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Chorleywood is a town in the Three Rivers district of Hertfordshiremarker in the United Kingdommarker. It had a population of 6,814 people at the 2001 census. The parish of Chorleywood as a whole has a population of 10,775. The town lies in the far south west of Hertfordshire, on the historic border with Buckinghamshire. Chorleywood is located north-west of Charing Crossmarker in Londonmarker. It is part of the London commuter belt, and included in the government-defined Greater London Urban Areamarker.

In a 2004 survey of neighbourhoods carried out by the Office of the Deputy Prime Ministermarker, Chorleywood West was found to be the neighbourhood in England with the highest quality of life. Of the 32,482 neighbourhoods surveyed, Chorleywood West came out top using thirty-seven criteria.

In the early 1960s, researchers at the British Baking Industries Research Association in Chorleywood improved upon an earlier American bread making process. This resulted in the Chorleywood Bread Process, which is now used in over 80% of commercial bread production throughout the UK.


Settlement at Chorleywood dates to the Paleolithic era, when the plentiful flint supply led to swift development of tools by early man. The Romans built a small village on the ancient site, complete with a mill and brewery. The likely ruins of a Roman villa are thought to be found under the M25, which passes through the outskirts of Chorleywood.

A large influx of Saxon settlers in Chorleywood led to it being an important town. The Saxons called it 'Cerola Leah', meaning a meadow in a clearing. Through Chorleywood runs the line that once divided the Kingdoms of Merciamarker and Wessexmarker and now divides the counties of Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Edward the Confessor gave the town of Chorleywood to the Monastery of St Albansmarker.

By 1278, it was known as 'Bosco de Cherle' or 'Churl's Wood', Norman for 'Peasant's Wood'. Upon the Dissolution of the Monasteries, it passed to the Bishopric of London, being renamed 'Charleywoode'. It became Crown property during the reign of Elizabeth I. The Turnpike Act (1663) gave Chorleywood a chance to exploit its strategic position, allowing locals the opportunity to charge civilians to use the road from Hatfieldmarker to Readingmarker.
Chorleywood is most famous for its Quakers. Non-conformists flocked to Chorleywood, promised sanctuary by the locals. William Penn founded the Pennsylvania Colony with settlers from Chorleywood, Rickmansworth, and nearby towns in southern Buckinghamshire, having lived and married in Chorleywood.

With the boom in the paper and printing industries, on which much of southwestern Hertfordshire's economy was based in the 19th century, came new prosperity. The extension of the Metropolitan Railway to Chorleywood on 8 July 1889 brought with it incredible population growth, which continued until the 1960s. From a population of 1,500 people in 1897, the population has grown to over 9,000 today.

When the Local Government Act 1894 created districts as subdivisions of the newly-created county councils, Chorleywood became part of the Watford Rural Districtmarker, which encircled Watfordmarker. In 1913, the town was separated from Watford Rural District to become Chorleywood Urban Districtmarker, formalising its current name. In the BBC TV documentary Metro-land (1973), Sir John Betjeman described Chorleywood as "essential Metro-land". In 1974, the Urban District, along with Rickmansworth Urban Districtmarker and most of Watford Rural Districtmarker were merged to form the Three Rivers non-metropolitan district.


Chorleywood Common

A typical scene on Chorleywood Common.
Chorleywood Common is a tract of of wooded common land. The common is a County Heritage Site, and is home to significant biodiversity. Since cattle grazing ended soon after the First World War, the land has been used for recreational purposes. Chorleywood Golf Club maintains a nine-hole golf course on the Common. In the 19th Century, the MCC established a cricket pitch on the Common, which is used by Chorleywood Cricket Club's senior and junior teams to this day.

Next to the common is a Christian church and primary school, both called Christ Church. The school and church are strongly linked together.

Three Rivers District Council are currently proposing the reintroduction of grazing on the Common, which would mean the partial enclosure, or fencing off, of sections of the common.


The parish of Chorleywood is divided between two wards: Chorleywood Eastmarker and Chorleywood Westmarker. The latter covers most of the village itself, whilst the former covers the less-populous area to the east, including on the other side of the M25marker.

On Three Rivers District Councilmarker, which is controlled by the Liberal Democrats, Chorleywood is represented by two councillors from Chorleywood East and three from Chorleywood West. East is represented by two Conservatives (Chris Hayward and Leonard Spencer), whilst Chorleywood West is represented by three Liberal Democrats (Harry Davies, Barbara Green, and Martin Trevett).

Hertfordshire County Council is controlled by the Conservatives. At the County Council, a larger Chorleywood constituency, including not just the parish of Chorleywood, but also Sarrattmarker and part of Langleyburymarker, is represented by Chris Hayward of the Conservatives.

Chorleywood is a part of the parliamentary constituency of Hertfordshire South Westmarker, which is represented in the House of Commonsmarker by Chorleywood resident David Gauke of the Conservatives.


According to the 2001 census, Chorleywood has a resident population of 9,215, of whom:

  • 19.8% are under 16 years of age (cf. 20.2% for England & Wales)
  • 10.0% are over 75 years of age (cf. 7.6%)

  • 64.5% are married (cf. 50.9%)
  • 4.5% are divorced (cf. 8.2%)

  • 1.8% are unemployed (cf. 3.4%)
  • 4.8% are full-time students over 16 years of age (cf. 5.1%)


  • 92.3% are White (cf. 92.3%)
  • 1.4% are Irish (cf. 1.3%)
  • 4.2% are Indian or British Indian (cf. 2.1%)
  • 1.0% are Other Asian or Other British Asian (cf. 2.5%)
  • 0.4% are Black or Black British (cf. 2.1%)
  • 0.8% are Chinese or of another race (cf. 0.9%)
  • 1.3% refused to categorise themselves or are of mixed race (cf. 1.3%)


  • 71.1% are Christians (cf. 71.8%)
  • 3.3% are Jewish (cf. 0.5%)
  • 3.2% are Hindu (cf. 1.1%)
  • 1.3% are Muslim (cf. 3.0%)
  • 0.9% are of another religion (cf. 1.1%)
  • 13.7% are of no religion (cf. 14.8%)
  • 6.5% refused to categorise themselves (cf. 7.7%)

The results of the Census emphasised the affluence of the town:

  • 37.6% of residents have degrees or a better educational qualification (cf. 19.8%)
  • 88.3% of homes are owned by the occupant (cf. 68.9%)
  • 56.82% of households own two or more cars (cf. 29.4%)
  • The average number of rooms per house is 7.0 (cf. 5.3)


The town has grown remarkably in the past century, thanks primarily to the extension of the Metropolitan line of the London Underground, which reached Chorleywood in 1889. Junction 18 of the M25 motorwaymarker, with the A404, is at Chorleywood.

Chorleywood stationmarker is in Zone 7 on the Metropolitan line, situated between Chalfont and Latimermarker and Rickmansworthmarker. The majority of trains passing through Chorleywood are operated by London Underground, but the station is also a stop for Chiltern Railways services running between Marylebonemarker and Aylesburymarker stations.

Twin town


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