Bennetts End Farmhouse, though occupied by a local authority Nursery today, was the 17th century yeoman's farmhouse which stood at the centre of a large farm holding on the edge of the Leverstock Green area, between Leverstock Green, and Hemel Hempstead. It undoubtedly replaced an earlier yeoman's dwelling or dwellings, probably dating back as least as far as the 13th century . The property is a scheduled Grade II Listed Building as follows (as recorded 1994 - may have been updated since):
- Bennetts End House, Eastwick Row.( Now St. Nicholas' Nursery)
17th century and 18th century. Red brick with some exposed timber frame to back elevation. Hipped tiled roof with corbelled cornice. Two storeys, 6 windows, flush casement and sash windows with glazing bars. Ground floor semi-octagonal bay window on left. Central rustic wooden gabled porch.
The following are extracts from The Leverstock Green Chronicle concerning Bennetts End Farm, and the families associated with it over the centuries.The best descriptions of the property are given in sales advertisements for April 1798 and May 1922. Where simple quotations from the Parish records are listed, this does not necessarily imply they lived in the main farmhouse, but may have lived in cottages and other farmhouses associated with the farm itself. The closer to the present day, the more likely to becomes that the person or persons concerned may have lived in other property on the farm estate, as the whole of the farm's area became know as Bennetts End, particularly that part nearest to the farmhouse, and Tile Kiln Farmand the associated brickworks. As for much of the time Tile Kiln Farm (or the Tyle Kiln) could be identified independently, whereas entries in the Chronicle refer specifically to Tile Kiln Farm rather than Bennetts End Farm, I have not included them here.
Today's Bennetts End still occupies some of the area occupied by the farm, but is in general further to the west, the original area of Bennetts End being part of today, as it always was originally, Leverstock Green. Various Maps: OS6, OS8, OS 12, OS 13, OS14, OS18, OS19, OS20 & OS 23 relevant to the area can be viewed on the Chronicle maplinks page. Click here to view.
1269. - This is the first written record we have of Robert Beneyet, who gave his name to Bennett's End. The name itself meaning the district or part of the parish occupied by Beneyet. [S1 p.9 & 281 ] The seventeenth century successor to the original Beneyet farmstead is still standing next to the "Bennett's End Roundabout" on the dual carriageway, and is the home of St. Nicholas' Nursery. It has over the years been known as Bennett's End House and Bennett's End Farm.
17th April 1570 - "Christopher sonne of John Puddefat of Bennette End" was Baptised at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead. The name Puddefat (or Puddephat) appears frequently in St. Mary's Church registers. Several members of the family are given as coming from Bennetts End, others from "the bottome", others from Two Waters, Lovetts End and from Piccotts End, also Greenend (near Chaulden). This is the earliest record specifying Bennetts End as a Puddephat residence, and the Puddephats were still the principle Yeoman family at Bennetts End in the 18th century. It is however, unclear as to whether or not they remained resident at Bennetts End throughout the two centuries, or whether they moved about, and it was other branches of the ever larger family which were registered elsewhere. In addition to the later Puddephats buried in St. Mary's Churchyard, a Jeremiah Puddephat was buried there in May 1749, named as being from "The Wood", Wood Farm between Bennetts End Farm and Hemel, and not far from the Hospital. Before the development of Hemel this century, the two farms were virtual neighbours. [S294]
10 January 1570/71 - "Joan daughter of Henrie Puddefate" possibly of Bennetts End was Baptised at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead. [S294]
10th August 1571 - "George the sonne of Richard Puddefat of ........ende" was Baptised at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead. [S294]
19th October 1571 - "Ralph sonne of William Younge of Bennetsend" was Baptised at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead. [S294]
28th March 1587 - "Abigale the Bastarde daughter of Raphe Puddefat of Bennetts End" was Baptised at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead. [S294]
17th May 1582 - "Ales the wife of John Puddephat of Bennette end" was buried at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead. [S294]
28th January 1588/9 -"Jesabell Puddefat of Bennetts end" was buried at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead. [S294]
27th January 1589/90 - "Marke the sonne of John Puddefat of Bennetts end" was buried at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead. [S294]
18th October 1590 - "Rebecca daughter of William Feilde of Bennetend" was Baptised at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead. [S294]
31st October 1591 - "John the sonne of William Feilde of Bennetsend" - was Baptised at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead.
