The Old Palace at Hatfield House
|Population||41,265 (2021 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||AL9, AL10|
|Ambulance||East of England|
Hatfield is a town and civil parish in Hertfordshire, England, in the borough of Welwyn Hatfield. It had a population of 29,616 in 2001,39,201 at the 2011 Census, and 41,265 at the 2021 Census. The settlement is of Saxon origin. Hatfield House, home of the Marquess of Salisbury, forms the nucleus of the old town. From the 1930s when de Havilland opened a factory until the 1990s when British Aerospace closed it, aircraft design and manufacture employed more people there than any other industry. Hatfield was one of the post-war New Towns built around London and has much modernist architecture from the period. The University of Hertfordshire is based there.
Hatfield lies 20 miles (30 kilometres) north of London beside the A1(M) motorway and has direct trains to London King's Cross railway station, Finsbury Park and Moorgate. There has been a strong increase in commuters who work in London moving into the area.
In 2022, TV property expert Phil Spencer named Hatfield as the second best place to live for regular commuters to London, based on train times, house prices and the attractions the town has.
During the early Saxon period, Hatfield was known as 'Hetfelle'. However, when King Edgar gave 5,000 acres (20 km2) to the monastery of Ely in the year 970, it had become known as 'Haethfeld'. Hatfield is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as the property of the Abbey of Ely, and unusually, the original census data which compilers of Domesday used survives, giving us slightly more information than in the final Domesday record. No other records remain until 1226, when Henry III granted the Bishops of Ely rights to an annual four-day fair and a weekly market. The town was then called Bishop's Hatfield.
Hatfield House is the seat of the Cecil family, the Marquesses of Salisbury. Elizabeth Tudor was confined there for three years in what is now known as The Old Palace in Hatfield Park. Legend has it that she learnt here of her accession as queen in 1558, while sat under an oak tree in the Park. She held her first Council in the Great Hall (The Old Palace) of Hatfield. In 1851, the route of the Great North Road (now the A1000) was altered to avoid cutting through the grounds of Hatfield House.
The town grew up around the gates of Hatfield House. Old Hatfield retains many historic buildings, notably the Old Palace, St Etheldreda's Church and Hatfield House. The Old Palace was built by the Bishop of Ely, Cardinal Morton, in 1497, during the reign of Henry VII, and the only surviving wing is still used today for Elizabethan-style banquets.
St Etheldreda's Church was founded by the monks from Ely, and the first wooden church, built in 1285, was probably sited where the existing building stands overlooking the old town.
The church of St Etheldreda, well situated towards the top of the hill, contains an Early English round arch with the dog-tooth moulding, but for the rest is Decorated and Perpendicular, and largely restored. The chapel north of the chancel is known as the Salisbury chapel, and was erected by Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, who was buried here. It is in a combination of classic and Gothic styles. In a private portion of the churchyard is buried, among others of the family, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury.
In 1930 the de Havilland airfield and aircraft factory was opened at Hatfield and by 1949 it had become the largest employer in the town, with almost 4,000 staff.It was taken over by Hawker Siddeley in 1960 and merged into British Aerospace in 1978. In the 1930s it produced a range of small biplanes. During the Second World War it produced the Mosquito fighter bomber and developed the Vampire, the second British production jet aircraft after the Gloster Meteor. After the war, facilities were expanded and it developed the Comet airliner (the world's first production jet liner), the Trident airliner, and an early bizjet, the DH125.
British Aerospace closed the Hatfield site in 1993 having moved the BAe 146 production line to Woodford Aerodrome. The land was used as a film set for Steven Spielberg's movie Saving Private Ryan and most of the BBC/HBO television drama Band of Brothers . It was later developed for housing, higher education, commerce and retail.
Today, Hatfield's aviation history is remembered by the names of certain local streets and pubs (e. g. Comet Way, The Airfield, Dragon Road) as well as The Comet Hotel (now owned by Ramada) built in the 1930s. The Harrier Pub (formerly The Hilltop) is actually named after the Harrier bird, not the aircraft, hence the original pub sign showing the bird. The de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre, at Salisbury Hall in nearby London Colney, preserves and displays many historic de Havilland aeroplanes and related archives.
