiah, together with his wife Mary, were known to have been connected with Carpenters Farm (Leverstock Green Farm). [S262, HALS 80740-80748]

1779 - A valuation undertaken at this time gave the following information about Leverstock Green Farm:

    Leverstock Green Farm, Finch Tenant and at Will  Rent £44 House Orchard etc.

House Orchard etc.    1. 3. 3
Two Closes one Meadow one Arable  2. 3. 3
Carpenters Field        4. 1. 2
Long Johns    6. 1.-
Thorns Close       6. 0. 6
Further Hobbs     3. 1. 34
Middle Hobbs      3. 0. 3
Nearer Hobbs      3. 1. 39
Langley Field       5. 2. 5
Two Woods   6. 9. 32
Copyhold in Langley 10/7 Qt. Rt. at Will    44. 0.  2
Two fields cross the Road
  Copy in Gorhambury    10. 35. 30
  54.  3. 32
and Freehold a Close called The Heath   8. 1. 35
  63. 1. 27  

This Estate is good Land the Greatest Part of it but has a most slovenly manager & the Land is very sower  & in bad Tillage & the Buildings much out of Repair, the field called The Heath and Langley field are the best Land. Those two fields are worth £1 an acre. On the whole I set this Farm at £50 a year & at 26 Years Purchase by Reason of Part being freehold - there is a Little Timber but that should go for repairs......  [HALS 80798]

This valuation was undertaken by a C De Lace for Christopher Towers prior to the farm, together with two others being put up for sale.  Unfortunately the poor man does not appear to have been paid for his pains as in a letter written in the same hand as the above document, on 26th November 1781 he asks that:

"you would order my Small Demand to be then paid for Viewing and Valuing the Estates at Langley Watford and Elsewhere." ( See entry for that 26th Nov. 1781) [HALS 80799, 80790, 80777]

The farm, along with Callow Land Farm Watford &  a farm at Bedmond were put on the market later the same year.  However, the farm at Leverstock Green would appear to have been unsold as it remained in the Towers family for another 100 years until sold to John Knox Hart in January 1885 by the then Christopher Tower. [S180]

26 November 1781 - C delist wrote to Christopher Thomas Tower concerning the small piece of land which formed part of Leverstock Green Farm, which was within the manor of Gorhambury:

A Court for the Manor of Gorhambury will be held on Fryday the 21st day of Decr. at Ten in the morning at Maines Farm when I hope you will order Mr. Ginger to be admitted to the estate late Mr. Tower in that Manor, I Presume you know there is an Entail on that Estate  and that you are Tenant in Tail and may Barr those Rem. as that an upon it if so you wish before the Court Execute a Power of Attorney for his to pass a Recovery but if you Choose to let them Remain he may be admitted as for Atty (probably, attorney) to an Estate Tail.  I hope you will order this business to be then finished as it has been so long Depending And I should be so much Obliged if you would order my small Demand to be then paid for Viewing and Valuing the Estates at Langley Watford & Elsewhere.  I am Sir
                             Your Most Obedient Servant
                             C DeLast
                             26 Nov 1781     [HALS 80777]

27th May 1797 - Christopher Tower agreed to let Carpenters Farm (otherwise beginning to be known as Leverstock Green Farm) to James Preston a local farmer. Having had problems with the management of the farm whilst William Finch held the lease, (see entry for 1779), Christopher Tower was keen to ensure that the farm would be better managed in future. Clauses written into the agreement drawn up between them show this quite clearly;

" The said Christopher Tower agrees to lett unto the said James Preston........... for the term of Twelve Years from Michaelmas Day next at the Rent of Sixty Four pounds Clear of all taxes Except Land Tax and Quit Rent to be paid at Christmas Day Lady Day and Midsummers Day and Michaelmas Day in each Year And at an Additional Rent of five pounds for every tree and body of Pollard to be cut down by the said James Preston And a further additional Rent of £10 for every acre of Meadow Land which shall be anyways broke up Except to the said Christopher Tower his Heires and Assigns All Timber Trees Tellars Waivers Saplings and Bodies of Pollards and liberty to enter and cut the same  Also except liberty to enter and see the state of the Repairs and of Hunting shooting and Fishing on the Premises.

The said James Preston to put the Buildings and Fences into good Repair within the first year and also to keep and leave in repair, the said Christopher Tower providing rough Timber Bricks and Tiles the said James Preston fetching the same with his teams not exceeding four miles.  The said James Preston to House and Stack on the Premises all the Crops of Corn Grain Grass and Hay and spend all the Straw Muck Dung Soil and Compost thereon Except the Wheat Straw which may be sold in each year but the last provided the money arising by the Sale is laid out in Dung or Soot and brought on the Premises under the penalty of Forty Shillings for every load of Straw Stover Muck Dung Soil or Compost which shall be carried off the said Premises except aforesaid.

