Hertfordshire Contents Nearby places
"Abbots Langley is a village and parish in the hundred of Cashio, situated a short distance to the west of the main road to St. Albans, between that town and Kings Langley, nearly two miles from the latter place; it formerly belonged to the abbey of St. Albans, and thus obtained its present designation. This parish is reputed to have been the birth-place of Adrian IV, the only Englishman who ever attained the pontifical dignity, which he enjoyed, however, but four years; in 1159 he received his death by poison, said to have been administered by a citizen of Rome, whose son he refused to create a bishop; his English name was Nicholas Breakspeare, and a farm near the village is still called 'Breakspeare farm:' as head of the church he was imperious and arrogant - a disposition that was forcibly exemplified by his refusal to invest the emperor Frederick with the imperial diadem, till that monarch had previously prostrated himself before him, and held the stirrup of his horse while he mounted. The church, dedicated to St. Lawrence, is a commodious and rather a handsome structure, having a chapel connected with it; the church contains some handsome and ancient monuments. Richard II was interred here, though his remains were subsequently exhumed and removed to Westminster. There are two free schools in the village, and at Bedmond (within the parish) is a chapel for the independents. The Grand Junction canal passes through the parish, and a view of the London and Birmingham railway can be obtained from the village. The parish of Abbots Langley contained, in 1831, a population of 1,980 persons."
[From Royal National and Commercial Directory and Topography of Herts, Pigot & Co., London, 1839]
ABBOTS LANGLEY (1 1/2 mile S.E. of King's Langley Station) is a village on prettily wooded high ground near the river Gade. It is famous as the birthplace of Nicholas Breakspeare, who, having vainly endeavoured to be admitted as a monk in the great Benedictine monastery at St. Albans, studied at Paris and eventually became Pope Adrian IV. He died in 1158 at Anagni ; tradition states that he was choked with a fly whilst drinking. The village probably owes its name, first, to its length, "Langley" signifying a long land ; second, to the fact that in the days of Edward the Confessor it was given to the Abbots of St. Albans by Egelwine the Black and Wincelfied his wife. An entry in Domesday records that there were two mills on this manor, yielding 30s. rent yearly, and wood to feed 300 hogs. The Church of St. Lawrence has nave, aisles and clerestory ; a chancel with S. aisle, and square embattled tower. The windows are mostly Perp., but those of the S. aisle are Dec. Note (I) the monument to Lord Chief Justice Raymond, died 1732 ; (2) the brasses in nave to Thos. Cogdell and his two wives, 1607, and to Ralph Horwode and family, 1478. Late in the reign of Henry VIII. the vicarage was rated at £10 per annum. An inscription in the chancel, copied in Chauncy, reads "Here lieth Robert Nevil and Elizabeth his wife, which Robert deceased the 28th of April in the year of our Lord God 1475. This World is but a Vanity, to Day a man, to Morrow none." Prince Charles held a Court at Abbots Langley during the Reign of James I.
[From Hertfordshire - Little Guide 1903, Methuen & Co., London, 1903]
The Parish Registers for the periods:-
are deposited at Hertfordshire Record Office, County Hall, Hertford, SG13 8DE. [D/P64]
Entries from the Marriage Registers for the period 1538-1837 are included in The Allen Index at Hertfordshire Record Office.
The period 1538-1882 is covered by the IGI.
Transcripts of the parish registers for the period 1538-1904 are deposited at the Society of Genealogists, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, LONDON, EC1M 7BA.
The following records for churches in the ancient parish of Abbots Langley are also available at Hertfordshire Record Office, County Hall, Hertford, SG13 8DE.:-
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