1768 to before 1792 – Today’s No 4 Church Cottages was built at some time between 1768 when the Gorehambury Estate Survey showed just common land on the site of the cottages, and 1791 or earlier. (See entry for 1792) [HALS D/EV/P.2, HALS D/EV.M39 & S406]
1775 - Thomas Sibley, known to hold the lease of Megdells) was on the St. Michaels Militia List. (See entries for 1758-1786, and 17.2.1769) [S265, S266]
21st December 1777 - William Holliday took over the copyhold of the Meads in Westwick Row. [HALS 1M78A]
1778 - Thomas Sibley, known to hold the lease of Megdells) was on the St. Michaels Militia List. (See entries for 1758-1786, and 17.2.1769) [S265, S266]
April 1778 - Joseph Baldwin, a servant from Tile Kiln ( probably a farm labourer), was on the Hemel Hempstead militia list. It was also noted that he was deaf. The following were also on the militia list: Thomas Ball a servant from Bennetts End; ? Forster, a horsekeeper from Woodwells; John How, a servant from Buncefield; John Saunders, a servant from Bennetts End; Henry Tarbox, a servant from Bennetts End; Joseph Woodward, a labourer with three children, from Woodwells; (See entry for 1758-1786.) [S265]
23rd August 1778 - Elizabeth, wife of Zachary Baldwin, died aged 67. The Baldwins were known to be smiths
in Leverstock Green during the eighteenth century. (See entry for 15th October 1770. [ S262]
December 1778 - Abraham Astling, a farmer from Leverstock Green, appeared on the Hemel Hempstead Militia list. Also appearing on the Militia list were: Joseph Bailey, a servant from Woodwells, (probably a farm labourer); Joseph Baldwin, an Infirm servant from Tile Kiln; Joseph Blunt, a servant from Tile Kiln; John Glenister, a servant from Bennetts End; John Kiff, a labourer from Leverstock Green; William Millward, a labourer from Leverstock Green; John Saunders, a farmer from Bennetts End, he was noted as being infirm; John Steward, a servant from Leverstock Green; Henry Tarbox, a servant from Bennetts End; Jeremiah Yeoman, a labourer from Buncefield; (See entry for 1758 - 1786) [S265]
1779 - A valuation undertaken at this time gave the following information about Leverstock Green Farm (Previously known as Carpenter's Farm):
Leverstock Green Farm, Finch Tenant and at Will Rent £44 House Orchard etc.
House Orchard etc.1. 3. 3 Two Closes one Meadow one Arable2. 3. 3 Copyhold in Langley 10/7 Qt. Rt. at Will44. 0. 2 Two fields cross the Road Copy in Gorhambury10. 35. 30 and Freehold a Close called The Heath8. 1. 35
This Estate is good Land the Greatest Part of it but has a most slovenly manager & the Land is very sower & in bad Tillage & the Buildings much out of Repair, the field called The Heath and Langley field are the best Land. Those two fields are worth £1 ana acre. On the whole I set this Farm at £50 a
year & at 26 Years Purchase by Reason of Part being freehold - there is a Little Timber but that should go for repairs......
This valuation was undertaken by a C De Lace for Christopher Towers prior to the farm, together with two others being put up for sale. Unfortunately the poor man does not appear to have been paid for his pains as in a letter written in the same hand as the above document, on 26th November 1781 he asks that:
"you would order my Small Demand to be then paid for Viewing and Valuing the Estates at Langley Watford and Elsewhere." ( See entry for that 26th Nov. 1781) [HALS 80799, 80790, 80777]
The farm, along with Callow Land Farm Watford & a farm at Bedmond were put on the market later the same year. However, the farm at Leverstock Green would appear to have been unsold as it remained in the Towers family for another 100 years until sold to John Knox Hart in January 1885 by the then Christopher Tower. [S180]
1780 - Sir John Filmer Bart. became Vicar of St. Lawrence's Church Abbots Langley, his patron was listed as Sir John Filmer, of an address in Sussex. I assume he was his own patron! We know from the court rolls that a John Filmer was already Lord of the manor of Chambersbury in 1766. I am uncertain if the two John Filmers are the same, or father and son. The Vicar presumably remained as Lord of the manor until his death in 1834. He was buried in St. Lawrence's Church. [ S88 ] There is however some slight confusion over dates as S.G. Thicknesse noted in her book that between 1785 - 1821 the Filmer family were known to own both Chambersbury and Langleybury, and were the most important family in the parish of Abbots Langley for that period of time. Sir John Filmer was both squire and parson. [S84] Thicknesse also mentions an endowment for the poor made upon the death of Sir John Filmer in 1821. Presumably therefore if the Vicar didn't die until 1834, it must have been his father who died in 1821. Other references to the family have spelt the name in varying ways. (See entries for 1784 )
1781 - Abraham Astling, a farmer from Leverstock Green, appeared again on the Hemel Hempstead Militia List. The following also appeared on the militia list for that year: John Bailey, a labourer from Woodwells, Joseph Baldwin from Tile Kiln who was listed as deaf, (it was noted that he had previously served in Herts; William Barton, a labourer from Bennetts End; Joseph Camfield, a farmer from Woodend Lane, (it was noted that he had served in Hertfordshire previously); James Dell, a labourer with 7 children from Buncefield; Deacon Ewer, a labourer from Leverstock Green; William Ewer a labourer with 3 children from Leverstock Green; Henry Forster, a labourer from Buncefield (he'd previously "served in Herts"); John Fowler, a servant from Woodwells (he'd also "served in Herts"); William Hill, a labourer with one child from Buncefield; John Kiff, a labourer from Leverstock Green; William Millward, a labourer from Leverstock Green; Richard Neals, a labourer from Leverstock Green, he was noted as being lame and having two children; William Ostler, a labourer with six children from Leverstock Green; William Parkins, a labourer from Leverstock Green, with three children; John Saunders a farmer from Bennetts End; William Steward, a farmer from Leverstock Green; James Woodward, a labourer with 5 children from Woodwells; (See entries for Dec. 1778 and 1758 - 1786) [S265]
1781 - There was a smallpox epidemic in Hemel, which presumably also took its toll of those in Leverstock Green. There were so many cases of smallpox in he Hemel Hempstead area that the isolation accommodation was full, and nursing had to be done in the home in some cases. Burial rates in Hemel were unusually high at this time, and must presumably have included some people from Leverstock Green who were within the parish boundaries.
