Local Research    

 

Contact us at: whs@wheathampsteadheritage.org.uk

 

Contents  (Click to go to the research that you are interested in)

 

Jesse Chennells: a distinguished resident of 19th century Wheathampstead

Barclays Bank, Wheathampstead

The Notorious Rector of Wheathampstead and his Unfortunate Curate

The Rector's Son-in-law and the First Cuckoo

Automatic Telephones come to Wheathampstead

The Wheathampstead Workhouse: a speculative history

An Accident on the Railway: 1875

Charles Higby Lattimore: a biography

Chapel, Church, School and Sewage Works: 1876

De Havilland Air Crash: 1939

John of Wheathampstead: a biography

From The Folly to the Old Bailey

Captain George Upton Robins: Pilgrimage and Battlefield Tourism in 1919

What have the Belgians ever done for us?

A History of the Wheathampstead War Memorials

Lost Buildings of the High Street

The Manor of Wheathampstead

Julius Caesar's Invasion of Britannia

Ward Family Origins

Wheathampstead Sewage Works from 1873 to 1953

 

 

Research about St Helen's School

Thomas Clark, Master from 1891 to 1927

The Early Years of the Infants' School

The School in the Great War

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Jesse Chennells: a distinguished resident of 19th century Wheathampstead

Jesse Chennells was a member of a long-standing local family. Brought up at Town Farm in a family of devout Congregationalists, he married and moved to London as a 'City missionary'. When his mother died, he returned to Town Farm and, during the rest of the 19th century, became a notable figure in the life of the Congregational Church and the village as a whole.    

Barclays Bank, Wheathampstead

Older residents of Wheathampstead will remember the branch of Barclays Bank that stood where the Chinese restaurant is now but even they may not know that the Bank first opened in the village in 1906 – in the stationmaster's house. Read the full story. 

The Notorious Rector of Wheathampstead and his Unfortunate Curate

 

A biography of George Thomas Pretyman, Rector of Wheathampstead from 1814 to 1859.

Making the most of the then-common practice of holding more than one ecclesiastical office at a time, he featured in The Black Book: or Corruption Unmasked, An Exposition of Abuses in Church and State' in 1835. On the other hand, he founded the first National School in Wheathampstead.

 

 

The Rector's Son-in-law and the First Cuckoo

Letters published in 'The Times' in 1902 tell an amusing story involving the local gentry.

 

 

 

 

Automatic Telephones come to Wheathampstead 

An automatic telephone exchange was installed in Wheathampstead in 1938 but both Sir William Beach Thomas and Olivia Upton Robins were so dissatisfied with it that they wrote to 'The Times' newspaper.

 

 

 

The Wheathampstead Workhouse: a speculative history

The Wheathampstead workhouse was probably opened in the 18th century but the first record we have is dated 1804. The workhouse was part of a group of buildings in the High Street known as 'Workhouse Yard'; they were demolished in 1935. To see what stands there now, click on 'Lost Buildings of the High Street, Part Two'

 

 

An Accident on the Railway: 1875    

 

Joseph Payne was the driver of a train that collided with another near Wheathampstead. Read the official report of the accident, together with a more personal account by Joseph Payne's great-grandson, who lives in the village today.

 

Charles Higby Lattimore: a biography

Charles Higby Lattimore was a wealthy tenant farmer in Wheathampstead in the 19th century, first at Bride Hall and later at Place Farm in the village. He campaigned for tenant farmers' rights and carried on a lifelong feud with his landlord, Drake Garrard of Lamer. He also campaigned for the repeal of the Corn Laws and was a friend of Richard Cobden. 

 

Chapel, Church, School and Sewage Works: 1876

The opening of the Congregational Church on Brewhouse Hill in 1876 triggered a lively correspondence in the Herts Advertiser between Algernon Pike, Master of the village school, and Charles Higby Lattimore. This article uncovers the background to this dispute as the two men exchanged genteel insults about issues to do with St Helen's Church, the school, and the new sewage works.

