WRIGHT, Wheathampstead, mid 19th century

July 2001

Keith Wright (keiwright @t, of Poole, Dorset, says  Daniel Wright of Gustard Wood, Wheathampstead, was one of my great grandfather`s (James Wright) elder brothers. He was born in 1845 and is recorded in the1861 census but not 1871. No trace in the burial records. Also he is not in the list of Herts transportees in "Transported beyond the seas", although his grandfather also James Wright was sentenced to 20 years transportation in 1839 but was pardoned. Daniel`s father George (1818-1875) was sentenced to 5 years penal servitude in 1870 for poaching and assaulting a gamekeeper in Brocket Park. Maybe Daniel followed a criminal career too as did his younger brother James who appeared before the Liberty of St Albans court between c1876 and1888. Any thoughts as to where else I can search for the elusive Daniel Wright of Gustard Wood?

George Wright (32, agricultural labour), his wife Sarah (34), and sons Frederick (8), Daniel (5) and James (1) were listed as living at Gustard Wood in the 1851 census. While my private press index does not mention any of the individuals you mention it does include the prosecution and sentencing of Frederick Wright in what was obviously a night poaching incident in 1868. I have posted the press account as Assault in Wood in 1868 under Old News.

Clearly assault was in three generations of the family as I see that James Wright senior was sentenced for stabbing the Rev Joseph Doulton of Wheathampstead with a pig knife at Gustard Wood Common. You may well find that the relevant court records are held at HALS but will still be in manuscript form so you may need to get HALS to look them up (for a fee), or visit the records office yourself.

Keith Wright (keiwright @t responded: Many thanks for the information regarding the conviction of Frederick Wright, my great grandfather's eldest brother who was born in 1842. This came as a shock because Fred did very well for himself, later on in life, setting up the nurseries at Gustard Wood and when he died in 1933 at the age of 91 he left a considerable fortune. The large house and the greenhouses are still there-opposite the Cross Keys on the common

A further mystery remains. What was his father George doing when he fell off a ladder at Gustard Wood in 1875 and died one month later aged 57? He had been sentenced to 5 years penal servitude in1870, so I guess that he had been let out on licence. I have not been able to find a newspaper report of this accident that occurred on August 6th 1875. There was a coroner's inquest but I do not know if the records are extant. Any thoughts as to what further research is possible?

You may be out of luck with George's Inquest. I asked at HALS some time ago about a St Albans Inquest and I don't think they have much. There may also be difficulties in press coverage as coverage of rural areas was patchy (it probably depended on someone locally sending information to the paper). If George (as an ex-convict) fell and was taken home injured the news value at the time would be low. When he died a month later the news about the accident would be old news, and unlikely to attract a reporter, especially if the inquest was held out of town.

August 2001

Keith Wright (keiwright @t provided the following update about Daniel Wright: Thanks to your web site putting me on to the Wheathampstead web site, I have, through the Local History Group, made contact with a relative who I was previously unaware of. The relative confirmed that Daniel was his grandfather`s younger brother and became the Station Master at Llanfair p.g. in Anglesea.

This highlights another pitfall in research, as I had actually located him in the 1881 census at Llanfair but named as a David Wright. Although the age was correct, as was his place of birth-"Gestwood Common"(sic) actually Gustard Wood, It had not occurred to me that he was my missing ancestor, with an incorrect or misheard first name.

Many people from Hertfordshire moved to other parts of the country as a result of working for the Railways - see Aldbury Railway Workers in 1851 &Where Railway Employees lived.

There is a web page for Wheathampstead

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


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