Boxmoor

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Boxmoor
St. John's Road, Boxmoor.jpg
St.John's Road, Boxmoor
Hertfordshire UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Boxmoor
Location within Hertfordshire
OS grid reference TL046064
Shire county
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Hemel Hempstead
Postcode district HP1, HP3
Dialling code 01442
Police Hertfordshire
Fire Hertfordshire
Ambulance East of England
UK Parliament
List of places
UK
England
Hertfordshire
51°44′47″N0°29′10″W / 51.746282°N 0.486152°W / 51.746282; -0.486152 Coordinates: 51°44′47″N0°29′10″W / 51.746282°N 0.486152°W / 51.746282; -0.486152

Boxmoor is part of Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. It is within the district of Dacorum and comprises mainly 19th-century housing and meadowland, with transport links from London to the Midlands. At the 2011 Census, the population of Boxmoor was included in the Dacorum ward of Bovingdon, Flaunden and Chipperfield.

Contents

History

Blackbird Moor, Boxmoor managed by the Box Moor Trust Blackbirds Moor, Boxmoor.jpg
Blackbird Moor, Boxmoor managed by the Box Moor Trust

The name Boxmoor derives from the box tree, a bushy inhabitant of the chalky hills that surround the location. This is linked together with the word 'mor', which signifies a marshy spot; Boxmoor's ancient watermeadows are still a major feature of the locality. [1]

A mesolithic camp site was discovered in 1975 on the site of what is now Boxmoor trout fishery, close to Fisheries wharf. Finds include 'pot boiler' stones, bones of the wild ox, Bos Primigenius and a hand-crafted grinding quern made of the hard local rock known as Hertfordshire puddingstone. All were dated to around 1500 BCE. [2] An even older stone axe head dated to 6000 BCE was also discovered.

The remains of a Roman villa have been found in the grounds of Boxmoor House School, near the railway station, dating from around the 1st or early 2nd century AD. [3] [4]

The Box Moor Trust owns meadow land in the area alongside the River Bulbourne. This was land purchased by tenants in secret during the 16th century to prevent it being enclosed, which would have deprived them of grazing. It is still held by the same trust established at that time. Today, it is used for summer grazing and has open access for recreational use.

The ancient Box Lane runs uphill from Boxmoor to Bovingdon. On this lane, close to the Boxmoor end, stood the historic early 17th century Box Lane Chapel. See the section below on places of worship.

The Sparrows Herne turnpike, set up in 1762, was the stagecoach route from London to Aylesbury and passed along the valley bottom through Boxmoor following the present day London Road (A4251). The Grand Junction Canal, latterly known as the Grand Union, and the trunk canal from London to the Midlands followed along the same route in 1804. A local public house, the Fishery Inn, was an historic refreshment stop on the canal.

Boxmoor village itself was developed after 1837 when the London and Birmingham Railway was forced, by local landed interests, to build its main line and station about a mile to the west of Hemel Hempstead town. The railway station, originally called Boxmoor, offered fast commuting to London combined with a small country town life, attractive to wealthier commuters and this stimulated the development of Victorian era housing near the railway station but outside the original bounds of Hemel Hempstead. In 1846, it became part of the London and North Western Railway (L&NWR).

In 1877 a branch line – known as the "Nicky Line" – was opened by the Midland Railway running from the London and North Western Railway's Boxmoor railway station, through Hemel Hempstead to Harpenden. However, disputes between the railway companies prevented this from ever being used for a passenger connecting service and the railway station's link to Hemel town was always via horse, bus or on foot across the Boxmoor meadows. Hemel Hempstead railway station was from 1912 known as "Boxmoor and Hemel Hempstead".

The area was absorbed into the expanded Hemel Hempstead new town during the 1950s and 1960s but retains a local character. The railway station was then renamed from Boxmoor to Hemel Hempstead.

A four-lane dual carriageway, the A41 trunk road, was built through the district in the 1990s, connecting the M25 to Aylesbury. This crosses Boxmoor meadows in a strip of land in which all the earlier links run side by side: turnpike, canal, railway and modern trunk road.

Boxmoor Hall was built by the local trust in 1889 from surplus funds. It has been used as a magistrates' court, and more recently as an arts centre run by Dacorum Borough Council. In 2007 the hall became privately owned. It is now used for performing arts, and is a licensed premises hosting special occasions. [5]

Economy

The area has little industry and limited commerce but its mostly Victorian family houses are in demand for those who work elsewhere in Hemel Hempstead and especially commuters who use the railway station to reach London in around 30 minutes.

Religious sites

Boxmoor Cricket Club and St. John's Church Boxmoor cricket club.jpg
Boxmoor Cricket Club and St. John's Church

Box Lane Chapel, a Non-conformist chapel founded in 1668 on land owned by the Westbrook Hay estate, was re-built in 1690 and then altered in 1856 and again in 1876. Tradition has it that Oliver Cromwell once worshiped here at an earlier building on the site. It is now a private house after being sold in 1969.

