History of Redbourn Village | Source : Wikipedia
The village has been settled at least since Saxon times and it is recorded in the Domesday Book. Its parish church, St Mary’s, was built in the early 12th century. Around fifty years later a small priory was founded half a mile away on Redbourn Common, after the abbot of St Albans Abbey decided to hallow the ground. Some bones had been found on the spot, reputed to be of Saint Amphibalus the priest who converted St Alban to Christianity
In 2010, Redbourn’s St Mary’s Church celebrated its 900th anniversary.
Redbourn Village Economy
Redbourn was, for a long time, the centre of a farming community and for a time had a successful watercress business on the River Ver‘s water meadows. Just south of the village, Redbournbury Mill, a recently restored watermill, produces flour.
Silk throwing was carried out at the steam driven Woollam’s Mill near Redbourn Common. The mill was taken over by John Mangrove & Son and closed in 1938. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Brooke Bond took over the silk mill. Whilst the factory was still open, a young gentleman in the village fell into a vat of jam and died. After a successful lobbying campaign by several school children in 2003, a memorial bench was unveiled to ‘Sticky Joe’. After closing their factory in 1996 the old silk mill manager’s house (the Grade II listed Silk Mill House) was donated as the Redbourn Village Museum which opened in May 2000. The former silk mill site is now a housing estate. Local grocer Russell Harborough set up a jam making factory, which in 1956 was bought by Thomas Mercer Ltd, marine chronometer manufacturer. The site, just off High Street, is now an industrial estate.
Old industries in the village included making straw plait and hat making — Redbourn Village Hall in the centre of the village High Street was formerly a straw hat factory, which has been extensively renovated, thanks mainly to money from the National Lottery and Redbourn Parish Council.
Redbourn Village Transport
During the coaching era, Redbourn was known as the “Street of Inns”, with at least 25 pubs and inns at its peak, but in 1838 the opening of the railway from London to Birmingham sounded the death knell of stagecoaches.
A branch railway line—known as the Nickey Line—from Hemel Hempstead to Harpenden passed through Redbourn. The line opened on 16 July 1877 and closed in 1979. The route is now a public footpath and cycle path. The first bus service through the village started in 1908, though buses took some years to become established.
In 1903 Mr Boucher, the local dentist, owned the first private car in the village, (a 6 HP Gladiator). Several motor rallies were centred in Redbourn in the 1900s using the Bull pub. The three garages, Walker’s & Harding’s in High Street, Byland’s on Dunstable Road and Statham’s at Church End, have all closed leaving only a filling station next to the Chequers pub on the St Albans Road.
The first mention of a Redbourn by-pass was in 1935 and one was built in 1984; High Street was closed for a day of celebrations and a fun run on part of the bypass before opening to traffic.
Redbourn Village Cricket
Redbourn Cricket Club was formed about 1823, but records show organised cricket was played on Redbourn Common some eighty years earlier. Some Hertfordshire County histories record cricket being played on the common in 1666. This makes the village one of the oldest recorded cricketing locations in England.
Redbourn Village Golf
Redbourn Golf Club is well known across the country for its two golf courses and driving range. The Kinsbourne Course is considered one of the best short courses in Hertfordshire.
Hertfordshire County Show
The Hertfordshire County Show takes place annually in late May at a 70-acre show ground site one mile north of the village.
Redbourn Village Awards
Redbourn was Hertfordshire Village of the Year, 2002 (Overall & Western Area Winner), and a section winner in 2003. In 2002 Redbourn was also an Eastern & Home Counties Section Winner. 2004 saw Redbourn again winning Hertfordshire Village of the Year, Western Area. 2005 Hertfordshire Village of The Year IT Section Winner and Eastern England Information Communication Technology Winner 2005, also Hertfordshire Village of the year Best Community Project Award. Silver Award Anglia in Bloom 2005.
Redbourn Village People
- Elizabeth Howard, Duchess of Norfolk, 1494–1558, following the breakup of her marriage to Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk, she was sent to Redbourn where she claimed “the duke locked me up in a chamber and took away my jewels and apparels”.
- Sir Richard Reade (1511-1575), Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
- Henry Stephens, 1796–1864. Doctor-surgeon, chemist, and businessman. Developed an improved formula for blue-black ink and set up a company marketing the ink.
- Henry Charles Stephens, 1841–1918, Henry Stephens’s son who developed the ink business and became a Conservative Party politician and philanthropist.
- Ron Henry, 1934–2014, a retired footballer who played for Tottenham Hotspur lived in the village.
- Gordon Beningfield, 1936–1998, wildlife artist.
- Michael Christopher “Mick” Luckhurst, 1958–, a retired American football placekicker who played for the Atlanta Falcons was born in Redbourn. He was the face of Channel Four‘s American Football coverage from 1987 through until 1991.
- Zena Skinner, 1927–, chef, writer, and cookery expert on television and radio.