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the complete subjugation of the southern parts of Britain, by the more decisive victories of succeeding Emperors, Hertfordshire was included in the district named FLAVIA CESARIENSIS; but on the conquest and division of the Island by the Saxons, subsequent to the Roman departure, it became divided between the East . Saxon and Mercian kingdoms; though by far the greatest part was included in the latter.*
The principal Roman Stations either in or connected with this county, were DUROCOBRIVIS; VERULAMIUM, or Verulam; and SULLONICE, or Brockley Hills; but that the Romans had other, though probably less important stations within its limits, is evinced by remains that are yet discoverable, or by antiquities that have formerly been found. The principal ancient roads, which intersected Hertfordshire, were the Watling Street, the Icknield Way, and the Irming or Ermin Street. The Watling Street enters the county from Middlesex at Elstree, or Idelstree, near the Station Sullonicæ, and proceeding by Colney Street, and Park Street, skirts the western side of Verulamium; thence continuing in a north north-westerly direction, and passing through Redburn, and Market Street, it runs into Bedfordshire, near Magiovinium, or Dunstable. The Icknield Way enters the county on the west side from Buckinghamshire, and crossing about one mile northward from
→ Salmon imagines, that the East Saxon and Mercian kingdoms were, in the upper part of this county, separated from each other by the Ermin Street; (History of Hertfordshire, p. 4.) and in the lower part, in the parish of Cheshunt, by a bank, "which anciently reached from Middlesex through Theobald's Park, across Goffe's Lane, to Thunderfield Grove, over Beaumont Green, to Nine Acres Wood," &c. There is a custom in this manor, (Cheshunt,) he continues, "by which the elder brother inherits above the bank, and the youngest below it, in the same fields; which could not have been introduced, but from the different laws of a different government." Hist. of Hertfordshire, p. 8.
+ Brockley Hills are generally reputed to be in Middlesex; though part of the high ground which compose them, are in the parish of Elstree, in this county. The station itself is in Middlesex; but the buildings connected with it, are thought to have extended a considerable way into Hertfordshire.
from Tring, again intersects a portion of Berks; but afterwards. re-enters Herts between the parishes of Hexton and Lilley, and only a short distance to the south of the ancient camp called Ravensbury, or Ravensborough. Thence continuing in a north-easterly direction, it passes through Ickleford, and runs along the high ground towards Baldock, which it passes on the north side; and proceeding to the confines of the county, near Odsey Grange, becomes the boundary line between Herts and Cambridgeshire for several miles; and going through Royston, finally quits the county on the downs about one mile beyond. The Ermin Street enters Hertfordshire at Northall Common from Enfield Chace, in Middlesex; thence proceeding by Newgate Street and Little Berkhampstead, it runs through Hertford; and crossing the river Lea to Port-hill, continues by Wades-Mill, Puckeridge, Braughing, Hare Street, or Here Street, Bark-way, and Barley, into Cambridgeshire.*
The limits of this county are principally artificial, excepting on the south-east, where it is separated from Essex by the rivers Lea and Stort. On the south it is bounded by Middlesex; on the west, and part of the north, by Buckinghamshire, with which it is intermixed in a singular manner; as it is also with Bedfordshire: the latter county bounds the remainder of the west and north sides, excepting for a few miles towards the north-east, where it unites with Cambridgeshire; on the east, along its whole line, it is bounded by Essex. The medium extent of Hertfordshire, in its longest general direction, or to the south-east, is thirty-six miles'; its general breadth is about twenty-six nuiles; and its circumference between 130 and 140 miles. According to Halley, its superficies A 4 includes
*This course of the Ermin Street is inserted on the authority of Dr. Salmon; and is, indeed, strongly corroborated by the names of places on its line; though some other antiquaries, with Stukeley at their head, have assigned it the same direction as the present high road into Huntingdonshire; namely, through Buntingford, Royston, and Caxton. The hundred of Edwin-stree (a corruption from Ermin Street) includes the three latter places named by Salmon, viz, Hare Street, Barkway, and Barley; while on the other plan, Buntingford only is found within its limits; Royston being in the hundred of Odsey.
includes 451,000 acres; yet this appears to be an exaggerated measurement, and if the statement was limited to 385,000, it would probably be more accurate. It is divided into eight hundreds, containing seventeen market towns, and about 134 parishes: the number of houses, according to the Population Act of 1801, amounted to 18,172; that of inhabitants to 97,577; of whom 48,063 were males, and 49,514 females. The parliamentary representatives for Hertfordshire are six; of which number two are returned for the shire, two for St. Albans, and two for Hertford.
