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Wheathampstead facts for kids

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Wheathampstead Town Centre.jpg
Wheathampstead village centre
Area 10.03 sq mi (26.0 km2)
Population 6,410 (2011)
• Density 639/sq mi (247/km2)
Civil parish
  • Wheathampstead
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town St Albans
Postcode district AL4 8
Dialling code 01582
Website Wheathampstead Parish Council
List of places
Celtic gold stater Catuvellauni Tasciovanus
gold coin of the Catuvellauni, minted about 20 BC at St Albans
St. Helen, the parish church of Wheathampstead - - 1310349
notice pointed arches

Wheathampstead is a village and civil parish north of St Albans. It is part of the City and District of St Albans, in Hertfordshire. Its parliamentary constituency is Hitchin and Harpenden. The village is on the River Lea (or Lee), a tributary of the Thames.

The population of Wheathampstead at the time of the 2001 census was 6,058.


Settlements in this area were made about 50 BC by Belgic invaders. They moved up the rivers Thames and Lea from what is now Belgium. Evidence for them was found in Devil's Dyke, at the eastern side of Wheathampstead.

The Devil's Dyke earthworks are remains of an ancient settlement of the Catuvellauni. It is thought to have been the tribe's original capital. The capital was moved to Verlamion, later the Roman Verulamium. This became the modern St Albans.

The Devil's Dyke is reputedly where Julius Caesar defeated Cassivellaunus in 54 BC, although this claim is disputed. The Dyke may have been part of the same defensive rampart as nearby Beech Bottom Dyke. If correct, this would make the area one of the largest and most important British Iron Age settlements.

Later, the village is recorded in the Domesday Book under name Watamestede. It appears that a church existed at Wheathampstead before the Norman Conquest, as Wheathampstead was given by Edward the Confessor to Westminster Abbey. The original structure was demolished in the reign of Henry III, and the oldest part of the present church dates to about 1280. The main doorways to the church (in the chancel section) and the windows are Early English pointed arches.

Devil's Dyke Hertfordshire sign
Sign at the Devil's Dyke, Hertfordshire

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