Taking a stroll around Redbourn
PUBLISHED: 11:03 17 November 2015 | UPDATED: 11:09 17 November 2015
The civil parish of Redbourn is located a couple of miles from St Albans. It was voted Hertfordshire Village of the Year in 2002 and continued a sweep of accolades thereafter, including the Silver Award for 'Anglia in Bloom' 2005.
Community & Tradition
Redbourn is the long-standing host of the Hertfordshire County Show which takes place annually on the last May bank holiday weekend at a 70-acre show ground site a mile north of the village. This year saw the 129th show, featuring traditional spectacles such as the Devil’s Horsemen and the poultry tent, mixed with modern counterparts like the Hurry Scurry and an appearance by Titan the robot. The show dates back to 1879 when a ploughing match was arranged in the grounds of Hatfield House. Next summer it takes place on 28th/29th May - marking its 130th year.
The Parish Council is very involved in the community. Just this week they held a public consultation evening at the Parish Centre regarding the Redbourn Neighbourhood Plan. The Council is against this large-scale development, due in 2030, and have formed ‘Redbourn Against Greenbelt Erosion’ (R.A.G.E.) At the time of the 2011 Census, the population of Redbourn was 5344 people living in 2274 dwellings.
The opportunity for property investment is wide in Redbourn. Take the £425,000 barn for sale on Lybury Lane, providing a chance to purchase a period building with planning consent to develop into a four bedroom home, located on the outskirts of the village. Or the series of terraced houses that line the quaint streets of the area; or the commercial properties dotted around for new buyers.
A £375,000 restaurant is for sale at 71 High Street - a Grade II listed coaching Inn with a bar on both floors. For £350,000, also on High Street, an end of terrace house marketed as “an opportunity to purchase a landmark village property currently used as a restaurant with the possibility to convert to a residential home” is up for sale.
For those looking for smaller homes, there are historic Grade II duplex apartments to be found in the village, refurbished to high standards. Or if you fancy starting from scratch for £120,000 there are plots of land for sale too. Even a hairdressers is currently on the market for £35,000.
Out of the centre of the village you’ll find the likes of Coopers Meadow and East Common, where the more rural homes have a little more space to them.
Leisure, health & education
Redbourn cricket club has four senior teams playing in the Saracens Herts Cricket League on Saturdays, as well as Sunday friendly fixtures and one team in the Chess Valley League.
The club achieved the ECB’s Clubmark accreditation in 2008 and the same year were voted the Hertfordshire Cricket Club of the Year. They have 120 juniors from U7 - U15 age groups playing regularly and are sponsored in part by Ashtons Estate Agents.
Redbourn Golf Club is well known across the country for its two golf courses and driving range. The Kinsbourne Course is considered one of the best short courses in Hertfordshire.
Other amenities to note in the village are the Redbourn House day nursery, the Redbourn infant and nursey school, St Luke’s School, Redbourn Junior School, the Redbourn health centre and Redbourn Physio, a multi disciplinary musculoskeletal clinic established in the 1990’s in the High Street.
Street of Inns
During the coaching era, Redbourn was known as the “Street of Inns”, with at least 25 pubs and inns at its peak. Now, the main pubs to be found in the village are The Hollybush, The Chequers and The Cricketers. The latter is gearing up for a festive season of seasonal beers, carol services, pub quizzes and an Abba night.
On the edge of the tranquil River Ver, just minutes from Junction 9 of the M1, The Chequers Inn describes itself as “the perfect place for fireside dining” with its rustic oak beams and cosy wood burners “while the large, leafy beer garden outside is an idyllic place to gather friends and family on lazy summer days”.
The Hollybush is a picturesque Grade II listed pub dating back to the 16th Century with a function hall, home-made pub food and good friendly service.
The village has been settled since Saxon times and is recorded in the Book of Domesday. St Mary’s church has recently celebrated its 900th anniversary. It was consecrated in about 1100 and the North Aisle, with its Norman arches, added about 30 years later. More changes were made in the 15th Century, but the church remained structurally unchanged until 1989 when the Transept Hall was built. St Mary’s has a fellowship of some 300 members.
In the 12th Century the abbot of St Albans decided to hallow the ground. The village is the site of an Iron Age fort and Roman temples. Redbourn Manor belonged to Sir Richard Reade, formerly Lord Chancellor of Ireland, who in 1575 left a bequest for the upkeep of the parish on his death.
The Common, in the centre of Redbourn, is managed by the Parish Council as an area of species rich grassland, animals and plants and hosts an enclosed children’s playground. It was used as a rifle range in WWI and is one of the oldest recorded cricketing locations in England. An avenue of lime trees marks an ancient track which crosses the Common. There is a wildflower meadow and a moor located in the wettest area of the Common, formally a lake which formed the winter ice-skating pond. The little river through the moor is locally called the “Red” and is home to waterfowl and mature willow trees. In Medieval times the Common contained two large mounds, the “Mounds of the Banners” which were probably Saxon graves from the 8th Century. In 1178 these were excavated in the belief that they were the burial site of St Amphibalus, the priest who converted St Alban, and some of the recovered bones were transported to the Abbey.
Silk throwing was carried out at the steam driven Woollam’s Mill near the Common. Whilst still open, post WWII, a young man from the village fell into a vat of jam and died there. After a successful campaign by several school children in 2003, a memorial bench was unveiled to ‘Sticky Joe’.
After closing their factory in 1996 the silk mill manager’s house became Redbourn Village Museum, opened in May 2000. Old industries in the village included making straw plait and hat making – Redbourn Village Hall was formerly a straw hat factory, which has now been extensively renovated, thanks mainly to money from the National Lottery and Redbourn Parish Council.
Redbourn Reflections is a book containing over 400 photographs of the village from the personal collection of author Geoff Webb. The images range from families, characters and weddings, to events, schools and views. There is also a foreword to each chapter. Profits from the book are donated to Redbourn Junior School.