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Home History Much Hadham A brief History of Much Hadham
A brief History of Much Hadham Print E-mail
The name Haedham or Haeda's manor suggests that Much Hadham dates from Saxon times and is one of Hertfordshire's oldest and most picturesque villages.  It continues south of Little Hadham along the valley of the river Ash with a long High Street lined with well preserved timber and brick houses; the oldest dating from the 15th century.
St AndrewsThe dominant buildings are the Hall (1726) and The Lordship, slightly later Click here to see an interesting list of Anglo Saxon Websites
It used to be the centre of a major Roman pottery industry and extensive kilns have been excavated in the area.

Famous inhabitants include Edmund Tudor, the father of the first Tudor king, and during this century the sculptor Henry Moore.

The village's prosperity is probably due to the manor having been bequeathed to the Bishops of London by Ethelfleda, widow of Edmund the Elder, the Saxon king (940-946) and a grandson of Alfred the Great.

The Roman Catholic Holy Cross Church shares the large parish church of St Andrew's. This Gothic building has been worshipped in since the Middle Ages. It was built between the Crusades and the War of the Roses. Its oldest object is a door now hanging in the priest's vestry whose C-shaped hinge straps with fleur-de-lis terminals date it about 1225. The church, with a traditional Hertfordshire spike on the tower, has an unusually large 121ft long nave and two big aisles, probably due to the land-owning Bishops of London having an official summer palace next door and wanting a grander church.

The Palace, or manor house, to the north of the church, still contains the roof of a 14th century timber hall, although the rest is brick dating from 1650-1900. Over the years it has been a school and an asylum, and is now a private residence

Much Hadham can rightly claim to have nourished the founder of the Tudor dynasty as it was the birthplace of Edmund Tudor.  In 1446 Henry V's widow Katherine was sent by the Bishop of London to his Palace in Much Hadham, where her son Edmund was born.  Edmund was the son of Owen Tudor and Queen Katharine (making him the half-brother of Henry VI) and the father of Henry VII.

Sculptor Henry Moore lived at the nearby Perry Green from 1940 until his death in 1986 and is buried at St Thomas' Church at Perry Green. The Henry Moore Foundation looks after his studio complex and his famous works. Although visits to the sculptures' permanent showplace in the rural surroundings are limited and by arrangement only, many can be seen from the public footpaths around the Foundation. Moore's 1953 "Heads of a King and Queen" is in the churchyard at Much Hadham. Click here to visit the Henry Moore Foundation Website
The Forge museum, High Street, is in a workshop which was operative from 1811 to 1983. Restored by the Hertfordshire Building Preservation Trust, the museum continues as a working forge and puts on demonstrations, displays temporary exhibitions and has an authentic Victorian cottage garden with a unique early 19th century beehouse. It is open throughout the year on Saturdays 11am-4.30pm and Sundays noon until 4pm, or by appointment.
Much Hadham is popular with visitors and walkers and has many footpaths and bridleways and a ford in the village centre. Woods on the east side of the river are well worth a visit, particularly in spring when the bluebells are flowering. During the summer months many gardens are open to the public with proceeds going to local charities. An annual fete is held on August Bank Holiday.

Local man Richard Maddams, has sent some details of archaeological interest: "In the mid 1980s, While metal detecting in M/H I started finding many Roman artifacts in a field. Bronze and silver coins, Brooches, rings, knifes, Hypocaust, and over 50 other roman objects from the 1st to 4th century.  During the 1990s, Archaeological work has shown that it is the site of a previously unknown Roman villa.  Over the years I have also found, Bronze age objects, Iron age Gold coins, and many, many artifacts and coins from 1100-1700." Richard has a special historical interest in Much Hadham you may email him by clicking here: Richard Maddam

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