Bishop’s Hatfield is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Hertfordshire. Totteridge is a chapelry of Bishop’s Hatfield.

Other places in the parish include: Newgate Street, Roe Green, and Woodside.

Alternative names: Hatfield, Hatfield Newtown, Bishops-Hatfield, Hatfield-Bishops

Parish church: St. Ethelreda

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1653
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1604

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Independent/Congregational, Primitive Methodist, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Adjacent Parishes

Parish History

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

HATFIELD, or Bishops-Hatfield, a small town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district in Herts. The town stands on a declivity, and on the Great Northern railway, at a junction of branch railways to Hertford, St. Albans, and Dunstable, near the river Lea, 7 miles WSW of Hertford. It is an ancient place; has a modern suburb, ½ a mile to the W, called Hatfield New Town; is a seat of petty sessions and a polling place; and has a head post-office, a railway station with telegraph, two good inns, a market house, a police station, militia barracks, a church, an Independent chapel, a public library, an endowed school, alms houses, and a workhouse. The church is an ancient edifice, with an embattled tower and a handsome new spire; comprises nave, aisles, and chancel, together with a chapel of the Cecil family, Earls and Marquises of Salisbury; and contains monuments of the Cecils, the Botelers, the Brockets, and the Reads. One of the Cecil monuments, that of the first Earl of Salisbury, is a beautiful structure, supported by figures of the four cardinal virtues. A weekly market is held on Thursday; fairs are held on 23 April and 18 Oct.; and some business is done in connexion with neighbouring silk and paper mills. The parish contains also the hamlets of Roe-Green, Newgate-Street, and woodside. Acres, 12, 619. Real property, £23, 457. Pop., 3, 871. Houses, 758. The manor belonged to the Saxon kings; was given by them to Ely abbey; passed, in 1108, to the Bishops of Ely; went, in the time of Henry VIII., to the Crown; was exchanged, by James I., with the Cecils, for Theobalds; and belongs now to the Marquis of Salisbury. An ancient palace of the Bishops of Ely stood here; was the place of Edward VI. ‘s residence, when he was called to the throne; was the place also of Elizabeth’s residence, when she was called to the throne, and for several years before; and has left some remains. An oak tree, under which Elizabeth sat, awaiting a military escort to London, is still in the park. Hatfield House, now the seat of the Marquis of Salisbury, succeeded the palace; was built by Sir Robert Cecil, afterwards Earl of Salisbury; underwent restoration by Thorpe; is a large Tudor structure, in brick, with enrichments of stone; consists of a centre and projecting wings, with four turrets at the angles; has, in the centre, a rich Grecian colonnade, and a lofty tower; is a very fine specimen of the domestic architecture of its age; contains a valuable collection of pictures and curiosities; suffered some damage by fire, in 1835, when the Dowager Marchioness was burnt to death; was visited, in 1846, by Queen Victoria; underwent recent restorations and embellishments, at a cost of 50, 000; has beautiful grounds; and commands charming views. Brocket Hall belonged formerly to Viscount Melbourne: was visited, in his time, by Queen Victoria; and is now the seat of Viscount Palmerston. The living is a rectory, united with the chapelry of Totteridge, in the diocese of Rochester. Value, £2, 097. Patron, the Marquis of Salisbury. Four churches, besides the mother one, are in the parish, at respectively Woodhill, Newgate-Street, Lemsford-Mills, and Hatfield-Hyde; the last erected in 1862, the other three also recent. There is a national school in Woodside.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

HATFIELD, BISHOP’S (St. Ethelreda), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Broadwater, county of Hertford, 7 miles (W. S. W.) from Hertford, and 19 (N. N. W.) from London, on the great north road; containing 3646 inhabitants. This place, called by the Saxons Heathfield, from its situation on a heath, was a demesne of the crown till it was given by King Edgar to the monastery of St. Ethelreda, at Ely; and that religious foundation having been converted into a bishopric by Henry I., in 1108, the parish thence received the prefix to its name. The bishops had a palace here, which was rebuilt by John Morton, who held the see from 1478 to 1486. Henry VIII. having obtained the manor by exchange, the palace became a royal residence; and from it Edward VI. and Elizabeth were conducted to London to take possession of the throne, after the death of their respective predecessors; the latter, during the reign of Mary, having been kept here in confinement. Part of the old palace, which was exchanged by James I. with Robert, Earl of Salisbury, for Theobalds Park, near Cheshunt, is still remaining, with the old entrance gateway; and there is also a venerable oak in the park, called Queen Elizabeth’s oak, about one mile from the palace, supposed to be so named as the boundary of the distance to which that princess was allowed to walk, while kept prisoner by Queen Mary. Hatfield House, the property and residence of the Marquess of Salisbury, a noble and spacious mansion of brick and stone, surmounted by a tower, and seated on a commanding eminence, forms an interesting and conspicuous object on entering the town; it was built by Robert Cecil, first earl of Salisbury, between the years 1605 and 1611. A lamentable fire occurred on Nov. 27th, 1835, when the Dowager Marchioness perished in the flames. In October 1846 the marquess was visited here by Her Majesty.

