Langleybury Children’s Farm is situated within the grounds of a 400 acre estate gifted to the Local County Council in the 1960’s. The glorious Georgian Manor House and grounds were converted into a school that closed its doors in 1996.
The Farm was once used by the school to teach rural studies, and many of the buildings we occupy are from that period, the current shop being the old classroom.
In 2007 the Manor and grounds were sold off and the farm and charity are now tenants of The Grove who are very generous in their sponsorship. The charity now exists to provide an environment where you can come and see animals close up and learn about their lives and behaviour. As society becomes more remote from food production our role in the education of children in the ways of rural life becomes more important. The Farm employs a Farm Manager and farm hand but otherwise exists on a voluntary basis.
History of the Mansion
- The estate was purchased in 1711 by Robert Raymond, then Solicitor General and later Attorney General, subsequently Baron Raymond, who was Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales from 1724 until 1732.
- In 1720 he demolished the original house, of which little is known, and built a mansion which still stands on the site today. A park was laid out around the house in the later eighteenth century. His cipher, a griffin in a crown, can still be seen on the building.
- On the death of his son, Robert Raymond, 2nd Baron Raymond, without issue in 1756, the manor was left to Sir Beversham Filmer, 5th Baronet, of East Sutton, Kent. He, dying unmarried in 1763, bequeathed it to his nephew, Sir John Filmer (7th Bt). It then descended in the family till 1838. The Filmers were absentee landlords.
- In 1762 the road at the lower edge of the park became the Sparrows Herne turnpike, and in the 1790s the Grand Junction Canal was dug along the valley bottom alongside the road.
FEARNLEY WHITTINGSTALL 1838–1856
- In 1838 Sir Edmund Filmer (8th Bt) sold the estate to Edmund Fearnley Whittingstall (né Fearnley), a Watford brewer. He started a bank in partnership with William Smith which went into bankruptcy soon after Whittingstall’s death, forcing the sale of the estate in 1856.
JONES LOYD 1856–1947
- The estate was then held by William Jones Loyd (1821–1885), a partner in the London branch of Jones Loyd & Co, who was High Sheriff of Hertfordshire in 1861 and cousin to Samuel Jones-Loyd, 1st Baron Overstone. Jones Loyd built the nearby church of St Pauls in 1864.
- His son, Edward Henry Loyd, was High Sheriff of Hertfordshire in 1894. During the Second World War the house was leased to the Equity and Law Insurance company.
- In 1947 the estate was sold to Hertfordshire County Council who converted the house and grounds into a secondary school, named Langleybury School, which opened in 1949. In the late 1950s a modern school was built to the south of the mansion, which remained in use as part of the school and as teacher accommodation.
- Langleybury School closed in 1996 and for a time partly housed Hertfordshire County Council Social Services offices. The empty modern school became a favoured film location site, notably for the Hope and Glory TV series of 1999.
- It was also used as a CCB (close combat battle) area for people who play Airsoft (an outdoor combat game) in the buildings which are still safe to enter.
- The Mansion is now used as a very popular film location with some well known blockbuster films using the location. It is currently the set for a new production called Harlots.