The general aspect of this county is extremely pleasant; and though its eminences are not sufficiently elevated, nor its vales sufficiently depressed and broken, to afford a decisive character of picturesque or romantic beauty, yet its surface is enough diversified to constitute a very considerable display of fine scenery. The northern part is the most hilly; and a range of high ground stretches out from the neighbourhood of King's Langley towards Berkhampstead and Tring, which in many parts commands a great extent of country. Another elevated ridge commences at St Albans, and proceeds in a northerly direction towards Market Street, at a little distance to the east of the high road; while several other ranges of elevated ground run nearly parallel with the former from the vicinity of Sandridge, Whethampstead, Whitwell, &c. The southern line is also sufficiently high to include some extensive prospects. Most of the country is inclosed; and the inclosures, being principally live hedges, intermixed with flourishing timber, have a verdant and pleasing effect. Independent of the wood thus distributed in hedge-rows, large quantities of very fine timber are grown in the parks and grounds belonging to the numerous seats of the nobility and gentry, that are spread over almost every part of Hertfordshire, and give animation to almost every view. Several fine woods also enter into the composition of the different landscapes, and, in conjunction with the fertilizing streams which meander through the vales, give an interesting variety to the general features of the country.
The landed property in Hertfordshire is greatly divided: "the vicinity of the Capital, the goodness of the air and roads, and the beauty
beauty of the country, have much contributed to this circumstance, by making this county a favorite residence, and by attracting great numbers of wealthy persons to purchase lands for building villas: this has multiplied estates in a manner unknown in the distant counties." Freehold estates have of late sold at twenty-five and twenty-eight years purchase; and, under particular circumstances, some very large tracks have obtained from thirty to thirty-two years purchase. The largest estate in the county is about the annual value of 70001. Several others are averaged at from 30001. to 40001. annually; more at 20001. and below that sum, they may be met with of almost every amount. A large portion of the county is held by copyhold tenure, with a fine certain, or at the will of the lord; but which fine seldom exceeds two years rent. Land thus held, sells at about six years purchase under the price of freehold.+
By far the greatest proportion of Hertfordshire is under tillage: as a corn country, it is considered as one of the first in England; and was so reputed, indeed, even in the beginning of the last century. Its progress in improved modes of husbandry, has not, however, kept pace with that of other counties during the same period; though the attention given to agriculture is very general, and of late years, it has become still more a favorite pursuit. The common extent of farms is from 150 to 400 acres; though there are many much smaller: several contain from 400 to 700 acres; and a few from 800 to 1000 acres; the latter being considered as the largest size of any in the county. The largest farms are, in general, the best managed, and most productive; the opinion is common, that the land cannot be kept in that degree of fertility, requisite to support the rental, and other expenses, without bringing large quantities of manure from the Capital; a business but insufficiently executed on small farms. The average of rent per acre is about 15s. subject to tithe, which is compounded for through the whole county,
→ Young's General View of the Agriculture of Herts. p. 18.
+ Ibid. p. 19.
with very few, if any, exceptions, at an average of about 3s. 6d. or four shillings. The more productive of the arable lands, let at from 18s. to 25s. per acre; the open lands round Barkway and Royston, at about 10s. on the average; those in the vicinity of Buntingford, which are extremely productive, at twenty or twentyone shillings. The meadow lands on the borders of the rivers Lea and Stort, obtain from 40s. to three pounds per acre; and those in other parts, let at proportionable sums. Several of the larger farms are under the immediate direction of the noblemen belonging to the estates; and, greatly to the honor of the accomplished Marchioness of Salisbury, a piece of ground, seventeen acres in extent, was inclosed at Hatfield, about ten years ago, for the purpose of making agricultural experiments.*
The prevailing soils in this county are loam and clay; the former is met with in almost all its gradations, and is more or less intermingled with flints or sand. The vales, through which the rivers and brooks take their course, are composed of a rich sandy loam, with the exception of a small quantity of peat and marshy moor; the slopes of the hills descending to these vales, exhibit in ferior sorts of the same loams; but the flatter surface of the higher grounds, are composed of a wet and strong loam, of a reddish hue, and tending in a greater or less degree to clay, by which term it is frequently, though very improperly, denominated. The loam district extends westward from the river Beane, over the greatest part of the county; and is almost every where under a turnip course, and the crops are generally fed on the land. Good loam, or gravel and chalk, also prevails in the division of the county formed by Ware, Hockerill, and Buntingford; and very fine crops of wheat are grown in the vicinity of the latter place, and of Puckeridge. From Westmill to Walkern, the loam is very strong and adhesive, but still fertile; and in the nighbourhood of Hertford, the loams are of good quality. In the vicinity of Cole Green and Hatfield, they are less productive; but improve about Astwick and Sandridge; round which places some very good sandy
* Additional particulars concerning this Experiment ground will be inserted under Hatfield.