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.

New Housing Residents Consultation

Please find here a copy of the leaflet that should be with all residents of South Mimms by Monday 13th July 2020. There will be a three week consultation period, but this is only the first one and there will be more chances for residents to have a say about the Local Plan for the area.

Once you have decided on your preferred choices, please complete the on-line response form here. Alternatively, you can put your responses in our new Parish Council Post Box which will be outside the village hall (under the Parish Council Notice Board) from today.

Hertsmere Borough Council sub-contract their leafleting services and a small mix-up (due to staff working from home) meant that the copies were printed and distributed early and therefore didn’t include the late change of location for our new post box which is listed at at the White Hart.

Whilst unfortunate, this should not detract from the many hours of meetings and hard work that the Parish Council and Hertsmere Borough Council staff have put into this consultation and will continue to do so through every phase of this work.

It is expected to be two years before any building work can commence, however this first consultation is very important for determining the direction taken from here, so please consider all three options carefully.

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.

SID is coming to South Mimms!

We are please to announce that a Speed Indicator Device (SID) has been given approval by Highways for instillation in South Mimms.

The happy / sad face speed indicator has been placed on order from the supplier and will be installed by the end of the year.

Highways undertook a survey with senors earlier this year and have identified the most effective location as being just after the chicane coming into the village from London Colney.

The election to fill the vacancy on South Mimms Parish Council will now be held on 6 May 2021 . In line with The Coronavirus Act 2020.

Hertsmere Borough Council

Election of Parish Councillor

For the Area of 


Having received a written request from TEN eligible electors from the Parish Area, the Proper Officer can confirm that a poll for the by-election to fill the vacancy 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 poll for the election to fill the vacancy 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.

Press Statement to Potential New Home Developers

South Mimms Parish Council will be commencing a period of public consultation in April, to gather the villagers’ views on what the future shape and feel of South Mimms should be. Only AFTER this exercise will the Councilors be available to meet developers of any potential sites for new homes, to discuss matters.

Issued by the Parish Clerk 08/03/2020

Defibrillator Now Installed

South Mimms Parish Council, working with the charity Defibrillators in Public Places (DiPPs) has now installed a fully automated defibrillator in a cabinet outside The White Hart pub. The cabinet is locked with a pin code which can be obtained from the emergency services when dialing 999 for the victim. Training sessions (paid for by the Parish Council for residents) are going to be arranged for February and dates will go on our notice boards and in the Church newsletter.

Speeding Data

South Mimms Parish Council has secured funding for two speed data points to be set up by Hertfordshire Highways. These will monitor speeding traffic, over a seven day period, at two of the main entry / exit points in the village. Once the data has been obtain and analysis has taken place, we hope that the evidence will mean further measures to reduce speeding can be introduced.

South Mimms Castle

South Mimms Castle Artists Impression
Reconstruction of the Norman castle at South Mimms by Faith Vardy, Copyright London & Middlesex Archaeological Society 2013.

As many of you may know, South Mimms contains the remains of a Norman motte and bailey castle. Historic England’s listing on the castle states ” South Mimms motte and bailey castle is situated on an east-facing slope overlooking the Mimmshall Brook, about 1.25km north-west of South Mimms village. It includes a motte, c.9m in height and 35m in diameter at the base, in the north-west corner of a kidney-shaped bailey which measures 125m north-south by 110m east-west and is surrounded by a bank and ditch. The entrance to the inner bailey was on the south-west side where there is now a causeway across a ditch and a break in the rampart. There are traces of an outer bailey to the south. The castle is thought to have been built by Geoffrey de Mandeville in 1141 with a licence from Matilda and was probably destroyed in 1143. Excavations carried out by J Kent in 1961-5 revealed that a timbered tower had been built on the ground with an entrance on the south and that the motte had then been constructed around the tower with spoil from the defensive ditches. Pottery from the 13th and 14th centuries was uncovered during the excavation and suggests that occupation of the site continued after the destruction of the castle.”

Following a dig at the site some years ago, London & Middlesex Archaeological Society published a paper on the castle, which included a fantastic painting by the artist Faith Vardy, which is reproduced under copy -write with the Society’s kind permission.