Area Guide: The pretty Hertfordshire village of Shenley

Purple Surgical UK Ltd is based in the rural Hertfordshire village of Shenley. Picture: Archant.

Purple Surgical UK Ltd is based in the rural Hertfordshire village of Shenley. Picture: Archant. - Credit: Archant

Immediately east of Radlett and about five miles south of St Albans, Shenley is a quiet village within reach of all amenities. We found out more... 

Cited three times in the Domesday Book, Shenley is an Anglo-Saxon settlement originally titled ‘Senlai,’ which means ‘fair clearing or wood'.

The Cage is located on London Road, by Shenley's village pond. Picture: Archant

The Cage is located on London Road, by Shenley's village pond. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Instantly recognisable on the bank of the village pond is the ‘Cage’, or ‘lock-up.’ This domed construction, with a single arched wooden door, was built in the 1700s, and served as a prison for the parish constabulary. Before a national system of policing was instituted, villages would often have their own provincial lock-ups. Local criminals would be detained provisionally, before being sent to a larger town for trial.

An inscription can still be seen on the structure: ‘Do well. And Fear not.’ ‘Be sober. Be vigilant.’

Property


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Shenley and neighbouring Radlett were named last year as the most unaffordable places to be a tenant in Hertfordshire, with residents spending an average of 88 per cent of their income on rent.

The WD7 postcode came eighth in the countdown of pricey rental locations, behind areas of London, Surrey and Berkshire.

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Current rental options in the village include a two-bed terrace on Greenwood Gardens for £1,465pcm. 

One of Shenley's period properties. Picture: Archant

One of Shenley's period properties. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

The most significant development in Shenley in recent times is Harperbury Park, a 206-home scheme built on the site of Harperbury Hospital mental health facility, which was demolished in 2018. Homes for sale in the development include a five-bed detached house for £1,195,000. 

Grade II listed Shenley Manor in Grace Avenue. Picture: Archant

Grade II listed Shenley Manor has been converted into several £1m-plus homes. - Credit: Archant

The most expensive home currently for sale in the village is a four-bed, four-bath detached house on Harris Lane for offers over £1.5m. At the other end of the scale is a one-bed flat, also on Harris Lane, for offers in excess of £225,000. 

Transport

Radlett railway station is less than 10 minutes away by car, with excellent links to London. Bus routes to north London boroughs and other areas of Hertfordshire also run through Shenley on a regular basis.

Sport and leisure

Shenley cricket ground boasts the considerable fame of a 19th century pavilion designed by none other than W. G. Grace. Grace was commissioned on the request of the esteemed Porter family, who owned substantial landholdings around Shenley at the time.

Shenley Cricket Club.

Shenley Cricket Club. - Credit: Archant

The ground, known as The Denis Compton Oval, after the legendary Middlesex and England cricketer, is held in high regard internationally, and each summer plays host to U19 international matches and women’s cricket. It was described by the Evening Standard as “possibly the most beautiful ground in England and therefore the world”.

Shenley Sports Grounds, to the north of the village, are the current training facilities of Watford FC. The site was originally used by Arsenal until 1999 when they moved to a neighbouring site under new manager Arséne Wenger.

Shenley Park is home to an orchard, meadow and two-acre walled garden with its own amphitheatre. It also has a tea room with adjacent playground, which makes it a popular spot for families.

Pubs

The White Horse on London Road is the only remaining pub in Shenley. A premium gastropub, it offers a comprehensive menu of everything from salads to steaks. The King William IV closed in 2019, and has been converted and extended into a development of six two-bed apartments. Known collectively as Kings Court and priced from £650,000, the flats have all now been reserved. 

Another of Shenley's fine properties

Another of Shenley's fine properties - Credit: Archant

Schools

Shenley Primary School, in the heart of the village, serves most of the local children. It's currently transitioning from an intake of 45 per year to just 30, and has around 200 children on roll. At its last Ofsted inspection in November 2019 it was found to require improvement.

A fee-paying alternative is Manor Lodge, an independent primary school for children aged four to 11, on the periphery of the village.

Jewish parents may also be interested in Clore Shalom (‘good’), a single form entry Jewish primary school that teaches the National Curriculum alongside traditional Jewish studies.

The independent Haberdashers’ Aske’s boys’ and girls’ schools are also nearby, just off Watling Street on the fringes of Elstree.

The closest state secondary schools to the village include Hertswood Academy in Borehamwood (‘requires improvement’) and the partially selective Dame Alice Owen's School in Potters Bar ('outstanding'). 

Church

St Botolph’s church, now a private dwelling, served as the village parish church until the construction of St Peter’s in 1826.

Soon after, however, many properties within Shenley became incorporated into the expanding settlement of London Colney, and St Peter’s lost huge swathes of its congregation.

As such, in 1839, the rector of Shenley, Thomas Newcombe, commissioned the building of another church – St Martin’s – which remains the parish church of Shenley.

This area guide is sponsored by Frost's, who have offices in St Albans, Marshalswick, Wheathampstead

This area guide is sponsored by Frost's, who have offices in St Albans, Marshalswick, Wheathampstead and Harpenden (www.frosts.co.uk/branches) - Credit: Archant


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