In the 18th and 19th centuries, Hemel Hempstead was an agricultural market town.
Wealthy landowners built a few large country houses in the locality, including The Bury, built in 1790, and Gadebridge House, erected by the noted surgeon and anatomist Sir Astley Cooper in 1811.
The town is now known to residents as "Hemel" and is often colloquialised to "'emel".
However, before the Second World War locals called it "Hempstead".
The estates passed through several hands over the next few centuries including Thomas Becket in 1162.
Remains of Roman villa farming settlements have been found at Boxmoor and Gadebridge which span the entire period of Roman Britain.