Historical Sketch of Rickmansworth and the Surrounding Parishes

by R. Bayne

Photographs by H. V. Lemenager

published Watson & Hazel, Aylesbury, 1870







Town Hall

The Church

Town Hall

The Bury

Sir Thomas White

Cardinal Wolsey

Dr Caius

The Thelusson Trust

William Penn

The Friends

Fergus O'Connor

Mr. Herbert Ingram

Mr. Benson

Sir Joseph Causton

Gerald Massey

Canal and Railway


Dr. C. Burgess

Christian Poets

The Grove


New Watford



The Church

Lord Egerton

The Countess of Derby

Lecture Hall


The Murder

Chalfont St Peter's

Judge Jeffreys


Chalfont St Giles'

Merlin's Cave

Captain Cook




The Mausoleum



King's Langley

The Palace

Abbot's Langley

Langley Bury

Nicholas Breakspeare

The full text of the pages of this book describing Rickmansworth is reproduced below.

The text of the adjoining parishes in Hertfordshire will be added later.




As a new Town Hall was lately erected at Rickmansworth for lectures, concerts, and public meetings of all kinds, it was thought desirable that the subject of the first lecture should be a Historical Sketch of the Town and Neighbourhood. This was considered especially important, as there was nothing of the kind in print which was suitable for the general reader. Two lectures were accordingly given at the beginning of this year, and as they were urgently requested to be printed, this will account for their appearance in the present form. In reading these pages, it will be borne in mind that the lecturer's object was not to furnish statistics which might be found in any gazetteer or directory, but to provide a little useful and reliable information and entertaining reading to the inhabitants of the district, and to those who might visit the neighbourhood.





THERE is a common saying In the North, rendered all the more memorable by its alliteration, "Far fowls have fair feathers," and this is exemplified by multitudes every day in their preference for that which is remote. How many Englishmen will hasten to the Rhine, the Danube, and the Nile, and visit the castles and cathedrals of the Continent, and climb the mountains of Switzerland, to gratify their curiosity, who never cared to explore the temples and palaces of their own country, and never thought it worth while to visit the beautiful lakes of Ireland, or breathe the bracing air of the mountains of Scotland and Wales! It is the same thing with education. The topography of Rome and Athens, with all their historical associations, is familiar to thousands who are ignorant of what has happened in their own neighbourhood; yet, surely, knowledge, like charity, should begin at home.

Hertfordshire has been noted for men of mark in every walk of life: Cassibelaunus, St. Alban, Thomas-a-Becket, Pope Adrian IV., Mandeville (the famous traveller or romancer), Cardinal Wolsey, Queen Elizabeth and her minister Cecil, Lords Bacon, Melbourne, and Palmerston, and the poets Cowper, Young, and Charles Lamb, were all either natives of, or residents in, Hertfordshire; while the battles between Alfred and the Danes, and those at St. Albans and Barnet between the Houses of York and Lancaster, have given the county a prominent place in the history of England. It would have been an easy thing, therefore, to draw up an account of the remarkable characters, places, and events of the county in general. Mine, however, is a humbler (and, may I not add, a more difficult ?) task - not to pick out the most prominent places and individuals in the whole county, nor to select some noted town, like St. Albans, or Berkhampstead, or Hertford, rich in historical associations, but to take up the identical spot where we happen to be residing, and concentrate in one focus whatever relates to it which- is likely to interest the inhabitants at large. We will begin with Rickmansworth itself, and then proceed to the parishes with which it is surrounded.




THE parish stands on the borders of three counties, and connects Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Middlesex.

The name has been written differently at different times, and even at the same time. In Doomsday Book it is called Rychemareworde. In the charter of Henry III. it is called Rykemeresworth Chauncy himself calls it Rickmeresworth, but he represents Edward VI.'s charter as writing Rickmansworth just as we write it now. In Philemon Holland's translation of Camden's "Britannia," which translation was published in 1610, we read "Somewhat later I saw Watford and Rickemanesworth, two mercate towns." In the Table of Contents it is spelt Rickmansworth, as we spell it now, so that, after all, this is no modern corruption. In other translations of the same work, and even in different pages of the same volume, published in 1720, both Rickmansworth and Rickmeresworth are given interchangeably; but now, as the General Post Office has adopted the former, the other must speedily die out. It is evident, however, that Rickmersworth is nearer the most ancient form of the word as found in Doomsday Book, and the etymology of that alone is given, and it is said to signify "the rich land between the waters," referring to the Colne, the Gade, and the Chess, which all meet here; but no great confidence is to be placed in that rendering.

