A Sarratt Timeline

c. 2500-2000 BC - Late Neolithic artefacts including a flint axe have been found within the confines of Sarratt parish.

c. 1800-1500 BC - Archaeological evidence has been recorded confirming the continuation of activities into the early Bronze age within the Chess Valley.

c. 1000-900 BC - Incidents of discarded bronze ‘foundry ingots’ suggest that local industries may have been caught out when the new wonder material - Iron - is discovered.

c. 100-25 BC - Late Iron age farmsteads begin to spring up in the region, utilising easy access to local rivers and the aquatic and floral environment it supports. Native ‘Belgic’ pottery sherds have been recovered from several sites along the river Chess, indicating habitation and the further possibility of small-scale local industrial activity.

c. 20BC-AD 40 - Monetary systems develop at the nearby major Iron age settlement of Verulam (St Albans), resulting in the first coins arriving in the area.

c. 50-60 - A new road is built to strengthen connections between the two existing Iron Age regional tribal centres (Silchester and St Albans) in the early years of Roman occupation. [Stead and Rigby, 1989]. Its south-westerly orientation has prompted beliefs that it passed through Sarratt parish.

c. 80-120 - The earliest rural Romano-British farmsteads develop in the Chess Valley. [Branigan, 1972]

c. 120-250 - Probably as a result of early Roman road connections, this wider region of South West Hertfordshire benefits from passing trade. Fibulae (brooches) and coin finds suggest that inhabitants were able to remain up to date with the wider Roman fashion trends. Pottery finds also indicate that locals were able to access material from even further afield, such as wares from the Nene Valley (Cambs) and Oxfordshire.

c. 275-350 - Roman villas reach their apogee during this period as continued strong monetary supply across Britain facilitates mass trade and also hoarding. Examples of both of these economic forces in action can be seen locally in the lavish splendour of Latimer Villa and also in the considerable savings revealed within the nearby ‘Stag Lane Hoard’.

c. 410-700 - This period colloquially known as the ‘Dark Ages’ has currently left little traceable evidence for study.

c. 793 - Offa, King of the Mercians is reputed to have granted lands including those around Sarratt to the Abbot of St Albans.

c. 1066 - At the time of the Norman conquest, it is probable that the region in which Sarratt is now situated, had only recently been cleared of woodland by the incumbent Abbot Leofstan in preparation for new rental and land cultivation.

October - December 1066 - William the Conqueror’s victorious army travels through this area, ravaging any and all local settlements prior to Duke William’s recognition as King of England at “Beorcham” (Berkhamsted).

c. 1070 - The ‘wife of Derlewin’ holds the lands around Sarratt for 60 shillings annual rent

1086 - Sarratt is omitted from the Domesday Book

c. 1089 - Robert the Mason, the builder of the new Norman Abbey at St Albans is granted lands in “Sareth” for his work. He later relinquishes them back to the monks.

c. 1100 - Peter, ‘cupbearer’ to the Count of Mortain is granted these lands.

c. 1135 - ‘Peter de Siret’, possibly the same individual as before, is charged an annual rental of 30 Shillings, which contributed to the construction of the St Julian Hospital near St Albans.

c. 1151-1166 - Abbot Robert Gorham grants the ‘lands of Sarret’ to his brother Ralph, against the wishes of the convent, sparking a minor monastic incident.

c. 1166 - ‘Geoffrey de Syret’ is charged 1 knight’s Fee (160 pence) for rental of these lands. Such a tax is typically evidence for a physical manor house being present in the taxable area.

September 1194 - A new church court (curia) arrives in Sarratt from St Albans Abbey

21 April 1204 - Herlewin, Bishop of Leighlin, Ireland consecrates the Church of the Holy Cross. Throughout its subsequent history, it has been associated with no fewer than three dioceses: Lincoln, Rochester and London

c. 1210-60 - The first surviving references appear for multiple tenants living in Sarratt, directly coinciding with the earliest documentary accounts of local manorial complexes (Goldingtons) and archaeological evidence in Chandlers Cross for the firing of pottery kilns. For example:

October 1238 - Ralph, son of Eustace, purchases his own father’s tenancy holding in “Saret" as he had not recently been making use of them.
1245 - Nicholas Belesmeins (“pretty-hands”) rents 15 acres by this time.
1258 - Roger, son of Alured is recorded as a fee-paying tenant

c. 1260-90 - The common rights of pasturage for Sarratt are agreed between Roger, the 24th Abbot of St Albans and Richard of Langley.

Around the same time, William, “Vicario de Sarett” appears as signatory witness to a land transfer document in the neighbouring parish of ‘Ysenamstud Cheyne’ (Chenies). He is the earliest recorded vicar for the parish.

1317-18 - Sir John de Roos, a direct descendant of one of the 25 Barons present at the sealing of Magna Carta, appears as a significant landholder in the parish during this assessment. It is likely him to whom the origins of Rose Hall farm in the north of the parish belong.

