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  Grovehill, Piccotts End, Woodhall Farm and Phoenix

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Piccotts End

 

 

This is not intended to be a complete history of such an ancient place as Piccotts End. These are just scraps of its history that seem to be relevant to this Chronicle.

From 1000 there were many mills along the Gade. Piccotts End and Bury Mill would have received corn from the surrounding farms for grinding. Redbournbury Mill on the road from Redbourn to St Albans is still working, and flour and other products can still be bought there.

 

Built around 1300 the row of medieval cottages on the other side from the mill must have at some time been one high barnlike structure, built of heavy oak timber frame filled with wattle and daub.

 

This seems to be the earliest mention of Piccotts End which runs along the road from St Albans Abbey to the monastery at Ashridge. The mill house is still there, converted into flats.

 

The original mill had been rebuilt but the most recent building was destroyed by fire in 1991. The mill house was rebuilt and converted into flats

 

The discovery of medieval wall paintings in 1953 when some wallpaper was removed seem to confirm that it may have been a hospice on the route from St Albans Abbey for pilgrims making a pilgrimage to Ashridge where a sacred relic of the blood of Christ was housed.

 

After the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry Vlll, new rooms were built and the front of the building was altered. In 1825 Sir Astley Paston Cooper put it to use as the first cottage hospital until 1833 when larger premises were built close to Marlowes.

 

There are five panels depicting Christ, St Peter and St Clement, St Catherine, and St Margaret.

 

The paintings were open for the public to view for a while and it was hoped that the cottages might be bought for the town to use as a museum but property prices were rising and the necessary money was not available.

 

In the 16th Century labourers from the local farms, Lovetts End Farm, Wood End Farm and Two Beeches Farm were housed in Piccotts End and later on Piccotts End played a prominent part in the history of the High Street as the place where people lived to escape the stench and noise that generated their wealth. Many people of significance were described as 'of Piccotts End'.

 

There were three pubs in Piccotts End, Chequers, Fox and Duck and Tom Long the Carrier. In 1736 The Boars Head pub was built and is still in use.

 

In the 16th Century labourers from the local farms, Lovetts End Farm, Wood End Farm and Two Beeches Farm were housed here, later on Piccotts End played a prominent part in the history of the High Street as the place where people lived to escape the stench and noise that generated their wealth. Many people of significance were described as 'of Piccotts End'.

 

 

Waterside House was one of the first buildings to be certified for use by the Baptists for worship.

 

1939 A new mains water pumping station was built on the other side of the Leighton Buzzard Road to draw water from an artesian well.

 

1939/1940 the Home Guard had a rifle range at Piccotts End and used the area for manoeuvres.

 

The water colour artist Peter Wagon has painted Piccotts End Mill, Water End and Marchmont House.

 

Marchmont House, first built in 1774 by Lord Marchmont who presented St Mary's Church with the clock. It was rebuilt around 1802 and has had a number of occupiers. When Sir Astley Cooper died the Dowager Lady Cooper left the Gadebridge estate and lived there. The exterior of this house which is now a restaurant, The Marchmont Arms, can still be seen.

Peter Wagon Artist