Area Guide: The pretty village of Bramfield
- Credit: Archant
Bramfield is a small civil parish in East Hertfordshire which lies in between Hertford, Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage.
Seemingly endless undulating hills and miles of beautiful green, tree-lined lanes peppered with wildflowers and inspiring views all create a village with many desirable virtues. The perfect location for families looking to settle down in a peaceful setting, Cheryl Jackson, a Bramfield resident of 28 years, chair of the village hall and member of the parish council, describes the village as “a safe environment for young children to grow up in pleasant country surroundings”, and “a small, quiet, rural village with a very close community of about 300 people.”
Dating back over 900 years, Bramfield continues to fascinate historians today. St Andrew’s church in the heart of the village was first established in the 11th century. It is said that, in 1142, Thomas Becket took position as the first rector of St Andrew’s and he, alongside his monks, used the vicarage pond, now known as Becket’s Pond, to brew ale. Although some argue that Becket was studying in Paris during this period, Bramfield history states that he was rector until his rise to Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162.
Today the church is a recognised feature of the place with a mainly Victorian architectural design, owed to the extensive renovation of 1840. Stained glass windows and high beamed ceilings give the impression of an authentic historical site, though St Andrew’s is bright and airy with a distinctly modern feel. The churchyard owes its manicured appearance to the local volunteers that work to keep the church in good condition. The tower is said to stand over a holy Saxon well, which would have been a popular pilgrimage site for visitors wishing to be healed by St Andrew.
The diary of John Carrington is another relic of Bramfield history, dating from 1798-1810, which has been subject to historian scrutiny since its discovery. Local Bramfield farmer, tax collector and constable, John Carrington, wrote a diary depicting Bramfield life. The murder of Charles Proctor by 16-year-old Ann Mead is documented, the cause of death listed as “a spoonful of arsenic”, followed by Mead’s punishment, “hanged”.
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Bramfield has excellent access to the amenities of local towns via bus. Services run from Bramfield centre to Hertford in seven minutes and to Stevenage in 20 minutes, while trains from Hertford to London King’s Cross take less than 40 minutes. There is also a taxi service available in the village. Other nearby towns are just a short drive away, while the historical villages of Datchworth, Knebworth and Tewin are a quick and easy option for an outing.
Community and local business
Bramfield has a village hall that is popular for hosting activities, clubs and meetings. Described by Cheryl Jackson as “thriving”, the hall is often frequented by locals. The recently renovated space, with a kitchen for catering to large groups, is currently running exercise and art classes, as well as coffee mornings, dog training sessions, bingo and council meetings. With a children’s playground on site, a cricket pitch and tennis courts, the community is well stocked with things to do. This summer the village has organised an Open Garden event with refreshments and arts and crafts stalls in the hall.
With several local entrepreneurs setting up businesses in Bramfield there are many handy services readily available for locals, such as a photographer, artist, beauty therapist, chauffeur and car repair services. The King’s House, a Bramfield B&B run by a local couple, is a four-star bed and breakfast offering a comfortable stay for visitors exploring the area.
Food and Drink
The Grandison pub is a gastropub adjacent to St Andrew’s church. An easy reach for regulars from the village, The Grandison has all the comfort and familiarity of your local, but with a fresh, modern atmosphere. Serving classic, locally sourced pub grub with a contemporary twist for lunch, dinner and Sunday roast, the four-star rated Grandison is a family-friendly pub with a sparkling reputation.
Other nearby pubs include Plume of Feathers in the neighbouring village of Tewin and the award winning Tilbury in Datchworth, both within three miles of Bramfield.
There are no schools in Bramfield itself, but there are plenty to choose from within a five mile radius of the village.
Bramfield’s rural backdrop has inspired many avid walkers to take a stroll through the miles of quiet countryside and meandering tracks. One of the most popular and picturesque is the three mile Bramfield circular. An undisturbed walk through darkened wood and wheat fields, it’s the perfect place for nature lovers who may spot foxes and muntjac deer. Some walks can also lead further afield into Tewin where it’s possible to observe Queen Hoo Hall and explore the village.