Helping To Keep England In Your Heart

The Royal Society of  St.George in Hertfordshire


Towns and Villages in the Welwyn & Hatfield Area

Welwyn Hatfield: The area of Welwyn Hatfield covers the two towns of Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield, along with numerous smaller settlements from Woolmer Green in the north to Little Heath in the south. Each of the towns has a railway station on the East Coast Main Line and they are close to the A1 road. The fountain situated in Parkway next to the town centre is Welwyn Garden City’s ‘jewel in the crown’ and was built in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation in 1953.

Woolmer Green:  Situated to the north, between the villages of Welwyn and Knebworth, Woolmer Green was first settled in the Iron Age. The Belgae colonised the area in the 1st century BC, and later it was settled by the Romans. Many Roman artefacts have been found in the surrounding area with a Roman bath house existing at nearby Welwyn.

Tewin:  The village dates back at least, to Anglo-Saxon times and its name has its origins in the English as spoken in that era. Tewin is known to have been settled by the Angles in 449 AD; the name being a derivative of the Old English words for the Norse god Týr (“Tiw”) and meadow (“Ing”). However the name varies over the centuries - in the Domesday Book it is Tewinge and Theinge - and in the 16th century Tewinge, Tewing and Twying, but it is thought the village became Tewin in the 18th century.

Welwyn:  Situated in the valley of the River Mimram, Welwyn was first settled in the Iron Age. The Belgae colonised the area in the 1st century BC (although the Catuvellauni are more often associated with this area) and later it was settled by the Romans. Many Roman artefacts have been found, and the remains of a Roman bath house may be visited. Much later, in the 17th century, as it lies on the old Great North Road, it became an important staging post and a number of coaching inns remain as public houses.

Digswell:  Digswell is an ancient village which is recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book. Digswell's name may be derived from Deacon's Well. There were once two Manors, with 2 water Mills, with much land under plough, and a large area of woodland. Little changed until 1922 when part of the estate once belonging to Lord Cowper of Panshanger was sold at auction, and bought by a group of pioneers of the Garden City Movement including Ebenezer Howard. Nearby is the famous Welwyn Viaduct. Originally opened by Queen Victoria on 6 August 1850, Her Majesty was reportedly so frightened of its height that she refused to travel across it. The train carrying her had to stop, upon which she left the train and entered a horse drawn carriage to travel the length of the bridge on the ground. She then re-entered the train at the other end of the viaduct and continued her journey.

Welwyn Garden City:  Welwyn Garden City is one of England's finest examples of a new town. It takes its name from Welwyn, a separate village situated several miles north of the new town. The new town was developed in 1920 by Sir Ebenezer Howard, the residential and industrial areas are laid out along tree-lined boulevards with a neo-Georgian town centre which offers excellent shopping facilities. The development of the town followed Ebenezer Howard's first Garden City, Letchworth, in 1903. In 1948, Welwyn Garden City was designated a new town under the New Towns Act 1946 and the Welwyn Garden City Company handed its assets to the Welwyn Garden City Development Corporation. Louis de Soissons remained as its planning consultant.

Sherrardspark Wood:  Located on the north west of Welwyn Garden City is an ancient woodland consisting mainly of sessile oak and hornbeam. The Wood is popular with dog walkers, joggers, cyclists, and horse riders alike, and is also a valuable site for its wildlife. The area was designated by English Nature a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1986 as well as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in 1998. Much of the management of the wood is carried out by volunteers of the Sherrardspark Wood Wardens Society.

Hatfield:  In the Saxon period Hatfield was known as Hetfelle, but by the year 970, when King Edgar gave 5,000 acres (20 km2) to the monastery of Ely, it had become known as Haethfeld. Hatfield is mentioned in the Domesday Book as the property of the Abbey of Ely, and unusually, the original census data which compilers of Domesday used still survives, giving us slightly more information than got into the final Domesday record. Hatfield's Domesday entry shows a small settlement with two watermills and a population of 55. The mill at Mill Green is thought to occupy the site of one of the original Domesday Book mills.

