Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blog Labels now available and other maintenance matters

The process of adding labels to most of the blog posts (apart from those mentioning events and administrative matters which are no longer relevant) and some standardization of the labels (such as combining "Territorial Force" and "Territorial Army" entries) had taken place and the result is a menu on the right of this page, which has been under test for several days.

Tring Railway Station and the Maori Wars

One of the railway workers at Tring Station. Aldbury in 1851, was Michael Meredith who later emigrated to New Zealand - and whose murder appears to have occurred at the start of one of the Maori wars.  Two years ago I answered a question from Carlene about his Hertfordshire family but failed to link the answer to the indexes, etc., on this web site. This fault has now been corrected.

In connection with this query it is interesting to revisit the pages on railway workers associated with Tring Railway Station and with the village of Aldbury  (see pages based on the 1851 and 1881 census) and the information they contain throws light on the role of the railways in moving their employees around the country.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A major reorganisation of the Hitchin Pages

Several years ago I started to restructure the Hitchin pages, but never finished the job. I have now resumed the work and so far have created "picture pages" for St Mary's Parish ChurchThe Market PlaceBancroftHigh StreetBridge StreetTilehouse StreetThe BigginTrade and IndustryEvents and Unclassified Post Cards, and further pages are planned. This will allow me to add much more information of this important town over the next few months.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Buntingford Update

I am always happy to encourage local historians to set up pages for the towns and villages where they live - as they can provide more detailed coverage than I ever could. I was therefore delighted to hear from Alison that her Buntingford In Old Photographs Facebook page is proving very popular with 1847 photographs uploaded so far.

In connection with Buntingford Pictures lost in fire - Can you help? she reports: "I am happy to report that I have uploaded photographs of his grandfather Sidney and his three children - Sidney, Joan and Elsie - onto my Buntingford in Old Photographs Facebook page."

She also writes: "You featured invoices from Jackson butchers - there are photographs on my Buntingford in Old Photographs Facebook page of Arthur and his son Harry and a wonderful display of Christmas fare, and Walter Jackson's butcher's shop. Harry was a keen photographer and I have uploaded some of his work, and photos of his wife Betty."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rural Relaxation - In the Woods at Ashridge

The sun shines through the trees on the carpet of fallen leaves on the Ashridge Estate
click on picture for larger image

Major Hertfordshire History Books Online

Familysearch is busy beta-testing their online library and I note that the following relating books to Hertfordshire are currently available:

 Hertfordshire parish registers, marriages. V. 1, V. 2 & V. 3, The parish registers of Aldenham, Hertfordshire, The parish registers of St. Albans Abbey, 1558-1689, etc

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sport in Hertfordshire - Symposium on 10th November

The Hertfordshire Association for Local History is having its 33rd Annual Symposium on 10th November (10.00-16.30) at St Edmund's College, Puckeridge. The programme will include:
James I: Hunting & Hawking in Hertfordshire
Golfing in Hertfordshire in the late 19th century
The Development of the Lee Valley Regional Park
The History of Cricket in Hertfordshire
Cycling in the Edwardian Period
'Football Close' where football was played.
In addition a number of local history societies will have display stands - undoubtedly with some of their most recent publications for sale.

Champneys (now a Spa Hotel) for sale in 1804

Champneys - the Luxury Spa Hotel in Wigginton, near Tring, - was a farm before the Rothchilds upgraded it in the 19th century. I have just provided a copy of a 1804 advert for the manor & farm.

Herts Past & Present - Autumn 2012 - No 20

The Autumn Issue of Herts Past and Present (published by the Hertfordshire Association for Local History) is out and the following description of the three main papers is based on the editorial.

The poor are always with us. In Begging Letters from Hertfordshire paupers living away from home the poor from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries speak to us in a particularly vivid way, through their letters written in desperation to Hertfordshire parish overseers. Carla Herrmann's study of fifty such begging letters reveals a range o' causes of their destitution: from disease, violent insanity, to injury caused by accidents at work. Widows with dependent children had a particularly hard time of it. Grace Pryor, whose husband had died after falling down a well in Royston leaving her with three children, got short shrift from the Royston overseer in 1783. He sent her back to Heydon in Essex, whence she had originated. Then as now it was economic interests that counted in the decision whether or not to offer support. If you couldn't prove your worth to the parish you had a struggle to claim benefit. "Supportive attitudes appear to have been comparatively rare" is the author's conclusion so far. 

