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SCOTT, Oster Hills, St Albans, late 19th century

December 2001

 

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Lynda Fase (lynda @t fase.freeserve.co.uk)  of Chingford, E4, writes: I was very interested to see in your history of Jacob Reynolds and Heath Farm that Lizzie Reynolds married Cecil Scott of Oster Hills, St Albans. [See Jacob Reynolds of Heath Farm]

Cecil Scott was the brother of my great grandmother, Edith Scott. She married Alfred Fase - the son of a London jeweller - in 1892. Family legend says that Alfred had drink problems, so that he very soon descended to being a modest  watchmaker outside London, and spent the last twenty or so years of his life as a factory worker. Edith (born 1866) obviously grew up in comfortable circumstances in Oster Hills. Her father, William Scott, was also a jeweller in London but I have read in a goldsmiths' history that he went bankrupt in the year that Edith got married (she was not married in St Albans). Edith left her husband and two sons very shortly after the birth of my grandfather in 1901, and her death certificate states that she died in Kesteven County Asylum in 1923.  My reason for contacting you is to see if you have any other information on Cecil Scott, or on any of the Scott family who lived at Oster Hills, or indeed on the house itself at that time.

I have seen all of the relevant census entries (1861 to 1891) but I have not been able to find the death of William Scott, Edith's father. There does not seem to be a relevant will in the indexes - possibly due to the bankruptcy - and it is too common a name to guess about in the GRO indexes. Out of general interest, and also because it might lead me to more information about Edith herself, I would be interested in finding out more about her brothers and sisters (Rosalie, Percy, Clara, William, Charles and Cecil - all born circa 1854-1863). I have not yet looked at earlier census entries because I knew that William's elder children were born in Finchley. However, I have recently come to suspect that his father, Abraham, also a London jeweller, might have lived there before him. A sister of William was married in St Michael's Church, St Albans, in 1851 (according to Family Search) and I also think it possible that William Scott (senior) met his future wife - Mary Ann Beadel from Essex - through a St Albans connection. Mary Ann's brother was articled to an estate agent in St Albans (Philip Page),  probably in the late 1840's/early 1850's; and William married Mary Ann in 1853. 

By coincidence, I was brought up in St Albans myself, not knowing anything about this previous family connection, but I left at the age of 18 in 1975. I visit occasionally, but I am not exactly sure where Oster Hills was. Sorry to go on at such length, but if you have any information, especially about Cecil who seems to have married a connection of yours, I would be pleased to hear about it. Thank you.

For information on Oster Hills House before the Scott family moved in see The Sale of Osterhills, St Albans in 1827 and Early Mad Houses in St Albans and Harpenden

The earliest definite reference I have is the 1850 Post Office Directory, which records Mrs Scott at Oster Hills House. The 1851 census lists the members of the family in Oster House as:

Elizabeth SCOTT

W

53

Head

Landed Proprietor

Oxford

Elizabeth A. SCOTT

U

30

Dau

 

London

Emma SCOTT

U

21

Dau

 

London

Frances M SCOTT

U

18

Dau

 

London

Laura SCOTT

U

17

Dau

 

London

Alice SCOTT

 

15

Dau

 

London

Catherine WHALEY

W

58

Visitor

Annuitant

Oxford

Walter SCOTT

 

2

Visitor

 

Islington, Middx

Arthur SCOTT

 

11m

Visitor

 

Islington, Middx

Ellen GILES

M

29

Servant

Servant (wet nurse)

London

Elizabeth ELLIS

U

32

Servant

Servant (Cook)

Weston, Herts

Maria BAKER

U

26

Servant

House Servant

Sudbury, Suffolk

Charles HUMPHRIES

U

24

Servant

Groom

Wheathampstead

There is no entry in the 1855 Directory but the 1862 Directory lists William Scott, Esq, at Oster Hills, and similar entries continued until at least 1890.

William Scott senior became involved in the appropriate activities for a well-to-do man living in the area, and I have picked up a number of references from my index of newspaper extracts from the Herts Advertiser. For instance in 1868 Mr Scott, of Oster Hills, was one of the Board of Guardians responsible for the Workhouse, while in 1870 he made a donation to the St Albans Hospital. In 1879 a bill was drawn up to extend the boundaries of St Albans, and W. Scott was active in ensuring that Oster Hills was not included. In 1882 he subscribed to the new cricket pavilion on nearby Bernards Heath.

