Facts about Royston
Royston is a town and civil parish in the District of North Hertfordshire and county of Hertfordshire in England. It is situated on the Greenwich Meridian, which brushes the town’s eastern boundary, and at the northernmost apex of the county on the same latitude as towns such as Milton Keynes and Ipswich. It is about 43 miles north of central London in a rural area.
A cross, variously known as Royse’s, Rohesia’s, or Roisia’s Cross, was erected by the crossroads at an unknown date. It gave the settlement its earliest name of Crux Roesia or Roisia’s Cross. By the 14th century, this had become Roisia’s Town, Roiston or Royston. A large boulder of red millstone grit, bearing a square socket, supposed to be the base of the cross, has been placed by the crossroads at the northern end of High Street.
Until 1540 Royston was divided between five parishes: Barkway, Reed and Therfield in Hertfordshire and Melbourn and Kneesworth in Cambridgeshire. In that year it became a separate ecclesiastical parish, partly in each county. Ralph de Rochester founded the Augustinian priory which originated as a chapel for three canons and was later expanded to seven or more regular canons. Royston had two hospitals or free chapels, as well as the monastery.