Redbourn is a village of about 6000 people boasting its own recreation centre and local shops, Public Houses and Churches. (The village has an extensive common and a long history . It is situated roughly 5 miles from St Albans and Hemel Hempstead and around 3 miles from Harpenden. (See: Nearby Towns & Nearby Villages.) Junctions 8 & 9 on the M1 are a short distance from the village.
The winning entry by Haydn Davies in the Village Hall Photo Competition, the theme was Redbourn at work and play.
See below for more Redbourn pages on this website.
"The Domesday Book made for King William the Conqueror in 1086 describes a
parish little changed from Saxon times, yet now living under Norman rule. It thus
gives a valuable picture of the early settlement at Redbourn, and a meaningful introduction to its medieval period. The Domesday Book suggests a well established, thriving, agricultural community mainly held by the Abbot of St Albans, but with two other smaller holdings beyond his jurisdiction."
Little more than half a century after the Norman Church was built a small Priory was dramatically founded only half a mile away on Redbourn Common. The abbot decided to hallow the spot where bones, believed to be of St Amphibalus, (the priest who converted St Alban to Christianity), had been found on Redbourn Common
"The key to the development of Redbourn from early times has been the countless travellers along its old Roman road. It took centuries for the villagers in their
secluded settlement, some half a mile distant from the road at Church End, to realise the potential opportunities that such travellers offered. When they did start to move nearer, there was the added incentive of the small Priory which had been sited beside the road; this tended to attract even more travellers. It was the "Golden Age of Stage Coaching" that turned their trading, especially catering, into big business, Redbourn becoming known as a "Street of Inns'". (See Bygone Public Houses Of Redbourn.)
In 1838 the railway ran from London through St Albans to Birmingham and sounded the death knell of stage-coaching. Redbourn had to wait to get its branch line from Hemel Hempstead to Harpenden, (see Nicky Line Railway) though the first proposal was from Watford via St Albans to Dunstable in 1845. The first train on the Nicky Line ran on 16 July 1877. The line finally closed in 1979. (For a picture of Redbourn Station see Geof Webbs Redbourn Collection). The first bus service through the village started in 1908 though buses took some years to become established. In 1903 Mr Boucher, the local dentist, owned the first privately owned car in the village, (a 6 HP Gladiator). Several motor rallies were centred in Redbourn in the 1900s using The Bull Pub,(Photograph in the book Redbourn's History or Redbourn Museum). The three garages, Walkers & Hardings in the High Street, Bylands on Dunstable Road and Stathams at Church End have all closed leaving only a filling station next to The Chequers Pub on the St Albans road. The first fatal motor accident in Redbourn was near The Chequers in 1908. Unfortunately accidents on the St Albans road still occur and are also now a regular occurrence on the nearby M1. First mention of a Redbourn by-pass was in 1935 and when this finally happened in 1984 the High Street was closed for a day of celebrations.
Redbourn has a tradition of farming and for a time had a successful watercress business. Silk throwing was carried out at Woolhams Mill near Redbourn Common. (See: Geof Webbs Redbourn Collection and Redbourn Museum.) The mill was taken over by John Mangrove & Son and closed in 1938. At the outbreak of the Second World War Brooke-Bond took over the silk mill. After closing their factory in 1996 the old Silk managerís house was given as the village museum. The old silk mill site is now a housing estate. Russel Harboroughs jam making factory became the present industrial estate just off the High Street.
Old industries in the village were making straw plait and hat making; Redbourn Village Hall was formerly a straw hat factory
Much of the above was provided by Alan Featherstone, Read more about Redbourn in Alan Featherstone's book Redbournís History.
See below for further Redbourn pages on the website.
In 2010 the village celebrated 900 years of St Mary's Church