A Short History of Bernards Heath

Early Brickmaking on Bernards Heath

Early Brickmaking on Bernards Heath

1437: William Veyse, brikemaker to the king, was appointed to search for earth suitable for making brike. In 1440 breke from le Frithe, St Albans [the part of Bernards Heath earlier known as Frithewode?], was used for making fireplaces and ovens in the royal palace at Kings Langley. William Veyse also supplied bricks for making the creste of a stone wall at the Tower of London.

1515: St Peter’s Church contains a brass recording John Ball brickmaker.

1556: Reference to "Brockclose" [Brick Close?] on Bernards Heath.

1627: Roger Pemberton’s almshouses - bricks probably made locally.

1668: St Michael's Manor built of bricks by the Gape family. It is possibly relevant that in 1726 John Gape owned the Brick Meadow on Bernards Heath.

1708: Joseph Sanders paid the Overseers 3 shillings rates for the Kiln. He may have been a relative of Nathaniel Saunders, brickmaker, who married in St Stephens parish in 1679.

1726: The estate map of Sandridge shows a Brickkyln on Bernards Heath belonging to John Broading and John Seed, close to the 10 acre Brick Close, which by then had reverted to agricultural use. Much of the Heath on either side of the Luton Road is shown as a series of gentle mounds and pits, suggesting that brickmaking had gone on for sometime. In addition the map shows three Brick Kiln fields, a Brick Kiln Wood and Brickmeadows. At about the same time one of the larger brick-built houses close to Bernards Heath was built. Folly House, or Bleak House as it is now called, has some unusual brick lintels over the upstairs windows

1785: John Waitbread of Harpenden, brickmaker, and James Raed of St Albans, labourer, encroached and dug gravel and turf on Bernards Heath. [Only residents of Sandridge were allowed to do this.]

Next: Map of the Bernards Heath Brick Works

See also: How Bricks were made by Hand

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