In that general survey which was taken of the country under the direction of William the Conqueror, " Rychemareworde" is registered (in brief) as having land for twenty ploughs, and containing four Frenchmen, and forty-one labourers, and bondmen of different grades. The manor is mentioned as having three ploughs, while two more might still be made. There were also a mill of 5s. 4d., meadow for four ploughs, for the right of fishing 4s, common of pasture for the cattle, pannage or woods for 1,200 hogs. Its whole value was 20 10s. by the year. St. Alban held the manor.

That is the Government account of the place in the year 1086. In the reign of Henry IlL, what had been hitherto a village was raised to the rank of a town by having a charter from that monarch to hold a market every Wednesday, which was afterwards changed to Saturday.




Rickmansworth in 1807





For a long time, as in other places, the market was held out of doors, but at last, for the better transaction of business, a hall was erected in the middle of the High Street, in front of the present building, long before such places were so common as they are now. There is now in the possession of the proprietor of Rickmansworth Park a valuable oil painting of the old hall, which was taken in the year 1722, by Evans, of the Royal Society, before the Royal Academy was instituted. One glance at that picture shows how the building abutted against the Swan Inn, and must have impeded all traffic, and shut out all prospect, so that the only ground for surprise is that it was permitted to stand so long as 1805 before it was pulled down, and another hall was constructed of the same materials, on the present site. In consequence, however, of the market dwindling away through its proximity to a larger one at Watford, the building was neglected, and it became an unsightly, dilapidated ruin, and an eyesore to the inhabitants, till last year (1869), when the lord of the manor, J. S. Gilliatt, Esq., generously gave up the site, and a company of shareholders was formed, and the present commodious and handsome hall was erected for the benefit of the public.





The CHURCH is the most ancient building in the parish. The historical incidents, however, connected with it, either before or since the Reformation, are few. In the year 1589 William Edmonds, M.A., was instituted vicar, and was superseded by George Swinnock, in 1650, by the Parliament; but he was restored to his living, and did not die till the year 1670, when he must have been upwards of a hundred years old. The Mr. Swinnock who took his place here was a Puritan clergyman who had been educated at Cambridge, and made Fellow of Baliol College, Oxford, and wrote several works of great value, especially one which is still preserved in the vicarage library - a thorough evangelical work, called "The Door of Salvation opened by the Key of Regeneration;" with a recommendation from Dr. Reynolds and Richard Baxter, the well-known author of the "Saint's Rest." The dedication shows who were the leading gentry residing here at that time, such as Sir Charles Harbord, Sir Richard Franklin, John Beresford, Esq., and Edward Ironside, Esq. Of these, Sir Richard Franklin was Lord of the Manor of the Moor in 1655; and his wife, Lady Ann, daughter of the Earl of Warwick, left 10 per annum to the church wardens to distribute at Christmas among the poor; and John Beresford, Esq., was sheriff of the county in 1657, and his name is still perpetuated by the endowment of the Church Almshouses.* Some of these gentlemen occupied Moor House and Hampton Hall, spacious mansions which have been pulled down within the recollection of many now living.

