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. It has been suggested, on the basis of limited evidence, that Cassivellaunus' battle with Julius Caesar may have taken place at Devil's Dyke. To see some 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. 

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

5th century

 Romans withdraw from Britain, leaving a lasting legacy. 

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 bronze ewer was found in a gravel pit near Wheathampstead House in 1884. It is now in the British Museum. More

9th century

Danes invade Britain.


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  


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 medieval community and gave us the basic layout of the centre of the  village today.


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



 First historical record of Bride Hall.  More 

c. 1230

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

For an essay about the Saxo-Norman origins of the church, click here.



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.




Earliest records of a house at Mackerye End. The present owners have given permission for their leaflet about the house to be reproduced here


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


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

For details about the three papal bulls issued to him by Pope Martin V in 1423 and rediscovered in 2017, click here.


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


Second Battle of St Albans ends on Nomansland Common. More


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.


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.


James Marshall Foundation established. More


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


 National School opens on The Hill. More


Poorhouse closes and is replaced by workhouse. More

To read more about the Wheathampstead Workhouse, click here.


Wheathampstead Wesleyan Methodist Church built.  More 



Wheathampstead Tithe Map and Schedule published. More 


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


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



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


Railway station opens.  More 


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


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.


Gustard Wood School opens.


Sewage works opens on The Meads. More


Independent Chapel opens on Brewhouse Hill. More


A 'terrific gale' on 14th October tears the lead off St Helen's church spire and blows down the bell-turret from the roof of the school. More




A 7th century bronze ewer was found in a gravel pit near Wheathampstead House. It is now in the British Museum. More



Folly Methodist Church opens on Lower Luton Road. To read a history of its first 100 years, click here.


Mid-Herts Golf Club founded at Gustard Wood. For a short history of the Club, click here. For some brief notes, click here .


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



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



  Village War Memorial erected. More and More


Helmets Ltd moves from St Albans to Brewhouse Hill. For a history of the company, click here.

To view a short film about the company, made in 1953, click here.


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

For a history of the company from 1887 to 2018, including its time in           Wheathampstead, click here.


Mains water connected.


Mains electricity connected.



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


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



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



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



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


Lord Brocket gives Devil's Dyke to the parish of Wheathampstead. The plaque was erected in the following year. For the debate about the origins of the Dyke, go to the 'Sources' page on this website.



Catholic Church in Marford Road opened by Cardinal Hinsley. More 


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." For more information, click here.


  Memorial Hall opens. More


Railway station closes to passengers.

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


First intake of pupils to Wheathampstead School (secondary) in Butterfield Road. The new school was formally opened by HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in December 1967.



Town Farm demolished. More 



Beech Hyde School opens 7 September. More



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




Wheathampstead Secondary School (Butterfield Road) closed. 


Murphy's sold Wheathampstead House and relocated their laboratories to Nottingham. For a history of the company from 1887 to 2018, including its time in Wheathampstead, click here.



Folly Methodist Church closes and merges with the United Reformed Church on Brewhouse Hill to become the United Church. To read a history of its first 100 years, click here. For some memories of its final years, click here. The church was located where Chapel Mews stands today.


2010 to present

Station platform restored. More 



Village Centre Heritage Trail opened. More


Fire at The Swan. More



Countryside Walks Heritage Trail opened. More


Community orchard planted in The Meads. More



Bury Green Garden restored. More




Archaeologists digging in a field next to Common Lane in Batford find evidence of ditches, gullies and pits from the Neolithic and Late Iron Age, an enclosure from the Middle Iron Age, and four definite and ten probable graves dating from the Anglo-Saxon period. More  



Grave of Abbot John of Wheathampstead is found at St Albans Cathedral. Click here for an article from 'Abbey News' February 2018. 


Click here for an article about how Abbot John's face was reconstructed.

Abbot John was reinterred at St Albans Cathedral in 2022. His remains now rest in the vault of his old friend Duke Humphrey of Gloucester. 




Crinkle Crankle Garden opened. More


Community Library opened. More



The people of Wheathampstead are struck by the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. To read about the impact on the village, click on More


Redeveloped Memorial Hall opened. More