The 2016 Bayford Gardens event enjoyed another brilliant outcome, with several thousand visitors and £28,000 raised for good causes.


Bayford's Musical Gardens day

  • Has raised over £250,000 for charity since inception

  • Large country and small village gardens at their finest

  • Live bands playing in the village & gardens

  • Ploughman's lunches, barbecues, teas and bars!

  • Stalls selling local produce, plants, cakes and ice cream!

  • Signposted lake and Bayford woodland walks

"A perfect family day out!"

A Short History of Bayford

The village of Bayford remains an oasis of countryside between Hertford and Hatfield off the B158 and was a private village between 1757 and 1945 with a unique range of lovely houses. The houses range from Georgian, Queen Anne, and black clapboard with many interesting gardens. It has an ancient history being mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book as Beggesford. Its ownership was held by Saxon Kings starting with King Harald until Henry VIII in 1594 granted it to John Knighton

It was owned by many families until William Baker bought the Estate of 3000 Acres for £21,000 In 1757, William Baker, whose family origins came from Stourbridge had started a drapers business in 1727 in Bassinghall Street in the City, is where William was born in 1705 and brought up.

Having joined the business, it became very profitable with the addition of general merchandising and involvement in the American trade. His first major success with other partners was the rice crop from South Carolina which made £80,000 around 1730.

Over the years he was very successful and became Deputy Chairman of the Hudson Bay Company and also spread his activities to the East becoming a Director of the East India Company. He was wealthy enough to lend the Government in 1761 £100,000.

At home he became an M.P. for Plympton Erle in Devon which he kept for 21 years and married Mary Tonson in 1742. He was also knighted in 1760 and made a Freeman of the City of London.

His wealth enabled him to buy the Bayford Estate and build the Bayfordbury mansion close to the village. It included a very large room to hang the 44 Kit Kat portraits of the aristocracy and literary members of the Kit Kat Club which were handed down to his wife Mary Tonson. Some are currently hung at the National Portrait Gallery and at Beningbrough Hall in Yorkshire.

The family changed its name to Clinton Baker probably due to a later William Baker born in 1810 marrying Anna Clinton in 1838.

In May 1945 the family sold the estate moving firstly to Kenilworth and then New Zealand. The village pub is named the Baker Arms having changed its name from The Griffin and is still welcome to all. The village shop, blacksmith’s forge, and post office have long since gone but the Primary School and village Church (St Mary’s) are thriving. The Church was built in 1870 by the Clinton Baker family at a cost of £2425 to replace another Church built in 1804, but records go back to 1538.

The elegant interior includes some beautiful stained glass windows and has a notable 15th century font. William Yarrell (1784-1856) whose extensive writings on natural history are now kept in the British Museum,is buried in the churchyard.

It was the Church which provided the catalyst for Bayford Musical Gardens Day raising funds when the Church required a new roof in 1998.

A full history of Bayford covering details of all the owners of the village and details of the houses can be read in Neville Hudson’s "History of Bayford" published in 1994 of 19 pages and fully illustrated in colour.

Available from Neville Hudson of Warren House. SG13 8PU. Email nevilleh31@gmail.com at £3.50 or at The Baker Arms. They will also be available on Gardens Day.