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Rickmansworth, view from St Mary's Church Tower.jpg
View from St Mary's Church tower
Hertfordshire UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Hertfordshire
Population25,413 (2020 approx) [1]
OS grid reference TQ061944
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district WD3
Dialling code 01923
Police Hertfordshire
Fire Hertfordshire
Ambulance East of England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°38′18″N0°27′57″W / 51.6383°N 0.4659°W / 51.6383; -0.4659 Coordinates: 51°38′18″N0°27′57″W / 51.6383°N 0.4659°W / 51.6383; -0.4659

Rickmansworth ( /ˈrɪkmənzwərθ/ ) is a town in southwest Hertfordshire, England, about 17 miles (27 km) northwest of central London and inside the perimeter of the M25 motorway. The town is mainly to the north of the Grand Union Canal (formerly the Grand Junction Canal) and the River Colne. The town of Watford is 5 miles (8 km) to the northeast. Rickmansworth is the administrative seat of the Three Rivers District Council. The confluence of the River Chess and the River Gade with the Colne in Rickmansworth inspired the district's name. The enlarged Colne flows south to form a major tributary of the River Thames. The town is served by the Metropolitan line of the London Underground and Chiltern Railways from London Marylebone to Aylesbury railway station.



The name Rickmansworth comes from the Saxon name Ryckmer, the local landowner, and worth meaning a farm or stockade. In the Domesday Book of 1086 it was recorded as the Manor of Prichemaresworde. Other spellings include Rykemarwurthe (1119–46), Richemaresworthe (1180), Rykemerewrthe (1248), Richemereworthe (1259), Rikesmareswrth (1287), Rikmansworth (1382), Rikmeresworth (1396) [2] and Rykemerysworth (1418). [3]


There was a settlement in this part of the Colne Valley in the Stone Age. Rickmansworth was one of five manors with which the great Abbey of St Albans had been endowed when founded in 793 by King Offa of Mercia. Local tithes supported the abbey, which provided clergy to serve the people until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539. Around the time of the Domesday Book, the population of "Prichemareworth" may have been about 200.

Cardinal Wolsey, in his capacity as Abbot of St Albans, held the Manor of le More in the valley. The manor house was replaced by the hill-top mansion Moor Park, which eventually became the residence of Admiral Lord Anson, who commissioned Capability Brown to remake the formal gardens, and in 1828 of the Barons Ebury; it is now the Golf Club House. The wider area, including Croxley Green, Moor Park, Batchworth, Mill End, West Hyde and Chorleywood, formed the original parish of Rickmansworth.

In 1851, the population had grown to 4,800, and the parish was divided. St Mary's Church serves the parish concentrated in the town and extending to Batchworth and parts of Moor Park. The town had a population of 14,571 recorded at the 2001 census.

The three rivers, the Colne, Chess and Gade, provided water for the watercress trade and power for corn milling, silk weaving, paper making and brewing, all long gone. Other industries have included leather-tanning, soft drinks, laundry, straw-plaiting and stocking production. Now, the rivers, canal and flooded gravel pits provide for recreation.

West Mill, a water mill, existed at the time of the Domesday Survey. It was leased to the abbot and convent of St Albans by Ralph Bukberd for a term of years ending in 1539. In 1533, they leased it from the end of this term for twenty-six years to Richard Wilson of Watford. He was to keep in repair the mill and also two millstones, 10 inches (25 centimetres) thick, and 4 ft 8 in (142 cm) in breadth. [4] The mill was leased in 1544 to William Hutchinson, yeoman of the spicery, and Janet his wife for their lives. [4] It afterwards came to John Wilson, and was granted in 1576–77 to Richard Master. [4] There was also a water-mill called Batchworth Mill, and a fishery called Blacketts Mill in Rickmansworth. [4] Batchworth Mill was later used as a cotton mill, but was bought in 1820 by John Dickinson & Co., and converted into paper mills, now the site of Affinity Water. [4] Scotsbridge Mill was also productive but is now a restaurant with the unusual feature of a salmon run. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries many of the principal inhabitants were described as "clothiers", from which it may be inferred that the manufacture of cloth was at one time carried on in the parish, but this industry has long since ceased. There were also silk and flock mills here, described in 1808 as recently built.