Those for whom accommodation was available, were treated in the Pest Houses in Wood Lane End and Leverstock Green Road ( The Crabtree Pest House). The very fact that Hemel's isolation units were within our area tell us how much of an outpost the area was. A nurse employed at the pest house in Wood Lane End was paid 2s 6d or 3s a week to nurse the smallpox victims.[ S1 p.200] These pest houses were eventually replaced by a wooden isolation hospital in Highfield Lane, and so relieving the Leverstock Green area of the care of those with diseases such as smallpox. [S19 ]
10th November 1781 Letters of Administration were granted to Mary Fellow widow " in the goods of Robert Fellows late of the parish of St. Michael, Victualler, her late husband deceased." [HALS 217 AW 9] It seems likely that this Robert Fellows was the son of Robert Fellows who died in 1762. (See entry for 4th September 1762 & 2nd April 1763. There is a marriage recorded on 7th February 1764 between Robert Fellows and Mary Cogdil both "of this parish". (Harrold Greenwood who did the original research was using the St. Michael's parish records.) [S387 & S388]
26 November 1781 - C delist wrote to Christopher Thomas Tower concerning the small piece of land which formed part of Leverstock Green Farm, which was within the manor of Gorhambury:
A Court for the Manor of Gorhambury will be held on Fryday the 21st day of Decr. at Ten in the morning at Maines Farm when I hope you will order Mr. Ginger to be admitted to the estate late Mr. Tower in that Manor, I Presume you know there is an Entail on that Estate and that you are Tenant in Tail and may Barr those Rem. as that an upon it if so you wish before the Court Execute a Power of Attorney for his to pass a Recovery but if you Choose to let them Remain he may be admitted as for Atty (probably, attorney) to an Estate Tail. I hope you will order this business to be then finished as it has been so long Depending And I should be so much Obliged if you would order my small Demand to be then paid for Viewing and Valuing the Estates at Langley Watford & Elsewhere. I am Sir
Your Most Obedient Servant
26 Nov 1781 [HALS 80777]
19th July 1781: John Saunders of Westwick drew up his will, witnessed by Thomas Sibley, Thomas Orchard and William Ginger Junior. [Will of John Saunders of Westwick 1781, transcribed by Tony Harrison]
SEE PDF FILE OF TRANSCRIPTION
7th May 1782 – Mary Fellows a widow of St. Michael’s Parish, married Jeremiah Pope, batchelor of Flaunden Herts. As the earliest licensees’ recognazances held at HALS show that Jeremiah Pope held the licence to the Leather Bottle, it seems highly likely that Mr. Pope came to the licence through his marriage to the widow of the former licensee. ( See 10th November 1781) [S387 & S388]
14th August 1782: Will of John Saunders of Westwick was proved. See entry for 19th July 1781.
13th December 1783 - A very special Court Baron was held of the Manor of Hemel Hempstead in order to settle an issue which must have caused a great deal of gossip amongst the locals of the Leverstock Green area.
When John Puddephatt of Bennetts End died unmarried at the age of 35 on 14th May 1762 he left a fairly complicated will in which, amongst other things, he left a legacy of £200 plus interest to William Partridge, infant son of Mary Partridge of High Street Green. (See entry for 19th October 1761.) It seems highly likely that William was John Puddephatt's illegitamate son, and the not insubstantial legacy he was to receive at the age of 21 was John Puddephatt's way of ensuring his son had a reasonable start in life. William had now reached the age of 21 and his legacy was due to him, but in order to do this Christina Elkins, John's youngest sister who now owned the house and farmland, needed to sell some of the land to raise the capital to pay her bastard nephew.
Paul Vaillant, who was by now the Copyholder of both Great and Little Coxpond Farms, together with Balcony, had agreed to buy sufficient of the land, which in any way marched with his existing land. The problem being that Christina's three sons by her first marriage were disputing over who should be included as residual legatees of the estate. It would appear that John Puddephatt had originally left the Bennetts End estate to the elder two Steward brothers, after their mother's death, but that Richard Steward had subsequently altered the copy of their uncle's will to exclude him but include his younger brother. He had by now, however, begun to regret his generosity to his brother and was therefor claiming his right to half the estate after his mother's death. Fortunately, however, common sense, no doubt aided by William Ginger attorney and Steward of the Manor of Hemel Hempstead, prevailed and the matter was settled to everyone's advantage - including no doubt that of William Ginger himself who along with his Clark had to draw up all the legal documentation. Full transcripts are available at the libraries of all the relevant documents [HALS AH 168-171], but below is an extract from document AH169 which ultimately settled the dispute between the brothers.
