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.

Elections Update

On Thursday 6 May 2021 residents in Hertsmere will go to the polls to have their say on who represents them in Borehamwood Kenilworth, South Mimms, Shenley and Aldenham Parish Councils; Hertfordshire County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

THERE ARE FOUR SEATS UP FOR ELECTION IN SOUTH MIMMS.  IDEALLY WE NEED AT LEAST A DOZEN RESIDENTS OF THE ELECTRAL WARD OF SOUTH MIMMS TO PUT THEMSELVES FORWARD, SO THAT RESIDENTS HAVE A CHOICE. TO BE ELEGIABLE YOU MUST BE A RESIDENT OF THE CIVIC PARISH, BE A UK CITIZEN AND NOT HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD.  If you decide to apply please remember this is a four year commitment and although these are unpaid roles you will be required to sign an agreement to uphold the standing orders of the council, which includes conducting yourself in a manor becoming of the role and acting in the best interest of the whole parish. This will be particularly important given the plans for new housing in the area.

Any residents who have questions can also contact their local elections team on 020 8207 7481 or email

While local elections are not until May, Hertsmere already making plans to help you stay safe while casting your vote. There are a number of ways to have your say in the May elections – you can vote in a polling station, by post, or by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf, which is known as a proxy vote.

Sam Langford, Electoral Services Manager for Hertsmere Borough Council, said: “The elections later this year are very important – they’re an opportunity to make your voice heard and have a say on who represents you on issues that directly affect day-to-day life.

“We’re thinking about these elections now so that, however you choose to cast your vote in May, you can do so safely. We’re putting arrangements in place to help you stay safe at the polling station; you can expect many of the measures you’ve become used to in shops and banks over recent months, such as hand sanitiser, floor markings and face masks. But you also have the option to apply to vote by post or by proxy.”

Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance at the Electoral Commission said: “The choice on how to vote at May’s elections is yours – you can have your say in person, by post or by proxy.

“If you’re thinking about voting by post, you can apply now. This will make sure your application is processed early, and your postal vote can be sent to you more quickly. It’s easy to apply and you can find out how by visiting the Electoral Commission website.

“You need to be registered to vote in order to have a say at the elections – the easiest way to register is online at

Residents can visit to find out more about the elections on 6 May 2021. The page will be updated with new information as it becomes available.

The local elections team can be contacted on 020 8207 7481 or email

Find out more about voting and registering to vote at

Casual Vacancy on SMPC

A casual vacancy has arisen on the Parish Council following the resignation of Cllr Harverson, as no requests for a by-election for this seat were received by Hertsmere Borough Council.

Anyone wishing to be considered for this voluntary role should contact the Clerk on before the end of the year.

There will be an interview process in the New Year, conducted by the existing Councillors.

Please note this is not the Chairperson position as that is currently held by Cllr Spencer. This position will come up for election again in two years.

Chairman’s resignation and Handover

With the appointment of a new temporary Chairperson in Cllr Antony
Spencer at last week’s meeting. The resignation of Yvonne Harverson has now finally been accepted and processed. With this a permanent vacancy has arisen at South Mimms Parish Council.
A written request from 10 electors in the parish must be received by
Hertsmere Borough Council by Friday 27 November to trigger a by
election. If no request is received then the vacancy will be filled by
co-option.  Due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic and 
emergency legislation that has been passed, the by election will not
take place until 6 May 2021 if it is required. 
The full election notice is available to view on the borough council’s website

Any queries can be raised please email me on

Natalie Gettings – Clerk

Remembrance Sunday 2020

Sadly this year, with the second national Covid-19 lock-down, we are unable to have our usual acts of remembrance. Poppy Wreaths are still being placed on the War Memorial but these will be done individually, not as a public event.

As South Mimms is part of Shenley Ward we are sharing here a link to the Shenley Parish Council website as they have made a video and will also be streaming a church service.

Whilst we can not gather together to remember our local fallen, their names will be read out on Potters Bar Radio and are listed below.

” Let us commemorate and commend to the loving mercy of our
heavenly father, the Shepherd of souls, the Giver of life everlasting,
those who have died in war for our country and its cause. They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: age shall not
weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun,
and in the morning, we will remember them. ”

Those from  South Mimms who gave their lives in the 1st & 2nd World Wars

Alfred ALLEN
Frederick ELDERTON
George FORD
Frederick LONG
Ernest WEBBE
Patrick GOOD
Joseph HICKS
Reginald LAMBERT
Ronald MOULD

Those from  Ridge who gave their lives in the 1st & 2nd World Wars

William Percy ELLIOTT
Frederick William HICKMAN
Arthur George HICKMAN
William Charles DORMER
James Arthur LONG
Horace Edgar SIREY
Ernest George FITT
Harry Douglas COPPS
Joseph Charles EDWARDS
Herbert KENT
Charles ASTLE

And buried in war graves in St Giles Churchyard.

