The Old Parsonage

A grade 2 listed building in Old Rectory Drive once the site of Howe Dell School

By Christine Martindale

The Old Parsonage 1839
An old photo found at the Parsonage

This former old parsonage, later a school and now a adult care home for adults with mental health conditions, has its origins probably in C15 although it is thought that there was a predecessor to the present building on the same site.  The building has been altered over the centuries and has been a residence for many Rectors of Hatfield as well as some relatives of the Cecil family.

There are wall paintings in the attic of a Tudor Dragon and a Royal Lion believed to date back to the 1500s.  There are more wall paintings in one of the upstairs rooms thought to be from the early 1800s, these figures are dressed in C18 costumes.

In 1888 Lord William Cecil became Rector.  Lord William lived in St Audrey’s at the top of Church St. Old Hatfield, which was built for him by his Father the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury.   In 1911 the Old Parsonage or Old Rectory, as the building became known, was sold as a private residence, then in 1947 was bought by the County Council becoming Howe Dell secondary school 1949-54, then Howe Dell primary school in 1955.  In September 2007 Howe Dell Primary School relocated to new buildings in the centre of a new housing estate built on the old BAE airfield. The Old Parsonage/Rectory is now owned by Nouvita/Psycare and is called Howe Dell Manor.  Some of the grounds were also sold off for a small gated housing development.


More information about the Old Parsonage can be found in:-

Hatfield & It’s People Bk. 7 Churches, p.9-12. 1961 reprinted 2015 by Hatfield Local History Society

Hatfield & It’s People Bk. 10 Houses, p.10-11. 1963 reprinted 2015 by Hatfield Local History Society

Howe Dell The story of a House. Compiled by the Millicheap & Willis families, 2004

This page was added on 06/11/2015.

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  • I atttended Howe Dell School from 1956-1962. I loved the beautiful grounds that were our playgrounds. We had a gardener who brought fresh vegetables for our lunches which were healthy home cooked meals prepared on the premises. One pupils father built a wooden rowing boat and donated it to the school and so rowing was added to our curriculum, anothe parent made a little yellow wooded ‘gypsy’ caravan for the younger childen to play in.

    By Wendy A Saunders (17/04/2022)