The Parish

The Ash

The Ash lies at the junction where the main road running through the village, the A120, crosses the river that probably gave the hamlet its name. The name might also have been influenced by the presence of ash trees that once grew there.

Stortford Road, to the east of The Ash, and Standon Road, to the west, are part of the A120. The ancient name of this main thoroughfare is Stane Street, a road dating back to Roman times, which linked London and Colchester. Until 1920 the river was forded by the main road with a narrow raised bridge to keep pedestrians' feet dry. The convergence of road and river gave rise to ancient settlements that sprang up in this part of Hertfordshire such as the one around the Ash.

The River Ash rises just north of Brent Pelham. Fed by springs, it runs through the Ash Valley to join the River Lea south of Ware. Once a well-used waterway, it is a more modest affair today, sometimes drying up completely in summer but capable of flooding during heavy rain, wreaking havoc and causing damage to homes and other property, notably in 2001.

The Stortford Road passes Little Hadham Primary School, once a church school and the venue for Parish Council meetings from 1945 until 1973. It is now a junior/mixed infants' school with a pre-school nursery.

Further on is Church End, a small hamlet containing the parish church of St. Cecilia. Continuing east, the road passes historic Hadham Hall and turnings to the hamlets of Green Street and Cradle End. As it leaves the parish of Little Hadham the road joins the by-pass that encircles the west of Bishop's Stortford. On the west side of the traffic lights, the Standon Road runs through mainly open countryside to the villages of Standon and Puckeridge.

The A120 is unsuited to today's volume of traffic and has become notorious for delays caused by traffic lights at The Ashe. A proposed by-pass, due to be completed around 2019, will carry much of this traffic to the north of the village. The Stortford and Standon Roads are joined at The Ashe by Albury Road, which runs north out of the village towards Little Hadham's immediate neighbour, Albury. In the opposite direction, the road leading to Much Hadham (shown in some publications as the 'Unnamed C15') runs south past The Smithy and Lloyd Taylor Close to the next hamlet, The Ford.

Most historic villages enjoy the quirkiness of names; Little Hadham is no exception. The spelling of the names of some hamlets varies, depending on who you speak to. The Ash is, today, usually spelt without the 'e' (except on bus timetables!). And it is still sometimes called Hadham Ashe (or Hadham on Ashe). Historically, The Ford is actually Hadham Ford - and so on. This just adds to the fun of exploring Little Hadham's history and is good for hours of wrangling among older residents!

Find out more

An introduction to the parish

The Ford

Bury Green and Westland Green

The smaller hamlets