1348-49 - As the Black Death swept across Europe and into Britain late in the summer 1348, court records at Langley document the death of an ‘Elyas Parker’, a name identical to one noted in a contemporary tithe assessment of Sarratt.

c.1350-1400 - Renovations at the Church - The frieze paintings still visible in the South transept as well as the Fleur-de-lys styled glazed ‘Penn’ tiles and the sepulchre around the altar were likely installed at this time. The bell tower, unusual in its transverse alignment to the rest of the building was probably constructed later into the 15th Century.

22 March 1426 - Edmund Blakenhale is buried at the “next to his mother in the parish church of Saret” constituting one of the earliest recorded burials at the parish church.

16 May 1462 - James Roche, the incumbent vicar, is implicated in the murder of his parishioner Richard Glowcestre alongside other suspects. The body was supposedly buried outside of consecrated ground and in a ‘certain field belonging to Roger Wittone Esq.’ For this reason, it is said that James Roche absconded, his fate unknown.

1485 - Thomas Hemmyngforthe, another vicar, who unusually held the Sarratt and Rickmansworth benefices in plurality under the instructions of Pope Sixtus IV (1471-84), finds himself ejected from the church for apostasy, likely related to the spread of non-conformist ‘Lollardism’ in neighbouring Amersham at the time.

November 1552 - An inventory of property held by the parish church records three bells in the steeple, a silver 8-ounce chalice and several coloured vestments made from silk, satin and linen.

1562 - The parish church of Sarratt begins self-recording baptisms, marriages and deaths for the first time.

January 1577 - Sarratt churchwardens complain of the need for “a sufficient bible” and that “the glass wyndowes and the fence of the churchyard are in decaye”

July 1578 - The will of John Sweting provides the earliest currently known reference to ‘Sarrett grene’, and therefore an indication of the origins of what many recognise as the heart of the modern village.

August 1579 - John Butler becomes vicar, starting an eventful incumbency in which he was first forced to apologise to his congregation for admitting persons ‘lawfully excommunicated’ into his church as well as expressing ‘signs of his Puritanism’, before being furnished with a musket to counter the threat of Spanish invasion at the time of the Armada.

1595 - William Kingsley, whose alabaster effigy adorns the southern wall of the nave, purchases Rosehall Manor, thereby unifying it to the ownership of Goldingtons Manor for the next 250 years.

1606 - The Jacobean pulpit is installed in the church.

1642-49 - Local folklore tells of troop garrisons within some of the village’s older buildings, Green End Farm on the corner of the Green being one popular suggestion.

1681 - The churchwardens of Sarratt respond bluntly to enquiries regarding the attendance of laymen and women to church by stating ‘some come to church, some stay at home’ although they add ‘we have never a papist in the towne so far as we know.’

1700 - The curious bewitchment of all the three daughters of John Baldwin of Newhouse Farm begins, lasting six years before swiftly and mysteriously ending.

1778 - North Hill is rerouted to its current dogleg along ‘New Road’ - it has carried this name ever since!

c.1800-1830 - The village water pump is installed on the Green.

1842 - Production of the parish tithe map

1859 - Edward Ryley becomes rector, from which point he would start personally documenting the daily happenings of the village in the late 19th Century.

1862 - The village school is founded on the corner of Church Lane.

1864-66 - The church is restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott to avoid it falling further into ruin.

1883 - The Providence Mission Hall is founded in Dawes Lane.

1896 - The Baptist Church is founded on the Green continuing the trend of religious non-conformity in the area.

1910 - The Village ‘Institute’ is built.

1912 - Edward Ryley dies, his son Gilbert Noel Ryley assumes the role of village rector and enshrines his late father’s scrapbook into albums further continuing to update the pages with the latest reports on village life.

1914-18 - No fewer than 25 villagers would make the ultimate sacrifice during the Great War, whilst a further three would be awarded the Military Medal for personal acts of heroism. The village community elected to install iron benches around the parish in their memory, examples still exist outside the Old Wheatsheaf, by Green End Farm and in Dawes Common.

1922 - Underground water supply arrives in the village, the preceding and following decades would also see the introduction of the other main utilities.

1935 - The Oak tree standing proudly today in the centre of the Green was planted in this year to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary.

1945 - A fatal mid-air collision between a Boeing B-17G ‘ Flying Fortress’ and a C-47 ‘Dakota’ both flying out of neighbouring RAF Bovingdon takes place on 31st March, in clear skies over Sarratt. Wreckage from the B-17 falls near Whitedell Farm and blocks Bragmans Lane. 6 souls in all are lost.

1952 - Another oak tree is planted on the Green to commemorate the accession of Queen Elizabeth II.

1953 - A flag pole is added to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The pole would later move due to the encroachment from growing trees!

1958-78 - The new school is built behind the village duck pond. Further construction occurs over the next two decades.

1996 - The Sarratt Local History Society is founded, continuing the traditions of past villagers like the rectors Ryley by continuing to update their scrapbooks.

2000 - Sarratt Festival of Music is founded, hosting classical and contemporary musicians to the delight of audiences every September.

2001 - The Village Hall is refurbished for the Millennium.

2008 - ‘A Postcard from Sarratt’ is published by Philip Buller

2011 - Sarratt Post Office Stores becomes a Community Enterprise thanks to the investment of 85 local families.

2013 - Sarratt Village Stores is voted East of England Champion in the Countryside Alliance Awards