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Markyate is located in Hertfordshire
 Markyate shown within Hertfordshire
Population 3,135 
OS grid reference TL065165
District Dacorum
Shire county Hertfordshire
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town ST ALBANS
Postcode district AL3
Dialling code 01582
Police Hertfordshire
Fire Hertfordshire
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament Hemel Hempstead
List of places

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Markyate is a village and civil parish in north-west Hertfordshire close to the border with Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.


Having had several former name variants, including Markyate Street and Mergyate, Markyate has been part of all three counties at various times, as the county boundaries have changed over the years. At one time the boundary was the line of the main road itself: Hertfordshire to the east and Bedfordshire to the west. Markyate is close to the source of the River Ver, which has occasionally flooded the centre of the village, though the watercourse is often dry during parts of the year.

Part of the Dacorum Borough Council district (centred on Hemel Hempstead), it has Luton (01582) phone numbers and a St Albans postal code (AL3). Although historically a rural and agricultural area, it is now a dormitory village for Luton and the surrounding region, as it is a short distance from the M1 motorway.

Lying on Watling Street, the Roman road (now the A5) between St Albans and Dunstable, it was a major coaching stop on the highway from London to Birmingham, at one point having over forty inns and public houses along its main road, and the village was one of the earliest sites of the Pickfords transport service, one road out of the village being named Pickford Road. During the 12th century Christina of Markyate was the Prioress of a Benedictine community in the area.

The village lies near the junction of the A5 and the B4540 (for Luton and Caddington). A bypass for the A5 was constructed to the east of the village in 1955. South along the A5 is Flamstead and junction 9 of the M1.


Markyate first became a separate ecclesiastical parish, known as Markyate Street, in 1877; while on 30 September 1897 the civil parish of Markyate was created from the Bedfordshire civil parish of Humbershoe[1] (created in 1866 from part of the ancient parish of Studham), the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire portions of Caddington, Flamstead, an exclave of Houghton Regis known as Buckwood Stubbs[2] [3] (tithe map [4]), including an exclave of Whipsnade, Ballington Bottom in Hertfordshire.

Growth since the 1950s has been by infilling with new housing in the gap between the old A5 High Street and the new A5 Markyate by-pass. In 2014 most of the village's light industry area off Hicks Road was demolished, to be replaced by new housing and shops.

The Gainsborough film The Wicked Lady was based on events surrounding the life of Lady Katherine Ferrers — the wife of the major landowner in the area – at Markyate Cell. Parts of the film The Dirty Dozen were also filmed in the village and surrounding area, the stockade being built in the grounds of the local preparatory school.


Markyate has two junior schools: Markyate JMI (state) and Beechwood Park School (independent). The latter is south-west of the village in Beechwood Park, the site of a former Benedictine nunnery. Adjacent to the park was an Army Y-station during World War 2. Beechwood Park lent its name to a song by The Zombies, written by the group's bassist Chris White. The song has since been covered[clarification needed] by Beck Hansen.

From its height in the coaching era, only two public houses now remain in the village: The Plume of Feathers and The Swan. The White Hart closed in the early 1970s, followed by The Red Lion at the end of 2009, both of which became private dwellings, and the Sun Inn in 2014. Being near the M1 motorway and London Luton Airport, there is a large three-star Holiday Inn hotel just south-east of the village.

Notable residents

External links