CHILD, Leverstock Green, mainly 19th century

August 2002

 Helen Westerman (twest @t wrote to Barbara Chapman of the Leverstock Green Chronicle saying I live in Australia and am tracing my ancestors which came from Leverstock Green, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.  The family I am researching is the CHILD family.  So far I have gone back to 1795 with the birth of Obadiah Child.  I am the eighth generation descended from him.  I am desperately trying to find anyone who may be able to help me with my English research or even any English cousins which may be around there.  I know the family was still there in 1881 as Simeon, a child of Obadiah and Anna Child, was mentioned in the 1881 Census.  Can you help me?

Barbara responded by quoting extensive information from the Leverstock Green Chronicle and I reproduce it below, with permission, and minor formatting edits, as an illustration of the extensive information available from this important source.


In addition to the Chronicle extracts below I have also quickly checked in the Militia lists and the monumental inscriptions for the parishes of Abbots Langley/Hemel Hempstead/St. Michaels/& Leverstock Green (only after 1850).

The only mentions in the monumental inscriptions are as follows:

St. Lawrence, Abbot Obediah was the second person to be buried at Holy Trinity.  although No 4 on hte Burial register 1 & 2 were blank.  I have copies of the 1850-1899 burial registers (rest at HALS) and they give me the following (NB dates are dates of Burial not death):

12/05/1865 CHILD ANNA aged 73 reg no: 233 aged 73 Leverstock Green (LG) by Robt Helme

31/08/1865 CHILD ANNA (Anna Rebecca) aged 16 months reg. no 187 LG by Fred. Cox

09/1/1887 CHILD HARRIET ( Harriet Fanny) aged 11 years reg no 472 LG by G Finch, Vicar

08/01/1861 CHILD MARY ANN infant reg. no 115 LG by C J Frampton

16/04/1850 CHILD OBADIAH aged 54 register no 4 LG by R Richardson, Incumbent

Abbots Langley:

    Elizabeth CHILD d. 19 August aged 78

Holy Trinity LG:

CHILDS Mary M (beloved wife of Reg) who was taken Nov 13th 1962 aged 40 years

CHILDS Arthur fell asleep Feb 14 1965 aged 78

CHILD Rebecca who fell asleep April 24th 1910 aged 77 years/also of John CHILD husband of the above died Oct 11th 1911 aged 84 years

CHILD Jane who died Feb 17 1943 aged 76 years/also William Charles CHILD her brother who died May 24th 1943 aged 86 years

CHILD Mr Obadiah who died April 11th 1850 aged 5(4)? years/also Anna wife of the above who died May 7th 1869 aged 73 years

CHILD Harriet Fanny died Nov 8th 187 aged 11 years & 3 months

T CHILDS was also mentioned on the war memorial as having died during the 1914-18 war (see page on the LGChronicle20 site on those who served during WW1.

Only the militia lists for St. Michaels and Abbots Langley drew any answers as follows:

St. Michaels;

Abbots Langley:

The 1851 Census gives us the following information:

Schedule no 49 for Leverstock Green Chapelry within St. Michaels parish St. Albans:

From its juxtaposition with other entries and the address being given as Leverstock Green I assume they lived in one of the properties in the centre of the village between The Leather bottle & The White Horse.

(From the above I think we can deduce that John Child aged 23 in 1851 is the same JC who died aged 84 in 1911 and from the texts we know it was his son WC who later became wheelwright/parish clerk etc.)


18th Century:

Known Licensees and/or owners of The Leather Bottle Public House were Jeremiah Pope, Benjamin Child. [S52; S240];

1786-1790 - The Leather Bottle Public House was known to have been kept by Jeremiah Pope, and was in all probability owned by Benjamin Child.

19th Century:

Associated with The Red Lion was Obadiah Child

1826-1828 - Obadiah Child was the Licensee of The Red Lion. [S240]

July 1828 - At the Court Baron of Gorhambury etc. the widow of John Hudson testified that she had conveyed the copyhold of the Meads to Edmond Fearnley Whittingstall and Simon Child. Whittingstall paid £167 10/- for the copyhold. [HALS 1M78A]

1860 - Kelly’s Directory of Hertfordshire for this year gives quite a lot of information about Leverstock Green. The entries are generally under the main entry for Abbots Langley, although one or two individual entries are made under various commercial headings, but not included in the Abbots Langley entry.

