From Northaw, to regain the Essendon Road on our way to Hatfield, is a rather circuitous route, part of which is through a long road called Kentish Lane. At length, about five miles from Hertford, we reach the pleasant Village of Essendon, the Church of which, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, standing at the top of the hill, forms an object in the landscape for many surrounding miles; it has a tower and six bells. The living is a Rectory, and was joined to Bayford for many years, but Bayford has recently been severed from it; its present value is £550 per annum, in the gift of the Marquis of Salisbury. The Church has little besides its situation to attract attention, and is by no means remarkable for architectural beauty; it contains within it several tablets inscribed to the memory of the Tooks, who formerly lived at a Mansion called Popes, near Essendon, which has been long since pulled down, and also to the Priestlys, who formerly resided at Camfield Place. There is an interesting brass, of the date of 1538. In the Churchyard lies the late Sir Culling Eardley, Bart., and several members of his family; and two of the Barons Dimsdale, with others of their family, also repose there in a large family vault. The Register dates from 1653. The present Rector of Essendon is the Rev. R. H. Webb, author of a work called Flora Hertfordiensis.
An admirable institution, called THE ORPHAN HOME, for 50 Boys, has been established by the beneficence of Mrs. Culling-Hanbury.
Near the Village is BEDWELL PARK, a beautiful Residence on a hill, with a Park surrounding it, charmingly diversified, in which there is some very fine timber. The late Sir C. Eardley largely improved the Mansion, which contains a very fine gallery of pictures, many of which were removed from another Mansion of his near Erith, called Belvidere. Mrs. Culling Hanbury, a daughter of the late Baronet, is the present possessor. ESSENDON PLACE, the delightful seat of Baron Dimsdale, is situated on a hill, overlooking a lovely valley, and the grounds surrounding it contain some rare and beautiful trees. On the opposite hill is a Mansion which has been modernised and rebuilt to a great extent; it is called CAMFIELD PLACE, and is the property of E. Potter, Esq. Population of Essendon, 645; the number of acres, 2,303. At the bottom of the hill proceeding towards Hatfield, we arrive at a large Farm House of some pretensions, called HOLWELL or HOLYWELL, near which is a spring, formerly of considerable repute; the name is all that is heard of it at the present day.
Guide to Hertfordshire , 1880
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