Answers to Questions


Myddleton Cottages, Wormley

February, 2010




David Palmer (d.palmer50 @t of Wormley writes: I cannot find out when these four cottages where built. I have tried Broxbourne Council but they were no help. I found that the cottages were listed on 1901 census but couldn't find on earlier records- but it is such a hit n miss finding entries.



Wormley in 1766 -


From Dury & Andrews Map of Hertfordshire

You have provided me with very little relevant information but I can make some comments.

Your starting point should be the Broxbourne Library which (if it is like many other libraries in Hertfordshire) should have books on dating your house and also some other relevant material. If their holdings are weak you should try HALS at Hertford. You will need to consider several aspects:

The Name: If the name "Myddleton Cottages" is the original name they are probably named after Sir Hugh Myddleton, who was responsible for the New River which runs through Wormley, so cannot be earlier than the 17th century. However properties often change their name and the names (if any) of the more humble buildings are often not recorded in documentation.

The Building: The building will tell you quite a lot about its history - for instance was it built as a terrace of four cottages - or was it a larger building later subdivided. The building materials originally used, and specific architectural features can provide further clues. Some buildings may have been so altered over the years that the age may be concealed. If you email pictures of the cottages from several angles, and any special architectural features, and also let me know their exact location, for instance on Google Maps, I may be able to make a few comments - a plan showing room layout and plot shape could help.

Old Maps: Your local library, and failing that HALS, should have maps back to that of Dury and Andrews 1766 Map of Hertfordshire. If the cottages were in existence in the early 19th century there may be manuscript tithe or enclosure maps - and the associated documentation could identify both the occupants and their landlord (if appropriate). You will find a large scale map from about 1880 online at Oldmaps.

The Occupants: You have already been able to find the occupants of the four cottages in the 1901 census - and their immediate neighbours. I note that Ernest Draper (market gardener), William Minns (railway clerk), John Kennedy (market gardener), and Herbert Carter (butcher)  were all employees (workers) and none employed resident staff. The fact that they are all comparatively young (two with young children not born in Hertfordshire) might indicate that they all moved in at the same time - raising the question that the cottages may have all been vacant (newly built??) in the late 1890s.  These are the kind of tenants one might find in a row of reasonably good Victorian workmen's terrace cottages - although it would be very foolish to assume this without looking at the architecture of the building (see above).  It is possible that at least some of the 1901 occupants or neighbours were there in either 1891 and 1911 census (or both) and this should allow you to identify the cottages in these two years - even if the census returns do not explicitly name them. If you are lucky, and the cottages are that old, you may be able to trace them back to the 1841 census step by step. If you have located the cottages on the tithe map (probably circa 1840) you may be able to find identify the cottages on the 1841 census.

Depending on what you have found, - for instance the occupations of the occupants may sometime suggest other sources - there are other possible sources - and any good book on researching your own house should include details.

Your local library may have a copy of the 6" Ordnance Survey map of the area from about 1896. Look to see if the cottages are marked on this as if they are not this could support the theory that the cottages were built at the very end of the 19th century.


Page created February 2010