View from St Mary's Church tower
|Population||25,413 (2020 approx)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
Rickmansworth (//), also known as "Ricky", is a town in south-west Hertfordshire, England; it is located about 17 miles (27 km) north-west of central London, 5 miles (8 km) south-west of Watford and is inside the perimeter of the M25 motorway. The town is mainly to the north of the Grand Union Canal (formerly the Grand Junction Canal) and the River Colne.
Rickmansworth is the administrative seat of the Three Rivers District Council; the confluence of the River Chess and the River Gade with the Colne in Rickmansworth inspired the district's name. The enlarged Colne flows south to form a major tributary of the River Thames.
The name Rickmansworth comes from the Saxon name Ryckmer, the local landowner, and worth meaning a farm or stockade. In the Domesday Book of 1086 it was recorded as the Manor of Prichemaresworde. Other spellings include Rykemarwurthe (1119–46), Richemaresworthe (1180), Rykemerewrthe (1248), Richemereworthe (1259), Rikesmareswrth (1287), Rikmansworth (1382), Rikmeresworth (1396) and Rykemerysworth (1418).
There was a settlement in this part of the Colne Valley in the Stone Age. Rickmansworth was one of five manors with which the great Abbey of St Albans had been endowed when founded in 793 by King Offa of Mercia. Local tithes supported the abbey, which provided clergy to serve the people until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539. Around the time of the Domesday Book, the population of "Prichemareworth" may have been about 200.
Cardinal Wolsey, in his capacity as Abbot of St Albans, held the Manor of le More in the valley. The manor house was replaced by the hill-top mansion Moor Park, which eventually became the residence of Admiral Lord Anson, who commissioned Capability Brown to remake the formal gardens, and in 1828 of the Barons Ebury; it is now the Golf Club House. The wider area, including Croxley Green, Moor Park, Batchworth, Mill End, West Hyde and Chorleywood, formed the original parish of Rickmansworth.
In 1851, the population had grown to 4,800, and the parish was divided. St Mary's Church serves the parish concentrated in the town and extending to Batchworth and parts of Moor Park. The town had a population of 14,571 recorded at the 2001 census.
The three rivers, the Colne, Chess and Gade, provided water for the watercress trade and power for corn milling, silk weaving, paper making and brewing, all long gone. Other industries have included leather-tanning, soft drinks, laundry, straw-plaiting and stocking production. Now, the rivers, canal and flooded gravel pits provide for recreation.
West Mill, a water mill, existed at the time of the Domesday Survey. It was leased to the abbot and convent of St Albans by Ralph Bukberd for a term of years ending in 1539. In 1533, they leased it from the end of this term for twenty-six years to Richard Wilson of Watford. He was to keep in repair the mill and also two millstones, 10 inches (25 centimetres) thick, and 4 ft 8 in (142 cm) in breadth. The mill was leased in 1544 to William Hutchinson, yeoman of the spicery, and Janet his wife for their lives. It afterwards came to John Wilson, and was granted in 1576–77 to Richard Master. There was also a water-mill called Batchworth Mill, and a fishery called Blacketts Mill in Rickmansworth. Batchworth Mill was later used as a cotton mill, but was bought in 1820 by John Dickinson & Co., and converted into paper mills, now the site of Affinity Water. Scotsbridge Mill was also productive but is now a restaurant with the unusual feature of a salmon run. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries many of the principal inhabitants were described as "clothiers", from which it may be inferred that the manufacture of cloth was at one time carried on in the parish, but this industry has long since ceased. There were also silk and flock mills here, described in 1808 as recently built.
A long-running dispute over water levels in the Batchford area, following construction of the Grand Junction Canal, was resolved in 1825, when an 8-foot-3-inch (2.51 m) obelisk was erected in a pond, to act as a water gauge. It records the agreement made between the canal company, John Dickinson the miller at Batchworth Mill, and R. Williams of Moor Park the landowner.
In July 1860, Lord Ebury obtained powers to construct a 4+1⁄2-mile (7.2 km) single-track railway line, the Watford and Rickmansworth Railway (WRR) between Rickmansworth and Watford. Opening in October 1862, Rickmansworth (Church Street) railway station was opposite the parish church of St Mary, with interchange sidings to the Grand Union Canal. The line had stations at Watford Junction and Watford High Street and a depot in Watford. A further Parliamentary authorisation was obtained a year later to construct an extension from Rickmansworth to connect with the Great Western Railway's Uxbridge branch, but this was never realised.
Despite hopes that the railway would bring economic development and serve the factories and warehouses that had developed along the Grand Union Canal, it was Watford that grew at a faster pace and drew business from Rickmansworth. The railway was dogged with financial problems and a further Act of Parliament in 1863 authorised the issue of further shares to the value of £30,000 (£40,000 worth had already been issued). The service consisted of five trains each way. The line was worked from the outset by the London and North Western Railway (LNWR), which paid the WRR 50% of the gross earnings.
