Skip navigation

A History of Brickendon

Lost Brickendon and WWE

Several parts of the former Liberty of Brickendon have been lost to Hertford over the centuries, as mentioned earlier, and a number of older buildings and features have been identified that have disappeared, some of them before living memory. Many buildings would have been of timber construction with an earth floor and no foundation; these will have disappeared with barely a trace. Some of the field names give a clue as to what used to be there; pightle, for example, is a common word in the naming of fields meaning a small enclosed piece of land often attached to a cottage for keeping animals. The word croft also suggests the presence of a cottage.

One such property, formerly in St John’s parish, was Ducketts which is shown on early twentieth-century Ordnance Survey maps on Mangrove Lane to the south of the drive to Brickendonbury. In 1624 this was in the ownership of William Seaward, whose will is given in the appendices. The name survives in Ducketts Cottages, which lie a little way to the north of the drive to Brickendonbury, but the farmhouse has long since disappeared. In 1638 a gentleman by the name of Thomas Barlegges was to be found at Ducketts; whether he was the tenant or a servant there, however, is not known. He is mentioned as a witness in the prosecution of two servants charged with tippling and illegal gaming at the King’s Arms in Hertford. At the 1881 and the 1891 censuses there are five separate families living in what is referred to as Ducketts Farm, presumably the farmhouse and four cottages; John Coppin and his wife Elizabeth are both given as farm foreman in 1881; at the 1891 census Joseph Reed is the working foreman.

An undated manorial document mentions: Cottage known as “Hornsea Hall” in Clemens Lane occupied by Woodman. Cottage orchard & premises at Brickendon Green. In 1719 Elizabeth Lowen, infant daughter and heir of Thomas Lowen, inherited a cottage near Clemens Lane known as Hormsea Hall, and in 1789 Elizabeth Cole, widow, let the cottage to Sarah Wright. In 1823 John Cole, a labourer of Little Berkhamsted, eldest son and heir of James Cole deceased, only son and heir of Elizabeth Cole, née Lowen, surrendered the cottage, which had fallen into decay, to William Dent of Brickendonbury for the sum of £20, and in 1833 it passed from Edward Charles Fletcher to William Scott Preston. The property is described as:

all that messuage or tenement or cottage with a slip of ground or orchard … by estimation twenty perches more or less … situate lying and being at Brickendon Green … near a Spring of water thence abutting upon Brickendon Green aforesaid upon the East and upon the Lands heretofore in the occupation of Josiah Hall upon the West all of which said premises were in the occupation formerly of Gabriel Fletcher afterwards of John Phipps late of the said Thomas Bynoth deceased and are now unoccupied.

Thomas Bynoth, labourer, was the eldest son and heir of Thomas Bynoth, yeoman, and was admitted as a tenant on 3 July 1812. Despite the description of the property the precise whereabouts of Clemens Lane and of Hornsea (or Hormsea) Hall is a mystery. It is quite possible that Clemens Lane was an early name for what is now Brickendon Lane. Dury and Andrews’ map of 1766 and Bryant’s 1822 map show several buildings on both the north and south sides of Brickendon Green, so perhaps it was one of these.

An unnamed property – perhaps that mentioned above adjoining Hornsea Hall – which disappeared long ago, passed to John Pemberton, a carpenter and builder of Hertford, on its surrender by Thomas Bynoth in 1826.

A further messuage or tenement at Brickendon Green comprising Rushey Mead, Middle Field and Lower Field, approximately nine acres, was bought by John Demeur, a ship broker from London, in 1821. The property was in the occupation of John Venables and Robert Heath, afterwards of Samuel Rawson, — Ansell, Thomas Wackett, — Dove and in 1836 William Walker.

In 1848 Benjamin Cherry purchased a copyhold messuage for £406 from Crowther Brown, a chemist and grocer of Baldock. It was formerly occupied by Thomas Catmore and Josiah Hale, afterwards of William Mouse and more recently of College Willis. The property included fields named Woodcroft, Bakers Field, Dell Croft, Home Field, the Pigthle, Middle Field and Sloe Field. In May 1849 Cherry, of the Hook, Northaw, was granted full licence from the lords and ladies of the manor to pull down the property.

John Venables, a blacksmith of Hertford, eldest son and heir of William Venables, only surviving son of William Venables, surrendered a messuage known as Cockowlets to William Taylor, a gardener, in 1832 at which time it was described as a cottage in a decayed state, orchard and premises, and was in the occupation of Benjamin Venables. William Taylor surrendered it to George Gould Morgan of Brickendonbury, one of the lords of the manor, in 1835. The 1891 census lists William Mayfleet and his family at Cock Owlets. As mentioned earlier (see Brickendon Village) Cock Owlets was close to the site of the present Owls Hatch cottages.

