M25 Salisbury Hall
Post to the north Bell Roundabout
Post to the east Ridge Hill
This section was originally the A6 but was adapted into the M25 in the 1980s.
Salisbury Hall. Formerly called Shenley Manor. And in the 9th this was part of the Manor of Shenleybury held by Asgar the Stallar. In 1380 it to Sir John Montague, later the Earl of Salisbury. A new house was built about 1507 by Sir John Cutte, Treasurer to King Henry VII and Henry VIII. This was bought in abut 1668 by James Hoare, a London banker and then to Jeremy Snow who rebuilt it.
Salisbury Hall House. Built in 1668-79 for Sir Jeremiah Snow but some parts date from the 14th. It is in red brick and 20th extensions replace the earlier service wings. Snow’s arms are carved on a pediment. Inside are 16th medallions with busts of Roman emperors brought from Sopwell Priory. The house is completely surrounded by a moat. In the late 19th it was occupied by a succession of farmers but in 1905 Lady Randolph Churchill lived here and in the 1930s it was the home of Nigel Gresley, of the London and North Eastern Railway.
Mosquito. The house was chosen by de Havilland in 1939 for development, in private, of a high-speed, unarmed bomber, of wooden construction, the de Havilland Mosquito design team moved here as a security precaution against the British Government stopping work on the project. The Mosquito was conceived as an unarmed high speed bomber but developed into the first multi-role combat aircraft. A hangar was built across the moat where the first prototype was hand built out of wood using non-strategic material and labour. Construction from wood is a specialty of this area, connected with the Chiltern furniture industry and several de Havilland aircraft were made of wood. Three Mosquitoes were flown out of the surrounding fields to Hatfield De Havilland left in 1947 and the Hall became derelict. In 1955 Walter Goldsmith an ex Royal Marine Major named took it on.
De Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre. This is the the oldest aircraft museum in the country. It first exhibit was the Mosquito Prototype W4050 which was saved by Bill Baird and Walter Goldsmith. Baird was trying to find a home for this aircraft, and Goldsmith fundraised among the original sub-contractors and a Robin hangar was found in which the Prototype was assembled. A committee was formed including Geoffrey de Havilland. More aircraft were added to the collection and the freehold of the site was acquired. It opened to the public in 1959. The name was changed to the Mosquito Aircraft Museum, and in 1974, the Supporters Society was formed and later the de Havilland Aircraft Museum Trust Ltd
Granary. This dates from the late 17th and is timber framed and standing on staddle stones.
Barns. These are on the east side of the hall and include a tack room. They are late 17th and timber framed and weatehrboarded. The tack room is 18th.
Nell Gwynne's cottage. This was originally the pump house to Salisbury Hall. It is early 18th in red brick with some timber framing. Nell Gwynn is said to have lived there in the 17th and to haunt the hall
Dairy. This is 19th and is linked to the pump house.
Secret passages. There are stories of several. Some are said to run from deep cupboards in the attics. Also on the side of the moat is said to be a circular bricked-up opening going to an underground passage nearly five feet high, which connected Salisbury Hall with St Albans Abbey.
Salisbury Hall Farm
British History. On line. Shenley. Web site
British Listed Buildings. Web site
Chelsea Speliological Society,. Newsletter
De Havilland Museum. Guide book and leaflets
De Havilland Museum. Web site
Historic England. Web site
London Transport. Country Walks
Osborne. Defending London
Whitelaw, Hidden Hertfordshire