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Victorian study of North Mymms

Chapter One - Mimmine

Taken from "The Victoria History of Hertfordshire"
edited by W. Page - 1908.

Water End, North Mimms
Water End c 1902
The parish of North Mimms comprises 4,966 acres, and extends four and a half miles from east to west. It is traversed from north to south by the Old North Road, the main line of the Great Northern Railway, and the St. Albans road.

The surface of the parish is almost flat, but rises gradually to a height of 400 ft. in the east. A small stream rises in Brookman’s Park, flows west, wends its way north to the middle of the parish, then strikes north-east, and eventually joins the Colne.

In one part of its bed there are some deep circular rifts in the chalk, locally called Swallow Holes, down which the water rushes in whirlpools when the stream is high.

The parish is well wooded and includes three large parks, that of North Mimms Park in the west, Potterells in the centre, and Brookman’s in the east.

The surface soil is very varied; chalk, gravel, and clay occur at intervals. Pasture covers 2,623 acres, cropland 1,231 acres, and woodland 648 acres. There are several large sheets of water which cover some 26 acres. The parish was inclosed (1) in 1777-8 and 1782.

It may be said of North Mimms that it consists of many hamlets rather than one compact village.

Entering the parish from Hatfield by the North Road and going south, the hamlet of Bell Bar lies along a road striking off to the right. It is a small hamlet having its own post office and mission-room. There are two farms and some old red-tiled houses, but none of importance.

Further on, the North Road leads through Little Heath, now a separate ecclesiastical parish possessing a church, but until 1894 only a hamlet of North Mimms, and served by a mission-room. Little Heath is growing, and now has a population of some 700 people. In the north-east, near the road to Northaw, is Mymwood House, the residence of Mr. Archibald Thompson, J.P.

The Great Northern Railway, which runs nearly through the centre of the parish of North Mimms, passes through the hamlet of Marshmoor in the north and skirts Welham Green a little further south. Marshmoor is merely a few small houses and one larger house called Frowick House, inhabited by three brothers named Lermitte.

Welham Green extends from the railway towards the middle of the parish along a road which meets the road to Coney Heath in the west. It is a hamlet of considerable size, with a few old cottages, a good many new slated ones, a new boys’ school, and a large house on the Potterells estate, the residence of Mr. George Curtis.

In the north-west of the parish, roads from St. Albans and Hatfield meet, and the former continues south-east to Chipping Barnet by way of Cecil Road in the parish of South Mimms, and then joins the high road from St. Albans to Chipping Barnet. Before the St. Albans and Hatfield roads meet they are connected by a third road, and the triangle so formed incloses the hamlet called Roestock.

There is a seventeenth-century farm-house called Estate Farm belonging to North Mimms Park, and a good many small houses and one good red-brick house now called Roestock Hall, but till lately known as the Grange. This is the residence of Admiral Sir John Fellowes, K.C.B. There is a mission-room here.

A small part of the common called Colney Heath extends into this parish, and near to it is a mill now worked by steam, but formerly a windmill.

Leaving Roestock southwards the road leads along the edge of North Mimms Park and through the hamlet of Water End near the little brook. This hamlet consists of an irregular row of small houses with their gardens, and some old half-timber houses called Mother Chuck’s Cottages. The old village pound (2) has been cleared away within the last few years.

A little to the south of Water End is Abdale House, a building of white stucco belonging to North Mimms Park estate, occupied by Mr. C.H. Ommanney, C.M.G.; and not far away is Hawkshead House, the property of Mrs. A.C. Clauson, the wife of Mr. A.C. Clauson, barrister-at-law. Moffats, the residence of Mr. Wilson Fox, C.B., is north-east of Hawkshead House.

None of these highways lead to the parish church, but its spire may be frequently seen, and an avenue of lime trees leads from Tollgate Road up to it and the vicarage and two or three small houses. The only other house near is North Mimms Park, but the church serves several hamlets.

Place-names which occur in the early deeds are Foxcroft, Walter’s Grove, Merlyng, Bukmermedewe, Bushcroftfield, the Florysh Hach, Strytley, Worsdell, Rothstoke or Holstoke Farm, Gybbysworth, Roundcroft, Pepperland, Rougelond, Rochebrache, Danefeld, Eldley, Aberdenecroft, Christmas Pond, Revenshethgat, and Friday Grove.

There is a moat at Puttock’s Farm, near Welham Green. A pond on the left hand of the farm entrance probably originally formed part of this moat which included nearly an acre of ground. In a field not far from this and north of Pancake Hall there is a small irregular moat of three sides, one of which is much widened out. This moat may have included the large pond on the opposite side of the road called Dixon’s Hill. Its overflow is into a branch of the Colne.

The ‘Folly Gates’ near Potters Bar are said to have been erected by Sir Jeremy Sambrooke, and there is a tradition that a farthing was placed under each brick. Another story is that they were erected to commemorate a visit of Henry VIII, possibly during the time when Sir Thomas More lived at More Hall.

Swanley Bar is thought to be the corruption of Swanlond Bar, taking its name from the family of Swanlond. It is probable that at Swanley Bar the lords of the manor took toll from all who passed through, as the lords of Hatfield did at Bell Bar.

Henry Peacham, the author of The Compleat Gentleman, was born at North Mimms about 1576. He was a very talented man, being well versed in science and mathematics, as well as in drawing, painting and music.

Middle English words and definitions
1: Inclosed = variation of enclosed, the act of enclosing, especially common land. Enclosure entailed splitting land into fields which were individually owned, thus curtailing common grazing rights. back to text
2: Pound = an area where animals are kept. back to text

Useful links
Great Northern Railway
Admiral Sir John Fellowes

Victorian study of North Mymms - Index
Chapter One - Mimmine
Chapter Two - Manors - North Mymms
Chapter Three - Manors - Potterells
Chapter Four - Manors - Brookmans
Chapter Five - Manors - More Hall and Leggatts
Chapter Six - Churches
Chapter Seven - Advowsons
Chapter Eight - Charities

Note: The text above has been taken from "The Victoria History of Hertfordshire", edited by W. Page in 1908. It has been broken down into chapters for ease of reading and download. In all chapters the text is reproduced exactly as it is in the original document. Where words are used which are no longer in common usage, a number appears to the right of the word and a definition is offered. However people using these pages for research might need to have their own dictionary on hand to help understand the text. North Mymms is spelt North Mimms throughout, a difference explained in a feature written by Bill Killick on this site click here.

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