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The King James

King James I’s connection with Cheshunt began when he was entertained at Theobald’s by Sir Robert Cecil on his coronation.

2–3 Lynton Parade, Turners Hill, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, EN8 8LF

Named after King James I, whose royal place (Theobalds) stood about 1.2km from this pub. King James I had persuaded Robert Cecil, Lord Burleigh’s son, to give up Theobalds, where he was to die in 1625. The present Theobalds Park was built in 1763, about 1.6km from its original site. In 1860, the enlarged Theobalds was bought by the brewer Sir Henry Meux. In 1888, Meux resited the redundant Temple Bar in his park.

Photographs and text about The King James.


The text reads: This Wetherspoon pub is named after King James I, who came to the throne after the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603. His connection with Cheshunt began when he was entertained at Theobald’s by Sir Robert Cecil on his coronation. The palace so impressed the kind that he took over in 1607, in exchange for Hatfield House.

The site of this pub is Lynton Parade, a short section of Turners Hill. The service road outside occupies the site of an 18th century terrace. The centre part of the terrace was a college for working women, with a library donated by the poets Robert and Elizabeth Browning. The end of the terrace, more or less where this pub now stands, was a Baptist chapel. Grundy Park, next to this site, was “given to the inhabitants of Cheshunt” by John Relph Greenhow Grundy and Cuthbert Cartwright Grundy. It was part of the grounds of Elm Arches, which the brothers also donated for local use. Until 1958 Elms Arches contained public hall known as Relph Hall, who lived here in the 18th century.

Elm Arches was demolished after a fire in 1989.

Top: The row of Georgian houses on this site before demolition
Top left: Elm Arches, c1950
Below left: The junction of College Road and Turners Hill, c1905.

Photographs, an illustration and text about the glasshouse industry. 


The text reads: Opposite Grundy Park is the former Cheshunt Experimental and Research Station. Recently the offices of ‘Nursury Trades’, the station investigated the problems of growing crops under glass from 1913 until 1953. This work grew out of the nurseries which once covered hundreds of acres in and around Cheshunt, employing large numbers of the resident population.

The glasshouse industry had flourished locally from the late 1800s. Rochfords were the largest firm, growing tomatoes, cucumbers, cut roses and carnations. They were famous for their grapes and later became world leader’s in house plants. New housing was built for workers at what became known as ‘Rochfordville’. Most of the land occupied by the nurseries was developed for housing in the 1970s.

Top left: A dinner for local nurserymen, c1950
Top right: Rochford’s cucumber house, c1915
Left: A Rochford’s glasshouse full of melons just before World War I
Right: Fields under glass – Cheshunt in 1960.

Illustrations, prints and text about Cheshunt College.


The text reads: College Road, which meets Turners Hill almost outside this Wetherspoon site, recalls the ‘Non-conformist’ College, founded by the Countess of Huntingdon, and sited in Cheshunt almost opposite the Parish Church in 1792. The college moved to Cambridge in 1905. Bishop’s College (Church of England) then occupied the premises from 1909 to 1968. The building was bought by Cheshunt Council in 1972, and a large extension for the Broxbourne Council was opened in 1986.

Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, was born in 1707. An enthusiast for Evangelical Christianity, she supported the movement with funds for Chapels and a training college for preachers. The college moved to Cheshunt from Wales a year after the Countess died.

One of the greatest figures in the Non-conformist movement, Dr Isaac Watts, came to Cheshunt in 1712, as a guest of the Abney family at Theobalds, and remained here for twenty four years. He wrote many of our best known hymns, as well as works of piety and philosophy. The college commemorated him by naming its summer house Dr Watts’ Parlour.

Top left: Selina, Countess of Huntingdon
Above: The first college at Cheshunt
Bottom right: The college in 1796
Top right: Design for the new college buildings, 1870
Bottom left: Dr Isaac Watts
Below: Dr Watts’ Parlour.

Illustrations, prints and text about James Whitney and Henry Fielding.


The text reads: James Whitney was landlord of the George Inn on Turners Hill but, failing to make it pay, took up theft instead, eventually becoming a highwayman. He always dressed well, and claimed to be a generous and high-minded. Relieving the rich of their money has always been considered a gentlemanly crime. He was informed against and hanged near Smithfield, London in 1694, aged 34.