A long-running dispute over water levels in the Batchford area, following construction of the Grand Junction Canal, was resolved in 1825, when an 8-foot-3-inch (2.51 m) obelisk was erected in a pond, to act as a water gauge. It records the agreement made between the canal company, John Dickinson the miller at Batchworth Mill, and R. Williams of Moor Park the landowner. [5]

In July 1860, Lord Ebury obtained powers to construct a 4+12-mile (7.2 km) single-track railway line, the Watford and Rickmansworth Railway (WRR) between Rickmansworth and Watford. Opening in October 1862, Rickmansworth (Church Street) railway station was opposite the parish church of St Mary, with interchange sidings to the Grand Union Canal. [6] The line had stations at Watford Junction and Watford High Street and a depot in Watford. A further Parliamentary authorisation was obtained a year later to construct an extension from Rickmansworth to connect with the Great Western Railway's Uxbridge branch, but this was never realised. [7]

Despite hopes that the railway would bring economic development and serve the factories and warehouses that had developed along the Grand Union Canal, it was Watford that grew at a faster pace and drew business from Rickmansworth. The railway was dogged with financial problems and a further Act of Parliament in 1863 authorised the issue of further shares to the value of £30,000 (£40,000 worth had already been issued). [8] The service consisted of five trains each way. The line was worked from the outset by the London and North Western Railway (LNWR), which paid the WRR 50% of the gross earnings. [9]

The railway was never financially successful and the Official Receiver was called in four years after opening. [10] The company attempted to remedy its financial problems by opening several freight branches, the most notable being to the Croxley printers and to the Grand Union Canal at Croxley Green. The company was absorbed by the burgeoning LNWR whose station it shared at Watford Junction in 1881.

Rickmansworth grew dramatically during the Victorian era and in the 1920s and 1930s as part of Metro-land, due to the extension of Metropolitan Railway, and became a commuter town.



Diesel trains from Marylebone station, London, via Harrow-on-the Hill, to Aylesbury on the London to Aylesbury Line, and fast, electric Metropolitan trains from the City of London, via Baker Street, to Amersham stop at Rickmansworth station.


Junctions 17 and 18 of the M25 motorway are within Rickmansworth's boundaries, giving access to Heathrow Airport and the national motorway network.


Politics and economy

Rickmansworth is a part of the UK Parliament constituency of South West Hertfordshire. Gagan Mohindra has been the Member of Parliament since the December 2019 United Kingdom general election. [11]

The agricultural co-operative, Quality Milk Producers has its headquarters in Scotsbridge House, as do the English Guernsey Cattle Society, the Jersey Cattle Society, the UK Holstein Society, the British Friesian Breeders Club, the Milk Development Council and the Centre for Dairy Information. [12]

Police station

In 1897, a police station opened in the High Street adjoining the fire station. [13] [14] The site of the later police station on Rectory Road was purchased by Lidl in 2013 and the building was demolished. The residents association (RDRA) have opposed the proposal for a store. [15] [16] Rickmansworth police station is now located within Three Rivers House.


Valley Road in Rickmansworth has a frost hollow. This is caused by the local geography, notably the railway embankment which prevents the natural drainage of cold air from a specific part of the valley. The greatest daily temperature range in England was recorded on 29 August 1936 in Rickmansworth when the temperature climbed from 1.1 °C at dawn to 24.9 °C within 9 hours due to this unusual geographic feature. [17]

Administrative history


Rickmansworth was an ancient parish. Following the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 the parish was included in the Watford Poor Law Union, established in 1835. [18] When sanitary districts were created in 1872, the parish of Rickmansworth therefore became part of the Watford Rural Sanitary District, which in turn became Watford Rural District in December 1894. [19]

Rickmansworth Urban District (18981974)

Urban District
Basing House, 46 High Street, Rickmansworth.jpg
Basing House, 46 High Street, Rickmansworth
Rickmansworth Urban District Council coat of arms.jpg
Coat of arms
  197128,820 [20]
  Created15 April 1898
  Abolished31 March 1974
  Succeeded by Three Rivers
   HQ Rickmansworth
Contained within
  County Council Hertfordshire

