The earliest known inhabitants of the Hadhams, appear to have been from the Neolithic and Bronze age period, with a flint axe and stone scraper having been found near the ford in Much Hadham. Archaeological finds include remains of three Bronze Age cremations and Iron Age and Roman coins. A number of Roman villa/farmstead sites have been located together with extensive signs of a major Roman pottery industry for example kilns and much surface pottery in the northwest corner of Much Hadham and the adjoining corners of Little Hadham and Standon. The major Roman road Stane Street runs through Little Hadham and Roman finds have been made along its track.
All the evidence suggests that there have been significant settlements in the parishes now known as the Hadhams for thousands of years. The name Hadham is thought to be derived from the Saxon word “ham” for village or home of Hadda, although there is no written evidence of the latter. Another possibility is from the Saxon "hadian" (meaning he who ordains - ie a bishop) and "ham". Over the centuries Hadham has been referred to in many different ways eg Hadam, Hadame, Hedham, Hedlaege, Great Hadham, Hadham Magna, Myche Hadham, Muchel Hadham Little Hadham and Hadham Parva. Hadham Cross and Hadham Ford were seperate settlements. The American town established in New England in the 16C has always been spelt Haddam.
The first written evidence of the name Hadham comes from the will of Queen Aethelfleda, widow of Edmund the Elder (Saxon King from 940-46). She inherited land at Hadham from her father Aelfgar. In her own will, she left the land to her sister Elfleda and brother-in-law Brithnoth, the Earldorman of Essex, “for their lives and thereafter to Paul's Bury at London to the Bishop's home" this had a profound effect on the villages and connected us closely to the Bishops of London for a thousand years.
The Domesday Survey of 1086 listing the lands of the Bishop of London shows 4 properties named Hadham in the Hundred of Edwinstree. Three of these were located in what is now Much Hadham. The largest was assessed at 7½ hides, with 22½ ploughed lands, a priest with 35 villeins, a knight with 15 carrucates, woodland and a mill. In total it was worth £20. Additionally Osbern held 1 hide, William held ½ hide. Rodhere held a further ½ hide at Celgdene (Charldane) Manor from the Bishop. These lands together, formed the basis of the modern parish of Much Hadham, which has an area of ca 4490 acres.
The fourth property of the Bishop of London named Hadham was of 2 hides valued at £4 and held by William. The Abbey of Ely held 4 hides in Hadham, land for 13 ploughs, 15 small holders and 7 slaves together valued at £15. Both of these latter lands lie within the boundary of modern Little Hadham, which has an area of ca 3081 acres.
(A hide is approximately 60 acres)
The Bishops of London maintained a very close relationship with the parishes for over a thousand years and built a Summer Palace at Much Hadham. The picture on the left shows the Palace at the turn of the 19thC.
The patronage of the church of Little Hadham was held with the manor of Hadham Hall by the Baud family. In 1276 Sir Walter Baud sold all his rights to the Bishop of London for £20. The rectory was soon united with that of Much Hadham and the church was a chapel to Much Hadham until 1875. The rector was for many centuries also the Dean of St Paul’s in the City of London.
Both parishes have a very rich heritage of Tudor, Georgian and Victorian buildings still standing and of these many have roots/foundations going back to medieval times. These have been extensively covered in “The Victoria History of the County of Hertford” vol IV ed William Page, London, Constable & Company 1914 - available in major libraries and on line at https://archive.org/details/cu31924088434463
The full list of historic and listed buildings is very extensive but a selection is as follows:
Fletcher's Homestall, North Leys, The Old Red Lion, The Bank House, Westbury, Woodham House,The Old Drapery, The Crown House (formerly The Rose and crown), Gaytons, Russetts, The Collarmaker's House, The Red House, The Bull Inn,The White House, Horsehoe Cottage, Plummers, Morris Cottage, Moor Place, Yew Tree Farm, Yew Tree House, The Coffee Tavern (formely The Jolly Butchers) Brands Farmhouse?, Moat Farm, Wynches
The Lordship, Lordship Cottage, The Palace, Palacy Bothy, The Old Rectory, Manor Cottage and Manor Shieling, The Dental Surgery, Cobblers, Careless Cottage, The rectory, Batemans, The Old House, The Old Bakery, Green Shutters & Hunters,, The Hall, Vine Cottages,Victoria Terrace, Malting Cottage, Culver Lodge, The Bell, The Old Nurseries, Jolly Waggoners, Hadham Mill,
Croft Cottage & Grudds Farmhouse, The Prince of Wales, Green Tye Hoglands, The Hoops Miinges Farm, Perry Green,
Hadham Hall, Wykeham Hall, Clintons, Nag's Head, former Angel Inn.
