South Mimms

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South Mimms
South Mimms.jpg
Aerial view
South Mimms is located in Hertfordshire
South Mimms
South Mimms
South Mimms shown within Hertfordshire
Population 855 (2011 Census)[1]
OS grid reference TL225015
Civil parish
  • South Mimms
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district EN6
Dialling code 01707
Police Hertfordshire
Fire Hertfordshire
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°41′56″N 0°13′44″W / 51.69889°N 0.22885°W / 51.69889; -0.22885Coordinates: 51°41′56″N 0°13′44″W / 51.69889°N 0.22885°W / 51.69889; -0.22885

South Mimms, sometimes spelt South Mymms, is a village and civil parish forming part of the Hertsmere district of Hertfordshire in the East of England. It is a small settlement located near to the junction of the M25 motorway with the A1(M) motorway and is perhaps more widely known because of the naming of the service station at that junction.


Potters Bar was originally a small settlement in the parish of South Mimms. Potters Bar became the location of the nearest railway station and eventually became much larger. Both Potters Bar and South Mimms were part of Middlesex until the creation of Greater London, which abolished the county of Middlesex in 1965. South Mimms was the northernmost village in Middlesex.[2]

South Mimms parish was split in 1894 under the Local Government Act 1894 with the extreme southern tip forming South Mimms Urban parish in the Barnet Urban District and was transferred to Hertfordshire. This area now forms part of the London Borough of Barnet. The rest of the parish became the South Mimms Rural District, later renamed the Potters Bar Urban District.

The Grange, a country house in South Mimms, served as a home for Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands during her exile during World War II, from 1940. On 20 February 1944, a German air attack on South Mimms narrowly missed her, killing two of her guards, an incident mentioned in her autobiography. This prompted her move to a house near Reading.[3]

Dancers Hill in South Mimms was the location of a World War II prisoner-of-war camp, Camp 33, that consisted of two compounds, both providing tented accommodation for prisoners.[4]

Richmond Thackeray, father of William Makepeace Thackeray, was born in the parish and baptised in the church in 1781.[2]

For many years Clare Hall Hospital was used as a tuberculosis sanatorium. It is now used by Cancer Research UK.

A notable person born in South Mimms is Samuel Tinsley, a famous chess player.

Sign at Junction 1 of the A1(M) at South Mimms

South Mimms Castle[edit]

The remains of a motte and bailey castle are situated 1.25 kilometres northwest of the village, consisting of a circular mound about 9 metres high by 35 m across, in the corner of a kidney-shaped inner bailey about 125 m long. Traces of an outer bailey survive to the south of the site.[5] The castle is thought to have been built by Geoffrey de Mandeville, 1st Earl of Essex in about 1141 during The Anarchy, a period of civil war between the forces of the Empress Matilda and those of King Stephen. The site was only identified in 1918 and was excavated in 1960-67[6] by Dr John Kent. These works found that the wooden keep, a large framed tower with tapered sides, had been built on the natural ground level and the motte had been piled up against it afterwards, using spoil from the ditch. The sides of the motte had originally been revetted with wood, so that only a timber wall would have been visible.[7] Entrance to the tower was through a tunnel at the base of the motte.[8] The castle was probably destroyed in 1341, but finds at the site suggest that occupation continued for a time afterwards.[5] The castle remains are on private land and there is no public access, although a public footpath runs close to the site.[9]


  1. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "South Mimms: Introduction - A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, pp. 271-282.". British History Online. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  3. ^ "The key historic locations in Great Britain for the Netherlands during the Second World War" (PDF). Kingdom of the Netherlands. Retrieved 23 June 2017. 
  4. ^ "PRISONER OF WAR CAMPS (1939 – 1948)". Historic England. Historic England. 2003. p. 23. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "National Heritage List for England -South Mimms motte and bailey castle". Historic England. Retrieved 25 June 2017. 
  6. ^ "South Mimms: Manors - A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, pp. 282-285.". British History Online. Retrieved 25 June 2017. 
  7. ^ Barker, Philip (1993). Techniques of Archaeological Excavation. Routledge. p. 189. ISBN 978-0415151528. 
  8. ^ Pounds, Norman J. G. (1990). The Medieval Castle in England and Wales: A Political and Social History. Cambridge University Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0521383493. 
  9. ^ "Circular walk in search of South Mimms castle". 14 July 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2017. 

External links[edit]