5th December 1591 - "Avril daughter of William Longe of Bennetsend" was Baptised at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead. [S294]
December 1592 - "Sahra daughter of John Turner, (This surname is not particularly legible and may have been something different!) of Bennetsend" was Baptised at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead. [S294]
4th August 1597 - "John Puddephat of Bennetts end" was buried at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead. [S294]
During the 17th century The Puddephatt family, & members of the Longe family were associated with Bennetts End [S294]
1618 - John Puddephatt from Bennetts End was named as one of the Guardians of the parish of Hemel Hempstead. [S294]
28th February 1636/7 - "Mary daughter of John Puddenatt of Bennetts end" was baptised in St. Mary's Hemel Hempstead. [S294]
12th November 1664 - "John, son of John Puddephat of Bennetts End" was Baptised at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead. [S294]
1670 - Inventory Post Mortem of Thomas Edmonds of Bennetts End. He died heavily in debt, but the inventory shows that he made both bricks and tiles, and that he used wood (probably charcoal) for fuel in the kilns. [ S1 - p.67 ]
2nd May 1670 - "Kathrin, the daughter of John Puddephat of Bennetts End" was Baptised at St. Mary's Church Hemel Hempstead. [S294]
18th Century: Associated with Bennett's End Farm this century were: The Puddephat family, Paul Vaillant, Daniel Saunders; William, Richard & John Steward and William Elkins - all nephews of John Puddephat, and their Mother Christina Elkins. [HALS D/Els B400 AH169, AH169, AH171]; Richard Ginger; William Jennings; [HALS D/Els B400]; Thomas Ball (servant); George Hall (a labourer) Joseph Clark, (a labourer); William Barton, labourer; William Crawley, (a labourer), William Crockett, (a servant), William Crawley, (a labourer) Thomas Doggett, (a labourer); Thomas Foster, (a labourer); George Hall, (a labourer); John and Joseph Hannell, (both labourers); [S265]; the Tower family. [HALS 80825]; John Gethin, a gentleman
June 1749 - The freehold of one-third of the Lockers Estate in Hemel Hempstead was transferred to William Finch by Mr.Howe. This was later willed to Francis Puddephat of Bennetts End, Finch's niece. [HALS D/ELsB400]
5 September 1751 - In a codicil added to the will of William Finch (a London Leather seller), the following additional bequest was made:
"Item I give to Francis Wife of John Putifat my Aunts Sarah Brome Dalster and her sone and her Grandson & her Grand dalsters to each of them one hundred pounds sterling."
a further codicil was added on page 6 of the will stating that:
"I also give my 2 thirds of the Estate called Lokus lately bought of Mr. How &tc to Cosen Franccis Puttiphat and her heirs... I also give to my cousin Francis Putifat dalster of my Aunt Broom four hundred pounds and her sone and each of his Children one hundred pounds."
[HALS D/ELsB400; see also entry for 6 Dec. 1784]
It is unclear whether or not this particular William Finch was any connection of the Finch's of Corner Farm, though it is probable that there is some connection, the Finch Family being prosperous Yeoman Farmers, who as there wealth grew, some members of the family may have branched out into other walks of life and commerce. However, it is through the marriage for Francis Brome to another well-to-do Yeoman John Puddephat of Bennetts End, that the lands of Bennetts End Farm and Lockers Park at Boxmoor became connected.
The Puddephats were a well known and well respected local family by the 18th century.
7th & 8th June 1757 - John Puddephatt of Bennetts End, only son of Frances Puddephat, was given Lockers by his mother (who had inherited it from her cousin William Finch), and was admitted to the property at a Court Leet of the Manor of Hemel Hempstead. In so doing the two estates were to become linked. [HALS D/ELs B400]
21st October 1758 - " Frances, wife of John Puddephat of Bennetts End died in the 81st year of her age." [S263]
1760 - A Copy of the court roll allowing the admission of John Puddephatt to property upon the death of John Puddephatt his late father stated the following:
"At this Court it is presented by the homage that John Puddephatt the Elder late of Bennetts End in the parish of Hemel Hempstead in the County of Hertford Yeoman....."[HALS D/ELs B400]
