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Bovingdon is a large village in the Chiltern Hillsmarker, in Hertfordshiremarker, Englandmarker, four miles south-west of Hemel Hempsteadmarker and within the local authority area of Dacorummarker. It forms the largest part of the ward of Bovingdon, Flaunden and Chipperfield, which had a population of 8,819 at the 2001 census.


St Lawrence Church, Bovingdon
The name is first mentioned in deeds from 1200 as Bovyndon. It could originate from Old English Bufan dune meaning "above the down" or from Bofa's down, the down belonging to Bofa.

St Lawrence Church was built in 1845 by Talbot Bury. The churchyard is the second largest in Hertfordshire and includes an avenue of clipped yew tree. The village also includes some old cottages. There are two pubs in the village centre, The Bull and The Bell. A third, the Wheatsheaf, is now closed.

The village is sometimes confused with Bovington Campmarker in Dorsetmarker. Halfpenny Green Airfield in Shropshiremarker was renamed from Bobbingtonmarker, the name of the local village, during WWII after a B-17 tried to land there when the crew became lost.

The village is medieval in origin but the village has expanded significantly since the 1940s. It now has a large commuter population. The old parts of the village are mostly around the High Street and the Green.

Bovingdon airfield and HM Prison

Next to Bovingdon is the disused former World War II, Eighth Air Force and post-war Royal Air Force airfield, RAF Bovingdonmarker.

The airfield was built in 1942. Between 1943 and 1946 it became a B-17 operational training base for units such as 92nd Bomber Group, B-17 Flying Fortress Combat Crew Replacement Centre (CCRC), 11th CCRC, and 8th USAAF HQ Squadron. The RAF resumed control until 1951, then the USAF took over again until 1962 flying B-26 Marauders, B-29 Superfortresses, and B-50 Superfortresses. General Dwight D. Eisenhower's personal aircraft was said to be based here, as Bovingdon was the closest Eighth Air Force base to London.

Flying ceased in 1969, though some flying scenes for the film Hanover Street were shot there in 1978. The field served as airport for Hemel Hempsteadmarker during most of the postwar period.

Several films were made there including The War Lover, 633 Squadron, Hanover Street, an episode of the Persuaders,The Man With The Golden Gun (the flying car scene) and Mosquito Squadron.

The airfield site houses a VOR navigational beacon, code BNN. The airspace above the airfield and nearby Cheshammarker is known as the Bovingdon stack and is a holding area for aircraft approaching Heathrow Airportmarker, 20 miles to the south. At busy times on a clear day a dozen planes circle.

Part of the airfield was used to build The Mountmarker Prison during the 1980s; it was located on the site of the aircraft hangars and administration blocks. The remainder of the site is used for a Saturday market and there is a permanent circuit for banger racing. The airfield is also a site for paintballing.

Of the three original runways, the North East/South West runway is still complete, and used for parking on market days.

The North West/South East runway is completely gone. The East/West runway is still complete, the Eastern end of which is used for the weekend Market, the Western end used to be used by the Farmers aircraft. The control tower still exists, but is in a very poor state. A lot of the taxiways, and the 2nd World War Bomb Dump trackways are mostly gone, a victim of hardcore reclamation, a common end of a large number of disused airfields in the UK.

Notable Residents

Infamous crime

In 1971 the poisoner Graham Frederick Young committed two murders while working for a local photographic company, John Hadland.


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