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  Grovehill, Piccotts End, Woodhall Farm and Phoenix

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 Paleolithic Settlement


500,000 BC Paleolithic to Romano British

This Chronicle begins with the Paleolithic or Stone Age. We can look at evidence of ancient sites around to give us clues about the beginning of farming in the area of Grovehill and its history.



A flint axe was found in Gaddesden Row.  

Some of the farms lower down obtained their water from shallow wells, or springs, but those higher up had to depend on ponds dug in the clay and lined with 'puddled' clay right up until piped water reached them. Cox's Pond was one of these ponds and was only recently filled in.

These upland clays have been settled since at least Neolithic times.

Hunter-Gatherers used bows and arrows to kill their prey.



Bronze Age

Trees were felled, fences erected to enclose cattle, houses were built and the clearance of the woodland and the struggle to grow crops was started.  It is suggested that by now the land was mostly cleared of woodland except for areas like Howe Grove, Dunster Copse and High Wood which were preserved areas for timber.




Iron Age

 Loyalty to the local tribe, Free men

A nearby Iron Age settlement, Aubreys, beside the road on the way to St Albans, its preservation so important that the M1 had to curve round it.

Briden's Camp appears on many maps


Another Iron Age settlement, Verlamion which means 'settlement above the marsh' was a little further along the same road. Hemel Hempstead probably started as a settlement above the marsh. The 'marsh' at Verulamium was around the Ver. Hemel Hempstead probably started as a settlement above the marsh by the Gade.


The people lived in large family groups, with houses grouped together in settlements surrounded by earth banks and ditches.



Loyalty to a stronger greater tribe, the Catuvellauni, free men

About 15BC Verlamion became the centre of a powerful tribe of warriors called the Catuvellauni and possibly local men joined them in the defence of their tribe and land.


An aristocracy emerged, including the Druids who were responsible for religion, law and learning, but it was the farmers on the chalk valleys and in the clearings who were creating the wealth.


The people lived in large family groups, with houses grouped together in settlements in round houses surrounded by earth banks and ditches.


The Catuvellauni tried to defend Britain against the early Roman invasions but were defeated by a superior army.




 500,000 BC 



 10000 BC


 Stone Age

 5000 BC





 Bronze Age

 1500 BC





 Iron Age

 450 BC

Loyalty to the local tribe, some slaves, most freemen



 15 BC







Loyalty to a greater tribe, some slaves  most freemen


Druids written about