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A History of Brickendon

Brickendon Village part 2

Brickendon Grange


Brickendon Grange

The mansion known as Brickendon Grange was built by Benjamin Cherry, son of John Cherry, in 1859. Even before this the Cherry family already owned some land around Brickendon Green. Another Benjamin – father of the aforementioned – a butcher of Amwell, purchased the land on which the present house stands in 1805. When he died in 1817 he left property in four counties; his brother John, who already owned adjacent lands, inherited the land in Brickendon known as Brickendon Green Farm (now Bentleys). Kelly’s Directory of 1859 lists Mrs Elizabeth Brown, farmer, of Cherry’s Farm. The mayors of Hertford include a Benjamin Cherry in 1757, 1768, 1776 and 1781, and a town clerk in 1796; whether or not these are one and the same person is not clear. A Benjamin Cherry was also the tenant of the farm at Hertingfordbury Park in 1773 and a gentleman of the same name died at Jenningsbury in December 1785 – see ghoulies and ghosties in Tales of Yore.

Between November 1860 and June 1861 Benjamin Cherry negotiated the purchase of a further 5¼ acres of land known as Waste of the Green from the Brickendonbury estate, represented by the estate manager Captain Breville. He was responsible for planting a number of trees and shrubs in the grounds of the Grange, including a Syrian Juniper, which has become the second best of its species in Britain; also an avenue of Monterey Cypress, several oaks and Balsam Poplar. In December 1864 Mr Cherry received notification of the intention of the Great Northern Railway Company to petition Parliament to build a railway from Hornsey through Enfield to Hertford passing through his land; in the event it was some years before the railway was actually built. The estate passed to Benjamin’s son, the Rev Benjamin Newman Cherry. There is a stained glass window in Bayford church to the memory of one of the Benjamins (b. 28 March 1809, d. 10 March 1874).

In 1874 the Rev Cherry moved to Rutland, leasing the Grange to Henry Wilson Demain Saunders of Honey Lands, Waltham Abbey. The lease was for 14 years from 29 September 1874 for the sum of £400 per annum. The grounds extended to 40 acres 3 roods 7 perches, and the gardener’s cottage and barn are described as being ‘in such a dilapidated state it is impossible to keep them in repair’. The Rev Benjamin Cherry was rector of Luddington and Hemington in Northamptonshire; he was born in 1841, not in Brickendon but in Northaw. Following the move of Mr Demain Saunders to Fanshaws and his demise – see later – the estate was sold by Benjamin L Cherry, grandson of the Benjamin who built the Grange, to John Trotter. Originally to be let, it is said that Mr Trotter was not interested in a lease that only had three years to run but made an offer for the freehold, which was accepted. However, Kelly’s Directory of 1917 and other dates give the owner of the Grange as the trustees of the late Rev BN Cherry. Advertised in The Times:

Hertfordshire. To let on lease. The well-built, picturesque residence known as Brickendon Grange. Situated on high ground and surrounded by about 40 acres of parkland. Lovely neighbourhood; 3½ miles from Broxbourne and Hertford stations; good water and excellent drainage. The house is approached by carriage drive, with good lodge and entrance. It is in perfect order, and fit for immediate occupation. There are 14 bed and dressing rooms, bathroom fitted hot and cold water, entrance and inner halls, three reception rooms, schoolroom, billiard room and very excellent offices. Good stabling for 7 horses, productive fruit and vegetable gardens and glass houses.

John Trotter further enhanced the estate planting more conifers and creating a pinetum, as well as enlarging the property. He died at Brickendon in April 1913 and is buried in Ridge churchyard, although there are memorials in Bayford church to Trotter, his wife Louisa Blanche (née; Durant) and two of their sons, Kenneth Stuart and Colin Liddell, who were killed in active service during the First World War. John Trotter was born in 1854 at Dyrham Park, in the parish of Ridge, which had been owned by his family since 1798. It seems quite probable that his family gave its name to Trotters Bottom, one of the roads that runs past Dyrham Park. It has been written that John Trotter was one of the founder members and a vice-president of the Royal Horticultural Society; however, since the Horticultural Society was formed in 1804 – well before his birth – and gained its Royal Charter in 1861, he cannot have been a founder, and the RHS has no record of him having been a vice-president. It has also been claimed that he was a director of the Bank of England, but this too has been disproved. The 1891 census gives his occupation as a merchant and director of insurance company. The Post Office London Directory of 1846 lists in the Court section a John Trotter of 13 Connaught Place and Durham Park, near Barnett [sic], probably the father of John of the Grange. John Trotter was chairman of the Brickendon Rural Parish Meeting – the forerunner of the parish council – from its inception in 1894 to 1905 and from 1909 to 1913, and he was the parish Surveyor of Highways for some years.

