It was established by the Saxons, then called "Hetfelle," changed to "Haethfeld" in 970.
Today, the town is best known as the location of the historic Hatfield House, as well as for other local historic buildings. Its train lines are still widely in use, and it is also the site of the University of Hertfordshire.
People Born in Hatfield
Hatfield in People's Lives
Jude Law: I traveled here in 2008 to film scenes of the movie Sherlock Holmes. We filmed at Hatfield House.
Keira Knightley: I traveled here in 2013 to film scenes of the movie Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
Mary I of England: I was sent away from court and, in all but name, banished to Hatfield House here in December of 1533. It had been the worst year I could possibly have imagined - I was seperated from my mother, my Catholic relgion was declared forbidden, my mother and father's marriage was voided, I was thus officially declared illegitimate and stripped of my royal titles, my household and servants were sent away, and I was forced to give my place as royal heir to Elizabeth, the daughter of my father's new wife. I lived here trapped with Elizabeth, whom I hated, and was forced to wait on her as punishment for refusing to acknowledge her as Princess, or Anne Boleyn as queen. My movements, even within this house, were watched and restricted, as if I were a prisoner. I was frequently ill, which the royal physician said was due to my treatment here. I gathered a few pitying supporters, who spoke up for me at court, to no success. I did not speak to my father for three years. I heard that my mother had fallen ill, and desperately requested permission to go see her - which was refused. My noble mother, the one true queen of England, Catherine of Aragon, died in 1536, and I never got to say goodbye to her. Crippled by grief, I was reportedly "inconsolable." I was not even allowed to attend my mother's funeral, and was moved to nearby Hunsdon, where I was kept in seclusion.
Natalie Portman: I traveled here in 2004 to film scenes of the movie V for Vendetta. We filmed on location at Hatfield House.
Ralph Fiennes: I traveled here in 1997 to film scenes of the movie The Avengers.