The two parishes
The Benefice comprises St Giles, South Mymms and St Margaret’s, Ridge.
South Mymms lies two miles to the west of Potters Bar and was in the County of Middlesex until 1965, when it was transferred to Hertfordshire. It is about five miles north of Barnet, five miles east of St Albans and five miles south of Hatfield. Ridge is a small village to the north-west of Barnet, and has been part of Hertfordshire for considerably longer. It adjoins South Mymms, and covers mainly rural countryside south-east towards Barnet (across the A1) and north-west towards London Colney.
St Giles parish extends to the east as far as Ganwick Corner on the Great North Road south of Potters Bar. It includes the hamlet of Bentley Heath and its chapel, which serves the estate of Wrotham Park, and is bounded on the south by the A1. The motorway service station and associated industrial and hotel complexes, as well as two research stations (Cancer Research UK and NIBSC) are within the parish.
Today the population of South Mymms includes a very wide mix: old village families whose names appear in the parish registers for the last two hundred years, the old aristocracy, people who have moved out from north London, both working and middle class, and some executive/managerial people, who commute to London. No single group predominates, and to some extent, different groups interact in a way which rarely happens in a larger community. Ridge also has a mix of housing, grand and modest. It should be noted that both churches serve people from both villages, as well as others from further afield.
Ridge parish has its own (Civil) Parish Council, unlike South Mymms. Both parishes form part of the Borough of Hertsmere, within the County of Hertfordshire. Both villages have village halls. That at South Mimms has no formal link with the church but is run as a separate entity by a Village Hall Management Committees. In both villages the church is well integrated into the local community. Villagers from both places exercise their rights to be christened, married and buried there way beyond the actual core congregations of each church.