Although you already have it I am reproducing the 1881 census return to help tie the information together:

William SCOTT

W

57

Head

Wholesale Jeweller In The Employ Of Head Of Family (Jeweller)

London

Percy SCOTT

U

25

Son

In The Employ Of Family (Jeweller)

Finchley, Middlesex

Clara SCOTT

U

22

Daur

Head Of Family

Finchley, Middlesex

William SCOTT

U

20

Son

In The Employ Of Head Of Family (Jeweller)

St Albans

Cecil SCOTT

U

18

Son

Article Clerk To Solicitor Law

St Michaels, St Albans

Edgar CROWHURST

M

65

Servant

Gardener Dom

Hillingley, Sussex

Susan DARLE

U

21

Dom Servant

Cook

Cambridge

Elizabeth A. ANDREWS

U

21

Dom Servant

General Servant

Pansanorth ?, Cornwall

I have also noted William Scott junior in the newspaper records. In 1870 he was at St Albans Grammar School where he is recorded as playing cricket, while in 1891 he attended an Old Boys Reunion.

On the 2nd April 1892 an news item reported "The late Mr Beadel, M.P. for the Chelmsford division of Essex, whose death occurred this week Mr Beadel served his articles in St Albans with the late Mr Philip Page, and was brother of the late Mrs Scott, of Oster Hills."

Financial problems loomed and in June 1892 Oster Hills was put on the market "By order of the Mortgagees": - see advert. It was presumably purchased by Lord Grimthorpe, of Batchwood (which adjoined the property) as it was brought by a Mr Giffen from Lord Grimthorpe's estate in 1911. It was described as a very desirable gentleman's residence at a substantial rent, with the lease expiring in June 1913. [City of St Albans City Extension, 1913, - Bound documents in St Albans Library]

Things clearly got worse and there was much newspaper coverage of William Scott's bankruptcy hearings in the early months of 1893.

