Shephall Manor

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    The Present house was built by Unwin Heathcote in 1864. The site of the former manor-house, previously demolished, was a little distance to the east and is now occupied by a rose garden.

    Down in the cellars which occupy the full extent of the basement there are two pieces of oak ¹ preserved as mementos of some of the people concerned in the building of the house. One of these bears the name of the architect T. Roger Smith, and R.E. Roberts of Islington the builder. On the other is the signature of George Humphries joiner of Llangollen, so one would imagine that his work must have been of outstanding merit for him to have come all that way to complete this task in Hertfordshire.

    The house remained in the in the Heathcote family until 1939 when it was sold to William Harriman Moss. During the war the house was requisitioned and was used as a training school and officers’ mess for some of the Polish Forces who were then stationed in this country.

    In 1947 the Stevenage Development Corporation acquired the whole of the Property, together with the manorial rights and ten years later it was leased to the London County Council and later I.L.E.A. for use as a residential School. The school opened in its present form in September 1960

    The house proudly boasts a secret passage from the dungeons of the previous Manor and of a ghost named the Manor Monk. Many have claimed to have seen the Monk whose presence is ubiquitous. The legend of the ghost goes back many years as Shephall was part of St. Albans Abbey lands and remained in possession of the successive abbots of St. Albans until the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII.


This document was all that was apparently known about 1980 and was probably produced by one of the teachers at Shephall Manor School before my arrival in April 1980.

If you worked or lived at Shephall Manor between 1960 and 1990 when it was an ILEA Boarding school you can click on the website below to go to Fiends ( sic) Reunited and maybe there is somebody that you know there!

¹ The pieces of wood are in my possession and read

First piece

House built 1864 by R.E. Roberts of Islington

Architect R.T. Smith – The Strand.

James Lovell Apprentice Joiner, Carpenter of Minterne Magna, Dorsetshire

Second Piece

August 1864 ( Written at an angle vertically on the left, on a chamfer, and not visible in this picture below)

George Humphrey



After the fire 1981


Greater London Council plan of Shephall Manor school

Staircase circa 1985

Waiting for closure 1989

Old ILEA school nameplate

Neglect 1989

From the Shephalbury School playing field about 1985

From the site of the old house about 1989

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