Hatfield in 1838
Hatfield, distinguished as Bishops Hatfield, is in Broadwater hundred, on the high North road, 19 miles from London. The parish comprehends 12,700 acres, or, according to others, 12,312 acres, 2 roods, 27 poles ; it is subdivided into five hamlets, of which the town quarter is one. The manor of Hetfelle (as it is called in Domesday) was granted by King Edgar to the abbey or monastery of St. Ethelred at Ely, and upon the erection of that abbey into a bishopric, A.D. 1108, is supposed to have acquired the designation of Bishops Hatfield. The town lies on the slope of a hill, and consists of a principal street intersected by a smaller one. The bishops of Ely had a palace at Hatfield, which, with the manor, was made over to the crown in the time of Henry VIII : the palace was the residence of Prince Edward, afterwards Edward VI, immediately before his accession. The princess (afterwards queen) Elizabeth was here in the care or custody of Sir Thomas Pope, during the latter part of the reign of her sister Mary : upon the intelligence of whose death she held her first privy-council here. The palace and manor were, soon after the accession of James I, made over in exchange for Theobalds, in the parish of Cheshunt, to Sir Robert Cecil, afterwards earl of Salisbury, in whose family they have ever since continued. The gateway and west end of the palace are still standing. Hatfield-house, the residence of the earls (and now of the marquis) of Salisbury, was built by Sir Robert Cecil, and is a fine specimen of the architecture of the Elizabethan period. It was almost destroyed by fire in the month of November, 1835. The grounds are beautifully laid out. The church is at the upper end of the town : there is an Independent chapel. The population of the parish was, in 1831, 3,593, three-fifths agricultural. There is a weekly market on Thursday for corn and provisions, and two yearly fairs. The living is a rectory united with the chapelry of Totteridge in the deanery of Hertford, the archdeaconry of Huntingdon, and the diocese of Lincoln, of the yearly value of £2,097. There were, in 1833, thirteen day-schools (one with 18 children, endowed, - one with 158 children, a national school), containing altogether 485 children; and three Sunday-schools with 83 children.