Timeline   

 

This is a list of key dates in the history of Wheathampstead, with short notes about each event.

Click on 'More' by an event to read more about it. 

We would be delighted if you would help us to improve and develop these notes, whether by suggesting additions or amendments to what is already here or by writing new notes for an event, or even by adding an event together with some notes about it. Please contact us at whs@wheathampsteadheritage.org.uk 

 

 

 

300,000 to 400,000 years ago

Wheathampstead Lake formed. Half a million years ago, the land around what is now Wheathampstead was under water. More

c. 8500-4000 BC

 

Mesolithic Age. In 1979, excavations in St Helen's churchyard found evidence of human activity in this period. More

c.100 BC

Belgic influence spread into south-east England through trade and incursions. Excavations in 1974 found Pre-Belgic and Belgic pottery on the site of the Wheathampstead bypass. More

54 BC

Roman incursion, led by Julius Caesar. Cassivellaunus' battle with Julius Caesar may have taken place at Devil's Dyke. To see some of the contributions to this debate, click here.

43 AD

Roman invasion of Britain. While Verulamium was one of the largest Roman towns in Britain, a number of smaller settlements have been found in the Upper Lea valley. 

5th century

 Romans withdraw from Britain, leaving a lasting legacy.

 Excavations at Turners Hall Farm have revealed a 1st/2nd century Roman villa and      burials. More

In 2012, a hoard of 159 Roman gold coins was found in Sandridge. More

 

 Several Roman roads passed through the parish of Wheathampstead. More

c. 6th / 7th century

 Anglo-Saxons arrive. Traces of mid to late Anglo-Saxon burials have been found at St  Helen's, suggesting that there was a church on the site at least 1,000 years ago. More

A 7th century ewer (decorated pitcher) was found near Wheathampstead station; it is now in the British Museum. More

9th century

Danes invade Britain.

886

Treaty between King Alfred the Great and Guthrum the Old establishes the Danelaw. Part of the boundary between the two territories followed the River Lea, including where it flows through Wheathampstead. More  For a translation of the text of the treaty, click here.

1060

King Edward the Confessor grants land in "Hwaethamstede" to the Monastery and Convent of Westminster. The original document is held at HALS. For a description of this document and its contents, see 'The Settlement of Wheathampstead and Harpenden' WEA (1973), pages 1 to 10. There is a copy                  in Wheathampstead Library. More

See also White, V., (2012) Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire: Transfer of Ownership, 1060: A Saxon estate gifted to Westminster Monastery by King Edward. V.S.White. There is a copy in Wheathampstead Library.

 Wheathampsteadbury manor house, together with the church and the mill, formed the  core of the mediaeval community and gave us the basic layout of the centre of the  village today.

1086

Domesday Book.  Wheathampstead Manor is described as "Watamestede in the hold of the abbot of St.Peter's of Westminster". More

 

1150

 First historical record of Bride Hall.  More 

c. 1230

Chancel of St Helen's Church built, replacing old apsidal chancel.

 

1290

St Helen's church tower built.

 

Late 13th century

 

 Old Rectory (King Edward Place) built. More

 

  Rectory manor established.

  For a list of rectors since the 13th century, click here.

1312  

The barons assemble in Wheathampstead during their rebellion against King Edward II caused by his favourite Piers Gaveston. More

1420

John of Wheathampstead becomes Abbot of St Albans for the first time. More

1429

The monasteries of St Albans and of Westminster agree on the position of the boundary between them on Nomansland. More

1461

Second Battle of St Albans ends on Nomansland Common. More

1646

After his defeat at the Battle of Oxford, King Charles I escapes in disguise and spends the night of 27 April in Wheathampstead, possibly at Lamer House.

1667

The people of Wheathampstead are infected by bubonic plague. They petitioned the justices for "favour and consideration" as charges for the poor were exceptionally high.

1722

James Marshall Foundation established. More

1814

 George Thomas Pretyman is appointed Rector of Wheathampstead-with-Harpenden.  More

1815

 National School opens on The Hill. More

1836

Poorhouse closes and is replaced by workhouse. More

To read more about the Wheathampstead Workhouse, click here.

1839

Wheathampstead Wesleyan Methodist Church built.  More 

1843 

Charles Higby Lattimore of Place Farm proposes the motion in favour of free trade and the repeal of the Corn Laws at a meeting in Hertford addressed by his friend Richard Cobden. More

1859

Owen William Davys is appointed Rector of St Helen's, Wheathampstead, succeeding Canon Pretyman.      More

 

1859

 The parish of Wheathampstead-with-Harpenden is divided into two  separate parishes.

1860

Railway station opens.  More (See 'Main Description')

1862

New building for National School (ie St Helen's School) opens on 29 December. More

1865

Restoration of St Helen's Church by Rev. Canon Owen Davys and architect Edward Browning. To read Rev. Davys's account of the restoration, click here.

1875 

Gustard Wood School opens.

1876

Sewage works opens on The Meads. More

1876

Independent Chapel opens on Brewhouse Hill.

1877

 Folly Chapel opens on Lower Luton Road.

1892

Mid-Herts Golf Club founded at Gustard Wood. More

1895

Inaugural meeting of Wheathampstead Parish Council held on 2 January in National School (ie St Helen's School) on Brewhouse Hill.

 

1910

St Peter's Church, Gustard Wood, opens. More

1920

 

  Village War Memorial erected. More and More

1928

Helmets Ltd moves from St Albans to Brewhouse Hill. For a history of the company, click here for the company website, then on 'Profile' to download a pdf.

1928

The Murphy Chemical Company buys Wheathampstead House and build a new factory in the village. To read the sales brochure, click here.

For a history of the company from 1924 to 1984, including its time in           Wheathampstead, click here.

1929

Mains water connected.

1930 

Mains electricity connected.

1932

 

Sir Mortimer Wheeler's excavations at Devil's Dyke. More 

1932

 New St Helen's Senior School opens on south side of Church Street, opposite Old  School.

1932

 Gustard Wood School closes. The building is demolished and a house "Junipers" is built  on the site.

 

1932

The water-wheel of Wheathampstead Bridge Mill stops turning after nine hundred years of flour milling on this site.

 

1932

 The foundation stone of the Women's Institute's Mead Hall in East Lane is laid.

 

1938

Catholic Church in Marford Road opened by Cardinal Hinsley. More 

1944

On 26 June, the St Helen's School logbook records that "At 01.45 this morning a 'Flying Bomb' burst 60 yds west of Bury Farm House. Damage was caused but there were no casualties."

1961

  Memorial Hall opens. More

1965

Railway station closes to passengers.

More (see 'In-depth description') and More

 

1971 

Town Farm demolished. More 

 

1971

Beech Hyde School opens 7 September. More

1978

 

Cory Wright Way bypass opens. For a report about the archaeological finds on     the route, click here

 

1988

 

Wheathampstead Secondary School (Butterfield Road) closed. 

1998

Murphy's relocate their Head Office to Nottingham. For a history of the company, including its time in Wheathampstead, click here.

 

2010-2016

Station platform restored. More (See 'In-depth Description')

 

2012

Village Centre Heritage Trail opened. More

2013

Fire at The Swan. More

 

2014

Countryside Walks Heritage Trail opened. More

 

2016

Bury Green Garden restored. More