The railway was never financially successful and the Official Receiver was called in four years after opening. The company attempted to remedy its financial problems by opening several freight branches, the most notable being to the Croxley printers and to the Grand Union Canal at Croxley Green. The company was absorbed by the burgeoning LNWR whose station it shared at Watford Junction in 1881.
Rickmansworth station is served by passenger services on two lines:
- London to Aylesbury Line, on the National Rail network, from Marylebone station to Aylesbury, via Harrow. Services are operated by Chiltern Railways;
- Metropolitan line trains on the London Underground network. Services operate between Aldgate and Baker Street to Amersham.
- 321 Rickmansworth to Watford and Luton
- 335 Watford to Chorleywood
- 336 Watford to Amersham
- 724 Heathrow Airport to Harlow, via St Albans and Ware.
Politics and economy
The agricultural co-operative, Quality Milk Producers has its headquarters in Scotsbridge House, as do the English Guernsey Cattle Society, the Jersey Cattle Society, the UK Holstein Society, the British Friesian Breeders Club, the Milk Development Council and the Centre for Dairy Information.
In 1897, a police station opened in the High Street adjoining the fire station. The site of the later police station on Rectory Road was purchased by Lidl in 2013 and the building was demolished. The residents association (RDRA) have opposed the proposal for a store. Rickmansworth police station is now located within Three Rivers House.
Valley Road in Rickmansworth has a frost hollow. This is caused by the local geography, notably the railway embankment which prevents the natural drainage of cold air from a specific part of the valley. The greatest daily temperature range in England was recorded on 29 August 1936 in Rickmansworth when the temperature climbed from 1.1 °C at dawn to 24.9 °C within 9 hours due to this unusual geographic feature.
Rickmansworth was an ancient parish. Following the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 the parish was included in the Watford Poor Law Union, established in 1835. When sanitary districts were created in 1872, the parish of Rickmansworth therefore became part of the Watford Rural Sanitary District, which in turn became Watford Rural District in December 1894.
Rickmansworth Urban District (1898–1974)
Basing House, 46 High Street, Rickmansworth
|• Created||15 April 1898|
|• Abolished||31 March 1974|
|• Succeeded by||Three Rivers|
|• County Council||Hertfordshire|
Shortly after Watford Rural District had been created, the process of creating an urban district for the town of Rickmansworth began. An inquiry was held in February 1896 at the Town Hall in Rickmansworth, considering whether to turn the parish into urban district. The initial conclusion was that the whole parish was not appropriate for becoming an urban district, but that an urban district could perhaps be created for just part of it. It was eventually decided to split the parish of Rickmansworth into three parts. The hamlet of Chorleywood was made into a separate parish, whilst the remainder of Rickmansworth parish was split between a Rickmansworth Urban parish (covering the built-up area including Mill End, Rickmansworth and Croxley Green), and a Rickmansworth Rural parish. The Rickmansworth Rural parish was not one contiguous area, but a number of detached pieces of land around the edges of the original parish. The Chorleywood and Rickmansworth Rural parishes remained in the Watford Rural District, whilst the parish of Rickmansworth Urban became Rickmansworth Urban District. These changes all came into force on 15 April 1898. The first meeting of Rickmansworth Urban District Council was held on 16 April 1898 at the Town Hall at 105 High Street in Rickmansworth. William Culley was elected the first chairman of the council.
In 1930, Rickmansworth Urban District Council bought Basing House at 46 High Street in Rickmansworth, which had once been the home of William Penn. The council converted Basing House to become its offices and meeting place, holding its first meeting there in November 1930.
The Rickmansworth Rural parish was abolished in 1935, with most of its area being added to Rickmansworth Urban District and the remainder to the neighbouring parish of Sarratt with effect from 1 April 1935.
Two parish councils were subsequently created from parts of the former Rickmansworth Urban District. The civil parish of Croxley Green was created on 1 April 1986, covering the eastern part of the former Rickmansworth Urban District and an adjoining area transferred from the parish of Sarratt.
The civil parish of Batchworth was created on 1 April 2017 covering the two Three Rivers district wards of Rickmansworth Town, and Moor Park and Eastbury. The Batchworth parish therefore covers much of Rickmansworth, including the town centre. The Batchworth and Croxley Green parishes do not cover the whole of the former Rickmansworth Urban District, with two areas remaining unparished: one around Maple Cross and Mill End, and another near Loudwater.