Shortly after Watford Rural District had been created, the process of creating an urban district for the town of Rickmansworth began. An inquiry was held in February 1896 at the Town Hall in Rickmansworth, considering whether to turn the parish into urban district. [21] The initial conclusion was that the whole parish was not appropriate for becoming an urban district, but that an urban district could perhaps be created for just part of it. [22] It was eventually decided to split the parish of Rickmansworth into three parts. The hamlet of Chorleywood was made into a separate parish, whilst the remainder of Rickmansworth parish was split between a Rickmansworth Urban parish (covering the built-up area including Mill End, Rickmansworth and Croxley Green), and a Rickmansworth Rural parish. The Rickmansworth Rural parish was not one contiguous area, but a number of detached pieces of land around the edges of the original parish. The Chorleywood and Rickmansworth Rural parishes remained in the Watford Rural District, whilst the parish of Rickmansworth Urban became Rickmansworth Urban District. These changes all came into force on 15 April 1898. [23] [24] The first meeting of Rickmansworth Urban District Council was held on 16 April 1898 at the Town Hall at 105 High Street in Rickmansworth. William Culley was elected the first chairman of the council. [25]

In 1930, Rickmansworth Urban District Council bought Basing House at 46 High Street in Rickmansworth, which had once been the home of William Penn. The council converted Basing House to become its offices and meeting place, holding its first meeting there in November 1930. [26] [27]

The Rickmansworth Rural parish was abolished in 1935, with most of its area being added to Rickmansworth Urban District and the remainder to the neighbouring parish of Sarratt with effect from 1 April 1935. [28]

Rickmansworth Urban District Council was granted a coat of arms on 30 October 1953. [29]

Under the Local Government Act 1972, Rickmansworth Urban District was abolished, becoming part of the district of Three Rivers on 1 April 1974.

After 1974

No successor parish was created for Rickmansworth in 1974 and so it became an unparished area, governed directly by Three Rivers District Council.

Two parish councils were subsequently created from parts of the former Rickmansworth Urban District. The civil parish of Croxley Green was created on 1 April 1986, covering the eastern part of the former Rickmansworth Urban District and an adjoining area transferred from the parish of Sarratt. [30]

The civil parish of Batchworth was created on 1 April 2017 covering the two Three Rivers district wards of Rickmansworth Town, and Moor Park and Eastbury. The Batchworth parish therefore covers much of Rickmansworth, including the town centre. The Batchworth and Croxley Green parishes do not cover the whole of the former Rickmansworth Urban District, with two areas remaining unparished: one around Maple Cross and Mill End, and another near Loudwater. [31] [32]


Junior schools

Secondary schools

Independent schools

Culture and sport

Watersmeet is a 515-seat theatre complex owned by the Three Rivers District Council in the town centre. Its auditorium can be transformed from a raked theatre to a flat floor for performances in the round, dancing, cabaret, weddings, indoor markets and craft fairs. The Rickmansworth Players (affiliated to NODA) is a well-established amateur dramatics society that performs musicals and plays on a regular basis. Rickmansworth Historical Society meets monthly from September to June in the Cloisters Hall.

Rickmansworth is sometimes shortened to "Ricky", as used in the annual Ricky Week celebrations which occur in May. The town's canal history is remembered at the end of the week with the Rickmansworth Festival organised by Rickmansworth Waterways Trust. The annual Ricky Road Run takes place with more than 500 runners. The annual Victorian Evening, held in the town centre at the end of November, was changed to Starlight Evening in 2011. Inspired by the reference to Rickmansworth on the first page of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: "And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl sitting on her own in a small café in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything."


Bury Lake Batchwood Lake at the Aquadrome Rickmansworth - geograph.org.uk - 27933.jpg
Bury Lake

The Aquadrome covers 41 hectares (100 acres) and includes the Aquadrome Local Nature Reserve, Batchworth and Bury Lakes, open grassland, areas of woodland, car parking, a café and a children's play area. Its boundaries are the River Colne to the north, the Grand Union Canal to the east and south and Stocker's Lake nature reserve to the west. In July 2009, it received a Green Flag Award for parks and open spaces which meet high standards.

