VYE, Walkern, before December 1912

June 2001




Ann Fisher (annfisher570 @t talktalk.net) of Maldon, Essex, says I have a post card that my Grandfather THOMAS BAGGS VYE sent to his wife to be, just before they were married. It seems the family had a public house at Walkern, North Herts. What I would like to know is who was at the Yew Tree pub. I don't not know if his parents were still around. His father was John Baggs Vye and his mother Mary Ann. Any information will be most welcome.

I don't have any direct information on the Vye family at Walkern but have a look at The Inns & Public Houses of Walkern, in which I have included a mention of the Yew Tree.

There is nobody called Vye in Hertfordshire listed on the 1881 census CD, but I noticed that there were a number of households in the Folkestone area of Kent, which you may want to check out. They included a 55 year old John Baggs Vye (born Weymouth, Dorset), a shoemaker living at 4 New Bridge Street, Folkestone - who perhaps could be your great great grandfather.

Ann Fisher (annfisher @t fishersden.wanadoo.co.uk) replied: thank you for your answer I now think he could have been living with his half sister known as Chris looking at the 1881 census she was Christina had one son Horace. Her married name was WOOD. I do not know who her husband was could these be the ones that had the Yew Tree at Walkern.

Thomas took over The Robin Hood at Tonwell near Ware. His sister Chris is in lots of the pictures taken when they first moved there any information will be most welcome. Also do you know anything about a water mill called Westmill just down the road from Tonwell. My father was the miller there. Its where I was born.

You don't give any ages/date so I cannot have a clear idea when anyone you mention was born but I assume that the 12 year old Christiana Vye, daughter of John Baggs Vye, listed in the 1881 census is the Christiana you mention. The Robin Hood appears not to be listed in the book Hertfordshire Inns & Public Houses I have no information on the Westmill you mention but if you want to know more about it you should be aware that there are several Westmills in Hertfordshire - including a  parish with the name!

July 2007

Chantal Smith (chantalv @t btinternet.com) of Towcester writes: I have been reading your site and entered my grandfather's details 'Thomas Charles Vye' of Hertford.  I then read Ann Fisher's account of her grandfather who owned the Robin Hood Pub at Tonwell, which if I recall, I'm sure that my grandfathers parents owned owned that pub.  Could it be one and the same?? My Grandfather 'Thomas Charles Vye' married Ivy Pratt and they had two children, Pamela and Barbara Vye and for most of their lives lived at Hornsmill in Hertford.

I will forward you message to Ann, who I am sure must be a cousin of yours. I also note, in records that were not available to me when I first answered Ann's request in 2001, that Thomas Baggs Vye is listed as being at the Robin Hood, Tonwell, in the 1914 Kelly's Directory.



Tracing Football Club Photographs circa 1910

March 2007

Ann Fisher (annfisher @t fishersden.wanadoo.co.uk) provides an update: I have been given recently my Grandfather's watch  chain, on it there are two 'gold' shields first one is engraved N.H.F.A. 'Greg Cup' Winners 1911-12 and the other is for N.H.F.A. Junior League winners 1911-1912, John Baggs Vye was at the time at the YEW TREE Public house. I have now found a Kellys reference to him being the  licence holder, when I ask about the Yew Tree before I thought that it was his sister and husband who were in charge 'Christine Wood'.

I wonder if he was involved with these clubs, as he used to play football for the Folkestone 'Junior Working Boys club' and they won a medal in 1886-7 I just wonder if there are any pictures of this North Herts club, and where I can find them.

Local papers often published reports of sporting activities - but before 1900 one is more likely to find reports of cricket (a gentleman's sport) or hunting. However by the early 20th century literacy among the working classes had improved to the point that many local papers had started to include reports of football matches. Unfortunately photographs were uncommon until after the First World War.

While pictures in the press (usually of poor quality by today's standards) were not available, for a time after about 1900 the local photographer would cover local events and sell postcards - so it is possible that postcards exist of the football teams involved in the North Herts Football Association championship matches in 1911.

The trouble is finding such photographs. Many family archives contain postcards which show groups of people which meant something at the time. Sometimes there are no clues to who they are, and even if the team is identified the names of the people have not been recorded. After all the person who brought the card knew who they were - so didn't bother to add the names to the back of the postcard. I run a "Rogues Gallery" which contains a picture of The Sandridge Football Team, 1912-1913 - with no names. Tracking down a properly identified photograph of a given team is very hard using normal genealogy sources - unless you are lucky - and there is a copy at HALS or in a book of local photographs.

Contacting football enthusiasts with an interest in history would be a far better bet. On the 24 March 2007 Baldock Town Football Club played Fairland Football Club in the North & Mid Herts Football League Premier Division. Baldock unfortunately lost. So what? This match came up as the first item in a Google search for the "Greg Cup". So it would appear that Hertfordshire Football Teams are still competing for the Greg Cup 96 years after your ancestor was one of the team. So the place to start digging is the North & Mid Herts Football League (contact details) to see if there is anyone who can tell you something about the early history of the Greg Cup - and who may be able to point you to information on the 1911-12 season.


September 2009

Lloyd Briscoe (lloydbriscoe @t yahoo.com).kindly provided this picture of the Walkern Team which won the Greg cup in 1911-12.

If you can add to the information given above tell me.

Page updated March 2007