Area Guide: A peaceful hamlet with a strong community spirit, Kinsbourne Green offers its residents the tranquillity of the countryside, a convenient distance from Harpenden...
- Credit: Archant
Kinsbourne Green occupies a liminal existence; the hamlet is almost fully integrated into Harpenden but has a distinct history from the rest of the village. Though the surrounding farmland has disappeared as the area has been brought up for housing, Kinsbourne Green retains many of the hallmarks of a small, close-knit community.
The Harpenden Village Guide offers an informed and lively insight into the families, businesses and features of Kinsbourne in the 19th and 20th centuries. Rose Cottage, the Guide explains, formerly housed a blacksmiths run by a Mr William Swain until his death in 1892. In 1908, Lady Wernher of Luton Hoo founded a working men’s club, reportedly no more than a wooden hut with a tin roof, next to The Fox pub. Each year the club hosted a Christmas party for the school children of St Mary’s school where Lady Wernher made sure that Father Christmas gave every child a present. The Guide records that many families living in Kinsbourne at the time were so poor that they relied on the party to give their children some kind of Christmas gift.
Many of the hamlet’s features come from around the 18th century; and one of the older farm properties owns a donkey-operated well dating from the 17th century. It would take the donkey about 10-15 minutes hard graft to raise the bucket from the depths of the well; the bucket held 18 full gallons of water at a time. By the mid-18th century the donkey was replaced by a mechanical pump, but the wheel remains in working condition.
St Mary’s Church
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Overseen by Reverend Becky Leach as part of the Parish of Harpenden, St Mary’s offers various styles of worship to its parishioners. Every Sunday the church holds a Eucharist service, with an “alternative worship” service available on the second Sunday of every month. The parish take care to ensure that their services are family friendly: on the third Sunday of every month an additional children’s service called “simply worship” takes place for 3-11 year olds to take part in craft activities. The church prides itself on its pastoral care coordination network, which connects altruistic members of the congregation to those who need help with shopping and transport. St Mary’s has a thriving orchestra and popular Christmas choir which sings the nine lessons and leads Christmas carols. St Mary’s always on the look out for new members.
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Education in the area is very good, with above average levels of attainment in SATs, GCSEs and A-levels. Wood End School and Flamstead Village School are both a ten minute drive from the hamlet. Kinsbourne Green is three miles from the highly regarded St George’s School, whose GCSE results are far above the national average. The school is generally regarded as outstanding, and is particularly praised for its students’ high achievement in mathematics.
Luton Hoo Estate
A ten minute drive from Kinsbourne Green, Luton Hoo is a landmark that gives an insight into the area’s rich local history. The Green was formerly the location of the Luton Hoo kennels. Mr Gerald Leigh, Master of the Hounds on the estate, had the kennels constructed at Kinsbourne in a mere four months. He achieved this feat of speed by hiring hundreds of railway navies, enticing them away from their old jobs with free beer and a slight increase on their former wage.
The estate is renowned for its gardens. The famous Walled Garden was originally constructed for former Prime Minister John Stuart, the 3rd Earl of Bute in 1763. Throughout the 18th century the garden was considered one of the best botanical gardens in England, beaten only by Kew. Sadly, the grounds fell into decline in the early 1980s, but an army of dedicated volunteers are in the process of restoring the Walled Garden to its former glory. The gardens are open to the public every Wednesday in the summer, with special gardening activity days available for children.
The estate was the backdrop to numerous TV shows and movies, including Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Secret Garden, Bright Young Things and the BBC BAFTA-award winning drama Bleak House.
Houses in the area average at £475,532, £650,399, and £1,184,982 for terraced, semi detached and detached properties respectively.