Answers to Questions


POCOCK, O'Connorville, Rickmansworth, 1851

February 2003




Eunice Bray (kgembray @t, of Bournmouth, Dorset, writes: In the current issue of Family History Monthly, no 90, pages 42-45, there is an article on Chartists.  On page 44 there is a list of Chartists in Hertfordshire in 1851 and I am interested in George Pocock, age 64, born Somerset; he is my Gx3 Granduncle and I only have his details up to his birth, he disappears from Somerset.  Is there access to the 1851 Census online as I would love to obtain his details and any descendents he may have had in Herts.  I know there is a huge family of "Pocock" through the ages in Herts but have not been able to link them with my Somerset ones. I would be grateful if you can help me at all.

Unfortunately I have not yet been able to find a copy of the magazine you mention in any local newsagents but I assume that the article relates to Feagus O'Connor (1794-1855 - for much more detail see the Dictionary of National Biography) who advocated peasant proprietorship and founded the National Land Company to buy estates and let plots to subscribers by ballot in 1846. O'Connorville was at Herongate, which was formerly a farm to the west of Rickmansworth. Feagus was pronounced insane in 1852 and died in 1855. I understand the experiment was not a success.

The availability of the Hertfordshire censuses, as far as I know it, is detailed on this site (start by selecting How to ... on the menu). While the 1851 census has been transcribed into a computer data base the files are at the University of Hertford who are reluctant to release them before publication (a situation which has been dragging on for years). Your best bet is to have a look at the microfilm at your nearest LDS Family History Centre (see Familyseach for the address).

June 2003

Extensive information on the project is given in the book The Chartist Land Company.

Heronsgate was brought in 1846, and the person who won plot 18 at Herongate was a James Short. The estate opened in 1847 and James Short was still there in 1848, when the House of Commons appointed a Select Committee to enquire into the affairs of the company. By the time of the 1851 census quite a few of the original occupants had given up the struggle - and George Pocock had taken up residence on Plot 18. A few months later the Company was wound up. Those who wanted to stay, and could afford to take on their plot stayed - while many of the less successful (and hence poorer) had to leave. It is not known when George Pocock left but by 1857 plot 18 was occupied by a Thomas King.

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