"Hatfield, a market town in the parish of Bishops Hatfield and hundred of Broadwater, is 19 miles N.N.W. from London, 7 W.S.W. from Hertford, and 14 S.S.E. from Luton, in Bedfordshire - eligibly and agreeably situated on the declivity of a hill, west of the river Lea, upon the great north road, and in the midst of luxuriant pasture and corn lands. A silk factory, at the workhouse, produces the chief manufacture that the town now possesses. The Marquess of Salisbury is lord of the manor, courts leet and baron are held under him occasionally, and the county magistrates hold petty sessions here for the division. Hatfield formed, at a very remote period, part of the property of the Saxon monarchs; in 1607 it was vested in the family of the Earl of Salisbury, in exchange for Theobalds, or as it is popularly termed ' Tibbalds.' Hatfield House, the seat and residence of the present Marquess of Salisbury, is a noble mansion, surmounted by a tower and, being seated on a proud eminence, commands the attention of the stranger on entering the town. About half a mile from the mansion stands a venerable oak, still called 'Queen Elizabeth's oak,' and so named from its marking the distance to which that princess was permitted to extend her walks, when a prisoner here in the reign of the bigoted and rigorous Mary. Brockett Hall, the seat of the Right Hon. Viscount Melbourn, is situated a few miles to the north of Hatfield.
"The church, dedicated to St. Ethelred, stands upon high ground; it is a handsome structure, and contains a nave, chancel and aisles, with an embattled tower at the west end. In the sepulchral chapel of the Salisbury family, on the north side of the chancel, is a fine marble monument to Robert Cecil, first Earl of Salisbury, and lord high treasurer under James I; here likewise were interred, December 20th, 1835, the mutilated remains of the Right Hon. Mary Emily, Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury, who was burnt to death in the previous month of November, in her 85th year. The benefice is a rectory, with the perpetual curacy of Totteridge attached, in the patronage of the Marquess of Salisbury; the present rector of Hatfield is the Rev. F. J. Faithful. A national school for boys, an endowed school of industry for girls, and six alms-houses, are the charitable institutions. Though rather hilly, the country around is well cultivated, and abundantly rewards the labour of the agriculturalist. The market is on Thursday; fairs for toys and pleasure, 23d of April and 18th of October. The parish contained, in 1831, 3,593 inhabitants."
[From Royal National and Commercial Directory and Topography of Herts, Pigot & Co., London, 1839]
There is a picture (77 kbytes) of the parish church of St. Ethelreda, hatfield; supplied by Ian Rose.
The Parish Registers for the periods:-
are deposited at Hertfordshire Record Office, County Hall, Hertford, SG13 8DE. [D/P122A] [* microfilm only; original registers not held]
The period 1604-1875 is covered by the IGI.
Transcripts of the parish registers for the period 1604-1837 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 Hatfield are also available at Hertfordshire Record Office, County Hall, Hertford, SG13 8DE.:-
see also Totteridge and Welwyn.
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