Widford is set in the midst of delightful Hertfordshire countryside, in the Ash Valley. It is surrounded by villages of equal antiquity (Widford is mentioned in the Domesday book) and lies approximately twelve miles from Stansted Airport.
Just two miles from Widford’s church of St. John the Baptist is Hunsdon’s church of St.Dunstan. Here, beside the church, is Hunsdon House, King Henry Vlll’s nursery palace where Edward Vl, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth l were raised as children. The property was later sold to William Willoughby, Governor of Barbados, who died in 1673.
This may well be the beginning of this corner of Hertfordshire’s link with slavery. In 1711 “Africk Hunsdon, a native of Africa, servant of Hunsdon House” was baptised in St.Dunstan’s church, and later married a local girl named Dorothy Jordan. They had a son called Africk, and it is likely that their descendants live in Hertfordshire today. Two African servants, Quaw and Neptune, were baptised here in 1756 as James March and Francis Dyer. The parish register records that they were baptised “at their own request”.
The sculptor lived and worked in Perry Green, which adjoins Widford Parish. There is a magnificent collection of his works on show here at his old home, Hoglands. The collection includes tapestries, fabrics, paintings and sculptures. Hoglands where he lived with his wife Irina until his death is now open to the public.
One mile from Widford lies the village of Much Hadham. Here is both a working , and the Forge Museum and tea room. During restoration work magnificent 16th Century wall paintings were uncovered, and are now on show.
There is so much to see, and a number of places to stay... and all this within an hour’s train ride in to Central London.