Whatever happened, this did not stop the wedding between Mr Cecil Scott, son of the late Mr William Scott, and Miss Lizzie Gertrude Reynolds, daughter of my great grandfather Jacob Reynolds, being a major local society wedding in 1896.

~~~~~~~~

Cecil Scott was a solicitor and he lived, at least for a time in St Albans, dying at 27 Beaconsfield Road, St Albans on the 29th May 1925, aged 63, his wife dying in a nursing home in Camberwell in 1952, They had one son, Denis Herbert Scott (1900-1958). He married Laura Innes Foster at Northam, Devon, in 1932 and became chairman of the public listed company Revertex - a post he held in 1949 - and later the deputy chairman of the Public Works Loan Board. He had three daughters and one, Valerie Helen Scott married Sir William James Lithgow, chairman of Lithgows, the Clydeside shipbuilding group, in January 1964 - and tragically died in August of the same year - the death attracting national press coverage.

January 2002

Lynda Fase (lynda @t fase.freeserve.co.uk)  followed up the above information and posted her findings:

This is mainly to thank you very much for all the invaluable information you sent me about the Scotts and Oster Hills. It confirmed several hunches and gave me a lot of new leads. I went to St Albans and finally discovered the house in the grounds of the hospital. Armed with maps and the descriptions on the advertisements you kindly posted, I was expecting just to be visiting the site, as I'd always assumed the house no longer existed - so I was delighted to find that it's actually still there! I also went to the library and read about the bankruptcy and was again very interested to find out that there were even criminal proceedings taken against William Scott, which led to him being sentenced to four weeks in prison (without hard labour!). He still appeared to be living at Oster Hills when he was arrested in St Albans in February 1893, so I don't know what happened about the advertised sale in the previous year - though there was some mention of his brother-in-law holding the lease. He is not listed in the directory for 1893, and then in 1894 there is , not surprisingly, a new occupant. It all must have been a terrible scandal, and a shock to the family.

It seems quite surprising that Cecil stayed in the town and eventually married Lizzie Reynolds. I also found him on the guest list at the wedding of your ancestor Harry -where Lizzie was bridesmaid of course. I couldn't find the cricket reference, but I found some Scott boys winning academic prizes at the grammar school in 1870. There were so many of them in fact that I imagine they weren't all of this particular family. My William Scott junior would only have been nine or ten at the time but I guess the P Scott (who came second in Latin to a Murrell) could have been his elder brother Percy. I'd need to find out more about the ages that boys attended the school and how they numbered the classes. My next task is to find the 'Mr Smith' who, according to the criminal proceedings, married William Scott's daughter - presumably Clara. Apparently he died in the late 1880's, leaving an insurance policy with William Scott as one of the trustees - and William invested the money somewhat dubiously in his own business. The wedding does not appear to have been at St Michaels, so I have no clues to follow. 

I decided to check the British Vital Records CD to see if the Smith/Scott marriage was listed and found the following item, from just before the 1851 census - possibly relating to the previous generation.

WHISTONE, Benjamin Marriage Wife: Clara Betsey SCOTT
Marriage Date: 25 Mar 1851 Recorded in: Saint Michael, Saint Albans
Husband's Father: John WHISTONE
Wife's Father: Abraham SCOTT
Source: FHL Number 1040818 Dates: 1837-1895

Lynda Fase (lynda @t fase.freeserve.co.uk)  continued Anyway, thank you very much again for your help. I just have a question about the index to the Herts Advertiser that you are using. Is it one that is publicly available?

The index is based on searches of the newspaper microfilms for information on Bernards Heath, and adjacent properties, people, etc., of interest. Between 1858 and 1900 I have probably scanned an average of 25% of the papers - and of this I still have about 200 pages of photocopies to index. In about a quarter of the cases I have also indexed news items relating to St Albans on the same photocopy of items of interest. Because the index is several hundred pages long and is still actively being created it is not really in a form suitable for publication.

Lynda Fase (lynda @t fase.freeserve.co.uk)   adds some very useful new facts: Her message reads: Thank you again for your input. Yes - that marriage (of William Scott's sister, Clara) was the one that alerted me to the fact that the family's residence in St Albans pre-dated the arrival of William Scott himself in the later 1850's.  Just in case anyone is interested I should say that Benjamin 'Whistone' is actually 'Winstone'. He was the brother-in-law who stood bail for William Scott during his troubles with the law, and possibly acquired the lease of Osterhills at that time too. He could well afford to do all this as he was an industrialist who left 150,000 at the time of his own death in 1907. I don't think he had any connection with St Albans, however, - his business and the Scotts' were in the same part of London. Benjamin, in fact, is responsible for several publications on the local history of Epping.

I have discovered that William Scott's father Abraham died in 1849, having made a very uninformative will twelve years before, which obviously made no mention of Oster Hills or St Albans. William's mother Elizabeth died in St Leonards on Sea in 1877, and since she was never present at Oster Hills for the censuses after 1851, I assume she and her daughters vacated the house when William moved in. With my increased knowledge of William I had another look at the GRO indexes for his death, and think the most likely is one in Hastings in 1894, which would mean that there may have been somebody in St Leonards to offer him a home after he had served his prison sentence.

