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St Mary Cheshunt Herts.jpg
The Church of St Mary
Cheshunt is located in Hertfordshire
 Cheshunt shown within Hertfordshire
Population 51,998 (Census 2001)
OS grid reference TL358021
   – London 13 mi (21 km)  
District Broxbourne
Shire county Hertfordshire
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Waltham Cross
Postcode district EN7, EN8
Dialling code 01992
Police Hertfordshire
Fire Hertfordshire
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament Broxbourne
List of places

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Cheshunt /ˈɛzənt/ is a town in the Borough of Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, England with a population of around 52,000 according to the United Kingdom's 2001 Census.[1] It is a dormitory town and part of the Greater London Urban Area and London commuter belt served by Cheshunt railway station. The town is located 13 miles (21 km) from Charing Cross, and 12 miles (19 km) from the City of London making it one of the closest parts of Hertfordshire to Central London.

History and geography

The Prime Meridian passes to the east of Cheshunt.

The town name comes from the Old English name (as recorded in the Domesday Book) for the area, Cestrehunt, which probably refers to a "castle, erected by the Romans", the word cestre (along with the form ceastre), or even its modern forms, chester and caster being derived from the Latin castrum meaning "fort".[2][3] This is commemorated in the arms of the former Cheshunt urban district council.

Cheshunt was a settlement on Ermine Street, the main Roman road leading north from London. This origin was investigated by the television archaeology programme Time Team. Before the Norman Conquest, the manor of Cheshunt was held by Eddeva the Fair, but William I granted it to Alan of Brittany. The parish church of St Mary-the-Virgin was first recorded in a charter of 1146, but was entirely rebuilt between 1418 and 1448 with a three-stage tower topped by an octagonal turret.[4]

As Princess Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth I lived at Cheshunt in the care of Sir Anthony Denny, after she left Queen Catherine Parr's household in 1548.[5] Richard Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, died here in 1712. In 1825, Cheshunt was also the location of the Cheshunt Railway. Running from the town's High Street to the River Lea near the present-day Cheshunt railway station, this 0.75 mi (1.21 km) horse-drawn line was the first passenger-carrying monorail and the first railway line to be built in Hertfordshire.[6][7]

The town's Bury Green neighbourhood was once the home of singer Cliff Richard. Lotus Cars as well as the nationally famous Debenhams were also founded in Cheshunt, and the headquarters of Tesco, the UK's largest and most profitable supermarket chain, is also located here. In 2002, Cheshunt hosted the only officially licensed European BotCon convention ever.

Services in Cheshunt include the Brookfield Centre, which includes Next, Boots, Argos, River Island and Marks & Spencer stores, as well as a large Tesco Extra store. There is a Marriott Hotel nearby, and the town centre includes a wide variety of smaller shops.

Being located in the Lea Valley, Cheshunt has access to the Lee Valley Park. The park is accessible at many points, one being extremely close to the town's railway station at Windmill Lane.

At 8:00 am on 12 August 1944 a Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber belonging to the United States Army Air Forces 392nd Bombardment Group (Heavy) from RAF Wendling crashed next to Maxwells Farm, near Cheshunt killing all ten crew.[8][9] The B198 which runs near the crash site has been renamed Lieutenant Ellis Way after the pilot had managed to avoid crashing into the nearby town, one of the firemen who attended the scene has recently secured funding for a permanent crash memorial at the scene.[10] There is currently a memorial which has been set up along the named road, near St Mary's High School which is now situated in the immediate area.

Up until 2004, Theobalds Park was home to the famous Temple Bar, which was moved from London at the turn of the 19th century. The gateway was re-installed in London at Paternoster Square on the north side of St Paul's Cathedral. Cedars Park, Broxbourne, on the site of the historic Theobalds, is a public park that covers 19 hectares (47 acres) of parkland and includes a lake, turf play maze, bocce court, play mound (Venusberg), pet's corner, flint arch and historic walls, tea room and arts centre. The park received a Green Flag award in 2013.


