Waterend Mansion & Waterend barn
Water End, Sandridge (now Wheathampstead), on the north bank of the Lea, about a mile south-west of Ayot St. Peter, is a fine old brick mansion. It was probably built by Sir John Jennings a well to do Hertfordshire land owner in about 1610.
There is nothing of interest within the house, beyond a good oak staircase, a little panelling, and the usual long garret extending the whole length of the building.1
Richard and Sarah Jenyns
On his death, Richard Jenyns inherited the properties. Here was born on the 5th June, 1660, Sarah Jenyns, who was baptised in the Abbey of St. Albans on the 17th of the same month. Despite an income of £4,000 a year, the family fortunes faltered severely and Richard Jenyns died insolvent in 1667.
Sarah Jenyns spent much of her time at Waterend, but in 1673, the pretty and self-willed girl left Hertfordshire to go to Court in London. Two years later she met and fell in love with Colonel John Churchill, who became First Duke of Marlborough and Queen Anne's great General. Sarah, as Duchess of Marlborough, became the Queen's favourite and close confidant, and held great influence at Court. Though much travelled in later years, she always had great affection for the area of her birth and often returned - then living in Holywell House, St Albans. A chronicler of that time noted of Holywell that…
She never ceased to praise its air.
She died an irascible 85.
Ralph and William Thrale
In 1938 the Barn was no longer needed for its original use at the farm, and the Brocket Estate decided to dismantle it - timber by timber, re-erect it on a site they owned in the middle of St Albans and let it as a restaurant.
This was completed in 1939 and two brothers, Ralph and William Thrale, who owned and ran a long established local family bakery business took on the lease. In the next few years the site was enlarged with the addition of the Little Barn, brought over from Little Harmed.
In 2009 on a local blog, John Whiley said:
Best days at the Barn were in 1941 when Thrales had the place. Every Thurs night a dance!
In 1978 the Thrale family decided to relinquish their interest in The Barns and they were sold to Simmons of Hatfield, another long established family baking and catering business. Later it was run by the Coles family and trades under the name of Moorsom & Co. Ltd. Robert Coles is a grandson of the founder, Reg Simmons.
Watered Barn was refurbished and run by chain pub operators Wetherspoons since around 2005.
- 1. Cussans, History of Hertfordshire
|Sandridge, Hertfordshire, England|
|Places||Location · Parish bounds · St Leonards church · Nomansland · Sandridgebury · Marshalswick · Fairfolds · Harefield · Waterend|
|People||Rober Thrale (the elder) · Thrales of Sandridge · Richard William Thrale · Thomas Thrale's 1600 will · Johnathan Parsons' 1768 will · Ralph Thrale's goblet|
|Genealogy||Sandridge vital records · 21 people called Ralph Thrale|
|More||Thrale.com Sandridge forum · Historic Sandridge · Historic Sandridge Revisited · Village website · Parish Council|