St Albans' Own East End

Dell Cottage

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Hidden away from the world, we explore this modest house

The map, below right, is part of the survey by Dury and Andrews, 1766.  Sandpit Lane is shown, approximately west-to-east, from the houses at Snatchups out to Hall Heath and then Newgate Farm.  The map is shaded where the ridge exists (see below), and just to the east of this the black rectangle on the south side of the Lane is Dell Cottage (or Dellfield).

Interestingly, there is an additional building shown on the bluff at Hall Heath (probably near where Monks Horton Close is today).  The book refers to Hall Heath as a potentially ancient settlement, largely devoid of historic dwellings today, other than the two sets of former farmworkers' cottages.

The end elevation is all that most of us may notice as we pass over the Sandpit Lane railway bridge.  Even from this limited perspective we can judge that, in style, it appears to be 18th century.

The St Peter Parish Map, right, produced by Rumball in 1826, is aligned with east to the top of the map.  The road to the left of the fields is Sandpit Lane.  Beyond the top in this extract are the former chalk workings called The Dell (not to be confused with Dell Cottage), which would later accommodate a large house for Mr Grimwood (c1903).  This was standing empty at the time of the 1911 census and was therefore not enumerated.  The road near the bottom of this map is St Peter's Street north.

Plot 160, to the left of field 161 is Dell Cottage.  The green of some of the Sandpit Lane Wastes can also be picked out.

Maps courtesy of HALS

Poster courtesy of St Albans' Museums

The 1840 Tithe Map, not represented here, shows the position of the cottage in Sandpit Lane.  At that time the property was in the ownership of the trustees of Rosy Mary Heath and John Coales, deceased.  It was occupied by William Slough, an agricultural labourer; he continued to live there through the census years of 1841 to 1871, after which it was occupied by a railway plate worker called William Smith.

The house had a lucky escape in the 1860s when the Midland Railway submitted its revised route plan under the Railways Act.  The house is named in the submission as it lay within the parameters of the route variation; a band of land beyond the centre line of the proposed route which had to be declared.

Named on this map, left, Dell Field House, just to the left of it is the shading referred to above, which represents the edge of the ridge or steeper slope.  This is seen in Sandpit Lane on the town side of Lemsford Road, and in Avenue and Hillside roads.  This gradient once continued past the house but the Lane was re-levelled on the town side of the bridge when that was constructed.  It is this which resulted in the entries to Battlefield and Lemsford roads being later laid out at steeper gradients.

St Albans' Own East End