Answers to Questions


Old Bakery, High Cross, 19th/20th century

March, 2006



High Cross

Lyndsey Ann Besemer (lyndsey.besemer @t of Cheshunt writes: I lived in the Old Bakery in High Cross in the early 1960's when I was just a toddler and most of which I don't remember. It used to be a bakery with a great big oven in one of the kitchen walls and stabling out in the back for the horses and carts which were used to deliver the bread. My Grandparents lived with us and in later years my Grandmother would tell me stories about the ghost she used to see there. There is now no one alive for me to ask questions about the history, previous occupants etc. of this house. Whenever I come across a book regarding Hertfordshire local history I always look for a reference, but there is never anything. If you do have any knowledge of the house or previous occupants (who was the ghost?) I would be very interested to hear from you.

Many books on Hertfordshire don't even mention High Cross, or only include a short paragraph, while few village histories have much to say about everyday tradesmen and everyday village buildings - particularly in the 20th century. I am therefore not surprised that you have been unsuccessful in finding anything in local history books.

What you need to do is to visit HALS, at Hertford, and look at the trade directories they hold (some are available online) and research the subject for yourself.

I did a quick check of Kelly's Directory for a couple of years. 

More information can be obtained from the censuses. For instance the following information on the baker's family is available from the 1891 census (at HALS or online at Ancestry):

William Wright Head Married 29 Baker Sawbridgeworth
Mary Annie Wright Wife Married 26   Sawbridgeworth
Ellen E Jennings Niece   5   Sawbridgeworth
James Empringham Boarder Single 21 Theological Student Chatteris, Cambs

You should have a great time looking through the old records back to 1841- and HALS may have other information, and perhaps some old photographs or post cards. You will find the Tutorial of help in understanding the census and trade directories,

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

Page created March 2006