Vyse Court, Bishops Stortford, 1915

January, 2006



Bishop's Stortford

Sylvia (no current contact details available) writes: My maternal Grandfather married in Liverpool in 1915 and he stated his occupation on the marriage register as butler and his residence as Vyse Court, Bishop's Stortford. None of the maps show this place. Is it a street or House and would it be a working person's home or a big house where he was employed? His name was William Joseph Hayward and his father's name was William Hayward.

The 1914 Kelly's Directory for Hertfordshire (available and searchable online) does not list any place name containing "Vyse" anywhere in Hertford, much less in Bishop's Stortford - so I think we can rule out a any significantly large house. However one cannot rule out a town house which would more normally be addressed by the street number, although the name "Court" might not have been considered sufficiently high class in the context of a long established town.

In fact most older towns in Hertfordshire started either as building round a market place, or a what we might now consider as ribbon development along a major road out of London (providing the equivalent of the motorway service station for those travelling by horse or on foot). Most plots had a comparatively narrow frontage, with an access way to the rear and could be very deep, originally with farm land behind. Over the centuries the rear plots were developed - for example with stables for the inns catering for passing travellers - and often these rear plots ending up as a courtyard with all kinds of working buildings. These were often called "Courts" and would take the name of the Inn, or the shop that fronted onto the road. In many cases they became the urban slums of Victorian times. In some cases the name is variable and it is possible that your "Vyse Court" was a courtyard behind the house or shop which at one time belonged to a Mr Vyse. The name Court was also sometimes also give to a block of apartments.

While there were a number of people called Vyse living in Hertfordshire a quick check has failed to produce anyone connected with Bishops Stortford circa 100 years ago.

HALS may have some information, perhaps electoral rolls or a contemporary town map, but this would mean a visit. The East Herts Borough Council or the Bishops Stortford Local History Society (contact details on Herts County Council web site) may also be able to help. If these draw a blank perhaps someone else will see this page and come up with an answer.

June 2014 - following incorrect advice from a correspondent in 2006 this page incorrectly linked the name "Vyse Court" with another larger house in Windhill. The misleading information has now been deleted.

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