Until the 16th century Shephall was owned by St Alban’s Abbey. Shephall literally means ‘a corner of land where sheep are pastured’. It is next to the fairlands and the word ‘fair’ comes from an old Scandinavian word meaning ‘sheep’. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century, King Henry VIII became owner of the estate and passed it on to George Nodes who looked after the King’s dogs. The Nodes family were owners of the manor for the next 200 years until they sold it to the Heathcote family. Unwin Unwin-Heathcote, who inherited the estate through his mother, replaced the old manor house in 1864 with the neo-gothic building that still stands today. The history of the building is kept alive in the street names; Nodes Drive, Unwin Place, Unwin Road are all nearby and even the school in the area is called Heathcote School.