There was a Primitive Methodist chapel at Crouchfield built in 1849, which was in the St Albans Circuit. This stood until the congregation moved to Bourne Chapel in Chaulden in 1959, which is now called Hemel Hempstead Methodist Church.

St John's Church was built, in 1874, on part of the Box Moor Trust land.

Sports And Entertainment


Boxmoor Cricket Club

Boxmoor Cricket Club was founded in 1857 when the Box Moor Trust let some of their land be used as a cricket pitch that is known as the Boxmoor oval which had a pavilion added in the 1930s. [6]

Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company

Originally known as The Hemel Hempstead Operatic and Dramatic Society, the Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company has operated since 1925. Over the years the company performed in a number of locations, including the Luxor Cinemas in the Marlowes and St. John’s Hall at 72 St. John's Road, which had been built in 1930 as extension of the nearby St. John’s Church. The first-ever theatrical performance at St. John’s Hall was given by the Theatre Company in April 1932. Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company purchased the St. John's Hall building in 1997 and renamed it the Boxmoor Playhouse. Holding up to 200 seats, The Boxmoor Playhouse is said to be the largest theatre in Hemel Hempstead. Each year the Company produces a variety of productions from plays to musicals to pantomimes. Due to the flexibility of the space, the Company also holds social events such as quiz nights, creative workshops and cabaret evenings. [7] [8] [9] [10]

Notable residents and people

Robert Snooks became, in 1802, the last highwayman to be hanged and buried at the scene of his crime, after he robbed a postboy on the turnpike on Boxmoor meadows. His remains are interred in Boxmoor meadows near the place where he was hanged and the likely spot is marked by two stones, erected by the Box Moor Trust in 1904.

Rock musician and producer Steven Wilson spent his childhood in Boxmoor, and for many years maintained his No Man's Land studio in his former bedroom in his parents’ bungalow.

British/Canadian actor Michael Bradshaw grew up in Boxmoor from 1938 until the mid-1950s.

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Berkhamsted Town in Hertfordshire, England

Berkhamsted is an historic market town in Hertfordshire, England, in the Bulbourne valley, 26 miles (42 km) northwest of London. The town is a civil parish with a town council within the borough of Dacorum based in the neighbouring large new town of Hemel Hempstead. Berkhamsted and the adjoining village of Northchurch are surrounded by countryside, much of it in the Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Hemel Hempstead Town in Hertfordshire, England

Hemel Hempstead is a large town which was originally developed as a new town. It is in Hertfordshire, England. Located 24 miles (39 km) northwest of London, it is part of the Greater London Urban Area. The population according to the 2001 Census was 81,143, and at the 2011 census was 97,500. Developed after the Second World War as a new town, it has existed as a settlement since the 8th century and was granted its town charter by King Henry VIII in 1539. It is part of the district of Dacorum and the Hemel Hempstead constituency. Nearby towns are Watford, St Albans, Hatfield and Berkhamsted.

Dacorum Local government district in England

The Borough of Dacorum is a local government district in Hertfordshire, England that includes the towns of Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring and the western part of Kings Langley. The district, which was formed in 1974, had a population of 137,799 in 2001. Its name was taken from the old hundred of Dacorum which covered approximately the same area. It is the westernmost of Hertfordshire's districts, being bordered to the west by the Chiltern and Aylesbury Vale districts of Buckinghamshire.

Bourne End, Hertfordshire Human settlement in England

Bourne End is a village in Hertfordshire, England. It is situated on the ancient Roman Akeman Street between Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead, on the former A41 London-Liverpool Trunk Route, on the Grand Union Canal that runs between London and Birmingham and at the confluence of the Chiltern chalk stream, the Bourne Gutter and the River Bulbourne. It is in the Dacorum Ward of Bovingdon, Flaunden and Chipperfield.

Nickey line

The Nickey line is a disused railway that once linked the towns of Hemel Hempstead and, initially, Luton but later Harpenden via Redbourn, in Hertfordshire, England. The course of most of the railway has been redeveloped as a cycle and walking path, and is part of the Oxford to Welwyn Garden City route of the National Cycle Network. It is approximately nine miles (14 km) long.

Hemel Hempstead (UK Parliament constituency)

Hemel Hempstead is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first-past-the-post system of election.

South West Hertfordshire (UK Parliament constituency)

South West Hertfordshire is a constituency in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament, represented since 2019 by Gagan Mohindra, a Conservative.

Hemel Hempstead railway station

Hemel Hempstead railway station is on the West Coast Main Line, on the western edge of the town of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England. The station is 24 12 miles (39.4 km) north-west of London Euston on the West Coast Main Line. Hemel Hempstead is managed by London Northwestern Railway and all train services are operated by London Northwestern Railway and Southern.

