infobox UK place
country = England
latitude= 51.759
longitude= -0.015
official_name= Hoddesdon
population= 20,250 [cite web |url=http://www.hertsdirect.org/infobase/docs/pdfstore/tabKS01sett.pdf |title=Office for National Statistics, 2001 Census, Key Statistics for HCC settlements. Usual resident population (numbers)|format=PDF] .
shire_district= Broxbourne
shire_county = Hertfordshire
region= East of England
post_town= HODDESDON
postcode_district= EN11
postcode_area= EN
dial_code= 01992
os_grid_reference= TL365085

Hoddesdon is a town in the English county of Hertfordshire, situated in the Lea Valley. The town grew up as a coaching stop on the route between Cambridge and London. It is near Cheshunt, and a few miles from Bishop's Stortford. At its height during the Eighteenth century, more than 35 coaches a day would pass through the town. It saw a boom in the mid Twentieth century as gravel was extracted from the area to be exhausted by the 1970s. The lakes and water pits left behind have been used for local leisure amenities. Today Hoddesdon has a little light industry but is mainly a London commuter belt town. Hoddesdon hosted the eighth Congres Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne in 1951. It is twinned with the Belgian city of Dinant.

The town is served by Rye House railway station.


The name "Hoddesdon" is believed to be derived from a Saxon or Danish personal name combined with the Old English suffix "don", meaning a down or hill.cite web |url=http://www.hoddesdonrotary.org/mainpages/hoddesdon.htm |title=Hoddesdon |accessdate=2008-07-18 |author=Sue Garside |year=2008 |work= |publisher=Rotary Club of Hoddesdon] The earliest historical reference to the name is in the Domesday Book.

Hoddesdon was situated about 20 miles north of London on the main road to Cambridge and to northern towns and cities. The road forked in the centre of the town, with the present High Street dividing into Amwell Street and Burford Street, both leading north to Ware.cite web |url=http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=43639 |title=Parishes: Broxbourne with Hoddesdon |accessdate=2008-07-18 |author=William Page (editor) |year=1912 |work=A History of the County of Hertford: volume 3 |publisher=British History Online] From an early date there were a large number of inns lining the streets to serve the neeeds of travellers. A market charter was granted to Robert Boxe, lord of the manor, in 1253. [cite web |url=http://www.lowewood.com/hoddesdon/markets_and_fairs_page_1.asp |title=Markets and fairs |accessdate=2008-07-18 |author= |year=2008 |work= |publisher=Lowewood Museum] By the fourteenth century the Hospital of st Laud and St Anthony had been established in the south of Hoddesdon. The institution survived the dissolution of the monasteries, but ceased to exiat by the mid sixteenth century, although it is commemorated in the name of Spital Brook which divides Hoddesdon from Broxbourne.

In 1336 William de la Marche was licenced to build a chapel of ease in the town. The building, known as St Katharine's Chapel survived until the seventeenth century, when it was demolished. The tower survived until 1836. The chapel was used by pilgrims to the shrine at Walsingham.

The town was considerably enlarged in the reign of Elizabeth I, and a number of inns in the High Street date from this time. The monarch granted a royal charter in 1559/60, placing the town government under a bailiff, warden and eight assistants. The charter also established a free grammar school based on the site of the former hospital, and this was placed under the care of the corporation. Neither the borough or the school flourished, however, and both had ceased to exist by the end of the century. In 1567 Sir William Cecil acquired the manor of Hoddesdonsbury and two years later Elizabeth granted him the neighbouring manor of Baas. From that date the Cecils maintained a connection with the town which is recorded by the naming of The Salisbury Arms (anciently the "Black Lion" Inn) : the title Marquess of Salisbury was granted to James Cecil in 1789.

In 1622 Sir Marmaduke Rawdon built Rawdon House, a red-brick mansion which still survives. Rawdon also provided the town with its first public water supply, flowing from a statue known as the "Samaritan Woman". [cite web |url=http://www.lowewood.com/hoddesdon/samaritan_woman.asp |title=Samaritan Woman in Hoddesdon |accessdate=2008-07-18 |author= |year=2008 |work= |publisher=Lowewood Museum]

A new chapel of ease, dedicated to St Paul, was built in 1762. This was subsequently rebuilt and enlarged and in 1844 become the parish church when Hoddesdon was created a separate ecclesiastical parish. Previously the town was divided between the two parishes of Broxbourne and Great Amwell. The boundary between the two parishes ran through an archway in the town's High Street. When this building was demolished in the 1960s, a specially inscribed stone was set into the pavement marking the historic boundary. In place of St Katharine's Chapel a new clock house was built.