Coincidentally, William the Conqueror may have brought along a man whose descendants played an important part in Hatfield's history in the 20th Century. In his autobiography, Sky Fever, Sir Geoffrey de Havilland reveals that a cousin who researched their family tree produced a genealogy which noted a 'De Havylland' as one of the Conqueror's officers or knights.

No other records remain from that time until 1226, when Henry III granted the Bishops of Ely rights to an annual four-day fair and a weekly market. The town was then called Bishop's Hatfield. Hatfield House is the seat of the Cecil family, the Marquesses of Salisbury. Elizabeth Tudor was confined there for three years in what is now known as "The Old Palace" in Hatfield Park. It is said that it was here in 1558, while sitting under an oak tree in the Park, that she learned that she had become Queen following the death of her half-sister, Mary. She held her first Council in the Great Hall (The Old Palace) of Hatfield. In 1851, the route of the Great North Road (now the A1000) was altered to avoid cutting through the grounds of Hatfield House.

Hatfield House:  Hatfield House is a country house set in a large park, the Great Park, on the eastern side of the town of Hatfield. The present Jacobean house was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, First Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I and has been the home of the Cecil family ever since. An earlier building on the site was the Royal Palace of Hatfield. Only part of this still exists, a short distance from the present house. This palace was the childhood home and favourite residence of Queen Elizabeth I. Built in 1497 by the Bishop of Ely, Henry VII's minister John Cardinal Morton, it comprised four wings in a square surrounding a central courtyard. The palace was seized by Henry VIII with other church properties. Henry VIII's children Edward and Elizabeth spent their youth at Hatfield Palace. In 1548, when she was only 15 years old, Elizabeth was under suspicion of having illegally agreed to marry Thomas Seymour, the House and her servants were seized by Edward VI's agent Robert Tyrwhit, and she was interrogated there. She successfully defended her conduct with wit and defiance. Seymour was executed in 1549 for numerous other crimes against the crown. After her two months of imprisonment in the Tower of London by her sister Queen Mary, Elizabeth returned to Hatfield. The Queen Elizabeth Oak on the grounds of the estate is said to be the location where Elizabeth was told she was Queen following Mary's death. In November 1558, Elizabeth held her first Council of State in the Great Hall.

Lemsford:  The village and parish of Lemsford is situated near Welwyn Garden City and was created out of Hatfield parish in 1858. Brocket Hall Park is nearby. Originally the parish included Lemsford Village itself, with the outlying areas of Cromer Hyde, Stanborough and the Brocket Park Estate plus part of the west side of what is now Welwyn Garden City. Boundary changes in 1927 transferred this latter area to the newly founded Welwyn Garden City. The river Lea (or river Lee), which once formed part of the boundary of the Saxon kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex runs through the parish. The village is widely known for its large mill on the River Lea, which is now the headquarters of Ramblers Worldwide Holidays. The church, believed to be erected in 1859 as a memorial to the sixth Earl Cowper, is Early English and Decorated, with a good East window, also to the memory of the earl. The tower is lofty and embattled.

Brocket Hall:  Brocket Hall was built for Sir Matthew Lamb, 1st Baronet, in around 1760 to designs by the architect James Paine. It stands on the site of two predecessors, the first of which was built in 1239 and the second in about 1430. In 1865 Lord Palmerston, who was Prime Minister at the time, died while staying at the Hall.

Cuffley:  The railway had an important impact on the development of the village. Cuffley was reached by the Great Northern Railway in 1910, as part of the plan to create the Hertford Loop Line, as a strategic alternative to the main line out of Kings Cross to the North, by extending the line from Enfield Chase. In 1939, the Scout Association purchased part of the Tolmers Park Estate that lies within the Parish of Cuffley. Tolmers Scout Camp, was opened on Whit Saturday 1940 by Lord Wigram.

