Hertfordshire Genealogy

Answers to Questions


 GILBERT, St Pauls Walden, 1700-1750

August 2001



St Pauls Walden

Gordon Taylor (dk770taylor2_99 @t yahoo.com) of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada says: I have a reference to a Mary Gilbert, daughter of Edward Gilbert of St.Pauls Waldenbury, Herts, marrying George Bowes c.1740. Any information on the Gilbert family and the location of St. Pauls Waldenbury would be most welcome.

The Queen Mother as a child at St Pauls Waldenbury
from Victorian and Edwardian Hertfordshire

St Pauls Walden is a small village to the west of the town of Stevenage. St Pauls Waldenbury is the home of the Bowes-Lyon Family and the Queen Mother spent part of her childhood there.

Britton, in The Beauties of England and Wales, published in 1807, says:

 On this manor is an ancient Mansion, held under the Church [of St. Paul, London], and which was some time possessed by the family Gilbert, from whom it passed, by as heiress, to the family of Bowes, of Gibside, Durham; and from there to the Strathmores, by the marriage of Mary Elinor, daughter and heiress of George Bowes, Esq. to the Earl of Strathmore. This home was some time since occupied by the Earl of Burford, now Duke of St Albans.

Edward Gilbert is a direct ancestor of the Queen and the Bowes-Lyon family tree back to George Bowes, is well documented and can be followed on the Directory of Royal Genealogical Data. The entry for George Bowes indicates that he was married to Eleanor Verney in October 1724, and that he had a child, Mary Eleanor Bowes (born 24th February, 1749) by Mary Gilbert, daughter of Edward Gilbert. While there are assumption that a marriage took place the location and date appear to be unknown - so if you have some primary source reference to such a marriage please tell me.

From the Victoria County History it would appear that Edward Gilbert purchased The Bury from St Pauls, London, in the first quarter of the 18th century and the family has no long term earlier connection with the village. In 1727 he "repaired and beautified" the parish church according to an inscription in the chancel. Cussans took a very different view of the changes saying "A more ruthless desecration it would be difficult to imagine. At the entrance to the chancel stands a hideous triple screen of various coloured marbles, well wrought, it is true, and doubtless costly, but sadly out of place in its present position The style of the architecture may be described as Jacobean-Monumental-Grecian, the entire structure being apparently designed, moreover, for the sole purpose of supporting the Arms of George II, which grace the top. ... On the [north side of the chancel], in the centre of a panel, are the Arms of Edward Gilbert, who 'beautified the chancel' ... Opposite, on the south side, in a similar panel, are two boys of abnormal obesity, who are struggling to obtain possession of an urn, inscribed E. G. ob 1762 ..."

While it is worth approaching HALS to see whether they hold anything relevant, it could be that, as St Pauls Waldenbury has remained in the family for nearly 300 years the Bowes-Lyons may have the most useful records for finding out more about Edward Gilbert. You could also try the College of Arms. However, as Edward is a direct ancestor of the Queen I suspect more would be recorded about him if the information you want is easily accessible.

February 2012

Sue wrote: I was going through the website and came across George Bowes marrying a Mary Gilbert, and you said you couldn't find the marriage of the two. I have found this on Ancestry:

George Bowes (Widower) of Stratham Castle in the County of Durham

married Mary Gilbert (Spinster) of St. Pauls Waldenbury 14 Jun 1743.

At St Botolph, Aldersgate, London, England


There is now a page for St Pauls Waldenbury

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