The said James Preston to leave all the Straw Halm and Fodder of the last Years Crop and leave it in the Yards and Gateroom of the demised Premises the said James Preston having the use of the Barns and Yard till the twenty fifth day of March after the Term; at Lady Day in the last year to leave One Third of the Arable Land Fallow and permit the Landlord to enter and Plow Dung and the same and to have the Use of a Stable for his Horses without paying for the same - The Landlord to have liberty to sow Grass Seeds with the Lent Corn in the last Years.

The said James Preston not to cut any tree or break up the Meadow, Not to Cross Crop the arable land.  To lop the Pollards only when the Hedges are Cut, Not to Cut the Hedges or Underwoods under Nine or above twelve Years growth and then make good the hedges and Scour the ditches......" [HALS 80779]

19th Century

Associated with Leverstock Green Farm were: Christopher Thomas Tower, James Preston, William Turner, Isaac Turner, John Groom, Henry Smith and Joseph Smith, [HALS 80782-80785], John Knox Hart.

1st March 1804 - William Turner acquired the farm lease of Leverstock Green Farm. It is interesting to note that several repairs obviously needed to be undertaken , and that a barn was to be pulled down:

....."take the present repairs of the said Farm upon himself and perform the same according to the Estimates thereof lately taken, such repairs to be completed in good and substancial manner by or before the 24th June next.  The said William Turner being also allowed to use the materials from the Old Barn to be pulled down & the building at the End of the House as far as they go and having sufficient Timber assigned for the New Barn Floor & new  Lathing where necessary & for Gates and Posts & such weathering Boarding and paling as the materials above mentioned will not supply."

The lease was eventually passed on to William's son Isaac, who didn't release it until 1824.  (Further notes and transcription concerning this transaction are contained in a seperate appendix.) [HALS 80782 & 80783]

22nd April 1811 - Christopher Thomas Tower was admitted at the Manor Court of Abbots Langley, to the copyhold of the best part of Leverstock Green Farm (The rest being either freehold or in the manor of Gorhambury.) The annual quitrent payable of Leverstock Green Farm was 10/7d.  The property was also heritable. [HALS D/ELs B900]

29th June 1824 - John Groom,  corndealer, acquired a seven year lease on Leverstock Green Farm.
"Christopher Thomas Towers hath demised leased and farm letten All that Messuage or Tenement Farm and Lands......64 acres more or less.........late in the occupation of Isaac Turner now of the said John Groom."

John Groom had to  "effect repairs within three months" of being told they were necessary.

The annual rent was to be £64, i.e. £1 per acre - this rent having remained the same since 1797.

In addition to his annual rent of £64, John Groom had to pay a further £20 per acre for any meadow or woodland which he dug up and tilled, and an additional £10 per acre "for every acre of arable land cropped contrary to the course of husbandry herafter prescribed."

1. He was allowed to sell the wheatstraw.

2. He was "Not to let any turnips stand for seed but to feed them off with  sheep on the land wherever they grow."

3. He was "Not to cross crop any of the said arable land."

4. He was to "cultivate so that in any 1 year there was no more than 26 acres of wheat, oats, barley, or rye, nor was there less than 13 acres of Clover layer or artificial grasses"

5. "Such  lands to be sown with turnips or vetches to be fed off or may be clean fallowed but on no account cropped in any other manner."

6. He was to "Ash his Clovers and soot such of his wheat crops as have not been dunged in the previous year."

7. He was to "dung his meadow or pasture ground well."

8. He was "not to cut the underwood in the wood called Fox Howletts till January 1st 1825 nor of the wood called Hobbs Hill till after January 1st 1826". It is interesting to note that the woods were referred to as Hobbs Hill for the first time, and not Hobb Gill or Hobb Jo. As late as the present time elderly residents of the area still referred to the woods as Hobb (pronounced 'obb) Gill or Hobb Jo.  I believe the name Hobbs Hill came about by a clerk mis-copying the name from an older document.

