9th November 1690 Highway Robbery

On November 9, 1690 near South Mimms, several highwaymen stopped a London-bound convoy and robbed it of the £15,000 in taxes it was carrying from the Midlands. During the holdup the highwaymen waylaid other passing travelers, plundered them and tied the victims to nearby trees.

Despite some arrests and the threat of execution by hanging, bands of highwaymen continued to target travellers in the area. One of the most famous of these highway crimes occurred on the summer evening of August 23, 1692. John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, veteran of the battles of Sedgemoor and Walcourt, was riding in his coach attended by an escort of dragoons along the St Albans Road (he had an estate in St Albans). The coach carried a treasure chest packed with gold and silver coins. A band of perhaps 40 highwaymen ambushed Marlborough and his retinue. In the ensuing melee with the dragoons, as many as 10 highwaymen were killed. The bandits nevertheless managed to relieve the duke of 500 guineas. The ringleader of this and other escapades in the area was ‘Captain’ James Whitney.

Whitney was born into a poor family in Stevenage in about 1660. He started work as a butcher’s apprentice in Hitchin, and later became the landlord of the George Inn at Cheshunt (some sources report the name of the establishment as the White Bear or the Bell). His position as a publican put Whitney in contact with a stream of colourful characters, and highwaymen were among his patrons.

The business however proved unprofitable, and some of his criminal friends tried to convince Whitney to join their ranks and ‘take to the road.’ Tempted by visions of adventure and riches, the landlord ultimately agreed. Whitney’s cleverness, and perhaps his penchant for fancy clothes and manners, soon had him promoted to leader of his own gang, and he came to be referred to as ‘Captain’.

The size of the band varied, and Whitney periodically broke up the group and operated alone – the latter a tactic intended to confuse the authorities. The number of Whitney’s gang is reported to have been anywhere between 30 and 80 men. He is thought to have had 50 by 1690 when he targeted the coach at Wash Lane in South Mimms carrying £15,000 of tax money.

James Whitney was arrested and sent to Newgate prison. He was eventually caught and hanged at Tyburn for his crimes in 1693.

Draft Design Brief for New Houses

South Mimms Parish Council is putting together a Design Brief, to ensure that new homes built in the village meet certain standard of design and quality.

We have put together a draft version and would like your opinions on it. Are there design elements we have missed? Is anything incorrect? Please let us know by emailing The Clerk (Natalie Gettings) on

Please click on this link to see the document.

Local Plan for New Houses

Hertsmere Borough Council have now released their Local Plan for new housing all over the Borough. The plans for South Mimms are shown here: Village residents will be receiving a feedback form through their doors. The full plan can be seen on and feedback can also be given online.

The number of homes to be built in South Mimms has been reduced from those first proposed because of plans to build a new town called Bowmans Cross.

This will be on the old mining site next to the M25 and surrounding parts of the Tyttenhanger Estate as you approach London Colney. The developers of the site will be at the 4th November Parish Council Meeting at the Village hall at the usual 7.30pm to explain their approach and outline the plans for building new schools and facilities .

Newsletter August 2021

Click here to see our summer newsletter. Just because there isn’t a public meeting in August it doesn’t mean that SMPC are putting their feet up, far from it! Paper copies of this newsletter have been printed and the Councilors will be distributing them over the next week to ensure all residents see a copy.

If someone you know doesn’t received a paper copy and would like one please get in touch.

Public Enquiry into Aggregates Site Enquiry Delayed – more time to object or give evidence.

Unfortunately the Public Inquiry into the planning breaches by Paving Solutions and Groundwork Ltd ( that was due to take place on 10th August have been granted a postponement – with a tentative date of now 11th January 2022.

Many residents of South Mimms have suffered appalling dust and noise pollution from this site over the last few years. It is believed that the operators of the site, which is next to Romani House on Blanch Lane, was denied a license to operate HGVs from the site, as well as not having planning permission to operate an industrial company on the site, having cleared all the original trees and shrubs. Ironically, Paving Solutions and Groundworks Ltd state on their website that their” services are underpinned by superior health and safety compliance and quality standards” – even though the heath of local residence of South Mimms is being badly impacted.

Because the Public Enquiry has been delayed there is now more time for residents to send evidence and statements to the planning inspectorate at quoting their reference number; APP/N1920/C/20/3260982 – Land adjacent to Romani, EN6 3PP, explaining how they have been effected by the dust entering their gardens and homes, as well as being woken by the pounding of aggregates.

There is also the opportunity to speak at the inquiry if interested. To be able to do so you need to notify Hertsmere Council and the Planning Inspectorate and forward your statement/proof of evidence to the Planning Inspectorate at least 2 weeks before the inquiry date.

Further information can be found hereGuide to Rule 6 for interested parties involved in an inquiry – planning appeals and called-in applications – GOV.UK (

Youth Art Competion

SMPC doesn’t have an official logo, so we are inviting all children and young people to design a logo for South Mimms Parish Council. Entries should be sent to Mrs Toni Johnson c/o St Giles School, Blanche Lane, South Mimms by the end of term, or emailed to by the end of July. GOOD LUCK!

Community Projects

South Mimms Parish has received a few thousand pounds in CIL Funds from Hertsmere to use specifically on community infrastructure projects within the Parish.

These funds are for projects that enhance the fabric of the Parish. An example might be new benches and flower troughs outside the village hall to create an outside meeting spot, or some outside exercise equipment in a public space.

If you have any ideas for a project big or small please email me at with some basic details of what, where and a rough idea of cost if you can.

Natalie Gettings, Clerk

Election Results

On Tuesday 11th May Hertsmere Borough Council formally release the results of the elections for South Mimms Parish Council.

The new team are:

Cllr Chris Myers, who is also a Hertsmere Labor Councilor and has been one of our Stand-in Councilors, Cllr Toni Johnson, Cllr Seth Thomas and Cllr Mark Hedison, all of who now join Cllr Cathy McCaffrey who was co-opted onto SMPC as no requests for election were received for Mrs Harverson’s seat. These positions will stand for two years until the next full cycle of elections.

Acceptance papers and a AGM to elect a chair person will be held as soon as more than 6 people can meet indoors, but no later than the end of June.

New Co-Opted Councilor

Ms Cathy Mc Caffey has been selected to fill the position of Co-opted Councilor, following the resignation last year of Mrs Harverson. Hertsmere Borough Council didn’t receive any letters requesting that this position be taken to election, so co-option for this seat was necessary.

Cllr Mc Caffey’s appointment will be ratified at the next SMPC meeting and will be for the next two years.