MORETON, Colney Heath, before 1830

December, 2005

Peter Day (peterjday @t of St Albans writes: I have traced my ancestors back as far as Ezekiel Lofty Moreton who was born in 1798 in St. Peters, Colney Heath. His parents were William and Mary Moreton. This is known from Quaker records. (HALS - microfilm). Ezekiel also had the births of two of his thirteen children recorded by the Quakers, although Ezekiel's Quaker birth records and those of his children are annotated to the effect that they are not members. Ezekiel Lofty Moreton is very probably named after Ezekiel Lofty, a well known Quaker of South Mimms who had property in Colney Heath.

Of William and Mary I have found out little beyond their names. A notice of a farm sale of the effects of a William Moreton of Colney Heath dated 1830 has been found at
HALS. The sale was "under an execution". Ezekiel Lofty Moreton was informant at the death of a Mary Moreton in 1840 aged 83. She was widow of Thomas Moreton, Gentleman. So Thomas was probably father or brother to William.

I have studied the Quaker microfilms and found no other Moreton references. I have used every online source you can think of including the brilliant IGI batch No site to do a surname search for a parish. I have checked surviving records of local Friendly Societies and the 1832 et seq electoral rolls.

There is a William Moreton who died in Dec 1819 and is buried in the Abbey - I have his will, but he is not "my" William Moreton. There is a record in the Sessions, but it might not be the right one, and in any case gives no real clues.

I'm stumped. Any suggestions as to where to go from here would be very welcome..

A few possibilities you may not have tried which include references to your William Moreton:.

Land Tax returns for St Peter's Parish. - cover 1753-1825 so they could well list your William, which could throw some light on his dates, abode, landlord and value/nature of the property he occupied. (On microfilm at HALS)

Militia Lists. These cover from 1758-1786 for the Sleap & Smallford Ward of St Peters parish - which may be too early - and in any case I have the Herts Family History Society booklet and there are no Moreton's listed. However the Park Ward of St Stephens has references to John and William Moreton (also spelt Moarting, Molton, Mooton, Morton, Moten, Motten or Mouton) between 1758 and 1784 and there may be others in adjoining areas. (HFHS booklet and microfilms at HALS).

Rate Books. "Social Security" was provided by collecting rates, and rate books can provide useful lists of inhabitants, the value of the property they occupied, and sometimes other information. I have just spent some time looking at some from the relevant period for the Abbey Parish, St Albans. You will need to check with HALS to see if any have survived for Sleap & Smallford Ward of St Peters parish. (It is possible that other parish records have survived, such a vestry minutes, so check for these at the same time.

Estate Maps. HALS has a number of manuscript maps of St Peters of relevant date - but I think that some lack the associated book which links the numbered properties to the owner/tenant. Worth checking.

Manor Records. Manor court records can be very useful - especially if the person you are looking for lived in a copyhold property. I am afraid I am don't know which manor would have been involved, or where any surviving manor rolls might be found. (It is almost certainly not relevant but Access to Archives lists three references to Catherine, wife of William Moreton, victualler of Flamstead, from the Court Rolls of Flamstead.)

It is hoped to include tutorial pages relating to the various classes of documents described above early in 2006.

There are web pages for Colney Heath & St Peters.

Several books on Quakers are listed on Books relating to Religion in Hertfordshire

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


Link updated January 2008