Books on Hertfordshire

Two Nineteenth Century Hertfordshire Diaries

Edited by Judith Knight & Susan Flood

Hertfordshire Record Society Volume 18

2002 (ISBN 0 9523779 7 7), 303 pages

[N.B. This is the 2002 Volume, but was not distributed to members until 2004]

The diaries of Henry Lomas of Watford, 1822, 1825-27 and the Rev Thomas Newcombe, Rector of Shenley, 1830-1849.


Henry Lomas's diary contains much national news - but also news of Watford and area and the following are local items from the first few weeks of April 1822 to give an idea of the information available. Footnotes are in italics.

4th: A rate made, the first of the present overseer. His predecessor turned over to him 104.

10th: The effects of the late Mrs Allen of Abbots Langley sold by auction, the House & premises previously purchased by Gen[rea]l Dice.

Pigot's Directory has Dyce.

12th: At a Vestry it was resolved that the Poor House of Watford should not be let by contract during the present year.

14th: Fawcett Lewin dies after a short but severe illness and shocking to relate during the absence of Mrs Lewin who was at or near Shrewsbury at the time this lamentable circumstance took place.

Fawcett James Lewin, aged 29 was buried at Watford on 22 April.

15th: Mr Marjoribanks having brought Watford Place commenced making considerable alterations.

Stewart Marjoribanks, benefactor of the Morrison almshouses and later, after his move to Bushey, of the Bushey National Schools. He rebuilt the almshouses in 1824 on part of his land, which he exchanged for another plot near Watford Place. John Boodle, a descendant of the Morrisons wrote to the Trustees on 10 October 1827, '... we all know that Mr Marjoribanks erected the houses ... in exchange for the old almshouses because it was desirable to him to have the ground ... to enlarge his garden and pleasure ground ...'

Watford Place still stands in King Street which was the original carriage drive to the house.

18th: At St Albans sessions the Resurrection Man who took the girl from Watford church yard was found guilty and sentenced to pay a fine of 20 and to be imprisoned for two years.

... Thomas Williams a labourer of Watford was accused of entering Watford churchyard and carrying away the body of Jane Fancock ...

The Parish Officers officers of Watford met for the purpose of appointing a governor for the Poor House. [long item not extracted here]

The Drawing Room at the Vicarage, Abbots Langley painted.

The Drawing Room at Mr Mardsen's painted. The water closet & lobby adjoining D[itt]o.

William Marsden, of Edge Grove, Aldenham, (1754-1836), orientalist and numismatist, First Secretary to the Admiralty.

Diaries like this include information about local people which might otherwise not survived, and it is always worth checking whether a diary exists for where your relative lived - either in printed form, or at HALS or elsewhere.

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