About three miles from Watford, and twenty from Hertford, is the pleasant Town of RICKMANSWORTH, or RICKMERSWORTH, as Clutterbuck calls it, which occupies a low situation near the junction of the Rivers Colne and Gade. It probably took its name from Rickmereswearth, which compound Saxon designation signifies a rich pool situated between two rivers. It was a demesne of the Saxon Kings, and Offa gave it, with other lands, to his Abbey of St. Alban's. Henry III. granted to the Town a Market, which is nearly discontinued. The small river Chess unites in the valley with the Colne and Gade, and, together, these supply a considerable water power to the immediate neighbourhood, in which there are extensive Paper and Flour Mills, employing more than 600 persons. The rivers are celebrated for trout, and the disciples of Izaac Walton can find plenty of amusement. The Town is irregularly built but there are many good houses, and the situation is very pleasant. A good deal of horse-hair is woven for hair-seating here, and a large quantity of straw plait manufactured, as is usual in this part of the county. There is a large Brewery; and the Grand Junction Canal, which passes close to the Town, of course adds to its business capabilities. A small neat brick-built Town Hall, in the Domestic Gothic style of architecture, standing in the principal street, with a turret or bell tower, was erected on the site of the old Market House, at a cost of about £1,200, by a Joint Stock Company, in 1869. It is well adapted for public purposes, and the principal room will hold 400 persons. The London and North Western Railway has a Station here.
In the Town is a Wesleyan Chapel, in the Early English style of architecture, and also a Baptist Chapel j at Money Hill is an excellent one, belonging to the Congregationalists j five neatly built Alms-houses in the principal street were founded by John Fatherly, Esq., in 1701; and there are five others in the Town, which also possesses good National and Infant Schools.
The Town is well lighted with Gas, supplied by a local Company. Three annual Fairs are held on July 20th, the second Saturday in September, and November 24th. The population of the Parish is 5,337; the number of acres, 9,937.
Rickmansworth was the birthplace of Sir Thomas White, Lord :Mayor of London, and founder of the Colleges of Worcester and St. John at Oxford, and of Merchant Tailors School, London. At Warren Hill is a remarkable echo.
RICKMANSWORTH PARK, in the immediate neighbourhood of the Town, has a modernized Mansion, in a pleasant situation, and is now occupied by J. Arden, Esq. It commands beautiful prospects.
In the neighbourhood of Rickmansworth are several Hamlets. At BATCHWORTH, to the south, are extensive Paper mills. At FROGMORE HOUSE, in this Hamlet, an Orphan Home for fifty poor girls, was established by Mr. Joseph Stephenson, and is supported by voluntary contributions.
LOUDWATER and SOLESBRIDGE Paper-mills are on the River Chess. Three other small Hamlets lie to the south of Rickmansworth. LOUDWATER HOUSE, the beautiful residence of J. D. Samuda, Esq., M.P., and GLEN CHESS, the seat of Wm. McMurray, Esq., are near.
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