It tells us that there were four public houses: The Leather Bottle, whose proprietor was W. Wingrave. He was also listed as being the village butcher. Did you go to the pub to buy your meat I wonder? The Masons Arms. proprietor Jason Dell; The Red Lion, proprietor William Ward, and The Rose and Crown, proprietor Henry Seabrook. In addition several others were listed as beer retailers: William Cormack, George Dell, Edward Rawson and Thomas Hosier.

The principal residents of Leverstock Green were considered to be the Rev. Robert Helme. M.A. (Vicar of Leverstock Green), Mrs. Key, who lived at Chambersbury House, and the Rev. Thomas Orchard, the Baptist minister.

There were two brick and tile makers listed. (By this I assume they mean proprietors of firms making bricks and tiles, as there were presumably many more labourers in the industry.) These were D. Norris and son of Leverstock Green, and J. Pratt of Bennett’s End (yes, this is how the directory spelt it!)

There was a National School for both boys and girls, run by Miss Helen Purvis.

There was a post office, with John Child as the receiver. Letters arrived from Hemel Hempstead at 8 a.m. and were dispatched at 6.15.p.m. As I understand it you would collect your mail in person from the receiver rather than having it delivered to the door. John Child was also listed as being a wheelwright.

1870 - The Kelly’s Directory for Hertfordshire this year gives Leverstock Green its own entry: the village had gone up in the world! This is was it had to say about the village:

Leverstock Green is a consolidated chapelry and ecclesiastical district formed from the three parishes of St. Michael's. Abbots Langley and Hemel Hempstead, 2 and a half miles east from the latter town, and 4 and a half from St. Albans, in Dacorum hundred, St. Albans County Court district, St. Albans rural deanery and archdeaconry, and diocese of Rochester. The church of the Holy Trinity, erected in 1848, is a neat building of flint stone, consisting of nave, aisles, chancel and south porch, with a bell-turret at the west end containing 2 small bells: the interior is fitted with open benches. The register dates from the year 1848. The living, is a vicarage, yearly value £95, with residences, in the gift of the Earl of Verulam, and held by the Rev. Robert Helme, M.A. of Trinity College Cambridge. There is a National School erected in 1846, and enlarged in 1857; also a Baptist chapel. The Earl of Verulam, who is lord of the manor, and John Dickinson esq., are the principal landowners. The soil is chalk; subsoil chalk. The chief crops are wheat, barley, oats and turnips. The population of the chapelry in 1861 was 1.247. The position of Parish Clerk is vacant.

POST OFFICE. - John Child, sub-postmaster. ……. but John Child still combined his office with that of wheelwright. However, the village would now appear to support two wheelwrights. Perhaps Mr. Child found he needed a partner.

March 1876 - The school logbook listed the following 50 pupils at the school for their exam schedule:

Ashwell A., Ashwell A., Ashwell E., Ashwell L., Atkins A., Atkins H., Child A., Child J., Child E.,……..

1878 - ………………

- Kelly’s Directory for this year gives much the same information on Leverstock Green as it had in 1860………………….

There had been a new vicar installed, the Rev. George Finch, and the post of Parish Clerk had been filled by John Child, who was also the village sub-postmaster and wheelwright. There was a new schoolmistress, Miss

1882 - Kelly’s Directory for this year again gives plenty of information on the village. Initially the comments are the same as 1870 and 1878, but it is noted that "there are memorial windows in the chancel to the Rev. Edward Waring Oswell, 1853."

Kelly’s Directory also gives us more information about the village school saying it was erected in 1875 for 110 children. (I feel the date was a misprint, intending to give the date 1857, when it had been enlarged. This error continues in subsequent editions.) It was reported that the average attendance was 86 and that it was supported by voluntary contributions. Miss Florence C. Tisoe was still the schoolmistress.

John Child still held his positions as Parish Clerk, sub-postmaster and wheelwright, with William Stow to help him in the latter capacity.

