Ashby, Bedmond, Early 20th century

April, 2008

Colin Tait (colintait @t of Chesham writes: I am purchasing a house known as Notley Croft on Bedmond Rd. Hertfordshire. I have discovered that the Alice Ashby (born Alice Gentle in 1878) wife of Rueben Ashby died by falling down the well in the garden of the above property. I would like to find out more about this, purely for my own interest as it seems a sad case, particularly as Rueben then went on to marry his cousin.

To find out more you will need to purchase Alice Ashby's death certificate and you can probably find the reference you need on FreeBMD. (If you don't know how, and have difficulties with the online instructions, see the relevant examples in the tutorial). As you don't give a date this may mean searching the death indexes over several years, but at least you know she was born in 1878 and the indexes for the relevant dates includes the age at death.

The nature means that there will have been an inquest - and it would almost certainly have been reported in the press. Bedmond is in an area which has been "fought over" by local newspapers and there are three local papers you could try, once you know the date of death and the date the certificate was signed by the coroner. They are:

I know most older inquest documents within Hertfordshire have not survived - but I can't speak about the early 20th century, Such documentation, if it has survived, may not be available to the public for a period - perhaps 100 years.

When you find the information about the death let me know and I will add details on the web site.


Richard Ashby (richard.ashby @t of Beaconsfield, Bucks, has a major database of information on the Ashby family and has supplied very extensive details relevant to the Ashbys of Notley Croft, which has been forwarded to Colin. The information he provided is given below, and I have limited highlighting to Reuben, Alice and Notley Croft

Reuben Ernest ASHBY (Reuben, Reuben, James, Thomas, Reuben, Richard, Thomas, John, John) was born in 1878. He was killed in a road accident on 17 Jun 1931.
He died intestate and Letters of Administration were granted to his widow Martha Ashby (of Notley Croft, Bedmond, Abbots Langley) and his brother Walter Henry Ashby (of Lakenham, Bedmond, Abbots Langley). His estate was valued at 1,189/11/5d gross and 1,149/7/11d net.

GRO Births/Jun 1878/Watford/3a/450
GRO Deaths/Jun 1931/Watford/3a/938

On the 1881 census, Reuben (aged 3) is staying with his grandfather Reuben at Beacon Farm, Lower Beeding, West Sussex.

Also on the 1881 census, Reuben's mother  Maria, a widow, (aged 35) is a publican and living at The Bell Inn, Bedmond, Abbots Langley, Herts with and his brothers, William (8) a scholar and Walter (3), his sister Maria (1), his grandmother mother Ann Blackwell (69), his uncle Emmanuel Blackwell (30) a gardener and his step-sister Elizabeth Ann Blackwelll (13) pus a lodger, Henry Douse.

On the 1901 census, Reuben C (aged 22) a carpenter is living at Bedmond, Abbots Langley, Herts with his widowed mother, Maria (aged 55) now a grocer shop keeper and his brother, Walter H (23) a clerk and his sister Maria (20) a grocers assistant plus his widowed aunt, Mary Mace (64).

Also on the 1901 census, Reuben's uncle Emmanuel (aged 50) is a dairyman living at Notley Cottage, Bedmond Road, Bedmond, Abbots Langley, Herts with his wife, Alice (59) and daughter Kate A (17).

Reuben married Alice Louisa GENTLE in 1912. Alice was born in 1877 and was the daughter of William Gentle (1838 - 1892), a labourer and Ann Maria nee Briggs (1833 - ) married 10 Apr 1865 at Abotts Langley, Hertfordshire. [GRO Marriages/Jun 1865/Watford/3a/403]. She died in 1925 aged 47 by drowning in the well in their garden at Notley Croft, Bedmond Road, Bedmond, Herts. Her cousin Walter Bradshaw Gentle (son of George Bradshaw Gentle (1843 -  ) and Amelia Adcock nee Burridge (1845 -  )) married his step sister Elizabeth Ann Blackwell.

GRO Births/Sep 1877/Watford/3a/426
GRO Marriages/Jun 1912/Watford/3a/1534
GRO Deaths/Mar 1925/Watford/3a/1041

On the 1851 census, Alice Louisa Gentle's father, George B Gentle (aged 8) and Walter Bradshaw Gentle's father, William Gentle (aged 11) are living in Abbotts Langley with their parents William (43) a grocer & brazlian hat maker and Charlotte Gentle (43) and siblings, Mary Ann (21) a dressmaker, Emma (18). Eliza (16) both brazilian hat makers and Louisa (10) all born Abbotts Langley. [HO107/1714/599/47]

Note: William Gentle (1808 - 1883) married Charlotte Bradshaw (1808 - 1867) on 26 Jan 1828 at Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire.