"And whereas it appears that the name of the said John Steward one of the Devisees under the said Will is written upon an Erasure which appears to have been made since the Execution of the said Will and that his name was so inserted therein in the Room of Richard Steward his brother as the said Richard Steward insisted and that the said Will was not re-executed after the time of making such Alteration therein And in consequence thereof some Question and Dispute hath arisen between the said Richard Steward and John Steward with respect to the title of the said Estate under the said Will Now these presents Witness that in order to put an end to all Differences and Disputes between the said John Steward and Richard Steward in or touching the premises It is hereby mutually agreed and declared by and between all the said Parties to these presents that they the said William Steward John Steward and Richard Steward and their respective Heirs shall be entitled to and interested in the said Estate and premises called Bennetts End so devised by the said recited Will as aforesaid with the said Appertenances (subject to such part thereof as is so agreed to be sold as aforesaid) in equal Shares or Portions And for that Purpose they the said William Steward and John Steward Do for themselves severally and respectively and for their several and respective heirs Executors and Administrators Covenant promise and agree to and with the said Richard Steward his heirs and assigns by these presents that they the said William Steward and John Steward shall and will appear at the next Court Baron to be held in and for the Manor of Hemel Hempstead with the Members in the said County of Hertford to be admitted as Tenants in Remainder after the Decease of the said Christiana Elkins to all the said devised premises called Bennetts End or such part thereof as shall then remain unsold for the purpose aforesaid And after such admittance shall and will of the same Court immediately afterwards surrender the same premises into the Hands of the Said Lord of the Mannor according to the custom thereof To the use of themselves the said William Steward John Steward and Richard Steward shall and will upon the Request of each other execute and deliver mutual Releases of all Actions Controversies Claims and Demands whatsoever between them of and concerning the said Devised Estate and Premises under the said Will or otherwise howsoever. And the said Richard Steward in Consideration of the Covenant and Agreement in the said William Steward and John Steward herein before contained And also for the purpose of facilitating the Sale of the premises so agreed to be sold for the purposes aforesaid Doth on his part covenant promise and agree to and with the said William Steward and John Steward their respective Heirs and assigns by these presents that he the said Richard Steward and his Heirs shall and will forthwith or as soon as the premises so agreed to be sold to the said Paul Vaillant as aforesaid ( being part of the said Bennetts End Estate) shall be surrendered unto and to the Use of such Purchasor duly execute and deliver unto the said Paul Vaillant his heirs and assigns a good and sufficient Release under his hand and seal of all his right and Interest and of Claims and Demands whatsoever which he the said Richard Steward or his heirs can shall or may have claim challenge or demand of in or out of the premises so purchased by him the said Paul Vaillant as aforesaid or any part thereof under or by Virtue of the said above in part recited Will or by reason Colour or pretext of any such Defect alteration or insufficiency attending the same or the Execution or republication thereof or otherwise relating thereunto. And shall and will cause and procure the said Release to be duly entered on the Court Rolls of the said Manor." [HALS AH169]
1784 - Thomas Bolden, a Tasker (farm labourer) from Leverstock Green, appeared on the Hemel Hempstead Militia List. Others appearing on the militia list for this year are: Cornelius and George Bradshaw, both farmers from Leverstock Green; Joseph and William Cock, both taskers from Leverstock Green; Joseph Crowley, a labourer from Leverstock Green; John Durrant a labourer, and Thomas Durrant a farmer, both from Leverstock Green; John Field, a tasker from Leverstock Green; Edward Foster, a ploughman from Leverstock Green; Henry Francis, a tasker from Leverstock Green; John George, a ploughman from Leverstock Green; Thomas Godwin, a blacksmith from Leverstock Green; Shadrach Godwin Junior, a farmer from Leverstock Green; Edward Hooker, a Tailor from Leverstock Green (It is interesting to note that between 1769 and 1784, Edward Hooker was firstly an apprentice then a Tailor at Waterside, in 1782 he possibly moved to Burymill End, and by 1785 he had moved to Piccotts End.); Thomas Hunt, a ploughman from Leverstock Green; Joseph Huson, a tasker from Leverstock Green; William Kempster, a labourer from Leverstock Green; Joseph King a tasker from Leverstock Green; Joseph Large, a servant from Leverstock Green, Jeremiah Latchford a servant from Leverstock Green; Thomas Louth, a servant from Leverstock Green; Joseph Palmer, a labourer from Leverstock Green; John Osbourne, a ploughman from Leverstock Green; Willaim Rogers, labourer from Leverstock Green; Thomas Rolph, servant to Mr. G. Bailey at Leverstock Green; William Steward, a farmer from Leverstock Green; Richard Tarbox, a ploughman from Leverstock Green; William Tavinder, a labourer from Leverstock Green; Michael Traviler, a cordwainer (shoemaker), from Leverstock Green; John Turner, a cordwainer from Leverstock Green; Thomas Wassly, a ploughman from Leverstock Green; John Weedon, a tasker from Leverstock Green; William Welch, a farmer from Leverstock Green; Joseph Wilkinson, a labourer from Leverstock Green; (See entry for 1758-1786) [S265]
6 December 1784 - The manor Court of Hemel Hempstead was once again concerned with the will of John Puddephat made in 1761, the following document being concerned with trying to establish the right of title to Lockers so that Mr. Meriot could complete his purchase of the property.
