This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this article. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Wheathampstead" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (February 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Wheathampstead village centre
Wheathampstead is located in Hertfordshire
Location within Hertfordshire
Area10.03 sq mi (26.0 km2)
Population6,622 (2021)[1]
• Density660/sq mi (250/km2)
OS grid referenceTL1714
Civil parish
  • Wheathampstead
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townSt Albans
Postcode districtAL4
Dialling code01582
AmbulanceEast of England
UK Parliament
WebsiteWheathampstead Parish Council
List of places
51°48′43″N 0°17′35″W / 51.812°N 0.293°W / 51.812; -0.293

Wheathampstead is a village and civil parish in Hertfordshire, England, north of St Albans. The population of the ward at the 2021 census was 6,622. Included within the parish is the small hamlet of Amwell.


Settlements in this area were made about 50 BC by Belgic invaders. They moved up the rivers Thames and Lea from what is now Belgium. Evidence for them was found in Devil's Dyke, at the eastern side of Wheathampstead. The Devil's Dyke earthworks are part of the remains of an ancient settlement of the Catuvellauni and thought to have been the tribe's original capital. The capital was moved to Verlamion (which after the Roman conquest the Romans would rename Verulamium, which in turn would become modern St Albans) in about 20 BC. Although silver Republican coins dating back to 100 BC are common finds around the verulam settlement. The Devil's Dyke is reputedly where Julius Caesar defeated Cassivellaunus in 54 BC, although this claim is disputed. Some historians suggest that the dyke was part of the same defensive rampart as nearby Beech Bottom Dyke, which, if correct, would make the area one of the largest and most important British Iron Age settlements.

Later, the village is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 under the name Watamestede. It appears that a church existed at Wheathampstead before the Norman Conquest, as Wheathampstead was given by Edward the Confessor to Westminster Abbey, but it is very difficult to determine whether any portion of the present St Helen's Church is of Saxon work. The original structure was demolished in the reign of Henry III, the oldest portion of the present church, in the chancel, is assigned to the year 1280.[2]

Some historians have claimed (Trokelowe, Annales (Rolls Ser.), 78.) that in 1312 the barons who leagued against Edward II and his favourite Piers Gaveston, gathered their troops at Wheathampstead, and whilst there refused to receive emissaries from the Pope, although there seems to be no other documentary evidence of this.

Up until 1859, Wheathampstead and Harpenden were part of a single rectory. Prior to that date, several of the rectors of Wheathampstead-cum-Harpenden after 1238 went on to have unusually successful ecclesiastical careers. Richard Sampson, who held the position in the 16th century, was in 1523 appointed Lord President of Wales, and in 1543 consecrated Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. Richard Pate, another rector, was in 1554 consecrated Bishop of Worcester. Lambert Osbaldeston was also master of Westminster School, and became more famous later for a controversy with Archbishop Laud; having used libellous language he was, in 1639, deprived of his living and fined £5,000. Henry Killigrew, in 1661, was made Master of the Savoy. John Lambe, whose father mainly devoted his life to the alleviation of the sufferings of prisoners, was also a rector, and was made Chaplain in Ordinary to William III and Mary II. John Wheeldon (1773–1800) was the author of several works, and Queen Victoria's private tutor was also a former rector.

Cricket at Wheathampstead

The village is also close to Nomansland common, and slightly further afield, St Albans.


The crossroads at Amwell.

Not to be confused with Great Amwell or Little Amwell.

About 1 mile (1.6 km) to the southwest of Wheathamstead and lying within its civil and ecclesiastical parish, the hamlet of Amwell consists of a cluster of cottages and a public house at a crossroads. This small settlement has ancient origins and was first mentioned in 1272 as Hamewell in the records of Westminster Abbey. The name is derived from the Old English language hamm, an enclosure, and weille, a spring. The hamlet has five Grade II listed buildings; four are cottages dating from the 18th century together with the Elephant and Castle pub, whose chimneys may date from the 16th century. A further three houses are locally listed. Amwell became a conservation area in October 1983.[3]


There was once a railway station serving the village but it closed in 1965 - a full amateur film of this line on the last day of operation can be seen on YouTube under the title "Welwyn Garden City, Harpenden East, Luton Hoo, Bute, Dunstable". Public transport is now provided by an hourly bus between Borehamwood and Harpenden, operated by Aylesbury-based bus company Red Rose Travel.[4] A half-hourly bus operated by Uno also runs through Wheathampstead between Luton and Hatfield.[5]

Notable residents



  1. ^ ONS, Census 2021 Parish Profiles
  2. ^ "St Helen's Church, Wheathampstead, history".
  3. ^ "CONSERVATION AREA CHARACTER STATEMENT FOR AMWELL" (PDF). St Albans City and District Council. January 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  4. ^ "Timetable 357 Borehamwood - Harpenden via St Albans & Wheathamsptead". Archived from the original on 27 March 2023. Retrieved 20 October 2023.
  5. ^ "610/612 | Uno".

Further reading