In a deed dated 30 December 1375, Philip Farthing (or Ferthyng) gifted to his wife Alice his messuage in Brickendon and in so doing he appears to have given his name to that area of land known as Fardens, a corruption of his name. Fardens was later divided into three fields, or closes: Little, Great and Middle Fardens; the chapel, Sweetings, former council houses in Brickendon Lane and Fanshaws Lane, as well as the cottages named Little Fardens have all been built on the former Farthing’s farm. In an indenture dated 9 April 1653 for the intended marriage between Robert Winspeare, son of Thomas Winspeare of Waltham Cross, and Bridgett Etheredge, sister of James Etheredge and daughter of the widow Edith Etheredge, James Etheredge settled the house and land then known as Fardings on Thomas Winspeare. The property was then valued at £600 and at the time was occupied by John Aylard and had previously been occupied by Thomas Limkin. The settlement describes the land as being bordered by Backlane in the west, another lane leading to the nether green in the east, by land previously owned by George Knighton, before that by Richard Bryan and earlier still by Edward Halfehide to the south, and by Holborns, owned by Thomas Curle, to the north. Whether Bridgett Etheredge is related to Jane Etheridge of Ettridge Farm (see The Broxbourne Bits) is not known, but it seems likely. In 1677 Fardings was let for one year to Joseph Saward by William Mitchell, a nephew and heir of the late Roger Pumfrett. Later, in 1701, Joseph Saward and his son, also Joseph, purchased Fardings as well as other property from Richard Lawson, a son and heir of Bridget Lawson, the late widow of Samuel Lawson. The property was at the time let to Josiah Hale and had previously been occupied by Thomas Halsey. In 1756 Daniel Haydon, son and heir of the late Zacheus Haydon, placed the property in trust for his use for life with the remainder to his wife Mary, daughter of George Haynes, and their children. The property had been conveyed to George Haynes by Joseph Saward. Possibly it is this property that some maps and old documents refer to as Haydons; however, this is not certain and the use of the word haydons here may refer to ridges of grassland amongst arable land. The 1622 Survey of the Manor of Brickendonbury gives Bridget Winspeare at Gamblins. Whether this is another name for Farthings is not clear, although it seems likely given that Fardens was later part of the Hacketts estate and as was noted earlier part of the estate was once known as Gamblins.


Pembridge Farm in 1946, once a beer house named the Green Man

The Ordnance Survey maps of 1883 and 1904 show a chapel at Ettridge Farm, in what is now known, unsurprisingly, as Chapel Field. It is also understood that Pembridge Lane Farm was once a pub or beer house, although nothing further is known about it. There was, apparently, a row of timber cottages almost opposite the farm, although it seems hard to imagine that these would have been home to enough people to warrant having their own beer house.

In about the ninth century a stone cross and a chapel were erected in Holy Cross Hill – part of Ermine Street – at its junction with West End Road, just outside the parish of Brickendon Liberty. Salmon’s History and Antiquities of Hertfordshire tells us: The Abbot of Waltham, Lord of the Manor, was wont to send thither some of his Canons, who, on the 3d of May, and 14th of September, walked in solemn Procession with the Parishioners, singing a Litany.

There were at different times two beerhouses in Wormley West End, as well as the Woodman public house, both of which were named the Green Man. The later one was opposite the Woodman, which, it is understood, closed at the beginning of the First World War. The earlier house was along the stretch of road leading to Wormley Wood, just past Westlea. In 1757 Robert Akers was admitted owner of the Green Man, part of the Manor of Broxbourne, on its surrender by Samuel Lowen; he later bought three other messuages or tenements named Woodgates, Lady Moor and Larks. Following the death of Robert Akers his son and heir, also Robert, took possession of these properties by copy of the Court Roll dated 28 December 1801. The Green Man is described as being near Little Woodgates. As mentioned in the history of Westlea (see Wormley West End) the earlier beerhouse was bought from William Akers in 1828 and most likey closed soon after that. The 1891 census gives Amelia Partridge as a beer house keeper at the Green Man. In Kelly’s Directory of 1882 Richard Phipps is a beer retailer, presumed to be of the Green Man; in 1898 Frederick Winn is listed and he is still there in 1910. In 1914 it is George Chandler and in 1918 John Lyon is there. White House, too, was previously a beer house.

The 1883 Ordnance Survey map shows an infants’ school at Wormley West End, roughly where the garage for Tylers Cottage now stands. In an agreement dated 15 July 1875 between GB Ireland of Westlea and Emily Martha Hemsley of Oxford Villas, Wormley, it was stated that Emily Hemsley had erected an ‘Iron School’ on the site and that she agreed to pay a yearly rent of £2 2s to occupy and use as an infants’ school the Iron School. It was most likely a corrugated iron building as these were common at that time, being cheap and easily erected; they were frequently used for chapels, which were often referred to as tin chapels or tin tabernacles. A map of 1914 shows the schoolroom there then, although the 1899 Ordnance Survey map shows a mission room on the site; perhaps the room was used for both purposes. Another school was to be found in White Stubbs Lane.