"Mr. William Elkins to Thomas Mariott Esq.} Release or discharge for a Legacy of £100 given by the will of Mr John Puddephatt Dated 6th December 1784
To all people to whom these presents shall come William Elkins of the Parish of Abbots Langley in the County of Hertford Servant - (One of the nephews of John Puddephatt late of Bennetts End in the Parish of Hemelhempstead in the said county of Hertford Gentleman deceased and a Legatee named in his last will and testament in writing by him duly Executed and Attested bearing date the nineteenth day of October which was in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty one. Did (among other things) Give and devise unto his Mother Susannah Puddephat and her Assignes for and during the term of her natural Life All that his tenement called Lockers situate standing and being in the parish of Hemel Hempstead aforesaid and of all the Houses Outhouses Buildings Barnes Stables Yards Gardens Orchards Backsides Arable land Meadow Pastures and Woodground thereunto belonging as the same were then in the tenure or occupation of John Mills and Elizabeth Birch Widow or their assignes and which were the parcel of the Manor of Hemelhempstead with the members and had by him been surrendered To the Use of his Wills And from and after the decease of the said Susannah Puddephatt his said Mother he Gave and Devised Two Third Parts of the said Messuage called Lockers and of the land Woodground and Premises and all other his share Share right title and Interest therein unto his two sisters Ann Baldwin and Christina Elkins their Heirs and Assignes for ever UPON CONDITION nevertheless that they the said Ann Baldwin and Christina Elkins their Heirs and Assignes did and should therout within six months next after his Mothers decease well and truly pay or cause to be paid unto his two nephews John Hawkins and George Hawkins and unto his two nieces Susannah Hawkins and Ann Hawkins the sum of One Hundred Pounds a piece of lawful money of Great Britain and unto his two nephews John Steward and William Elkins the two youngest sons of his sister Christina Elkins the like sum of One Hundred Pounds a# piece of like Money at such time or times as they the said John Steward and William Elkins could give legal dishcharghes for the same. And the said Testator did thereby Charge and make Chargeable the said two thirds parts of the said Messuage called Lockers and the Land... (etc.. etc..) with the payment of the said legacies so given unto his four Nephews and two nieces at the times aforesaid. As in and by the said Will relation being thereunto had may more fully and at large appear AND WHEREAS the said Ann Baldwin is dead whereby the said Christina Elkins became intilled to the two third parts of the said Messuage called Lockers and of the land....(etc.)...subject tp the payment of the said six legacies of One Hundred Pounds a piece so given unto the said John Hawkins, George Hawkins, Sussanah Hawkins John Steward...."
The rest of the document was dealing with who had bought the rights to what and is not strictly relevant to Bennetts End. Another document concerning another of John Puddephat's nephews was almost identical, and began: "Mr. John Steward to Thomas Mariott Esq.} Release or discharge for a Legacy of £100 given by the will of Mr Jeremiah Puddephatt Dated 6th December 1784
TO ALL PEOPLE to whom these presents shall come John Steward of Leverstock Green in the parish of St. Michaels.....Husbandman (One of the nephews of John Puddephatt late of Bennetts End in the Parish of Hemelhempstead in the said county of Hertford Gentleman deceased and a Legatee named in his last will and testament in writing by him duly Executed and Attested bearing date the nineteenth day of October which was in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty one. Did (among other things) Give and devise unto his Mother Susannah Puddephat and her Assignes........................." the rest is as above
1784 - The manor of Chambersbury was known to have belonged to Sir John Fulmer,( there seems to be some confusion over how his name was spelt! - see next entry for this year, and also entry for 1785 - 1821.)and was presumed to be part of his larger estate of Langleybury. [ VCH vol.2 p.326 ]
14th August 1784 - In the list of gamekeepers given in the court rolls for the Liberty of St. Albans, it is noted that William Smith was appointed as gamekeeper to the Manors of Chambersbury and Langleybury on this date. There is however a little confusion, as this information is given no fewer than four separate times within the list. On the first two occasions the Lord of the Manor is given as Sir John FILMORE, and on the last two occasions as Sir John PHILMER. Looking through the list, this entry for William Smith was not the only one to have appeared on more than one occasion. Perhaps the list was re -registered every so often, so that different clerks of the court would have made the entries, and so accounted for the three alternative ways of spelling Sir John's surname. [ S60 ] The currently agreed way of correctly spelling the family's name is however FILMER.
6 December 1784 - On this date John Steward, a husbandman from Leverstock Green, formerly agreed to release and discharge a legacy of £100 left to him in the will of his uncle John Puddephat of Bennetts End. Under the terms of the will five other nieces and nephews had been similarly left £100. As the will also left two thirds of the substantial property of Lockers (at Boxmoor), and due to the death of at least one of the legatees, a very lengthy, and presumably expensive legal case was brought to settle who exactly was to benefit. Most of the papers and letters relating to this are held at the Herts Record Office under the following reference D/ELs B400. Eventually Lockers was settled on Thomas Mariott Esquire, provided that he honoured the £100 legacies to the various nieces and nephews.