Sarah Lloyd's intriguing article "Tickets Please!" Survivals from eighteenth-century Hertfordshire tells us what tickets can tell us about social history and is a summary of our Lionel Munby lecture at the AGM in May. It shows just what can be read into these most ephemeral of items. That old ticket found under a floorboard tells a story offering a window into many varied aspects of eighteenth-century life. 

Researchers into The Manors of Watford will find the list of sources suggested by Gordon Cox most helpful. The Victoria County History is recognised as no longer adequate to the task. Ranging further afield the quest could take you as far afield as Reading, Woking, Chester and California. Not to mention London, Oxford and Cambridge. Why can't records stay put?

Friday, October 26, 2012

French & King Families of Wheathampstead

When I started this web site in 2001 I set up a page for linking to online web sites which included family tree information involving Hertfordshire families. However other web sites were becoming available for uploading your family trees and I decided not to extend this facility - but kept the existing links going - only deleting them when the web sites vanished.

Alec French has just told me his site, with details of the French and King families of Wheathampstead will be finally closing dome on 31st October - so if you are interested in this family have a quick look over the weekend - as it is not recorded on the WayBack machine.

I will be updating the old Family Trees and Histories page early in November and this will mean removing the references to the French site in November, together with references to two other sites which appear to be no longer functioning. These relate to the Boddy/Body family of Buntingford and the Barker family of Kings Walden.

Essendon in 1880 (and better pictures)

I have added a 1880 description of the village, together with some more post card images - with higher resolution images a single click away.
Essendon Mill

Thursday, October 25, 2012

First World War Billeting - A Berkhamsted clue

Much of Hertfordshire became a large military training camp when the First World War broke out, and large numbers of soldiers were billeted in private houses. When I researched the book The London Gunners come to Town in proved hard to establish which units were posted where, because the relevant records had not survived. Much of the surviving information is scattered and the envelope illustrated here provides a named soldier, a regiment, a named address in Berkhamsted, and a date. The page Billeting in Berkhamsted in the First World War provides more details.

In addition I will use the page to add other soldier - regiment - billet - date information I can find for Berkhamsted - including any information you can add.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Sermon by the Rector of Therfield on sale on ebay

I have just spotted this sermon, published in 1708, by the rector of Therfield, on sale on ebay (end of auction just before midday on 30th October). If you are interested in Thomas Sherlock or the village you might consider bidding. I have added details of Thomas Sherlock, and his father William Sherlock, both of whom were Rectors of Therfield, on the page for St Mary's Church, Therfield

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An unknown Football Cup won by a Watford? club circa 1910

An Unknown Football Club
I have been collecting information on two Watford photographers Jesse Landon (photographer circa 1895-1906) and his brother Percy Landon (photographer circa 1908-1929). So far I have only traced a few examples of their work but one of them is a photograph of an unknown football club showing off the football cup that hey have obviously won. The first stage in identifying the club is probably to identify the cup - so have any of you any good ideas. Can you help?

For more information (and another Watford area football club waiting to be identified) see The Landon Family of Watford Photographers.
An unknown Watford Football Club

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bedwell Park House, Essendon, Home of C. G. Arbuthnot, Director, Bank of England

I have posted two post card images of Bedwell Park House (with higher resolution images available). It was the home of Charles George Arbuthnot, director of the Bank of England, and later became home for the Royal Victoria Patriotic School for girls.   It is said that the potting shed of Bedwell House is the one illustrated by Beatrix Potter in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Have your ancestors been resurrected?

Early in the 19th century many bodies were dug out of the fresh grave by Resurrection Men, who then sold the corpse to surgeons for dissection.

In 1823 James Finder noticed the bad smell coming from a cart passing through Harpenden. This proved to be the body of William Gilman, who had been resurrected from Dunstable churchyard.