January 31st 1882 -Jane Child, daughter of the Parish Clerk John Child, took up her duties as Pupil Teacher at the village school. [S73]

1886 - Kelly’s Directory for this year again gives much the same information as before, (1860,1870,1878,1872) but interestingly adds that the church has 404 sittings, of which 350 are free. I take this to mean that the majority of the pews (the 350) could be used by anyone, as they didn't pay for the privilege of a special pew. It also added that the "living is a vicarage with a tithe rent charge of £42", with a "net yearly value of £260, including 3 acres of glebe, with residence, in the gift of trustees."

John Child still holds his positions as Parish Clerk and sub-postmaster, and has been joined by his son in his wheelwrights business. His son Charles William is also interestingly a noted bee expert. Although there is a sub-post office in Leverstock Green, the nearest money order and telegraph office is in Hemel Hempstead.

A new name was added to the elite private residents, that of William Davies of Chambersbury Cottage. He is also listed as having taken over North End Farm from George Snoxall, who appears to have become licensee of the Rose and Crown. As well as William Davies at North End Farm, there have been several other additions to the farming world. Edward Ashwell is listed as running Well Farm, and Hay. Haydon is at Bennetts End Farm. Daniel Howe, William Woodward and William Perry had joined the ranks of farmers, while Matthew Leno of Cox Pond Farm has widened his scope to include poultry and pheasant breeding. The latter seems to be a growing industry, along with poultry dealing; the local dealer being Charles Moorcroft who had previously been a beer retailer.

. Joseph Bailey, Jane Finch and Joseph Smith still farm as before. Hay dealing has declined slightly, with only William Cooper and Reuben Seabrook listed as dealers. Reuben was now also dealing in straw, no doubt supplying straw for the local cottage industry of straw plaiting. (Early school logbooks show that children were expected to plait straw at home, before and after school, and sometimes the children plaited straw while sitting round the open fires in the school during oral lessons.) [S36 p.108] The schoolmistress was now Miss M. Jones, and the average attendance by the children numbering 115, a considerable increase on 1882.

Brick and tile manufacture was still important with Thomas Doult still at Bennetts End, and Robert R. Norris having presumably taken over from his father Daniel at the other works.

Despite the apparent fall in population, there was a wider selection of trades in Leverstock Green than before. There was now a bee expert (William Child),

1890. - As with earlier entries. Leverstock Green had a substantial section in Kelly’s Directory for this year. The general information given was the same, saving that it mentioned that Boxmoor Station, on the London and North Western Railway, was the nearest station. (It had been there since 1838. [S1])

John Child continued to be employed as sub-postmaster and Parish Clerk, as well as running his own wheelwrights business along with his son

1898 - The entry in Kelly's Directory for this year was virtually unchanged, except in that the net yearly value of the living at Holy Trinity was £259 - down £1 - and there was no mention of any tithe rents. John Dickinson had sadly died, and now his son Thomas, was, along with the Earl of Verulam a principal landowner in the area. The saddest news contained in the directory was that John Child had died and was therefore no longer the Parish Clerk, sub-postmaster and wheelwright.

June 28th 1899 - The funeral of the late Rev. George Finch took place at Holy Trinity. The village school was closed for the day as a mark of respect. The Gazette reported very fully on the funerals noting that:

"Never, perhaps, was a more imposing and impressive scene witnessed at Leverstock Green than on the occasion of the funeral of the late Rev. George Finch, on Wednesday afternoon. Representatives from all the public bodies and institutions with which the rev. gentleman had been connected were present, together with a large number of friends and acquaintances from the surrounding neighbourhood, whilst the residents of Leverstock Green itself, judging by those present, had turned out en masse to pay their respects to one who had ministered to them for so many years. Punctually at half past three o’clock the funeral cortege reached the entrance of the Churchyard. The coffin having been borne from the Vicarage upon a hand bier, under the superintendence of Mr. White of Hemel Hempstead the undertaker. It was met at the gate by the Rev. H.J.Glennie (nephew and Godson of the deceased and vicar of Holbeck Leeds) who took the service assisted by the Rev. H.T. Wood (Rector of Aldbury and cousin to Mrs.. Finch) who read the lesson. As the funeral cortege preceded by the surpliced choir, under the direction of Mr. T. H. Ford (choirmaster) entered the church, "O rest in the Lord" was played by Mr. W. Child - the organist.