Tesco House, the Tesco head office, in Cheshunt

Cheshunt's best-known employer is Tesco, whose head office has been in Cheshunt for many years. A small store has been in the town centre for many years and is still open today, together with "Home 'n' Wear" store (now closed) which was situated across the Old Pond in College Road.[11] In 1983 a new out-of-town Tesco store located to the north of the town opened, named "Brookfield Farm". It later expanded, and a branch of Marks & Spencer built next door, the entire estate renamed "The Brookfield Centre". On 8 January 2015, Tesco announced among other major cost cutting measures that its headquarters were to move from Cheshunt to Welwyn Garden City.[12]

In 1959, Colin Chapman moved his fledgling Lotus group of companies, including Lotus Cars and Team Lotus from its outgrown premises at Hornsey to a purpose built facility on Delamare Road. Racing cars from here won the first two of its seven constructor championships in (1963 and 1965) before moving to Hethel, Norfolk in 1966.

Until the late 1960s the main land use around Cheshunt was for its nursery industry, and many new techniques for growing under glass were developed here. Thomas Rochford had a large concern here, although now almost all the glasshouses have been re-developed into housing estates. This is often reflected in the names of the roads or estates, such as Rosedale or Thomas Rochford Way. A small amount of nursery trade survives to the west of the town. The neighbouring town of Goffs Oak still has a large number of nurseries as well as a large garden centre.

North Met Pit, flooded gravel workings

The River Lee Navigation passes through Cheshunt and was used for the transport of flowers and crops to the London markets for many years until road transport became more viable. A wharf existed just east of the railway on the site now occupied by Herts Young Mariners Base. The Youth Hostel was built on the site of the derelict open-air swimming pool.[13] Photos of the pool are exhibited at the hostel.

"Cheshunt Compound", a fungicide developed at the Cheshunt Research Station was widely used by amateur and professional gardeners but has been withdrawn from sale in the UK since November 2010 and it is no longer legal to use it.[14] It was a mixture of copper sulphate and ammonium carbonate.[15]

From the end of World War II a large area of the River Lea flood plain was used for sand and gravel extraction which resulted in the creation of the now mature lakes which are popular with anglers, birdwatchers and naturalists. The area now forms part of the 1,000 acres (400 ha) River Lee Country Park and the Turnford and Cheshunt Pits SSSI.


Cheshunt has four secondary schools: Cheshunt School; Haileybury Turnford; Goffs School; and St Mary's Church of England High School.

The non-conformist theological college Cheshunt College, moved to Cheshunt in the 1790s from Trevecca, Brecknockshire. It moved to Cambridge in 1905. Between 1909 and 1968 the buildings were occupied by the Church of England's Bishop's College.[16] Since 1972 they have been council offices and formerly a music and business school (typing and accountancy), which had to be demolished due to it being unsafe. In the 80s parts of the building were so unsafe it was closed and demolished. The main problem was the floors had begun to disintegrate. A new council office was built on the site of the old school. The council chamber and registry office are now in the same building that contains the "Huntingdon Rooms".

Town centre

The Old Pond area is located in the centre of Cheshunt and is home to many local businesses. With roads leading to the M25, A10 and towards Broxbourne.

Before the 2012 London Olympics the Olympic Torch was carried close to the Old Pond by selected and nominated local residents. After the Olympics, gold medal winner Laura Trott had two postboxes painted gold in her honour, one at the Old Pond.[17]


Cheshunt's best-known son is the pop singer Cliff Richard and the town was also home to the band Unit 4 + 2 whose song Concrete and Clay topped the UK charts in 1965. UFO drummer Andy Parker was born in the town in the 1950s. The popular underground band Neils Children, originate from the town.


Cheshunt has its own football Club in Cheshunt F.C. who play in the Isthmian League Division One North. Founded in 1946, their most famous player was Iain Dowie who played for them in the 1980s.

The town also has long-established rugby and cricket clubs and a publicly owned 18-hole golf course.[18]

Tottenham Hotspur football club, most notably, have held training grounds in Cheshunt over the years.

Formerly Grundy Park Leisure Centre, the Laura Trott Leisure Centre was renamed after £4m redevelopment to honour the Olympic medallist. Trott attended the launch on the morning before competing in stage four of the first Women's Tour from Cheshunt to Welwyn Garden City.[19]



Cheshunt is located on the A10 trunk road (also known locally as the Great Cambridge Road) which provides links to the M25 Junction 25, as well as to Enfield, London and Cambridge.


