It is highly likely that the remains of the open field system, which I have mentioned in the section on the Middle Ages, dates back to Anglo-Saxon times as the system of open field farming developed at that time and
continued to exist through to the early part of the middle ages. This is reinforced by the dating of the hedge along Chambersbury Lane, as this Lane fitted in with the field system. For the most part, any dwellings would have been mere hovels, though it seems likely that some may have existed alongside the Roman Road, as its route has survived until today, and possibly along some of the older Lanes.
It seems likely that during Saxon times and the period in the run up to the Norman invasion, that the area generally was a peaceful agricultural area. The only apparent evidence of possible settlement in the immediate area of Leverstock Green, concerns the manor of Westwick, which included land up to the line of Green Lane.( See map showing medieval ecclesiastical boundaries.) Separating the Westwick and Gorhambury titles is very difficult, but prior to the 12th century it was only ever known as Westwick, (or more accurately Westwica ), and even as far as the 14th century it was still known as Westwick, (or Westwyche).
It is almost certain that the area bordering Westwick Row was occupied in the late Saxon and throughout the Medieval period, as recent archaeological work is beginning to show. We also now know that there is some evidence to show the remains of earlier occupation in the area. The position of Westwick Row itself on the upper slope of a dry valley, is one that was particularly favoured for settlement sites in the pre-Roman Iron Age and throughout the Roman period. [S290; S326; S327]
The theory which I put forward concerning an early, possibly iron-age and certainly Saxon trackway or Drovers route which included Buncefield Lane and Westwick Row now seems more likely with the various archaeological work which is being undertaken in the locality. (See section on Late Iron-Age/ pre-Roman Period.) As in Roman times, the area would have been well known to those passing through either along the Westwick Row route or along the more substantial but by now "old" Roman roads, on their lawful business, perhaps enroute for the Abbey at St. Albans.
Saxon Times - specific events listed chronologically
656 - 679 - During this time the whole of the area of modern Hertfordshire fell under the direct influence of the Celtic missionary bishops. [ S88 ]
680 - 870 - Ecclesiastically, Hertfordshire, and therefore the area around what is now Leverstock Green, was in the Diocese of Leicester. [ S88 ]
793 - Offa, King of Mercia, came to St. Albans and is said to have found the bones of St. Alban with the aid of a miracle. Offa then set up a new shrine to St. Alban, and created a monastery. Offa gave his new monastery a gift of land in order that it might have a regular income. This land included great area of Hertfordshire, and a large proportion of the study area for the "Leverstock Green Chronicle". Later King Offa journeyed to Rome to seek the Pope's blessing for his new monastery. He obtained for the Monastery, freedom from any interference by the church authorities. Therefore from very early times, until the Reformation, much of the land within our study area was solely under the jurisdiction of the monastery at St. Albans. [S168, pp3-4.]
870 - 1073 - Hertfordshire was now in the diocese of the Bishop of Dorchester. However the jurisdiction of St. Albans Abbey was exempt from diocesan control, and was known as The Liberty of St. Albans. (See previous entry as to how this came into being.) Leverstock Green was mostly within this Liberty, only that part within the parish of Hemel Hempstead ( as it later became ) being outside the Liberty. [ S88 ] It would also appear that before the Conquest, the area subsequently known as the hundred of Cashio formed part of the Hundred of Dacorum. [S167, p.67]
942-6 - The manor of Westwick was bequeathed by Aethelgifu to Queen Aelfgifu at about this time.
[ VCH, Vol. 2 p.393 ]
996 - The manor of Westwick was granted by King Ethelred to the monastery of St. Albans. [ VCH, Vol. p.393 ]