- Arnett Hills JMI School
- Rickmansworth Park JMI School
- Shepherds Primary School
- St. John's Catholic Primary School
- St. Mary's C of E Primary School
- St. Peter's C of E Voluntary Aided Primary School
Culture and sport
This section needs additional citations for verification. (June 2021)
Watersmeet is a 515-seat theatre complex owned by the Three Rivers District Council in the town centre. Its auditorium can be transformed from a raked theatre to a flat floor for performances in the round, dancing, cabaret, weddings, indoor markets and craft fairs. The Rickmansworth Players (affiliated to NODA) is a well-established amateur dramatics society that performs musicals and plays on a regular basis. Rickmansworth Historical Society meets monthly from September to June in the Cloisters Hall.
Rickmansworth is sometimes shortened to "Ricky", as used in the annual Ricky Week celebrations which occur in May. The town's canal history is remembered at the end of the week with the Rickmansworth Festival organised by Rickmansworth Waterways Trust. The annual Ricky Road Run takes place with more than 500 runners. The annual Victorian Evening, held in the town centre at the end of November, was changed to Starlight Evening in 2011. Inspired by the reference to Rickmansworth on the first page of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: "And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl sitting on her own in a small café in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything."
The Aquadrome covers 41 hectares (100 acres) and includes the Aquadrome Local Nature Reserve, Batchworth and Bury Lakes, open grassland, areas of woodland, car parking, a café and a children's play area. Its boundaries are the River Colne to the north, the Grand Union Canal to the east and south and Stocker's Lake nature reserve to the west. In July 2009, it received a Green Flag Award for parks and open spaces which meet high standards.
The lakes are old gravel quarries filled with water and stocked with fish but only Batchworth Lake is available for fishing. Some gravel from the site was used to build Wembley Stadium in 1923. Batchworth Lake is popular for water skiing events and hosts the Rickmansworth Water Ski Club.
Bury Lake is home to Bury Lake Young Mariners (BLYM); a sailing club and RYA-recognised teaching establishment.
Rickmansworth Cricket Club was founded in 1787 and is one of the oldest recorded clubs in England. Its clubhouse was built in 1921 by Sir William Francis Reckitt – a member of the Reckitt and Colman Mustard dynasty. Rickmansworth Sports Club runs five teams in the Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League. Over the years, other sports clubs have moved into the grounds, including Chess Valley Rugby Football Club and Rickmansworth & Chess Valley Hockey Clubs. Rickmansworth Golf Course is adjacent to Moor Park golf course. Rickmansworth Lawn Tennis Club also hosts Rickmansworth table tennis club matches. Rickmansworth Water Ski Club is located on Batchworth Lake. Rickmansworth hosts a sub-aqua Club. The William Penn Leisure Centre has an indoor swimming pool and sports facilities.
- The Adventures of Black Beauty (1972)
- Grange Hill (1978)
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
- Withnail and I (1986)
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
- Double X: The Name of the Game (1992)
- Ashes to Ashes (British TV series) (2009)
- Harry and Paul (2010)
- The First Men in the Moon (2010)
- Foyle's War (Lesson in Murder)
- Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (film) (Pig report scene, filmed at Stockers Farm)
- Dick Turpin (Starring Richard O'Sullivan, filmed at Stockers Farm)
- Genevieve (Genevieve 'broke down' at the top of Batchworth Hill, by the gates to Moor Park)
- Metro-land (Television documentary) (1973)
- Doctor Who ('The Three Doctors' – 10th anniversary story 1972/1973)
- Harry Enfield's Television Programme (80's)
- New Tricks (2014)
- Children of Men (2006)
- Silent Witness (2013)
- Doctor Foster (2015 & 2017 Filming took place in Green Lane, Croxley Green)
- The Professionals (TV series) Harefield Road & Springwell Lock
- 28 Weeks Later (2007) Stockers Farm
- Endeavour (TV series) 2019 Stockers Farm
- Cardinal Wolsey (Manor of the More, 1522–1530
- Robert Carey, 1st Earl of Monmouth (Moor Park, 1631–1639, buried at Rickmansworth Parish Church)
- Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford (Moor Park, 1576)
- Edward Russell, 3rd Earl of Bedford (Moor Park, 1585–1627)
- William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke (Moor Park, 1627)
- Franklin baronets (bought Moor Park and Manor of Rickmansworth, 1655)
- Henry Carey, 2nd Earl of Monmouth (buried at Rickmansworth Parish Church)
- James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde (Moor Park, 1664)
- Thomas Butler, 6th Earl of Ossory (made Lord Butler of Moore Park in 1666)
- William E. Fairbairn (Developed hand-to-hand combat methods)
- James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth (illegitimate son of Charles II, Moor Park, 1670 – executed 1685))
- George Anson, 1st Baron Anson (Admiral Lord Anson, Moor Park c1752)
- Sir Lawrence Dundas, 1st Baronet (Moor Park, 1763)
- William Penn (founder of Pennsylvania)
- Thomas Dundas, 1st Baron Dundas (Moor Park, sold 1785)
- Robert Grosvenor, 1st Marquess of Westminster (Moor Park, 1828–1845)
- Robert Grosvenor, 1st Baron Ebury (Moor Park, 1846 and The Bury, 1879 to 1893)
- Robert Grosvenor, 2nd Baron Ebury (Moor Park, 1893–1918)* Harvey Fellows (Cricketer)
- Guy Calthrop aka Sir Calthrop Guy Spencer Calthrop, 1st Baronet (26 March 1870 – 23 February 1919)
- Alice Hayes (1657–1720), English Quaker preacher and autobiographer
- David Urquhart (MP, Russophile and advocate for Turkish Baths)
- George Eliot (pen-name of Mary Anne Evans – The Elms, 1875)
- Val Doonican (resided in The Drive, Rickmansworth)
- Sam Little (golfer)
- George Orwell (pen-name of Eric Blair, author, who spent some summers in Rickmansworth)
- Helen Harland, widow of Thomas Andrews, (the naval architect in charge of the plans for the ocean liner Titanic, drowned on her maiden voyage).