Regarding the daughter who married a Smith, I realised recently that I had not actually looked at the 1861 census entry for Oster Hills. I did so and discovered a third daughter, Marion. I also found a St Albans marriage in 1880 for a Marion Scott, on the free BMD site (yet another thing which your site has led me to - thank you).

Unfortunately only one male entry is listed for that page (not a Smith). I will look in the records for the other St Albans churches when I next get the chance, but if your Vital Records CD is able to give any information I would certainly appreciate it. 

Thank you again, and all the best with everything 

I am afraid the Vital Records CD cannot help with this one.

March 2003

Lynda Fase (lynda @t fase.freeserve.co.uk)   adds: Further to the information about William Scott of Oster Hills, I have finally found out that his daughter Marion (whose insurance policy was mentioned in the court case against William) was married to the Reverend Henry Smith of Christ Church, Verulam Road. They were living at the vicarage there in 1881, shortly after their marriage, and at that time she was 28 and he 56 (I have seen this from the index on familysearch only). In 1901 she was still living in St Albans 'on own means' (again only seen from the index - but I will look at the full entry when I have four other requests to make up the 5!)  I can't find any information online about the history of Christ Church, except the fact that the building of that time is now an office block, so I just wondered whether you have any references at all to the Reverend Henry Smith or his wife. The parish registers only seem to run from 1859, so I'm guessing it was a new church then.

In fact Verulam Road is a "new" road, having been opened in 1827 as a bypass to St Michaels and Fishpool Street. The following comes from the Kelly's Directory for Hertfordshire of 1882:

Christ Church is an ecclesiastical parish, formed in 1859, out of the parishes of St Alban and St Michael. The church in Verulam Road, was partly built in 1847 by the late Alexander Raphael, esq., MP for St Albans, for a Catholic church and left in an unfinished state: at his decease it was sold to Mrs Isabella Worley, of New Barns, in the parish of St Peter, who completed it in 1856 as a Protestant church, with residence for incumbent and schools, at a total cost of 11,500; the building is in the Lombardic style, built of white brick and Bath stone and consists of chancel, nave, aisles and a campanile at the west end containing one bell; the church is endowed with 2,800 3 percent Consols and the pew rents, amounting together to about 135 per annum, besides annual grants from Queen Anne's Bounty and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The Register dates from the year 1859. The living is a perpetual curacy, yearly value 167, in the gift of Mrs Worley and held by the Rev Henry Smith M,A, of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.

A School Board consisting of seven members was formed in 1878.

There are a small number of trivial passing reference to the Rev H Smith on my newspaper files, concerned with his routine activities as a minister. He was still listed as minister in the 1886 Kelly's Directory, but the Rev Edward Cumming Ince was at the church in the 1890 directory.

August 2005

John Hutchins (jhutchins @t wise.net.nz) of New Zealand writes: I came across your Web Site by chance and saw that a Lynda Fase had posted you a question which you so obligingly replied to. You highlighted the 1881 Census information relevant to Oster Hills, St Albans. One of the entries was a Catherine Whaley, widow, 58, visitor, born Oxford.

Well without wanting to bog you down with detail Chris, I'm connected to the Whaley Tree and I believe that the Catherine Whaley noted in this Census result could very well be the "missing link" that our research has taken us to. The Abraham Scott that owned Oster Hill was a jeweller in London, with a company known as Scott & Co Jewellers. His sons worked for him as did one of my relatives, Henry John Whaley. We also know that William Drummond Whaley, HJ 's brother joined the Bank of England in 1832 and Abraham along with Samuel Nock, the great Royal gunsmith, were his sponsors, putting up 500 pounds apiece. We concluded that the Scotts and Whaleys must have had family connections, going back so the 1851 entry with Catherine may hold the clue?

William Drummond Whaley's father was William John Whaley and we believe that his father was John Whaley, Silversmith. William John Whaley's wife was a Catherine Whaley?? We haven't any information on Catherine but suspect that perhaps she was a Scott?? Any thoughts?

Lets look at the facts. You indicate that there could be strong business links between the Scott and Whaley families and the 1851 census shows a Catherine Whaley (widow, 58, born Oxford) visiting an Elizabeth Scott (widow, 53, born Oxford) at Oster Hills. There are two young Scott children, described as visitors, who are too young to travel alone.

There are several possible lines of speculation - all of which may be correct.

  1. Assuming the identities are correct there is no reason why the widow of one business associate should not visit the widow of the other business associate on a purely social basis.
  2. As the two widows are of similar age and both born in Oxford, they could be sisters. But what is their maiden name? Were they perhaps daughters of another business associate?
  3. Could the two visiting babes be grandchildren - and if so whose? The fact that they are recorded as "visitor" rather than "grandson" and "granddaughter" suggests they may have been with Catherine Whaley.
  4. If the above is correct - could the two widows both be grandmothers? This would indicate that one of Elizabeth Scott's sons married one of Catherine Whaley's daughters. If point (2) is correct this would indicate a first cousin marriage.