Welham Green:  Welham Green is a village in the parish of North Mymms, Hertfordshire, England. It is situated a mile to the west of the Great North Road coaching route that used to run through the neighbouring hamlet of Bell Bar from London to York and the north.

Brookmans Park:  Located in the civil parish of North Mymms, Brookmans Park is a village well known for its varied and interesting local history, including an ancient historic estate that used to exist within its boundaries, its BBC transmitter station, and excellent local amenities. Local legend has it that Patience Moffat, daughter of entomologist Dr. Thomas Moffat (possibly Moffett or Moufet), who lived in the area from 1553 to 1604, had invited a poet over for Christmas. During the poets stay he overheard Miss Moffat tell her father of how she was eating her curds and whey when a spider came down from the ceiling and frightened her. The poet made an alteration to the name Miss Moffat and wrote a nursery rhyme which is now sung by children everywhere.

Essendon:  The village and civil parish of Essendon is located 6 miles south-west of the town of Hertford on the B158 road. The village is 100 metres above sea level and offers views of the Lea Valley to the north. Although on an ancient site, St Mary's Church dates mainly from the 17th and 18th centuries and was restored in 1883. The west tower dates from the 15th century and has eight bells, the oldest is dated 1681. The church contains an unusual Wedgewood ceramic font dated 1780 and several brasses and monuments. In 1916 the east end of the church was damaged by a bomb dropped by the German Navy Zeppelin L-16; two sisters were killed. There is a village pub named The Rose and Crown.

Other Villages Nearby Include:

Little Berkhamsted:  Situated to south-east of Essendon, Little Berkhamsted can trace its past back to Saxon times and perhaps beyond. The village’s greatest claim to fame is that it was here that William the Conqueror accepted the surrender of the City of London after the Battle of Hastings.

Hertingfordbury and the Five Greens:  Hertingfordbury is a village to the west of Hertford town in Hertfordshire, England. It lies within the St. Albans Diocesan parish of Hertingfordbury and the local government boundary of Hertford Town Council. Within the area there are a number of other small villages locally known as "the five greens". These are: Birch Green, Cole Green, East End Green, Letty Green & Staines Green. The history of the parish can be traced back to the Domesday Book entry of 1086 which mentions Herefordingberie. "Stronghold of the people of Hertford". Old English -inga-a- burh (dative byrig).

Codicote:  A large village, and civil parish about seven miles south of Hitchin, Codicote entered into the written records for the first time in the year 1002, when King Æthelred the Unready, its owner, sold it by means of a charter for the sum of 150 mancusae, or 900 shillings of pure gold to his 'faithful minster' Ælfhelm. It was described as being 'five measures of ground' (of uncertain extent) and known as 'Æt Cuthingcoton'. Shortly after this it passed to the Abbot and Chapter of St Albans Abbey. A 2007 BBC programme Christina: a Medieval Life, presented by Michael Wood, focused upon the life and times of Christina Cok (d. 1348) in Codicote, studying the archives relating to her father's acquisition of field strips and marketplace property, which she took over in the 14th century. She won a consistory court case over her claim to the rights to her land.

The Ayots:  Ayot St Lawrence. A small village and civil parish in Hertfordshire, between Harpenden and Welwyn. The author, George Bernard Shaw lived in the village of Ayot St.Lawrence, from 1906 until his death in 1950. The house, Shaw's Corner is named after him and open to the public as a National Trust property. The Brocket Arms, the village’s only public house was established in the 14th century and is reputed to be haunted. There are other Ayots in the area;

Ayot Green, a typical traditional English village, centred around a village green - an old coaching inn once stood opposite the Green; and,

Ayot St.Peter. The Church of Ayot St Peter was destroyed by Lightning in 1874. The foundation stone for the present church, which came from the doorway of the previous church, was laid by Lord Cowper on 7th April 1875. Building was completed in six months and was dedicated by the Bishop of St Albans on 26th October 1875. According to the Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names, Ayot means ‘gap or pass of a man named Aega.’ The word is first found as Aiegete in 1060, and in the Domesday Book it is rendered as Aiete. There seems to be no information about who Aega was or why he was important enough for his name to have become so firmly attached to the area as to have survived for over 1,000 years. The affix St. Peter is, of course, a reference to the dedication of the parish church.

