SWEETINGS WOOD AN ANCIENT WOOD WHICH WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR RODE THROUGH

Henry Sweeting of Hertford

In February 1621 Henry Sweeting was baptised at All Saints Church. He grew up to become a butcher in Hertford. Although he wasn’t a resident he was known to own land in Brickendon. The land was named after him as Sweeting’s Wood and Sweeting’s house. They were formally known as Holburns Wood and Close. In 1665 Henry Sweeting surrendered his copyholds of the lands, but later rented them again which he left to his grandson who was also named Henry.

In 1647 Henry lost his father who was also named Henry, and in that same year he became one of the first Quakers in Hertford following George Fox and the preach against church rates. Henry held meetings for the Quakers in his home and became the largest contributor to the Friends Meeting House which is the oldest Quakers meeting house in the world. The meetings included the first viscount Fanshaw who was one of the chief persecutors and an MP in Hertford. Henry Sweeting had several convictions due to not paying his church rates and refusing to have his children baptised. One of his children was born while he was serving some time in jail.

The Wicked Lady

Katherine Ferrers was a resident in Brickendon. At a young age of 14, she was married against her will to Thomas Fanshawe because of inheritance. The two families Ferrers and Fanshawes are both wealthy landowners with many properties in Hertforshire. Katherine eventually got bored with her married life and her husband who wasn’t around, she turned to highwayman robbery along with Ralph Chaplin. Chaplin was hanged for the crimes but Katherine carried on until she was fatally wounded. Her body was soon discovered outside of her residence by the servants and was buried in St Mary’s Church in Ware. There was no evidence to connect her to the highwayman crimes, but it is said that her ghost still walks among Nomansland Common.

The full story can be found at this link – The Wicked Lady

Ermine Street

Ermine street is a roman road that leads from London to Lincoln and to York. Part of this road can be found in the Broxbourne Nature Reserve Trail. Ermine street is a total of 192 miles long.

William the conqueror used Ermine street route for a march after his victory at the battle of the Hastings.

Oliver Cromwell is said to have used Ermine street on route to suppress a mutiny at Ware.

In the national nature reserve trail, a Roman Solider figure stands to represent the thousands of troops who marched along the road almost 2,000 years ago.
The Roman Solider statue is named as the Roman Legionnaire and throughout the trail you find other Roman statues that shows where Roman families had built houses along the Ermine street road.

The Broxbourne nature reserve guide can be found at this link.
Broxbourne nature guide