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Wheathampstead (St. Helen)

WHEATHAMPSTEAD (St. Helen), a parish, in the union of St. Alban's, hundred of Dacorum, county of Hertford, 5 miles (N. N. E.) from St. Alban's; containing 1871 inhabitants. The rebellious barons here assembled their forces against Edward II., in 1311, on which occasion two nuncios, sent by the pope, endeavoured to restore peace between the contending parties, when the papal authority was rejected by the former. The parish comprises 4999a. 2r. 30p., of which 3543 acres are arable, 714 pasture and wood, 473 in homesteads and gardens, and 26S common and waste. The St. Alban's races are held on the ground called No-man's Land, which extends into this parish. The living is a rectory, with that of Harpenden annexed, valued in the king's books at £42. 1. 10½.; net income, £1356; patron, the Bishop of Lincoln. The incumbent's tithes have been commuted for £770; the glebe comprises 40 acres, and a rent-charge of £576 is payable to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. The church is a cruciform structure, chiefly of early English character, with a central tower, and contains 500 sittings, of which 200 are free; the font is a curious specimen of the early decorated style. There is a place of worship for Independents. James Marshall, in 1719, bequeathed some property, the rental of which, amounting to £184. 15. per annum, is equally divided between the parishes of Wheathampstead and Harpenden, and expended in apprenticing children. John Bostock, abbot of St. Alban's, a learned divine and poet in the time of Henry VI., was born here, and was commonly called John of Wheathampstead.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.

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