The remaining £100 legatees each signed a document giving the legal discharge of the legacy. The first part of John Steward's document read as follows:
"Mr. John Steward to Thomas Mariott Esq.} Release or discharge for a Legacy of £100 given by the will of Mr Jeremiah Puddephatt Dated 6th December 1784 TO ALL PEOPLE to whom these presents shall come John Steward of Leverstock Green in the parish of St. Michaels.....Husbandman (One of the nephews of John Puddephatt late of Bennetts End in the Parish of Hemelhempstead in the said county of Hertford Gentleman deceased and a Legatee named in his last will and testament in writing by him duly Executed and Attested bearing date the nineteenth day of October which was in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty one. Did (among other things) Give and devise unto his Mother Susannah Puddephat and her Assignes for and during the term of her natural Life All that his tenement called Lockers situate standing and being in the parish of Hemel Hempstead aforesaid and of all the Houses Outhouses Buildings Barnes Stables Yards Gardens Orchards Backsides Arable land Meadow Pasturs and Woodground thereunto belonging as the same were then in the tenure or occupation of John Mills and Elizabeth Birch Widow or their assignes and which were the parcel of the Manor of Hemelhempstead with the members and had by him been surrendered To the Use of his Wills And from and after the decease of the said Susannah Puddephatt his said Mother he Gave and Devised Two Third Parts of the said Messuage called Lockers and of the land Woodground and Premises and all other his Share right title and Interest therein unto his two sisters Ann Baldwin and Christina Elkins their Heirs and Assignes for ever UPON CONDITION nevertheless that they the said Ann Baldwin and Christina Elkins their Heirs and Assignes did and should therout within six months next after his Mothers decease well and truly pay or cause to be paid unto his two nephews John Hawkins and George Hawkins and unto his two nieces Susannah Hawkins and Ann Hawkins the sum of One Hundred Pounds a piece of lawful money of Great Britain and unto his two nephews John Steward and William Elkins the two youngest sons of his sister Christina Elkins the like sum of One Hundred Pounds a# piece of like Money at such time or times as they the said John Steward and William Elkins could give legal dishcharghes for the same. And the said Testator did thereby Charge and make Chargeable the said two thirds parts of the said Messuage called Lockers and the Land... (etc.. etc..) with the payment of the said legacies so given unto his four Nephews and two nieces at the times aforesaid. As in and by the said Will relation being thereunto had may more fully and at large appear AND WHEREAS the said Ann Baldwin is dead whereby the said Christina Elkins became intilled to the two third parts of the said Messuage called Lockers and of the land....(etc.)...subject tp the payment of the said six legacies of One Hundred Pounds a piece so given unto the said John Hawkins, George Hawkins, Sussanah Hawkins John Steward..........."
The rest of the document was dealing with who had bought the rights to Lockers etc.. and is not strictly relevant to Bennetts End and Leverstock Green. It is, however, interesting to note that John Steward was obviously of fairly high social standing, as he was able to not only sign his own name, but write a paragraph at the end of the document declaring that he had signed the document in the presence of the various witnesses.
It is also interesting to note that various members of the Steward family are buried in the same family tomb as Ann Baldwin in St. Mary's graveyard. Sussanah Steward living from 1757 - 1818 and William Steward from 1756 - 1843. This tomb was to be found in the vicinity of the tombs belonging to the Puddephat family. Consulting the parish register may reveal the exact relationships, and perhaps more about where the Stewards lived. [HALS D/ELs B400; S263]
1785 - Thomas Parson, a ploughman from Leverstock Green, noted as being "ploughman to Mr. Bishop", appeared on the Hemel Hempstead Militia List. Joseph Bishop was listed as a farmer from High Street Green for 1768 & 69. Others appearing on the militia list for this year are: John & Samuel Smith, lath vendors from Leverstock Green; William Steward, a farmer from Leverstock Green; William Tavinder, a labourer from Leverstock Green; Michael Traviler, a cordwainer (shoemaker), from Leverstock Green; William Toms, a ploughman from Leverstock Green; (See entry for 1758-1786) [S265]
1785 - Thomas Orchard is registered as having being the overseer of Poor Law provision in the parish of St. Michael for this year, 1795, 1806, 1816 and 1832. In 1860 the Rev. Thomas Orchard is noted as being the Baptist Church minister in Leverstock Green. I cannot help wondering if they were from the same family In addition, a Thomas Orchard held Lawrence Farm, which was (if only just), within the parish of St. Michael's. [ S167, p.153]
1785 - 1794 - Annually from 1785 - 1794, John Gethin, a gentleman of Bennetts End, was granted a Game License. Game Licenses first came into use in 1784, and were renewable annually for the sum of two guineas for "qualified persons" ( of whom John Gethin was one ), and 10/6d for gamekeepers. The Game License Act was "An Act for granting to His Majesty certain duties on certificates issued with respect to the killing of game." In other words it was a kind of tax. [ S59 ]
1786-1790 - The Leather Bottle Public House was known to have been kept by Jeremiah Pope, and was in all probability owned by Benjamin Child. Although this is the first recording we have specifically of a licensee, the Gorhambury Estate Survey of 1768 mentions the Leather Bottle by name, when James Donner was a tenant and possibly the licensee as well. [S52; S240; HALS D/EV PS, D/EV M39]
1786-1790 - James Fosler was the Licensee at The Red Lion (now St. Michaels End on the road to St. Albans.) [S240]
11th March 1788 - Zachary Baldwin died, aged 57. Presumably this was Zachary the younger who had inherited, amongst other things the smith's forge and premises in Leverstock Green. (See entry for 15th October 1770. ) [S262]
12th April 1789 - Joseph Goodall of Berkhamsted made a will in favour of his son, leaving him Northend Farm:
".....I give and Devise unto my eldest Son William Goodall and his heirs for ever All that my..........Copyhold Estate situate and lying and being within the Manor and parish of Abbotts Langley commonly called or known by the name of Northend Farm, now in the Tennure or Occupation of Abraham Aslins....." [HALS AH 243]
It is interesting to note that an Abraham Astlings (spelt with a G) was on the militia list for 1778 1nd 1781, as being a farmer at Leverstock Green.
