Buntingford Picture Pages

Buntingford

In the
East of Hertfordshire



Stephanie
David and Jennifer
Yours truly

Stephanie, Jennifer and David and yours truly, I do not care to guess at the dates of these pictures...


Buntingford High Street
Buntingford High Street
Buntingford High Street

The small market town of Buntingford is built around the ancient Roman Road of Ermine Street, one of the four major routes of old England. Connecting London with Lincoln and York, the section from Huntingdon through Royston and Buntingford and south to Wadesmill was the first turnpike road in the country.


Buntingford High Street
Buntingford High Street
Buntingford High Street


The area Buntingford now occupies is part of the old parish of Layston (mentioned in the Doomsday Book) all that remains of Layston today is the Church (pictured below). The earliest reference to Buntingford was in 1185 when it was mentioned in records of land owned by the Knights Templar.


Buntingford High Street
Buntingford High Street
Buntingford High Street


The name seems to have originated from a local tribe called the "Bunta" and the Ford on the river Rib between Buntingford and Layston. At its peak the town boasted fifteen coaching inns and taverns, located as it was at the junction of Ermine Street and the cross country road to Baldock in the west and Colchester in the east, (Via Puckeridge) it was destined to flourish and it did.


Clock Tower
One Handed Clock
The rare 16th century turret one-handed clock on one of the many former coaching inns along the High Street, this one was originally the The Angel Inn. The clock was originally wound by chains hanging down to the passage below which once lead to the stables and now leads to the town car park! .... How time marches on.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to be taken up to the clock tower to see the new workings and the remains of the old workings, our guide told us how the children used to swing on the chains causing damage to the winding mechanism. I was eventually replaced by and electrical winding mechanism. The clock dates back to the early 1600s when minutes didn't really mean anything and had no defined measure of time. The first person to build a minute hand into a clock has been acredited to the Swiss clock maker, Jost Burgi in 1577.


Baldock Road
Technical Institute
Pictured left is Baldock Road, looking east to the junction with the High Street. A the end of the raod is the The Bull another of the High Street coaching inns. The building on the left with the small bell tower is the Technical Institute.This lovely half-brick, half-timbered building is now used as a Youth Club.

This imposing two storey 18th century building was refurbished a few years ago and had a new roof in 2008. The main room is upstairs and reminds me of some converted corn exchanges I have seen in the past, no doubt built to a similar plan...


The Bell Inn

The Bell Inn is one of many sites in Buntingford that are alleged to be haunted, some of the tales surrounding this former inn, including the sad tale of Hannah and her baby, can be read here.
A more uplifting claim to fame for this historic inn is the tale that Elizabeth 1st once stayed here on one of her many journeys north. Our local website buntingford.com has two more pictures of the Bell, one in its original form dating from 1910. Recently (within the last ten years or so - all time is relative), the owners, whilst decorating, found some artwork that they suspected might be worthy of investigation, and so it proved.

The picture above is of the archway that once lead through to the stables. Another one of the interesting aspects of this particular coaching house is the fact that thier stables were once in Baldock Road where Bell Barns is now. Did the inn have two blocks of stables? or were the original stables cleared to make way for other building, maybe trade was so good the inn needed more rooms for travellers? It is not difficult to guess why Bell Barns was so named.


Layston Church
Layston Church
Layston Church

All that remains of the ancient settlement of Layston, although the name has been kept alive. The Chancel (still under cover) was used for occasion services with the neighbouring cemetery until recently. It is being converted to living accommodation and considering its surroundings, it will make a lovely, peaceful home for someone. The cemetery is being cleared in strict accordance with the Church of England guidelines and with due respect.


Layston Church
Layston Church
Layston Church

As to the Church and the rights and wrongs of converting a Church to living accommodation I am in two minds. I think I would rather the Church was saved from irreversible decay and remained for future generations, than to slowly crumble to dusk. After all, Layston was the village long before Buntingford came into being. With the amount of unused Churches increasing, this may be the only way to preserve them. It seems the Church of England have neither the will or resources the maintain their own Churches once they become unused.


The Pigs Nose
The Pigs Nose
The Pigs Nose
Part of this building dates back to the 13th century. The present owner has lived there for thirty nine years and believes the strange name actually refers to the stretch of the River Rib that runs alongside this beautiful house. The path alongside the river is shown on the 1740 map as Pigs Snout Lane.

Table of Contents.
Swanage Picture page 1, 2.
Bridlington Picture page.
Westbury Picture page.


Return to the top of the page