Answers to Questions


MATTHEWS/PIGGOTT, Benington & Harpenden, 18th/19th centuries

July 2001





Pat Orme (orme.ricia @t virgin.net) of Warwick has just returned from visiting parish churches at Benington and Harpenden hoping to find the graves of my two ancestors, Joseph Matthews and Sarah Piggott who married at Harpenden on 15 Dec 1810, or others with the same names - in vain. She continued: Still I did visit Hatfield House(s) while in the vicinity. Joseph was baptised. 4th June, 1786, and his father, Joseph senior, was married at Benington, 11th October, 1784, and is described as a gardener but here the trail ends. Joseph Senior died in 1841, aged 88, confirmed by the 1841 census.

Joseph junior's daughter, Mary Ann married Thomas Hewitt in Dunchurch, Warwickshire, and was bapt. in Harpenden. I would love to know more. Will there be more at Hertford CRO, I wonder, or were these itinerants? I would be most grateful for clues - or other help, please.

I can add a few notes: familysearch shows that Mary Ann Matthews had a brother, Thomas who was baptised at Harpenden in 1814, while the National Burial Index shows that Elizabeth Matthews, aged 82, was buried at Benington in 1842 - I assume she was Joseph senior's wife.

The 1851 census CD shows that Mary Ann's husband, Thomas Hewitt, was a "Poet Boy" born at Dunchurch, Warwickshire and living at Rugby - and presumably the occupation in a mis-transcription for "Post Boy." (The index is full of such errors, and you should check to see what is actually on the microfilm.) It is possible that he carried post between Warwickshire and London - which could be how he acquired a Hertfordshire wife. (Most stage coaches going towards Warwickshire at the time would have gone through St Albans and Dunstable - but some may have gone via St Albans and Luton - and these would pass through Harpenden.)

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

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