Royston is a town and
civil parish in the district of North
Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, England.
situated slightly west of the Greenwich Meridian, and at the
northernmost apex of the county on the same latitude of towns such
Keynes and Felixstowe. It is located some 43 miles (69 km)
north of central London in a highly
rural area of the county. Before the boundary changes of the 1890s,
the boundary between Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire
ran along the middle of Melbourn Street.
grew up at the crossing of two ancient thoroughfares, Ermine Street and the Icknield Way (cum Ashwell Street); the former was created after
the Roman conquest, while
the Icknield Way has long been accepted as a prehistoric
These roads are sometimes called military roads as
they were prepared or improved by Roman
to facilitate their access to the hinterland of
. The modern equivalent
to Icknield Way is the A505 (which now
bypasses the town to the north). The A10 follows the alignment of the Ermine Street south of
the town, but diverts before it reaches the crossroads.
, known as the Old North Road
follows the alignment of Ermine Street northwards.
A cross, variously known as Royse's, Rohesia's or
Cross, was erected by the crossroads at an unknown
The cross gave the settlement its earliest name of
or Roisia's Cross. By the 14th century this
had become Roisia's Town
or Royston.. A
large boulder of red millstone grit
bearing a square socket, is supposed to be the base of the cross,
and has been placed by the cross
at the northern end of High Street.
the "vill" of Royston was divided between five parishes: Barkway, Reed and Therfield in Hertfordshire and Melbourn and Kneesworth in
In that year it became a separate
ecclesiatical parish, partly in each county.
Ralph de Rochester founded the Augustinian
priory which came out of a chapel
for three canons, later expanded to seven or more regular canons
. Royston also had two
hospitals, or free chapels, as well as the monastery.
The hospital of St John
was founded for lepers
in 1224 by Richard Argentine, Sheriff of Cambridgeshire
the south side of Baldock Street.
The hospital of St Nicholas
in the Cambridgeshire side of Royston. It was founded in about 1200
probably by Amphelise, a daughter of Richard the Chamberlain. In
1213 King John
granted them a fair
to celebrate the feast of St Nicholas (May 8
9). The patronage of the hospital subsequently descended to Sir
Giles Argentine, lord of the manor
of Melbourn, who also held the patronage of the other hospital. In
the 14th century, St Nicholas' Hospital was put under the same
jurisdiction as that of St John and St Thomas. The whole was
suppressed in 1547.
The town having lost is monastic charter, the site of the priory
was obtained by Robert Chester
gentleman of the bedchamber to Henry VIII
, who set up a market.
the town was given over to inns catering for travellers mainly
going between London and York.
On April 29
James VI of Scotland
travelling down to become King James I of England, pausing
overnight at the Chester residence. Attracted by the suitability of
the area for hunting, James later hired the house for a year. In
1604 the king decided to create a hunting lodge in the town by
demolishing the "Cock" and "Greyhound" Inns. The king's lodgings
were completed in 1607, and were described in 1652 as "all of brick
well-tiled double-built, in length 78 ft., breadth 43 ft., height
from eaves to ground 24 ft., thickness of walls 24 inches." The
buildings were never extensive enough to cater for a full court,
but which provided a suitable spot for hunting, near enough to
London for convenience and sufficiently far away to deter
intrusion. Indeed he created a strict prohibition on anyone else
from taking game within 16 miles of Royston, and an elaborate
infrastructure was established to support the King in the pursuit
of his sport.
and Prince Henry
the town once, in 1611-1612. Next year the queen opposed the
marriage of her daughter, Princess
V, Elector Palatine
, but the king came to Royston with the
to negotiate the dowry which was signed there.
Following the marriage, celebrated on St Valentine's Day
1613, the king,
came to stay at Royston.
James' successor, Charles I
visited Royston less frequently than his father. In June 1647 he
was brought through the town as a prisoner of the Parliamentary army
. After Charles's death the
royal buildings fell into disrepair. The Crown sold its last
interests in the town in 1866.
mentions the town (somewhat
gloomily) in his Rural
After you quit Ware...the land grows by degrees poorer;
the chalk lies nearer and nearer to the surface, till you come to
the open common-fields within a few miles of Royston [which] is at
the foot of this high poor land; or, rather in a dell, the open
side of which looks towards the North.
It is a common market town.
Not mean, but having nothing of beauty about
Royston has three tiers of local government at parish (town),
district and county level.
Royston Town Council was formed in 1974 as the successor
to Royston Urban District
Council. The council consists of 15 councillors headed by a town
mayor. The councillors are elected for three wards
named Heath, Meridian and Palace.