11th September 1789 - An auction was held at the Leather Bottle for the sale of two cottages near to the Leather Bottle. The pamphlet advertising the event stated:
To be peremtorarily Sold by Auction By Robert Nicholls
At the Leather Bottle, on Leverstock Green, near Hemel Hempstead & St. Albans Hertfordshire
On Friday 11th September 1789 at three o'clock in the afternoon
Two Copyhold Messuages or Tenements
With two ovens, three Gardens & an Orchard well planted with fruit trees. Situate near the Leather Bottle, on Leverstock Green, aforesaid, in the Tenure of Mrs. Sarah Flint and Mr. John Cooper at £4 10/- per annum.
The premises may be viewed at any Time by applying to the Tennants; are held of the Manor of Gorham Bury, subject to a Quit Rent of 4d & the custom thereof.
For further particulars enquire of the Auctioneer, St. Albans - who begs leave to return his sincere thanks to his Friends & the Public in General for the favours conferred on his late Father deceased, & himself, during their Partnership; and as he succeeds him in the above Benefits, humbly solicits their Encouragement, and engages by his Conduct and Punctuality to merit their future Favours,which will be gratefully acknowldged by him.
Conditions of Sale
1. The highest Bidder shall be the Buyer, & if any Dispute arrises between 2 or more Bidders the Estate shall be immediately put up again.
2. That no person advance more than £1 when Bidding and that the Purchaser immediately pay into the hands of the Auctioneer 20% and sign an agreement for Payment of the Remainder of the Purchase Money, at the Next Court to be held for the Manor.
3. That a good Title shall be made by the Proprietos to the Purchaser upon Payment of the Remainder of the said Purchase Money, and the Purchaser to pay for the Surrenders in Admittances.
4. That all Taxes, & Incumbrances, shall be cleared to the Purchaser to Michaelmas Day next, all Rents and Profits arising from that Day to belong to and received by the Purchser.
Herewith if the Purchaser shall refuse, or neglect to comply with the Conditions aforementioned, The Deposit Money be forefeited & the Propreitors shall be at Liberty to Re-Sell the said Estate by Public or Private Sale.
Attached to the above advertising leaflet is a hand-written receipt as follows:
September 11th 1789. I do acknowledge to have paid to Robert Nicholls the sum of Six Pounds Six Shillings as a Deposit for the above mentioned Estate this Day bought at Public Auction by me for the sum of Twenty-Nine Pounds According to the Above Conditions of Sale.
Purchase 29 - 00
Deposit 6 - 6
Due £22 - 14
Jn Kent ( or possibly Kentish, the signature is somewhat scrawled.)
[ S163 ]
Comparing the above information with the Tithe Record for 1840, it seems likely that the estate mentioned in the above advertisement comprised those Field Numbers 244,245 and possibly 246, which were listed as being owned by Joseph Finch and occupied by William Cooper and others at the time of the Tithe survey. They were noted as being a Beer Shop & Cottage, an Orchard and Home Field. The map shows plot 244 as being what later became known as the Three Horseshoes public House, pulled down in the redevelopment of the village centre in the early 1960's. If it didn't refer to this property, then in would certainly have referred to one of the sets of cottages built along the road near to the Leather Bottle, or just behind it. These too for the most part were demolished in the early 1960's. The only cottage to have survived along that stretch of road, and of the right age, is "Old Leverstock" which may well have been two cottages when built. This interestingly was put on the market in March 1994 for £160,000. A substantial increase from £29!
[Gazette - 18.3.94; S96.]
