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8 miles east of Stevenage
This is a quietly prosperous village set in an orderly landscape of well-spaced trees. Perhaps the village’s charm lies in its spacing, in its wide grass verges and in its loved and cared-for look. The Sword in Hand, next door to the church, is a case in point - a fairly ordinary, pink-washed village pub, but given great dignity by the two magnificent trees that frame its entrance. The church, which is of Saxon origin, is approached through prim yews and immaculately carved flower beds. Sadly, its doors are generally locked. A sense of neatness and order prevails throughout the village, from the triangular green with its tile-roofed pump and bow-fronted shop to the
wide main street and its pollarded trees. The cottages are of respectable longevity, but in a wide mixture of styles - black and white, thatch, slate, tile, colour-washed and red brick.
The 18th-century Westmill Bury, with its great barn, gleams. with white paint, and is still a working farm. Up the road, in Cherry Green, is the tiny, thatched Button Snap cottage, the only property that the essayist Charles Lamb ever owned. He bought it in 1812 with ‘the feeling of an English freeholder that all betwixt sky and centre was my own’. But he never lived in it, and sold it after three years for £50.