A pub, a pope and a tin church in Bedmond

PUBLISHED: 01:15 09 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:01 20 February 2013

A pub, a pope and a tin church in Bedmond

A pub, a pope and a tin church in Bedmond

Bedmond is a small village about two miles from Abbots Langley, famed as the birthplace of the only Englishman ever to become Pope. Today it is known for its staunch sense of community spirit, and for the friendliness of its residents

Caz Simmons
SITUATED in the heart of Bedmond village, The Bell Inn was purpose-built as a pub in the 15th century and has remained one ever since.

The inn is a listed building and a free house, and Caz Simmons has been a barmaid and a cook there for five years and positively loves her job. She says, There are lots of regulars here, and the atmosphere is really cosy. Its a small, quaint, old-fashioned village pub with an open fire, a variety of ales, and homemade food served Monday to Friday.

We have our own dominoes team and two darts teams both of which are in the top league. Its a family pub, with a play area, themed events, karaoke nights, and football matches shown.

Paul Cope
PAUL Cope is into the second year of his chairmanship of Bedmond FC, a 113-year-old club which plays in the Hertfordshire County League.

Mr Cope believes one of the reasons behind the success of his side, which he has been involved with for four years, is the people who make up the village of Bedmond.

Were a village team and try to get the whole of Bedmond involved with the running of the club, he says.

It shows what a friendly place Bedmond is in that all the committee members are villagers and all are really passionate about the running of the club and making sure we go from strength to strength.

The village is a special place and Ive been involved with the club for four years and have seen how everyone works together for the benefit of the team.

Bedmond is a social club and we run things like bingo and quizzes to get people in. We also know about the importance of getting local youngsters involved and we run about six boy teams, three girl teams and have just started a ladies team so we go through the whole age groups and try to get everyone involved.

Nicholas Breakspear
PERHAPS Bedmonds biggest claim to fame is the fact the only Englishman ever to become Pope was born on a farm in the village.
Nicholas Breakspear was born in approximately 1100 and, because
his father worked at St Albans Abbey, he was able to attend the Abbey School. He wanted to become a priest there but his admission was refused so, undeterred, he travelled to Europe to study and in 1130 entered the monastery of St Rufus in France. He was elected abbot in 1137 and came to the attention of Pope Eugenius III, who made him Cardinal Bishop of Albano, near Rome, in 1150 and sent him on a mission to Norway.

After four years Breakspear returned to Rome where the then Pope, Anastasius IV, had died. Breakspear was elected Pope in 1154 and took the title of Pope Adrian IV.

His reign did not begin well, and the people of Rome did not like him, so the Pope placed the city under a form of martial law and forced the people to be reconciled with him.

But the conflict did not end there. Following a feud with Frederick Barbarossa, the emperor of Italy, Pope Adrian IV planned to excommunicate him and place himself at the head of their combined armies, but the Pope died suddenly on September 1, 1159. Whether he was poisoned or he died from quinsy was undecided by his biographers.

Did You Know
The Church of the Ascension in Bedmond is known within the community as the tin church because it has a corrugated iron shell.

The construction of the church was completed in 1880 and in the parish magazine that year, the then vicar wrote, The new Church of the Ascension, Bedmond, to cater for the spiritual lives of the people in that part of the ancient parish of Abbots Langley, has just been built at a cost of 80.

In spring 2005, major work was carried out to repair and repaint the exterior of the church. It was then discovered that the steeple was in a bad state of repair, so a new copper-covered steeple was constructed and fitted in July 2005.

The church is well-supported by its parishioners and flower festivals, church fetes and harvest suppers are regularly held.

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