Thundridge & Wadesmill


From Smith's Hertfordshire Map, 1808

The first Toll-gates or Turnpike-gates in England, are supposed to have been established here in 1663. (15th Charles II.) The Act was entitled, "An Act for repairing the Highways in the Counties of Hertford, Cambridge, and Huntingdon." They were ordered to be erected at Wadesmill, near Ware, in Hertfordshire; at Caxton, in Cambridgeshire; and Stilton, in Huntingdonshire. The preamble stated, amongst other things, that "by reason of the great trade of barley and malt that came to Ware, and is to be conveyed by water to the City of London," the road is "very ruinous, and became almost impassable, insomuch that it became very dangerous to all his Majesty's liege people that pass that way." The Turnpike at Wadesmill, which is in the Parish of Thundridge, and several in connection with it, lately stood as memorials of "the good old times."

The living of Thundridge is a Vicarage, of the value of 123 per annum, in the gift of R. Hanbury, Esq. A handsome vicarage-house was erected a few years since. The Charities produce 45 per annum. Population 456; acreage 2160.

From Young Crawley, Guide to Hertfordshire, 1880

Wades Mill Village
Published by L. C. Andrews, Post Office, High Cross.   Posted 1913

Back Street, Thundridge

Published by C. Pritlove, The Post Office, Wadesmill   RA card

Charles Pritlove was listed as  sub-postmaster in 1912 and 1926


Mill House, the building on the left, with the posts in front, was a Youth Hostel between 1931 and 1935. In 1933 it is described as: Youths' Hostel Association (Mrs. E. Jones, proprietress) board & lodging; bed and breakfast; accommodation for cyclists & rambling clubs.


Old Church & Thundredgebury 


Selected Answers

WILLIAMS, Hertford, mid 19th century

The Wheatsheaf Beer House
Some modern pictures on Geograph

by Steve Bailey

by Catherine Edwards

by John Salmon

by John Salmon
If you have a relevant question why not Ask Chris

If you know of other books, websites, etc, relating to this place, please tell me.

The Clarkson Monument
A Pilgrimage in Hertfordshire

A Great Resolve

THUNDRIDGE. Angels spread their wings round the tower of the new church on the hill, and the heads of a medieval king and queen look out from a window on the valley below, as if seeking the lost church from which they and the angels and the four old bells all came. There in the meadows of the Rib, lovely in summer, water logged and desolate in winter, the tower of the vanished church stands sentinel among the graves. It has no roof to protect the memorials within it, but its sundial still counts the sunny hours, and a Norman arch built into it when the rest was demolished last century still flaunts its carvings, reward enough for a walk along this flowery valley.

Thomas Clarkson's Monument at Wadesmill.

 News is just in that a partnership project led by Stewart Bryant, County Archaeologist, has secured a grant from the HLF to restore Hertfordshire's monument to Thomas Clarkson. The monument, which stands by the side of the old A10 at Wadesmill, was erected in 1879 to mark the spot where Clarkson made the momentous decision to devote the rest of his life to the abolition of slavery. Local schools will be involved in this project, and an interpretation board will be erected to promote the significance of the monument, and raise awareness of the importance of Thomas Clarkson in the abolition movement.

Hertfordshire Association. for Local History Newletter, Summer 2007


As the tower marks the place of the old church, and a chimney stack marks the ruined manor house within a water-filled moat, so a little obelisk by the roadside at Wadesmill marks a milestone in endeavour. Here, it tells us, Thomas Clarkson resolved to devote his life to ending slavery. Clarkson has told us that in writing an Essay for his University he was excited by the deep interest and importance of his subject. In the daytime he was weary; in the night he had little rest. He sometimes never closed his eyes for grief. It became not so much a trial for academical reputation as a question of doing something for Africa. He slept with a candle in his room that he could get up at any hour of the night to put down a thought that came to him. Then he sent in his Essay, and one day, as he came in sight of Wadesmill during a walk, he sat down disconsolate on the grass and was seized with the feeling that if his Essay was true it was time somebody should see that these calamities came to an end. It was summer time in 1785; in the autumn he had begun the work which never ceased till the slaves were free.

From Arthur Mee, Hertfordshire


Thundridge Church

Ref: ES 8511

Probably pre-ww2

The August 2010 issue of Hertfordshire Countryside includes contains an attractive illustrated article on Thundridge and Wadesmill, which includes a picture of the restored  Clarkson Monument in its new position.

December 2009   Page restructured and subdivided
April 2010   High Street post card added
August 2010   Menu reformatted & Herts Countryside reference
January 2013   Note re Youth Hostel