When there was no police force, highway robbery was rife. In the Middle Ages if a man was robbed he could demand his money back from the county sheriff, thus making local people responsible for thefts in their neighbourhood. Later, money was paid to informants, and rewards stimulated a new profession of thief-taking.

It was Henry Fielding, the novelist, along with his blind brother John, who becoming a magistrate at Bow Street in 1749, turned a force of sleepy Parish constables into a force to be reckoned with. Mr Fielding’s people, later the Bow Street Runners, were equipped with horses and charged with clearing the roads of highwaymen. By the early 19th century they had succeeded.

Top left: The elegant James Whitney awaiting execution
Top right: The highwayman faces his future prospects
Right: Henry Fielding
Far right: John Fielding, a massive symbol of blind justice.

Illustrations, prints and text about Cardinal Wolsey. 



The text reads: In 1519 Cardinal Wolsey bought the Manor of Andrews which centred on Cheshunt Great House. When the Cardinal fell foul of his master King Henry VIII in 1527 he lost all his possessions, including the Great House. Today the once mighty Cardinal is recalled by Wolsey Hall, in Windmill Lane, a few metres from this Wetherspoon site.

Wosley was introduced into the service of the crown by Bishop Fox. Under Henry VIII he rose rapidly to power, acting as the means by which the King held absolute sway over both the state and the church, until his unpopularity in the country, and his unsympathetic view of Henry’s plans to divorce his Queen to marry Anne Boleyn, drove the King to discard him, and take back all the property and positions he had given him.

The core of the Great House was a double-moated building from the 15th century. Greatly reduced in size, it was encased in brick in 1750 and served as the freemasons hall until the 1930s. It was destroyed by fire in 1965. Only the under croft survives, as part of Peace Close off Goff’s Lane.

Top left: The Great House in 1806
Above: The 15th century hall top
Right: Cardinal Wolsey Right: Cheshunt Great House greatly reduced.

Photographs, illustrations and text about the Parish Church of St Mary. 



The text reads: The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin that we see today is substantially the one built between 1418 and 1448 when Nicholas Dixon, a Baron of the Exchequer, was rector of Cheshunt. Among its many tombs are those of Robert Dewhurst, the founder of the charity school for boys in Cheshunt in 1640. Dewhurst, a wealthy lawyer, endowed the school, which served Cheshunt village alone for two hundred years, teaching boys the three R’s, and funding six each year to become apprenticed to a trade.

Among the other notable tombs are those to Doctor Henry Atkins, seven times President of the Royal College of Physicians and ‘Physician Ordinary’ to King James I and his son Charles, who died in 1635. There is also a small memorial to commander John Harry Sanders, a Cheshunt man who was abroad the Swift sure at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Sanders survived this battle, and others, before settling down in Cheshunt, where he died in 1876 aged ninety one.

Top left: The interior of St Mary’s in the late 1890s
Top right: The Parish Church, c1820
Left: The Dewhurst school, 1840
Below left: St Marys in the 1860s
Below left: Dewhurst School in 1919.

Prints, illustrations and text Theobalds Palace.


The text reads: During most of her reign, Queen Elizabeth I was guided by William Cecil, later Lord Burleigh, her Secretary of State, Lord High Treasurer and Master of Requests. In 1563 he purchased the Manor of Theobalds. Burleigh built his Mansion, one of the most lavish in the land, on a site near modern Cedars Park – about three quarters of a mile from this Wetherspoon pub.

In 1607 King James I persuaded Robert Cecil, Lord Burleigh’s son, to give up Theobalds in exchange for Hatfield House. The King lived here until his death in 1607, indulging in his love of hunting, and his fascination with collecting animals. He kept a menagerie at Theobalds that included flying squirrels, a live sable, white falcons and a white hind. The King of Spain sent him an elephant and five camels.

Most of the old palace was demolished during the commonwealth. The period between the rules of James’ son and grandson, when we had no monarch and Oliver Cromwell was in power.

Top left: A reconstruction of the original Theobald Palace
Above centre: William Cecil
Above right: Robert Cecil
Left: King James I
Right: Drawing of Theobalds by John Thorpe.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: pubhistories@jdwetherspoon.co.uk