William and Charlotte had the following children:
i Mary Ann Gentle (1830 -         ) chr.
ii Emma Elizabeth Gentle (1833 -         ) chr. 5 Oct 1851 at Abbots Langley
iii Eliza Augusta Gentle (1835 -         ) chr. 5 Oct 1851 at Abbots Langley
iv William Gentle (1838 - 1892) chr. 5 Oct 1851 at Abbots Langley
v Louisa Gentle (1840 -        ) chr. 5 Oct 1851 at Abbots Langley
vi George Bradshaw Gentle (1842 -        ) chr. 5 Oct 1851 at Abbots Langley

On the 1861 census, Alice Louisa Gentle's father, George Bradshaw Gentle (aged 18) born Bedmond, Hertfordshire a hat manufacturer  and Walter Bradshaw Gentle's father, William Gentle (aged 22) born Bedmond, Hertfordshire a hat manufacturer are living in Bedmond, Abbotts Langley with their parents William (53) born Abbotts Langley, Hertfordshire a grocer and Charlotte Gentle (53) born Kings Langley, Hertfordshire and their sisters, Emma Elizabeth (25) born Bedmond and Louisa (19) born Bedmond. A bonnet sewer. [RG9/836/13/19&20]

On the 1881 census, Alice Gentle (aged 3) is living at Bedmond, Abbots Langley, Herts with her parents William (42) a labourer and Ann (38) plus her brothers, Albert (11), Horace (9), Ernest (6) and Louis W (1)

On the 1891 census, Alice Gentle (aged 13) born Abbots Langley, Herts  is living at Bedmond, Abbots Langley with her parents William (52) born Abbots Langley and Ann Maria (48) born Islip, Nothants and her siblings, Albert (21) a bricklayer, Horace (19) a labourer, Ernest (16) a house boy, Lewis (10) and Ethel (6) all born Abbots Langley. [RG12/1122/7/8]

William and Ann Maria had the following children:
i Albert Gentle (1869 - 1892)
ii Horace Gentle (1871 -         )
iii Ernest Gentle (1875 - 1956)
iv Alice Louisa Gentle (1877 - 1925)
v Lewis William Gentle (1880 -         )

On the 1901 census, Alice Gentle (aged 23) is a domestic housemaid living at Castans House, Kitters Green, Abbots Langley, Herts, the home of George Breed (67) a retired butcher and his wife Emma (34) and their children, George S (11) and Clement (8) plus their cook, Hannah Moule (69).

Also on the 1901 census, Alice's mother, Ann Maria Gentle(58) is a charwoman living at Bedmond, Abbots Langley, Herts with Alice's brothers Horace (26) a general labourer, Ernest (26) a domestic gardener, Lewis (21) a domestic groom and her younger sister Ethel (16) a domestic servant.

Alice's father, William Gentle died in 1892 aged 53 [GRO Deaths/Mar 1892/Watford/3a/505]

{xe "ASHBY, Martha"}
After Alice's death in 1925, Reuben married his cousin, Martha ASHBY, daughter of Mark Ashby and Emily Ashby (nee Suter) in 1926.

GRO Births/ Mar 1878/Horsham/2b/322
GRO Marriages/Jun 1926/Cuckfield/2b/415
GRO Deaths/

I decided to have a look to see if I could find any earlier references to Notley Croft. I don't claim that it is a comprehensive search but I found the following:

1861 Census - Knotley Villa was occupied by Susan Bisney, widow, and family

1881 Census - Notley Cottage was occupied by John Travers, Chronometer finisher, and family. (An unusual occupation. He almost certainly worked for Thomas Mercer, St Albans, which made chronometers from 1854

Kelly's Directory 1882 and 1886 - George Travers listed at Notley Cottage

Kelly's Directory 1890-1899 - Emanuel Blackwell listed as farmer at Notley Cot

Kelly's Directory 1902-1912 - Emanuel Blackwell listed as dairyman at Notley Cottage

There is a web page for Bedmond

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


Page created April 2008