Brief History of Standon Parish

Standon

The parish is situated on the Greenwich meridian, which is marked in at least two places by posts. It covers 2379 hectares and is bisected by the River Rib running from North to South. The parish incorporates the villages of Standon and Puckeridge and also the hamlets of Barwick, Colliers End, Latchford and Wellpond Green.

The parish has over 150 listed buildings, more than half dating from before 1700 AD. They are spread all over the parish, with several in Standon High Street.

Standon, Latchford and Barwick grew up beside the River Rib, which meanders from north to south through the middle of the parish. Puckeridge and Colliers End developed alongside Ermine Street, the old Roman road from London to Lincoln and York that later became a busy coaching route, especially serving London and Cambridge. A second Roman highway, Stane Street, ran between Colchester and St Albans, crossing Ermine Street at a Roman town whose location was close to the present northern parish boundary with Braughing, a boundary that is today largely defined by the old route of Stane Street.

STANDON

Standon was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.

Much of Stane Street mentioned above, has become today's A120, with a diversion that now runs to the south of Puckeridge. The distant view of Standon Church can be enjoyed from the A120 when approaching from the west.

The railway station on the Buntingford branch of the Great Eastern railway was opened in 1863. As traffic descended into Standon on the A120 it would often be halted at a railway level crossing. This served the Buntingford Line which crossed here, close to Standon Flour Mill. The crossing went when the line closed in the 1960s after 100 years of operation, and the mill has been converted into flats.

The construction of railways is said to have struck the death-blow to the trade of Standon, which after the lapse of the local market depended on the road communication with the neighbouring market towns. Some of the old houses still remain. The oldest is probably the house now called Knights Court, south of the church. This is a brick and timber house of two storeys with a projecting upper storey and tiled roof. It probably dates back to the later mediaeval period. It is said to have belonged to the Knights Hospitallers, who, as rectors and lords of the manor of Standon Friars, may have had a court-house here after they had begun to grant leases of the manor in the 14th century. Then it was a school for about 400 years until its closure around 1980, when it was converted into homes.

The church is listed as Grade I, primarily for its interior which includes a lavishly-carved chancel arch, an interesting 13th-century font and imposing memorials to Sir Ralph Sadleir (1507 – 1587) and his son, Sir Thomas.

Sir Ralph Sadleir was a senior statesman, serving both Henry VIII and later Elizabeth I, including a spell as gaoler of Mary, Queen of Scots. Resting beside his tomb is the flagpole he retrieved from the 1547 Battle of Pinkie Cleugh. The pole once bore the standard of the Scottish army that suffered a resounding defeat in the battle against the English army, with the loss of six thousand men. The home of the Sadleirs was Standon Lordship, a little south of the village.

Standon Lordship

Standon Lordship West, and Standon Lordship East (On West Back of River Rib 1 Kilometre South of Standon Village), Barwick Road

Grade: II* See Historic England

A country house, now 2 houses. 1540-46 for Sir Ralph Sadleir (strapwork stone plaque with '1546' next entrance), fragmentary remains of Tudor courtyard house extended c1872 by John Thorpe for 2nd Duke of Wellington, extensively renovated after fire of 1927. Red brick with remains of diaper work and traces of plastered surrounds of window openings. C19 half-timbering at rear with diagonal red brick nogging. Old red tiled roofs. The present building incorporates the W range, gateway arch and other fragments of an important C16 courtyard house where Queen Elizabeth spent 3 days in 1561. Remarkable arrangement of 4 newel staircases in semi-octagonal turrets flanking the entrance gateway. Lower courses of 2 turrets remain at front, one capped off, and one with a bay window, on right. Wide 4-centred archway of 3 moulded orders with dripmould, all with remains of plaster facing. The part to the right of the archway, of 2 storeys and attics, is original with 2 gables having moulded brick copings and the stumps of former pinnacles, and original chimneys with tall diagonal shafts. To the left of the archway (Standon Lordship East) a carefully detailed C19 building has been built in old materials on the old footings of the west range and NW turret. Mullioned timber windows in rectangular openings. Stone reset in SE wing with 'RS 1546'. Remains of N, E and S ranges in garden with semi- underground service rooms to hall in S range blocked up with hollow chamfered openings. Interior said to have several stone moulded fireplaces with carved spandrels and 4-centred arched openings.

