Markyate shown within Hertfordshire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||ST ALBANS|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
|UK Parliament||Hemel Hempstead|
Having had several former name variants, including Markyate Street and Mergyate, Markyate has been part of all three counties at various times, as the county boundaries have changed over the years. At one time the boundary was the line of the main road itself: Hertfordshire to the east and Bedfordshire to the west. Markyate is close to the source of the River Ver, which has occasionally flooded the centre of the village, though the watercourse is often dry during parts of the year.
Part of the Dacorum Borough Council district (centred on Hemel Hempstead), it has Luton (01582) phone numbers and a St Albans postal code (AL3). Although historically a rural and agricultural area, it is now a dormitory village for Luton and the surrounding region, as it is a short distance from the M1 motorway.
Lying on Watling Street, the Roman road (now the A5) between St Albans and Dunstable, it was a major coaching stop on the highway from London to Birmingham, at one point having over forty inns and public houses along its main road, and the village was one of the earliest sites of the Pickfords transport service, one road out of the village being named Pickford Road. During the 12th century Christina of Markyate was the Prioress of a Benedictine community in the area.
The village lies near the junction of the A5 and the B4540 (for Luton and Caddington). A bypass for the A5 was constructed to the east of the village in 1955. South along the A5 is Flamstead and junction 9 of the M1.
Markyate first became a separate ecclesiastical parish, known as Markyate Street, in 1877; while on 30 September 1897 the civil parish of Markyate was created from the Bedfordshire civil parish of Humbershoe (created in 1866 from part of the ancient parish of Studham), the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire portions of Caddington, Flamstead, an exclave of Houghton Regis known as Buckwood Stubbs  (tithe map ), including an exclave of Whipsnade, Ballington Bottom in Hertfordshire.
Growth since the 1950s has been by infilling with new housing in the gap between the old A5 High Street and the new A5 Markyate by-pass. In 2014 most of the village's light industry area off Hicks Road was demolished, to be replaced by new housing and shops.
The Gainsborough film The Wicked Lady was based on events surrounding the life of Lady Katherine Ferrers — the wife of the major landowner in the area – at Markyate Cell. Parts of the film The Dirty Dozen were also filmed in the village and surrounding area, the stockade being built in the grounds of the local preparatory school.
Markyate has two junior schools: Markyate JMI (state) and Beechwood Park School (independent). The latter is south-west of the village in Beechwood Park, the site of a former Benedictine nunnery. Adjacent to the park was an Army Y-station during World War 2. Beechwood Park lent its name to a song by The Zombies, written by the group's bassist Chris White. The song has since been covered[clarification needed] by Beck Hansen.
From its height in the coaching era, only two public houses now remain in the village: The Plume of Feathers and The Swan. The White Hart closed in the early 1970s, followed by The Red Lion at the end of 2009, both of which became private dwellings, and the Sun Inn in 2014. Being near the M1 motorway and London Luton Airport, there is a large three-star Holiday Inn hotel just south-east of the village.
- Christina of Markyate, a twelfth century nun and mystic
- William Cowper, who was sent to boarding school here between the ages of four and eight years old.
- Lady Katherine Ferrers, according to popular legend, the "Wicked Lady", a 17th-century highwaywoman.
- Nicholas Lyell, Baron Lyell of Markyate, British Conservative politician and Attorney General.
- Chris White, bass player and songwriter of The Zombies rock group, grew up in the village, where his parents owned a grocery store.
- Sir Charles Masefield, head of DESO (1994-1998) vice chairman of BAE (2002-2005?) and a trustee of the Qatar Foundation. Knighted in 1997 for services to industry.
- Martin Benson (10 August 1918 – 28 February 2010) was an English character actor, who appeared in films, theatre and television. He appeared in both British and Hollywood productions. He lived and died in the village.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Markyate.|
- Markyate Cricket and Football Club
- Markyate Surgery
- Markyate Parish Council
- Primary school
- Markyate Local History Society
- Markyate Amateur Dramatics Society (MADS)
- Humbershoe pages at the Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service
- Village history (A Guide to Old Hertfordshire)
- Christina of Markyate
- Pictures from Geograph TL0616