Datchworth:  Datchworth is a village and civil parish between the towns of Hertford, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City. Sited on the Roman road from St Albans to Puckeridge, the village has examples of Saxon clearings in several locations. The name Datchworth is thought to originate from a Saxon lord called Daecca (pronounced Datcher), who settled here around the year 700 AD. 'Worth' comes from the word Wyrthe, which means enclosure. However, Datchworth was certainly occupied well before 700 AD. There are two large Belgic sites, only one of which has been partly investigated. Much of the parish boundary still follows the old Belgic ditches. The arrival of the Normans gave Datchworth a written record in the Domesday Book. This included an account of the occupants and land values in the 11th century. Standing at the eastern side of Datchworth Green is the whipping post. Its last recorded use was on 27 July 1665 when two 'vagabonds' were publicly flogged. Stocks stood near the post too, but there is no trace of them now. The stocks are thought to have been removed in 1899.

Bull's Green:  Bull's Green lies in a densely wooded upland area which consists of a gently undulating landscape with settlements of different ages. It is situated at the junction of Burnham Green Road and Bramfield Road. In the 2001 Census the population was 207. Nearby stands Queen Hoo Hall, a small early Elizabethan brick-built hunting-lodge with extensive views over the Mimram valley. Beside the Datchworth to Bramfield road can be found a post bearing the title ‘Clibbon's Post' and the date 28.12.1782. The post marks the resting place of a notorious criminal Walter Clibbon who terrorised that part of Hertfordshire.

Bramfield:  Bramfield is a little village with old cottages surrounding the village green. The church, St Andrews is a Saxon Church, rebuilt in 1090 and extended c1370. The tower was added in 1840 during major renovation work. From the time of the Norman Conquest, Bramfield was held by the Abbots of St.Albans and St.Andrews was the first Living of Thomas a Becket, who was Rector there. After his murder in 1170, the village became a place of pilgrimage. A pond in the parish is still called after his name. Nearby are the settlements of Hertford, Waterford and Stapleford.

Wheathampstead:  Wheathampstead is a village and civil parish in the City and District of St Albans. Settlements in this area were made about 50 BC by Belgae invaders, moving up the rivers Thames and Lea from what is now Belgium. Evidence for them was found in Devil's Dyke, at the eastern side of Wheathampstead. The Devil's Dyke earthworks are part of the remains of an ancient settlement of the Catuvellauni tribe and thought to have been the tribe's original capital. The capital was moved to Verlamion (which after the Roman conquest the Romans would rename Verulamium, which in turn would become modern St Albans) in about 20 BC. The Devil's Dyke is reputedly where Julius Caesar defeated Cassivellaunus in 54 BC, although this claim is disputed. Some historians suggest that the Dyke was part of the same defensive rampart as nearby Beech Bottom Dyke, which, if correct, would make the area one of the largest and most important British Iron Age settlements.  Later, the village is recorded in the Domesday book under name Watamestede. It appears that a church existed at Wheathampstead before the Norman Conquest, as Wheathampstead was given by Edward the Confessor to Westminster Abbey, but it is very difficult to determine whether any portion of the present St Helen's Church is of Saxon work. The original structure was demolished in the reign of Henry III, the oldest portion of the present church, in the chancel, is assigned to the year 1280.

Watton-at-Stone:  The name Watton first appeared in writing in an eleventh century publication of tenth century Anglo-Saxon wills as Wattun. It was later recorded in the Domesday Book as both Wodtune and Watone. The origin of the word is uncertain, and is variously ascribed to Old English wád, or woad, and ton meaning small farming settlement; or waden meaning ford; or from waétan meaning watery. The suffix -at-Stone dates from the early thirteenth century and is derived from the presence of two large examples of Hertfordshire puddingstone, now situated at the Waggon and Horses public house. A Roman Road ran from Verulamium (modern St Albans), fording the River Beane at Watton-at-Stone. A battle between the Danes and Saxons took place nearby in 1016. In later years, the natural springs in the area once made the village a popular spa town.