1760 N.B. The Militia lists included the names of many individuals given as being from Bennetts End.
19th October 1761 - John Puddephat, son of John and Susannah Puddephat of Bennetts End, made his will. Although I have as yet to see the entire document, copies of relevant sections of this will were taken to support claims in 1783 and 17 for Bennetts End and Lockers. The following is taken from HALS document AH168, and relates to the Bennetts End property:
"And it was further presented by the Homage that the said John Puddephat made his Will in writing bearing date 19th October 1761 thereby (inter alia) gave and devised unto his mother Susannah Puddephat Widow & her assignees All his Copyhold Messuage or tenement called Bennetts End in the said parish of Hemel Hempstead wherein the testator His said Mother then dwelt. And also all those several Closes pieces or parcels of Copyhold arable land meadow pasture and wood ground to the said Messuage belonging with the appertenances which Copyhold Testator had surrendered to the use of his Will. To hold to his said mother Sussannah Puddephat & her assignes for life Upon Condition that his said mother should out of the rents of the said premises pay testator's sister Ann Baldwin wife of Joseph Baldwin for life £20 a year.
And after the decease of his said Mother Testator gave and devised the said Messuage called Bennetts End 2 Cottages Closes of land and premises therein before mentioned unto his sister Ann Baldwin her heirs and assignes for ever Upon Condition that the said Ann Baldwin her heirs and assignes should out of the rent of the premises pay testator's sister Christiana the wife of Mr. Elkin of Coxpond for life £20 a year.
But if testators sister Ann Baldwin should die without issue of her body lawfully begotten or to be begotten then testator gave and devised the said Messuage called Bennetts End 2 Cottages Closes of land aforesaid unto his Nephews John Steward and William Steward the two sons of his sister Christiana Elkins and to their heirs and assignes for ever.
Also testator gave unto William son of Mary Partridge of High Street Green aforesaid £200 to be paid to such Child if it should attain 21 out of Bennetts End estate the same to carry interest at 4 per Cent till payable. But if said child should die before 21 the said Legacy should not be paid.
And it was further presented by the Homage that the said Susannah Puddephat the mother was dead since the last Court whereupon there happened three heriots.
And it was further presented by the Homage that the said Ann Baldwin was also dead and that she died in the life time of Sussannah Puddephat without issue.
Which said Christiana wife of the said William Elkins John Steward and William Steward being present in Court were admitted tenants to the said premises.
To Hold to said Christiana wife of said William Elkins for life And after her decease to hold to said John Steward & William Steward their heirs and assignes for ever. Subject to such charges as in said Will and Testament of the Lord Use At their Wills Rent £1.15.9½ Fines £2.13.8½"
John Puddephat was to die six moths later on May 14th 1762 - see entry for that date.
[HALS AH168, D/ELs B400; S263]
14th May 1762 - John Puddephat, son of John and Susannah Puddephat of Bennetts End, died aged 35. His death, without issue at a relatively early age meant firstly that the direct line of the Puddephatt family of Bennetts End was broken, after over 200 years at least. It was also later to lead to a considerable amount of work for Hemel Hempstead Lawyer William Ginger, in sorting out the various complications arising as a result of the terms of his will made in October 1761. (See entry for 19th October.) As a direct result of his death and bequests there was to be a long drawn out legal debate about the right to inherit Lockers Park, in addition to the various bequests made concerning his Copyhold Bennetts End Estate. This later bequest also caused considerable local gossip and family acrimony in 1783 when it became necessary to sell off some of the estate to pay the legacy left to a William, son of Mary Partridge when he attained his 21st birthday. (See entry for December 13th 1783.)
Hertfordshire Record Office Document AH168 contains a summary of his will. Insofar as it concerns the Bennetts End Estate and is quoted under the entry for 19th October 1761.
