1927 Tour 016

(If continuing the tour, reverse this section)

Hertford has many good houses, and much that is picturesque by its castle and river.  There are noble park-lands as far as Hatfield, a stretch of the Great North Road to Stanborough, and the big woods of Brocket when the left-hand turning for Wheathampstead is followed.  Just over the deep ford at the Ayot Green signpost is Water End, a beautiful gabled farmhouse of the seventeenth century.  After turning right at the “Swan” in Wheathampstead, crossing the stream, and bearing to the left past the railway bridge, a lane opposite the “Cherry Trees” inn on the Luton road leads, by its first turning to the left, to Mackery End, celebrated in Charles Lamb’s most exquisite essay.  The farmhouse – modernised since the essayist’s days – and the old barns and outbuildings, lie almost on the roadside, quite near to a Jacobean mansion.  It is still a calm, sequestered spot, much like it was on that memorable day in June when “the air breathed balmily about it,” and the neighbouring scene has changed little since “Elia” was Bridget’s “tender charge in those pretty pastoral walks, long ago, about Mackery End, in Hertfordshire.”  The lane around the mansion, bordered by elms, drops down between open cornfields.  At Harpenden the main highway is gained, leading to the great tower of St. Albans Cathedral, rising high over the ancient streets and the remains of Roman Verulamium.

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