The interior is entirely remodelled, and a new wing to the E. of the S end was erected about 1927 after a fire had burnt the Victorian living quarters. "The Lordship", a large private residence, maintained in excellent condition, is as described above and is an outstanding building.

There are remains of post-medieval gardens (Monument Record (Protected) 12819), rectilinear enclosure (Monument Record (Protected) 10305), Queen Anne's Bath and other Earthworks (Monument Record (Protected) 4238). See Ancient Monuments

The old vicarage was situated in Burr's Meadow opposite the post office. After 1811, when Richard Jeffreys died, the house, which was in a dilapidated condition, was made into two cottages which have now disappeared.

The bridge over the river at the northern end of the village is a county bridge. It was proposed in 1782 to replace the old wooden bridge by a brick one of five arches wide enough for the passage of carriages, so that it might combine with the recent widening of the road from Hadham to Braughing and Standon to improve the communication between Essex and Hertfordshire. The iron bridge of two arches replaced the brick bridge, which was destroyed by a flood, in 1858. There was a disused windmill to the south of the village; to the north of it close by the railway station was a large flour-mill, built in 1901, which was connected by electric wires with the old water-mill on the other side of the river where the water-power was supplemented by steam. Early in the 19th century there was a paper-mill at the south end which was owned in 1846 by John Parkinson of Lincoln's Inn Fields. It was afterwards used as a saw-mill. The house and water-wheel still remain and the name survives in Paper Mill Lane, Paper Mill Meadow and Paper Mill House.

The almshouses at the south end of the village were originally part of the outbuildings of Standon Workhouse, which was disused after the Poor Law Act of 1834.

The centre of Standon lies immediately south of the A120, a short High Street with a choice of shops and pubs. The street is wide, a reminder that this had been the venue for regular markets since the 13th century. The parish church dates from that time, built mostly in the 13th and 14th centuries.

The Standon Pudding Stone on the corner of Paper Mill Lane is not in its original site. It was moved to its present site in 1904 from outside the Star pub, but before this it may have stood on the site of the present church as a 'great stone' or meeting place where ancient Britons would gather to decide matters of interest to the community.

The plaque states: "This stone is a conglomerate of glacial origin, sometimes called 'breeding stone'. It was formerly incorporated in the wall of the churchyard. It is thought possible that the stone might have marked a prehistoric, tribal, religious meeting place and that the early Christians therefore chose the same site on which to build the church. The stone was placed here in 1904 by the Rev. W. d'A. Crofton, then curate-in-charge of the parish. The adjacent oak tree was planted in 1911 by Miss Kate Smith to commemorate the coronation of King George V."

PUCKERIDGE

Puckeridge High Street

Puckeridge itself was situated on Ermine Street, a Roman Road of importance between London and York. At a point in open countryside, a short distance to the west of the White Hart PH, Ermine Street was joined by another Roman Road, Stane Street, which connected to Colchester and also by another road striking out in a north easterly direction towards the important Roman settlement in the Great Chesterford area. Puckeridge receives a mention in The Oxford History of England's 'Roman Britain' published in 1981. This reports the presence of a rectangular cemetery enclosure marked by a ditch and bank that contained '60 cremations apparently associated with a Roman settlement abandoned about AD 80 which had succeeded an Iron Age site. Most of the burials had three or more pots and a pair of hob nailed boots, some had glass containers or metal fitted wooden caskets'. The presence of these hobnailed boots may have been part of a funerary practice.

Hertfordshire County Council records describe that an archaeological trench cut through the Roman road of Ermine Street established it was 20 feet wide and 2 feet 6 inches thick, with ditches containing late Iron Age/ early Roman platters and storage jars, Samian and Castor ware, a coin of Tetricus, two bronze pins, a piece of sheet bronze, and a scrap of leather. Occupation north of the road included pits and signs of timber buildings. The site is dated 50 AD to 410AD.

