St Lawrence the Martyr Church, Abbots Langley
|Population||19,574 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||ABBOTS LANGLEY|
|Ambulance||East of England|
Abbots Langley is a large village and civil parish in the English county of Hertfordshire. It is an old settlement and is mentioned (under the name of Langelai) in the Domesday Book. Economically, the village is closely linked to Watford and was formerly part of the Watford Rural District. Since 1974, it has been included in the Three Rivers district.
This village has had a long history of successful human habitation. The first traces of human habitation in the area were recorded by renowned archaeologist Sir John Evans (1823–1908). The village sits on a saucer of clay covered by a layer of gravel, and as a result water supply has never been a problem; records show that in earlier times water could be drawn from a well just 20 feet (6.1 m) deep.
In 1045 the Saxon thegn Ethelwine 'the Black' granted the upper part of Langlai to St Albans Abbey as Langlai Abbatis (Latin for Langlai of the Abbot, hence 'Abbot's Langley') the remainder being the king's Langlai. By the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 the village was inhabited by 19 families.
The area was split into four manors, Abbots Langley, Langleybury, Chambersbury, and Hyde. In 1539, Henry VIII, seized Abbots Langley and sold it to his military engineer Sir Richard Lee. The Manor of Abbots Langley was bequeathed by Francis Combe in his will of 1641 jointly to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and Trinity College, Oxford. The manors of Langleybury and Chambersbury passed through the Ibgrave and Child families, and in 1711 were conveyed to Sir Robert Raymond then Solicitor General later Attorney General and Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench. On the death of his son without issue in 1756 the manors passed to the Filmer family. The Manor of Hyde passed to Edward Strong in 1714, through his daughter to Sir John Strange, who left the manor to be shared between his children and their descendents (including Admiral Sir George Strong Nares) and then to the possession of F.M. Nares & Co which sold the estate to the British Land Company in 1858.
On Tibbs Hill Road there is a well-preserved example of a Prince Albert's Model Cottage. The original design and construction was for the Great Exhibition of 1851, to demonstrate model housing for the poor. Subsequently, the design was replicated in several other locations, including Abbots Langley.
Kitters Green developed as a separate hamlet by Manor House. The land between Kitters Green and Abbots Langley was bought from the estate of Sarah Smith by the British Land Company in 1866. It laid out plots for development along Adrian, Breakspear, Garden and Popes roads. The development of these plots led to the merger of the two settlements and the loss of Kitters Green's separate identity.
To the west of Manor House Park is a legendary sledging hill called Blackhill. This leads to a wooded area called the Dell.
The recent Katherine Place development has brought in some high class retailers to the centre and was sold for £2.93 million in December 2005. These include a pharmacy, a small supermarket, a dog barber, a betting shop and a fish and chip shop. To the south of the village are Leavesden Film Studios, on the former RAF and later Rolls-Royce airfield, where scenes from movies including GoldenEye, Sleepy Hollow and the Harry Potter series have been filmed. Scenes from the Channel4/E4 coming-of-age comedy The Inbetweeners were filmed in housing estates in the town.
Bedmond, a village that is administratively part of Abbots Langley, is the birthplace of Nicholas Breakspear (later Pope Adrian IV), the only Englishman to serve as Pope; he is believed to have been born at Breakspear Farm c. 1100. The site where his home stood is marked by a plaque.[a] The village of Abbots Langley contains several roads named after its famous inhabitant (Adrian, Breakspear, Pope), and at one time included activities[vague] of the Brakspear Brewery.
The church includes a window with the inscription To the Glory of God in memory of George Turnbull C.E. born 1809 died 1889. The civil engineer Turnbull was said by the Indian government to be the First railway engineer of India: in his retirement to Rosehill, a house in Abbots Langley, he was instrumental in establishing a drainage and sewerage scheme for the village, including writing a June 1880 report. The window was donated by his wife Fanny.
Abbots Langley Cricket Club and Langleybury Cricket Club are both based in the village. There are a number of football clubs, including Abbots Langley F.C., Ecocall F.C., Evergreen, Everett Rovers, and Bedmond F.C.
Rosehill was built in the 1820s and demolished c. 1952. The house stood on Gallows Hill where the Gade View flats are today.<...>Between 1875 and 1887, the house was home to George Turnbull whose wife survived him and lived on there until 1899.