The town is situated on the declivity of a steep hill, to the west of the river Lea, and consists of one principal street intersected by a smaller one, both of which are, during the winter months, lighted with oil. A silk-mill, worked by a steam-engine, furnishes employment to about 200 persons, chiefly children; and there is a paper-mill on the river. The great railway from London to York will pass by the town. The market is on Thursday; and fairs are held on April 23rd and October 18th. The town is within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, who hold a petty-session here for the division; and a court leet is held by the Marquess of Salisbury, as lord of the manor. The parish comprises 12,543a. 2r. 25p., of which 6766 acres are arable, 3621 meadow, 1237 woodland, and the remainder the site of the town, glebe, roads, and waste. The living is a rectory, with that of Totteridge annexed, valued in the king’s books at £36. 2. 1., and in the gift of the Marquess: the tithes have been commuted for £1876. 12., and the glebe comprises 108 acres. The church stands upon the summit of the hill on which the town is situated: north of the chancel is the sepulchral chapel of the marquess’ family, containing a fine marble monument to Robert Cecil, first earl of Salisbury, and lord high treasurer in the reign of James I.; on the south side is a chapel belonging to the proprietor of Brocket Hall, in the parish. There is a place of worship for Independents; also a school of industry for girls, with an endowment given in 1733, by Anne, Countess of Salisbury; and six almshouses for widows, founded and endowed by the families of Boteler and Salisbury. The poor law union of Hatfield consists of 4 parishes and places, with a population of 6055.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848

Parish Records

Search Results for FamilySearch Catalog

Use for:
England, Hertfordshire, Bishops-Hatfield
England, Hertfordshire, Hatfield-Bishops
England, Hertfordshire, Woodhill

England, Hertfordshire, Hatfield – Cemeteries ( 4 )
Ayott St. Peter & Lemsford monumental inscriptions
Author: Busby, Richard J.

Monumental inscriptions
Author: Osborn, Alen E.

Monumental inscriptions, Bishop’s Hatfield
Author: Hall, H. R. Wilton

Monumental inscriptions, Hatfield, Hertford, England : abt. 1600-1900

England, Hertfordshire, Hatfield – Census ( 1 )
Census returns for Hatfield, 1841-1891
Author: Great Britain. Census Office

England, Hertfordshire, Hatfield – Church records ( 9 )
Bishop’s transcripts for Hatfield, 1604-1875
Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Hatfield (Hertfordshire)

Bishop’s transcripts for Lemsford, 1859-1868
Author: Church of England. Chapelry of Lemsford (Hertfordshire)

Bishop’s transcripts for St. Mark’s Church, Hatfield, 1855-1869
Author: Church of England. St. Mark’s Church (Hatfield, Hertfordshire)

Bishop’s transcripts for St. Mary’s Church, Hatfield, 1863-1879
Author: Church of England. St. Mary’s Church (Hatfield, Hertfordshire)

Burials for Bishops-Hatfield, 1678-1950
Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Bishops-Hatfield (Hertfordshire)

Parish register transcripts, 1609-1740
Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Hatfield (Hertfordshire); Hall, Milton; Brigg, William, 1858-1921

Parish registers for Ponsbourne, 1863-1901
Author: Church of England. Chapelry of Ponsbourne (Hertfordshire)

Parish registers, 1855-1954
Author: Church of England. St. Mark’s Church (Hatfield, Hertfordshire)

Register of births & baptisms, 1823-1854, and burials, 1846-1920, and monumental inscriptions
Author: Park Street Chapel (Hatfield); Gray, Henry W.

England, Hertfordshire, Hatfield – Church records – Indexes ( 2 )
Computer printout of Hatfield, Herts., Eng

Parish register printouts of Hatfield, Hertford, England ; christenings, 1604-1875
Author: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Genealogical Department

England, Hertfordshire, Hatfield – History ( 2 )
Bishop’s Hatfield, some memories of its past
Author: Antrobus, Jocelyn J.

Hatfield and its people : the story of a new town, a garden city, an old village, a historic house, the farms and the countryside in a Hertfordshire parish
Author: Workers’ Educational Association. Hatfield Branch

England, Hertfordshire, Hatfield – Land and property – History ( 1 )
Gobions estate, North Mymms, Hertfordshire
Author: Kingsford, Peter; Bisgrove, Richard; Jonas, Linda

England, Hertfordshire, Hatfield – Military records – Militia ( 1 )
Militia lists, parish of Hatfield
Author: Hill, John

England, Hertfordshire, Hatfield – Poorhouses, poor law, etc. ( 1 )
Admission and discharge book, 1829-1899
Author: Great Britain. Poor Law Union (Hatfield)

England, Hertfordshire, Hatfield – Vital records ( 1 )
Register of births, 1847-1910; death, 1846-1907; creed register, 1886- 1901
Author: Hatfield Workhouse (Hertfordshire)

View Records


  • County: Hertfordshire
  • Civil Registration District: Hatfield
  • Probate Court: Court of the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon (Hitchin Division)
  • Diocese: Post-1844 – Rochester, Pre-1845 – Lincoln
  • Rural Deanery: Hertford
  • Poor Law Union: Hatfield
  • Hundred: Broadwater
  • Province: Canterbury

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