In Hertfordshire William Gootheridge was buried in Codicote Churchyard in October 1824, only to be resurrected and reburied when the body was recovered.
Do you know of any other cases in Hertfordshire - I am sure there must have been many more.
The exhibition Doctors, Dissection and Resurrection Men has just opened at the Museum of London. [Review]

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Redbourn Memories - The Football Club and much more

I have just added a copy of Redbourn Memories by Geoff Web to my reference library. Like his other book The Character of Redbourn it contains a large number of photographs including people - with names. For instance the Redbourn Football Team is pictured in 1899, 1906/7, c 1909, c 1910, 1912/13, c 1920, 1923/24, c 1925, 1930/31, 1935, 1937, c 1948, c 1950 and 1955. There are many other group pbotographs - of the schools and the boys football team, and also of Redbourn Cricket Club (earliest picture c 1890).
Redbourn Football Club - 1899
Back Row: ? Carke, ? Belshaw, J. Holtham, --, Walter Hyde, Sam Skillman, Perce Jarman, ? Arnold, John Sansom, ? Rose
Middle row: ? Halsey, T. Squires, Tom Jarman, F. Pratt
Front row: C. Purdey, Dick Quick
While this is (and its companion books) are excellent sources for pictures showing named inhabitants of Redbourn in the first half ot the 20th century there is, unfortunately no index!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Kimpton - a mine of historical information

When this post card of Kimpton High Street came along - I decided it was a good opportunity to reorganise the Kimpton pages, and at the same time add some new information. Why not explore the village!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sale of a 1864 Horse picture, possibly by Downer of Watford.

A large photograph of a horse, recorded as taken in Watford in 1864, recently sold on ebay at quite a high price considering the very degraded condition of the image. While it appears that the photographer is not recorded it is very probably by Frederick Downer, who around 1862 made changes to the back yard of the family shop so it could be used for equestrian photographs. I have placed an enhanced thumbnail picture  on the Frederick Downer Biography page for record purposes only, until I can get a better example of his equestrian photographs.

Please note that I am still looking for more examples of this prolific and versatile photographer's work.

Another carte de visite circa 1890 from St Albans

I have added a new carte de visite taken by John Barnard, Silvio House Studio, St Albans - of an unknown father and son(?) - probably taken about 1890. It has a different back to the earlier examples. Unfortunately I still haven't seen any examples of this photographer's cards which can be definitely dated.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Mystery Farm at Brent Pelham

A FARMYARD SCENE      A tractor coming in after ring rolling autumn wheat, and a three-horse ploughing team returning from the day's work at Brent Pelham, Hertfordshire.
 Eric has discovered this picture of a farm somewhere near Brent Pelham, pictured in The Countryside Companion, by Tom Stephenson, and published by the Odham Press in 1946 (according to the British Library) although the book is not dated. Can anyone identify the actual farm, with its thatched barns?.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Where was the last witch killed in Hertfordshire

Ruth Osbourne was believe by local people to be a witch and in 1751 was ducked in a pond to test her powers - and drowned! Rosie is currently investigating the story and while there are many accounts of the incident, and the subsequent trial of those guilty of murdering her, none of the accounts are very specific as to the location of the pond.

By looking at old maps it would seem that the most likely pond was on a stream in what was then the hamlet of Wilstone Green. For full details see Ruth Osbourne, witch, of Tring, 1751.

Monday, October 15, 2012

New light on the management of Whitwell's Brewery's Pubs.

Breweries, etc
Alan Whitiker's book Brewers in Hertfordshire says that when the Archer family gave up their brewery in Whitwell (a hamlet in St Pauls Walden) the licensed houses passed to the Hope Brewery in Wheathampsted

I have just found a short letter suggesting that for a time the Whitwell licensed houses were managed by Harpenden Brewery  - and may only have been passed to the Hope Brewery when Harpenden Brewery, which had been leased to Bennett's Brewery of Dunstable,  was sold to Mrs Martha Mardall (nee Long - see Who was related to Who?).
The Harpenden Brewery Letter, 1891,  shows how an apparently simple letter, which could easily have ended up in the waste paper basket, can provide important in reconstructing the past.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Update to the Gilbey Funeral at Bishops Stortford

A few years ago I acquired two photographs of a grand funeral procession and by carrying out some detailed research, using clues such as poster on the wall, and in windows, in the background was able to identify the place where one of the photographs was taken, and to date it to a very narrow period. While it has not yet been confirmed it seems very likely that the funeral was of Walter Gilbey, of Gilbey's Gin fame, in Bishops Stortford, in November 1914. For details of the interesting story behind the pictures see The Funeral, Bishops Stortford.