After the death of John Trotter his family continued to live at the Grange; in 1921 Richard Durrant Trotter his eldest son was there. On 31 December 1923 Brickendon Grange was sold to Lt-Col Kenneth Rankin Campbell, DSO, and in Kelly’s Directory of 1929 it is given as the residence of Col Campbell and Robert Rankin. In 1932, following the death of Col Campbell, the Grange passed to his only daughter Helen Myrtle Fender (nèe Campbell) and her husband, Robert Evelyn Herbert (known as Robin). Robert Fender is believed to have knocked down part of the Grange. A family history web page contains a lot of information about the Campbells at www.antonymaitland.com/campbell.htm. In 1946 the estate was sold to Col William and Mrs Doris Briggs, and in 1952 Mrs Briggs sold it to Mr AN Hickley. In August 1955 Mr HR Townsend purchased the estate which he extended in 1960 by purchasing 40 acres of Claypits Farm, Bayford. The Grange was sold lastly in 1964 to a consortium of London businessmen and developed into the golf course that is there today.

Much of this information was researched by the late Norman Cridland, past Captain and President of Brickendon Grange Golf Club.

Fanshaws


Fanshaws c. 1904

The mock-Jacobean mansion known as Fanshaws was built for Henry Wilson Demain Saunders of Brickendon Grange, who had acquired the Fanshaws estate, along with Bentleys Farm, a couple of fields belonging to Sewards Farm and several acres of woodland in 1883. Building on the house was started in 1883 and took two years to complete.

It is said that Mr Demain Saunders was a gentleman of generous proportions who was concerned that were he to die in bed the narrow spiral staircase at the Grange would not be wide enough to take his coffin. Whether there is any truth in this tale or it is just folklore is not known; however, the staircase at Fanshaws is of sufficient capacity to take a carthorse. In the event he died of a heart attack in Bayford Church just three years later. His daughter Constance wrote in 1928: This house called Fanshaws was built for my colleague [her mother] by her husband. It was finished in the year 1885. He died three years later, November 11 1888. Further information about the Demain Saunders family is given in Families of Brickendon.

The total estate extended to 270 acres. The original drive to the ‘new’ Fanshaws ran from Brickendon Lane, just opposite Well Green, where a line of beech trees can still be seen.

In 1834 John Reed rented Fanshawes Farm – which was mistakenly given as being in St Johns parish – for the sum of £70 a year; the size of the estate is given as 118 acres 1 rood 10 perches. Henry Foskett of Bengeo rented Shrimptons (otherwise Fanshaws) Farm from the Brickendonbury estate on 30 September 1863. The fields are listed as Great Grays, Bittern Mead, Bittern Grays, Hilly Grays, Grays Mead, Round Grays, Pond Grays, Round Leys, Long Leys, Stable Mead, Wants, Great Harmans, Rainy Mead, Little Harmans, Great Oxleys, Pear Tree Field, Middle Mead and Broom Close. One almost wonders why it was not known as Grays Farm! Three fields listed in the 1846 tithe awards which do not appear in this rental agreement are Cooks, which Mr Demain Saunders did not purchase in 1883, Sweetens and Sweetens Next Lane.

Kelly’s Directory gives Henry Foskett still there in 1869, and in 1899 Fanshaws is listed as the residence of Edwin Macintosh; between 1900 and 1904 it is the home of Arthur Henry Kingsley, second husband of Minnie, widow of HWDS, and in 1906-8 it appears as the home of Mrs Hardcastle Sykes. In contradiction with Kelly’s the 1901 census gives Edwin Mackintosh, a shipowner, his family and a number of servants at Fanshawes Mansion; farm bailiff Edmund Houle and his family are at Fanshawes Farm, and Joseph Winter, a coachman, his wife, son and daughter are at Fanshawes – although it is not clear to which house this latter entry refers. William Westbrooke, head groom, and James Stevenson, under groom, are at Fanshawes Stables and William Weir, under gardener, at Fanshawes Bothy. Also listed in the 1901 census is a Working Men’s Club, close to Fanshawes but not inhabited.

In 1909 Fanshaws was let to Charles Theodore Barclay, who is described as a stockbroker of the banking family. Some details about the Barclay family are given in Families of Brickendon. An additional storey was added to the house in 1912 providing a further eight bedrooms.