The parish churches of St Andrew’s, Much Hadham and St Cecilia’s, Little Hadham date to about the 12thC, both were almost certainly built on earlier foundations and have been modified/extended throughout the following years.
In 1117 Much Hadham church sold some of the Bishop's ancient deer park (now part of the grounds of Moor Place) to fund a chantry for the repose of the Bishop's of London and mass was required to be sung in the Bishop's Palace. The present church may derive from this chantry, but the earliest dating is ca1220 when the chancel was reconstructed. Further additions were made throughout the 13C. In 1433 (Check).............
The church history is well described on the St Andrew’s Church web-site www.standrewsmuchhadham.org.uk See also http://stepneyrobarts.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/much-hadham-hertfordshire.html
Parish registers date from 1559 and copies are available for study at Hertfordshire Archives and Records in Hertford (HALS).
St Thomas Church at Perry Green was built 1853 and Richard Hunt was its chief benefactor.
The Congregational Chapel at Hadham Cross was opened in 1872 on land given by Richard Hunt.
The medieval St Cecilia's Church in Little Hadham, was reconstructed in the late 14th or 15th century. In the church is a memorial stone to Arthur, Lord Capel, who was executed for treason and hanged on March 9th 1649. Hadham Hall was the family home of the Capels, who became the Earls of Essex under Charles II. The Hall was in fact the entrance range of an Elizabethan house that was built around a large courtyard. It is thought that Queen Elizabeth I once stayed there. You can also find remains of a windmill in the fields between Little Hadham and Albury End.
Baron Capel's Tomb
Other Buildings of Note
The Forge, Much Hadham (now the Forge Museum)
The original building ws built in the late 15C. Inside one of the rooms at The Forge Museum are a series of Tudor wall paintings which date to 1576. The building was once used by the Newce family as the tax collectors office. The blacksmith's forge was operative from 1811 to 1983. It was restored by the Hertfordshire Building Preservation Trust. The museum continues as a working forge and puts on demonstrations, displays temporary exhibitions and has an authentic Victorian cottage garden with a unique early 19th century beehouse.
It is open from spring until Autumn Saturdays 11am-4.30pm and Sundays noon until 4pm, or by appointment.
Click here to visit The Forge Museum website.
Yew Tree Cottage
Plummers & Morris Cottage
17thC House now Cottages Hadham Ford
Hadham Hall - 16thC Entrance
Tithe Barn at Wickham Hall
Some Famous Inhabitants
These were many and varied, In Much Hadham, Edmund Tudor (the son of Owen Tudor), was born at the Bishop’s Palace. He was the father of Henry VII.
Alexander Nowell, was Rector of Much Hadham and Dean of St Paul’s, City of London. He discovered that bottling preserved beer and he also wrote the Catechism. Note his fishing rod behind his hat (very obvious in the original painting) he loved fishing in the Ash.
Daniel Dyke another Rector became Oliver Cromwell's Chaplain
John Burgess was transported to Australia for 10years in 1850 for stealing a pair of shoes. Many other similar examples are given in Richard Maddams' booklet referred to above).
In the 20thC the sculptor and artist Henry Moore lived and worked at Hoglands in Perry Green and is buried at St Thomas' Church, Perry Green.
The Henry Moore Foundation looks after his studio complex and his famous works. The foundation is open from Spring until Autumn, Many of Moore's works can be seen from the public footpaths around the Foundation. Moore's 1953 "Heads of a King and Queen" is in the churchyard at Much Hadham and his stained glass window adorns the West window of St Andrew's Church. Click here to visit the Henry Moore Foundation Website Opening times vary with the seasons so please check their website.
The Newce family built "The Hall" at about 1570, they were probably the most inflencial inhabitants, other than the clerics. Martha, daughter of Clement Newce married Lawrence Washington whose brother was a direct ancestor of George Washington, the 1st President of the United States. The picture shows a brass rubbing of Celement Newce and the wife of William Newce taken from the memorial in St Andrew's church.
Parnell Family of Chaldean
The Parnell family acquired Chaldean in the late 16thC and their cousin Frederick Crallan continued in 1906 the family connection until the mid- 20thC. The Crallans became very involved in Much Hadham life and this is described in detail, as is much other contemporary life, in a scrap book produced in 1954 by the Women's Institute.
Arthur Lord Capel
Royalist; Arthur Lord Capel of Hadham Hall was beheaded in 1649 for supporting the crown; his family tomb is at St Cecilia's
sailed on 3 voyages with Captain Cook, including on the Endeavour, as a midshipman. His tomb is at St Cecilia's.
William Goff was transported for sheep stealing
The 1970s band Fairport Convention, stayed at the”Angel” (now a private dwelling) and named an album after it 'Angel Delight'.
For more information on the above and any other historical enquiries please contact the Hadhams' History Society and we will be happy to try and help.