Knebworth:  Knebworth is a village and civil parish located to the north of Woolmer Green. There is evidence of people living in the area of Knebworth as far back as Neolithic times and it is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 where it is referred to as Chenepeworde (the farm belonging to the Dane, Cnebba) with a population of 150. The original village, now known as Old Knebworth, developed around Knebworth House. Development of the newer Knebworth village started in the late 19th century centred a mile to the east of Old Knebworth on the new railway station and the Great North Road.

Kimpton:  Kimpton is situated between the Mimram and Lea Valleys and about six miles south of Hitchin and about four miles from Harpenden. The civil parish of Kimpton contains the settlements of Kimpton, Blackmore End and Peters Green. It also includes isolated farmhouses reached by narrow, high-banked, winding roads. Part of Peters Green is sometimes called "Perry Green", but in Hertfordshire there is another Perry Green near Much Hadham. The village is renown for it May Festival. 


The first reference to Hertfordshire (as"Heortford") appears in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle's entry for 1011. However, the county's true origins lie about a century earlier, with the establishment of the two burhs of Hertford by Edward the Elder in 912 and 913 respectively.

(source: Wikipedia - http/

The first part heort, means, ‘deer crossing’, the second, ‘ford’, means, watercourse. This is why the symbol of Hertfordshire has always contained as least one dear and reference to a body of water.

After the Norman Invasion, Edgar the Ætheling (the successor to Harold Godwinson) surrendered to William the Conqueror at Berkhamsted.

In 1261 King Henry III held parliament in the county of Hertfordshire. In 1295, another parliament was held in St Albans.

Bedmond, a small village about two miles from Abbots Langley, is famed as the birthplace of the only Englishman ever to become Pope.

The Royal Navy has used six vessels with the name ‘HMS St.Albans’.

From 1808 to 1814, St.Albans hosted a station in the shutter telegraph chain which connected the Admiralty in London to its naval ships in the port of Great Yarmouth.

The discovery of Middle Stone age flints suggests Hatfield has been a site of human habitation for thousands of years.

Hatfield's first mention in recorded history dates back to before the Domesday Book (commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1085 AD and completed the following year). 2011 is Hatfield House's 400th anniversary.

Peter the Wild Boy

Peter the Wild Boy was a mentally handicapped boy from Hanover in Northern Germany who was found in 1725 living wild in the woods near Hamelin (Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg), the town of Pied Piper legend. 

The boy, of unknown parentage, had been living an entirely feral existence, surviving by eating forest flora; he walked on all fours, exhibited uncivilized behaviour, and could not be taught to speak a language.

Once found, he was brought to Great Britain by order of George I, whose interest in the unfortunate youth had been aroused during a visit to his Hanover homeland. 

He was given the name of Peter, but was variously known as the "Wild Peter", "Peter of Hanover", or, most famously, "Peter the Wild Boy".

After George I's death in 1727 Peter was given in charge to a schoolmistress, Mrs King of Harrow and then to a farmer, James Fenn of Axter's End farm, Northchurch, Hertfordshire, with an annual allowance provided by Queen Caroline.

Peter remained at this farm until Fenn's death when his care was taken over by Fenn's brother, Thomas of Broadway farm. He was to live here for the remainder of his life.

Peter died in 1785 and was buried in Northchurch (nr Berkhampstead), Hertfordshire and his grave can still be seen in the churchyard of St Mary's, directly outside the main door to the church.


Did You Also Know This?:

1. The traditional English "V-sign" insult dates back hundreds of years. During The Hundred Years War, the French would chop off the two fingers of any English longbowmen who were unfortunate enough to be captured. In defiant response to this, before the commencement of battle, English longbowmen would taunt the French by giving them the two fingered salute.

