Road Names of Harpenden

Photo:"Uxbridge Terrace", 1 - 8 Amenbury Lane cottages

"Uxbridge Terrace", 1 - 8 Amenbury Lane cottages

J Haggard, 1981, LHS archives, cat. no. DS/LC 75

Their Origins

Simon Cotton

Transcribed by Barbara Cotton from research records kept by her late husband Simon Cotton in the 1980s, with reference to The Place-Names of Hertfordshire (PNH) & Workers Educational Association/History Publishing Society booklets 1973-91 (HPH ).  Current roads highlighted in bold. 

There is scope for additions and corrections to this page!  Please add your comments - these can be incorporated into the text in due course.

ALDWICK ROAD: Aldewyk 1432 PNH

ALZEY GARDENS: Alzey is Harpenden's twin town in Germany

AMENBURY LANE: Also known as Freeman's Lane: 'there used to be at the top of the lane a man named Freeman who was clerk at the church before Mr Griffkins. He said "Amen" (loudly/before anyone else) in church, and some people called it Freeman's Lane and some Amen Lane'. Now it has become Amenbury Lane.  It was also known as Bruton's Lane and Hay Lane.  Shown on the plan for the sale of the St Nicholas Estate 1897 as Park Lane; but on the the sale particulars (Holyoak) 1886, as Crouch Lane, otherwise Amenbury Lane. (vide NL 45)

AMBROSE LANE: Henry Ambroys 1307 PNH

AYRES END: Thomas Ayre 16th c 1597 Aries End in 1705 PNH

Photo:Batchelor's Row, Church Green

Batchelor's Row, Church Green

LHS archive, B 1.35

BACHELORS ROW: Road fronting on to Church Green (now M&S + flats above).

BACK LANE: Census of 1851 to 1881 - location?

BAMVILLE WOOD:  Richard de Bamfeld 1272 PNH

BARTON CLOSE:  See also Wroxham Way, Oulton Rise, Hickling Way, Waveney Road.   All presumably derived from the Broads.

BATFORD: Batford Mill is molenedin de Batteford 1206 PNH

BEECHING CLOSE: Dr Beeching was the chairman of British Railways who made major cuts in the railway system in the 1960s. Beeching Close is built on land previously used for the Great Northern Line through Harpenden.

Photo:Bowers House from "The Music School" (Orchid Restaurant), c. 1920

Bowers House from "The Music School" (Orchid Restaurant), c. 1920

LHS archives, cat.no. B 1.17

BOWERS PARADE: Bowers House called Bowers 1533 PNH

BREADCROFT: Brederofte Close in 1598 PNH

BRUTON LANE: The top part of Amenbury Lane

BURTON ROAD: Became part of Park Avenue North in 1925

CARLTON ROAD: Named after Carlton-on-Trent, the home town of the developer. (Jane Meiklejohn to SAC 1978)

CARPENDERS CLOSE: The Carpenters were an important yeoman family holding land at Kinsbourne Green from the 15th century. (HPH p.70-2)

CHURCH ROW: The west side of Church Green (see also Bachelors Row)

COLES LANE: Belgic trackway running from the Lea up Coles Lane/Dark Lane to the Ver near Redbournbury (HPH p15)

COOTERSEND LANE: John and Edith le Cotere 1272 PNH

CROFTWELL: Was to have been named Wellcroft after a local field but because of the risk of confusion with Dellcroft the order of the two was reversed.

CROSS LANE: Cross Farm Alexander de Cruce 1287 PNH

CROSS STREET (not ROAD): Name of road from Heath Road into heart of Bowling Alley, demolished in late 1950s.

CROSSWAY: in 1914 known as Cross Road Kellys' Directory

CROUCH LANE: otherwise known as Amenbury Lane

DEVONSHIRE ROAD: Name used on plan for the sale of St Nicholas estate 1897 for the road now known as Longcroft Avenue. Presumably dropped because of the 'other' DEVONSHIRE ROAD running into Cornwall Road.

DOUGLAS ROAD: Named after the developer Douglas Willmot, a member of the an old Harpenden family who later moved to Westcliffe-on-Sea. (Colin Curl – Forum no 21)

FALCONERS FIELD: Faulkerner's Farm from John Fawkener 1390

FALLOWS GREEN: Fellows Green 1840 Tithe Award

FEMALE LANE: The lane passed Maples Cottages

FREEMANS LANE: See Amenbury Lane

GUESS'S LANE: Named after Mr Guess, farmer who left Roundwood in 1907. Was New Farm Lane before 1911. Re-named Roundwood Lane. (Geoff Woodward)

GILPIN GREEN: A happy choice for the extension to Cowper Road.

