Shephall Village

Home Nodes Heathcotes Shephall Manor Shephalbury Web Details Sources Contents Shephall Village Three Houses Photogallery SMAC Coptic Church Polish Connection

View of Shephall village 1900 ish

  The history of Shephall Village was written by Mary Spicer in 1984 in her book "Tyme out of Mind" and manages to capture the end of a way of life that had not changed much for perhaps a thousand years or more.  Shephall was essentially an agricultural village that almost solely depended on the struggle to raise animals, crops and fruit from the land to survive from year to year, everyone was involved in that struggle from birth to death.  Many of those lives went unrecorded as parish registers were not introduced until 1560.  The further back in time we try to go the poorer the information.  The majority of the population was not literate and sometimes only the landowners are recorded in odd documents that just give us fragments of information.

  This website was made to record the history of Shephall Manor which has been inextricably linked to the village but I feel Mary's history is so well written I have little to add.  In her own words:-

Although there had been some material changes in the village over the years some new cottages, the school, the new manor house ‑ I think that the way of life of the Shephall people that I knew as a child had changed very little over the centuries. In the early twenties no man went out of the village to work; the farms held the men, domestic service the girls, although several girls had living‑in jobs outside the village. Men worked a six day week, perhaps finishing by midday on Saturday; but if you were a cowman or a horsekeeper you were seldom free even on a Sunday, for there was stock to be fed, cows to be milked, a sick animal to tend. A gardener needed to return to his greenhouses, in summer to check humidity and to water, in winter to stoke boilers to maintain heat in the hothouses. Farmers, their sons and their men worked side by side with the common aim of making the earth yield its crops, suffering the bad and enjoying the good years together. At harvest time they would work from dawn till dusk, then gather the symbolic bounty into church for the Festival. Sheaves of every kind of grain, roots scrubbed, vegetables trimmed, fruit polished, the biggest and best, all decorated by the autumn flowers, would fill the aisles and window ledges. Barrows of produce would be wheeled up from the Bury with specially selected bunches of grapes to decorate the screen. This was one time when everyone from the village came to church, the harvest hymns raising the roof by singers and non‑singers alike.


Estate Map 1799

Look how much of the village is owned by the Nodes Family!

Shephall Church by Oldfield 1800


Charities Board from Shephall Church

To go to the present website of St Mary's Church in Shephall or Aston click on the name you want below

St Mary's, Shephall

St Mary's, Aston

To see more of the 1779 Estate Map click here

[Home] [Nodes] [Heathcotes] [Shephall Manor] [Shephalbury] [Web Details] [Sources] [Contents] [Shephall Village] [Three Houses] [Photogallery] [SMAC] [Coptic Church] [Polish Connection]