Hertfordshire Genealogy

Answers to Questions


MARGRAVE, Hitchin, circa 1880

April, 2005




Karen Davies (bushrange @t westnet.com.au) of Western Australia, writes: According to my grandmother's birth certificate, Isabella Susan Margrave was born 2nd Sept 1880 at The Cricketers, Ickleford Road, Hitchin. Her father's occupation was Oilman & Beerhouse Keeper. Could you please tell me about 'The Cricketers' - I wondered if it might be a pub? In the 1881 census Isabella aged 7mths is with her family & the address for their dwelling: Cricketers Rd.

In order to comment in detail, and allow others lookong at this answer to follow the plot, I quote the entry from the  1881 census, relating to the family in "Cricketers Road"

William Margrave Head 25 Master Builder & Beer House K & Labourer Ley Green, Kings Walden
Mary Ann Margrave Wife 24   Hatfield
Eliz. Pheobe C Margrave Daughter 1   Sandridge
Isabella Susan Margrave Daughter 7m   Hitchin

If one looks at the neighbours on the transcript one finds that the households listed before it are all in Ickleford Road, and there appear to be no other houses in "Cricketers Road" - and it may be that the Enumerator should have written "Cricketers, Ickleford Road".

A general point next. Most towns and villages contained many small houses where, in effect, the family income was supplemented by selling beer, and this would appear to be the case here. They mainly catered for the local population, while the inns would have provided accommodation and probably stabling for horses. While these beer houses would normally have a sign, trade directories often did not record the name of the "pub", but simply the licensee. Later in the 19th century many of these became tied houses, selling the beer of a particular brewery. The evidence of the birth certificate and the census return suggests that William Margrave kept a normal beer house.

A look in the "bible" for the older pubs still open in 1995 is Hertfordshire Inns & Public Houses. This shows that at one time there were two places called "The Cricketers" - and the one occupied by the Margrave's became The Victoria. 1 Ickleford Road. The account reads:

In January 1864 George Hide, a timber carrier and publican at the Woolpack on Starlings Bridge, Hitchin, purchased a piece of land from the British Land Company for the sum of 95. This was on the corner of the newly formed Bunyan's Road and Ickleford Road. Wishing to erect a house on his land, he became indebted to a Hitchin builder, one George Jeeves, for 305 5s. In the bankruptcy court in London in December of that year it was ordered that the house be sold, and in a public auction at the Sun Inn on 1 January 1865, the highest bidder was James Shilcock at 405. It is not clear whether the house was already the Cricketers at that time, but later that year it passed to the Biggleswade Brewery whose estate was sold on 21 February 1898. Among the Hitchin tied houses included in the sale was 'the Victoria (late Cricketers)'

A check of the 1882 Kelly's Directory lists William Margrave as a beer retailer & lamp dealer of Bunyan Road, Hitchin. He was still listed there in 1886 but not 1890.

It would therefore seem that William Margrave became landlord in about 1880, at which time it was known as "The Cricketers" and the property belonging to Biggleswade Brewery. He had left by 1890, and it may be, but I have no evidence for it, that the name changed at about this time.

If you search on www.google.co.uk for the words Victoria Ickleford Hitchin Greene King you will find several references which indicate that it is still open and selling Greene King beer.


Karen Davies (bushrange @t westnet.com.au) responded: Thank you so much for the information about "The Cricketers" in Ickleford Road, Hitchin where my Grandmother Isabella Margrave was born.
Particularly interesting was the account from the Hertfordshire Inns & Public Houses. The name George Hide took my eye as William Margrave's grandmother was a Sarah Hide who married Levi Harris on the 30th June 1806 at St Mary, Hitchin (re:the IGI). Wouldn't it be strange if there is a connection there!! Their daughter Dinah Harris was born Ippollitts, 30th April 1820 & was William Margrave's mother. Dinah married George Margrave in Ippollitts, 8 July 1852.

It could well be that there was a connection as I have other cases where tenant of one property has been succeeded by a cousin. The Hide family clearly kept an interest in beer as the 1866 Post Office Directory shows a Charles Hide at the Post Boy, Bridge Street, Hitchin, and a Thomas Hide as a beer retailer in Bancroft Street.

Also very interesting was William Margrave's occupation as a beer house keeper. Thank you for checking the 1882 Kelly's Directory.
The youngest Margrave child Eveleen was born at "The Cricketers" 28th July 1888 & sometime after that but before young Leonard Margrave was accidentally drowned in Sandridge 1890, William & Mary separated. (They divorced in 1900 - William having deserted the family & Mary Ann remarried James.H.B. Hallen in Jan 1901).
In the 1891 census William Margrave is a plasterer's labourer in Thornhill, London I think I've found Isabella (10) in Hemel Hempstead. Her brother George (5) is a boarder at Icknield Lodge, Ickleford, Hitchin &  I'm still looking for daughters Marianne (9), Eveleen (2) & their mother Mary Ann Margrave in 1891!
I would dearly love a photo of the "Victoria" Ickleford Road, Hitchin which was formerly "The Cricketers" - I wonder if some kind person in the area with a digital camera could email me one?

You're best bet would be to write to the licensee - as if he can't help perhaps one of his regular customers can - someone might even have a 100 year old postcard or photograph they could copy for you. 

See also MARGRAVE, Sandridge/St Albans, 1890 which relates to the death of Isabella's brother, Leonard.

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

Page created April 2005