27th April 1901 - The new vicar of Leverstock Green, the Rev. Arthur Durrant, was obviously causing changes at Holy Trinity which some found unacceptable. The following was reported in the Gazette with further acrimony to follow at the Vestry for 1902 (see entry for 5th April 1902):



At the recent vestry meeting at Leverstock Green the Vicar, Rev A Durrant caused some surprise by stating that he had decided to make a change in his warden for the year. Mr. Davis had not always agreed with him, and thinking a little new blood would be beneficial, he nominated Mr. Arthur Seabrook. Several spoke of Mr. Davis’ abilities, and Mr. Hart, the Parish Warden resigning; Mr. Davis was elected in his place after a heated discussion. Another point argued was whether the organist (Mr. W C Child) was appointed annually. Mr. Davis contending that he was while Mr. Child considered that he was not.

Subsequently a representative of the Herts Standard was informed that the vicar and Mr. Davis did not agree because of the former’s high church views. Mr. Davis he found very much aggrieved on the subject. He said he had been Parish or Vicar’s Warden for 45 years and he thought he had been treated very shabbily by the Vicar in being thrown over by him in the way he was. Mr. Davis did not hesitate to charge the vicar with having Romanizing tendencies. Asked what he took exception to in the service, Mr. Davis said the vicar had introduced processional hymns, and bowed to the altar before he went into pulpit, and on other occasions, and that he had lighted candles on the alter at the early celebration of Holy Communion. "He doesn’t do it at the other services, went on Mr. Davis, " because he knows I should blow them out if he did." He stated that he came into office the same year as the old vicar, The Rev. Finch, and had always agreed with him, and had never had a difference of opinion with the Vicar until Mr. Durrant came and introduced some new forms in the services. "I know its the tendency now" he went on, but I am an old man, and have been used to the old fashioned ways, and I don’t like the other." He was taken aback when the Vicar appointed Mr. Seabrook as his warden, and thought it was hard to be thrown out after all the service he had done and with the church owing him £18.

The vicar told the journalist that the proceedings at the Vestry on the day in question were exceedingly dull, in fact more than usually so. He appointed Mr. Seabrook as his warden as he had a right to do, and did not see why he should give any reason for his change.

1902 -

The first entry in Kelly's Directory for the new century was much the same as in previous years………………………

The full commercial listings includes the following:

5th April 1902 - for the second year running, the Gazette published details of arguments taking place at the annual vestry meeting.


To have been held on Monday in the Vestry room, but owing to an unusual number of parishioners congregating it was adjourned to the schoolroom. There were present Messrs. Jos. Bailey, J K Hart, W Davis, A Seabrook, (churchwardens) W C Child………………. When silence was again restored, the chairman asked them to elect a warden for the parish. Mr. Goodenough proposed Mr. GH Dell, Mr. Sears seconded. Mr. Bailey (Chambersbury) proposed Mr. W C Child, This was seconded by Mr. W S Cook, The chairman having put names to the meeting, a show of hands was taken and Mr. W C Childs was elected. Mr. Child briefly thanked the vestry for his election.

Friday February 3rd 1905 - A concert, one of a series, was given in Leverstock Green Schoolroom. The following report, followed by a list of the program appeared in the Gazette the following day:



On Friday evening a highly successful entertainment was given in the schoolroom. Mr.. W.C. Child presided.




January 30th 1907 - In what was probably the equivalent of a present day radio or television party-political broadcast, a mixed concert and political meeting was held in the schoolroom. The Hemel Hempstead Gazette of February 2nd gave a great deal of space to the event heading it with:









The initial paragraph in the paper read as follows:

"There was a large and enthusiastic audience in the schoolroom at Leverstock Green on Wednesday evening of last week on the occasion of a political meeting and concert, successfully organised by Hemel Hempstead, Boxmoor and District Conservative and Unionist Association; the local arrangements being made by Messrs T H Ford, W. Dell, A. Searle and W. Seabrook assisted by a contingent from Boxmoor."

Following the national anthem a lengthy speech was given by Mr.. Carlisle, which was reported almost verbatim in the Gazette. Mr.. Mitchell Innes’s speech was also reported in great detail. Finally the Gazette concluded its article:

"Mr.. W.C. Child proposed a vote of thanks to the Chairman and a similar compliment was passed to the contributors to the musical proportion of the programme.


