21 Leyton Rd, Harpenden, AL5 2HU,


The  house  probably  started  as  a  17th   Century two storey dwelling.

The building was listed in 1951 whilst it was still a private residence, all details of special interest that is referred to by English Heritage is contained in the original building and none in the later Victorian extension at the rear.

The building was acquired by the British Legion as a clubhouse in 1959 and underwent drastic changes to create bar areas and toilets.

ln 1785 it was bought by Thomas Lawes, who had married Mary Bennet (1725-1816), whose brother John Bennet (1722-1783) had inherited the Rothamsted estate from his first cousin Thomas Wittewronge (1723-1763). Thomas and Mary’s son John Bennet Lawes (1768- 1822) inherited the Rothamsted estate in 1801, but continued to visit his mother at Bennet’s, where he extended the house considerably and added the stables for use when he entertained the Prince Regent for hunting or shooting in the 1800s.

When John Bennet Lawes died in 1822, he left Bennet’s to his daughter Marianne (elder sister of John Bennet Lawes, who inherited Rothamsted estate and founded agricultural research at Rothamsted in 1843). Following her divorce, Marianne Warde came with her five children to live at Bennet’s in 1847 until her death in 1891. She took part in parish life, and was particularly involved with the British School, making substantial donations, and where she was its most frequent visitor until 1885. In cottage life in a Hertfordshire village Edwin Grey commented “It was owing to this lady’s influence and help that many a cottage boy or gil from this part of the parish was given a good start on the road to a successful career.”

After 1891 Bennet’s was let to various tenants. For a time in 1915 it was a convalescent home.

By 1918 Gerald and Kitty Hodgson had moved to Bennet’s, where they lived during the 1920s until they moved to Cornwall. Another occupant from the 1930s was Bernard Scattergood, an architect.

The front garden area and patio has been landscaped, the car park at the rear has been remodelled and the private flat at Bennet’s  Lodge to the very back of the site have been built.

View PDF of our history