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Farming in Redbourn

The Aubreys fort seen middle right of the photo in 1948
Note the railway and the absence of the M1 and the village by-pass
A plan of the fort
Aubreys Fort as it may have looked

Commanding the River Ver, and near to the old Roman Road Watling Street,  this Iron Age, oval in shape encampment,  covers about 17½ acres. It was designed to be defensive, somewhere that local people and their animals could retreat to if threatened.  As the reconstruction picture shows, the central area was enclosed by two banks and ditches on all sides apart from the north-west, where there is a single set of defences.  There are traces of an outer counterscarp bank to the south-west. The Redbourn Research Group found evidence that the south east corner of the site may well have been underwater or at least regularly waterlogged as the River Red flowed close by. With reeds growing in this area, the name Reedy Stream or Red Bourn emerged.  Entrances were simple, and placed at either end of the single set of defences, the main entrance facing west and a smaller gateway facing north-west. There have been flint finds at the site suggesting occupation as far back as 4000 BCE. Excavations indicate that in it was last used as a fortification, not a permanent settlement. Indeed the name Aubreys is Anglo Saxon meaning an old fortified place.

THE ENDS.

 An End was a small clearing in the natural forest where you would find a few thatched huts, a central and larger hut for the headman and might be surrounded by a palisade.

This is how an "End" may have looked

The map below shows the "Ends" (shown in boxes)

 These ends came together to form the parish or manor as during the reign of Edward the Confessor, Aegelwine Niger (Le Swarte –black) gave Redbourn to the Abbey of St Albans. Each of these appear in documents until the middle of the 15th century. Some are connected to a particular family.  

Norrington – Alice de Northington around 1296

Revel- Earlier references refer to Rutherfield End –Adam de Rutherfield from 1307

South- perhaps Adam Bisouthe around 1314.

Hogg- John Hogg in 1307 and Nicholas Hogg.

Beeson –Adam Bestney around 1344

Of the others, Church End takes its name from the old centre of worship and probably the oldest settlement.  It has been suggested that the area Dane End could relate to the fact the Danelaw was only 5 miles to the north, or and more likely that the name derives from the fact that it is sited above a shallow valley (in Old English Denu).Wood End  could have been a wooded area used by all.

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