 

De Havilland Air Crash: 1939

On 11 April 1939, the prototype Moth Minor aircraft, developed by de Havilland at Hatfield and piloted by Geoffrey de Havilland Junior, crashed just outside the village. This article describes the crash, explains its cause and describes the modifications that later made the aircraft a success.  

 

John of Wheathampstead: a biography

 

John of Wheathampstead was the son of Hugh and Margaret Bostock of Mackerye End. He rose to become Abbot of St Albans not once but twice - from 1420 to 1440 and again from 1451 to 1465. 

 

From The Folly to the Old Bailey

 

The life of Reuben Dunham, a tragic tale that opens a window onto the lives of the labouring poor of north-west Hertfordshire at the end of the nineteenth century.

 

Captain George Upton Robins: Pilgrimage and Battlefield Tourism in 1919

 

George Upton Robins was from the Robins family of Delaport and later lived at Lea House, The Folly. He served in both the Boer War and the Great War and died from the effects of gas poisoning at Hill 60, near Ypres. This article shows how his sister, Olivia Upton Robins, visited his grave in France and how it was possible for poorer people to visit the graves and memorials of the fallen of the War.

 

What have the Belgians ever done for us?

 

An Iron Age mystery. Who were the Belgae? Did they invade Britain? What about Julius Caesar? Should we erase ‘Belgic' from our history books?

 

A History of the Wheathampstead War Memorials

 

In addition to the main War Memorial in the churchyard, there are several memorial boards, windows and tablets in the parish. In this article, Margaret and Terry Pankhurst describe how all these came about. The article complements the Pankhursts' two books: 'More than Just a Name' and 'Wheathampstead: Details of the Fallen 1914-1918'.

 

 

 

Lost Buildings of the High Street

This illustrated article is in two parts.

Part One is about the east side of the High Street. Click here.

Part Two is about the west side. Click here.

These are both large files which may take time to download.

 

The Manor of Wheathampstead

Bury Farm Cottages were originally the hall, chambers and gatehouse of the Wheathampstead manor house. The current residents have lived there for more than 60 years and have researched the history in depth. In this article, they describe the origins of the manor of Wheathampstead in 1060 and trace its history up to the twentieth century. 

 

Julius Caesar's Invasion of Britannia

The author of this article lives in North Wales where he specialises in Welsh and Roman history, giving talks to local groups in and around Criccieth. These extracts are from two of his lectures, as they relate to Wheathampstead.

 

Ward Family Origins

 Dawn Chambers, who lives in New Zealand, traces the history of her family back to David Ward,                          an 'interesting' character who lived in Wheathampstead in the early 19th century.

 

Wheathampstead Sewage Works from 1873 to 1953

Amy Coburn's father and grandfather were managers of the sewage works from the day they opened and for the next 80 years. In this account, written in 1992, she tells the story of the works and of how she helped her father, together with some amusing memories of those times.

 

Research about St Helen's School

 

These articles are based on the content of the logbooks kept by the Masters and Mistresses of the school from 1862 to 1918. The logbooks are stored at HALS where they are being conserved and digitised so they can be made available on the website 'findmypast'.

 

 

 

Thomas Clark, Master from 1891 to 1927

Thomas Clark, son and grandson of blacksmiths, rose to become Master of St Helen's School. His entries in the school logbooks show him to have been a conscientious and sensitive Master. This short biography traces his origins, his family life and his work at the school. 

 

 

The Early Years of the Infants' School 

The story of St Helen's Infants' School from the day it opened on 29 December 1862. It is based on the daily entries in the logbook that the Mistress was required to keep. The last entry in this, the first logbook, was made on 23 December 1897, when this installment of the story ends.

 

 

The School in the Great War 


A search of the logbooks kept by Thomas Clark during the Great War shows its effect on the day-to-day life of the school. The children knitted socks and comforters for soldiers at the front, and later made splints and bandages, as well as sending cigarettes, making donations to War Savings and cultivating vegetables for the war effort. The logbooks record visits by former pupils and, in some cases, their deaths on active service.

 

 

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