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 illegitimate 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]
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 Puddephatt'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
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 HALS [the Hertfordshire 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 - 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 ]
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 appertenances to 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 proceedings 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:
AN ADVANTAGEOUS AND IMPROVABLE COPYHOLD ESTATE,
(NEARLY EQUAL TO FREEHOLD)
Called BENNET'S-END FARM;
Containing by Estimation, EIGHTY-EIGHT ACRES (be the same more or less) of
RICH ARABLE AND WOOD LAND, WELL TIMBERED,
With a large FARM-HOUSE,
LATELY REPAIRED AT A CONSIDERABLE EXPENSE,
FARM-YARD,GARDEN, ORCHARD, BARNS, STABLING, a WELL-HOUSE and Apparatus, a BRICK KILN,
a large WOOD-YARD, with numerous OUTBUILDINGS,
Let to Mr. JENNINGS, Tenant at Will,
At a low Rent of EIGHTY POUNDS per annum; Land-Tax allowed.
The situation of this ESTATE, and the BRICK EARTH contained in the same,
offer essential Advantages to a Purchaser: THE GRAND
JUNCTION CANAL passing within Quarter of a mile of these LANDS,
which are situated within One Mile of the Town.
The ESTATE is held of the MANOR OF HEMEL-HEMPSTEAD,
at a QUIT-RENT of £1 11s.½d. per Annum; FINE on Death or
Alienation 16s. and a HERIOT of the second best Beast or second best Chattel;
for every Messuage a Composition of 1s. and every Cottage 6d.
The Timber is to be taken by the Purchaser at a fair Valuation down to 1s 6d per Stick.
[HALS D/ELs B400]
19th Century: Associated with Bennetts End Farm were: Rev Christian Brockhardt, William & Elizabeth Jennings, Thomas Franklin and his wife Sophia.
1840/1843 : The Tithe records show that Bennetts End Farm was owned by the Rev. Christian Borckhardt and occupied by Elizabeth Jennings. The farm totaled 92 acres 1r 9p with an additional 10 acres 2r 20p, also owned by Rev. Borckhardt and considered part & parcel of the farm. These 10 acres were the Bennetts End brick kiln, brickworks and wood. They were occupied by Thomas Franklin who ran the brickworks. It is also interesting to note that Franklin Owned and occupied one of the largest houses in the area: Orchard Lea in Tile Kiln Lane (later also known as Bennetts End House & Bennetts End Lodge and occupied in more recent times by Dr. Gregory.)
Tile Kiln Farm itself was owned jointly by John Edwin & Joseph Finch, with John Edwin, Thomas Franklin and others named as the occupiers. I surmise that the Farm house operated predominantly as the brickwork's Head Quarters.
1850: From Kelley's Directory: Thomas Franklin, brickmaker and farmer, Bennetts End
mid 1860's :: A map of the Cox Pond Estate showed Elizabeth Jennings to still be in occupation of Bennetts End Farm, as some of the lands of the two farms marched together.
1870 From Kelley's directory: John George, farmer, Bennets End Farm
1883 First edition OS map : Bennetts End Farm ( now a listed building ) was very clearly shown on the other side of Bennetts End Lane ( later St. Albans Hill ) forming a staggered cross-roads with the end of Tile Kiln Lane. The other substantial dwelling shown in this part of the parish was a largish house then known as "Bennetts End House", which stood back from Tile Kiln Lane, a little further down towards the village, on the left hand side. On subsequent maps this house continually changed its name, and as Bennetts End Farm, eventually became known as Bennetts End House, it leads to some confusion! Several of the dwellings at Bennetts End still remain, but have been converted into single dwellings rather than terraces in most cases. Apart from this compact grouping of brickworks and buildings, this area was all fields except for Hobbs Hill Wood.
1886 - Kellys Directory ............ is listed as running Well Farm, and Hay. Haydon is at Bennetts End Farm.
1890 : Nathaniel Robinson was now at Bennetts End Farm
March 6th 1897 - The Hemel Hempstead Board of Guardians agreed to put down a deposit of £100 for the purchase of land at Bennetts End Farm for a proposed sewerage farm. [Gazette 6.5.1997] (This was known as Elephant Farm)
1898: From Kelleys Directory: The rest of the farming community remained much as before, except that Leslie Darter was at Bennetts End Farm instead of Nathaniel Robinson,
9th May 1908 - The following advert for a then state of the art dairy farm at Bennetts End appeared in the Gazette for the first time, and every week for several weeks.
BENNETTS END DAIRY FARM
Having fitted up all the latest and most improved MACHINERY & APPLIANCES,
we are prepared to supply MILK in ABSOLUTE PURE and CLEAN condition
direct from the COW to CONSUMER in SEALED bottles
- ½pt, One pint and quart at 4d PER QUART.
