Monday, October 31, 2011

5 November Meeting: Hillforts to hospitals – the evolution of the Ashridge landscape

The Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society holds monthly meetings in the County Museum at Aylesbury and the one at 2.30 on Saturday relates to Ashridge - part of which lies in Hertfordshire.

The March meeting will be on Techniques of Town-plan Analysis: Examples from Medieval Towns in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire

How safe are your files?

I thought I was covered against any likely accident ....

I've just had a major problem with the section of the main web site covering all the places in Hertfordshire beginning with the letter "H" such as Harpenden, Hatfield, Hemel Hempstead, Hertford, Hitchin, Hoddesden and many others.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lilley War Memorial

The War Memorial, Lilley
The memorial is situated on the side of the road, backing on to the graveyard of St Peter's Church

See new Lilley pages.

St Albans East End - A new book is coming

Mike Neighbour is publishing what appears to be a very interesting new book, St Albans' Own East End: Volume One: Outsiders, next March and is currently advertising a hardback subscriber edition. I will be posting further details of the contents when they become available.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

First Surrey Rifles in St Albans & Sawbridgeworth, 1914-15

When the First World War broke out in August 1914 the 2nd London Division of the Territorial Army moved to war stations in St Albans. Jeff is researching the history of the First Surrey Rifles in Hertfordshire, 1914-15. He sent some useful details relating to the 1st Battalion in St Albans, and the 2nd Battalion in St Albans and Sawbridgeworth. He also supplied a picture of the 2nd London Field Ambulance unit in Hatfield Park.

I was able to fill in a number of details - such as the fact that the First Surrey Rifles consumed 100 turkeys and 500 pounds of roast pork for their Christmas dinner in St Albans in 1914. I located the Hatters Croft and the Red House in Sawbridgeworth but there was some uncertainty about "Spels" but it may have been the Good Intent beer house.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Knebworth Memorial Inscriptions and Burial Records

Memorial Information for St Mary & St Martin, and Burial information for St Martin,  is available online for Knebsworth. Thank Valerie for drawing this to my attention,

Isle of Wight Rifles at Watford, Summer 1915

Following the posting of some military post cards by Harry Cull of Watford a few days ago Geoff, of the Isle of Wight Family History Society has kindly provided scans of four further post cards of the Isle of Wight Rifles. They arrived in Watford on May 20th 1915, and the above picture shows them marching out of the entrances gates of Cassiobury Park

This post card shows "A" Company marching along St Albans Road, Watford at the end of July, 1915, on their way to see action at Gallopoli,

One of the shops on the other side of the road is No 169, the shop of Harry Cull.

See here for other photographs of the Isle of Wight Rifles. Please tell me or the IOW Family History Society if you can identify any of the soldiers after clicking to enlarge the images.
I am always interested in details of any cards which allow the military units stationed in Hertfordshire to be dated and identified.

A LONG connection with Sacombe

It is always nice to be able to announce when cousin links are found via this site and Brian has written from Queensland to say that he is a distant cousin of Tom , who asked about the LONG family of Sacombe earlier this year.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hertfordshire War Memorial Photographs

In an earlier blog, Remembering the First World War, I mentioned that various people were starting to collect information in order to help remember their local dead in the centenary year, 2014.  I have subsequently been considering what contribution this web site can make.

I have decided that I could use the blog to provide access to high resolution pictures (typically 1024 x 768 bytes with large images on request ) which will ensure that the names can be clearly seen. The idea is that whenever I travel across the county I detour to add a few more towns or villages to the list and I should easily be able to cover nearly 150 memorials by August 2014 if I post one new set of pictures a week.  Where the memorial is associated with, or near, the local parish church or chapel I may use the opportunity to include photographs of that as well.

Memorials currently photographed and online are:

Aldbury - WW1 & WW2 tablets in the Church. One photo of church
Bayford - War Memorial Cross (no names) plus pictures of church
Lilley - War memorial by road -Four pictures of church and graveyard
Little Berkhamsted - Memorial at road junction by church - Three photo of church
Long Marston - Roadside war memorial with names.
Tring - WW1 & WW2 & Afghanistan  On edge of Churchyard
Links will be included to other relevant sites - for instance giving names and details of the casualties. These will include cross links to the main Genealogy in Hertfordshire web site.
Later Note: It soon became apparent that I didn't really have the time or resources to do this properly and instead I will be concentrating on restructuring the military pages on this web site (which have become somewhat untidy) and introduce as much new material, including war memorial pictures, as practical. 

If you know of any Hertfordshire WW1 plans for the anniversary please let me know and I will be happy to give the work publicity on this site.