The Abercrombie Plan for London in 1944 proposed a New Town in Hatfield. It was designated in the New Towns Act 1946, forming part of the initial Hertfordshire group with nearby Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City and Hemel Hempstead. The Government allocated 2,340 acres (9.5 km2) for Hatfield New Town, with a population target of 25,000. (By 2001 the population had reached 27,833. ) The Hatfield Development Corporation, tasked with creating the New Town, chose to build a new town centre, rejecting Old Hatfield because it was on the wrong side of the railway, without space for expansion and "with its intimate village character, out of scale with the town it would have to serve." They chose instead St Albans Road on the town's east–west bus route. A road pattern was planned that offered no temptation to through traffic to take short cuts through the town and which enabled local traffic to move rapidly.
Hatfield retains New Town characteristics, including much modernist architecture of the 1950s and the trees and open spaces that were outlined in the original design. As of 2017, a redevelopment of the town centre was planned.
Hatfield Town F.C. plays Non-League football at Gosling Sports Park. The Welwyn Garden City Hockey Club are a field hockey club based in Hatfield.
Hatfield Athletic Football Club competes in the Herts Senior County League and plays its games at Lemsford.
The town has a public swimming pool and four sports/leisure centres (two with indoor swimming pools).
Hatfield is part of Welwyn Hatfield borough council in the county of Hertfordshire and is twinned with the Dutch port town of Zierikzee. Hatfield is part of the Welwyn Hatfield constituency, which also includes Welwyn Garden City. The Member of Parliament (MP) for Welwyn Hatfield is Grant Shapps, a Conservative.
Hatfield experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) like most of the United Kingdom.
|Climate data for Hatfield|
|Average high °C (°F)||8|
|Average low °C (°F)||5|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||50.7|
Hatfield has a nine-screen Odeon cinema, a stately home (Hatfield House), a museum (Mill Green Museum), a contemporary art gallery (Art and Design Gallery), a theatre (The Weston Auditorium) and a music venue (The Forum Hertfordshire). There are shopping centres in the new town: the Galleria (indoor shopping centre), The Stable Yard (Hatfield House), and three supermarkets (ASDA, ALDI and Tesco).
Hatfield contains numerous primary and secondary schools, including St Philip Howard Catholic Primary School, Howe Dell Primary School, Countess Anne School, Onslow St Audrey's School, Bishop's Hatfield Girls' School and the independent day and private boarding girls' school Queenswood School (only to name a few).
In addition to the important areas in the town, the University of Hertfordshire is also included by many. A large section of the airfield site was purchased by the University and the £120-million de Havilland Campus, incorporating a £15-million Sports Village, was opened in September 2003. The university has closed its sites at Watford and Hertford; faculties situated there have been moved to the de Havilland Campus.
The equine branch of the Royal Veterinary College is based in Hatfield. "RVC Equine". Royal Veterinary College. Archived from the original on 1 April 2018. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
Hatfield is 20 miles (32 km) to the north of London. It is 14 miles (23 km) from London Luton Airport. The A1(M) runs through a tunnel beneath the town, which is also close to the M25.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it was the northern terminus of the Hatfield and Reading Turnpike that allowed travelers from the north to continue their journey to the west without going through the congestion of London.
The East Coast railway line from London to York runs through the town, separating the old and new parts. A commuter service connects Hatfield railway station to London King's Cross. A new railway station and car park opened in late 2015. The frequent train service runs direct from Hatfield Station to London King's Cross (21 minutes) via Finsbury Park (16 minutes, Victoria Underground Line) on fast trains running two or three times an hour. An additional train service calls at all stations to Moorgate in the City of London.
Hatfield is well served by buses with regular services to all nearby towns and villages and as far as North London. Bus services are run by Uno, Arriva and Centrebus who are all part of the local Intalink Partnership.
There was a fatal rail crash at Hatfield in 2000, which brought track-maintenance deficiencies to public attention.A garden beside the East Coast Main Line was built as a memorial to the crash victims.
This section needs additional citations for verification .(July 2017)
Hertfordshire is one of the home counties in southern England. It borders Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater London to the south, and Buckinghamshire to the west. For government statistical purposes, it forms part of the East of England region.
