In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Great Amwell like this:
AMWELL (Great), a village and a parish in Ware district, Herts. The village stands near the sources of the New river, and near the Eastern Counties railway, 1¼ mile SE by S of Ware; and has a post office, of the name of Amwell, under Ware. Its name is supposed to have been derived from Emma's Well, a fountain which issues from a hill, and forms one of the sources of the New river. ...
The parish comprises 2,487 acres. Real property, £9,463. Pop., 1,660. Houses, 344. The property is not much divided. Amwell Place was the seat of the Quaker poet Scott, who described the picturesque beauty of the neighbourhood, and wrote the lines, "I hate the drum's discordant sound." Amwell Bury, near Barrow hill, has yielded some ancient relics. Hay leybury college belonged to the East India Company, and is now a first class school similar to Marlborough schools. A monument stands on an islet in the New river, erected in 1800 by Mr. Mylne the architect, to the memory of the ill-requited Sir Hugh Myddleton, who impoverished himself by the formation of that work to which London owes a large supply of water. This artificial river is 36 miles long; has 43 sluices and 218 bridges; and was begun in 1606, and completed in 1613. Sir Hugh, notwithstanding aids from Parliament and from London, was so reduced by the work as to be driven to spend his subsequent life in penury and obscurity,-some accounts say in mean manual labour. Isaac Walton was a frequent visitor at Amwell; and Hoole, the translator of Tasso, was a resident. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Rochester. Value, £310.* Patrons, Trustees of late W. M'Nab, Esq. The church stands on an eminence, and is an edifice of the 14th century. The churchyard contains the graves of Reed, the editor of Shakespeare, and of the poet Warner, who wrote "Albion's England" The vicarage of Hod desdon is a separate benefice.
Great Amwell is now part of East Hertfordshire district. Click here for graphs and data of how East Hertfordshire has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Great Amwell itself, go to Units and Statistics.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Great Amwell in East Hertfordshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 30th March 2017
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