1791 - The year of Pitt's Corn Law which prohibited the import of corn when its price fell below 50s. a quarter. At this time Hertfordshire was considered to be the first Corn County for the kingdom, and in this area two specific varieties were grown: Old Red Lammas, and Dugdale. These would have been marketed at either St. Albans or Hemel Hempstead, where London merchants came to purchase their corn. The straw from the crop was also to prove the basis for the straw plaiting which went on in the area. [ S84 ]
1791- A locally made brick of this date, with the date inscribed on it, was unearthed in 1972 when a wall between the saloon and public bar was demolished at the Leather Bottle. [ Gazette 30/10/1997]
16th & 30th April 1792 – Thomas Orchard was admitted as tenant upon the death of his father another Thomas Orchard (see entry for 1821) to the property now known as No 4 Church Cottages. [S406]
17th October 1794 - From the Court Roll of that date, John Hudson took over the copyhold of the Meads in Westwick Row from George Purkis who had in turn received it from William Holliday. The property was described as:
" All that copyhold messuage or tenement situate at Westwick Row in the parish of St. Michael within the said manor ( Gorhambury with Westwick Pray, otherwise Gorhambury with Westwick Pray and Market Oak), with the barns stables and outhouses thereto adjoining known by the name of the Mead containing together 5 acres more or less with their appertanances." [HALS 1M78A]
1795 - In this year cock fighting was suppressed ( throughout Britain ). Prior to then it had been the custom for cockfights to occur on Shrove Tuesdays. As we know there was a cock - pit in Leverstock Green ( on the site of the present church ), it is therefore reasonable to assume that on Shrove Tuesdays prior to this date, cockfights would have been held in the village ( or hamlet as it was then). [VCH ]
1795 - Owing to the work of Sir Francis Eden ( the founder of the Globe Insurance Co.), who investigated the state of the poor for his own interest, we know how much agricultural workers in Leverstock Green would have been paid at this time, and the cost of various basic commodities. ( Sir Francis gathered this information from all over Hertfordshire, but it would nevertheless be relevant to Leverstock Green.)
Agricultural labourers wages.:
7/- a week plus a meal in winter
8/- in summer
9/- p.w. during the hay harvest
40/- a month for the corn harvest
(N.B. This had to feed, and clothe a family, and in cases where the labourer was not in a tied cottage, would also have to pay the rent/rates etc..)
Basic food prices:
Beef......5d - 5d halfpenny per pound
Mutton....6d per pound
Veal......7d per pound
Bacon.....10d per pound
Butter....1/- per pound
Mild ale..2d per quart ( 2 pints)
Bread.....11d three-farthings per quartern loaf
(i.e. a large loaf,800g. aprox. )
Coals.....1/10 per bushel
N.B. 4 x farthings = one penny;
12d (pence, or old pennies) = 1/- ( one shilling );
and there were 20/-'s to the £1.
It is interesting to compare this with the rates the "Speenhamland" magistrates decided were necessary in the same year. Several Berkshire magistrates met at the Pelican Inn, Speenhamland near Newberry, to discuss the wages of labourers. They saw that something had to be done to relieve poverty and suffering among the working classes, and so they decided to make up the wages out of the parish rates. They drew up a scale whereby the parishes had to make up a man's wages to 3s. a week for himself, and 1/6 for each member of his family ( who could be quite numerous). Bread at this time cost about 1/- a loaf, and if the price of bread rose, the scale was to rise with it. This system became general throughout the country, and had three bad results which I shan't go into here. Given the above "poor rate" , an average agricultural labourer, with a wife and say five children, would have had his wages made up to 12/- a week by the parish.
Another interesting wages statistic relevant to Leverstock Green at about this time, was that a straw worker could earn between 6/- to 12/- a week. The straw plaiting industry was one of the chief employers in this area during the late 18th and 19th centuries, with woman and young children plaiting and straw-hat sewing at home. [ S69; S84, p.42-43 ]
The farmhouse at Corner Farm was recased in red brick, and probably being extended at the same time. These were probably local bricks, and the date is on them. [S32 ] The left hand bay of the farmhouse dates from about this time as well.
January 1796 -The Red Lion (now St Michael's End) was the scene of the apprehension of Mary Watson, who had been persued there and accused by Ann Gee of stealing a shift ( valued at 8d) from her house in the Borough of St. Albans. On searching Mary Watson, Ann Gee and Samuel Gregory who had accompanied her, found the linen shift in a bundle taken from Mary Watson's Horse. Mary Watson was later committed at the Quarter Sessions of the Borough of St. Albans held on January 15th. [ S108 ]
24 May 1796 - In a copy of Court Baron proceedings, a letter of Attorney was quoted from Richard Ginger giving Richard Grover power of attorney to surrender various properties including:
"All that Customary Messuage or Tennemant called Bennetts End situate standing and being in the parish of Hemel Hempstead aforesaid together with all the Outhouses Brickilns Lime Kilns Buildings Barnes Stables Yardes Gardens Orchards and Backsides and appertenancesto the same belonging And also all those Two Cottages thereunto belonging and situate standing and beeing in the parish of Hemel Hempstead aforesaid together with all the outhouses Buildings Yards Gardens and Orchards and Backsides to these said cottages or Tenements belonging And also all those several Closes pieces and parcels of Arable land Meadow pasture and Woodground to the said Messuage or Tenemant and cottages belonging or in any wise appertaining lyuing and beingwithin the said Manor and parish of Hemel Hempstead and conteyning together by estimation One hundred and sevenacres (Be there more or less) All of which last mentioned Messuage or Tenement or Cottages Closes of Land and Premises now in the tennure or occupation of William Jennings his Assignes or undertenants together withall Trees Hedges (Ditches Fences Mounds Woods Underwoods Ways and Paths Passages Watercourses Commons of pasture Profits Rights Liberties Advantages Appertenances to the said last mentioned premises belonging or in any wise Apperteyning...
