Area Guide: The Childwickbury Estate in Hertfordshire

Shafford House on the Childwickbury Estate offers around 3,557 sq ft of living accommodation. 

Shafford House on the Childwickbury Estate has a guide price of £3million. - Credit: Hamptons

Think of Childwickbury and one name instantly springs to mind: Stanley Kubrick.

Accessed via a grand gatehouse on Harpenden Road, the Childwickbury Estate is a prime slice of idyllic Hertfordshire countryside with some serious Hollywood associations thrown in.

The entrance lodge, with its Scottish baronial style turret and wrought iron gates, was built in 189

The entrance lodge, with its Scottish baronial style turret and wrought iron gates, was built in 1897 - Credit: Archant

The small hamlet lies north of St Albans and is best-known for its connection to 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange film director Stanley Kubrick.

One of the most innovative filmmakers of all time, the legendary director, producer and screenwriter lived at Childwickbury Manor with his third wife, Christiane, from 1978 until his death in 1999 at the age of 70. 

Kubrick's screen credits include The Shining, which was made down the road at Elstree Studios, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut, the latter starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

Childwickbury was more than just a country home for the acclaimed American auteur. It was also his workplace where he wrote, researched and edited his later films

Childwickbury Manor is between St Albans and Harpenden. 

Childwickbury Manor is between St Albans and Harpenden. - Credit: Pearce Bates

Kubrick died at Childwickbury Manor on March 7, 1999 – just days after screening a cut of Eyes Wide Shut, his final movie.

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His private funeral service was held in the garden at the estate, with Hollywood stars Tom Cruise and then wife Nicole Kidman, and Steven Spielberg among the mourners.

Artist Christiane Kubrick remains at Childwickbury Manor, and the estate hosted the annual Childwickbury Arts Fair again earlier this month.

Netflix crews are reportedly using Childwickbury Manor.

Childwickbury Manor was the home of film director Stanley Kubrick - Credit: Pearce Bates

Described by local historian, Christine Aitken, as "an immaculate hamlet", Childwickbury is certainly easy on the eye.

And when properties do come on the market, they cost an eye-watering amount! 

One, Ladygrove, sold for £4.75m in 2020, an increase of £900,000 on its 2018 selling price.


History

Once known as "the dwellings by the well", the estate has a long and complex history that is still researched and studied today.

From the 13th to 19th century, Childwickbury Manor was owned by a St Albans bailiff, an MP, the mayor of the city and the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire.

The latter two owners were members of the Toulmin family, who provided and funded a school in the late 1850s and in 1867 built the church of St Mary's on Childwick Green.

John Blundell Maple, of Maples Fine Furnishing, London, bought the manor in 1883. He donated Clarence Park and The Sisters Hospital to the citizens of St Albans and is interred in the family vault in St Mary's churchyard.

Around 1895 the old domestic houses on Childwick Green were pulled down, replaced and extended.

Estate houses appeared at Shafford, Beesonend Lane, Ayres End Lane and Maple Cottages, adjacent to Harpenden Common.

The manor's imposing entrance lodge with its Scottish baronial style turret and wrought iron gates was built in 1897, as was Childwick Green House, the Jacobean style house on the main entrance drive.

A couple of the estate's characterful cottages

A couple of the estate's characterful cottages - Credit: Archant


St Mary's Church

St Mary's Church in Childwick Green was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and commissioned by Henry Joseph Toulmin in 1867.

The church is adjoined by a schoolroom, where Henry and his wife taught reading and writing to the tenants of the estate.

In 1881, when the eighth of their 14 children was born, the Toulmins decided they could no longer afford to live at Childwickbury and moved to The Pre in St Albans.

The Faith, Hope and Charity windows in the chancel are in memory of the family and their dedicated work throughout the community.


Property

Shafford House near St Albans is for sale with a guide price of £3m. 

Shafford House is for sale with a guide price of £3m. - Credit: Hamptons

With an AL3 postcode, it's rare that Childwickbury homes come on the market, but when they do they're usually pretty special.

Take Ladygrove: the six-bed, three-bath former gamekeeper's cottage to the estate changed hands for £4,750,000 in 2020, making it one of the most expensive homes to sell in Hertfordshire that year.

It comes complete with equestrian facilities and a separate two-storey building housing a garage, gym and art studio. 

Earlier this year an equestrian property with swimming pool in Childwickbury was priced at £3m.

Approached via a gated entrance, this four-bed home comes complete with a heated outdoor pool and almost five acres of grounds, comprising paddocks, a stable yard with stabling and tack room, menage and enclosed barns. 

The Childwickbury Estate property offers a choice of outside spaces to enjoy. 

This 4 bedroom detached house in Childwickbury has a guide price of £3m. - Credit: Hamptons

Shafford House also has a games/gym room with shower room, sauna and jacuzzi, and a conservatory.

Looking for something a little bit cheaper? For offers in excess of £1.5m, you can snap up a four-bed detached period property in Ayres End Lane with a wrap-around garden.


Schools

Nearby primary schools include Margaret Wix (rated 'good' by Ofsted) and Garden Fields JMI School in Townsend Drive, now part of Alban Academies Trust.

Secondary school options include Townsend ('good') and St Albans Girls' School ('outstanding').


Events

The estate opens its doors to visitors for two popular annual events, the Childwickbury Arts Fair in July and Childwickbury Christmas Market in November (pandemics permitting).

Both events offer the opportunity to eat, drink and shop in a unique environment, within and around the old stable block of the Childwickbury Estate, which is only open to the public for these events.

The Childwickbury Arts Fair was founded by Christiane Kubrick – the widow of cinematic great Stanley Kubrick.

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

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