2. The fact that we drive on the left hand side of the road owes itself to medieval times, when it was easier to attack someone with your sword as they came towards you on your right side.

3. In Chester, a person is permitted to shoot a Welshman with a bow and arrow, as long as he is inside the city walls after midnight.

4. All English males over the age of 14 are required by law to have two hours of longbow practice each week.

5. The English language is the most widely spoken of all languages and is also the international language of air traffic control. All international pilots must be able to speak English as well as all air traffic controllers.

6. In English law, when we swear on the bible the right hand is always raised. This stems from the medieval practice of branding thieves on the palm of the hand. Everyone in court was required to show their hand to see if they had previously been branded.

7. The “Union Jack” should only be called the “Union Jack” when it is flown from the Jack Mast of a British ship. At all other times it should be called the Union Flag.

8. St George was made the Patron Saint of England by Edward III in 1349.

9. England's national flower is the Rose and its national bird is the Wren – the smallest bird in England.

10. England does not appear on the European Union map and was described under “other European regions” See the attached map from the European Commission website. Do you know of any other country that would stand to have their name deleted from the map? (Another reason why we need an English Parliament)

11. Many of the words and phrases from Shakespeare’s plays have entered our everyday language. You may find yourself reciting Shakespeare without even knowing it. Here are a few examples...



“To be or not to be”

“More in sorrow than anger”

“To thine own self be true”

“Murder most foul”

“To the manner born”


King Lear

“More sinned against than sinning”

“The prince of darkness”

“The wheel has come full circle”



“Is this a dagger which I see before me”

“A charmed life”


The Merchant of Venice

“With bated breath”

“Love is blind”


The Merry Wives of Windsor

“The world’s mine oyster”

“What the dickens…”

“As good luck would have it”


Midsummer Night’s Dream

“The course of true love never did run smooth”


Romeo and Juliet

“What’s in a name”

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

“Parting is such sweet sorrow"


12. Scots can still be jailed and whipped for entering England. They face the penalties if they stray into Carlisle, Cumbria, according to a lawbook for the city written in 1561, which has never been revised.

13. England’s oldest ally is Portugal. A treaty of alliance was signed at Windsor in 1386 which is still in force today and remains the oldest active international treaty in the world. The Treaty of Windsor has stood - despite sometimes severe strains - for over 600 years. Relations between England and Portugal have not always been rosy, but in all that time whenever our two nations have gone to war it has been as allies, not enemies.

14. Ever since the making of the film “Zulu” popular belief has always been that it was mainly a “Welsh” defence of Rorke’s Drift that took place during the Zulu war of 1879. The action is firmly set in people’s minds as being fought by Welshmen of the South Wales Borderers (24th Foot). In fact the regiment was the Warwickshire regiment in 1879 and only became the SWB in 1881. Like most regiments of the time it recruited from across the UK. No more than 20 of the 140 men defending Rorke’s Drift were Welshmen. Of the eleven men awarded the Victoria Crosses three were Welsh, one Irish, one Swiss and the rest were English.

15. The modern “Scottish” kilt was invented in the 1730’s by Englishman Thomas Rawlinson. A Lancastrian industrialist, he clothed his Scottish workers in the garment to save money on trousers.

16. Welsh national costume was invented in the 1830’s by Englishwomen Augusta Waddington. She was married to a government minister called Benjamin Hall who the bell “Big Ben” at Westminster was named after.

17. Many Scots and English share common ancestors. During the mid sixth century lowland Scotland was invaded and occupied by the Anglo-Saxons. One Anglo-Saxon King (Edwin) gave his name to a fortified town (burgh) he established on a prominent rock beside the River Forth. Over the years the town grew into a city which is now called Edinburgh.

18. Three-quarters of the world's electronic communication is in English and more than eighty per cent of the data stored in the world's computers is in English. The largest English dictionaries list around four hundred thousand words with the French and German languages containing less than half of this vocabulary. Around eight hundred million people speak English as a first or second language. An estimated one hundred million further, speak English fluently as a foreign language and at least several hundred million more people speak "broken" English taking the total number of people who are able to communicate in English well past the one billion mark..

