Some sources where you can read more about the history of Wheathampstead


Note: The keen-eyed reader will find some inconsistencies, even downright contradictions, among these sources; this is part of the fascination of historical research



(Click to go to the section you are interested in)

Devil's Dyke, Cassivellaunus and Julius Caesar

Archaeology and Ancient History


Histories of Hertfordshire, with sections about Wheathampstead

Manorial History

WEA series - Wheathampstead and Harpenden

St. Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society

The Folly

Various subjects


Devil's Dyke, Cassivellaunus and Julius Caesar

No aspect of the history of Wheathampstead prompts more discussion than the debate about Devil's Dyke. Who built it? What was it for? Was it the site of the battle between Julius Caesar and the Catuvellauni, led by Cassivellaunus, in 54 BC? The following sources are some of the many contributions to this debate.

Anthony, I., (1969) ‘The Battle of Wheathampstead' Hertfordshire Past and Present, no.9  Click here

Branigan, K. (1987) The Catuvellauni, Alan Sutton

Bryant,S., (2007) 'Central places or special places? The origins and development of ‘oppida' in Hertfordshirein The Later Iron Age in Britain  eds. Haslegrove, C. and Moore, T., (2007) Oxbow Books More

Caesar, Gaius Julius, The Gallic War, (trans. Carolyn Hammond) Oxford University Press, 1996.

See Book 5.11, 18–22 (pp. 94–100) for Caesar's arrival in Britain and encounters with Cassivellaunus.

See also Translation of Book 5 of Julius Caesar's ‘De Bello Gallico', including the description of his encounter with Cassivellaunus in 54 BC. See chapters 11 to 22, especially chapter 21. Available online 

Saunders, C. and Havercroft, A.B., (1982) 'Excavations on the Line of the Wheathampstead By-Pass 1974 and 1977' in Hertfordshire Archaeology, Vol. 8, 1980–1982.  Click here

Saunders, C. (1982) 'Some thoughts on the oppida at Wheathampstead and Verulamium' in Hertfordshire Archaeology, Vol. 8, 1980–1982.  Click here

Thompson, I. (1979) 'Wheathampstead Revisited'   Institute of Archaeology Bulletin No.16  Click here

Thompson, I. (2024) 'Devil's Dyke and The Slad, Wheathampstead' in SAHAAS Newsletter 231, February 2024  Click here

Wheeler, Dr and Mrs R.E.M. (1932) Summary of the Verulamium Excavations in 1932  SAHAAS Transactions (includes a section about Devil's Dyke) Available online

Wheeler, R.E.M. and T.V. (1936) Verulamium: A Belgic and Two Roman Cities  Society of Antiquaries of London  More

Wheeler, R.E.M. (1937) ‘The Devil's Dyke, Wheathampstead', SAHAAS Transactions Available online


Archaeology and Ancient History

Freeman, Ian, (1978) 'The Boundary Hedge of Saxon Wheathampstead', Hertfordshire's Past, no. 4, Spring   Click here

Jones, Arthur C., (1969) 'The River Lea Campaign of 894-5',  Hertfordshire Past and Present no. 9  Click here

Saunders, C. and Havercroft, A.B. with Powers, R. ‘Excavations at St Helen's Church,  Wheathampstead', Hertfordshire Archaeology, Vol. 8, 1980–1982 Click here 

Smith, Mike (2019) 'Discovering a fulling mill at Wheathampstead', Herts Past & Present  3rd seriesIssue No. 33, Spring Click here 

The Viatores (1964) Roman Roads in the South East Midlands  Gollancz 

West, Simon (2004) Life and Death on a Romano-British estate: Turnershall Farm in Hertfordshire  Click here

White, Victor S., (2011) 'Wheathampstead 1060 AD Bounds: entirely south of the River Lea' Herts Past & Present 3rd series - Issue no 18 Autumn Click here

Zeepvat, Bob (2001) 'To Boldly Go...A newly-discovered earthwork at Mackerye End', Hertfordshire's Past, Issue 50, Spring Click here



Busby, John H. (1936) An Eighteenth-Century Rector of Wheathamstead. SAHAAS Transactions. Available online

Busby, John H. (1937) Wheathampstead Parish Registers: Extracts from the Lost Register Books (Reprinted from SAHAAS transactions.)  Available online

Chronica Monasterii Sancta Albani, ed. H.T. Riley (10 volumes) Rolls series, 1863–1872. For John of Wheathampstead see Registrum abbatiae Johannis Whethamstede abbatis monasterii Sancti Albani, (2 vols) (A.D. 1420–1465) 1871–2.

Davys, Rev. Canon Owen (2nd. edition 1912) St. Helen's Church, Wheathampstead: Handbook for Parishioners, Visitors and Others. Click here

Davys, Rev. Canon Owen (1913) A Long Life's Journey, With Some I Met by the Way, Gibbs and Bamforth, St Albans.   Sample

Gesta Abbatum, by Thomas Walsingham (fl. 1360–1420) and Matthew Paris (1200–1259). Edited by Henry Thomas Riley (1816–1878). Published by Longmans Green, 1867. Also available on line digitised by Google from the collections of Harvard University.  Available online

Harris, D. (2002) The History of the Church on Brewhouse Hill (Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire) from 1690 - 2002  Click here

Jeavons, Ruth, St Helen's Church Wheathampstead: A brief history and guide (28 pages with illustrations) published by The Friends of St Helen's Church.