Robert Snooks

Robert Snooks was the last man to be executed in England for highway robbery, on 11 March 1802. Born in Hungerford in Berkshire, he was christened as James Snook on 16 August 1761. The fact that his name is commonly quoted as Robert Snooks is perhaps due to a corruption of his identity as the "Robber" Snook.

River Bulbourne

The River Bulbourne is a small river in Dacorum, Hertfordshire, England. The word bourne derives from the Anglo-Saxon word for a stream. It is an unnavigable tributary of the River Gade, which flows into the River Colne, which in turn is a tributary of the River Thames. The Bulbourne is an example of a chalk stream, which is a watercourse that flows from chalk-fed groundwater. Chalk streams are a very rare habitat globally, with more than 85% of all the 210 chalk streams in the world found in England.

Heath Park Halt railway station Former railway station in Hertfordshire, England

Heath Park Halt was a railway station in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire in England, UK. It was the terminus for passenger services on the Nicky Line, a 9-mile (14 km) branch line which ran from Harpenden into Hemel Hempstead town centre. Passenger services were withdrawn in 1947, and the station closed with the line in 1960.

Box Moor Trust

The Box Moor Trust is a charitable trust responsible for the management of nearly 500 acres of land within the parishes of Hemel Hempstead and Bovingdon, in Hertfordshire, England. The Trust was officially founded in 1594 in order to ensure that the land in the Boxmoor area remained free for residents to use and enjoy. As a result, almost all of the land that comprises the Box Moor Trust estate is open access, with just over a quarter being common land.

Felden Human settlement in England

Felden is a semi-rural neighbourhood of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, situated to the south west of the town, close to the railway station. At the 2011 Census the population of the neighbourhood was included in the Dacorum Ward of Bovingdon, Flaunden and Chipperfield.

Primary schools in Dacorum

This article gives brief information on schools that cater for pupils up to the age of 11 in the Dacorum district of Hertfordshire, England. Most are county maintained primary schools, sometimes known as "junior mixed infant" (JMI). A small number are voluntary aided church schools or independent (fee-paying). The Local Education Authority is Hertfordshire County Council.

Hemel Hempsted railway station

Hemel Hempsted station was a railway station in the town of Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, England. UK. It was opened in 1877 by the Midland Railway and was originally the terminus of the Nickey Line, a now-defunct branch line which provided railway services to Chiltern Green and Luton and later to Harpenden.

Roughdown Common

Roughdown Common is a 3.6 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. The planning authority is Dacorum Borough Council. The site is Common land, and it is owned by the Box Moor Trust having been officially brought by the trust in April 1886 from the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's. It is part of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Common is a steeply sloping chalk hill in south Hemel Hempstead.

St Johns Church, Boxmoor Church in Hertfordshire, England

The Church of St John the Evangelist is a Grade II listed church in Boxmoor, Hertfordshire, England. The church was consecrated in 1874 on land purchased from the Box Moor Trust.

Dacorum Heritage Trust

Dacorum Heritage Trust (DHT) is a local history advocacy group in the United Kingdom. It collects and records the history of the Borough of Dacorum, Hertfordshire, in the south of England, and aims to encourage the appreciation of the heritage of Dacorum.

Boxmoor Roman Villa

Boxmoor Roman Villa is a ruined Roman Villa at Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. The remains have been excavated, but they are now buried. The Roman villa was occupied from the first century AD up to the Fourth century.

References

  1. Hertfordshire Federation of Women's Institutes; Ann Roxburgh (Forward) (1986). The Hertfordshire Village Book. Countryside Books. Section on Redbourn ISBN   0-905392-71-X.
  2. Hands & Davis (1989), page 14
  3. "MONUMENT NO. 359304". English Heritage: Pastscape. Archived from the original on 24 December 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
  4. Baker, John T. (2007). Cultural Transition in the Chilterns and Essex Region, 350 AD to 650 AD: Volume 4. Hertfordshire: University of Hertfordshire Press. p. 57. ISBN   978-1-902806-53-2.
  5. Bowmoor Hall
  6. "Boxmoor Cricket Club- 150 not out: Boxmoor Cricket Club 150th Anniversary in 2007". hemeltoday from The Hemel Gazette. 2006. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  7. "About Us". Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company. HHTheatreCo. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  8. John, Emma (15 December 2012). ""Luvvies with wobbly sets? Oh no they're not! Raising the curtain on the new am-dram"". The Observer. London. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  9. Hands, Joan & Roger (2004). "Royalty to Commoners: 400 Years of the Box Moor Trust". Hemel Hempstead, England, UK: Boxmoor Trust. p. 174. ISBN   0 95045 322 6.
  10. Hands, Roger & Joan; Davis, Eve (1989). "The Book of Boxmoor". Buckingham, England, UK: Barracuda Books Limited. p. 104. ISBN   0 86023 419 3.