I did a quick check to try and throw some light on the matter by identifying Abraham and Elizabeth Scott's sons. Familysearch gives the following baptisms at St Sepulchre, London. I have highlighted the children that were in St Albans in 1851, and the fit is good.

Born Baptised
ELIZABETH SCOTT   08 MAY 1818
ABRAHAM CHARLES SCOTT 09 AUG 1820
CATHARINE SCOTT 09 AUG 1820
WILLIAM SCOTT 16 MAR 1823
CLARA BETSY SCOTT  25 APR 1825 
WALTER SCOTT 25 APR 1825
AUGUSTUS JOHN SCOTT 15 FEB 1827
EMMA SCOTT   10 DEC 1829
FRANCES MARIA SCOTT 09 JAN 1831 13 JAN 1832
LAURA SCOTT 14 DEC 1832 10 JAN 1833
ALICE LOUISA SCOTT 22 AUG 1835 20 NOV 1837
ELLEN SCOTT 02 SEP 1838 09 OCT 1838

This has turned up a potentially very useful lead. Ellen Scott was not recorded in the 1851 census (so may have died in infancy) but she was born after 30th June 1837. This means that her birth should have been registered - and her birth certificate will reveal her mother's maiden name (and perhaps, indirectly, Mrs Catherine Whaley's maiden name).

In addition the birth certificates of either of the infants listed in the 1851 census will give their parents' names (including their mother's name) and this could establish whether their parents were Scott/Whaley cousins.

It would be nice to know it the situation recorded in the census was that Granny Whaley took her grandchildren to her sister's house in St Albans to see their Granny Scott! Tell me if you are able to prove this.

November 2005

Forget the theory - Lynda Fase (lynda @t fase.freeserve.co.uk)  puts me right saying:  I don't know if John Hutchins has got back to you about the two children staying with Elizabeth Scott in 1851, but I'm afraid I don't think they are Catherine Whaley's grandchildren. They are the children of Elizabeth's eldest son Abraham Charles Scott and his wife Emily (whose maiden name I don't know, I must admit). Those are the children, I imagine, who had to be bought out of the business when their father, William's business partner,died - thus leaving William in unfortunate financial circumstances. Arthur rather surprisingly became a farmer in Worcestershire and Walter I think worked with his father as an East India merchant. I think their visit to the Scott's house must have had something to do with the fact that their aunt Clara Betsy had got married at St Michaels Church about a week before the census (25/3/1851) and perhaps their parents had left them there for a little holiday. That would perhaps have been the reason for Catherine Whaley being there as well. As I have told John, my view of the Whaley/Scott family connection is that Elizabeth Scott and Catherine Whaley were indeed sisters, and that Catherine Scott, Elizabeth's first or second daughter, did marry her first cousin, and thus became a second Catherine Whaley. This fits all the later census information and family relationships given in wills. Henry John Whaley's wedding was in 1844, but unfortunately FreeBMD only lists three of the four possible brides, none of which is Catherine Scott. I'm not sure whether John has seen the actual certificate or register entry, but he also seems to believe that Catherine was involved.

What interests me most about all this is the opportunity to find out Elizabeth Scott's maiden name. It's been a missing link for me for a long time, and I really don't know why I didn't think of Ellen's birth certificate before - thank you very much for the suggestion. I imagine Ellen did die young as I have found no other mention of her anywhere.

Incidentally, there seems to be a discrepancy between Familysearch and the the old IGI fiches/original registers. My notes about the Scott children's baptisms were taken from the latter, and I have Catherine and Elizabeth as being baptised together in 1818, rather than Catherine and Charles in 1820 - which is why I have never known which of the two girls was the eldest.  
.
I stand corrected. The 1861 census shows both Walter and Arthur living with their parents Abraham C Scott and Emily and two sisters, in Jackman Lane, Hornsey. [BUT SEE BELOW]

June 2010

Ruth Roberts (ruthroberts123 @t gmail.com) of Pembrokeshire writes: I was looking for the Walter Scott who was born in 1849 with a father Abraham Charles Scott born in 1821 and found your web page. I wondered if you knew that Walter married Alice May Startin (from my husbands tree). Walter and Alice May Scott had, among others, a son Francis Winstone Scott born in 1882 at Hendon.  He married Ernestine Hester Maud Bowes Lyon in 1910 - first cousin to the Queen Mother. Ernestine had two children - but then ran off with a French Baron - Ronald Charles Grant - 10th Baron de Longueuil

It is very likely that the Abraham Charles Scott mentioned above is the one you are looking for - and the two year old Walter Scott listed above as being a visitor in St Albans in 1851 is probably your Walter.

However FreeBMD records that 32 Walter Scott births were registered in 1848/9 - including three registered in Islington. In these circumstances one has to be careful to check whether we have the right one - See Right Name, Wrong Body?. However there is a problem with the 1851 census. There is a 2 year old Walter Scott living with his father Abraham in Islington - so how could he be the 2 year old Walter staying in St Albans? In a few cases someone away from home for a few days over census night gets recorded where they were staying - and also gets recorded incorrectly as being at home, because they were at home at the time the form was completed. My assumption is that double recording did happen in this case

As neither Abraham Charles Scott, or your Walter Scott, appear to have any significant connection with Hertfordshire I will not be following your line further - but am contacting the others interested in the family who might like to exchange information with you.

There is a web page for St Albans

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

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Page updated November 2005