St Agnells, St Agnes
Domesday Book 1086?
1200 in an early medieval map.
12th & 13th C: It is suggested that Saxon colonists first created clearings for settlement in the thick forests. One such settlement would have been St Agnells.
One source says that that Aignells was a moated manor house owned by the Aignells family. The first mention of the manor is 1465. It had 80 acres of arable land in one piece and 52 acres in fields.
At Aignels with the remains of its moat still traceable probably represents that of the manor of Aignels. The family of this name crop up frequently in the early history of Hemel Hempstead and by 1362 a certain John Aignel is said to have a messuage and garden 80 acres of arable land in one piece – perhaps an early assart, 52 acres in the open fields and was owed three Autumn boons, a tenure which was not free but had the advantage of money payment in many cases.
1n 1515 (Aygnellys) it was owned by Spendelowe.
In 1517 it could boast a list of free tenants and copyholders and courts were held in the present farmhouse up to the 19th C
It remained a manor right through the 19th century.
'Squire' Shadrach Godwin lived in Grovehill house and owned and farmed much of the land around St Agnells by 1862.
Jeremiah Stanbridge was Shadrach Godwin's bailiff, (legal officer) and bought St Agnells Farm when it came up for sale and four generations of the Stanbridge family have owned and farmed at St Agnells.
Click here to read of the four generations of farming by the Stanbridge family.
This was until the compulsary purchase of the land by the New Towns Commission for the expansion of the New Town.
All the buildings on the site were targeted for demolision but were saved by the intervention of local people.
St Agnells Farm House on St Agnells Lane and Cupid Green Lane is now privately owned.
Betty Dunbar was born at St Agnell's Farm and her family lived there until the arrival of the New Town and the farm was compulsarily purchased.
Click here to read her memories