Isabella (right) and her sister Nora Grand at the entrance to Fanshaws

There was a report in the Hertfordshire Mercury of 13 April 1934: A burglary at Fanshaws, the residence of Mr Anthony Barclay, near Hertford, on Saturday night [7 April], resulted in an exciting chase by police officers from Hertford and the surrounding districts, and the capture of four men. It was alleged that the burglary took place whilst the household were at dinner about 8pm, and that a ladder was used to gain entry to the house. Jewellery valued at nearly £200 was missing. There then follows a detailed report of this ‘exciting’ incident and there is a photograph showing the ladder and the hole in the window made by the intruders. There is also a letter from Josephine Barclay thanking the police for their prompt action. One thing that was not reported was that earlier in the evening one of the servants, seventeen year old Isabella Grand from County Durham, had spotted a couple of suspicious men in the grounds with a ladder. When she reported the matter to the butler he became quite angry and very firmly and rudely dismissed the idea calling her a ‘country bumpkin’ and telling her to get about her work. Whether or not the butler was implicated in the robbery is not known, but his actions in ignoring the warning must be considered highly suspicious.

The Barclay family moved out for the Second World War, during which time Fanshaws was used as a reception centre for evacuees, and later by a Bomb Disposal Detachment of the Royal Engineers. In 1947 the Fanshaws estate, which included Bentleys, Poplars and Little Farden Cottages, was sold to brothers Walter and Robert Wallace who continued to rent the property to the Barclays until the 1960s.

In 1963, following the death of Charles Gurney Barclay, Fanshaws was sold together with six acres of land and three cottages – Long Leys, the Bothy and Laundry Cottage – to the present owners, the Institute of the Motor Industry, for the princely sum of £20,000. In 1980 the Institute sold off Long Leys and the Bothy, which used to form part of the stable block for Fanshaws and had been converted for residential use in 1965.

A millennium garden was designed and planted in the year 2000 replacing a rose garden. As much to keep down the overheads as it was to celebrate the new millennium it is very much in keeping with the innovative gardening of Constance Demain Saunders and her mother.

Fanshaws Farmhouse is a grade II listed building. It is understood to be sixteenth or early seventeenth century and is described as ‘timber frame on projecting plastered sill, roughcast with basketwork pargetting’. The farm buildings, also listed, are said to be seventeenth and eighteenth century; these include what is now known as Fanshaws Barn as well as the village hall. Fanshaws Farm was farmed by the Gregory family between about 1927 and 1954, and by the Retallick family who ran a noted herd of Channel Islands cattle, from 1954 until 2000. William Gregory – together with Frank Neale of Swallow Grove Farm – achieved their fifteen minutes of fame by getting their photographs on the front page of the News Chronicle of 27 May 1948 welcoming the rain following a significant drought. Following the death of Mrs Retallick a commemorative tree was planted on the village green in July 2003 in thanks for her many years of service as a kind of unofficial ‘Mother of the Village’. Mr Retallick’s father had been the tenant at Bayfordbury Park Farm from 1926 until 1953 and had established a tea shop at the farm which was very popular with cyclists.

According to The Place-names of Hertfordshire by Gover, Mawer and Stenton, the Feet of Fines for Hertfordshire, 1642, gives the name Fanshaws as having come from a former owner of the property. Sir Thomas Fanshawe of Ware Park, later 2nd Viscount Fanshawe of Dromore, 1632-74, inherited the estate on his marriage, in 1648, to Katherine Ferrers, of whom more later. The date of the Feet of Fines and that of the marriage seem to be amiss here. However, the 1622 Survey of the Manor of Brickendonbury shows that Lady Knighton, lady of the manor of Bayford, was a copyhold tenant of part of the Brickendonbury estate and a note added on 26 January 1665 states that the property is now known as Fanshaws. This Lady Knighton is presumably Anne who later married Sir John Ferrers and whose granddaughter Katherine was married to Sir Thomas Fanshawe at the age of just twelve. The Feet of Fines are the files containing the court’s copies, or ‘feet’, of tripartite indentures recording agreements called final concords, or ‘fines’ for short. These were agreements to terminate fictitious disputes brought before the king’s court in order to officially record the ownership of land.

Folklore claims that Katherine Ferrers was the infamous ‘Wicked Lady’ who, being bored left at home alone whilst her husband was away, dressed up in men’s attire and conducted herself as a highwayman. However, this legend, whilst colourful and perhaps even in some bizarre way ‘romantic’, appears to hold a number of inconsistencies. For details see www.johnbarber.com/wickedlady.html.

