GENUKI Home page upHertfordshire Contents Contents NeighboursNearby places


"Berkhampstead, or Great Berkhampstead, is a market town and parish, in Dacorum hundred; 26 miles N.W. by W. from London, and 5 S.E. from Tring; situated upon the main road leading from London to Aylesbury - upon the banks of the Grand Junction canal, and close to the line of the London and Birmingham railway. Berkhampstead is supposed by some writers to have been a Roman station; from the name, however, it appears to be of Saxon origin, its designation having been Berghamstedt, or 'the town among the hills,' which well accords with its local situation. In this place the kings of Mercia often resided and kept their court, and some of the walls of their castle are still standing at the end of Castle Street. 'Berkhampstead place,' the seat of the Honourable Miss Grimstone, in this parish, was formerly occupied by the first and second Charles during their infancy. Formerly lace making and the manufacture of woolen ware was carried on extensively here, but have become nearly, if not entirely, extinct. Brewing, malting, and the making of straw plat are the present existing branches. Petty sessions are held here once a fortnight, at the 'King's Arms Ann;' and courts baron and leet annually for the 'Honour and Borough' of Berkhampstead. The church, dedicated to St. Peter, is a beautiful pile of architecture, cruciform, with a tower rising rom the intersection; within the church are two chapels, and some interesting monuments. The living is a rectory in the gift of the Crown, and incumbency of the Rev. John Crofts. The baptists, and those of Lady Huntington's connexion, have each a chapel, and the society of friends a meeting-house. Two excellent charity schools are established here, a parochial school of industry, and another conducted upon the national plan. There are almshouses for six poor widows, erected and endowed by John Sayer, Esq. in 1684; besides other minor charities, by which the poor of this parish are benefited. The poet Cowper was born in this parish in 1731. The market, held on Saturday, is chiefly for corn, but indifferently attended; the fairs are on Shrove-Tuesday, Whit-Monday, and October 12th - they are toy and pleasure fairs, but are, like the markets, unimportant as regards advantage to the town. In 1831 the number of inhabitants in Berkhampstead parish was 2,369."
[From Royal National and Commercial Directory and Topography of Herts, Pigot & Co., London, 1839]

Church Records

The Parish Registers for the periods:-


are deposited at Hertfordshire Record Office, County Hall, Hertford, SG13 8DE. [D/P19]

Entries from the Marriage Registers for the period 1538-1837 are included in The Allen Index at Hertfordshire Record Office.

The period 1604-1851 is covered by the IGI.

Transcripts of the parish registers for the period 1538-1882 are deposited at the Society of Genealogists, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, LONDON, EC1M 7BA.

Return to top of page


The Victoria County History pages for Berkhamstead S. Peter offer a very complete history of the parish.
Return to top of page

Find help, report problems, or contribute information.

Valid HTML 4.0! [Last updated: 25 January 2010 - Paul R. Joiner]