The beautiful County of Hertfordshire extends a peninsula westwards into Buckinghamshire, a borough that was given the name of 'Dacorum' under the 1974 Local Government changes. Whilst this borough is relatively new, its name is a medieval one and thought to be the Latin translation of the Anglo-Saxon term for 'Danish'. At the extreme end of this peninsula, some sixteen miles west of St Albans, the village of Puttenham is found amongst the green fields and meadows of the rolling Hertfordshire countryside.
The name of Puttenham is possibly derived from an Old English personal name, thus 'homestead of a man called Putta' or from the Saxon word for birds of prey - 'settlement inhabited by hawks'. The Domesday Book lists the village as 'Puteham' and the exquisite Parish Church of St Mary dates back to the 14th Century and is built of local flint and stone with a stone and timber porch sheltering a Tudor doorway. In his series 'The King's England' Arthur Mee writes 'The glory of the church is the almost flat 15th century roof of the nave, its mass of moulded beams enriched with bosses of flowers and shields'. For the visitor today the Church also offers a sanctuary of peace and beauty in a quintessentially English setting.
|In the Great War of 1914 to 1918 a total of 15 of the village's population
of 71 enlisted to serve in uniform and all of them returned - their names
are recorded on a plaque in St Mary's Church together with the words:
For their gallant service and their safe return
THANKS BE TO GOD
Puttenham is the only 'Thankful Village' in the County of Hertfordshire and the people of the village remain intensely proud of their place in history - long may it be so. The author of these few lines would like to place on record his appreciation of the helpful kindnesses showed to him by the people he met during his visit to the village.
Text and Photos: Rod Morris
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