Area Guide: The Hertfordshire village of Frogmore
PUBLISHED: 09:42 16 June 2017
Frogmore sits three miles north of Radlett and immediately south of St Albans.
The intermingled nature of the village, blurring with Park Street and Colney Street, makes for a convenient mix of local amenities, parkland and transport links.
For location Frogmore has it all, with nearby rail links to major town centres and an easy two-part journey to central London on your doorstep.
A short stroll from Frogmore to Park Street station will get you to St Albans Abbey in just two minutes, along with a scenic wander past St Albans Cathedral and into the thriving city centre for high street shops, restaurants, trendy cafés, independent retailers and nightlife.
Likewise, a speedy journey from Park Street station to Watford offers a day out full of retail therapy, good food, pockets of history and fun for all the family, including trips to Harry Potter World, Watford Museum or a picnic in Cassiobury Park.
Frogmore is the perfect location for access to primary and secondary schools. There is a wide selection of reputable and specialised schools within a four-mile radius of the village, with a regular bus service providing easy transport to them all.
Community and Conservation
The Park Street & Frogmore Society was formed to promote interest in local history and nature, covering the three villages of Park Street, Frogmore and Colney Street. With plenty of opportunity for residents and local historians to come together for informative talks and research, there is something for every part of the community to discover about Frogmore’s past. The close-knit community is energetic, participating in activities, clubs, meetings and fundraisers.
Frogmore is associated with the Countryside Management Service and Groundwork-Hertfordshire, carrying out conservation tasks in the local area. Several buildings exist in Frogmore today that date back as far as the early 1700s and have been Grade II listed as important artefacts of Hertfordshire history.
Frogmore House, on the northeast side of the high street, was once vacated by a local leather merchant, Isaac Finch, and his family, with evidence indicating his charitable work for the community.
Before WWI, Frogmore House had been owned by Sidney Brunton, a stockbroker. Sidney created an ornamental canal to divert the River Ver’s course, allowing it to flow attractively alongside the house.
A great thinker with a flair for design, Sidney created an 18 hole golf course at Frogmore House and used the river to breed trout, replenishing supplies when they ran low. Documents record Sidney as a boldly dressed socialite - he attracted visitors from other villages and amassed a considerable wealth for Frogmore during his time there.
A conservation project is still underway for many historic hotspots in Frogmore, the renovation of the historic Frogmore House being one of them. Other findings include evidence of a Roman town and villa, as well as vital traces of Saxon pottery.
Amenities and Leisure
Unfortunately the oldest pub in Frogmore, The Old Red Lion, closed in 2008. However, the neighbouring villages, Park Street and Radlett, have ample drinking and dining facilities, with something to suit everyone’s palette.
There are plenty of conveniences for Frogmore residents and many more just a few minutes walk away in Park Street. A petrol station, veterinary clinic, car rental service, bakers and takeaway restaurant are all close to hand, with convenience stores and supermarkets in Park Street or St Albans.
Match Lake is a popular stomping ground for Frogmore Angling club, who catch a large number of carp, bream, roach, rudd and skimmers. Park Street Lane is also home to Frogmore cricket club, who play regular matches on the spacious green. Lovely, long walks are another popular attraction of Frogmore, with gentle, scenic strolls along the River Ver being a great choice for a summer’s day.
Architecture and History
Potentially the biggest draw to the village is the 19th Century Holy Trinity church designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, leader of the Gothic Revival within architecture. The church was built in 1859, after the original church in the village - the church of St Stephen - fell into a state of disrepair.
Gothic architectural features such as pointed arches, trefoils, quatrefoils and naturalistic foliage were a popular architectural trend during the late 1800s, of which several features can be recognised in the design of Holy Trinity church today. The imposing building stands proudly in the centre of Frogmore with an impressive bell tower, arched windows and angular structure, a credit to Scott’s design portfolio.
Many years before Scott’s time, there are indications that the Frogmore area was already an important centre in the years preceding the Roman Conquest. Watling Street, the main road connecting Verulamium with the newly established Roman base in London, was laid out by the Roman army and still follows the same course. There have also been further excavations in Frogmore and Park Street that have revealed traces of Neolithic, Saxon and Norman inhabitants, with several artefacts residing in Verulamium Museum.
More recently Granada Publishing, whose imprints included Grafton and Panther Books, were based at Frogmore. Some of their most notable publications were the fantasy and science fiction novels of Ray Bradbury.
Far from the unassuming village it may appear to be, beneath the surface of Frogmore lies a history rich in social significance and mystery.