This, we feel sure, supplies a long felt want.
CART DELIVERIES TWICE DAILY
Orders addressed to the manager will ensure an immediate supply
Inspection of Dairy buildings, Machinary & Appliances always welcome.
27 February 1909 - Following the continuous large adverts carried for months in the Hemel Hempstead Gazette, (see May 1908) in this particular issue was an article not only about the dairy, but also about a new dairy shop opened in the Marlowes. "HEMEL HEMPSTEAD NEW DAIRY AND RESTAURANT"
The general feeling expressed in the article was that until recently Hemel Hempstead was behind the times with regard to a modern dairy and restaurant. However since the setting up of Mr. Doult's dairy at Bennetts End under the management of Mr. Herbert T. Doult, this could now be said to be " a dairy such as would do credit in the West End of the Great Metropolis". Mr. Doult's dairy was expensively fitted out with what we would now call a state of the art milk parlour, a specially selected herd of dairy cattle were brought in, and an a further innovation was the establishment of milk being delivered in sterilized bottles was established. Other milk suppliers in the area were still using churns and dipping a jug in to transfer milk into the buyers jug!!!! The article went on to say:
"The Bennetts End Dairy Tea Rooms have also now been fitted up along the lines of a West End cafe, in premises in the Marlowes. All the dairy items are from the Bennetts End Farm, but the cakes, and other sweets etc. Are purchased from "Fullers" of Regents Street.
The premises were somewhat large, including retiring rooms, bath rooms, lavatories, committee rooms and a large hall upstairs. Thinking ahead to the summer the proprietors were beginning to lay down tennis courts behind the cafe for the amusement of their visitors. "The Bennetts End Teas Rooms have no equal in the district." [Gazette 27 February 1909 p.7]
7 January 1911 - The Gazette carried an advert as follows:
"Sale of live & dead stock and effects at Bennetts End Farm comprising two capital cart horses, Kerry Cow, shorthorn steer ( a show animal), Seven farm carts, carts, galvanised water cart, and dog cart, also a good assortment of implements, rick cloths, weighing machine, &c &c 25 qrs. oats, in sacks, two ricks of straw, and ten tons of mangolds, to be sold by auction by Mr. Orchard upon the premises Friday January 20 1911 at 12 for 1 o'clock, by order of Mr. Thos Doult."
Interestingly there had been no adverts for the Bennetts End Dairy or its shop in the Marlowes for some time, (not reappearing as such until 1924) suggesting that possibly the dairy and Mr. Doult were facing hard times. However, it could also be that he decided to go into a slightly different branch of farming. (See entry for Thursday 6th May 1920.) [Gazette January 7 1911 p 4]
21 January 1911 - The question of the proposed Bennetts End Isolation Hospital rumbled on and a lengthy article appeared in the Gazette. After considerable debate and opposition from residents of Bennetts End and Leverstock Green the Hospital Board decided to adopt the site at Bennetts End for its new Isolation hospital. [Gazette 21 January 1911 p.5]
4 March 1911 - A further very lengthy article appeared in the columns of the Gazette concerning the Isolation Hospital, the headline of which ran: DECISION TO PURCHASE BENNETTS END SITE -
The article gave details of a meeting which ended in the resolution to purchase four acres of Mr. Orchard's land at Bennetts End for £600 - votes were 5 for and 2 against. Earlier in the right-up Mr. Orchard had said that he as happy to sell provided his tenant (Mr. Doult) was given 12 months notice. The meeting itself had been interrupted by a deputation from folk from Bennetts End and Leverstock Green - there was quite a scene as another deputation against the sale was also introduced and all the protagonists were loud in stating their case. However, in the end this had no effect on the outcome. [Gazette 4 March 1911 p.5]
From Kelleys Directory for 19 :
Col.Charles, Wm.Ernest Duncombe V.D. J.P. Orchard Lea
Elliott Jackson, Bennetts End Ho.
