Area Guide: The popular Marshalswick area of St Albans
- Credit: Archant
Located about 1.5 miles north-east of St Albans city centre, Marshalswick is a suburban enclave with its own identity.
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.
The mansion was eventually pulled down in 1927, and its two lodges are now known as 1 Marshal’s Drive and 191 Marshalswick Lane.
The area changed dramatically in the 1930s after a huge parcel of land was bought at auction by TF Nash Homes Ltd, with Kingshill Avenue being among the first streets to be completed. These ‘Nash semis’ featured the signature window shutters, many of which are still there today.
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Marshalswick is home to some of St Albans’ most desirable roads, so it’s no surprise that many of the city’s most expensive homes are located here. Marshal’s Drive, The Park, Faircross Way and Homewood Road are widely considered to be among the most prestigious streets in town - and living there doesn’t come cheap.
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Homes currently on the market in this sought-after part of Marshalswick include a six-bed detached house on Homewood Road, with a garden backing onto The Wick (£2.5m).
There are more modest properties available locally however, including a four-bed refurbished semi on Wheatleys for £750,000 and a three-bed maisonette on The Ridgeway for £320,000.
The Quadrant is Marshalswick’s shopping hub. It’s home to a range of independent businesses and some national chains, with stores including a florist, pet shop, several estate agents’ offices, a pharmacy and couple of convenience stores. Food options include the popular DavVero Italian restaurant, Molens and Fade to Black cafés and Simmons bakers. There is also a well-used branch of M&S and a Sainsbury’s petrol station. For Marshalswick residents, the Quadrant is a solid alternative to a trip into town.
Marshalswick also has its own library and community centre.
The main draw for families moving to Marshalswick from further afield, or locals making their move out from the city centre, is the great state schools.
The hugely over-subscribed Sandringham secondary school is the area’s main attraction, with families regularly moving into the area specifically to secure a place for their child. Ranked ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, its main feeder primaries are Skyswood (‘outstanding’) and Wheatfields Junior School (‘good’). St John Fisher Roman Catholic Primary school (‘good’) and Wheatfields Infants’ and Nursery School (‘outstanding’) are also located in Marshalswick.
The Wick, which runs between Marshal’s Drive and Sandpit Lane, 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 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.
Other local areas of green space include the 55-acre Jersey Farm Woodland Park, which can be accessed from Sandringham Crescent, and the little-known Bentsley Spinney, a small patch of woodland between The Ridgeway and Skys Wood Road.