Setting the North Mymms Parish boundaries in the 18th century

Photograph of a parish boundary marker in Leggatts estate (North Mymms side). Image from The Peter Miller Collection
A parish boundary marker, approx 2ft high in Leggatts estate (North Mymms side)
Image by Bill Killick, taken in 1982 - from The Peter Miller Collection

In the mid 1700s, the area east of the Great North Road (A1000) as it passed through North Mymms was common land, known as the North Mymms, Northaw, and Cheshunt Commons. This was land where commoners - those who didn't have their own land - were allowed to graze their livestock and gather fuel. At that time, the boundaries between North Mymms and Northaw were unclear, so the Lords of the two Manors agreed a dividing line, marked it on the ground, drew a map, and decided to make it all legal with a private Act of Parliament.

The late Bill Killick wrote about the events in the November 2000 edition of the former North Mymms Local History Society's newsletter. The piece has been reproduced below with higher resolution images and links added.


North Mymms / Northaw Parish Boundary 1757


Photograph of a parish boundary marker in Leggatts estate (Northaw side). Image from the Images Of North Mymms Collection
A parish boundary marker approx 2ft high in Leggatts estate (Northaw side)
Image by Bill Killick, taken in 1982, part of the Images Of North Mymms Collection

Before the enclosure of the North Mymms Common by the Act of Parliament 1778, there was an extensive area of open land east of that section of the Great North Road, from Bell Bar to Swanley Bar. It consisted of three Commons: North Mymms, Northaw and Cheshunt.

North Mymms Common, of some 700 acres, extended from Bell Bar in the North to 500 yards south of Swanley Bar, and from a few yards west of the Great North Road, eastwards to the Parish boundary; which boundary was of course also the western boundary of the Parish of Northaw.

There was no physical barrier between the two parishes and as, in 1757, the bounds had not been 'beaten' for 12 years, the Lords of the two Manors decided to agree the boundary, mark it on the ground, draw a plan and fix it legally by Private Act of Parliament. The Lord of the Manor of North Mymms was Thomas Osborne 4th Duke of Leeds and the Lord of the Manor of Northaw was John Leman Esq. and together they petitioned Parliament.

Notes taken from the House of Lords Journal:-

Veneris (Friday) 18 February 1757

"Upon reading the petition of the Most Noble Thomas Duke of Lees, Lord of the Manors of North Mimms in the County of Hertford, and of John Leman Esq., Lord of the Manor of Northaw in the same County: praying leave to bring in a Bill for ascertaining the Rights and Boundaries of the said Manors, agreeable to a plan of the said Bounds in such Manner as this House shall seem meet.

"It is ordered, That the Consideration of the said Petition be, and is hereby referred to the Lord chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer and Mr Justice Clive; who are forth with to summon all Parties concerned in the Bill; and after hearing them, are to report to the House the state of the Case, with their Opinion thereupon, under their hands, and whether all Parties who may be concerned in the Consequences of the Bill have signed the Petition; and also that the Judges, having perused the Bill, do sign the same."

Result: Act of Parliament: 30 Geo. II 87-45.

Photograph of boundary plan, From The Peter Miller Collection

Photograph of boundary plan, From The Peter Miller Collection
Photographs of boundary plan, from The Peter Miller Collection

The plan, see image above in two parts, approximately 3ft. long, was attached to the Act and shows 1.25 miles of the boundary, running north-south at a scale of about 26 ins to 1 mile. It shows the locations of 13 stone markers placed strategically along the boundary. On the back of the plan is written:-

"We whose names are hereunder subscribed Lords and copyholders of the Manors of North Mimms and Northaw in the County of Hertford do herby admit that the above plan contains the true and ancient boundaries of the said Manors of North Mimms and Northaw Commons in the said County as witness our hand this 19th day of January 1757."

Signed by about 50 people.

Ref: Herts County Record Office, 63799 Munimenta Antiqua Vol 1.

Bill Killick




Online editor's note: Links and updated images have been added to Bill Killick's piece, otherwise it is as it appeared in the newsletter in 2000.



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