The Society publishes a monthly bulletin up to ten times a year. Each bulletin has a section about 'News and events' followed by a short article about an aspect of the history of Wheathampstead, researched and written by a member of the Society. Each of these could be the basis for more substantial research.

Printed copies of each bulletin are distributed at the Society's meetings. 

To read a bulletin online, click on its title.





















 Nearly 25 years ago, Wheathampstead resident Brian Joyce began to build a community website for the village. This became known by its address, 'Wheathampstead.net' and developed into an important source of information about local events and the many businesses and voluntary groups in the village, and a major repository of material about the history of Wheathampstead with particular emphasis on families and people. When the site went offline after Brian passed away, all this content was saved by the History Society. It has been converted to a suitable format and will be uploaded to the Society's website in the coming months.






Three lives

  The Garrard family are well known locally. They owned the Lamer estate from 1608 until Apsley Cherry-Garrard sold up in 1945. What is less well-known is that, as well as running the large Lamer estate, the Garrards also leased the whole of Wheathampstead manor from Westminster Abbey who had been lord of the manor since 1060 when Edward the Confessor gifted it to Westminster. The Garrards managed the Wheathampsteadbury farm estate and also the mill. Documents in the Westminster Abbey archive may suggest that the Garrards held this lease from the early 1610s until at least 1685.  






  Wheathampstead Parish Council was established in 1895 when the duties of the centuries-old Vestry were divided between the secular Parish Council and the Parochial Church Council.

  A new list of past chairmen of the Parish Council is in the hallway of the refurbished Marford Memorial Hall. They are an interestingly mixed bunch.






Isaac House


  We are grateful to Mike Martin for his generous gift to the History Society of an account book dated June 1794 that relates to the House family of Wheathampstead. He acquired this from an antiquarian bookseller in York. 

The accounts are concerned with the proving of the will of wealthy landowner Isaac House who had died on 5 April 1794 at the age of 37. He was owner of the Grove Farm in Pipers Lane with its malthouse, barns, stables and outhouses, arable land, orchards, fields and woods. His wife died just three weeks later aged 27. They had been married for only two years and left two infant children, John Isaac and Mary Ann. The original will document is held at HALS.






Straw Hat Day

  May 15 is “Straw Hat Day” in the USA. In the mid-19th century, the peak production of straw hats, and the straw plaits from which they were made, was in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire where this cottage industry dated from at least the 18th century. In Wheathampstead in 1851, 31% of the total occupied population were straw workers, nearly all of whom were plaiters, only 28 being described as hat-makers or sewers. For much of the 19th century, many children attended “plait schools”, producing plait to be sold by their parents who paid as little as a penny a week for their plaiting “education”. 












































 A missing legend?

 Many churchyards in Hertfordshire have 18th or 19th century table tombs surrounded by iron railings. In some cases, a tree has grown inside these railings and this has given rise to a legend that the individual buried there was an atheist who declared before decease that if there was an afterlife a tree would grow out of their tomb. In the mid-1970s, there stood on the north side of St Helen's Church a magnificent ash tree which had demolished a table tomb and devoured portions of its railings. Today the spot is marked only by the tree stump and smashed grave slabs. Is there a local legend associated with this tree?