Brewing was first established in the town in about 1700. In 1803 William Christie established a brewery in the town, and it became a major employer and one of the largest breweries in England. The brewery continued in operation until 1928. [cite web |url=http://www.lowewood.com/news/category.asp?cat_id=25 |title=Christie Photo Album |accessdate=2008-07-18 |author=Samuel Lewis (editor) |date=2007-06-01 |work= |publisher=Lowewood Museum ] Most of the brewery buildings was demolished in 1930, although part was converted into a cinema itself since demolished. Some remnants of the establishment remain in Brewery Road. [Allen Eyles and Keith Scone, "Cinemas of Hertfordshire", Hatfield, 2003]

By the mid-nineteenth century the town still consisted principally of one street, and had a population of 1,743. Malt was being produced and transported to London via the River Lee. There were also a number of flour mills.cite web |url=http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=51035 |title=Hoddesdon |accessdate=2008-07-18 |author=Samuel Lewis (editor) |year=1848 |work=A Topographical Dictionary of England |publisher=British History Online ] Trade in Hoddesdon was centered on the hops market each Thursday. As time went on, more and more hops were carried on the river rather than the roads and the Wednesday meat market took predominance. The Wednesday market has survived in Hoddesdon and was joined in the late 20th century by a Friday market.

Following the Second World War Hoddesdon increasingly became a dormitory town, forming part of the London commuter belt. Much of the town centre was demolished in the 1960s and 1970s, with the construction of the Tower Centre and Fawkon Walk shopping centres. The opening of a bypass in 1974 changed the nature of the town, with through traffic curtailed.


Hoddesdon has two tiers of local government: county and district (borough). The area is unparished.

Borough council

Hoddesdon comprises three wards of the Borough of Broxbourne: Hoddesdon North, Hoddesdon Town and Rye Park. Each ward returns three borough councillors to the thrty-eight member council. Councillors are elected by thirds, with one councillor being elected each year except when there are county council elections. As of 2008 all nine of Hoddesdon's councillors are members of the Conservative Party, who hold a large majority on the council. [cite web |url=http://www.broxbourne.gov.uk/council_and_democracy/councillors,democracy,election/local_councillors.aspx |title=Local councillors |accessdate=2008-07-18 |work= |publisher=Borough of Broxbourne |year=2008 ]

The borough council is responsible for services such as refuse, housing and planning.

County council

Hoddesdon returns two county councillors to the 77 member Hertfordshire County Council. One councillor is elected for each of the two electoral divisions of Hoddesdon North and Hoddesdon South (which also includes Broxbourne). [cite web |url=http://www.hertsdirect.org/yrccouncil/councillors/PublishedMembersListsDirectory/PublishedMembersList_byDistrict |title=County Councillors - ordered by district |accessdate=2008-07-18 |work=HertsDirect |publisher=Hertfordshire County Council |date= ] The entire county council is elected every four years. The last elections were held in 2005. Both of Hoddesdon's county councillors are members of the majority Conservative group.

Civic history

Part of Hoddesdon was created an urban district by the Local Government Act 1894, the remainder becoming the parish of Hoddesdon Rural in the Ware Rural District. In 1937 a County Review Order enlarged the urban district by taking in the entire Hoddesdon Rural parish and parts of the parishes of Broxbourne, Great Amwell, Stanstead Abbotts and Wormley. The western boundary of the urban district was fixed by the track of the Roman Ermine Street. Hoddesdon Urban District was abolished in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972, when it merged with Cheshunt Urban District to become the Borough of Broxbourne.


Hoddesdon High Street (much of it pedestrianised) has many shops, fast food outlets, pubs, estate agents, banks and a library. At the north of the High Street behind the Clock Tower is the "Tower Centre" shopping centre, which is known for its high turnover of stores. It is currently undergoing a major refurbishment, which is hoped will attract large national retailers. Fawkon Walk, to the west of the High Street, is also undergoing redevelopment, the first phase of which is now complete and comprised a new Aldi store. Sainsbury's, once in Fawkon Walk, occupies a new site to the east of the High Street. Other notable outlets in the town centre include Argos, Woolworths, Boots, two Lloyds pharmacies, Tesco, Ladbrokes and Cafe Nero. Shops in Hoddesdon suffer from competition from the nearby Brookfield Centre in Cheshunt and the retail parks in Harlow. Since the 1990s a number of independent traders have moved out of the town and have been replaced with chains stores and charity shops, although some independent stores still remain and the town still attracts many shoppers who also enjoy local restaurants such as Marcanato's or La Piazza, or a fast food snack at Delight or Flames.


