PETTIT, Widford/Hunsdon (Chapel), 1895-1950

February 2002

Shirley Pettit of Morley St Peter, Wymondham, Norfolk asks: Do you know if the records for the Widford & Hunsdon Union Chapel still exist and where they are likely to be deposited if at all?  I believe the Chapel was Congregationalist but I couldn't find it in a book called My Ancestors Were ........  I have been informed that the Chapel is now a private house.  I checked with Herts RO with regard to these records a number of years ago and they had never heard of the Chapel unfortunately.  I have been told that my Pettit great great grandparents are buried in the Chapel grounds along with at least one of their daughters and other members of the family.

A check of the 1882 Kelly's Directory for Hertfordshire, the 1903 Little Guide for Hertfordshire and several more recent books describing Hertfordshire - such as the one by Arthur Mee - failed to reveal any mention of the chapel or the Pettit family. There is nothing about the chapel at GENUKI. However a look at the 1883 large scale ordnance survey map online shows a "Congregational Chapel" on the road from Widford to Hunsdon and a check on a modern road map (try Multimap) shows a Chapel House in the same position. Possible sources of information:

The current occupiers of the house will presumably know something of its history - and may be very knowledgeable. They may know where any records are. There could still be gravestones in the garden!

If there is a Local History Society they may well be able to help. The Herts County Council have an online data base of organisations which might be worth searching.

Many Congregational congregations joined the United Reform Church and enquiries at the nearest United Reform congregation could turn up something. There may be some central depository for the records for closed chapels.

As 1950 is within living memory a letter asking for information in a local newspaper could turn up something. A visit to the area and a chat in the local pub, or in the village shop, might be equally productive.

The local district and/or county council may well have information on the planning permission to convert the chapel to domestic accommodation and there was probably some restrictions relating to any graves.

It is worth trying to contact HALS again - as something may have been deposited since your first enquiry.

Try searching the web with a search engine such as as you never know what this will turn up among the dross that litters the world wide web!

Let me know if any of the above turn up the goods.

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

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