Little Berkhamsted War Memorial and St Andrew's Church

The War Memorial, Little Berkhamsted

Aldbury War Memorials

World War One Memorial

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Medieval Field System exposed in Wilstone Reservoir

This summer the water level in Wilstone Reservoirs, near Tring, Hertfordshire, has been exceptionally low, in part because of the amount of water extracted to top up the Grand Union Canal. These strip markings on the dried out reservoir bed are the remains of one on Wilstone's ridge and furrow communal fields.
 Partly to keep fit, and partly to escape from the computer, I regularly take rural walks in and around the Tring area of Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. In the last week or so I have made two visits to Wilstone Reservoir and have taken the following photographs to record the very low water levels, and what they reveal. As the reservoir was build in three stages, in 1802, 18360 and 1839 I have recorded the views accordingly.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Right Name, Wrong Body - a REYNOLDS example

Ann is planning to come to Hertfordshire to investigate her REYNOLDS, Ridge & Colney Heath, 19th century ancestors and wants some general advice. In replying I found a new Real Name, Wrong Body? example with the following baptisms in the St Albans area:

William, son of George and Ann Reynolds, at St Stephen, 7 March 1819
William, son of William and Sarah Reynolds, at Ridge, 10 June 1821
William, son of Joseph and Elizabeth Reynolds, at St Peter, 14 April 1822
William, son of John and Dinah Reynolds, at Hatfield, 19 May 1822

There are possible links with the 2004 answer for Lynda (REYNOLDS, St Albans Area, 19th century) and  the 2009 answer for Ruth (REYNOLDS, Tyttenhanger Green, Prior to 1916).

The FLITTON family of Flamstead

The Post FLITTON, Flamstead, to USA in 1868 is one of the oldest ones on this web site, with many contributions, perhaps because of the Mormon connections, and John has just produced an update to say that he can now confirm that his William Flitton was related to Joseph - and produces some useful additional information.. He would be delighted to hear from others researching the family.

Harry Cull of Watford, World War One Photographer

Harry Cull was a picture framer in Watford, who also produced post cards of groups of people - both before and after the First World War, but particularly of troops from the 2nd London Division of Territorials who took up war stations in the St Albans area in August 1914, and also of the successor troops once the first wave had gone to the front. See Harry Cull, Photographer, Watford.

Because they are real photographs it is possible to enlarge the images to get a clear view of the individual faces and often identify the cap badges. In addition many of the cards carry a negative number (undoubtedly for re-order purposes) and this means that it is possible to reconstruct a date sequence linked to the troop movements in the area.
I've produced high resolution images in the hope that some readers will be able to identify individual shown in the pictures. In addition there is a request for help. If you know of any post cards (or other photographs) by Harry Cull which are numbered, or where the date or troop units are known (possibly from enlargement of the cap badges) I would be very interested to receive details so that I can produce a more accurate date schedule.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Searching on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site

Earlier this month there was a most interesting talk about the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at our local University of the Third Age (U3A) monthly meeting. One of the exhibits was a listing of the casualties on their web site  linked to my home town in Hertfordshire. Several people wanted to look at it and I decided that I would visit their web site to generate a copy of the list for myself.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

School Group Photograph, Boxmoor School, Hemel Hempstead

Can you identify any of the girls in this group photograph shows girls in Class One, of Boxmoor School, Hemel Hempstead. One of the girls is Violet Killick, and a search shows that she was born in 1899 - so the picture must have been taken in about 1910.
The other picture is taken with girls with floral hats posed in front of the same wall (presumably the school building.) The one in the middle appears to be dressed as the May? Queen. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Shenley - Improved pictures and Menu

Colney House from Beauties of England & Wales
The information on Shenley has been reorganised and all early post cards are now available at a high resolution by clicking on the image. I have also rescanned the 1803 print of Colney House (also at high resolution).

If you would like the information on one of the smaller towns or villages restructured and possibly augmented in a similar way let me know, as I would like to do perhaps half a dozen upgrades in the next few months. I have already had a request from Antony for Wheathampstead.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bushey pages upgraded with menu

The Webmaster reports: As the result of a quickie request from Donald about the pond by the church I decided that the Bushey page was over-crowded and needed reorganisation. Existing materials has been distributed over new several pages, and a menu has been introduce to help you find your way around. No new information has been added, apart from the post card illustrated here and a few links, but existing information is easier to find and it will be far easier to add more information and pictures. (Approximately pages needed to be modified in the process!)
Please note that when this site was started 10 years ago there was one page for each town or village. Many of the places now really need multiple pages to adequately reflect the information available. If you are interested in knowing more about the history of any "unrestructured" places let me know what you would like to see and the upgrade will be given priority.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Supporting Mental Health in Hertfordshire

While on the subject of mental health I would like to thank the two people who have just made donations to bring the total raised for mental health in Hertfordshire on the main web site in memory of my daughters Lucy and Belinda to £656. If you have not yet made a donation the target for 2011 is £1000 and we are less than three months away from the end of the year.

