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Houses in Essendon - - 35214.jpg
Grid reference: TL275087
Location: 51°45’42"N, 0°9’11"W
Post town: Hatfield
Postcode: AL9
Dialling code: 01707
Local Government
Council: Welwyn Hatfield
Welwyn Hatfield

Essendon is a Hertfordshire village found 6 miles south-west of the county town, Hertford, on the B158 road. Essendon is upon a hill and offers views of the Lea Valley to the north.

Although on an ancient site, St Mary's Church dates mainly from the 17th and 18th centuries and was restored in 1883. The west tower dates from the 15th century and has eight bells, the oldest is dated 1681.[1] The church contains an unusual Wedgewood ceramic font dated 1780 and several brasses and monuments.[2] In 1916 the east end of the church was damaged by a bomb dropped by the German Navy Zeppelin L-16; two sisters were killed.[3] There is a village pub named The Rose and Crown.

Historic houses in the parish include Camfield Place which was the home of the novelist Barbara Cartland and visited by Beatrix Potter. Essendon Place was the seat of the Barons Dimsdale of Russia; Thomas Dimsdale was an expert on the treatment of smallpox by inoculation and in 1768 he was invited to Russia to inoculate Catherine the Great. For his services there he was made a baron of the Russian Empire.[4] Bedwell Park is another manor house near to the village.

Bedwell End was the home of Deneys Reitz, High Commissioner for the Union of South Africa, until his death on 19 October 1944.[5] At the outbreak of the Second Anglo-Boer War he joined the Boer forces at the age of seventeen and accompanied General JC Smuts on his famous raid in the Cape Colony, of which Reitz wrote a stirring account in his autobiography, Commando.[6] During First World War, as a lieutenant-colonel, he commanded the 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers on the Western Front in France.[7]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Essendon)


  2. [1]
  3. Hartford Hundred - Essendon
  4. [2]
  5. London Gazette: no. 37150. p. 3361. 26 June 1945. Retrieved 2009-06-03.
  6. Reitz, Deneys: Dictionary of South African Biography
  7. London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31439. p. 8589. 8 July 1919. Retrieved 2009-06-04.