The Story of Shephall Manor
Before the new town of Stevenage, Shephall was its own village with an ancient history; even appearing in the Domesday Book. In 1542 George Nodes, Sergeant of the Buckhounds to Henry VIII, was granted the manor and his family held it for the next 250 years.
Samuel Unwin-Heathcote was the first of the Heathcote family to become lord of Shephalbury Manor. He was known to oppose the coming of the railway and chased rail workers off his land and broke their instruments. After Samuel’s death, his son Unwin knocked the manor down and built a new one, completed 1865. Unwin died in 1893 and left the estate to Colonel Alfred Unwin-Heathcote, who lived there until his death in 1912. He was the last of his family to live in the house, after that it was rented out until it was eventually sold in 1939.
During the Second World War the house was used to house evacuees, then as a convalescent home for Polish officers. Afterwards, from 1950-1957, it became a Polish boarding school, then in 1959 an institution for children with behavioural problems.
The Coptic Church bought it in 1991, they built a cathedral in the grounds and are still there today.