Scarecrows and Structures in Flamstead

A little under eight miles from St. Albans, and only a few minutes’ drive from Dunstable, Hemel Hempstead, Luton and Harpenden, on a ridge above the River Ver, is the picturesque and historical dormitory village of Flamstead.

As you head away from St. Albans Car and Van Hire in the direction of the M1 at junction 9, you’ll be able to see the village’s parish church of St. Leonard, which dominates the skyline with its ‘Hertfordshire Spike’ spire, believed to stand on the site of a 9th century Saxon chapel.

The oldest parts of the church still in existence are thought to date from around 1140, and there are some stunning features to be seen, such as medieval wall paintings, Elizabethan graffiti on the pillars, and a 15th century rood screen. (A rood screen, also known as a choir, chancel screen or jube, is the ornate partition between the chancel and nave.)

Flamstead has many notable historical structures, with 65 listed buildings! Its preparatory school, Beechwood Park, was once the site of a Benedictine nunnery and then a Tudor mansion. Although within the parish, it is situated closer to the neighbouring village of Markyate, and gave its name to a song by The Zombies, written by the group's bassist Chris White, who grew up in Markyate.

Also of note in Flamstead village, is the block of four Saunders Almshouses, in the High Street, displaying a stone plaque at the front engraved 'AnoDm/1669’.

In 2008, the Time Team from Channel 4 made a major discovery of a previously unknown Roman temple complex near Watling Street at nearby Friar’s Wash.

As you can see, the small village of Flamstead has many historical features to write home about, but if history isn’t your thing, then the village’s annual Scarecrow Festival might be something which catches your attention, maybe to or from St. Albans Car and Van Hire. The popular Festival has been held in August every year since 2002, to raise funds for the upkeep of the church and local charities, and displays over 90 scarecrows and attracts over 5000 people!

Posted on July 18th 2016

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