Adjacent Parishes:  Benington, Datchworth, Shephall, Stevenage, Walkern, Watton-at-Stone

It is in the Broadwater Hundred and Hertford Union


Detail of Charles Smith's map of Hertfordshire, 1808

ASTON is a parish and village. near the Great North road. bounded on the east; by the river Beane, which forms part of the eastern boundary of the parish, which is 21 miles north-east from Knebworth station on the Great Northern railway,. 4 south-east from Stevenage and 6 north-west from Welwyn, in the Northern division of the county, Broadwater hundred. Stevenage petty sessional division,. Hertford union and county court district, in the rural deanery of Bennington and archdeaconry and diocese of St. Albans. The church of St. Mary the Virgin is an ancient edifice of flint and stone, consisting of chancel, nave of three bays. north aisle, south porch and an embattled western tower containing 6 bells; the tenor was added to the peal at Christmas; 1889, by Major Peter Lawrence Gordon "in memory of Sophia Gordon. Evelyn Meadows Gordon and Sir James Davidson Gordon K.C.S.I. some time private secretary to Lord Lawrence and judicial Commissioner of Mysore and Coorg, d. 1889:" the chancel and nave exhibit portions of Early English work; the tower and west window, with the open timber roofs and chancel screen, are Perpendicular: the stained east window is a memorial to James Lewis Walker Venables, who died Jan, 8th, 1852, and his sister. Caroline Maria Venables, d. 1896; and there are other memorial windows to the Hudson and Venables families, and to George Augustus and Anne Oddie. d. 1883, erected by their children; on the north side is a stained window containing a figure of the Virgin. presented in 1883 by a pupil at Aston rectory: the reredos is of alabaster: a new rail, inclosing the sacrarium was given in 1896 by :Major Scudamore and Mrs. Oddie: the brass eagle lectern was presented by Major H. F. Low in memory of his wife. who died in 1908: on a floor stone in the nave are brass effigies with inscription to "John Kent, late servant to King Edwarde the Sixt, Queene Mary and Queene. Elizabeth," and Mary (Saunders) his wife and their to children; he died 4th August, 1592; another brass commemorates Susannah Reeve, ob. Dec. 1685: there is also a brass to George Scudamore Oddie, son of the rector, who died in India in 1909: the church was restored in 1883, at a cost or over £1,200, under the direction of Mr. W. O. Milne, architect of London, and the churchyard -at the same time enlarged by the gift of land from the rector: there are 234 sittings, 162 being free. The register dates from the year 1558. The living is n rectory, net yearly value £323, with residence and 15½ acres of glebe, in the gift of and held since 1877 by the Rev. George Venables Oddie B.A., of St. John's College, Cambridge. A parish room, adjoining the school, was erected by subscription as a Jubilee memorial in 1887 for the use of the parishioners. Here is an undenominational mission room. Aston Bury, an old manor house of red brick with quaint twisted chimneys, now the property and residence of Vernon A.. Malcolmson esq formerly belonged to the Bote1ers, of Watton Wood Hall. by whom it was probably built about the middle of the 16th century: on the south side are two projecting portions, containing remarkably fine staircases. boldly and elaborately carved and leading to a long, apartment or gallery above. which extends through the entire length of the house,. a distance of 113 feet; this has, however, now been divided into separate rooms, Frogmore Hall is a new and substantial mansion of red brick with stone facings, picturesquely seated on a gentle elevation in undulating and park-like grounds of 180 acres; with two lodge entrances and carriage drive, about a quarter of a mile east from the Great North road from London to Stevenage, via Watton, and is the residence of Major B. F. Low. Aston house is the residence of Arthur R. Yeomans esq. and has attached a park of 46 acres. Capt. William Edward Freeman O'Brien, of 23 Cheniston gardens, Kensington, London, who is lord of the manor. Abel Henry Smith esq. of Woodhall Park, Col. Alfred Unwin-Heathcote, of Shephalbury, and Vernon A Malcolmson esq. are. the principal landowners. The soil is gravel and flint; subsoil, various. The chief crops are wheat, barley. oats and turnips.. The area is 2,064 acres of land and 6 of water; rateable valae, £3,351; the population in 1911 was 580.

ASTON END is a hamlet 1 mile north; BANDLEY HILL is 1 mile north-west.

Saxton. William J. Draper.