Sewards Farm Cottages, which replaced a terrace of cottages known as Paradise Row

Sewards Farm Cottages appear to have replaced earlier timber cottages. A dispute arose in 1893 over a terrace of cottages known as Paradise Row, close to where Sewards Farm Cottages now stand. The dispute raged for over five years and the outcome is unclear although Paradise Row was still standing in 1911 but was presumably demolished before the completion of Sewards Farm Cottages in 1913. The cottages were built in 1879 and replaced two even earlier cottages on the site. The subjects of the complaint, RT and WF Andrews, were well respected Hertford businessmen whose business interests included the Phoenix Assurance Company and whose families had been prominent in the town since the seventeenth century. It was the brothers Andrews who started Hertford Museum, originally above their premises in Fore Street before moving to the present site, and they left a sizable trust fund to pay for the running of the museum. WF Andrews was three times mayor of Hertford one of which was in 1899, and Frampton Street and Thornton Street in Hertford are named after the two brothers.

To: Mr Robert Thornton Andrews of No 25 Castle Street, Hertford, in the County of Hertford, Architect and Surveyor, and Timber Merchant, and Mr William Frampton Andrews of No 27 West Street, Hertford, in the County of Hertford, Timber Merchant.

Take Notice that under the provisions of the Public Health Act 1875 and the Housing of the Working Classes Act 1890 the Guardians of the Poor of the Hertford Union in the County of Hertford acting as a Rural Sanitary Authority for the District within which the premises hereinafter described are situate, being satisfied that the following premises of which you are the owners that is to say 10 cottages or tenements and premises situate in the Liberty of Brickendon on the Eastern side of the highway leading from Hertford to Brickendon Green and near to a place called Well Green and in the respective occupations of George Savage, Joshua Allum, Arthur Saville, Herbert Meade, George Wiltshire, Widow Matthews, Richard Phipps, and Edward Saville, and two unoccupied, are in a state so dangerous or injurious to health as to be unfit for human habitation do hereby require you within four weeks from the service of this Notice to make the said premises fit for human habitation.

If you make default in complying with the requisitions of this Notice, proceedings will be taken before a Court of Summary Jurisdiction for prohibiting the use of the premises for human habitation.

Dated 29 April 1893; Signed Alfred Scales, Inspector of Nuisances for the Hertford District of the Hertford Rural Sanitary Authority.


Keepers Cottage at Monks Green in 1912 with the three youngest daughters of assistant keeper Charlie King

There used to be a house named Keepers Cottage at what was then known as Cowheath at Monks Green, which in 1912 was the home of Charlie King, assistant gamekeeper to Mr Hickman for Major Smith-Bosanquet of Broxbournebury. The cottage was built towards the end of the nineteenth century on the edge of Brambles Wood and was destroyed during the Second World War. Peter Ashley wrote a fascinating account of the incident in his monthly column in the Hertfordshire Mercury of 18 September 1998. In it he relates that in July 1944, a V1 flying bomb – or doodle-bug – landed close to the cottage sadly killing one lady, Mrs Dench, and injuring her daughter and the grandfather. Staying close by in a caravan and a tent was the Basham family, who had rather ironically been bombed out of their home in Hackney, east London. It is, perhaps, both hapless that a bomb should find any target at all in such a remote area and fortuitous that, having done so, there was just the one fatality. Read the article. Whilst on the subject of bombs it was interesting to note that the first bomb to fall in the area during the First World War landed in a field at Highfield Farm and the first bomb of the Second World War fell in the same field!

Hertford Museum has several photographs of a Miss Catherine Gutteridge, 1814-91, of Mount Pleasant, Brickendon, a somewhat severe-looking lady. She and her sister Fanny had a millinery and dressmaking business in Fore Street, Hertford, and a Miss Gutteridge is given as one of the landowners in Brickendon in 1881. In the tithe awards of 1846 Samuel Gutteridge or Susan Simson (why ‘or’ is unclear) have four fields at Well Green, a dwelling, yards and garden. The 1878 Post Office Directory gives Catherine Gutteridge as running a lodging house in Ware Road, Hertford. Mount Pleasant appears to have been a pair of cottages at Monks Green, roughly opposite the present Amber House, as shown on Bryant’s map of 1822.

