By the 14th century, Shenley was considered to be a convenient parish for a country estate, being within reasonable reach of London. Its pure air, after the smoke and fog of the city made it a healthy place to live. The present village of Shenley apparently grew to accommodate the families of those providing a variety of services for the country estates of the gentry. Parish registers, dating back to 1657, include service occupations such as coachmen, bailiffs, bakers and labourers. Others worked in agriculture, as cattle drovers, shepherds and millers. Craftsmen in Shenley included tailors, weavers, shoemakers, cordwainers, brick-makers, blacksmiths and carpenters. Tiles and bricks were made in the area, due to the abundance of suitable clay.
Although many of Shenley’s population were involved in humble occupations, the village was considered quite prosperous. In 1754 the village was assessed to be the sixteenth highest parish in the county (excluding the areas around St Albans) and by 1823, the rateable value of the parish was £9,796.00, with only nine other parishes in the county rating higher.
The population, according to the 2011 UK census, was 4,306.