Hatfield House is a country house set in a large park, the Great Park, on the eastern side of the town of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England. The present Jacobean house, a leading example of the prodigy house, was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I. It is a prime example of Jacobean architecture. The estate includes extensive grounds and surviving parts of an earlier palace. The house is currently the home of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury. It is open to the public.
Marquess of Salisbury is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1789 for the 7th Earl of Salisbury. Most of the holders of the title have been prominent in British political life over the last two centuries, particularly the 3rd Marquess, who served three times as Prime Minister in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Welwyn Garden City is a town in Hertfordshire, England, 20 miles (32 km) north of London. It was the second garden city in England and one of the first new towns. It is unique in being both a garden city and a new town and exemplifies the physical, social and cultural planning ideals of the periods in which it was built.
Welwyn is a village and civil parish in Hertfordshire, England. The parish also includes the villages of Digswell and Oaklands. It is sometimes referred to as Old Welwyn or Welwyn Village, to distinguish it from the much newer and larger settlement of Welwyn Garden City, about a mile to the south.
The City and District of St Albans is a local authority district in Hertfordshire in the East of England region. The main urban settlements are St Albans and Harpenden. The council offices are in St Albans.
London Colney is a village and civil parish in Hertfordshire, England. It is located to the north of London, close to Junction 22 of the M25 motorway.
Robert Michael James Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury, Baron Gascoyne-Cecil,, is a British Conservative politician. From 1979 to 1987 he represented South Dorset in the House of Commons, and in the 1990s he was Leader of the House of Lords under his courtesy title of Viscount Cranborne. Lord Salisbury lives in one of England's largest historic houses, the 17th-century Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, and currently serves as Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire.
St Albans is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2019 by Daisy Cooper, a Liberal Democrat.
The de Havilland Aircraft Museum, formerly the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre, is a volunteer-run aviation museum in London Colney, Hertfordshire, England. The collection is built around the definitive prototype and restoration shops for the de Havilland Mosquito and also includes several examples of the de Havilland Vampire – the third operational jet aircraft in the world. The museum is the largest such museum devoted to one manufacturer in the country.
The Hertfordshire Senior County League is a football competition based in Hertfordshire, England. Founded in 1898, there are currently two divisions at senior level and two divisions at reserve and development level. Sitting at step 7 of the National League System, the Premier Division is a feeder to the Spartan South Midlands Football League. The League operates a knock-out competition called the 'Aubrey Cup' and New Salamis are the current holders.
Hatfield Town Football Club is a football club based in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. They are currently members of the Herts County League Premier Division and play at Birchwood Leisure Centre.
Georgina Charlotte Gascoyne-Cecil, Marchioness of Salisbury, was the wife of British Prime Minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury. The eldest daughter of a judge, her lack of wealth and social connections earned the disapproval of the 2nd Marquess of Salisbury; despite this, Alderson married his son Robert in 1857.
Old Hatfield, sometimes called Bishops Hatfield, is a historic village in Hertfordshire, England. It is in the town of Hatfield.
The de Havilland Aeronautical Technical School was founded in 1928, initially to provide owners of de Havilland Moth aircraft with technical maintenance skills.
St Etheldreda's is the Anglican parish church of Old Hatfield, Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. Parts of the building are 13th century and there is evidence there was a church here before this in Saxon times. It is situated in the old village of Hatfield just east of the modern town of Hatfield and close to the walls of Hatfield House, once a royal palace. It once also served Hatfield House as a place of worship as well as the village and so is exceptionally grand for a parish church. The dedication to St Etheldreda derives from the Bishops of Ely for whom she is a patron saint and who once occupied the House when it was a bishops' palace.
The Hatfield War Memorial is a war memorial beside the Great North Road in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. It was one of 24 war memorials in England designed by Sir Herbert Baker, that were designated as a national collection by Historic England in 2017. The memorial is located near the gates of Hatfield House, and close to Hatfield railway station. It was unveiled in 1921, to commemorate 139 men from Hatfield killed on service during the First World War. A brick pavilion records the names of the dead, with further names added after the Second World War.