Area Guide: The picturesque Hertfordshire village of St Ippolyts
- Credit: Archant
The attractive Hertfordshire village of St Ippolyts has chocolate box charm aplenty.
On the edge of Hitchin is the small village of St Ippolyts, with its idyllic village green, pretty period properties and slightly bizarre name. It was called different names at various times including Nipples.
The beautiful church there is linked to several notable people, the most interesting anecdote being that the funding for the church was provided by William the Conqueror’s niece.
Respected theologian Fenton Hort was a vicar at St Ippolyts Church for 15 years and politician George Lloyd (1st Baron Lloyd) was buried in the churchyard (1879-1941).
It is close to main towns Hitchin and Stevenage and smaller Gosmore, Great Wymondley, Kings Walden, Little Wymondley and Preston.
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Village features are a 17th century gabled property, a timber-framed house – formerly The Olive Branch Inn – and a 16th century house which was built around an even older timbered house.
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St Ippolyts Church of England School is a voluntary-aided faith school for primary children aged between four and 11. Founded in 1847, it enjoys a lovely rural location in Ashbrook Lane and is rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.
Kingshott School is a private school for pupils between three and 13 years of age. Its ethos is to combine tradition and innovation in teaching and learning and to get the best from students. When it was established in 1931, it was a boys’ boarding school but now provides a co-educational experience with no boarding facilities.
Food and drink
The Rusty Gun, London Road, St Ippolyts, is a country pub, which prides itself on local beer from The Old Cannon Brewery, great wines from The Burch family and a cosy atmosphere with wonderful food.
The restaurant serves dishes with as many locally sourced ingredients as possible – some of which are sold in their produce shop, enabling you to sample them in your own home.
The Rusty Gun manager James Gerard, 27, was recently appointed. Even though he’s new to the area, he is already taken in by its charm. He said: “All the regulars are friendly and chatty and there is a lovely atmosphere in St Ippolyts, which has a strong community feel. It’s peaceful here.
“We are very busy usually at weekends. We do a lovely roast and have our own specially brewed beer. Another favourite is burgers or sausages and mash, and the sausages are from the piglets we keep outside, which people can pay a pound to feed. They’re cute but very tasty. They do eventually end up on a plate as sausages, so our food is genuinely locally sourced!”
Other pubs within a mile - all in Little Wymondley - include The Plume of Feathers and its fresh local produce, The Bucks Head - a quintessential British pub with low ceilings, exposed timber and open log fires - and Hermit of Redcoats, named Hertfordshire Food & Drink Awards’ ‘Best Gastropub of the Year’ in 2015. Its drinks menu boasts more than 50 different gins, guest beers and ales, which change weekly, and an extensive wine list.
The Bull is set in the charming unspoilt hamlet of Gosmore, surrounded by fields and is popular with walkers, cyclists and day-trippers for its welcoming atmosphere, fresh fish and chips, Sunday lunches and real ales.
The village is just outside Hitchin on the B656 to Codicote and can be accessed from there or from the A602 (Stevenage road) to the south of Hitchin.
Hitchin and Stevenage train stations are the nearest and bus, coach and taxi services are in operation to local towns.
Sport and leisure
The parish hall, Waterdell Lane, hosts many regular activities, such as Beavers, Brownies, Cubs and Rainbows, dancing for children and adults, dog training, Women’s Institute meetings, table tennis, a ladies’ bridge club, baby and toddler groups and a choir.
It is available for hire for occasions and has a main hall and two smaller rooms, toilets, kitchen, changing rooms, parking and a licensed bar. There is full disabled access.
A bowls club plays at the recreation ground off Orchard Close, the village has its own football club and St Ippolyts attracts walkers, families and cyclists who like the green space, nature reserve and children’s play areas.
Seasonal events include a Christmas fair and festive church services, open gardens in summer and community lunches are held monthly.