Hemel Hempstead in 1838
Hemel Hempstead is in Dacorum hundred, 23 miles from London, through Watford. The parish comprehends 7,310 acres, with a population in 1831 of 4,759 : including the dependent chapelries of Bovingdon and Flaunden, it comprehends 12,440 acres, with a population of 6,037. The town, which is on the side of a hill sloping down to the rich valley of the Gade, consists chiefly of one long street. The females of the town are much engaged in making the straw-plat, and there are corn and paper mills in the neighbourhood. The London and Birmingham railroad and the Grand Junction Canal pass near the town. The town-hall is a long narrow building with an open space under for the market, which is held on Thursday, and is one of the largest in the county for corn. The church, a large building, is partly of Norman architecture, of which the west door is one of the richest specimens in the county. The living is a vicarage with the dependent chapelries mentioned above, in the deanery of Berkhamsted, the archdeaconry of Huntingdon, and diocese of Lincoln, of the yearly value of £709. There were in 1833, in the parish and two chapelries, two infant-schools with 56 children, two national schools with 98 children, two schools of industry with 67 girls; ten other day-schools and four boarding-schools with 374 children, and five Sunday-schools with 280 children : there were also twenty-four schools in which about 247 children there taught to plat straw and read. The town of Hemel Hempstead was incorporated under Henry VIII ; but the corporation is not noticed either in the Commissioners Reports or in the Municipal Corporation Reform Act.
In the year 1837 several curious Roman relics were discovered by the Rev. J. F. Girton in the burial-ground of Box Lane Chapel near Hemel Hempstead. They consist of two glass vases (one globular and thin, the other square and of thick glass with a handle), an earthen pitcher and some nails. The square vase, which is entire except a slight chip off the handle, is three times as thick as the globular vase, and is a good specimen of glass. This square vase was filled with human bones ; the globular one was only partially filled. For these facts and a drawing of the different objects we are indebted to a communication from the Rev. J. F. Girton.