 At the time the location of the above picture was not known, although it shows the same hearse with the same floral arrangement on the top. Now David Brown, of Bishops Stortford writes: 
From the houses - particularly the small gable end you can see behind the house on the left, and the windows in the attic - it is pretty clear that the procession is in London Road just south of the junction with South Street (the Whitepost roundabout).  The procession is heading south along London Road and presumably would have turned right up Thorley Hill towards the cemetery
 I have also added a brief news report of the funeral, which took place on November 16th, from The Times and a portrait from the Illustrated London News.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Traffic on the Old North Road


I am currently considering an answer to a query about Wadesmill and as a result have collected together some old news items about traffic along the Old North Road.
Read what happened when Hancock drove his 20 seated Automaton Stem Bus to Cambridge in 1839 or when the Marquis of Exeter's carriage was side-swiped by a waggon in 1841. Find out why Romaine's massive steam cultivator (picture above) was going to Royston.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Story of Markyate Cell - and the Markyate pages are updated

Markyate Cell has an interesting history, starting as a nunnery in the 12th century, and was converted into a private house in the 16th century. It is associated with the myth of The Wicked Lady of Markyate Cell, and the above picture shows the house before a fire which led to rebuilding in 1840.

At the same time the Markyate pages have been given a significant face lift, including some new information about the books.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Burchmore Family Graves at Flamstead

A Verse on my Gt. Gt. Gt. Gt. Grandfather's grave (1806)

Affliction sore long time I bore
Physicions were in vain
I found no ease till God did please
To ease me of my pain
I recently took a series of pictures of Flamstead, and St Leonard's Church, with the intention of posting details of the complex group of Burchmore graves on this site later this year. Shortly after I had posted some picture on this web site I had an email from a distant cousin, who lives in Australia and has carried out extensive research on the Burchmore family. As a result we have exchanged information and I have made some additions to my Ancestors pages - including showing three of the grave stones - Thomas Burchmore (1706-1787), the adjacent stone - almost certainly his son Thomas Burchmore (1729-1806) and Thomas junior's wife, Sarah Andrew (1735-1816)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Better Access to Earlier Posts on this Newsletter

When I started this blog I didn't make use of the labels facility - which allows you to quickly look at other posts which use the same keyword as the post you are currently looking at. 

This is changing and I am now using labels on all new posts (except temporary topics -such as notification of meetings). Each new post will contain the relevant place names as a label, and also the more important surnames. There are also topic labels such as "Football", "Royalty", "Brickmaker" and "Medieval Fields".

I am currently scanning the old posts and have already labelled some 200 posts - with another 200 to go - hopefully by the end of the week.

To use the facility simply click on the desired keyword at the bottom of the post. For many posts you will then need to click through to the main web site to seen even more information.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bourne Hall Academy, Bushey - c1845-c1885

Linda has discovered that Henri Lemenager, the Watford photographer, was related by marriage to Henry Lewis Biggs, who ran the Bourne Hall Academy in Bushey - where Henri worked for a time around 1861. She commented about the lack of information about the school and as a result I have drafted a history, as far as I could, with a picture of the building, map showing its location, and a list of the pupils I have identified from the census returns.

I have added brief information on the pupils who were born in Hertfordshire. Herbert Austin was a paper manufacturer of Solesbridge Mill, Chorleywood; George Capel was the son of a master upholsterer of Watford,; Edward Hampton, and his brothers, were sons of Edward Hampton, a local master baker who later had the Swan Inn, Rickmansworth; and Harry Finch Woollatt was the son on a farmer living at Samwells Farm, Sandridge.

Information on small schools such as this one is hard to find - so if you can add anything  - such as your ancestor went to this school, please let me know and I can add the information to the school history.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Another WW1 post card - Middlesex Regiment, by Cull of Watford

Five of these soldiers have the Middlesex regiment cap badge and a large version of the picture, which should make it easier to recognize any of the men, can be seen on the Later Troops at Watford page. I have not yet been able to pin down an exact date for when the regiment troops were based in the area. The message on the back suggests they were about to leave the area and go to "the seaside." The writer also asks his wife to sent fifteen shillings to he can make up deficiencies in his kit.
One of the soldiers had a different cap badge which I have not been able to identify.

The photographer was Harry Cull, of Watford, and the number 9162, which is the highest reference number I have found for him.