There are two state secondary schools in Hoddesdon - The John Warner School (a community, foundation comprehensive for 11-18 year olds) and Sheredes School (a community, comprehensive, for 11- 18). John Warner has specialist status in Science and Sheredes has a well regarded creative arts department, spawning many an excellent musician. In 2007 the John Warner School received congratulations from Mr Jim Knight, Minister of State for Education for being placed 24th in the ‘100 most improved schools in the country’. This award is a combination of eight years continuous improvement in examination results.

Notable people

*Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour (1848 - 1930), Conservative politician and prime minister of the United Kingdom 1902 - 1905. Attended the Grange Preparatory School, Hoddesdon. [cite web |url=http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/30553 |title=Balfour, Arthur James, first earl of Balfour (1848–1930) |accessdate=2008-07-17 |last= |first= |coauthors=Ruddock Mackay and H. C. G. Matthew |year=2004 |work=Oxford Dictionary of National Biography |publisher=Oxford University Press]
*Francis Maitland Balfour (1851 - 1882), comparative embryologist and morphologist, younger brother of the above, also attended Grange School. [cite web |url=http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/1186 |title=Balfour, Francis Maitland (1851–1882) |accessdate=2008-07-17 |last= |first= |author=Brian K Hall |year=2004 |work=Oxford Dictionary of National Biography |publisher=Oxford University Press]
*William Ellis (1794 - 1872), missionary and author. Lived in the town from 1844, and served as a minister to an Independent congregation. Died at his residence on June 9, 1872. [cite web |url=http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/8720 |title=Ellis, William (1794–1872) |accessdate=2008-07-17 |last= |first= |author=Norman Etherington |year=2004 |work=Oxford Dictionary of National Biography |publisher=Oxford University Press]
*John Hoole (1727 - 1803), translator, attended school in Hoddesdon. [cite web |url=http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/13703 |title=Hoole, John (1727–1803) |accessdate=2008-07-17 |last= |first= |author=Vivienne W Painting |year=2004 |work=Oxford Dictionary of National Biography |publisher=Oxford University Press]
*William Josiah Irons (1812 - 1883), Church of England clergyman and theological writer. Born in Hoddesdon September 12, 1812. [cite web |url=http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/14459 |title=Irons, William Josiah (1812–1883) |accessdate=2008-07-17 |last= |first= |author=G C Boase |year=2004 |work=Oxford Dictionary of National Biography |publisher=Oxford University Press]
*John Loudon McAdam (1756 - 1836), engineer and roadbuilder lived in the town from 1827. [cite web |url=http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/17325 |title=McAdam, John Loudon (1756–1836) |accessdate=2008-07-17 |last= |first= |author=Brenda J Buchanan |year=2004 |work=Oxford Dictionary of National Biography |publisher=Oxford University Press]
*Hugh Paddick (1915 - 2000), comedy actor, born in Hoddesdon.citation |url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20001116/ai_n14346128 |title=Obituary: Hugh Paddick |periodical=The Independent |date=November 17, 2000 |accessdate=2008-07-17 ]
*Colin Pratt (born in Hoddesdon 1938), former motorcycle speedway rider.
*Richard Rumbold (c 1622-1685), Cromwellian soldier and conspirator in the Rye House Plot. [cite web |url=http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/24269 |title=Rumbold, Richard (c1622–1685) |accessdate=2008-07-17 |last= |first= |author=Robin Clifton |year=2004 |work=Oxford Dictionary of National Biography |publisher=Oxford University Press]
*Lena Zavaroni (1963-1999), popular singer and entertainer. Spent some of her final years in Hoddesdon. [cite web |url=http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/73110 |title=Zavaroni, Lena Hilda (1963–1999) |accessdate=2008-07-17 |last= |first= |author=John Van der Kiste |year=2004 |work=Oxford Dictionary of National Biography |publisher=Oxford University Press]

ee also

*Rye House Power Station


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