9. He was to be fined £5 a tree for any tree or pollard cut down.

Other clauses were similar to those quoted in Herts. Record office document no 80779 (see transcript). [HALS 80783]

30th June 1830 -  Henry Smith of Northend Farm, a farmer, and Joseph Smith of Leverstock Green, his son, acquired the lease on Leverstock Green Farm.  It is unclear whether or not Mr. Smith senior kept his interest in the neighbouring Northend Farm, or if the two farms were managed together as one unit.  Their lease was renewed in 1839 for a further 9 years, but with an increase in rent. [HALS 80784]

1839 - It would appear from the renewal of Henry and Joseph Smith's lease of Leverstock Green Farm, that either inflation had started to take a hold, or else land values had risen considerably.  This was because the annual rent of the 64 acre farm was increased from £64 to £77 10s.0d.. [HALS 80784]

The Tithe Survey:
According to the apportionment lists, the homestead at 988 ( Leverstock Green Farm) was occupied by a Joseph Smith, and the homestead at 982 ( North End Farm ) was occupied by a William Smith, and was actually owned by Samuel Reynolds Solly rather than Charles Longman (The publisher). The actual mapping survey was undertaken in 1839, but I suspect the interviewing took place later, and over a period of time, leading to these discrepancies.  [S 97]  

Click on              to view map of the farm in 1841.

1860 - from Kelley's Directory,  Joseph Smith was at Leverstock Green farm, and  Thomas Kingham.

11th March 1868 - Joseph Smith, the tenant farmer at Leverstock Green Farm was given notice to quit.  The letter he received read as follows:

    " To Mr. Joseph Smith of Leverstock Green Farm Abbots Langley Herts.

    I the undersigned Christopher Tower of Huntsmore Park in the County of Buckingham Esquire Do hereby give you Notice to Quit and deliver up to me on the 29th day of September next or at the expiration of the current year of your tenancy the peacable and quiet possession of All that Farm with the lands and buildings thereunto belonging called Leverstock Green Farm situate in the Parishes of Abbots Langley and St. Michael St.Albans or one of them in the County of Hertford and all other the premises which you lately held of Christohper Thomas Tower Esquire deceased and which you now hold of me as tenant from year to year.  Dated this 11th day of March 1868
                   Christopher Tower "
                                       [HALS 80785]

28th April 1868 - The following schedule concerning Leverstock Green farm was quoted in various legal documents concerning the farm:

"..............The Schedule contains (inter alia) in the County of Hertford

Leverstock Green Farm in the Parishes of Abbots Langley and St. Michael St. Albans occupied by Mr. Joseph Smith.

No. on mapDescriptionCultivation   a r p       

972Langley Field Barley5-2- 2
974*The Heath  Wheat/Fallow  7-2-31
989Orchard Orchard  1-1-24
988Homestead~    -1- 1
990Great MeadowPasture   1-2-23
991Little Meadow~     1-"-34
992Arable Field  Clover    5-1-25
993Long JohnWheat & Turnips 7- -11
994Five AcresBarley & Oats    5-1-24
995Three CornersOats3-1-27
996Hobbs Gill Field   Peas4-2-16
997Hobbs Gill Wood Wood4- -23
998Meadows SlipPasture -2-33
1000Hollowletts Barley3- -32
1001Spring Wood1-1- 7
   Green Field  Wheat         10- -

The whole of the Foregoing Farm is Copyhold with the exception of 974 which is freehold.

Lot 2 is the land held of Gorhambury.........."
[HALS D/ELs B900]

14 January 1885  - Leverstock Green Farm was sold to James Knox Hart by Christopher Hume Tower.  The farm, which stood at just over 65 acres in size had barely changed from the same land farmed by Thomas Carpenter in the 17th century.  It is interesting to note that the property within Abbots Langley Parish now appears to be totally freehold. It was no doubt the change in status and the various mortgages etc.. taken out to secure the freehold by Christopher Tower which  made John Knox Hart somewhat wary about committing himself to the purchase of the farm until he was completely satisfied that Christopher John Hume Tower had complete right to it's title.  For anyone interested in the legal arguments and mass of paperwork generated before the sale could be completed, they should refer to HALS document D/ELs B900.

The following is a transcript of the eventual conveyance document [D/ELs B900, part one]:


This Indenture made the fourteenth day of January One Thousand eight hundred and eighty five BETWEEN CHRISTOPHER JOHN HUME TOWER of Weald Hall Brentwood Essex Esquire of the one part and JAMES KNOX HART of 78 High Holborn Middlesex Gentleman of the other part WHEREAS the said Christopher John Hume Tower is now seised or possessed of the hereditaments hereinafter described and coloured blue and pink on the plan drawn on these presents for an estate of inheritance in fee simple free from incumbrances and he has or may have acquired certain rights estate or interest by possession or otherwise in or over the heriditaments hereinafter described and coloured yellow on the said plan and he has agreed to sell the same to the said James Knox Hart for the sum of two thousand three hundred and fifty five pounds. NOW THIS INDENTURE WITNESETH that the persuance of such agreement and in consideration of TWO THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FIVE POUNDS sterling paid by the said James Knox Hart Christopher John Hume Tower doth hereby acknowledge  He the said Christopher  John Hume Tower doth hereby  as beneficial owner convey unto the said James Knox Hart and his heirs FIRSTLY ALL AND SINGULAR the freehold lands and heriditaments known as "Leverstock Green Farm" situate in the parish of Abbots Langley and St. Michael in the County of Hertfordshire delineated and described in the plan drawn on these presents and theron coloured blue and pink and the particulars whereof are set forth in the schedule hereto which said farm is now in the occupation of Joseph Smith on a yearly tenancy saving and excepting all mines and minerals and such rights as are reserved to the Lord of the Manor of Abbots Langley by the Copyhold Act 1852 section 48  AND SECONDLY all the right estate and interest (if any) which the said Christopher John Hume now has by title possession occupation or otherwise in or over the piece of land adjoining the said farm and coloured yellow on the said plan TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said lands and hereditaments unto the same John Knox Hart and his heirs in fee simple IN WITNESS whereof the said parties to these presents have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and  year first above written.


No. on mapCultivationArea
6Wood etc0.28
20Arable etc13.82
25Farmsteading etc.1.91

Equal to 65 acres 1 rood 14 perch or thereabouts

SIGNED SEALED AND DELIVERED BY THE within named Christopher John Hume Tower in the presence of
H. Manisty Solr.
1, Howard Street Strand London,signed Christopher (L.S.) TowerJ.H.

20th Century

1902, from Kelley's Directory:  James Knox Hart, farmer, Leverstock Green Farm

Thursday 25th May 1905 - The auction of the Leverstock Green Brickfield and Tile Kiln Farm took place, resulting in the farmland being purchased by Leverstock Green Farmer John Knox Hart.

1908 from Kelley's directory: James Knox Hart, frmr, Lev. Grn. Farm

6 January 1912 - January 6th 1912 - The Hemel Hempstead Gazette carried a lengthy report on the various appeals being made against the new ratable values of properties.  Among these was a report of  John Knox-Hart's appeal against the valuation of the considerable lands he held ( Leverstock Green  Farm +).  The headlines were as follows: I am Very DISSATISFIED - MR. KNOX HART AND HIS ASSESSMENT, MANY APPEAL AGAINST THE HEMEL HEMPSTEAD COMMITTEE.  There were several appeals against the new valuations.  Mr. John Knox Hart's principle complaint being against the assessment of land at Belswains Lane at £80 gross and £76 ratable and also some at Bennetts  End at £40 gross and £30 ratable.  After a considerable amount of arguing the committee eventually agreed to make a reduction but John Knox-Hart wasn't happy with the result. [Gazette 6 January 1912]

August 17th 1914 -  The 1st Battalion  Queen's Westminster Rifles arrived at their war station in Leverstock Green, having been sent to the St. Albans area as part of the 2nd London Division of the Territorial Army.  The Division had assembled in Hyde Park the day before, and marched 12 miles down the Edgware Road where it had bivouacked for the night; marching a further 10 miles on to its final destination on the Monday (17th). The weather was exceptionally hot and the men were carrying full packs.

On arrival the Battalion's Headquarters were established in the village school, and the headquarters mess at a house called "Pancake" ( roughly where Bartel Close is today,) then the home of Viscount Verulam.  The companies were billeted in various farms in the neighbourhood as follows:
                        A & B - Bunkers Farm.
                        (C - Westridge Farm & Potters Crouch Farm.)
                        D  - Westwick Hall Farm.
                        E  - Well Farm.
                        F  - Leverstock Green Farm.
                        G  - Corner Farm.
                        H  - Westwick Row Farm

18 February 1915:  This was the date on the deeds transferring land at the corner of Pancake Lane and Leverstock Green Road to the Trustees for the Parish Room. The land had been the property of John Knox Hart of Leverstock Green Farm.  The deed was dated 18TH FEBRUARY 1915 , for which he received the sum of £100.  A full transcript of the deed is available. However for some obscure reason this was not apparently made generally know in Leverstock Green at the time.