19. The much-derided Sir Douglas Haig, who while the Supreme Commander of the British Forces during WW1 picked up the nickname “The Butcher of the Somme”, is always portrayed in the media as a bumbling English gent. He was Scottish.

20. Any English person who has spent even the shortest amount of time in Scotland is bound to have come across the derogatory term often aimed at the English “Sassenach”. Variants of the word also exist in different “Celtic” languages: sasanach in Irish, sasunnach in Scottish Gaelic, sais in Welsh, saws in Cornish, sosty-nagh in Manx and saoz in Breton. In all these languages it means the same – Saxon.

21. During Anglo-Saxon times English craftsmen were producing swords of equal or superior quality 600 years before the Japanese were to produce the famed Samurai blades.

22. The language “Scots” is actually a dialect of English.

23. Many of Scotland’s most famous family names including the Bruces, the Balliols and the Stuarts are actually of Anglo-Norman origin.

24. Mel Gibson’s fictional masterpiece “Braveheart” is historically correct in one respect. The Scottish armies did actually use to “moon” at their English adversaries. There was a strange belief among the Scots that the English had tails and baring their backsides was a taunt to our supposedly deformed ancestors.

25. In 1969, Pope Paul VI reformed the calendar of the Catholic Church. As a result, St George was placed on a list of “doubtful saints” – those whose credentials owed more to myth than historical fact. (Incidentally, St. Patrick - who supposedly banished the snakes from Ireland, has never been formally canonised by a Pope).

26. Before his funeral 321,360 people filed past Churchill’s coffin as he lay in state. That was 16,000 more than did likewise for George VI.

27. The quintessentially Irish tune "Danny Boy" is actually English. It was actually written by Englishman Frederic Edward Weatherly who died in 1929 having never set foot in Ireland.

28. Over the past 250 yeas English men and women have been responsible for nearly 4 out of every 5 major inventions, discoveries and new technologies. Japanese research shows that more than half of the world’s most useful inventions since 1945 were made by English people. For comparison the Americans have contributed less than 1/5 of the world’s useful inventions since 1945

29. It was the English historian The Venerable Bede who first began the practice of referring to events after the birth of Christ using the now-familiar notation anno domini ('in the year of our Lord', abbreviated to AD).

30. The Saxons were so called because of the style of fighting knife that they often carried. The “Seax” could be as small as a penknife for everyday use or as large as a sword. Saxon literally means “the sons of the sword”

31. St Patrick the Patron Saint of Irish, the most Irish of Irish, was born in the late 300s to mid-400s Banna Venta Berniae, Britain (suggested to be near Birdoswald, Cumbria, England or possibly near Bristol).

32. The first draft of the Magna Carta was written at St Albans Abbey in 1213. Two years later, King John was in St Albans when he learned of the Archbishop's suspension. Though John signed the Magna Carta, he did not hold up his side of the bargain, and Hertfordshire was the main battlefield in the civil war that followed. On 16 December 1216, during the First Barons' War, Hertford Castle surrendered in the face of a siege from Dauphin Louis (later Louis VIII of France), whom the English barons had invited to become King in John's place.  Berkhamsted  Castle surrendered around the same time. In winter 1217, royalist forces plundered St Albans, took captives and extorted £100 from the Abbot, who feared the Abbey would be burned.

33. The English constituted 80 per cent of the 2,760,360 people who left the British Isles for the United States between 1820 and 1910.

English people have been responsible for some of the world’s best innovations.

To have produced Shakespeare, Newton and Darwin alone would have been a great thing for any nation, but for England they are merely the cherries on the top of a very substantial intellectual cake. Beneath them sit dozens of others of serious human consequence: the likes of Ockham, Chaucer, Wycliffe, Francis Bacon, Marlowe, Halley, Hobbes, Locke, Gibbon, Priestly, Cavendish, Newcomen, Faraday, Austen, Dickens, Keynes, Turing... Here are some of them:

Thomas Savery (1650-1715). Invented the first commercial steam engine - a steam pump.

