Hatfield Forest was associated with a succession of local families over the last six hundred years, since the last period of Royal ownership, including the Barringtons, from Hatfield Broad Oak, and the Parkers and then the Houblons, from Great Hallingbury, as well as the Rich family.
The Houblon family owned Hatfield Forest for nearly two hundred years and were responsible for the lake and other landscape features in the central area.
The Barrington family came from nearby Hatfield Broad Oak. They had rights to the timber in the eastern part of the Forest, bringing them into conflict with the Houblon family.
The Forest was owned in the 17th century by the Parker family, from nearby Hallingbury Place. Members of the family were involved in Tudor intrigues as well as the Gunpowder Plot.
Sir Richard Rich gained notoriety during the reign of Henry VIII, holding a variety of Royal offices and responsible for a range of dirty deeds.