The stocks and pond at the centre of the village
Aldbury shown within Hertfordshire
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|UK Parliament||South West Hertfordshire|
Aldbury // is a village and civil parish in Hertfordshire, England, near the borders of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire in the Bulbourne valley close to Ashridge Park. The nearest town is Tring; Tring railway station, 1 mile west, is in the parish of Aldbury. Uphill in the narrow vale are the Bridgewater monument and the Ashridge estate.
A troupe of morris men is based here; they perform seasonally on weekends outside the Greyhound pub and on the village green.
- 1 History
- 2 Notable buildings
- 3 Parish council
- 4 Film and television
- 5 Notes and References
- 6 External links
Aldbury is a village retaining several archetypal historic features. In the centre is a green and pond; close by stand stocks and whipping-post, in excellent preservation, a primary school and the Church of Saint John the Baptist. In the days of Edward the Confessor the single manor (recorded as Aldeberie in the 1086 Domesday Book) was held by Alwin, the king’s thegn. The Valiant Trooper has served as an alehouse for several centuries, the first traceable evidence dates back to 1752.
The ascent of the wooded slope towards the Bridgewater Monument is one of the steepest ascents crowned by a ridge with one of the five highest elevations in Hertfordshire. Monuments in the church prove and witness the importance of certain manorial families including the family of Sir Ralph Verney, 1546, who has the northern Verney chapel in the church and the similarly landed family of Thomas Hyde, 1570, and George his son 1580. Aldbury was the home of Sir Guy de Gravade, known as the Wizard of Aldbury, who was reputed to be able to turn base metals into gold.
Through most of the Norman period the manor was held in honour (with part rent due to) Berkhamsted manor. In the time of Edward the Confessor Aldbury Manor was held by Alwin, a thegn of the king and by 1086 was in the hands of Robert, Count of Mortain. Various lower nobles followed until held in the 1530s under a Dynham family trust by a wife of William Fitzwilliam (Sheriff of London) and shares created became acquired by John Hyde of Hyde, Dorset who was an officer of the Court of Exchequer who had a lease of the manor and died in 1545. Sir Nicholas Sandys who died in 1625 briefly held the manor.
In 1665 Sir Thomas Hyde, whose family had held the main manor for more than 100 years, died leaving only Bridget, his daughter with the estate, who married Peregrine Osborne, 2nd Duke of Leeds, whose family held the estate until Thomas Osborne, 4th Duke of Leeds sold it to Scroop Egerton, 1st Duke of Bridgewater, after further subdivision the remaining manor descended to Francis Henry, ninth and last earl of Bridgewater, whose widow held it for life, and at her death it passed to John Hume Cust, Viscount Alford, son of the first Earl Brownlow, and from him to the Earl as of 1908. A few of the court rolls of the manor were at the 1908 predecessor to the National Archives.
Stocks House or Stocks Manor (anciently la stok)
Sir Henry de Bohun was killed viscerally by the Scottish King on the first day of the Battle of Bannockburn, by Robert the Bruce, however he may not be the same man who in 1277–8 made the men of la Stok come to his view of frankpledge at Agmondesham in Buckinghamshire. After a historical gap, references are noted from the 17th century to establish an epitome of title involving Duncombe, Hayton, Gordon and Whitbread descendants. James Adam Gordon was a friend of Sir Walter Scott and it is reputed in 1908 that the poet visited his friend at Stocks.
His widow afterwards married Richard Bright, who died at Stocks in 1878, she in 1891, and left the estate to Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, as descendant of Samuel Whitbread. He shortly afterwards sold the house, as all that remained, to Thomas Humphry Ward, whose wife, an Australian née Mary Augusta Arnold, niece of Matthew Arnold, pen-name Mrs Humphry Ward was a more well-known novelist than he was — her book Lady Rose's Daughter was the best-selling novel in the United States in 1903, as was The Marriage of William Ashe in 1905.