Thomas Newcomen (1663-1729). Improved Savery's engine by introducing the piston.

Josiah Wedgwood (12 July 1730 – 3 January 1795) was an English potter, founder of the Wedgwood company, credited with the industrialization of the manufacture of pottery. A prominent abolitionist, Wedgwood is remembered for his "Am I Not A Man And A Brother?" anti-slavery medallion. He was a member of the Darwin–Wedgwood family. He was the grandfather of Charles Darwin and Emma Darwin

Richard Trevithick (1771 - 1833). Invented the high pressure steam engine. Built the first steam locomotive.

George Stephenson (1781-1848). Made the railway a practical reality.

Abraham Darby (1678-1717). Developed the process of smelting iron using coke.

Sir Henry Bessemer, (1813-1898). Devised a process for making steel on a large scale.

James Hargreaves (1722-1778). Invented the spinning jenny.

John Kay (1733-1764). Invented the flying shuttle.

Samuel Crompton (1753-1827). Invented the spinning mule.

Richard Arkwright (1732-1792). Invented the waterframe.

Edmund Cartwright (1743-1823). Invented the power loom.

John Harrison (1693-1776) First to build watches accurate enough to solve the longitude measurement problem.

Edward Jenner (1743-1823). Developed vaccination.

Joseph Lister (1827-1912). Developed antiseptics.

Sir Joseph Whitworth (1803-1887). Standardised screw threads, produced first true plane surfaces in metal, developed ductile steel.

Henry Maudslay (1771-1831). Invented the screw-cutting lathe and the first bench micrometer that was capable of measuring to one ten thousandth of an inch.

Joseph Bramah (1748-1814). Invented the hydraulic press.

John Walker (1781- 1859). Invented the first friction matches.

John Smeaton (1724-1792). Made the first modern concrete (hydraulic cement).

Joseph Aspdin (1788-1855). Invented Portland Cement, the first true artificial cement.

Humphrey Davy (1778-1829). Invented the first electric light, the arc lamp.

Michael Faraday (1791-1867). Invented the electric motor.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859). Built the first really large steam ships - the Great Britain, Great Western, Great Eastern.

Sir Isaac Pitman (1813-1897). Devised the most widely used modern shorthand.

Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802 - 1875). Developed an electric telegraph at the same time as Samuel Morse.

Rowland Hill (1795-1879). Invented adhesive postage stamps.

John Herschel (1792-1871). Invented the blueprint.

William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877). Invented the negative-positive photography and latent image shorter exposure time.

George James Symons (6 Aug 1838 - 10 Mar 1900) Founded and managed the British Rainfall Organisation, a widely distributed network of rainfall data collection sites throughout the British Isles.

Sir Joseph William Swan (1828-1914). Invented the dry photographic plate. Invented, concurrently with Edison, the light bulb.

Sir William Henry Perkin (1838-1907). Created the first artificial dye - aniline purple or mauveine - and the first artificial scent, coumarin.

Alexander Parkes (1813-90). Created the first artificial plastic, Parkensine.

Sir George Cayley (1773-1857). Worked out the principles of aerodynamics, his On Ariel Navigation showed that a fixed wing aircraft with a power system for propulsion, and a tail to assist in the control of the airplane, would be the best way to allow man to fly. Also invented the caterpillar track.

Sir Frank Whittle (1907-1996). Took out the first patents for a Turbojet.

Sir Christopher Cockerell (1910-1999). Invented the hovercraft.

Charles Babbage (1792-1871). Worked out the basic principles of the computer.

Alan Turin (1912-1954). Widely considered the father of modern computer science - worked out the principles of the digital computer.

Tim Berners-Lee (1955-). Invented the World Wide Web defining HTML (hypertextmarkup language), HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) and URLs (Universal Resource Locators).