Cheshunt has a mixture of commercial and Hertfordshire County Council contract services. Most buses operate to Waltham Cross (where there are links to north London and Essex), Hoddesdon and Broxbourne. The towns of Hertford, Harlow, Potters Bar, and Waltham Abbey are also linked to Cheshunt. Buses are operated by Arriva, Centrebus, Metroline or Sullivan Buses.


Cheshunt is located in London Oyster Zone 8. Trains run to Liverpool Street and Stratford, with connections to the London Underground Victoria line at Tottenham Hale and Seven Sisters. Trains also serve Broxbourne, Hertford East, Stansted Airport and Cambridge.

Other nearby stations include Waltham Cross, Theobalds Grove, Enfield Lock, Cuffley. Oakwood and Cockfosters tube stations, on the Piccadilly line, are located further afield.

The proposals for London's Crossrail 2, a line that would link North East London to South West London would, if approved, stop at Cheshunt.[20]


The Sustrans National Cycle Route 1 passes through Cheshunt as part of its route connecting Dover to Shetland.

Paul Cully Bridge

Paul Cully Bridge
Cheshunt A10 cycle link.png
Route of the cycle link and new bridge location.
Location Hertfordshire
Proposer Sustrans
Cost estimate £1.7 million
Geometry KML

As part of the Connect2 project a new cycle link over the A10 was proposed in 2007.[21] The scheme involved the building of a new cycle bridge over the A10 and connecting paths to link Theobalds Lane with Lieutenant Ellis Way. The bridge was opened in 2010 as the "Paul Cully Bridge" after a late local civil servant.[22] £500,000 of this cost is funded by the Big Lottery Fund via the Connect2 project.[23]

Notable people

Town twinning


  2. Tompkins, Herbert Winckworth (2008) Hertfordshire; illustrated by Edmund H. New; large print ed. BiblioBazaar, LLC ISBN 1-4375-3234-9, ISBN 978-1-4375-3234-0, 196 pages, page 190
  3. The Gentleman's Magazine. London: F. Jefferies, 1821; v. 91 pt. 1 Original from the University of Michigan; digitized 2 Aug 2005, page 521
  4. "Parishes: Cheshunt".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Finchley Society (26 June 1997). "Finchley Society Annual General Meeting Minutes" (PDF). Retrieved 3 April 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Today in Science History. "June 25 - Today in Science History". Retrieved 3 April 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Lowewood Museum - B24 Liberator crash 1944
  9. Rooke. P (1989) Cheshunt at War 1939-1945 ASIN: B003X2IH34
  10. "Ernie wins battle to honour US war heroes who saved Cheshunt". Hertfordshire Mercury.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Tesco Home 'N' Wear Retrieved 19 April 2011
  12. "Tesco to close 43 stores across UK" [BBC News] 8 January 2015 retrieved 8 January 2015
  13. Herts Young Mariners Retrieved 5 April 2010
  15. Coutts, J, Edwards, A, Osborn, A, & Preston, GH, The Complete Book of Gardening, p. 533, Ward Lock, London (1954)
  16. Article marking the centenary of the opening of Bishop's College, parish website
  17. "Cheshunt gets its second gold postbox". Hertfordshire Mercury. Retrieved 27 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Cheshunt Park Golf Centre".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Cheshunt's Grundy Park Leisure Centre renamed after Laura Trott ahead of Women's Tour stage four – SLIDESHOW". Hertfordshire Mercury.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Hertfordshire Mercury news report Retrieved 5 March 2013
  21. "Cheshunt, crossing the A10 to reach the Lee Valley". Sustrans. Retrieved 23 July 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Bridge Opening". Where we can walk. November 2010. Retrieved 1 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Borough of Broxbourne Minutes" (PDF). Broxbourne Borough Council. 22 July 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. British listed buildings Retrieved 8 August 2012
  25. Wolsey Hall Retrieved 24 July 2012
  26. The High Numbers Retrieved 1 June 2012

External links