Outside the Town

Fullers Street

The present Mud Lane by Westminster Lodge sports centre was known as Fullers Lane in the C17. This seems to have been the Fullers Street of medieval times. In 1266 a plot of land in this street was said to adjoin the tentorium (tenterground - a place where the fulled cloth was hung out to dry) of Richard son of Robert. In the same year Alexander Goldstob granted to his daughter Emma, for ten shillings a messuage and three particate (?enclosures) of land and two tentoria in the Fullers Street, paying yearly 1/2d to herself and 4d to the Nuns of St. Mary at Sopwell and 4d to the heirs of John Woolmonger (lanovii). In 1274 Henry de Porta had illegally set up a fulling stock in his house in Fullers Street - cloth had to be fulled at the Abbey fulling mill. The cloth trade was of great local importance. In 1355, 11 weavers, 5 fullers and 2 dyers had infringed regulations. In the reign of Edward II (c. 1360) there were11 weavers, 6 fullers and 5 dyers. The weavers produced broadcloth, (a cloth 2 yards by 48 yards). In 1395 there were 27 producers, the 4 most prolific producing 15, 10, 5 and 5 cloths. In 1341, 11 men and women held a stock of 15 stone of fleeces. (At St. Mary de Prae in 1342-3, 6 fleeces were sold for 2s 2d at the rate of 87 to 15 stone).
Fulling was not the only activity carried out in this street. In c.1276 Richard of Waltham, a glove maker, held a messuage here with pasture, land and one vineyard.


In the Domesday survey of 1086, 3 mills are recorded at St. Albans, although exactly which these were is uncertain. (see below). The mills did not only grind corn, there was also a malt mill and a fulling mill.

A Medieval Mill redrawn
rom a manuscript.
Notice the eel traps set
n the stream to take
els heading for the
ea to spawn.


Sopwell Mill

must have been on or near the site of the existing mill. Mentioned in 1381 with its Flotegatestrem and Mullestrem

Stankfield Mill

was further downstream towards the site of the post medieval New Barnes Mill.
Both these were so named in 1119-46 when, along with 2 mills of Park, they provided eels for the Abbey kitchen. These were perhaps 2 of the 3 mills recorded in Domesday Book in 1086. The other being the Malt Mill or the Abbey Mill? Stankfield Mill was rebuilt in 1326-35.


Another early mill was Ditchmill; its location is uncertain but later it is recorded as part of the manor of Kingsbury and in 1194 is mentioned in the foundation charter of Prae. It may have been where Prae Mill was later, (Its name coming from its proximity to the large pre-Roman dyke known today as Devils Ditch?)



Map showing Location of Watermills

Fulling Mills

Before 1381, as well as Stankfield Mill and Sopwell Mill there had been another mill on that side of the town, recorded as 'the old fulling mill which once stood below Eywood', where it had been in 1247 when Robert Stanhard was convicted of stealing woolen cloth from there. In 1381 the fulling mill was 'below the Abbey' i.e. Abbey Mill.

Abbey Mill




The wood of Eywood stretched from the edge of the town towards Park Street This had belonged to the Abbey before the Norman Conquest and was restored to it by Abbot Paul (1077-93). At its foundation in 1140 the cell of Sopwell was described as being next to Eywood, and the wood seems to have occupied the area between the river and Watling Street, stretching to Park Street. Some of the trees were certainly beeches and mention of pasture suggest that the trees were pollarded to provide grazing beneath them. The wood was broken into by the townsmen in the troubles of 1326 and 1381. The short lived Charter of Freedom of the latter year granted 2 paths through Eywood; 1.- from Eywood Lane to Park Street and 2. - from Park Street through the tenements of John Eywode and Roger Hwcie to "Stanesfeldmulle".showing that there were settlements or assarts in the wood
At Christmas 1423 the Duke of Gloucester spent the holiday as the guest of the Abbot but some of his servants poached the Abbots deer in Eywood. They were punished by the Duke's own hands!

Deefold Wood & Field

Deerfold wood stretched over the south east corner of the former Verulamium. Its shape on the map is taken from the pattern of field boundaries on a lte 17th century map, fields then known as Dorvels, a corruption of deerfold and the remnant of wood that then existed. Aerial photographs of Verulamium show marks which suggest that at some date trees were grubbed up. The wood is recorded in 1235-60 when Ralph Chenduit hunted there with hounds which led to conflict with the Abbot.
In 1381 the rebels gathered in Deerfold Field and were summoned to meet Sir Walter atte Lee, who had arrived with 200 knights to put down the insurrection, under the wood of Deerfold. In 1495 Richard Brown, a weaver of St. Michaels, left to his wife Joan his lands nd teements in "Dere Folde Field".