Gadebridge Park history

The history of the area which is now Gadebridge Park dates back to the late iron age. Excavations in 1963 and 2000 on the field north of Galley Hill revealed a farmhouse which was extended after the Roman invasion of AD43 to include stone built wings around a courtyard, a bathhouse, heated rooms and unusually a large swimming pool. See the Dacorum Heritage Trust website for more information on the excavations. 

The Bury, Walled Garden and Charter Tower

The Charter Tower at the entrance to the Walled Gardens in Gadebridge Park

The Walled Garden is the location of the original Bury House, although its exact size and shape are unknown. The Bury is an ancient name, usually referring to a fortified house, in this case the fortification may simply have been the marshy valley which is now Gadebridge Park. The first Bury was referred to in the 1289 Ashridge Charter where "Burymilne", the Mill near the Bury, was included. Prior to 1539 the Bury was the home of the Waterhouse family, whose name today is remembered by Waterhouse Street.

The Walled Garden is sometimes also known as the Charter Gardens, after the stone porchway leading to the gardens. The Charter Tower was originally the entrance into the second Bury House, which was rebuilt between 1540 and 1595 by the Combes family. The arms of Richard Combes can still be seen carved on the upper story of the Charter Tower. Richard Combes inherited the Bury on the death of John Waterhouse. He built an elaborate and sumptuous building which remained there until 1790.

The name "Charter Tower " derives from a local myth that Henry VIII may have stayed there in 1539 and handed down Hemel Hempstead's Royal Market Charter from the upper window as a mark of gratitude for hospitality received. However, this would have been a previous structure as the existing tower wasn't built until after this date. By the end of the 18th century the second Bury was demolished and the final Bury was built by a Mr Ginger.

Along the flower bed on the northern wall of the Walled Garden is a plaque commemorating the men and women from Dacorum who served in South East Asia Command and to the Burma Star Association, in memory of those who died in the Far East in the Second World War.

Find out the latest Walled Garden opening times on our Gadebridge Park attractions page.

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Page Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 March 2023 at 01:33 PM