The Braughing of Victor Tott

The Visual & Written Memories

of a County Gentleman

Victor Tott



Hertfordshire has changed enormously over the 20th century and Victor Tott saw those changes and wanted to record them for posterity. He was born in 1908 and at the age of 4 his family moved from Puckeridge to Braughing, where he lived all his life, During his life he work on farms and estates in the area, with a particular interest in gardening. When he retired he started to record his memories but illustrate them with photographs where possible. He died in 1994 and this book has been produced from his pictures and notes with the help of the Braughing Local History Society.


Eric Mardell, Head horsekeeper at Ford Street Farm, Braughing, for James Weir, he put the whole of his working life on this farm for the same family. He excelled at all jobs with horses and he had some of the best shire in Hertfordshire in the stables at Ford Street.








The Big House (Hamels Park), 1925-27

Timber Yard


Revisit to Hamels Park 1987



The Braughing Bell Ringers

The Old Road Men

The Carrier

Boot Makers

Village Bakers




The Old Coachmen

The Cattle Drover

Daymen on the Farms

Game Keepers



Braughing Friars

Bozen Green

Bozen Green Farm

Ford Street Farm

Pentlows Farm Cockhampstead

Haven End

Railway Station

Braughing Fields and Pest House

Malting Lane

Green End 1914


Braughing Street


The Old Mangle Room



Of Winter Time

Soldiers in the Village

Home Guard

The Evacuees

Means of Lighting

The Hot Summer of 1921 Cows


School Days, 1914 - 1923

The result is a series of visual and verbal pictures of the past, covering the wide range of topics listed in the Contents. Not only are many people named - but there is a long list of nicknames.


The Braughing Village Band, 1894


Victor had a problem - in that no photographs existed of some of the old houses he remembered  - some of which had already been demolished. To remedy this he took up painting - and there is a primitive charm is the resulting pictures.


Thatched and Tiled Cottages

These cottages are opposite the Golden Fleece, Green End (Butchers Yard), painted from memory. Around 1920 these were in a run down state but they did have some beautiful timbers that would be much prized today. The thatched cottage was lived in by George Cook and his wife. He was a horsekeeper at the Warren Farm. It was said of him "he is as hard as nails". Next door was the harness room for the grocer's and butcher's business next to the yard. The tiled cottage was lived in by Henry Parker. He worked as a day man at Ford Street Farm. It was about 1931 that these cottages burned down; it was a Saturday morning and a threshing engine and tackle came through the street. It was thought that sparks from the engine set fire to the thatch but this was never proved. Several people said the engine was sending out sparks as it started again after the men had been to the Golden Fleece for a drink.


A Braughing Countryman' s Diary


This is a companion volume which includes autobiographical information on Victor, and selected extracts from his diary.




Victor has clearly done an excellent job in recording life in rural Hertfordshire as it was in the early 20th century. People who live in Braughing, and those who want to know about the village where their ancestors lived, are lucky to have such a valuable account of how the village appeared in the past.

However the book has much to say to people who have no immediate connection with Braughing as it provides an excellent example of what can be done. Anyone who is thinking about recording their own memories for future generations during their retirement should take a good look at this book and its companion.


Braughing Local History Society played an important part in the production of this book, and money raised from the sale will go to the Society ro help them to preserve the history of Braughing and also to help the restoration of St Mary's Church, and Braughing Methodist Church. The Society can be contacted via the Braughing Community Web Site.


Locating Books
The pair of books, which have no ISBN, are currently available from 

December 2010   Page Created