The rather grand pair of semi-detached houses on Brickendon Green known as Grays were once part of the Fanshaws estate as homes for the gardener and the under gardener at Fanshaws. Little Fardens cottages with their unusual chimneys, in Brickendon Lane, were designed by Charles Edward Mallows (1864-1915) and built in 1913 as homes for some of the other servants at Fanshaws.

Poplar Cottage was also part of the Fanshaws estate, in 1901 occupied by the widow Wackett, a laundress, her two brothers who were estate workers, and a laundry domestic. Later it was the home of the cowman at Fanshaws Farm. In the 1891 census one of the cottages on Brickendon Green (unnamed) was occupied by Hester Simmons, a laundress. Laundry Cottage, formerly just the Laundry, also on the Green, was once the laundry for Fanshaws and Hacketts; Kelly’s Directory of 1910 lists Henry Penn as running a laundry in Brickendon; in 1928 it was run by William and Ada Brand and later it was run by the Butterfield family. The laundry consisted of two rooms; one with four wooden tubs for scrubbing the linen with brush and soap, also a copper and a pump – used to feed the water from a tank buried under the garden path – and two mangles. The second room was the ironing room with white scrubbed floors and tables and a big airing cupboard next to the stove which held about a dozen different shaped irons.

Hacketts

The origin of the name Hacketts is unknown, although like most of the older houses in the village it was almost certainly named after a former owner or tenant of the property. Before the use of road names and house numbers it was common practice to identify cottages, homesteads and farms by the name of their occupant. In many cases the name stuck for all time; in others the name changed with each succeeding tenant or owner.

The house is a listed building believed to date from the sixteenth or early seventeenth centuries and was extended by WH Godfrey in 1920. Like most of Brickendon Hacketts was originally part of the Brickendonbury estate, when it was a farm. It is listed in the 1622 Survey of the Manor as Heckets, occupied by Thomas Fintch. Sale particulars for Hacketts Farm in 1861 included two cottages under tenure to Mr Sheppard and occupied by William Matthews, George Savage and William Aylott; these are perhaps what later became the Five Horseshoes. The owner also had a butcher’s shop in Hertford.

In 1875, Henry Wilson Demain Saunders purchased Hacketts from the trustees of the late Charles Young. The property comprised the Homestead, Cart Shed Field, Upper Hacketts, Pick Pockets, Middle Hacketts, Barn Pightle, Lower Hacketts, Great Farden, Middle Farden, Little Farden, three cottages with gardens, and a kitchen garden; 38 acres 3 roods 18 perches in all. The conveyance mentions that one part of the estate was once known as Gamblins or Camblins; another field Hicketts, otherwise Bowyers Field or Close; and Great Wheatfield, Little Wheatfield and Holborns Close.

On the death of HWDS Hacketts passed to his widow, Minnie, and later to their daughter, Constance. In 1888 Hacketts Farm was let to William Thomas Hart, a cow keeper of Hertford, and the 1891 census gives Sarah Hart there. It was let in 1893 to William Rutland of Bayford.

The 1928 electoral register gives George William and Katherine Edith Cole Hamilton at Hacketts Farm; according to the garden diary of Constance Demain Saunders they had taken up residence in 1921. The Cole Hamiltons further extended the house to the south and southwest. CDS went to live in Hacketts in 1930 when she renamed the property Hacketts Barns. Until then Hacketts had been farmed but Constance created much of the garden that is there today.

On 15 October 1947 Constance Demain Saunders sold Hacketts, along with Bourne Orchard, Bentleys and the Fanshaws estate, to the Wallace brothers for the sum of £18,000. Constance lived on in the Gate House at Hacketts until her death in 1955 and because of her arthritis she had a bedroom and bathroom built downstairs. There was an agreement that the Wallaces should not sell Hacketts until after her death. In 1951 Basil and Athene Sanders took a repairing lease on Hacketts and they purchased the property following CDS’s death. Basil Sanders was chairman of the parish council for several years and Athene Sanders was a governor of Bayford School for over forty years, latterly as chairman. The Sanders built a swimming pool in 1952 which was one of the first in the area and they generously opened it to the public for a couple of hours each weekday. The Girl Guides also used to camp in the grounds of Hacketts.

Scenes of the house and gardens of Hacketts were used in the television adaptation of HE Bates’ My Uncle Silas which were shown in November 2001.

The three cottages named Lower Hacketts were built on land of that name somewhere around the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, originally as farm workers’ cottages. Constance Demain Saunders’ gardener, Percy Saunders, and her driver, Mr Watts, lived in Lower Hacketts.