Mr. Swinnock removed to Great Kemble, in Buckinghamshire, in 1660, and was succeeded by a still more eminent divine, Dr. Edmund Staunton. He belonged to a distinguished family of that name at Woburn, in Bedford shire, and while quite a lad distinguished himself greatly at Oxford by his literary attainments. He was presented to the living at Bushey, in this county, which he afterwards exchanged for Kingston, in Surrey, as his biography says, "preferring work before wages." There he laboured for twenty years with great success, but amidst much domestic sorrow, for he buried in one vault no fewer than ten children, consisting, like Job's, of seven sons and three daughters. Only one. son survived him. In 1635 the "Book of Sports" was appointed to be read in all churches, and he preferred losing his living to countenancing such a desecration of the Sabbath, and was accordingly suspended. During his suspension he took his degree of D.D. at Oxford, which was conferred on him with unusual eclat. In the time of Charles 1. he was chosen a member of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, and preached several times before Parliament. In 1648 he was appointed President of Corpus Christi College, and continued in that office twelve years; and then, on the removal of Mr. Swinnock, he came to Rickmansworth, where he was cordially welcomed by all classes, rich and poor; and being a popular preacher, he was invited to preach far and near, so that "from Rickmansworth, even round about unto the utmost borders of the county, and into the neighbouring counties also, he was spending and being spent in the service of his great Lord and Master." He was ejected from the Church for conscience' sake by the Act of Uniformity in 1662, and spent his last days at Bovingdon, where he died in 1671, aged 71, and was buried in the parish church, in which the monument to his memory still stands.

It will also be interesting to some to know that Baxter, who had written the recommendatory preface to a Rickmansworth book, came to this town, and preached in the parish church, and in the other churches of the vicinity, and even held a public controversy with the Quakers, who then abounded in this neighbourhood. The following extract is taken from his life, and refers to the year 1675. "Being driven from home, and having an old license yet in force, by the countenance of that and the great industry of Mr. Beresford, I had leave and invitation for ten Lord's days to preach in the parish churches round about. The first parish that I preached in, after thirteen years' ejection and prohibition, was Rickmersworth; after that at Sarratt; at King's Langley; at Chesham; at Chalfont; at Amersham; and that often twice a day. Those heard who had not come to church for seven years, and two or three thousand heard where scarcely a hundred were wont to come, and with so much attention and willingness as to give me very great hopes that I never spoke to them in vain." * This visit will again be referred to in connection with a distinguished inhabitant of this town.

I may just mention here that the parish is somewhat noted for the longevity of its incumbents. Besides Mr. Edmunds, already referred to, who but for the interregnum of Mr. Swinnock and Dr. Staunton would have held the living for the immense period of eighty years, the very last two vicars filled up a century between them, and brought up large families, and never lost one of them, the children all surviving the parents. This says much for the healthiness of the place.

In leaving the church, we may also remark, that the embattled tower of hewn flints at the west end is the only part that can boast of antiquity, the body of the church having been rebuilt of brick in a very plain style, in the year 1826. The churchyard was closed in the year 1857, when a very suitable cemetery was opened for the parish, near the town.

The church, however, is not now the only place of worship in the parish. There are two commodious chapels in the town, belonging to the Baptist and Wesleyan denominations, in addition to smaller chapels in the neighbourhood.


St Mary's Church



MOOR PARK is also in the parish, and we are therefore entitled to include. its history in the present sketch. That goes back upwards of four hundred years. Many of the proprietors were men of the highest eminence in the State, and their lives are identified with the history of the nation. A separate sketch of its history is being published, to which I may be allowed to refer, but in the meantime, without quoting myself, and without referring to that distinguished family whose motto is "Virtue, not ancestry, is the source of true nobility," I may say that we cannot think of such men as George Neville, Archbishop of York, who first enclosed the park by a license obtained about 1460, and who, with his brother the Earl of Warwick, the King-maker, took Edward IV.'s part, and procured for him the throne, and frequently entertained that monarch here, though he was afterwards stripped by him of his mitre and all his estates, and died of a broken heart; of Cardinal Wolsey, also Archbishop of the same province, and Lord Chancellor of England, and who for many years was the real governor of this country, and who in 1529 entertained Henry VIII. and Queen Catherine of Aragon at Moor House for a whole month, with royal magnificence; of the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth, who built the present mansion, and forfeited his life, in 1685, in a rash attempt to overthrow a popish and despotic government, for

Treason never prospers - what's the reason?

When it prospers, 'tis no longer treason;

nor of Lord Anson, who sailed round the world, and filled it with the fame of his naval exploits, and then retired to this peaceful haven, and here closed his brilliant career,-without feeling that, after all, Rickmansworth is not the least important of the parishes of England.