A map of 1874 shows a rural settlement completely separated from Standon. Whilst Station Road connecting the two communities existed at this time, this area was open countryside, south of which was an isolated building annotated School (Boys& Girls). The latter is now a residence but has a prominent plaque describing its former use. Land between High Street and Station Road (Poor's Land) and land north of Station Road (Fisher's Mead) was owned by Standon Charity. Poor's land was generally owned by a charity, the proceeds of which benefited the poor of the Parish. The same map shows a brickfield and limekiln to the south of Mentley Lane East. By this time the Congregation Chapel and burial ground in the south of the village had been built, adjacent to a School for Boys and Girls on the site of the existing Primary School.

Kelly's Post Office Directory of Hertfordshire dated 1874 lists the following trades for Puckeridge: blacksmith, iron founder, builder, market gardener, watch maker, grocer, surgeon, 2 grocer/drapers, horse clipper, wheelwright, brewer, draper/shoemaker, builder/brick maker, plumber/painter, cooper, veterinary surgeon, harness maker, butcher, shoemaker, grocer and tailor, 2 beer retailers, carpenter and builder and 2 bakers. Public Houses listed at this time were the Chequers, Crown and Falcon, Buffalo's Head, White Hart, Woolpack, Anchor and Rising Sun. In common with other rural communities of the time this range of trades displays a considerable degree of local inter dependence and self-sufficiency.

Little had changed by 1897 although a map of that date identifies the presence of a brewery on land between High Street and Tollsworth Road.

A map dating from 1920 shows an Iron Foundry east of the High Street in the general area of nos. 25-31 and also shows that development had commenced along Station Road with the construction of housing and Century Hall (still in existence). By this time allotments were established between High Street and Station Road.

Mapping dating from 1963 shows the presence of a garage on what is now Cannon's Court and a Caravan Park on what is now Tollsworth Way.

The Scheduled Ancient Monument description of the site to the immediate north (of which the triangle of land north of the White Hart PH forms part) identified, following excavations in 1969, the presence of Roman walls and 4th century coins together with pre Roman occupation and burials.

Puckeridge Conservation Area as largely seen today consists of buildings dating from the 16th century with approximately 30% of the listed buildings in the Conservation Area dating from this period with a further 25% from the 17th century.

COLLIERS END

Colliers End is situated just to the south of a Roman crossroads, where the minor road from Verulamium crossed Ermine Street on the way to Camulodunum {Colchester). There may have been a few small buildings here and a wooden bridge over the stream just to the south of the village, near Labdens. This name is derived from the 14th century name Lapdenbrigge, meaning the bridge in the valley. A causeway was built at the beginning of the 19th century and the stream was run through a tunnel.

Nicholas le Colyere gave his name to the village, according to the Assize Rolls of 1278 and by 1526 the place was called Colyersend, with end meaning a hamlet. The inhabitants earned their livelihoods from agriculture with its associated crafts and from the important road traffic on what was the old North Road. At Wadesmill, the country's first turnpike was built and the road from London to Cambridge was the first to have milestones.

In 1784, it was in Colliers End that the first ever balloon flight over England came to rest. The pilot, Vincenzo Lunardi, had already paused his journey in Welham Green to let his sick cat get off!

At Colliers End there was a weighbridge, according to the 1840 tithe map that shows the Weighbridge House on the site of the old army camp. Not only corn but coal was carried through the village by horse-drawn wagons between the canals leading to Cambridge and the river Lee from Ware to London. The coaches passed through Colliers End, stopping at Puckeridge, as Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary, but the other traffic must have helped to keep the village inns in business. The oldest of these is the Lamb and Flag or Holy Lamb as it was called until about 1840 when the building previous to the present one was built. The Holy Lamb was the symbol of the Crusaders and the Knights of St. John are known to have been active around Standon.