1910 - Few changes had been made in the basic information given in Kelly's directory for this year, although for the first time it did mention that Hemel Hempstead Station, the terminus of a branch of the Midland Railway (called locally the Nicky Line) was 2.5 miles to the N.W. Arthur Evans was now the principal landowner in place of the Dickinson family, along with the Earl of Verulam. George Dogget, James Hallett, Constable Huckle and Mr. & Mrs. Ford all still held their places in Leverstock Green Society. Average attendance at the Elementary School was 116.

Some building had gone on in the village, and this was reflected in the increase in the numbers of principal residents listed, although not all were in new residences:

Monday 4th January 1915: Another different Slate Club Gathering was reported:


Mr. Halliday presided at a meeting held at the Red Lion in Leverstock Green on Monday evening to consider the advisability of restarting the Hand in Hand Slate Club. After some little discussion it was decided to hold the club again this year. The business being concluded a smoking concert took place, where songs were contributed by Messers Halliday, J Seabrook, H Child,

Saturday 31st May 1919 - There was a presentation in the village, reported the following week as follows: -

"On Saturday 31st May a presentation was made to Mr.. W.C. Child as an appreciation of his good work in the parish of Holy Trinity, Leverstock Green, as Sunday School teacher, people’s warden, and organist for many years. The presentation took the form of a gold watch, with inscription, and an illuminated address, with list of subscribers as follows:


1933 - Kelley's Directory once more shows how life in the village was beginning to come into the twentieth century. The list of private residents was increasing ( that is the better off members of the community who wished to be entered into the directory). For the most part the new building going on in the village was of individual reasonable sized dwellings which were given individual names. House numbers didn't generally appear in such a rural location for another few years.

Beer retailing had dwindled to 4 persons, plus Arthur Seabrook at the Leather Bottle. Farming was still the chief occupation in the commercial sector. A new category of farmer - the small holder had appeared in the village with the entry of Joseph Rance, a smallholder of 3 Cox Pond. His daughter, Ivy Durrant kindly let me interview her in 1995. At 82, she remembered well that they moved into the cottages when newly built. Another new entry had appeared, that of a filling station, the internal combustion engine had obviously found its way to Leverstock Green, although the more traditional crafts of the smith and the wheelwright were still present.

The post office would appear to have altered its status, and was now billed as a T. & T.E.D. office (whatever that may mean) The nearest money order office was now noted as being in Hemel Hempstead.

Although no mention was made of them, the village still had its own constable and teachers, now working at the new school in Pancake Lane. Three new professionals entered the scene, a doctor (Bachelor of Medicine), the district nurse (Miss Hendry) and a home tutor for the blind. (Miss Kyrke-Penson) The  list includes the following entries:

March 2003

Peter Child (peter_child @t writes:  In regard to Helen Westman's enquiry of the CHILD family around Leverstock Green, I found Obadiah Child listed as born 30 October 1795, Christened 20 December 1795 at Hemel Hempstead.  His Father and Mother were Charles & Frances Child. The only Charles and Frances Child found for Hemel Hempstead had the additional family listed as follows:

Charles CHILD born approx 1767 H.H.
Frances CHILD born approx 1771 H.H.

Mary Ann CHILD born 12 March 1793 H.H.
Sarah CHILD born 31 July 1794 H.H.
Elizabeth CHILD born 05 October 1798 H.H.
Mary CHILD born 16 July 1802 H.H.

Simeon, Obadiah's son was a wheelwright, a trade carried out by most Child's in Leverstock Green.  He moved to Water End Moor, Great Gaddesden, Herts.

Helen may well find this useful. Would I be correct that the information is unverified data from the IGI at familysearch?  as the "approx" entries appear to be the kind of unsubstantiated guesses which confuses many beginners - see The Limits of familysearch.

May 2007

Peter Child (peter_child @t added the following information:

Reference Charles and Frances Child, I can advise that according to the Allen Index Data Base at Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS) the following marriage is recorded.1792 May 28 Kings Langley Charles CHILD married Frances YEOMANS.

On the list for registered marriages for males named CHILD in Hertfordshire up to the late 1800s there is one listing for an Obadiah CHILD dated 1821 July 30 St. Albans St. Peters married Anna Norris.

There is also only one listing for Simeon CHILD dated 1831 February 15 St. Albans St. Michael married Lettia DEACON

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


Page updated June 2007