Tonwell has a population of about 300 persons, being included at the 2011 Census in the civil parish of Bengeo Rural. The demographic is similar to that of Hertfordshire itself, with a number of family properties as well as those more suited to elderly people. Near the village are Paynes Hall (south of the village by half a mile, where the A602 crosses the River Rib); Bengeo Temple farm; and the parkland at Sacombe (listed in the landscape character assessment as a rare and significant example of Victorian parkland.)
Tonwell has close ties to the neighbouring hamlet of Chapmore End; the only other settlement in the parish. The two settlements hold combined events such as the village fete, and regular parish events in the parish hall in Tonwell.
Village amenities include a school (built in 1858), village hall, and the Robin Hood (free house) pub. The village hall now houses a thriving dance academy with junior and adult classes being held on Saturdays and every weekday.
The village shop and post office was closed down by the owners in the 1980s and converted into a restaurant room for the pub, which they are hoping to redevelop as housing along with 3 houses in the pub car park and conversion to flats of the B & B accommodation. They have applied twice for planning permission. This was refused for the second time on 17 April 2018. The nearest food stores or post office are now situated in Hertford, Watton-at-Stone or Ware. There are no footpaths from the village to Hertford, Watton at Stone or Ware. Residents have to use their own cars, a taxi or the very infrequent bus service.
The Church of St Mary's in Tonwell [CoE] adjoins the village school, and contains a Norman era font (relocated from St Nicholas' church in Hertford in about 1700). The church also contains wood panelling from the Houses of Parliament, which was installed in the church after the Second World War following bomb damage. In the 1990s, the church fell into disrepair, and eventually in the 2000s services were suspended. In 2005 the church was officially closed and renovated with the village school being extended into the church to cope with rising pupil numbers.
Tonwell Water Tower
The skyline of the village is dominated by the futuristic 1960s concrete water tower. In 2007 it was listed at Grade II. The water tower has a capacity of 50,000 gallons and was built in 1964. It was designed by Edmund C. Percey of Scherrer and Hicks. It is presently on the market and is being sold by Affinity Water who are asking for offers in excess of £30,000 (https://www.awdisposals.co.uk/tonwell) with a suggestion that it could be converted for use as residential accommodation. It is rumoured (July 2018) to have now been sold for £135,000.
Media related to Tonwell at Wikimedia Commons