Hertfordshire Genealogy

Guide to Old Hertfordshire


Box Lane Chapel
Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead


Hemel Hempstead


Box Lane Independent Chapel, Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead

The Church of England's grip on the faith of the nation, tightened by the Conventicle Act of l664, ushered in a more hostile environment for non-conformists everywhere. The Gade and Bulbourne valleys were an area rich in dissenters (see Tring in particular on page 253), many of whom practised their Baptist faith secretly in local cottages and barns. One of the first local chapels was built in Box Lane in the early 1600s. This boasted the special feature of a hatched doorway, at the back of the pulpit, to enable the preacher to make a quick escape if threatened. Tradition has it that Oliver Cromwell once worshipped at Box Lane Chapel. The chapel, officially founded In 1668, was re-built in 1690 and subsequently altered in 1856 and again in 1876. its survival as an early chapel is owed, at least in part, to the protection and patronage it received from the nearby estate of Westbrook, which was leased by Henry Mayne. Henry and his son James Mayne, who bought the manor in 1592, were both leading Puritans of their day. During the Nineteenth Century, some Roman funeral remains were found in the graveyard of the chapel at Box Lane (see page 14). The doors of Box Lane Chapel closed finally on 29th June 1969, ending well over 300 years of worship on this site. It was subsequently converted into a private house, at which time an upper floor was added.

Extract from A Hertfordshire Valley

Jacquie Sansom (jacquie9 @t tadaust.org.au) writes: How many people remember that during the Second World War Box Lane Chapel, Boxmoor,  was used as a venue  for Maude Wells dancing School as her Forest Gate School was a bit dangerous I guess?. I went there as a pupil, I would be interested if anyone else of that era went there too.


August 2010   Note from Jacquie added