N.B. This was given as security for £800 along with various other properties including Lockers - it therefore seems likely that this was in effect a mortgage. It was also noted in the copy of the preceedings that:
"Also at this Court it was testifies.... that on the twenty fifth day of May in the year........One Thousand seven hundred and ninety six ... surrendered into.. The Lord and Lady of the Manor All that customary Messuage or Tenement called Bennetts End situate standing and being on High Street Side within the said Manor and parish of Hemel Hempstead wherein John Saunders did lately inhabit and dwell and William Jennings the younger doth now dwell And also all those two cottages.."
(rest of description as above.) [HALS D/ELs B400]
25 April 1797 - An auction was held at Garraway's Coffee House, 'Change Alley, Cornhill, at midday. It consisted of the freehold and copyhold estates which had belonged to Mr. Richard Ginger of Hemel Hempstead and included Lockers and Bury Mill as well as Bennetts End Farm. Bennetts End was the fourth lot in the auction, and was advertised for sale as follows:
[HALS D/ELs B400]
25 April 1797 - An auction was held at Garraway's Coffee House, 'Change Alley, Cornhill, at midday. It consisted of the freehold and copyhold estates which had belonged to Mr. Richard Ginger of Hemel Hempstead and included Lockers and Bury Mill as well as Bennetts End Farm. Bennetts End was the fourth lot in the auction, and was advertised for sale as follows:
[HALS D/ELs B400]
27th May 1797 - Christopher Tower agreed to let Carpenters Farm (otherwise beginning to be known as Leverstock Green Farm) to James Preston a local farmer. Having had problems with the management of the farm whilst William Finch held the lease,(see entry for 1779), Christopher Tower was keen to ensure that the farm would be better managed in future. Clauses written into the agreement drawn up between them show this quite clearly;
" The said Christopher Tower agrees to lett unto the said James Preston........... for the term of Twelve Years from Michaelmas Day next at the Rent of Sixty Four pounds Clear of all taxes Except Land Tax and Quit Rent to be paid at Christmas Day Lady Day and Midsummers Day and Michaelmas Day in each Year And at an Additional Rent of five pounds for every tree and body of Pollard to be cut down by the said James Preston And a further additional Rent of £10 for every acre of Meadow Land which shall be anyways broke up Except to the said Christopher Tower his Heires and Assigns All Timber Trees Tellars Waivers Saplings and Bodies of Pollards and liberty to enter and cut the same Also except liberty to enter and see the state of the Repairs and of Hunting shooting and Fishing on the Premises.
The said James Preston to put the Buildings and Fences into good Repair within the first year and also to keep and leave in repair, the said Christopher Tower providing rough Timber Bricks and Tiles the said James Preston fetching the same with his teams not exceeding four miles. The said James Preston to House and Stack on the Premises all the Crops of Corn Grain Grass and Hay and spend all the Straw Muck Dung Soil and Compost thereon Except the Wheat Straw which may be sold in each year but the last provided the money arising by the Sale is laid out in Dung or Soot and brought on the Premises under the penalty of Forty Shillings for every load of Straw Stover Muck Dung Soil or Compost which shall be carried off the said Premises except aforesaid.
The said James Preston to leave all the Straw Halm and Fodder of the last Years Crop and leave it in the Yards and Gateroom of the demised Premises the said James Preston having the use of the Barns and Yard till the twenty fifth day of March after the Term; at Lady Day in the last year to leave One Third of the Arable Land Fallow and permit the Landlord to enter and Plow Dung and the same and to have the Use of a Stable for his Horses without paying for the same - The Landlord to have liberty to sow Grass Seeds with the Lent Corn in the last Years.
The said James Preston not to cut any tree or break up the Meadow, Not to Cross Crop the arable land. To lop the Pollards only when the Hedges are Cut, Not to Cut the Hedges or Underwoods under Nine or above twelve Years growth and then make good the hedges and Scour the ditches......" [HALS 80779]
1799 - A cartographic survey of the parish of St. Michaels was undertaken by Thomas Goodman in this year, and is held at Verulamium Museum. It is on a scale of 6" to 1 mile. [S167, p133]
18th March 1799 - Land Tax levied on Paul Vaillant as Copyholder of Great and Little Cox Pond Farms showed that the farms were occupied by George Bennett and George Chennells. Paul Vaillant was also charged tax on the land which had originally been part of Bennetts End farm and sold to his Grandfather in 1783.
"We the undersigned two of the Commissioners of Land Tax for the Hundred of Dacorum in the County of Hertford do Hereby Certify that the farm called Coxpond consisting of two messuages with the outbuildings and Appertenances and Lands thereunto belonging situate in the parish of Hemel Hempstead in the said Hundred and County in the occupation of George Bennett are charged with Land Tax to the amount £15 8 shillings 5 pence, And that the Farm consisting of two messuages with the out buildings and appertenances and Lands thereto belonging situate in the said Parish of Hemel Hempstead in the occupation of George Chennells are in like manner charged with land tax to the amount of £9 8s 6d And that the lands thereto belonging situate in the parish of Hemel Hempstead in the occupation of Josiah Steward are in the like manner charged with landtax to the amount of £2 11/-5d.............."
15th April 1799 - The Dean & Chapter of St. Paul's Cathedral in London caused a letter to be written offering to sell some of their property to the lessees. This move included a letter to Lord Selsey, offering him the Reversion on the estate held from St. Pauls, and which included property in Leverstock Green . [HALS D/ELs B38]