Across the road from the Lamb and Flag is an old timber framed house now called Cobwebs that was formerly the Wagon and Horses. Farther north, there was the Red, White and Blue, now Barnacres and across the road, The Plough, that has been replaced by two new houses. The Fox and Hounds, at the old Roman crossroads, is now a private dwelling but the pub name has been retained.

Plashes Wood is between Colliers End and Latchford and designated SSSI for the richness and diversity of its ancient woodland and is among the most important as well as largest woods in this part of the county (72 ha). The rich ground flora reflects the local variation in soil types (mixed acidic/calcareous).

It contains chiefly oak/hornbeam coppice with standards, with ash and beech, over bluebells and dog's mercury. It also has oak, ash, beech and silver birch over hazel, elder and blackthorn, as well as some coniferous plantation, marshy clearings and ponds. Though private, it is crossed by two public bridleways and skirted (on its eastern edge) by a public footpath

BARWICK

Barwick Ford

The site Barwick & 'Great Barwick' (Berewyk 14th century, and Barrack 19th Century) are hamlets in the civil parish of Standon. They are near the A10 Road and the hamlet of Latchford. The River Rib flows behind Barwick & through Great Barwick. There is a ford crossing at Great Barwick

In the 14th century Barwick Manor, today known as Great Barwick Manor, was an estate and part of the larger Standon Manor and was in the King's name. The control was finally passed back to Sir William Say during the 16th century. Great Barwick hamlet predates the hamlet of Barwick.

The settlement of Barwick, to the north of Great Barwick, was known as 'The Outpost'.

In 1888 the 'Smokeless Powder Company', owned by J D Dougall Junior took a 99-year lease and the name was changed from 'The Outpost' to Barwick & Barwick was formed as a 'factory hamlet'.

The 'factory hamlet' was designed and built by the company's engineer Ernest Spon. The Smokeless Powder Company (S.P.C.) manufactured high explosive powders for use in small arms ammunition & mine blasting. S.P.C. was a world leader in its high explosive powders. On 26 May 1893, there was an explosion & fire in one of the drying houses. As a result, company employees Mr A Aylott & Mr A Ginn both died in this incident.

In 1896 the Smokeless Powder Company, was purchased by the New Schultze Gunpowder Company Limited, located at Eyeworth, Fritham, |Hampshire. As a result of this sale, the company was renamed the Smokeless Powder & Ammunition Company Ltd in 1896. The company had two of Great Britain's greatest ballistics' experts working for it - Mr F W Jones & Mr R W S Griffith. The Smokeless Powder & Ammunition Company continued to produce high explosive powders until it ceased trading in circa 1910.

In 1912 the Sabulite Company took over the site and continued to turn out explosive materials for military and civilian applications.

OLD HALL GREEN

St Edmunds College, Old Hall Green

Old Hall Green is a small hamlet in the parish of Standon and is famed for being the home of St. Edmund's College.

St Edmund's College founded by Cardinal William Allen in 1568, is the oldest Catholic school in England, with a distinguished alumni of 20 canonised saints and 133 martyrs.

In 1793, an academy, St Edmund's College, Ware was established there which provided a school for Catholic boys and a seminary to train priests serving England's Recusant community. St Edmund's College was one of two facilities which replaced the English College at Douai, which had to be evacuated because of the French Revolution. Whilst the school remains, the seminary was moved to Chelsea in 1975.

In 1874, during the Presidency of Monsignor James Patterson, the junior boys were separated from the rest of the College into Saint Hugh's Preparatory School, (now St Edmund's Prep) in a house originally built by Pugin for the Oxford convert WG Ward.

In 1893, his son, Bernard Ward was appointed President of the College and he started a scheme of rebuilding and improvements.

The College continued as a boys' school and seminary until 1975, around the same time as girls from the adjacent Poles Convent were first admitted into the Sixth Form. The College became fully co-educational in 1986.

The College is set in a magnificent 400 acre site.

HAMLETS

Latchford Ford

Wellpond Green

Broken Green

Bromley New Development

In the eastern part of the Parish, there are four other hamlets – Latchford, Wellpond Green, Broken Green and Bromley.