Area Guide: The family-friendly Marshalswick area of St Albans
- Credit: Archant
Hugely popular with families on account of its many outstanding schools, we found out more about the Marshalswick area of St Albans.
Between Sandridge, Jersey Farm, Fleetville and Bernards Heath is Marshalswick, which has long been one of St Albans’ most popular residential areas. Excellent schools and sought-after streets are just two of the things residents love about it.
Marshalswick dates back to the 13th century. Its name comes from John and William Marschal, who owned the land between 1271 and 1377, and ‘wick’, which is old English for ‘hamlet’, ‘town’ or ‘village’. The surrounding land and woodland mark the original site of the house, Marshal’s Wick Mansion.
In 1796 Samuel Martin bought Marshalswick and it was later purchased by Charles Bouchier of Tyttenhanger, who altered the mansion’s name to Sandridge Lodge. By 1888 the estate was said to be about 809 acres.
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The sale of the estate in 1921 raised £22,000 and led to the development of 127 acres of private houses.
The mansion was eventually pulled down in 1927, and its two lodges are now known as 1 Marshal’s Drive and 191 Marshalswick Lane.
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The celebrated local state schools are the area’s main draw. Sandringham, which currently holds a rating of ‘outstanding’ from Ofsted, and Verulam School (‘good’) are two of the most popular secondaries in St Albans.
As for primary schools, there is St John Fisher Roman Catholic Primary school, regarded by Ofsted as ‘good’, and Skywood Primary and Nursery School, deemed ‘outstanding’, Wheatfields Infants’ and Nursery School (‘outstanding’) and Wheatfields Junior School (‘good’).
Wick House and 53 The Park – arguably the most famous homes in St Albans – are both in Marshalswick, located on two of the most sought-after roads in town, Marshal’s Drive and – obviously – The Park.
They, along with Faircross Way and Homewood Road, are considered by many to be the most sought-after streets in town due to their proximity to the Thameslink train line, the city centre and respected schools.
These wide roads are known as ‘learner land’ on account of their popularity with local driving schools.
There’s much more to Marshalswick than just these four streets of course - properties currently available for sale elsewhere in the area include a four-bed semi on Pondfield Crescent (£900,000) and a two-bed flat on Hughenden Road (£275,000).
The Wick is a 3.4 hectare local nature reserve, popular with dog walkers.
It was transferred by Sir Arthur Copson Peak in 1929, in the hope that it would stay in its natural state. It consists of ancient woodland and semi-natural woodland; the main trees are oak and hornbeam; there is also a seasonal pond and historic field boundaries of bank and ditch.
Then there’s Bentsley Spinney, a small area of woodland off The Ridgeway that many St Albans residents aren’t aware of.
Proximity to nearby Sandridge and Jersey Farm Woodland Park are further benefits to life in this popular part of St Albans.
The city centre is a short drive away, but most Marshalswick residents find that their daily needs are easily catered for by the Quadrant’s shops.
This local hub is home to a wide range of stores, with a vet, a florist, a funeral director and a bed shop proving there really is something for everyone.
There’s also a handful of estate agents, several hairdressers, mini markets and take aways – including the much-loved Ridgeway fish bar.
Recent additions include M&S and DavVero, an Italian restaurant from the team behind Bar Espresso by St Albans station – the best restaurant in town, according to Trip Advisor.
The fact that you can park right outside for free is a huge bonus.
Churches include St Mary’s Church of England, Homewood Road United Reformed Church and Marshalswick Baptist Free Church.