A history through maps

The earliest maps showing Hatfield Forest in any useful detail date from the middle of the 18th century. These show a layout of coppices which is still recognisable today. Subsequent maps show interesting extra detail whilst the 6 inch Ordnance Survey map of 1876 shows the present Forest boundaries, as well as the recently constructed railway line to the north and minor road to the east.

1624: Barrington Hall map

Sir Francis commissioned a map of the Manor of Barrington Hall from Jeremiam Baylye, which shows woodland in the south east area of the Forest, including Gravel-pit and Warren Coppices, but in no great detail. 
(reference  D/DQ 14/191, Essex Record Office)

1757: Hollingworth and Lander map

A much more useful map appeared in 1757, when Jacob Houblon III commissioned Hollingworth and Lander to prepare a map of the Forest, entitled "A Survey of Takely Forest Belonging to Jacob Houblon Esq Taken in the Year 1757", at a scale of 20 in to 1 mile. 
This shows the recently constructed lake ("The Pond" (item 9)) and dam and has an engraving of the front of the recently constructed Shell House. The map also gives the names and areas of the individual coppices. There were eight to the west of  Shermore Brook and six to the east, where the Barrington family owned the timber rights. In addition, there are also three sections which are shown as more lightly treed. This area is now woodland plain, with some pollarded specimens. Perhaps the Barringtons had already given up trying to maintain these as coppices. The total area of copse was 966 acres, with 420 acres of "waste ground".
Within the coppices, the present day pattern of rides can be seen. Shermore Brook is shown as Sherman Brook. Other interesting features are London Road, running diagonally across the Forest from north east to south west, a small gravel pit to the north east of the top of the lake, Warren House and The Lodge.
(reference D/DB P37, Essex Record Office)


1757: Capability Brown plan for remodelling the lake

The 1757 plan for remodelling  the lake, by adding two extra arms, also shows Cottage Coppice, on the western edge of the Lake.  This was prepared for Jacob Houblon by Capability Brown.  The original is now with the family archives at the Berkshire Record Office.

1766: Mackoun map

A history of Hatfield Forest in 8 maps (PDF / 1.232421875MB) download see the maps

John Barrington commissioned a survey of his various estate around Hatfield Broad Oak, from J. Mackoun. These were bound in a single volume of 48 beautifully coloured maps, at scales of between 13.3 and 20 in to 1 mile.  One of these is a map of Wood Row Quarter, where John Barrington owned rights to the timber, showing part of the "Great Pond", five coppices and plain totalling 404 acres.
(reference D/DB P37, Essex Record Office)


1777: Chapman & Andre map of Essex

Chapman & Andre prepared a map of the whole of the county of Essex, at a scale of 2 inch to 1 mile (1: 126720). This shows Hatfield Forest and surrounding area, in quite good detail, including the lake, individual coppices and plains, the Doodle Oak, the Cottage and Forest Lodge.  The lake has been altered, to include an arm to the south west end, one of the two proposed in the Capability Brown plan.
The map also shows a prominent avenue of trees running east/west across a plain in the southern end of the Forest, from Hallingbury Place. The eastern boundary of the Forest is formed by Pinchey Brook.The present day minor road running south from Takeley Street to Bush End was not built for a further 100 years.
The map also shows other sites of interest to the Hatfield Forest story in the surrounding area: Bassingborne Hall (seat of Sir Peter Parker), Hatfield Park, Old Barrington Hall (former seat of the Barrington family), New Barrington Hall (seat of John Shales Barrington), Hallingbury Place (seat of Jacob Houblon), and Thremhall Priory (later home of Laetitia Houblon). The eastern boundary of Hallingbury Park is shown as abutting the south western corner of Hatfield Forest.


1805: Ordnance Survey First Edition

The first Ordnance Survey of Great Britain was undertaken from 1805 onwards, producing maps at a scale of 1 inch to the mile (1:63360). This shows the individual coppices, albeit not entirely coincident with the earlier Chapman & Andre map.  This mapping was used until the next survey in the 1870's, updated with major changes such as the railway line running north through Bishops Stortford.


1832: Greenwood

The Greenwood brothers prepared a map of the County of Essex which was published in 183?, embellished with colour tints.


1875: 6 inch Ordnance Survey map

This mapping was undertaken from 1875, at a scale of 6 inch to the mile (1:380160).  This names individual coppices and shows the rides. The medieval coppices, Warren Coppice, Doodle-Oak Coppice and part of Gravel-pit Coppice, are no longer coppices.  Portingbury Hills and the Warren are shown.
The northern boundary of the Forest is now formed by the recently built branch line from Bishops Stortford to Braintree.
The eastern boundary has retreated to the minor road running south from Takeley Street to Bush End. This had been built in the 1850's following the enclosure of the Forest by John Archer Houblon. He bought out some commoners rights with exchange of boundary land, giving the Forest its present straight edges on the east and south east. Also shown are the recently built church, St John the Evangelist, and school, at Bush End, on the eastern side of the new minor road. The present day Forest access and exit roads do not yet exist.


1923: Auction Map

The auctioneers, Daniel Smith, Oakley & Garrard, prepared a map of the Hallingbury Estate as part of the details of sale for the auction of the estate, based on the 6 inch OS map.