The lakes are old gravel quarries filled with water and stocked with fish but only Batchworth Lake is available for fishing. Some gravel from the site was used to build Wembley Stadium in 1923. Batchworth Lake is popular for water skiing events and hosts the Rickmansworth Water Ski Club.

Bury Lake is home to Bury Lake Young Mariners (BLYM); a sailing club and RYA-recognised teaching establishment.

Sports clubs

Rickmansworth Cricket and Sports Club Rickmansworth Cricket Club pavilion.jpg
Rickmansworth Cricket and Sports Club

Rickmansworth Cricket Club was founded in 1787 and is one of the oldest recorded clubs in England. Its clubhouse was built in 1921 by Sir William Francis Reckitt – a member of the Reckitt and Colman Mustard dynasty. Rickmansworth Sports Club runs five teams in the Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League. Over the years, other sports clubs have moved into the grounds, including Chess Valley Rugby Football Club and Rickmansworth & Chess Valley Hockey Clubs. Rickmansworth Golf Course is adjacent to Moor Park golf course. Rickmansworth Lawn Tennis Club also hosts Rickmansworth table tennis club matches. Rickmansworth Water Ski Club is located on Batchworth Lake. Rickmansworth hosts a sub-aqua Club. The William Penn Leisure Centre has an indoor swimming pool and sports facilities.


Notable people

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hertfordshire</span> County of England

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Watford</span> Town and borough in Hertfordshire, England

Watford is a town and borough in Hertfordshire, England, 15 mi (24 km) northwest of Central London, on the River Colne.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Three Rivers District</span> Non-metropolitan district in England

Three Rivers is a local government district in southwest Hertfordshire, England. Its council is based in Rickmansworth.

Croxley Green is both a village and a suburb of Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, England. It is also a civil parish. Located on the A412 between Watford to the northeast and Rickmansworth to the southwest, it is approximately 20 miles (32 km) northwest of central London.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">River Colne, Hertfordshire</span> River in south England

The Colne is a river and a tributary of the River Thames in England. Just over half its course is in south Hertfordshire. Downstream, it forms the boundary between Buckinghamshire and the London Borough of Hillingdon. The confluence with the River Thames is on the Staines reach at Staines-upon-Thames.

Chorleywood is both a village and a civil parish in the Three Rivers District, Hertfordshire, on the border with Buckinghamshire, approximately 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Charing Cross. The village is adjacent to the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is part of the London commuter belt included in the government-defined Greater London Urban Area. Chorleywood was historically part of the parish of Rickmansworth, becoming a separate ecclesiastical parish in 1845 and a separate civil parish in 1898. The population of the parish was 11,286 at the 2011 census.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Croxley tube station</span> London Underground station

Croxley is a London Underground station located on Watford Road (A412) in Croxley Green, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, on the Watford branch of the Metropolitan line. It is the only intermediate station on the branch between Moor Park, on the main line from Baker Street to Amersham, and the terminus at Watford.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">River Gade</span> River in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, England

The River Gade is a river running almost entirely through Hertfordshire. It rises from a spring in the chalk of the Chiltern Hills at Dagnall, Buckinghamshire and flows through Hemel Hempstead, Kings Langley, then along the west side of Watford through Cassiobury Park. After passing Croxley Green it reaches Rickmansworth, where it joins the River Colne. For its whole course the Gade is unnavigable.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ebury Way</span> Walking trail in Hertfordshire

The Ebury Way is a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) rail trail in Hertfordshire between Watford and Rickmansworth. The route crosses the Grand Union Canal and three rivers; the River Colne, the River Chess and the River Gade.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Watford and Rickmansworth Railway</span>

The Watford and Rickmansworth Railway (W&RR) ran services between Watford and Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, England. The company was incorporated in 1860; the line opened in 1862. The Rickmansworth branch was closed in 1952, and the remaining line was gradually run down and eventually closed in 1996.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rickmansworth (Church Street) railway station</span> Former railway station in Hertfordshire, England

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