Moor Park


Moor Park



THE BURY is the next place of historical interest. This name frequently occurs in the neighbourhood, as Langleybury, Cassiobury, etc., and signifies seat, or mansion, and is especially applied to the manor house. The previous quotation from Doomsday Book shows that the manor at the Conquest belonged to St. Alban's Abbey; and after the dissolution it was vested in the Crown, till the time of Charles 1., when it came into private hands, and became the property of Sir Thomas Fotherley. He was a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber of that monarch, and a commissioner for settling Londonderry, in Ireland. He contributed largely by his pecuniary means to the assistance of his unfortunate sovereign, who was able by private loans to be for a time independent of Parliament. He died in 1649, and was succeeded in this estate by his son John, who was sheriff of the county in 1652, under Cromwell's Protectorate, but he still held fast his father's loyal principles, and expended much of his estate in the service of Charles 11., and is said to have sheltered a number of Royalists in their distress. We shall afterwards find that Charles himself was concealed in other places in the neighbourhood. He also helped his sovereign considerably when he was abroad, and contributed largely to his restoration; and after this he is said to have been honoured by a visit from His Majesty at the Bury. Two original letters, and an order of Charles I. for the repayment of 500 to Sir Thomas Fotherley, and a receipt of Charles II. for 100 received from the son, John Fotherley, Esq., during his exile in the Low Countries, were long preserved among the title-deeds of Temple Whitfield, Esq., and are doubtless preserved somewhere to this day. A facsimile of the receipt is published by Clutterbuck. It was this John Fotherley, Esq., who, according to the inscription, in 1682 erected five almshouses on the north side of the High Street for the benefit of so many poor widows; and as they have now stood the wear and tear of nearly two centuries, it would be well if they could be better adapted to the times, and made an ornament to the town, and a greater comfort to the inmates.

In former times the estate belonging to the Bury was very extensive, and included, among other possessions, Rickmansworth Park. Indeed, that used to be called the Bury Park. In the old title-deeds going back to the time of James 1. (as I am informed by the present proprietor), this park is then described as "ynclosed and ympaled," but how long it had been so before that is not stated. It consists of about 200 acres. The whole came into the possession of Henry Fotherley Whitfield, Esq., who was high sheriff of the county in 1762, but he considerably reduced the estate by his style of living, and became greatly embarrassed; and, after being blind for a number of years, he died in 1813, upwards of eighty years of age (the last male heir of the family), after having devised the manor, with the remainder of the estate, to his widow. She married Mr. Deaton, her solicitor, who wasted what Mr. Whitfield had left. Twice the estate was thrown into Chancery, and about 1826 the Bury and the park were sold to different purchasers; and it was then that the mansion in the park, which had been erected by Mr. Whitfield, was altered and enlarged by the present proprietor, Joseph Arden, Esq., who laid out the beautiful gardens and shrubbery around, and has since embellished the house with valuable paintings by the best modern artists.

Mr. and Mrs. Deaton were subsequently brought to ruin, and thrown into the King's Bench for debt, when several gentlemen from this town, who knew the lady in her affluence, visited her in her cell, and she was very glad to accept from their hands pecuniary assistance, which, however, they were almost ashamed to offer. Such reverses are always distressing, but they must be particularly galling when they are the result of extravagance and immorality.   





There was a very different character who, according to ancient testimony, was born in this parish, and rose from poverty to affluence and honour, and that was Sir Thomas White. He was Lord Mayor of London, and the founder of the Merchant Tailors' School in the City, and of St. John's College, Oxford; and having made his fortune by commerce, and scattered it broadcast over the nation in his lifetime for the benefit of the poor, he may be regarded as the Peabody of the sixteenth century. By the testimony of the oldest historians, such as Camden, Fuller, Chauncy, and Pennant, he was born at Rickmansworth in 1492, the last author mentioning Woodoaks as the precise part of the parish where that event took place. Other authors corroborate this testimony, and Lewis, while stating that Sir Thomas's portrait was hung up in the Town Hall of Reading, still asserts that Rickmansworth was his birthplace.