GRAFTON ROAD: Shown on the plan for the 1897 sale of the St Nicholas Estate as the name for the road parallel to – and above - Maple Road. Presumably named after the Duke of Grafton.

GRANBY AVENUE: The Marquis of Granby pub is at the bottom of Crabtree Lane.

GRANT GARDENS: Named after the after Cecil Grant the founder of St George's School. 

GROVE ROAD: The Grove – Richard ate Grove 1272 PNH

HALDEN LANE: Shown on Mansell's field map of the Rothamsted Estate 1623. The road is described as leading from Harpenden to Harpenden Burye and shown as skirting Sawyers and Whitlocks fields.  Original map is in Hertfordshire County Record Office (D/ELW P1) A copy by Ruth Haines appears on p 46 of New Men and a New Society (HPH). Route corresponds to Townsend Lane.

HAMMONDSEND: A Thomas Hamond appeared in the Assize Rolls for 1287 HPH

HARDING PARADE: Named after R.G.Harding, auctioneer (Authy: Ronald Gregory in 'The Harpenden I Remember before 1914' p.4), when 1 Arden Road was demolished and parade of shops built in 1963.

HATCHING GREEN: Was Hatchen End 1610 and was the home of John ate Hacche (PNH)

HAY LANE: see Amenbury Lane. The road above the cottages in Amenbury Lane is now called Hay Lane

HOLCROFT ROAD: Holcroft Spring is Holcroft 1379 (spring is a copse in Middle English)  

JAMESON ROAD: First appears on the map in 1898, three years after the Jameson Raid.

KIMPTON ROAD: Former name of Westfield Road   (Authy: Plan of Westfield Estate, June 1904)

KINSBOURNE GREEN: Kenesberne 1201, probably ME berne from OE burial place hence Cyne's burial place.

KIRKDALE ROAD: Built on the Kirk Wick (i.e. Church Field) adjacent to the house named Kirkwick, (later Gleneagle Hotel).

LINDEN ROAD: Name shown on the plan for sale of St Nicholas Estate 1897 for the beginning of Park Avenue South

LONG BUFTLERS: Thought to be a mis-spelling of a field called Bustlers (the long S went out of use before 1810).

LONGFIELD ROAD: 1784 Named because of the shape of the field. HPH

LONGCROFT AVENUE : See Devonshire Road, which was the name given on the 1897 plan for the sale of the St Nicholas estate.

MANLAND: Was Mandilon in 1306, possible that this land provided the Maundy dole distributed to the poor on Maundy Thursday PNH

MAPLE ROAD: Named after Sir Blundell Maple, owner of Childwickbury and proprietor of Maples furniture business in Tottenham Court Road. (Forum no 21)

MORETON END LANE: was Mutton End Lane (q.v.)

MUD LANE: see also Townsend Lane

MUD LANE: lane from Three Horseshoes pub, Bamville Farm on East Common to Ayres End Lane.  Was Sears Lane.

MUTTON END LANE: Original name of  Moreton End Lane   (q.v.) Appears in this form in 1750 Rental (Gover); and in auction particulars 10 July 1891

NEWCOME STREET: Original name for Park Hill, renamed in 1927.

NOKE SHOT: the name of a long (strip) field on Pickford Common, probably containing an Oak tree, before it was developed as part of the Batford housing estate.

NORTHFIELD ROAD: Le Northfield 1346 PNH

OX LANE: Mentioned in the will of Thomas Nicholas of Harpenden 28 Dec 1598

PARK AVENUE: See Burton Road and Linden Road

PARK HILL: Originally Newcome Street (q.v.)

PARK LANE: Name given to Amenbury Lane on the plan for the sale of St Nicholas Estate in 1897

PARK MOUNT: Originally just the upper part of Symington Street (q.v.), but in 1938 the residents of Symington Street asked for the whole road to be called Park Mount (Geoff Woodward)

PHYSIC ROW: Name, probably nickname for Queen's Road (q.v.) which consisted origially of six cottages belonging to Dr Kingston. (Edwin Gray, Cottage Life p.18)

PICKFORD: Pickford Mill is Molendin de Pykeford 1306 PNH.  Pic means spur of land (HPH)

PIGGOTTS HILL: William Picot 1201

PIPERS AVENUE: Adam Pipard 1255 PNH

PORTERS HILL: Porter's End from Richard Porter 1342 PNH

PROVIDENCE PLACE: Part of Walkers Road on the Southdown triangle – see pre 1930 Map and Guide issued by Golby, auctioneers and estate agents.

