History of Rickmansworth

The name Rickmansworth comes from Ryckmer - a Saxon name. In the 1086 Domesday Survey it was known as The Manor of Prichemaresworde. Later spellings varied from Rykemarwurthe (1119-46) to Rikmansworth (1382).

Rickmansworth lies on the north-west edge of Greater London. It was once a small market town and now spreads across the valley with many new and taller buildings around the distinctive church of St Mary the Virgin.

Crossing the bridges over the River Colne and the Grand Union Canal brings one immediately to the church set in its loop of Church Street. Around it is the historic core of the town, including the Bury manor house, several other timber-framed houses and The Old Vicarage (the oldest of all, with parts dating from about 1460). Church Street meets the High Street, where the Market Hall once stood.

The town was never large, as it served the many scattered hamlets in the surrounding area. The rivers Colne, Chess and Gade, the 'Three Rivers' that give its name to the local government District, provided the water for the famous watercress trade and motive power for corn milling, silk weaving, paper making and brewing, all long gone.

Now there are commercial offices and the homes of a commuting population, and the rivers, canal and flooded gravel pits provide for recreation. Cardinal Wolsey, in his capacity as Abbot of St Albans, held the Manor of le More in the valley, now vanished but superseded by the hill-top mansion of Moor Park, once the residence of Admiral Lord Anson and the Barons Ebury, and now the Golf Club House.

The wider area, including Croxley Green, Moor Park, Batchworth, Mill End, West Hyde and Chorleywood, formed the original parish of Rickmansworth. In 1851, this had a population of only 4,800, but even that represented great growth necessitating division of the parish. So St Mary's Church today serves a parish area concentrated around the town and extending over Batchworth and parts of Moor Park. Today the town has an ever-growing number of residents in many new apartments and houses.



Last updated: January 5, 2017


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