1917 from Kelley's Directory James Knox Hart, frmr, LG. Farm     

19th March 1921  - The Gazette reported the death of the 28 year old daughter of John Knox Hart ( Leverstock Green  Farm). She was resident in the USA at the time of her death.  [Gazette 19th March 1921]
1922 from Kelley's directory:  William Newstead, farm bailiff to M T W Allen esq. Leverstock Green Farm  
24th June 1922;- The following advert for what appears from its description to be "Leverstock Green Farm", but which could also be "Tile Kiln" appeared in the Gazette. However, the only known gravel was next to the property know as "The Dells" off Tile Kiln Lane:


LEVERSTOCK GREEN - Small farm comprising attractive old-fashioned half timbered farmhouse containing 4 bedrooms, Bathroom (h&c) Lounge Hall & usual offices, excellent range of brick built farm buildings, orchard, orchard, gardens, paddock, and 2 meadows in about 19 acres.  Large deposits of sand & gravel underlie the property which could be profitably developed.  Freehold. Immediate possession

22 July 1922:- The following advert appeared for the sale of all stock at Leverstock Green Farm (making the previous months' advert more likely to appertain to Leverstock Green Farm,)


Messrs Broad & Patey by auction by order of Mr V Allen Esq on Friday August 4th 1922 at 1 o'clock Live & Dead farming stock. (There then followed a list)

1926  Kelley's directory showed another apparent newcomer to the village, Arthur Webber who had taken over Leverstock Green Farm.

1929 from Kelley's Directory:  Art. Webber, farmer LG.Farm

20th October 1932 - John Knox Hart, the former owner of  Leverstock Green Farm died.  His obituary in the Gazette  the following week read:


We regret to record the death of Mr. John Know Hart, who passed away o October 20th at his residence in St. Albans Road Hemel Hempstead. Mr. Knox Hart, who was 85 years of age had lived in the district for 50 years and was probably one of the best known personalities over a wide area.  Up till the autumn of 1920 he lived at Leverstock Green Farm whither he came from Scotland at the age of 36 a changed profession and a more southern climate being necessitated by his unfortunate ill health.  Mr. Knox Hart was a tweed merchant and had a flourishing business in north Britain before his departure south.  Since living at Leverstock Green he resided at Tile Kiln Farm and Belswains farm, Hemel Hempstead and was for a little time at residence in Berkhamsted.

Mr. Knox Hart was a gentleman of wide interests and knowledge.  Under a sturdy exterior he carried a genial personality and sound characteristics of the keen business man to whom integrity of purpose was a guiding  trait.  He was a familiar figure in the markets around West Herts and one who was greatly admired.  The "world" as it is known did not deal kindly with him at times, but misfortunes  never shook him from the path of perseverance  and hard work and his happiness of disposition was unscathed.  As would be his wish he died practically in harness, for he carried on his normal duties until a short time prior to his death.  To Mrs. Knox Hart and his other relatives left to mourn their loss  the deepest sympathy will be extended.

The funeral was on Monday at St. Mary's Apsley, the Rev. C.B. Goodwin conducting.  .....................

1933 - from Kelley's Directory: Arthur Webber, farmer, Leverstock Green Farm

The Shuffrey family moved into Leverstock Green Farmhouse in the mid 1930's, and the farmhouse and its grounds (no longer the complete farm, but the fields immediately behind the farmhouse and stretching back on a line with "The Dells") were to play an important part in the war effort, as Reginald Allan Shuffrey was to be the local Homeguard Officer, and the ammunitions dump for the Homeguard was actually built in the paddock behind the farm, the farmhouse being the Homeguard HQ.  Mr. Shuffrey, as well as the local Homeguard chief, was also a keen photographer, and many of the photographs in my book of the village in the 1940's & 1950's were taken by him.  There are also photographs in the book of the ammunitions dump, Lt. RA Shuffrey and the whole Home Guard contingent.

After Mr. Shuffrey Senior's death in 1953 the farm passed to his son Anthony and his wife Margaret.  They lived at the farm until 1964.

When the Hemel Hempstead New Town was built in the 1950s land was compulsorily purchased.  However they did not take the 8 1/2 acres of fields until 1958, The fields were developed for them by the Laing Housing Co.Ltd. into what was to become the MRA estate,that is the area known as the Lake District as the roads are all named after parts of the Lake District.

In 1964 the Shuffreys sold the remaining 1 1/2 acres, including the house and garden, to Laing Housing who promptly sold the house and garden to the TV and film actor William Lucas. They built what is now Windermere Close on the remaining area of paddock behind the farmhouse.

Peter & Elaine Webber (no relation of the earlier Mr. Webber) purchased the property in the 1980's, and have since developed the barn as offices come dwellings, from which they run part of their medical accessories business.  It was put on the market in 2006 for £1,5000
Above: Leverstock Green Farmhouse in 1995 ©  Barbara Chapman
This page was last updated on: April 11, 2009
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Leverstock Green ChronicleMaplinks page (for large scale and old maps of the area.)

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TOP: Plan of the farm.
BOTTOM Leverstock Green Farm, 1940
Photograph copyright A Shuffrey