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A History of Brickendon

Snippets from the Web

The following items, of possible interest and in no particular order, have been gleaned through the ancient art of surfing the web…

1881 Census: Residents of Shoreditch Union Workhouse, Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, London, Middlesex: ... Mary STAGG, Mar: M, Age: 38, Sex: F, Relation: Officer, Occupation: Portress in Workhouse, Birthplace: Brickendon, Hertford: (website no longer available)

1881 Census: Residents of Ware Road Union Workhouse, Hertford St John, Hertford: ... Thomas ANSELL, Mar: M, Age: 64, Sex: M, Relationship to head: Inmates, Occupation: Ag Lab (Chelsea Pen), Born: Brickendon, Hertford; William LEWIS, 13, M, Inmates, Scholar, Brickendon, Hertford; Esther STYLES, U, 48, F, Inmates, Laundress, Brickendon, Hertford; Elizabeth WARBOY, U, 21, F, Inmates, Domestic Serv, Brickendon, Hertford: (website no longer available)

Discharge documents from PRO gives: 9217 Reginald Mardell of Brickendon, Hertford. Joined 2nd Bedfordshire Regiment at Bishops Stortford; 11 Oct 1907 - Discharged 20th July 1909. NIK. Father James, Mother Mary Ann, Brothers William, James and Herbert of the Old George, Rickeridge [Puckeridge?]: (website no longer available)

There is a wonderful book written by Constance Demain Saunders, called ‘The Toney Family’. It was published by the Walthamstow Antiquarian Society. It is now out of print:

Ralph de Tony 1, 980-1020, was a rover and fighter, and the first to bear the name. His family occupied the Manor of Walthamstow Tony, on the Siene on the heights of Les Andelys, between Paris and Le Havre. William the Conqueror had a standard bearer named Tony. (The Tony Family, by Constance Demain Saunders): (website no longer available)

This next is from “The Early Maynards of Devon and St. Albans” by C. Demain-Saunders; published on pages 590-641 of “The Genealogists’ Magazine” Vol. 6, No. 12, Dec. 1934: (website no longer available)

The Museum to which the Shield has been presented is to be opened in May by Lord Hanworth, the Master of the Rolls. It is to be housed in the Old Vestry House, where Miss Demain-Saunders, a Governor of the School, at whose suggestion the museum was founded, used to reside. (website no longer available)

… after which [1892] it [Vestry House] became a private house, occupied by the Maynard family until 1912, and then for the next eighteen years Miss Constance Demain Saunders, JP. In 1930 Miss Demain Saunders offered the remainder of her lease of Vestry House to the Walthamstow Borough Council (the successor to the Local Board), and it was decided to use this historic building to house a museum: (web page no longer available)

Rosabel Attwood was born on 24 Jul 1821 in Birmingham, England. She died on 16 Aug 1867. Rosabel married Henry Wilson Demain Saunders on 28 Aug 1855 in Barming, Kent. (The Family of Thomas Attwood, MP): (website unavailable)

Taken from the Queenslander, Brisbane, Saturday, November 24, 1894: Dalgety and Co. Limited, was registered yesterday in the Supreme Court of Queensland. Registered shareholders; … Henry Wilson Demain Saunders, 52 Lombard-street, London, merchant:

In AD998, a charter from King �thelred (the Unready) to Westminster Abbey; confirmation of privileges and of … 5 hides at Brickendon, Herts. (Bequeathed to Westminster by �lfhelm Polga.) And in 1036, a charter from King Edward (the Confessor) to Waltham Abbey, grant of privileges and confirmation of land at … Brickendon, Herts. and Wormley, Herts. (Source: British Academy – Royal Historical Society Joint Committee on Anglo-Saxon Charters, S894, S1036): (web pages no longer available) [The first of these charters is actually a forgery; Brickendon was never granted to Westminster Abbey.]

Fisticuffs at WWE

A website on the history of Hertfordshire Police gives a report from the Hertfordshire Mercury of 24 October 1975 of a planned bare-knuckle fight that had been due to take place in Wormley West End between Don “The Bull” Adams and Roy “Pretty Boy” Shaw but was banned by Hertford Magistrates. Tickets had reportedly been selling for £5 each in pubs in London’s East End: (website unavailable). Further reading of the original article reveals that the fight had been due to take place the following Sunday, 26 October, at Holborn Stud Farm. The promoter of the fight and Adams’ trainer was Tom “The Bear” Brown. Shaw, then 39, apparently spent almost a third of his life in jail and later beat Adams – who was also known as King of the Gypsies and lived at the time in Waltham Cross – as well as several other fighters in illegal but hugely profitable bare-knuckle fights. He used to have his own website but it is no longer available.

Jack Trevor Story

There is a fascinating short story which was originally published in The Guardian of Monday, 3 April 1972, by Jack Trevor Story (1917-91). It appears to be a semi-autobiographical account of a young lad, Reg, who, as an eleven year old in the mid 1920s, was sent to get some ‘native air’ in his lungs. He stayed with his uncle, Sidney George, who was the Stationmaster at Brickendon LNER station – yes, he calls it Brickendon station and says that in 1924 his uncle won the LNER prize for the best kept station garden, amongst other features spelling out the name Brickendon in dwarf asters. He mentions that there were two trains a day and includes relevant information about the General Strike of 1926.

In the story his uncle relates how he used to meet King Edward, who came by train to Brickendon before the First World War, to the ‘big house’ for dirty weekends. He claims that one of the servants stood up in church and complained of the goings-on, but she was not listened to. He also mentions Josh Beckett of Home Farm, who won first prize with his Friesian dairy cow at the Mayday agricultural fair at Hartham Common in 1926. There is also mention of a Mr Begley who kept the Crown before it was turned into a shop.

In his biography of Story, entitled Romantic Egotist: An Unauthorised Biography of Jack Trevor Story, Brian Darwent notes that Story’s father, Jim, was killed in the First World War and that his name appears on the Hertford war memorial: [Pte James Story, 1st Bn Essex Regiment]. He also says that while Story was a young boy, following the death of his father, his mother, Rhoda, whose maiden name was Dyball, ran ‘a successful tea shop on the High Street in Hertford,’ behind which ran a narrow alley leading to a disabled ex-servicemen’s club. This may have been the Thistledoo Cafe which was demolished in the 1930s to allow for the widening of Market Street. The family later moved to Cambridge and young Jack, whom his mother claimed would ‘never make old bones’, was bundled onto a train back to Hertford for the sake of his health, where his uncle Charlie had a farm. Quite why Hertford air should have been any better for him than Cambridge air is not clear.

Someone once asked Story why he didn’t write an autobiography. He is reported to have replied, ‘What do you think I’ve been doing all these years?’ Whilst the names in this story are almost certainly fictitious, it is intriguing to wonder how many of the people, places and events mentioned are based on real-life people, real places and true events. Certainly, since Bayford station was not opened until 1924 and Edward VII was king from 1901 to 1910 it can’t have been Bayford station to which Story is referring in his tale. Perhaps he was referring to the railway yard at Webb’s leather works at Horn’s Mill, which was once part of Brickendon. But it seems an unlikely place for the king and his ladies to alight, and the building at Bayford station was only a ticket office and not a stationmaster’s home. Then again, he mentions the electrification of the line, which certainly suggests the Hertford loop-line. On the other hand the story undoubtedly includes a fair amount of artistic licence and perhaps it was a composite of people and events from a variety of times and places. Or maybe his uncle had simply been telling porkies!

JTS is probably best known for two of his books Live Now, Pay Later and The Trouble With Harry, both of which were made into films, and for his column in The Guardian. This story is available at: (website no longer available)