Dunkirks Farm, no longer a farm and no longer in Brickendon but now in Hertford, was once part of the Brickendonbury estate. In 1622 it was in the occupation of John Heath; in 1821 William Dent is there and in 1869 a Mr Ivory. In the 1891 census Frederick Ashworth, farmer, his wife Mary and their seven children are living at Dunkirks; in 1895 Robert Graham, one of the overseers for the parish lived there. William Holder was there in 1903; in 1906 it was William David Trehane and in 1911 Frank Temple was there. Frank Temple became rural district councillor in 1913. Fields at Dunkirks included Chimney Field, Seventeen Acres, Clay Field, Poplar Field, Sheep Walk and Avenue, Batts Mead, Batts Field, Long Mead, Chalk Dell Field, Clay Shot, Clay Mead and Oxleys. Particulars of the farm dated 16 December 1925 when it was put up to let following the death of Sir Edward Pearson describe the farm as ‘an excellent dairying farm’ of 241 acres including a ‘gentleman’s residence’. The farmhouse (or gentleman’s residence) comprised six ‘good’ bedrooms, bathroom, two WCs, three sitting rooms, kitchen, scullery, cellar, etc. We will probably never know what the ‘etc’ included!

Another dwelling which seems to have vanished without a trace is one in Emanuel Pollards. Both the 1881 and 1891 censuses have William Simmons (or Simonds), an agricultural labourer, and his family living there. Emanuel Pollards is protected as an open space under the Broxborne [sic] and Hoddesdon Open Spaces and Recreation Grounds Act 1890; it is also a registered village green.

Horns Mill

The mill at Horns Mill is mentioned in the Domesday Book (see Brickendon Village) and was the mill for the Brickendonbury estate. The name Horns Mill was not adopted until the nineteenth century and in fact came from the pub, the Horns Tavern, rather than the other way round as might have been supposed. Bryant’s map of 1822 shows the mill as Oil Mill, most probably as it was then used for the milling of linseed. John Bassill held Horns Mill until his death in 1772; in his will he left the lease on the mills to his daughter Mary Archer and grandson William.

In 1824, William Archer, the son of the miller of Horns Mill, also William, emigrated to Tasmania, Australia – then known as Van Diemens Land – where he founded a new estate, which he named Brickendon. Two of his brothers, Thomas and Joseph, had emigrated to Tasmania a few years earlier (Thomas in 1813 and Joseph in 1821) and had each founded estates named after other manors local to Hertford; Woolmers and Panshanger. Later, having suffered a series of poor harvests, William senior also emigrated, leaving behind him a number of irate creditors. He died in 1833 and it is said that his son Joseph returned to England and settled his father’s debts. In 1828 the mill was sold by the Rev Joseph Stephen Pratt and his wife Frances Celia to John George Fordham. It is described as having been three water corn mills, now two, built by Timothy Weedon; and it is said that William Archer built a cottage and cistern house.

In 1868 William Robert Baker of Bayfordbury purchased the mill which he let to Franklyn Haggar. In 1890 William Webb with backing from a company of the Plymouth Brethren acquired Horns Mill for use as a leather works. Lines of hides hanging out in the fields adjacent to the works were a common sight and the smell was something that had to be experienced to be believed until 1971 when the tannery closed. The mill has since been demolished and the site developed for housing.

In 1833 almshouses close to the Horns were demolished and a workhouse was built on the site. The workhouse had a troubled start and was short lived as described in Eve Sangster’s West Street, Hertford - the first two thousand years. A pound into which stray animals would have been rounded up and held until their owners paid a fine was also located at Horns Mill, believed to have been almost opposite the pub. It is also the probable site of the stocks for the punishment of miscreants which existed since the 1560s. At a court meeting in 1624 it was suggested that the manor should install a timbrell – or ducking stool – but this appears never to have materialised.

Although the mill itself no longer exists Horns Mill has given its name to a large portion of southern Hertford and the area is no longer part of Brickendon. Some of the road names, however, provide a reminder of the former associations of the area: Tanners Crescent, Glovers Close, Pearson Avenue, Morgan’s Road, Liberty Close, as well as Horns Mill Road, Horns Road and Horns Close.

West Street

Another part of the former Liberty of Brickendon that is now part of Hertford is West Street and it is here that some of the oldest buildings are to be found. The 1622 Survey of the Manor of Brickendonbury shows that most of the population of the manor was centred around West Street and Castle Street. Indeed such was its size and importance that West Street was considered to be a hamlet in its own right.

The Victoria County History states that Waltham Abbey had been acquiring property in West Street and including it within the Liberty of Brickendon, and in 1274 the burgesses of Hertford claimed that the abbot had withdrawn the hamlet from the borough. Not surprisingly, this seems to have led to some conflict between the two authorities.

It has been suggested that West Street was so named not because of its geographic position but after one of Hertford’s first Members of Parliament in 1295, John de Westreete. On the other hand, as seems more likely, he may have taken his name from the place in which he lived. West Street, Hertford - the first two thousand years by Eve Sangster provides a fine documentary of this part of the former manor’s history.