A Brief History of Harpenden Hall



The original name for Harpenden Hall was in fact, “Blakesleys” and its earliest presumed owner was Ralph Cresseywho was also the owner of Rothampstead (now a scientific research facility). Ralph Cressey made a name for himself in the Hundred Years War at the battle of Crécy in 1346 and the building stayed within the Cressey family for several generations after his death.

The building eventually passed into the possession of the Bardof Family (close relations of the Cressey family) and a inscription found fireplaces, bears the inscription “E Bardolf” and dates the room to between 1571-1630.

The next famous owner was the “Lord of the Manor of Burston”, Godman Jenkyn and another notable owner was General Robert Prescott, who fought under Wolfe in the American War of Independence and lived at Blakesleys between 1784 and 1794.

In 1818, Harpenden Hall (still called Blakesleys) became the first congregated church in Harpenden as well as a school. Run by the Rev. Phillips and known as the “Dissenting Grammar School for Boys” it lasted until 1839.

in 1850 James Quilter Rumball turned Harpenden Hall into a private lunatic asylum.

In 1909 it became “Miss English’s School for Girls” and from 1923 till 1931 it became “St Dominic’s Convent School for Girls” which still exists in as a mixed primary “St Dominic’s RC School” about 100 metres down the road.