QUEENS ROAD: Originally known as Physic Row (q.v.)

ROTHAMSTED: Rochehamested 1210 Rook- frequented homestead PNH

ROUNDWOOD LANE: Originally Gess's Lane(q.v.)

SAUNCEY AVENUE: On 1913 map called Manland Avenue.

Sauncy Wood is Saunsette 1333 PNH

ST ANDREWS AVENUE: An auction on 29.05.1901 included one house in Kirkwick Avenue called St Andrews.

SHEPHERDS WAY: The Shepherds feature in records from 1634 onwards. (Story of Harpenden p.10)

SIBLEY AVENUE: There are references to Sibleys at least as early as 1623 (HPH Appx3 vii)

SOUTHDOWN ROAD: was WHEATHAMPSTEAD ROAD until 1923.

STACKHOUSE LANE: c. 1840 - location?

STAKERS LANE: See Station Road. Henry Staker was a brickmaker in 1724 (HPH p.172).  It seems that Staker's Lane, unlike Station Road, ran up the track behind Carlton Bank, because the sale of the Carlton Bank properties described them as being between Station Road and Stakers Lane. (Authy: Cornelia Clutterbuck 30.11.86)

STATION ROAD: Formerly Stakers Lane. Renamed Station Road in 1892

STEWART ROAD: Sir Halley Stewart lived in the Red House at the end of the road. He offered it to Harpenden in 1938. (Story of Harpenden p.321)

STREET LANE - location?

Photo:Sun Lane, before widening, c.1920

Sun Lane, before widening, c.1920

LHS archives, cat.no. B 2.72

SUN LANE: So described in 1747. The pub 'The Sun', now the Red Cow did not come until 1799. (Amy Coburn).  Also evidence for the Sun pub at the corner of Sun Lane and High Street from about 1637; owned by Hawkins family in the 1780s, and closed either in about 1800 or 1877 (Geoff Woodward)

SYMINGTON STREET: In response to a petition from residence in the road the Council agreed that the street should be incorporated with Park Mount.  (Herts Advertiser 16.09.38)

TALLENTS CRESCENT: Tallent's Farm – Richard Tarant 1294 PNH

THOMPSONS CLOSE: Once known as Vinegar Lane (q.v.)

TOPSTREET WAY: Topstreet Farm was Toppystret in 1436 PNH

TOWNSEND LANE: Townsend Lane was usually known as Mud Lane  (Miss K Warrington's entry in the "I Remember" competition 1979.)  See Halden Lane

TYLERS: "Named after our building manager" (E. Perrott of Royce in a letter to Simon Cotton 31.03.78)

VAUGHAN ROAD: 1859 Edward Thomas Vaughan was the first Rector of Harpenden.

VINEGAR LANE: Nickname for Thompson's Close. There are various explanations: a) smell from the brewery in Lower High Street;  b) character of the shopkeeper at the general store.

WALKERS ROAD: Mr Walker had a straw plait factory at Gorselands (Edwin Grey – Cottage Life p.1).  Referred to as SMITHY LANE in 1909 on sewer-pipe plan

WELLCROFT: Was changed to CROFTWELL in 1962 in order to avoid confusion with DELLCRIFT

WESTFIELD ROAD: At one time known as Kimpton Road (q.v.) Westfield 1390 PNH.  It was the westernmost of Westminster Abbey's open fields in the Lea valley, even though it is in the north-east corner of Harpenden parish. (HPH)

WHEATHAMPSTEAD ROAD: became Southdown Road in 1923

WILLOUGHBY ROAD: The name of a curate at All Saints Church, Coldharbour Lane, who died 'rather suddenly' in 1919 (C.W.Curl Forum no.21)

WINDMILL LANE: Former name (unofficial?) of Thrales End Lane where there was a windmill. (Flora Humm 22.11.87)

WOODEND LANE: Woodend Farm was probably the home of Robert Ate Wode 1390 PNH

Compiled by Simon Cotton 1980's - with later additions and corrections.

