Thursday, June 7, 2018

Restrictions on the "Ask Chris" facility

I have just reworded the "Ask Chris" page on the main Genealogy in Hertfordshire web site to read:

Ask Chris
Your Questions answered by the Resident Genealogist
Sorry but Ask Chris is now
 CLOSED
to new queries as this web site is currently being put into archive mode.
Messages are still welcomed if they help to correct errors or otherwise extend clearly identified web pages or relate to the source or reuse of material (including pictures) already on this web site.

The Newsletter Blog is continuing and news items for possible inclusion on it are very welcome.


The instructions make it clear that all emails will be treated as spam unless either they clearly specify which page on the web site is relevant or include news items appropriate for Hertfordshire Genealogy News.

The reason is quite simple - the time I can spend on the web site is extremely limited (due to other matters which need attention) and priority has to be given to the fact that the site will, in the not too distant future, only be available as an archive. There is a backlog of material waiting to be added to the final archive and I would like to concentrate on transferring this online, and of course correcting any errors, before the old computer finally gives up the ghost.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Weights and Measures offences at Watford in 1857


 Watford
Petty Sessions
December 29, 1857

Unjust Weights Measures and Scales


People Mentioned

Magistrates
W. Stuart, Esq., Chairman
Sergeant Woolrych
Rev. A. H. Barker
A. Currie, Esq.

Before the Bench
Mrs. Shrimp
Mr. Mallard
Mr. Preston
Mr. Boddy
Mr. Bates
Mrs. Bye
Mr. Gotley of  Frowley Bottom (Abbots Langley)
Mrs. Neale
Mr. Fensom
James Weston
Thomas Hawes
Mrs. Ryder

Solicitors, etc.
Mr Adcock
Mr Sedgwick

Bucks Herald 2nd January, 1858 (From British Newspaper Archive)

If you can identify any of the offenders please comment below.

Monday, June 4, 2018

The origin of the Placename Betlow

I was recently asked about the origin of the surname Betlow and whether it was associated with Betlow Farm, near Tring, in Hertfordshire. I replied:
Surnames only started in medieval times and spellings only started to be standardised after the invention of printing and in some cases current spellings (both surnames and place names) may be only a hundred years old.  As a result any analysis of the origins of a surname must involve a large degree of uncertainty.
Some surnames came into existance because someone was named after the place where they came from. It is therefore possible possible that your surname "Betlow" refers back to someone who lived at a place called "Betlow."
The earliest known reference to the Hertfordshire village/manor of "Betelawe"was in 1203 with other 13th century references being to "Betelowe," " Betelaue" and "Bettelawe." The village was abandoned in the Middle Ages (possibly due to the Black Death) and for many centuries all that remained of the manor was a single farm.
The Moat at Moat Farm, Marsworth, undoubtedly dug to drain the central area for the Farm
 "The Placenames of Hertfordshire" suggests that the placename probably was a descriptive term meaning Beta's mound or hill.  The area around Betlow Farm is vey flat - so it clearly doesn't refer to a hill. I haven't visited the Farm but I know much of the area would have been very wet in the past - perhaps even marshy - although moden drainage has lowered the water table. So it is possible that there was a slightly raised area which was drained well enough to build a house.  Not many miles away there are moated sites (often with no surviving buildings, where the effect of the moat was almost certainly to leave a dry area on which a wooden farm house could be built. In the nearby Village of Long Marston the old church is on a mound perhaps 3 feet higher that the surrounding fields - with the remains of a waterfiled moat close by - possible for that reason.


Friday, June 1, 2018

Fasting at Champneys, nr Tring, in 1926

I have updated the Champneys page to included press cuttings and all the post card images now enlarge if you click on them