Mental Health Records in Hertfordshire

Yesterday I attended the "Herts and Minds" evening at HALS and was impressed by the range of original documents relating to mental heath in the Hertfordshire county archives. I was interested to see the case notes of early Hill End Asylum patients and the deaths register. I noted the burial details of Emily Evans, whose tombstone I had recorded on the page about old asylum cemetery - and it appears that the first few patients who died in the asylum had grave stones - but later patients had more economic burials. However, despite the wealth of material on display the message I left with the impression that for many of the mentally ill of the past very few records remain.

In addition to the documents on display there was a very informative series of display panels on the history of mental illness in Hertfordshire over the centuries. They will remain at HALS until the end of next week, but it is planned to make them available on the Out of Sight, Out of Mind web site. (this site has greatly improved since I last visited it.) There was also a very informative booklet .about the Out of Sight, Out of Mind project - and the map showing the five St Albans Asylums is taken from this booklet. The booklet is interesting for its honesty in that it looks at the various events in the history of the project and for each identifies "What worked", "What could have gone better" and "Special moment". 

There were also two stands. The Hitchin Historical Society is adding to their list of publications by bringing out a new book Cold Baths don't Work - A History of Mental Health Care in the Hitchin Area, by Mike Clarke. It is being launched at 10.30 on 29th October at Centenary House, Grammar School Walk, Hitchin, SG5 1JN. 

The mental health charity Viewpoint was also there and I had a long talk as I was in regular contact with the charity about five years ago - when I ran the blog Hertfordshire Mental Health Crisis. (Since running this I have retired from all the committees I was on - so I am not involved in the current more serious cut backs.) 

Contents of Hertfordshire People - September 2011

The September issue of Hertfordshire People, the Journal of the Hertfordshire Family History Society, contains the usual variety of goodies among which I noted the following items:

The Australian Connection (HUTCHINSON)
Meet the HUGGETTs
Hertfordshire Road Traffic (1903)
A Biblical Tale, The DAY Family
Redbourn Cricket Team 1888-89 (with names)
The ROBERTS Enigma
A Hertfordshire Heraldic Miscellany

The Society has also recently published four more monumental inscription booklets - for St Luke, Hatfield (Part 1). Sacombe, Lilley and Kimpton, and is about to issue a CD "Hertfordshire Marriage Links 1538-1837"

Their next meeting is on 29th October where the main talk will be on "Villages of North London" and the Computer Group will discuss "Google - not just a search engine".

For more information visit their web site - and even better become a member and get the Journal yourself every quarter.

Master for St Albans Post Card by Downer

The above item has just appeared for sale on ebay. It is the master for the post card I have used on the St Albans page and consists of the original art work with the photographs stuck on. It was produced by the well known Watford photographer, Frederick Downer, who produced many view and events post cards before the First World War, and also some other similar post cards. Unfortunately the asking price is more than I can afford to pay!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ashby/Sherman - A problem marriage from Aldbury

I often get people writing in who have assumed that that the names given in the census returns are the same as the names on the relevant birth certificates. Carolyn wrote in saying she had details of her ancestors from the 1851 and 1861 censuses, the oldest child being Elizabeth Ashby, who was born in about 1840. However there was no sign of any marriage her ancestors James and Ann Ashby. A search of online indexes suggests that the couple lived together between 1840 and 1850 - having children every two years, eventually marrying in 1850. Children born before the marriage were registered as Sherman - but used the name Ashby in the 1851 census. Carolyn will need to purchase some certificates to confirm the story. It is possible that initially James was separated from and earlier wife, and only married Ann after his first wife died  so it will be interesting to see if James was described as a widower at the time of the 1859 marriage.