This page was added by Diana Parrott on 20/03/2012.
Comments about this page

I have an odd little snippet on the origin of St Andrews Avenue. My father James Gordon Logan was born on 20.01.1918 in "St Andrews" which his birth certificate says was in Longcroft Avenue not Kirkwick. The house either belonged to or was lent to the Egypt General Mission of which at the time my grandfather John Gordon Logan was Secretary. Shortly afterwards they moved to Highbury and I have no further information on what happened to "St Andrews". I wish I had!

By Alison Logan
On 24/04/2012

Cross Road is wrong, it was Cross Street. For years it was the only "street" in Harpenden other than High Street. 

Thank you for pointing this out - we have edited the list. ed

By Roger Clark
On 19/06/2012

I was born in Lea Road in 1939, presumably this is a connection to the River Lea.

Ed: Yes, probably, but can anyone confirm this?

By Janet Seabrook
On 03/07/2012

I spent my childhood in Batford. From 1954 onwards we lived at the junction of Porters Hill and Noke Shot. I have often wondered about the origin of the name Noke Shot, can anybody help with this?

ed. We have made an entry for Noke Shot in the main list - a 'shot' was a long field, typically in a former mediaeval open field.

By Robert Paul Brunton
On 11/12/2012

I have very fond memories of Harpenden from the 1950's and early 1960's. When very young I stayed with my uncle and aunt somewhere on West Common I think (Myrtle Cottage). This was subsequently bought (again I think) under compulsory purchase when they bought a house in Aley Green (Sunniside). Coming from the north of England I thought I had come to a place called heaven. Does anyone know of a map that would actually have the cottage on it? I am unsure which road it would have been on, but I know we used to walk the dogs across the common with the lights of Harpenden main street in the distance. Congratulations on such an interesting site.

Ed   We apologise for taking over two months to find the answer to this query, which can be found in a page on Myrtle Cottage. We enjoyed tracking this to Queen's Road on the eastern side of Harpenden Common.

By Dor Wilson
On 23/05/2013

Kirkdale Road, where I lived for about 20 years or more in the 1940s, 50s and 60s is not listed. Why not?

ed. A house called "Kirkwick" was built in the NE corner of the Kirk Wick (i.e. Church Field), bounded by Luton Road and Townsend Lane. Subsequently this house expanded to become the Gleneagle Hotel.

Kirkdale was chosen as the name for the road later developed south of "Kirkwick".

The original list of road names drawn up by Simon Cotton concentrated on older roads. We are always pleased to consider derivations submitted for any roads so far un-listed.

By Sandra
On 07/05/2013

Grant Gardens on Stewart Road. Named after Cecil Grant the founder of St George's School ?

ed.  Yes certainly, as it backs on to St George`s School. Thank you for this addition which we are adding to the list

By Chris
On 21/05/2013

Edwin Grey's book Cottage Life In a Hertfordshire Village explains how Crabtree Lane got its name . There used to be a pond at the entrance to Crabtree Lane with a large crabapple tree overhanging it.

By Christine Rice
On 04/06/2013

'Female Lane' only appears on the Dury & Andrews map of 1766 and appears to be 'Three Mile Lane' both misheard and misplaced. It is placed over a dotted line on the map which is actually the parish boundary - also misplaced! For more details see my article on Female Lane in the Society's Newsletter 103, page 20.

By John Wassell
On 11/06/2013

Yet another name for Amenbury Lane. In the 1871 census it is called Hales Lane (was this Hay's Lane mis-heard or mis-transcribed or vice versa perhaps?).

From information supplied by Rothamsted's archivist (copy hold) and John Wassell (tithe awards)Bruton's Lane presumably comes from the names of fields abutting the lane i.e Hither, Middle and Further Bruton fields and as these fields abut onto both legs of Amenbury Lane presumably it may not have been just the upper part that was called Brutons.  In fact since Further Bruton's was also called Back Lane field the upper part was possibly known as Back Lane.

Unfortunately there was also a Back Lane at Coldharbour (1861 census)  near the GNR station or was that what is now Ox Lane?

By Diana Parrott
On 10/12/2013

Geoff Woodward tells me that Mallard Mews was so named because for many years a mallard nested in the garden area by Jarvis's office at 212 Station Road, and successfully raised chicks which then had to be led across Station Road to the river. I do remember the traffic having to stop to let them cross but hadn't connected the name of the close with that particular duck.

By Diana Parrott
On 05/03/2014

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