Stone Cross


The modern street name Stonecross derives from a medieval roadside crosss and this was one of several, probably normally of wood, in and around the town. It was in existence by 1327 when it was recorded as a point on the borough boundary, and although shown on a map of 1634 (perhaps symbolically) its site was described the following year as "the site where the Stone Cross was".

Barnet Wood

Known today as Bernards Heath. the name seems to derive from a wood cleared by burning. In1276 the wood was described as next to the church of St. Peter perhaps suggesting that at one time it stretched further to the south. The wood was divided into two parts namely Frithwood and Communeswode. In 1440 bricks of St. Albans bought at Le Frithe near St. Albans were used in the ovens and fireplaces at the royal palace at Kings Langley, Herts and at the Tower of London. It was here that the main body of the Dule of Warwick's Yorkist forces engaged the Lancastrian army of Queen Margaret in 1461 in what became known as The Second Battle of St. Albans. Queen Margaret was victorious and sacked the town which really had no part in the affair.

The second Battle of St. Albans was the first in the country in which handguns were used. Warwick's forces included a mercenary detatchment of Flemish handgun men


click for a plan of the battle


 The Northern end of St. Peter's Street was known as Bowgate, perhaps derived from Borough Gate. The short lived Charter of Freedom, gained during the Peasants Revolt in 1381 granted "a common of pasture from the town of St. Albans on the high road as far as Stone Crouche" (Stone Cross), which suggests that this northern part of the town was not built up at that date.In the later 15th century several crofts are recorded here. In 1493 Isabella Lewis left 3s. (15p) for the repair ofthe road in Bowgate.

St. Peters Grange

St. Peters Lane led to St. Peters Grange which the townsmen threatened to burn in 1381. Perhaps because of this when John Moot was Abbot (1396-1401), he built an "incomparable grange" with cowshed, stable dovecot, kitchen and bake house and surrounded it with a strong "earth wall" and deep ditch.


Hall Place

Immediately to the north of St. Peters churchyard was once a medieval house known as Hall Place. Unfortunately this was demolished in 1907 but photographs suggest that it had an open hall with a three bay crown-post roof and a cross wings. The house was once the property of Sir Edmund Westby and local tradition has it that King Henry VI stayed the night there before the First Battle of St. Albans in 1455 The name survives in Hall Place Gardens.

Hall Place - to the north of the churchyard,as mapped in 1634