Bedwell Park House, Essendon

Bedwell Park House, Essendon  

Bedwell Park House

Published L. Dunkley, Post Office, Essenden

Printed in Berlin

circa 1910


Bedwell Park, half a mile south [from Essendon Village], the property of Mrs Culling Hanbury, is now occupied by Charles George Arbuthnot esq.; the grounds are 887 acres in extent.

Kelly's Directory, 1912

Morning Chronicle, 15th July, 1807

On the 15th inst. Sir Culling Eardley Smith, Bart. of Bedwell Park, Wm. Hudson, Esq. of Frogmore Lodge, and Patrick Beales, sq. of Cambridge, were elected Directors of the Herts and Cambridge Fire Office, to fill up the vacancies in the third and seventh lists.

Cambridge Chronicle (23 July, 1830)

1881 Census

HANBURY, Frances Selina Culling Head Widow F 48 Land Owner Westminster, Middlesex
GRIFFITHS, Julia Emily Companion Single F 38 A Companion (Dom) Kensington, Surrey
GREY, Mary Servant Single F 69 Housekeeper Domestic Newcastle on Tyne, Northumberland
ATTY?, Louisa Elizabeth Servant Single F 47 Ladies Maid Domestic Erith, Kent
MEERES, Ellen Servant Single F 30 Cook Domestic Exeter Cyns, Devon
BLAKE, Rebeca Servant Widow F 54 Housemaid Domestic Hertford, Hertfordshire
PARKER, Emily Servant Single F 19 Housemaid Domestic Little Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire
MURRAY, Agatha Servant Single M 21 Footman Domestic Islington, Middlesex
HUMBERSTONE, Daniel Servant Single M 39 Gardener Little Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire

In addition Frederic Rose was the butler, living in Bedwell Lodge. William Martin and Walter William Burr were gardeners living in the bothy. David McKinlay was the farm bailiff and there were several labourers living in the Lodge cottages.

Drawing Room

Bedwell Park House

Publisher: Dunckley, Essendon


Posted 1917

  Drawing Room, Bedwell Park House, Essenden, post card by Dunkley

The painting on the wall to the left is an important religious painting by the Spanish artist Bartolome Estenan Murillo (1617-1682) of the "Flight into Egypt". It is now at the Detroit Institute of Art.

In 1902 the painting was owned by Culling Handbury, and was exhibited in an exhibition of Old Masters at the Royal Academy.


ARBUTHNOT, Charles George, M.A., Director of Bank of England; b. 1846; s. of John Alves Arbuthnot, of Coworth Park, Berks. Educ.: Eton; Merton Coll. Oxford. After leaving Oxford, travelled abroad, and has since been mainly occupied in Banking House of Messrs. Arbuthnot, Latham and Co., of which he has been a partner for many years. Address: 69 Eaton Square, S. W.; T: Victoria 2933; Bedwell Park, Hatfield, Herts. Clubs: Athenaem, Carlton, St. James's, Wellington, Burling ton Fine Arts.

Who's Who, 1918

Bedwell House (Royal Victoria Patriotic School). A rambling building of two to three stories. Late c17 with later additions, especially of c. 1840 and 1860. The exterior now Tudor, gabled, with diapered brickwork. Entrance front with battlemented tower of 1851. (Early C17 staircase, probably brought in. DOE) Ornate lodges of 1860.

The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, 1977

The Royal Patriotic Fund (RPF) was created in 1854. Queen Victoria, concerned for the well-being of the widows and orphans of British servicemen dying in the Crimean War, made an appeal for public donations.  As a result the Royal Victoria Patriotic Asylum for Girls was opened in Wandsworth in 1859. Subsequently re-named the Royal Victoria Patriotic School, it evacuated to Saundersfoot in South Wales for the duration of the Second World War. Deciding that the Wandsworth premises were too large for their needs, the School's Committee of Management opted for a new post-war location and so in 1946 the school moved to Bedwell Park at Essendon, near Hatfield in Hertfordshire. In response to falling numbers of applicants, the School in 1959 expanded its scope to accept daughters of living servicemen, but it was finally closed in 1972.

National Archives Catalogue

Bedwell House, Essendon, Hertfordshire  

Bedwell House - Essendon

Hatfield Series No 51

posted 1910

As a result of proposed redevelopments a detailed historical review was carries out in 2006 - including many detailed maps.


It is said that the potting shed of Bedwell House is the one illustrated by Beatrix Potter in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Beatrix Potter wrote that nearby Camfield Place was the place that she loved best and where she wrote "The Tale of Peter Rabbit".

In 1937 the occupant was Lt-Col. Sir Francis Edward Freemantle, OBE, TD, MA, MD, MCh, MP, DL, JP, (TN 64) of the Carlton & Union Clubs. He later moved to Bayford House. He was MP for St Albans between 1919 and his death in 1943.

October 2012   Page Created
November 2012   Hatfied series card added
February 2017   1807 Sales advert
May 2019   Murillo painting information added