Percy Thomas CURWEN
Thomas MOODY
Gordon Richard ISBELL
Ronald Arthur OXLEY

New Temporary Councillors

At last night’s full Hertsmere Council Meeting four Hertsmere Borough Councillors were appointed to South Mimms Parish Council to act until full elections can be held next May (due to the Covid-19 regulations).

Cllr Morris Bright MBE, who is Leader of Hertsmere Borough Council was appointed, along with our two Ward Councillors, Cllr Natalie Susman (Con) and Anthony Spencer (Con) and the representative for our neighbours in the Furzfield area, Cllr Chris Myers (Lab).

A date for the next Parish Council Meeting will be published shortly. This will be an online ‘Zoom’ meeting as the Village Hall remains closed.

Election Latest

Hertsmere Borough Council

Election of a Parish Councillor

For the Area of

South Mimms Parish Council

Having received a written request from TEN eligible electors for each of the vacancies from the Parish Area, the Proper Officer can confirm that a by-election to fill the vacancies on South Mimms Parish Council must be held in accordance with The Local Election (Parishes and Communities)(England and Wales) Rules 2006. These rules specify that an election is to be held within 60 days of receiving the said request.

However due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, emergency legislation has been passed postponing elections and referendums that would normally take place between the 16th March 2020 and 5th May 2021.

Accordingly, pursuant to Sections 61 and 63 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 and Regulation 6 of the Local Government and Police and Crime Commissioner (Coronavirus) (Postponement of Elections and Referendums) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020, the election to fill the vacancies on South Mimms Parish Council will now be held on the ordinary day of election in 2021; that is to say on 6 May 2021.

Further information will be supplied closer to the time.

Paula Arnold and Neil Pumfrey resign



  1. Notice is hereby given that two further casual vacancies have arisen on South Mimms Parish Council following the resignations of Councillors Paula Arnold and Neil Pumfrey.
  • An election to fill the vacancies will be held within 60 days * from the date of this notice if a written request is received by the Proper Officer from ten electors for the parish. This request must be received within 14 days after the date of this notice: Thursday 10th September 2020 – computed in accordance with the Local Elections (Parishes and Communities) Rules 2006.
  • The Address of the Proper Officer is:

Hertsmere Borough Council

Civic Offices

Elstree Way




  • If no such request is received the Parish Council will fill the vacancies by co‑option.

Dated: Thursday 20th August 2020      

Natalie Gettings

Parish Clerk to South Mimms Parish Council

*Due to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic, emergency legislation has been passed postponing elections and referendums that would take place between the date the act was passed (25th March 2020) and 5th May 2021. More information can be found under sections 59 – 63 of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

If requested a by election will take place on 6th May 2021.

Mark Edwards Resigns

A second vacancy has arisen at South Mimms Parish Council as
Mark Edwards has stepped down as a parish councillor.
A written request from 10 electors in the parish must be received by
Hertsmere Borough Council by Tuesday 8 September to trigger a
by election.
Even though a by election has been called to fill the vacancy left by
Paul Binstead, it is necessary for residents to resubmit signatures for this new vacancy if they want it filled by election.
If no request is received then the vacancy will be filled by co-option.
The full election notice is available to view on the borough council’s
Any queries can be raised through the South Mimms parish council clerk –

UPDATED: New Housing Residents Consultation

Please find here a copy of the leaflet that was sent out in July as part of the Borough wide information gathering exercise on new housing. The draft Hertsmere Local Plan will be published in Spring 2021, when there will be full public consultation.

The results of the South Mimms Survey were presented to the November 2020 Parish Council Meeting in a Clerk’s Report

The report states that 62% of residents voted for the new houses to be in the zone to the north of the village, beyond the existing village footprint, whilst only 34% wanted new housing to be fitted in and around the village, with the remaining votes going to a combination of both.

Natalie Gettings, Clerk

Request for new Remembrance Sunday Organiser

SMPC are looking for someone to take over arranging of the Remembrance Sunday event as our current incumbent would like to step down from the role. A full handover will be given with all the relevant information on ordering wreaths, road closures etc.

If you feel you could take on this responsibility each year, please email me at

Natalie Gettings, Clerk.