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  Grovehill, Piccotts End, Woodhall Farm and Phoenix

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 Henry the Eighth, 16th & 17th Centuries

In 1539 Henry the Eighth dissolved the monasteries taking all the land and properties


The Crown now had the right to all the tithes.  


Henry gave land as rewards for faithful service.


The land now no longer belonged to the Crown or to the Church but to lay people. These would have been lords or squires, not the working man. A new aristocracy is emerging.


Henry signed a Charter that, among other items, gave the town the right to hold a weekly market and retain the profit from the market. Until this time all produce had to go to Berkhamsted for market. In this way Hemel Hempstead and consequently the High Street thrived.



Farms were small, about 20 acres and each farm or house had an orchard,8the remnants of which can be seen today. Oxen were still used to pull the plough.


London wants more corn

1534 – 1696 increases in the population of London required more corn, 'open' fields were taken into the farms by mutual agreement to form yeoman's farms of about 100 – 150 acres.


1600 The High Street

Gradually from 1600 the High Street began to be of increased significance with people bringing their produce and plaits to be measured and sold and animals to be sold and slaughtered and the London market began to open up. In 1884 at the Wool Fair the farmers sold 16.000 fleeces.


1650 Two Beeches

The farmstead called Two Beeches was added about 1650. It was on the north side at the top of Piccotts End Lane. I assume that Piccotts End Lane was an old right of way which couldn't be built on because if you stand at the end of it you can see right through the gap behind the shops to Washington Avenue. Research shows Shadrach Godwin 'of Two Beeches'. Did he live there or just own it? Farms were small, about 20 acres and each farm or house had an orchard, the remnants of which can be seen today. Oxen are still used to pull ploughs.


1673 The Quakers

The Quakers' influence in the High Street was significant both morally and in business.


1700 Pubs.The Boars Head pub in Piccotts End was built in 1736



There was a Union Workhouse where St Paul's Hospital was. There was possibly an earlier on in High Street Green.


1800 Industries & the Grand Union Canal


1802 Marchmont House rebuilt


1805 The Grand Union Canal

From 1792 until 1805 the Grand Union Canal was dug and this opened up the London market taking corn and straw hats to London and bringing back dung, road sweepings and night soil which further added to the fertility of the soil.


Straw plaiting.Income from straw plaiting provided extra income to subsidise the poor farm labourer's wages


1826 Sir Astley Paston Cooper Surgeon at St Bartholomew's Hospital


1841 Paper Mills were the main employers outside agriculture and less people were employed in straw plaiting.  


1862 The Nickey Line proposed


1877 Map shows Rosemary Branch, the sign on beer for sale


1877 Brick making, Claydales clay pit and brickworks


Artisans and craftsmen were in demand. Affluent individuals become prominent, Cranston, Astley Paston Cooper   etc


1910 ? Brock's Firework Factory



 Henry VIII.

The Crown now collects the tithes




 Laymen now  collect the tithes



















 Corn for London






 c 1600

 The High Street           becomes more   significant







Two Beeches

Gave its name to  Sheltered Housing










 1667 onwards

 The Quakers



1700 Pubs








1800 Industries





Grand Union Canal