History of Danesbury
A definitive account of the HIstory of Danesbury has been researched, and is presented by local Historian Gordon Longmead in his book: The HIstory of Danesbury, Its House and Its Lands, published by New Concept Publishihng in 1999 .
Gordon’s book provides a fascinating and detailed account of the peoples who lived in and around Danesbury in the pre-Roman period, long before the House was built in 1776, and chronicles its subsequent transitions of ownership and family residency, its use through two World Wars, its ultimate use as a long stay Hospital in the grounds of which Welwyn village used to hold annual Summer Fetes, to the present time when after a period of dereliction, it has been restored and converted to apartments, with Mews Houses at the rear where hospital wards used to be sited.
Date Line for St John’s Lodge/Danesbury House
The following date-line (the accuracy of which is not guaranteed) is compiled from multiple books and local historians over very many years. To learn about the history and people associated with Danesbury House, we recommend Gordon Longmead’s comprehensive book.
1776 St John’s Lodge built for Mary St John
1780 Captain St John killed in naval action.
1784 Mary St John died – Frances St John remains in residence.
1794 Frances died – House inherited by Major-General Cornelius Cuyler
1819 General Sir Cornelius died. Danesbury House leased to William Blake
1824 Willaim Blake purchased the House and renamed it Danesbury
1851 Anthony Parsons employed as Head Gardener
1852 William Blake died – William John Blake succeeded to the estate
1859 Anthony Parsons built The Fernery, incorporating artificial Pulhamite stone
1875 William John Blake died – Arthur Maurice Blake inherited the estate.
1902 The Blake family moved out of the House – the House rented in turn to:-
Colonel A.D. Ackland, Marshall Fields (from Chicago), and Mrs Barton.
1916 A disastrous fire occurred
1919 The Blake family finally sold the house to the Dewar family.
1937 The Dewar family moved out, to Stagenhoe.
1939 Danesbury House was used as a TB Hospital
1943 Requisitioned by the army as the ‘Number Two Static Machine Bakery’.
1944 The Dewar family sold the estate to the Barnet (Hospital) Management Group.
1955 The House became home for long stay hospital patients.
1964 Some land sold to Prowtings (Developers) to build Danesbury housing estate.
1964 Later land sales produced St.John’s Close, Dewar’s Close, Blakes Way.
1985 Permission granted to build more houses off Blakes Way (Danesbury Heights).
1985 WHDC acquired the remaining land for agricultural use or passive recreation.
1988 The Motorway Field was fenced and grazing resumed.
1993 Danesbury Hospital moved to the Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital grounds.
1993 Danesbury House became derelict.
1994 WHDC awarded a Countryside Stewardship Grant to manage the land.
1998 Danesbury House restored and developed into apartments and Mews Houses.
1998 Danesbury Park was declared a Local Nature Reserve.