Answers to Questions


HUNTER, Bushey & Hertford, late 19th century.

June, 2003





Louis Noel ( @t of Rongotea, New Zealand, writes I wonder if you could possibly confirm if an Elizabeth Hunter was buried in the All Saint's Church Yard, Hertford in July 1886.  She died on the 4th July 1886 at 59 Villiers Road, Bushey, confirmed by a death certificate. She was born in Maidstone, Kent on 22 August 1810 according to an entry in our family Bible. The entry was done by her nephew. In the 1881 census she was at Ware Road, Hertford St John, Hertford.

In a further message he adds: Her Brother John Hunter married a Sarah Earnslaw and had Sarah Rachel Hunter and John Hunter Jnr. These two and John Snr were in Chalk Hill, Bushey, in the 1881 census. Sarah Rachel and John Jnr died at Hertford and are possibly buried at All Saints also. I would like to know a little about Chalk Hill. According to my info the females seem to have never married and when they died still used the name of Hunter.

Another sister (Mary Hunter) is my great great grandmother and married a Louis Noel from France. She lived there until they died and are buried at La Rochelle France

I cannot answer you main question precisely but I can make some comments as to where you might be able to find additional information, and can say a little about Chalk Hill, Bushey.

Unfortunately the most recent information I have on the graves in the churchyard of All Saints, Hertford, are the inscriptions published in Cussans - but as this was published in 1876 Elizabeth clearly is not recorded. In fact there are no Hunters recorded there in 1876 - but this is not significant as I think Cussans selected names from the more expensive monuments in the hope that relatives might buy a copy of his history if their relatives were named in it. A more recent and more comprehensive list of memorials is available from the Hertfordshire Family History Society for a small payment. Of course not everyone had a stone memorial - and even if they did not all have survived. However there should be a record of Elizabeth's burial in the All Saints burial register which I think should be available in New Zealand at your nearest LDS Family History Centre (see familysearch for the address of your nearest centre, and also for the LDS holdings of microfilms).

However there is another source of information that could be helpful. The 1866 Post Office Directory for Hertfordshire (available on CD from archiveCDbooks) shows a Miss Elizabeth Hunter has a ladies school in St Andrews Street, Hertford. This would have been a private school, and examination of the 1861 and/or 1871 census may show her there - and if so you should be able to tell whether she took boarders. As you say the 1881 census places her in Ware Road, Hertford as a Governess (Teacher) and she was apparently well enough off to have a resident domestic servant. The census also shows her brother to be a teacher. What we may well have is an educated elderly spinster, with nephews and nieces, and possibly some money, and this means that there is a chance that she left a will - and if she did, a copy should be obtainable from First Avenue House. It is my experience that, where they exist, wills of unmarried uncles and aunts can be the most informative as they frequently identify all the nephews and nieces, etc.

I assume that she moved from Hertford to Bushey to be near her brother - but I can throw no light on 57 Villers Road. The 1881 census shows some pensioners living in the road - but no numbers are given, and there is no-one called Hunter there in the 1882 or 1886 Kelly's Directory. If the person who registered the death was not a relative the name might allow the household to be identified from the directory and/or the 1881 and 1891 census. It is possible that she needed care and was staying in some kind of lodgings.

As for Chalk Hill, there was a main road into London which ran from Birmingham and beyond, through Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, then Tring, Berkhamsted, Apsley, Kings Langley, Watford and Bushey in Hertfordshire and then into Middlesex and on to London. The portion between Bushey and Aylesbury was the Sparrows Herne Turnpike. As Bushey was on the top of a hill the horse-drawn traffic to London had to climb the steep hill from Watford and the River Colne to get to Bushey, and this hill was known as Chalk Hill. As the traffic descended on the other side it went down Clay Hill. The names almost certainly reflect the geology - and the problems that it caused travellers. Clay Hill is first recorded in 1425, but I have no date for Chalk Hill.

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