Hearne, the antiquarian, was the first to call in question this fact, and considered rather that Sir Thomas was born at Reading, though he adds" It is doubted by some." He says that Dr. Merrick had told him that an old man had pointed out to him the house where that event was said to have taken place; but as Dr. Merrick was not born till 1720 - that is, 228 years after Sir Thomas - no great stress can be laid upon this assertion. Even during the lifetime of the late Bishop of Exeter, it was generally maintained as rather a remarkable coincidence that he was born at the Bell Inn, Gloucester, where Whitfield was born, and it was not till after his death that this was formally contradicted, when his executors accounted for the rumour by his father having subsequently bought that inn, and resided there. All admit that Sir Thomas's father was a clothier at Rickmansworth, and that he himself was brought up from infancy at Reading. It was easy, therefore, for people who lived some time after to conclude that the child was born where he was brought up. Hence subsequent writers have generally followed Hearne; but though he spoke of it as a matter of doubt, they, for the sake of brevity,  represent it as an unquestioned fact that he was born at Reading. And as he never did anything for Rickmansworth, while de did so much for other places where neither he nor his father ever lived, there is no great reason why Rickmansworth should contend for the honour; however, for the sake of historical accuracy, it would be well if modern writers would state, like Hearne and Clutterbuck, that the oldest authorities ascribed it to Rickmansworth, even if they themselves are in favour of Reading.


Sir Thomas White



If, then, those old authors are to be depended on, St. John's College was founded by a native of Rickmansworth. It is also well known how much another, who, though not a native, was a celebrated inhabitant of this parish, did for the same university of Oxford. I mean Cardinal Wolsey, already referred to. It was he who in 1525, by letters patent from Henry VII!., founded Christ Church, which Ingram denominates "a princely establishment, and worthy of our first attention," and therefore begins his "Memorials of Oxford" with an account of that college as having the pre-eminence.


Cardinal Wolsey



But Oxford is not the only university with which Rickmansworth can claim affinity. Cambridge lies more directly under obligation to this parish. Caius College was founded about the same time as St. John's, of Oxford. It was originally a hall, and from the name of its founder was called Gonville Hall. Having greatly enlarged and endowed it, Dr. Caius obtained leave from Queen Mary to be a co-founder, and to change the title from Gonville Hall to Gonville and Caius College, and gradually the title was shortened to Caius College. Now who was this Dr. Caius, and what was his connection with Rickmansworth? His real name was Kaye, which he Latinized to Caius. He was a native of Norwich, and was called the Prince of Physicians, and was physician in ordinary to Edward VI., and Mary and Elizabeth. He was a very learned man and voluminous author. He was also Lord of the Manor of Croxley. All the manorial rights and emoluments over Croxley Green and the neighbourhood had been conferred on him by Queen Elizabeth, and with the manor (along with other estates in Cambridgeshire, Dorset, and Norfolk) he endowed his college, and it has remained vested in that foundation ever since. Mr. Sedgwick's farm-house is the Croxley manor-house. Two scholarships in the college are restricted to natives of Hertfordshire. By a quaint device the founder inculcated morality on all the students. In a new court, which he added, he erected three gates: the Gate of Humility, which was low and narrow, over against St. Michael's Church; the Gate of Virtue (one of the best pieces of architecture in England), in the midst of the college; and, thirdly, the Gate of Honour, lofty and spacious, showing that humility and virtue led to honour, or, as Walpole stated in the beginning of one of his famous speeches, "Among the ancients, the Temple of Honour stood behind the Temple of Virtue." Jeremy Taylor, the celebrated theologian; Dr. Harvey, who discovered the circulation of the blood; Sir Thomas Gresham, the merchant; Sir Henry Chauncy, the Herts historian; Lord Chancellor Thurlow, and many other eminent men, all graduated at this college. Dr. Caius died in 1573, and his remains were conveyed to Cambridge, and buried with great pomp in his chapel.


