Popefield Farm, Colney Heath, St. Albans

27th February 1981

The above picture is the cover of an invitation to view the restored farmhouse and contains the following text about the farm house and the restoration.

Popefield Farm consists of a three storey Farmhouse, Barns, Cow Shed, Granary and a large Implement Shed. 

The Farm House is a 16th century, three storey, oak framed structure, which has been altered from time to time during its recorded life.

During the course of the present restoration, many of the original features were found intact, covered by previous refurbishments. These features now contribute to the character of the building.

The House has been converted to provide one Flat on the ground floor with a maisonette on the 1st and 2nd floors. This will provide temporary accommodation for British Aerospace personnel.

Work is now proceeding on the restoration of the adjoining timber framed barns. The Oak framed part was, possibly, erected in the 16th century, with the Elm framed portions being added later. Major repairs are to be made to the frame, upon completion of which the buildings will be clad in elm boarding. Reclaimed peg tiles are to be used for re-roofing, to ensure the original character is maintained.

Conversion from Cowshed to offices and restoration to the Granary building will commence shortly, so that all the buildings forming the group will be preserved.

Paved areas and landscaping have been designed and will follow immediately after the completion of the buildings.

The whole of the Restoration will be carried out by Semlo (St Albans) Lts. for British Aerospace plc under the supervision of their Chartered Surveyor M. A. J. Owen, A.R.I.C.S.

The invitation was accompanied by an undated press cutting from an unidentified local newspaper. It has a picture of the boarded up house, with piles of rubbish in the yard:

'Superstar' House to be Saved

by Nick Ingelbrecht

A 17th century farm where the theme song for the musical Jesus Christ Superstar was written is falling into disrepair.

Popefield Farm, which is situated just 100 yards from the Hatfirld boundary on the A414, was the home of song writer Tim Rice for 20 years. It is a grade II listed house, and a repair order may be served on BAe, its owners, if a compromise between them and the council cannot be reached over the use of the building.

This week Tim Rice told me of the "happy memories" of his early years in the farm house. His father used to work in the public relations department at De Haviland which is now BAe: "I know my father was fond of the house," he said , "and it's sad when any nice old house is falling apart." ...

Tim described how he did a lot of work on the early short version of the opera Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat in his room at the top. ...

The collection also included four photographs of the derelict farm. Two show the barns (above), one shows the house boarded up (similar angle to the picture on the invitation) and one shows the granary and stables. The sign on the gate in the above photograph says "Danger Airfield Keep Out" and the farm was originally acquired from part of the De Haviland airfield at Hatfield in the late 1930s. 


The above detail, from Dury and Andrews 1766 map of Hertfordshire shows Pope Field, with its buildings round a courtyard, on the road between St Albans and Hatfield.

There is a web page for Colney Heath

If you can add to the information given above tell me.