Cheshunt Has A Long History

Published: 17th May 2011
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Cheshunt is a town of approximately 52,000 souls situated in Hertfordshire some 13 miles north of the centre of London. Cheshunt is classed as a dormitory town since most of the inhabitants travel into London for work on a daily basis. Situated on the A10 arterial trunk road and close to the M25 orbital motorway, access to and away from the area by road is swift and easy.

The origin of the town name is believed to come from Cestrehunt which refers to a castle built by the Romans in the Doomsday Book and was located on the main Roman road north from London (Ermine Street now part of the route of the A10 trunk road). At the time of the Norman invasion in 1066 the lands were held by Eddeva the Fair but were granted to Alan of Brittany by William I.

The parish church of St Mary the Virgin is first noted in a charter granted in 1146. However, it was substantially rebuilt between 1418 and 1448 with an unusual three stage tower and an octagonal turret.

Cheshunt also lays claim to being the home of the first passenger monorail in 1825. The ¾ mile stretch of horse drawn line was also the first to be built in Hertfordshire.

In more recent years, Cheshunt has been the home to the birth of two national institutions - Lotus Cars and Debenhams. Tesco, the UK's largest supermarket chain, has had its global headquarters in the town for many years.

Mainline trains from Cheshunt run into London Liverpool Street and Stratford giving ready access to the vast underground network of trains. For the adventurous commuter the Sustrans National Cycle Route 1 passes through the town. This route connects Dover with Shetland.

Despite its long history there are few notable former or current residents. The areas Bury Green was once home to singer Cliff Richard and Princess Elizabeth I resided for many years of her youth under the care of Sir Anthony Denny after leaving Catherine Parr's house in 1548. Richard Cromwell, third son of Oliver Cromwell and Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, died in Cheshunt in 1712. Other notables include Michael Birch, founder of the social networking site Bebo and Billy Joe Saunders, Olympic and then professional boxer.

Close by is the Great Wood Country Park which offers visitors access to a large number of trails and tracks through native woodland. For families there is the Lee Valley Park Farms which incorporates both a traditional farm with over 150 animals and a pet centre and a fully functioning dairy farm. Many activities are offered including the opportunity to milk a life size dummy cow or take a tractor and trailer ride to visit the dairy unit Holyfield Hall Farm and see how it is done for real. Cheshunt Country Park adjoins the local golf course and contains fields, woodland and a lake with toilet and refreshment facilities. For those with shopping on their mind, market day is Wednesday.

A smaller and more tranquil space is located at Withern Park in Churchgate. The bowling green is available for public use and the park contains a pleasant ornamental area.

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