Among the town council's responsibilities are allotments
, Royston Cave, Royston Museum, local
festivals, public halls and the town's war memorial.In December
2007 Royston Town Council was awarded the nationally recognised
status of Quality Town Council. This Award confirms that Royston
Town Council is run in accordance with the high standards required
by the National Association of Local Councils and other government
Coat of arms
The town council uses the coat of arms
granted to the urban district council in 1952. The blazon
of the arms is:
Argent a fesse gules thereon another chequy of the first and
sable in chief two Tudor roses barbed and
seeded and in the base a stag trippant the whole surmounting an
archiepiscopal staff, all proper. And for a crest on a
wreath of the colours, perched upon a representation of the Royse
Stone, a hooded crow proper.
The symbols on the shield briefly illustrate the history of the
town. The staff is for Royston Priory, the roses for Tudor
connections, while James I is represented by the checky fesse of
the Stewarts. The hart represents Hertfordshire. The crest depicts
a hooded crow
, known within the region
as a "Royston crow". He stands on the "Royce Stone" in the town
Since 1974 Royston has formed part of the non-metropolitan district
of North Hertfordshire. The council is based at Letchworth, and also includes the towns of Baldock and Hitchin.
There are 49 district councillors elected
for 24 wards. The three wards of Royston Heath, Royston Meridian
and Royston Palace return 2 councillors each. As of 2008 four
councillors are members of the Conservative Party
and two are
Hertfordshire County Council has 77 councillors, of which one is
elected for the Royston electoral division. The current councillor
(as of 2008) is a member of the majority Conservative group.
The town lies on the northern slopes of the Hertfordshire Chalk
Downs. The Greenwich Meridian passes through the point where the
bypass meets the original A505 alignment. The town centre is just 1
minute 27 seconds west of the meridian.
Today Royston enjoys a diverse economy, a large number of
businesses are located both in the town and surrounding villages,
and there is an active Chamber of Commerce
sits at the junction of the A10 and A505 roads, both
of which are important road links through Hertfordshire and
beyond. The town is also convenient for fast links
to London and the north, as it is only a short distance from both
the A1 and M11
transport links located nearby include both London Luton and London Stansted airports, both of which are major air hubs in the
south of England.
railway station provides direct commuter links to both London and
Cambridge. It is on the Hitchin-Cambridge Line and is a stopping point for regular services
operated by First Capital
Royston railway crossing
A proposal has been put forward to build a new rail crossing for
pedestrians and cyclists. The crossing will link the northern part
of the town with the leisure centre and the main complex of
schools. Two options were proposed, a bridge with an estimated cost
of £1.5m and a subway estimated at £3.25m. Two locations were also
under consideration; one at the ‘Coombes Hole’ allotment gardens
area and a second connecting Green Street and Morton Street.
Sustrans elected to build a subway at 'Coombes Hole' allotment
gardens. The scheme has been recommended in an effort to reduce
severance for local residents and to provide safe, high quality
routes for pedestrians, cyclists and the mobility impaired. There
is also a history of school children crossing the railway line to
avoid a long detour to the only crossing point within the town
which the scheme aims to combat.
In 2007 the scheme became one of 79 Sustrans Connect2
to receive Big Lottery
Connect2 project makes reference only to the subway option.
Royston's school are arranged as...
First Schools (Years 1-4) : Icknield Walk First School; Roman Way
First School; Studlands Rise First School; Tannery Drift First
Middle Schools (Years 5-8) : Greneway Middle School; Roysia Middle
Upper Schools (Years 9-13) : The Meridian School
Additionally there is St Mary Roman Catholic Primary School (Years
public open space and nature reserve of Therfield Heath (also known as Royston Heath) overlooks the town
from a hill to the south-west.
In 1742 a strange cave carved out of the chalk was discovered in
the centre of Royston. Royston Cave is located underneath the central crossroads of the
The carvings in the cave have led to much speculation
about the origin and function of the cave.
- Henry Andrews 1744 - 1820,
astronomer and astrologer, moved to Royston in 1766 and is buried
in the graveyard of St John's Church.
- Alison Balsom, born 1978, trumpet
soloist. Grew up and attended school in Royston. Also played in the
- Robin Belfield, National Theatre Staff Director, grew up and
attended school in Royston.
- Thomas Cartwright,
1534/5 - 1603, theologian and founder of presbyterianism in
England, probably born in Royston.
- Habbakuk Crabb, 1750 - 1794,
dissenting minister. Became minister of John Street Chapel, Royston
in 1790. Buried in the town.
- Carrie Grant, born 1964, singing
coach and television personality. Attended school in Royston.
- Thomas Peyton, 1595 - 1626, poet.
Born in Royston.
- Edward Stallybrass, 1794 -
1884, missionary and translator of the Old Testament into Mongolian. Born in Royston June 8, 1794.
- Joseph Towne, 1806 - 1879,
anatomical modeller. Born in Royston November 25, 1806.
Willymott, 1672 - 1737, grammarian and vice-provost of King's
College, Cambridge, born in Royston.