Locks, Rodney D. (2010) St Peter's Church, Gustard Wood, 1910-2010: A Living History.

Monumental Inscriptions for Wheathampstead, The parish church of St Helen's with the United Reformed Church, Brewhouse Hill Burial Ground, Series no. 52, Herts Family & Population History Society. (Wheathampstead Local History Society: Roy and Dolly Smith, John Giles, Ron Carter, Michael Martin and Ruth Jeavons)

Roe, Rev. George Talbot, The Parish Church of St Helen, Wheathampstead (undated. Rev Roe was rector from 1946 to 1980). Click here

Secker, D. (2019) St Helen, Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire: the Saxo-Norman Cruciform Church  Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Click here


Histories of Hertfordshire, with sections about Wheathampstead

Four major histories of Hertfordshire have been written in the last 300 years, all of which include sections about Wheathampstead. In order of publication, they are:

     Chauncy, Sir Henry (1700) The Historical Antiquities of Hertfordshire  The first edition is available          online   See particularly pages 523 to 525.


Sir Henry Chauncey              Title page


Salmon, N. (1728) The History of Hertfordshire

(Salmon claims to have corrected many mistakes made by Chauncy. He records the local belief that King John reviewed his troops from the top of Wheathampstead church tower.) 




    This book is not available online and cannot be scanned. The pages about            Wheathampstead are: 146, 147, 148.



Clutterbuck, R. (1815-1827) History and Antiquities of Hertfordshire, published in three volumes. (see particularly Vol. 1 pp 5-125)

Cussans, J.E. (1870-1881) History of Hertfordshire, published in three volumes (see particularly Vol. III).      Sample transcript


Short, D. (ed.) (2011) An Historical Atlas of Hertfordshire, University of Hertfordshire Press

Victoria County History, Hertfordshire, edited by William Page.

The VCH was started in 1899 and has been ongoing, albeit with some slack periods, ever since. The four volumes on Hertfordshire were completed between 1902 and 1914.

The VCH website states that “Work is currently needed to update these volumes”.

The introduction is available online .  

On page 297, click on ‘next' for the section on Manors (pp 297-309).

On page 309, click on ‘next' for the section on Churches (pp 309-314).

The Society owns copies of all four volumes. Please email for more information.



The Folly

  Payne, D. (2017) The Story of The Folly, Wheathampstead: a Celebration of Community, Dianne Payne   Now out of print but available online. Click here and here.

  Smith, Mike (2019) 'Discovering a fulling mill at Wheathampstead', Herts Past & Present  3rd series - Issue No. 33, Spring Click here 


Various subjects

Atton, A. (2022) Saving Barton House, 17 to 19 Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead 

Auckland, R. (1992) 'Who lived in John Bunyan's Cottage? The Coleman, Fisher and Coleman families of Coleman Green' Hertfordshire's Past, No. 33, Autumn Click here

Coburn, Mary Amy (1992) George and Henry: Their lives and times in Victorian Wheathampstead, Wheathampstead Local History Group.

Collins, T. (2016) 'Building recording of The Old Rectory, King Edward's Place, Wheathampstead Hertfordshire Archaeology and History Vol.17 2009-2015

Friends of St Albans Abbey  (2018) John of Wheathampstead – Renaissance Abbot  

Garrard, Apsley Cherry (1922) The Worst Journey in the World, Antarctic 1910–1913, Constable and Company. Available online

Grant, A. (1909) 'Wheathampstead: An Autumn Idyll' The Scotsman, 6 November Click here

Graveson, William (1934) Charles and Mary Lamb “In Hearty, Homely, Loving Hertfordshire”, Stephen Austin & Sons, Ltd.  (pp. 13-16 describes the Lamb's visit to Mackerye End in about 1785)

Gregory, Brian F. (1992) The History of Mid-Herts Golf Club, Mid-Herts Golf Club

Hale, Peter (2004) “Delightful and Bracing”, Blackmore End and Porters End – The Legacy of the Baxendales, Kimpton History Group. Available online

Hebditch, Felicity (1992) 'No Room at the Inn' Hertfordshire's Past Issue 33 Autumn Click here

Hebditch, Felicity (2001) 'Straw Plaiting in Hertfordshire' Hertfordshire's Past Issue 50 Spring Click here

Helmets Ltd The Story of Helmets Integrated Systems Ltd  (1924-1984)  Click here 

Herts Advertiser (1879) A History of Wheathampstead Click here

Hill, John and Hill, Christine (1996) Wheathampstead, Militia Lists, Militia Series no. 68, Herts Family and Population History Society.  (Covers years 1758–1786.)

Hill, Marion (2006) The Story of Bride Hall; The House and its People, Phillimore

Hine, Reginald (1949) Charles Lamb and his Hertfordshire, J. M. Dent. 