- Barbara Woodhouse (dog trainer, author, horse trainer and television personality)
- William Stanier (locomotive designer and Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway.)
- Naga Munchetty (television presenter, newsreader and journalist)
- "Town population 2011". City Populations. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
- Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas; National Archives; CP 40/541; "AALT Page". Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2014. first entry
- Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas; National Archives; CP 40/629; year 1418; http://aalt.law.uh.edu/H5/CP40no629/bCP40no629dorses/IMG_1333.htm; 6th entry, mentioned in lines 2 & 3
- Page, William. William Page (ed.). A History of the County of Hertford: Volume II. Parishes: Rickmansworth. Institute of Historical Research.
- Historic England. "Obelisk at Moor Lane, Rickmansworth (1100840)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
- Welbourn, N. (1998). Lost Lines London. Shepperton, Surrey: Ian Allan Ltd. p. 110. ISBN 0-7110-2623-8.
- Davies, R.; Grant, M.D. (1984). Chilterns and Cotswolds (Forgotten Railways). Newton Abbot, Devon: David St John Thomas. p. 35. ISBN 0-946537-07-0.
- Davies, R. and Grant, M.D. (1984), p. 35.
- Davies, R. and Grant, M.D. (1984), p. 36.
- Welbourn, N. (1998), p. 110.
- "Download our timetable". Chiltern Railway. 21 May 2023. Retrieved 17 July 2023.
- "Metropolitan Line timetable". Transport for London. May 2023. Retrieved 17 July 2023.
- "Stops in Rickmansworth". Bus Times. 2023. Retrieved 17 July 2023.
- "Hertfordshire South West parliamentary constituency - Election 2019". BBC News. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
- http://ukcows.com/theCDI/Breed_Society.aspx?Mode=Contacts[bare URL]
- "History of the Three Rivers - Three Rivers Museum of Local History - Rickmansworth » Three Rivers Museum of Local History". Archived from the original on 24 October 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- "Home | Hertfordshire County Council".
- "A Lidl in Rickmansworth?". 1 April 2013.
- "Former police station to become Lidl store". Watford Observer. 30 March 2013.
- "Ice age returns to Hertfordshire". The Independent. 5 January 1997.
- Higginbotham, Peter. "Watford Poor Law Union". The Workhouse. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
- "Watford RD". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
- "Rickmansworth Urban District, A Vision of Britain through Time". GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
- Shall Rickmansworth be an Urban District?, Harrow and Wembley Observer, 28 February 1896, page 3
- Rickmansworth: The Urban District Question, Middlesex and Buckinghamshire Advertiser (Uxbridge), 2 May 1896, page 8
- Rickmansworth: The coming urban council, Harrow and Wembley Observer, 24 July 1896, page 6
- Annual Report of the Local Government Board. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. 1898. p. 289. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
The County of Hertford (Rickmansworth) Confirmation Order, 1897, coming into operation 15 April 1898
- Rickmansworth Urban Council, Watford Observer, 23 April 1898, page 3
- Rickmansworth: Basing House, Buckinghamshire Examiner (Chesham), 14 November 1930, page 1
- "Basing House". Historic England. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
- Ministry of Health Order No. 80,108: The County of Hertford Review Order, 1935
- "Rickmansworth". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
- The Three Rivers (Parishes) Order 1986 (PDF). Retrieved 11 September 2021.
- Three Rivers District Council (Reorganisation of Community Governance) Order 2016 (PDF). Retrieved 12 September 2021.
- "Ordnance Survey Election Maps". Retrieved 11 September 2021.
- "Withnail & I Filming Locations". British Film Locations. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
- CastleFacts Archived 18 February 2013 at archive.today. Castlefacts.info. Retrieved on 16 August 2013.
- Population figures (PDF)
- William Page, ed. (1908). "Parishes: Rickmansworth". A History of the County of Hertford: volume 2. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 31 March 2012.