Kelly's Directory for Hertfordshire, 1912


Victoria County History


Aston Rectory

Frogmore Lodge


Selected Answers

If you have a relevant question why not Ask Chris

If you know of other books, websites, etc, relating to this place, please tell me.

St Mary's Church, Aston, Herts
Posted from White Farm, Aston End by J Pitman on 9th May 1911

...  I went to this Church last Sunday Morning, as it is only two miles away. The boys singing was not very great ...

ASTON, a parish in the hundred of Broadwater, county of Hertford, 3¼ miles (S.E.) from Stevenage, containing 509 inhabitants. The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry of Huntingdon, and the diocese of Lincoln, rated in the king's books at £26.11.8., and in the patronage of the Rev. James Ellice. The Church is dedicated to St. Mary.

Topographical Dictionary of England 1831

The Church of St Mary, Aston, Hertfordshire
Church guide by Eileen Watson, 1981

THE CHURCH is built of flint with stone dressings on the nave and chancel and the roofs are covered with copper. This copper was used in replacement of the former lead roof which twice in the space of a year was stripped by thieves. The original roof was thatched and the ridge marks of this roof can still be seen on the east side of the tower.

THE TOWER is square with buttresses to give added stability. The belfry windows are really 'sound holes' filled with louvres which allow the sound of the bells to radiate.

Lacking stone for a SPIRE, a thin leaded spirelet was built from within the parapet of the tower. This style of building became so popular in the County, that such spirelets are known as 'Hertfordshire Spikes', although they are to be found elsewhere. The tower and the nave have embattled parapets. ...


Playing Croquet at the Rectory in 1868

Click on picture for more on the rectory and larger image


Postcard of a beerhouse at Aston End, Aston, circa 1910. The name Frederick Charles Newling is visible over the door, and he is listed as a beer retailer in the 1912 Kelly's Directory for Hertfordshire. (see Postcards of Hertfordshire Pubs). Three metal fire insurance plates (UNION) can be seen over the door.

In May 2007 Des Turner (desturner @t, Local Historian at Aston, wrote: I was delighted to find a picture on your web site of a public house at Aston End. I think this was the Live and Let Live. Sadly it was demolished to build a bungalow. I provided a higher resolution scan and he replied: Your information on Aston is most informative. I agree the date of your picture 1910. I have a school group with the Newling girl of 1913 and she looks about three years older. I am now quite certain that the pub is the Live and Let Live as I have another view from the south east when it was in a poor condition. May I have a copy of the church please? I am amazed at the quality of the pub that you sent. How many dpi do you use? [300 dpi] I will include them in my next exhibition in November and give you full credit for finding them and sending copies. You may like to come along? I have added a couple of old postcard pictures to my web site today to advertise my new Aston book. You may like to have a look? My Easter exhibition attracted a lot of interest from genealogists searching out their relatives. It kept me busy making copies.


Undated card of Aston - probably 1920s.

In 1922 [Kellys Directory] William Wilson Pallett was the sub-postmaster. There were wall letter boxes at Aston End and Frogmore.

Des has a web site which contains information on the history of Aston and includes details of the book ASTON: Jack Pallett's Memories and the Village History.

The book is mainly an oral history containing the memories of Jack Pallett, 1896 – 1975, who apart from serving King and country in the First World War, lived most of his life in Aston. He was the last villager to speak the pure Hertfordshire dialect. ... His memories begin with his family who ran the Post Office, The Boot and Rose and Crown public houses. The Pallett’s trades and skills were varied, builder, carpenter, wheelwright, undertaker, coffin maker, sexton, butcher, postmaster and grocer, etc. Jack remembers: "My father ’as made a coffin, dug the grave and buried a child for five shillings." ... ...

Aston Village
Published by T. Briden & Son, Stevenage, posted 1907

A tinted version of this card (with no publisher name) exists posted in 1909

Thomas Brinden & Son  is listed as a grocer in High Street, Stevenage,  in the 1912 Kelly's Directory for Hertfordshire

This card appears to contain the same two girls as the card (below) of School Lane, Aston, suggesting they were both taken on the same day by the same photographer. The font of the titles is also the same.