Holden, Terry (2022) Links across the Common, Lennard Publishing

Jeavons,R., Jeffreys,P., McNeill,P., Mein,J., (2019) The Pubs of Wheathampstead 1830 to 1914  Wheathampstead History Society Click here

Russell, Bert, and Coburn, Amy (2001), (Jeavons,R. (ed.))Tales from Old Wheathampstead and Gustard Wood, 1900: Portrait of a Community – Letters from Bert Russell to Amy Coburn, Wheathampstead Local History Group. 

Lamb, Charles (1823) My Relations in Essays of Elia  Available online

Includes a description of a visit to Mackerye End. See page 82ff.

Pankhurst, Margaret and Terry (2014a)  More Than Just a Name, M. and T.G.Pankhurst   Sample

This volume tells the stories of the soldiers of both World Wars whose names appear on the Wheathampstead War Memorial. Drawing on a wide range of sources, it includes many photographs. The back cover states: "This book tries to give faces and details to all the names, to once again restore them to the memory of our village".

Pankhurst, Margaret and Terry (2014b) Wheathampstead Hertfordshire: Details of the Fallen 1914-1918, V.S.White   Sample

The authors have researched and compiled the names and details of 72 servicemen who died on active service in the First World War and who are remembered on war memorials and the Roll of Honour in Wheathampstead, together with others who have a connection with the village.

NB To enquire about obtaining copies of the Pankhursts' books, please email us at

Payne,D. (2022) 'Out and About in Wheathampstead' The Historian Issue 152 Winter 2021/22 Click here

Payne,D. (2021) Wheathampstead: an Eighteenth Century Village Dianne Payne

Payne,D., Coles,C., Coles,R. (2021) The History of Castle Farm, Wheathampstead  Chris and Ruth Coles

Peters,D., (2005) The Harpenden Jarvis: The Story of a Family and its Building Company 1905-2005, Jarvis.  For a summary booklet click here

Smith, M. (2022) Finding local maps of Wheathampstead Click here

Wheathampstead History Society (2019) Wheathampstead during the Great War  Click here

Wheathampstead Local History Group (1991) Old Wheathampstead: Our Village Past in Pictures. Click here(large file)

  Wheathampstead Local History Group (1995)  Wheathampstead Railway Recollections. Click here(large file)

  Wheeler, Sara (2001) Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard, Jonathan Cape.

  Woodward, S. and G. (1994) The Hatfield, Luton and Dunstable Railway  The Oakwood Press


Manorial History

          Godfrey-Evans, D. and A., (2014) Wheathampstead (Watamestede) Manor - Key Facts and Sources                                                                         

With short descriptions of both the Rectory Manor and Wheathampstead Manor, together with a list of sources, this is an excellent starting-point for anyone interested in doing more research into this important period of the history of Wheathampstead. Click here

White, V., (2012) Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire: Transfer of Ownership, 1060: A Saxon estate gifted to Westminster Monastery by King Edward. V.S.White

A translation and study of the original chirograph, the earliest document held at Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS), which concerns a grant of land by King Edward the Confessor to the Monastery of St Peter's Westminster. It includes a line-by-line translation of the document by the author, which is compared with other translations, together with a wealth of background detail. There is a chapter that identifies some possible links between the data in the Domesday Book, an Extent dated 1315 listing the tenants of Westminster Monastery, their plots and rent payable, and the Wheathampstead Manor Account Roll of 1405-1406 (see below). 

White, V., (2005) Wheathampstead Manor, Hertfordshire, Account Roll, 1405–1406. V.S.White

A translation, tabular compilation and analysis of the Manor Account Rolls for the periods Michaelmas in the 6th year of the reign of Henry IV to Michaelmas in the 7th year (1405–1406) and a section from the 10th year of his reign (1408–1409). There are reproductions of the original documents.


WEA series - Wheathampstead and Harpenden 

In the 1970s, the Workers Educational Association (WEA) branches in Wheathampstead and Harpenden worked together under the supervision of local historian the late Lionel Munby, to produce seven short volumes about the history of the two parishes. Click on the link after each title. Copies of all these publications are available at Wheathampstead Library. 

Note 1: These are large files which may take a little while to download.

Note 2: These books are reproduced here by kind permission of the WEA. Copyright remains with the WEA.


About Wheathampstead: Its Old Houses, the Families who built them, and those who lived in them  Click here

I The Settlement of Wheathampstead and Harpenden  Click here

II New Men and a New Society: the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries  Click here

III Church and Chapel   Click here

IV The Age of Independence: Squires, farmers and tradesmen from the Civil War to the Industrial Revolution   Click here

V The Old Order Changeth: The places, the people, their work, problems and pleasures in the nineteenth century     Click here

VI The Schools   Click here


St. Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society

SAHAAS, also known as the 'Arc and Arc', was formed in 1845 and has been one of the most productive local history societies in the country, including producing many publications. Click on their website  and search for 'Wheathampstead', particularly in 'Transactions & early publications of SAHAAS', to find a wealth of material about the village.