Bennetts End House was Bennetts End Farm - Orchard Lea being off Tile Kiln Lane
Thursday 6th May 1920 - A sale of black pigs took place at Bennetts End House (Farm). In the Gazette the week before had been a longish article extolling the virtues of the forthcoming sale and of the pigs themselves.:
LARGE BLACK PIGS
MR DOULT'S HERD FOR DISPOSAL
AN INTERESTING SALE
From Kelley's 1922 : Mrs. Lilly Jackson, farmer, Bennetts End House (? Ben.End Farm )
13 May 1922: - The following advert was placed in the Gazette:-
Bennetts End, Hertfordshire up. 8.W aspect. Hunting, Golf, with good views. Country Property known as Bennetts End house comprising old fashioned residence believed to be of the Georgian period, full of old oak beams,,, panelling of the period, polished oak floors, containing 6 bed and dressing rooms, mahogany and secondary staircase,, 3 reception rooms, winter garden. Lodge, stabling, dairy, glass house, farm buildings and gardens of nearly 5 acres. Adjoining is capital home farm of 48 ¾ acres, with buildings and cottages. To be sold by auction in one or two lots, at the St. James Estate Rooms, 20 St. James square, on Tuesday 13th June at 2.30pm (unless previously disposed of.) Solicitors Messrs Lovel Smethman . Plan particulars and conditions of sale from the auctioneers Hampton & Sons 20 St James Square London SW1
1926 - Several changes were noted in Kelley's Directory for this year, .............It would appear that the Jacksons had left and Bennetts End Farm could now legitimately be called Bennetts End House as it was a private residence occupied by Richard Morrison.
1929 - according to Kelley's Richard Morrison was still at Bennetts.End House
March 6th 1947 - The Development Corporation for the New Town of Hemel was formally set up under Lord Reith.. - Bennetts End House was acquired by the Corporation for accommodation, storage and eventual development. Despite confusion over the name, the property referred to is the present day St. Nicholas' Nursery, and the original Bennetts End Farm. The house which had been Bennetts End House was now called Orchard Lea ( according to the O.S. map ), and Bennetts End Farm was later - and still is - known as Bennetts End House! Kelly's Directory for 1922 mentions Mrs. Jackson as the farmer at Bennetts End House. As the private residence off Tile Kiln Lane had changed its name to Bennetts End Lodge by 1922 (and back to Orchard Lea by 1926), perhaps the occupiers of the farm decided to make their farm sound more like a home! [ Kel.Dir. ] [ S19,S44 ]
In a recent communication with Roger Bellingham who lives in Yorkshire, he said the following:
My daughter Dilly has sent me a copy of your email about Bennetts End House and I have looked at your most interesting web site - I am amazed how much you have found out about the house. When I lived there with my parents my historical interests were less focused than they are now and it did not occur to me to undertake serious research.
Our family lived in the house from March 1948 until we moved into London about six years later. Thereafter the main part of the house was leased by the Development Corporation to Jean and Peter Yeomans, who lived in the house and operated the nursery.
My grandfather continued to live in the 'cottage' at the right hand end of the house, but when he died in 1960 I think it was then taken over by the Yeomans.
I had always understood that the house had monastic links and from what I now know of general history I wondered if it might have been the site of a monastic grange. However the information you have gleaned seems to suggest I am wrong!
There was, and I think still is, a large room on the left of the house with 'modern' sash windows, built perhaps in the 1930s. Behind that room was a large barn which I understood had been a tithe barn. (Now I think demolished) This could well be pure myth but the barn was certainly of some antiquity. I had occasion to patch the roof. One had to use screws. The vibration caused by hammering in nails would have led to a collapse of the tiles!
The stable yard behind the house suggested to me that the house had in the past been a working farm, before the modern farm house was built behind the house. This fits in with what you say on your web site. On the right hand side of the house, now the site of garages and high rise flats, was a more recent stable block, perhaps again built in the 1930s,and a large orchard. .................... I think the house had been built as an off centre 'centre stack' house. There was a 'coach and four' fireplace in the kitchen which had formed the centre stack chimney. Again, from what I now know, this fireplace must have been designed to burn peat or other low grade fuel.
Initially there would have been no corridors so that all the rooms were through rooms. By our time there was a back corridor giving access to the rooms on the left hand side of the house, a staircase on the back of the house, and a second staircase for the upper rooms in the cottage on the right hand side of the house.
If anyone knows anything else concerning the history of Bennetts End Farm and in particular the farmhouse, please let me know via the Contact Me Button at the top of the page.