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St Leonards Church, Sandridge.jpg
St Leonards, Sandridge
Grid reference: TL175105
Location: 51°46’51"N, 0°18’14"W
Population: 4,808
Post town: St Albans
Postcode: AL4
Local Government
Council: St Albans
Hitchin and Harpenden

Sandridge is a small village in Hertfordshire, sitting between St Albans and Wheathampstead.

The village church is St Leonard's and is thought to date back to 1119.

About the village

The village has three pubs: The Green Man, The Rose and Crown and The Queen's Head.

The local football team is Sandridge Rovers FC, who play in the Hertfordshire Senior County League.

In 2008 the Woodland Trust announced plans to create a new forest north of Sandridge.[1] The 857 acres of woodland are to be called Heartwood Forest.[2]

Parish church

The parish church is St Leonard's. The church was first built in the early 12th century, and successively enlarged in later ages. It contains some Roman bricks. It also has a rare rood screen.

The church was built at some time before 1113 and the nave was enlarged and aisles were added between 1160 and 1180. Much remains of this time: on either side of the nave are three Norman arches and the font is Norman too. A pointed arch and the tower point to later additions of the late 13th century. The Chancel was re-built and lengthened in 1399 and the squared headed perpendicular windows replaced the narrower Norman windows in the aisles. The south doorway was also built.

St Leonards belonged to the Abbey of St Albans until the dissolution, after which it was neglected until refitted with pews in 1638, and a pulpit of which just remains are seen in the prayer desks in the sanctuary. The tower collapsed in 1692 or 1693 and not rebuilt due to the cost.

Some work was carried out in the eighteenth century but the nineteenth saw more care taken: a tower was built between 1836 and 1838 a tower, then a restoration was carried out in 1886 - 1887 by William White, to leave the church as it is seen today.

Early history

The earliest recorded mention of Sandridge is in the year 796, in which the village is recorded as part of the lands of the Mercian Kings which was given by King Egfrith, son of Offa, to the monastery of St Albans in the first year of his reign.

The Second Battle of St Albans

In February 1461 the final skirmishes of the Second Battle of St Albans took place in and around Sandridge as the Earl of Warwick, for the Yorkists, retreated towards Nomansland.

Sandridge was one of the earlier homes of the great general, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, and his famous wife, Sarah, a favourite of Queen Anne. The title Baron Sandridge was given to Churchill by James II in 1685, the first title Churchill received in the English peerage, though he had been created Baron Eyemouth n the Scottish peerage in 1682 King Charles II.

In 1939 the first secret Wireless Intercept Station of the Second World War was constructed by the GPO at the top of Woodcock Hill. It was the first of a group of stations dedicated to Diplomatic Interception with rows of radio operators listening to the wireless traffic between Germany, Italy, Tokyo and other enemy embassies around the world. Messages intercepted at Sandridge were sent to Bletchley Park for decryption. The results were vital to the Government who used the information to make important decisions about the course of the war. After the War the station became part of the Diplomatic Wireless Service under GCHQ and in 1973 the site was taken over by the Home Office for Police research.


  • Facts about Sandridge
  • Some dates in the history of St Leonard's Church, Sandridge, A paper read at a meeting of the St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archeological Society, held at Sandridge, June 24, 1900 by the Rev J.A. Cruikshank M.A.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Sandridge)
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