St Mary's Church, Redbourn
|Area||7.37 sq mi (19.1 km2)|
|• Density||725/sq mi (280/km2)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||ST ALBANS|
|Ambulance||East of England|
Redbourn is a village and civil parish in Hertfordshire, England, lying on Watling Street, three miles (4.8 km) from Harpenden, four miles (6.4 km) from St Albans and five miles (8 km) from Hemel Hempstead. The civil parish had a population of 5113 according to the 2011 Census.
The three tiers of local government are Redbourn Parish Council, St Albans City & District Council and Hertfordshire County Council.
The village has been continuously settled at least since Saxon times and is recorded in the Domesday Book. Its parish church, St Mary's, was built in the early 12th century. Some fifty years later, a small priory was founded half a mile away on Redbourn Common, after the abbot of St Albans Abbey decided to consecrate the ground. Some bones had been found on the spot, reputed to be of St Amphibalus, the priest who had converted St Alban to Christianity.
In the 16th century the manor of Redbourn belonged to the Reade family: Sir Richard Reade, formerly Lord Chancellor of Ireland, bought the manor when he came back to England from Ireland; he died in 1575 and was buried at the parish church. Reade left legacies to Winchester College and for the upkeep of the parish of Redbourn. The manor of Redbourn itself was inherited by his eldest son Innocent, who also inherited the older family estate at Nether Wallop.
In 2010, Redbourn's St Mary's Church celebrated its 900th anniversary.
Economy and transport
Redbourn was for a long time the centre of a farming community and for a time had a successful watercress business on the water meadows of the River Ver. Just south of the village, flour was ground at Redbournbury Mill, a recently restored watermill.
Silk throwing was carried out at the steam-driven Woollam's Mill near Redbourn Common. The mill was taken over by John Mangrove & Son, but closed in 1938. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Brooke Bond took over the silk mill as a food factory. Whilst it was still open, a young man in the village fell into a vat of jam and died. After a successful lobbying campaign by schoolchildren in 2003, a memorial bench was unveiled to Sticky Joe, as he had come to be known. After the closure of the factory in 1996 the old silk mill manager's house (the Grade II-listed Silk Mill House) was given to Redbourn Parish Council and it became the Redbourn Village Museum, opening in May 2000. The former silk mill site is now a housing estate.
Local grocer Russell Harborough also set up a jam-making factory, which in 1956 was bought by Thomas Mercer Ltd, marine chronometer manufacturer. The site, just off High Street, is now an industrial estate.
Old industries in the village included making straw plait and hat making – Redbourn Village Hall in the centre of the village High Street was formerly a straw hat factory, which has been extensively renovated, thanks mainly to money from the National Lottery and Redbourn Parish Council.
Owing to its proximity to London, Redbourn became an important coaching station in the 17th and 18th centuries, and it was known as the "Street of Inns", with at least 25 pubs and inns at its peak. However the expansion of the railways in the 1840s sounded the death knell of stagecoaches. A branch railway line known as the Nickey Line, from Hemel Hempstead to Harpenden, passed through Redbourn. It opened on 16 July 1877 and closed in 1979. The route is now a public footpath and cycle path. The first bus service through the village started in 1908, though buses took some years to become established.
In 1903 a Mr Boucher, the local dentist, owned the first private car in the village, a 6 hp Gladiator. Several motor rallies were held in Redbourn in the 1900s using The Bull pub as a base. Three garages, in High Street, Dunstable Road and at Church End, have closed, leaving only a filling station next to The Chequers pub in the St Albans Road.
The first idea for a Redbourn bypass came in 1935 and one was completed in 1984. A Bypass Committee was established in May 1978 and objections examined at a public enquiry held in February 1982.
Redbourn Cricket Club was formed about 1823, but records show organised cricket was played on Redbourn Common some eighty years earlier. Some Hertfordshire County histories record cricket being played there in 1666, which would make the village one of the oldest recorded cricketing locations in England.
Redbourn Golf Club is well known for its two golf courses and driving range. The Kinsbourne Course is considered one of the best short courses in Hertfordshire.
County show and awards
The Hertfordshire County Show takes place annually in late May at a 70-acre show ground site one mile north of the village.
Redbourn was Hertfordshire Village of the Year, 2002 (Overall and Western Area Winner), and a section winner in 2003. In 2002 Redbourn was also an Eastern and Home Counties Section Winner. The year 2004 saw Redbourn again winning Hertfordshire Village of the Year, Western Area, and in 2005 it was the Hertfordshire Village of The Year IT Section Winner and Eastern England Information Communication Technology Winner 2005, also winner of the Hertfordshire Village of the Year Best Community Project Award, and the Silver Award Anglia in Bloom 2005.
In order of birth:
- Saint Amphibalus (died 25 June, AD 304), who converted Saint Alban, was martyred at Redbourn.
- Elizabeth Howard, Duchess of Norfolk (1494–1558), after the break-up of her marriage to Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk, was sent to Redbourn, where she claimed, "the duke locked me up in a chamber and took away my jewels and apparels."
- Sir Richard Reade (1511–1575), Lord Chancellor of Ireland
- Henry Stephens (1796–1864), doctor/surgeon, chemist and businessman, invented an improved formula for blue-black ink and set up a company to market it.
- Emma Tatham (1829–1855), English poet, died while on a visit to the minister of the Independent Chapel and was buried its graveyard.
- Henry Charles Stephens (1841–1918), Henry Stephens's son, developed the ink business and became a Conservative Party politician and philanthropist.
- Zena Skinner (1927–2018), chef, writer and cookery expert on television and radio
- Ron Henry (1934–2014), professional footballer with Tottenham Hotspur
- Gordon Beningfield (1936–1998), wildlife artist
- Michael Christopher "Mick" Luckhurst (born 1958), an American football placekicker, who played for the Atlanta Falcons, was born in Redbourn. He presented Channel Four's American Football coverage from 1987 until 1991.
- Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1003520)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
- "Friars Wash, Redbourn, Hertfordshire : Archaeological Evaluation and Assessment of Results".
- "St Mary's Church website".
- Hertfordshire Federation of Women's Institutes[full citation needed]
- Ball, F. Elrington. The Judges in Ireland 1221–1921. London: John Murray, 1926
- Herts Memories Retrieved 28 August 2018.
- "Club Information". Redbourn Cricket Club. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
- "Redbourn Golf Club". Redbourn Golf Club. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
- The Hertfordshire County Show Official website. Accessed April 2012
- Alan Featherstone, Redbourn's History, 1981, ISBN 0-9541948-0-2
- Hertfordshire Federation of Women's Institutes; Ann Roxburgh (Forward) (1986). The Hertfordshire Village Book. Countryside Books. Section on Redbourn ISBN 0-905392-71-X.
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