8th century 796 The Heath is gifted to the Abbey of St Albans by King Egfrith (son of Offa)
1521Wolsey is appointed to be Abbot of St Albans (later became Cardinal) 16th century
16th century 1539 Dissolution of the Abbey and sale of its assets 1541 Ralph Rowlatt is made Lord of the Manor of Sandridge, including Bernards Heath
From Rowlatt to Marlborough 1660 Birth of Sarah, ninth child of Richard Jennings, descendant-by-marriage of Ralph Rowlatt 1679 Sarah (now owner of a large share of the Sandridge estates) marries Colonel John Churchill 1685 Churchill is made Baron of Sandridge and buys the rest of the Sandridge estates from Sarah’s sisters 1702 Churchill becomes 1st Duke of Marlborough
17th-18th centuries: The Duke and Duchess of Marlborough
From Marlborough to Spencer 1699Charles Spencer (1675-1722) marries Anne, daughter of the 1st Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. 1733Charles Spencer (1706-1758), 5th Earl Spencer, becomes 3rd Duke of Marlborough, and his brother John inherits the Althorp estate; he is made Earl Spencer in 1765. (1992Charles, Viscount Althorp, brother of Diana, becomes the 9th Earl Spencer.)
From Spencer to HCC • The Ariston Works site and the Lower field are owned by Hertfordshire County Council. • The rest of the Heath is owned by the Spencer family (the Althorp estate) but is registered as common land and subject to a management plan dating from 1915.