For full details see ASHBY / SHERMAN, Aldbury, 1840-1851

Book: Croxley Green as it used to be

Croxley Green as it used to be, by Peter Frost, is an A4 paperback containing many pictures of old Croxley Green. It was privately published in 1986 and unfortunately the print quality does not really do the pictures justice. It is hard to find but loan copies are available from the Hertfordshire Library Service.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hertfordshire Counrtyside - October 2011 Issue

The Hertfordshire Countryside magazine has been going for over 60 years, and the early issues are packed with history. The modern version is better seen as a life style magazine, but each issue contains several articles (typically of 2 or 3 pages) of particular interest to people interested in Hertfordshire local history. The following articles in the October 2011 issue caught my eye:

Hemel Hempstead. A short history of the town, with modern picture of old buildings, including four surviving public houses.
Trigg's Coffin. The Reader's Letters section includes a historically interesting account of the contents of Trigg's Coffin, which is in the rafters of a barn in Stevenage.
Activity Centre. This article looks at the many different village halls in Hertfordshire, from the 500 year old town house to the very modern. It made me think about the fate of the many corrugated iron and wooden huts which were erected 100 years or more ago, both as temporary chapels and as community halls. Most have not survived, and I wonder if any of the survivors in Hertfordshire now have listed building status - or will all be lost. I know of plans to demolished  a former wooden World War One army hut, re-erected in the 1920's as a small church and now used as a community centre.

Broxbourne Almshouses

Danny's great great grandmother was living in the almshouses at Broxbourne at the time of the 1891 census. The houses are still there - and can be seen in Google Street Views of Broxbourne. I also located a 1905 picture and details of the charity Dame Laetitia Monnson set up that erected the Almshouse in 1728.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Family Trees or Woodland Trees.

Measuring an ancient beech tree at Ashridge
When we draw up our family trees we tend to forget that there are living trees which were around when out great great great (or more) grandfathers were alive. The above beech tree is in the Ashridge National Trust estate, not far from where I live, and is about 200 years old. It is the 100,000 tree to be recorded in the Ancient Tree Hunt and can be seen in the 100,000th tree video

Thomas Godman's map of 1803 (from Aldbury, The Open Village) showing that about 210 years ago the  location of the tree (approx location shown) was open common land.
If you want to know where there are ancient trees near where your Hertfordshire ancestors lived, which they could have seen, you could try looking at this Interactive Map although I am sure there are many more trees to be recorded.
See also 

Book: Broxbourne & Wormley's Past in Pictures

Broxbourne and Wormley's past in pictures is a well presented hardback book from the Rockingham Press. It contains many pictures from early in the 20th century, together with some later views for comparison. Each picture has a brief but informative description, and there is a good index. It was published in 1995 but new and second hand copies are available online.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Jacob Reynolds Bricks, from Bernards Heath, St Albans

Jacob Reynolds brick
from Glenferrie Road, St Albans
Jacob Reynolds brick
from Avenue Road, St Albans
Roger Miles has recently acquired two more, whole 'J R' bricks. These are from alterations to a house on the corner of Avenue Road and Hillside Road. These two bricks are slightly larger (9"x 4-1/2"x 2-3/4") than one collected in Glenferrie Road, Fleetville (9"x 4-1/4"x 2-1/2") and the lettering in them differs between themselves and the first. 

Jacob Reynolds brick
from Avenue Road, St Albans
Roger is suggesting to the Friends of Bernards Heath that there should be some form of commemoration of Jacob Reynolds' operations on the Heath. His proposal is for a panel of paving bricks, immediately in front of either one of the bench seats or one of the information boards. The J R lettering would be in a contrasting shade of red. .He is planning to visit the Bovingdon Brick Company for their advice. He doubts whether bricks of Heath clay would be hard enough for paviors so I expect 'foreignors' will have to be used, but with luck they will still be 'Arforsheer bricks.
Tell me if you have any information on any other bricks or brickmakers of St Albans

Friday, October 7, 2011

Guide to Hemel Hempstead New Town, 1955

The High Street (from cover)
Daniel Harris has kindly provides a copy of the 1955 Hemel Hempstead Official Guide. This relates to an interesting period, in the first years of the new town, three years after the Queen had made her first visit, and when some of the first estates were being built.

I have reproduced the text describing the history of the town, including the New Town, together with some pictures and an advert for John Dickinson's which includes a sketch of the original 1809 mill in relation to the then extensive paper works (now almost totally redeveloped).

Bayford - Picture of Bayford House, etc.

Bayford House, Bayford, circa 1900

 Bayford House is a Grade II* listed building with a late medieval rear wing and an early 17th century front  hightened to three stories in the early 19th century. This post card shows the house as it was about 1900 when it was occupied by two elderly spinsters, Georgina and Adelaide Randolph, the children of the Rev. Thomas Randolph of Much Hadham. The card was posted by Elsie Lawrence, of Chelsea, who had just started to work there as a  servant at the age of about 13.

In addition high definition images of the following post card images of Bayford are now available.

Bayford Church
Bayford Manor House