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Hemel Hempstead

"Hemel Hempstead is a populous and thriving market town in the parish of its name and hundred of Dacorum, 24 miles N.W. from London, 18 W. from Hertford and 6 W. by N. from St. Albans. By the Saxons the town was called Henamsted or Hean Hempsted, signifying 'High Hempsted;' subsequently it obtained the appellation of Hemelam-Steole, from which its present denomination evidently is derived. The town, which consists principally of one street, nearly a mile in length, is situated on the declivity of a hill, near the small rivers Gade and Bourn - within about a mile of the Grand Junction canal, and a mile and a half from the London and Birmingham Railway. The leading manufacture of the place is that of paper, which indeed may be considered its staple; the making of straw plat employs a considerable number of females and children, and several corn mills are in the vicinity. There are some respectable inns, both commercial and posting; among these the 'Bell' and the 'King's Arms' are particularly well regulated establishments. Henry VIII granted to the inhabitants a charter of incorporation, which was renewed by Cromwell: by this charter, still in existence, the government of the town was vested in a jury chosen from among the inhabitants, and a bailiff elected annually. The police regulations of the place are conducted upon the improved metropolitan system, and there is a regular office at Bury Mill End.
"The charities comprise a general infirmary, erected and partly endowed by Sir John Sebright, Bart.; a school of industry, one upon the national system, and another for infants.
"The country about Hemel Hempstead is hilly, picturesque and in a high state of cultivation; and the appearance of the town, with its handsome church and beautiful lofty spire, on the approach from St. Albans, is eminently imposing. In the immediate vicinity the walks are of a most attractive description.
"The market (a superior one for corn) is on Thursday; a fair is held on the Thursday week after Whit-Sunday for cattle, and a statute fair on the third Monday in September; and there is a large cattle show or market on Holy Thursday.
"The entire parish, including the chapelries of Bovingdon and Flaunden, contained, in 1831, 6,037 inhabitants."
[From Royal National and Commercial Directory and Topography of Herts, Pigot & Co., London, 1839]

Church History

"The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is the principal ornament of the town; it is of Norman architecture, but has undergone various alterations in the progress of time; its form is that of a cross, from the intersection of which a tower rises. The interior consists of a nave, chancel, aisles and transept: the entrance at the west end presents a richly ornamented recessed arch; the mouldings are finely sculptured, the capitals all dissimilar. The tower, surmounted by a well-proportioned spire, rests upon semicircular arches, springing from large clustered pillars with square capitals, the sculpture of each of which is different, In the church are some few monuments the inspection of which will interest the visiter; it also contains and excellent organ,built by Lincoln at a cost of four hundred guineas, and two truly beautiful jointed windows - that at the west end presented by Sir Aston Paston Cooper, Bart. The benefice is a vicarage, in the appointment of the dean and chapter of St. Paul's, on the nomination of the see of Lincoln; the present incumbent is the Rev. Jacob Henry Brook Mountain. There are places of worship for baptists and the society of friends, besides meeting houses in the parish and its hamlets for other religious classes."

[From Royal National and Commercial Directory and Topography of Herts, Pigot & Co., London, 1839]

Church Records

The Parish Registers for the Parish church of St. Mary for the periods:-

are deposited at Hertfordshire Record Office, County Hall, Hertford, SG13 8DE. [D/P47]

Entries from the Marriage Registers for the period 1558-1837 are included in The Allen Index at Hertfordshire Record Office.

The period 1558-1881 is covered by the IGI.

Transcripts of the parish registers for the period 1558-1949 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 Hemel Hempstead are also available at Hertfordshire Record Office, County Hall, Hertford, SG13 8DE.:-

see also Bovingdon, Boxmoor and Flaunden.

History

There is a great web site with a great deal of history in depth about Leverstock Green maintained by Barbara Chapman.
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