This consisting of 70 acres (28 ha) general land, 3 acres (1.2 ha) of meadow and 5s. rent and was held in 1361 of the heir of Roger Launcelene in free socage for the service of one pair of white gauntlets. John son of William Aignel died seised of this manor in 1361 and from this time it appears to have descended with the manor of Pendley in Tring.
Cherrywicke Manor (reputed as a manor)
Robert Dogget bought land in Aldbury from Edward Verney in 1557 and described as a manor in 1615, Edward Dogget sold the actual manor to Francis Bellingham, though parcels near the churchlands were held by John Dogget in 1638.
1954 Valetta accident
The Church of Saint John the Baptist is of Early English style. The church was restored in 1867, and is notable for the Verney Chapel, separated from the nave by a screen of stone. It contains a monument to Sir Robert Whittingham, who was slain at the battle of Tewkesbury (illustrated below). The church also contains memorials of the Hides and Harcourts, families who left charities to the poor of the parish. There is a Sheela na gig on the north wall of the church across from the main door.
The Valiant Trooper
The 17th-century cottages that form the Trooper have served as alehouses for several centuries. The first traceable evidence dates back to 1752 when the pub – then known as The Royal Oak – was left in the will of one John Barnes. Its next owner was Isaac Dell Master, whose initials “ID” and the date “1769” can be seen carved in the brickwork alongside the main front window.
The name changed to The Trooper Alehouse in 1803 – rumoured to be because the Duke of Wellington met his troops here to discuss tactics. It became The Valiant Trooper in 1878.
The largest house is Stocks House which was the country home of Victor Lownes and the rural base of Playboy UK; and before that home of Mary Augusta Ward, the author of Clinton Magna whose character Bessie Costrell lived in Aldbury.
Aldbury Parish Council is the local administrative body and covers Aldbury village itself and the hamlet at Tring Station - in Saxon times, Aldbury lay in Dacorum, one of the Hundreds of Hertfordshire and in 1973, the Dacorum Borough of Hertfordshire providing recycling, ultimate planning authority and certain business and leisure services was created with Aldbury in it.
Film and television
Aldbury is a popular location for films and television. Among film and television series scenes filmed in the village are:
- 1947: Jassy (the last production by Gainsborough Pictures)
- 1967: The Dirty Dozen (the scene at the beginning of the training exercise)
- 1969: Crossplot (last scene)
- 1999: Parting Shots A movie directed by Michael Winner, starring Chris Rea and Felicity Kendal. Various scenes were shot opposite The Greyhound pub next to the village pond.
- 2004: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, the Greyhound pub (including a scene involving fox hunting cut from the cinema release but on DVD)
- 1967: The Avengers, two episodes of the sixties TV series, episode "Dead Man's Treasure" town renamed "Swingingdale" original air date 21 October 1967 (UK). And the complete episode "Murdersville" renamed "Little Storping In-The-Swuff" original air date 11 November 1967 (UK)
- Inspector Morse, the TV detective series, the pub
- Shillingbury Tales series, filmed in 1980. The church, churchyard/graveyard and path to the primary school as well as the Greyhound pub also featured in a Dave Allen sketch (the race to the graveyard between two funeral parties)
- National Lottery, the initial advertisements (despite the fact that the shop was unable to sell tickets at the time)
- Marchlands TV Drama
- Midsomer Murders Written In Blood
Notes and References
- William Page (editor) (1908). "Parishes: Aldbury". A History of the County of Hertford: volume 2. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- Grid reference Finder measurement tools
- Ash, Russell (1973). Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain. Reader's Digest Association Limited. p. 256. ISBN 9780340165973.
- Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aldbury.|
- Hertfordshire, by Herbert W Tompkins, 2nd Edition, 1922, from Project Gutenberg
- grid reference
- Aldbury (A Guide to Old Hertfordshire)
- Aldbury Primary School
- Tring Council web site
- The Valiant Trooper web site
- Aldbury locations, from Internet Movie Database
- Aldbury Morris Men
- Aldbury Classic Vehicle Rally
- Dave Allen Funeral Sketch hosted on YouTube
- Aldbury in the Domesday Book