About three miles from Watton is Aston, a small Parish. Before reaching it we discover some tall spiral chimneys towering above the trees, which appertain to an old Mansion, called ASTON BURY, many years since converted into a farm-house; in former times it belonged to the Botelers of Watton Woodhall, and doubtless in those days was one of the most aristocratic dwellings of the county. Since their time it has descended to different families, and Aston Bury is now the property of A. Smith, Esq., M.P. Even a portion of the Mansion makes an excellent farm-house, with the rooms subdivided, but alas! some of the noble apartments are converted into granaries and farm offices; by far the greater number of windows were bricked up in the time when the" light of heaven" was taxed, and have not been reopened. On entering we are struck with the fine proportion of the rooms, which, even when sub­ divided, are large. There is an old kitchen fireplace, and two spacious staircases with massive oak balustrades and pinnacles. The most striking feature of the interior is the long room, extending the whole length of the house, 113 feet; it is at the top of the building, and is said to have been formerly used as a county ball room: judging from the appearance in one of the recesses, it has once been devoted to Roman Catholic worship. From the windows or openings at the ends, fine views are obtained of the surrounding country, Lord Lytton's Mansion of Knebworth forming a prominent object. The pasture land and meadows round the house have still a park-like aspect. Many years since a stone coffin was discovered near the house, but it was replaced, and no trace of it can now be seen. The building was formerly surrounded by a moat, a remnant of which at the end still forms a large pond. It is somewhat remarkable that neither Chauncy, Salmon, or Clutterbuck, the well-known historians of the county, make any mention of this interesting old building; and yet there it stands a great fact, and is likely to remain (unless some modern Goth should pull it down) for generations yet to come.

Aston Church stands on a hill, and is a neat structure, dedicated to St. Mary, with a tower containing five bells. There are inscriptions, amongst others, to the memory of the Reeve family, one of whom, Samuel Reeve, was an Alderman of London, and afterwards High Sheriff of this County; on the floor of the nave is an inscription to John Kent, late servant to King Edward VI., who died August 4th, 1592. The Rectory is valued at £385 per annum, with 60 acres of glebe. The Register dates from 1558. There is a spacious brick Mansion near the church, called Aston House. Aston contains 2052 acres, and has a population of 662.

A Guide to Hertfordshire, 1880

School Lane, Aston
Published by W J Draper, Aston, posted 1909

William John Draper is listed as a grocer in Aston in the 1912 Kelly's Directory for Hertfordshire, which also records:

Public Elementary School (mixed and infants), erected with master's residence, in 1831, for 98 scholars; average attendance 97; Percival Partridge, master; Mrs M J Charlton, mistress.


An indenture relating to Aston dated 1728 is currently being transcribed.


Aston House, Aston
No publisher name, no date, probably 1920's.

Aston House, a Queen Anne mansion, is the residence of Arthur R Yeomans esq. and has attached a park of 46 acres. [Kelly, 1922] The house has now been demolished.

In 1890 the occupant of Aston House was Mrs Metcalfe and in 1912 it was Arthur R Yeomans (a Estancieiro in the Argentine Republic)

The Former Stables, Aston House

[Now a house known as The Clock House]

Grade II Listed Building

Late C17 or early C18. Flemish band brickwork with red stretchers, grey headers, red cutter brick band quoins, window arches. Large moulded brick cornice. Hipped tiled roof behind parapet. Central wooden clock turret astride roof ridge carrying octagonal arcaded cupola and wrought iron weather vane. 1st floor 7 windows, 4 blocked circular, 3 oval. 4 ground floor round headed windows. Modern doorway on right. [Description as listed in 1948]

Pevsner comments that the stables are more interesting than the house. They are also circa 1700 with brick chequer and rubbed dressings.

Picture from Estate Agent brochure in 2015


Aston Bury Farm

The picture from the book We have to deal with the Farmers which includes information on the village, including information from a 1938 diary relating to this farm.



Web: There is a good village web site, a history site with many pictures, including photos of soldiers who fell in the First World War, run by Des and there is also a web page for the parishes of St Mary, Aston and St Mary, Shephall, which includes some history and photographs.

Some modern pictures of Aston on Geograph

by John Sanderson

by Robin Hall

by John Salmon

by John Salmon

See also Vital Records

If you know of other books, websites, etc, relating to this place, please tell me.

July 2008   Page update
November 2010   Picture, etc., on Aston Bury Farm
April 2015   Picture & text re Aston House Stables