John Caius

Gonville & Caius College



There is another property in the parish belonging to a public institution, and that is the Manor of Linsters. It belongs to St. Thomas's Hospital, London, which was so called because it was in the parish of St. Thomas, which belongs entirely to it. It deserves the name farther, because its largest benefactor was a Thomas, viz., Thomas Guy, the founder of Guy's Hospital. He was the son of a poor lighterman in that neighbourhood, and was born in 1644 He was a bookseller, and did a large business in the printing of Bibles for the University of Oxford, and dealt largely besides in South Sea Stock. He was remarkably successful, but spent little on himself. In his old age he fell in love with his maid-servant, and was going to marry her. Previous to his nuptials he ordered the pavement in front of his house to be mended up to a certain stone; "Thus far, and no farther." The maid, thinking it would look better, directed the men to go beyond that, and make the work complete, and to tell her master that she had ordered it, and assured them that he would not be angry. The work­men did so, and the old gentleman thought if she was so imperious before marriage, she would not be very likely to "honour and obey" afterwards, and immediately broke off the match, lived the rest of his life a bachelor, and devoted his vast wealth to the founding of hospitals and similar institutions.

There are several properties in the parish, such as Hill Farm, Bull's Land, and Shepherd's Farm, belonging to the Thelusson Trust. The Thelussons trace their descent to the ancient noblesse of France. The first member of the family, however, that settled in England was Peter Thelusson, Esq., whose father was ambassador from Geneva to the Court of Louis XV. Peter fixed his abode in London about the middle of the eighteenth century, and accumulated an immense fortune as a merchant there. In 1761 he married Anne, daughter of Matthew Woodford, Esq., by whom he had three sons ­ Peter Isaac, his heir, George Woodford, the second, and Charles; the third. Bequeathing large fortunes to each member of his family, Mr. Thelusson devised the residue of his possessions, viz., landed estates to the annual value of 4,500, and personal property to the amount of 600,000, to trustees, for the purpose of accumulation during the lives of his three sons and of all their children, the accumulated fund then to be expended in the purchase of estates, and to be conveyed to the eldest male descendant of his three sons. This extraordinary will was disputed, but finally confirmed by the House of Lords in 1805; but an Act of Parliament was subsequently passed to interdict in future any accumulation of property so devised beyond the term of twenty-one years after the decease of the testator. He died in 1737, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Peter Isaac Tlielusson, who in 1806 was raised to the peerage with the title of Baron Rendlesham. It was in that year the Manor of Pynesfield was purchased by the trustees from the late Henry FotherleyWhitfield, Esq., of the Bury, already mentioned.





While, however, there are these memorials of disinterested benevolence in providing the means of educating the minds and healing the diseases of the people of this country, blended with the mementoes of strange eccentricity, let us now trace the footsteps of one who shed a lustre on the parish by his indefatigable zeal and self-denying labours for the benefit of mankind at large.

When the Stuarts in this country, with the iron heel of despotism, would have stamped out all civil and religious liberty, and reduced the people to a state of serfdom, good men, who shrunk from violence and civil war, sighed for a land where they could worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience, and where they could feel their lives and their property were secure so long as they did not infringe on the rights of others. They looked across the broad Atlantic, which was then a formidable voyage - not, as now, bridged over by a regular service of sailing and steam vessels. Some, indeed, had gone thither already to avoid persecution here, but had carried the same persecuting principle along with them to force their consciences down the throats of other people; and hence a secession from New England had arisen, and the new colony of Rhode Island had been formed on a liberal basis. This was to be carried out on a more extensive scale, and the principle of "doing as you would be done by" was to be exercised, not merely towards white men, but towards the Red Indians of the woods, who had been hitherto hunted down like wild animals. And where was this new lawgiver found? Where was this exodus planned? Not in Lon­ don nor in Edinburgh, nor at the ancient seats of learning already referred to, but in this little old town, Rickmansworth. It was here that William Penn, the Quaker, lived; and it was here that he laid the basis of that colony which was at the time the largest and the freest which the British had ever formed, and which still remains the second State of the Union.

Not that he was a native of Rickmansworth, or born a Quaker. He sprang from an old family which for several generations had been settled in a district of Buckinghamshire, from which they had received or to which they had bequeathed their name. His father, Sir William Penn, was one of the great sea captains of the Commonwealth, second to none but Blake, and no unworthy rival of De Ruyter and Van Tromp. After Cromwell's death he took the part of Charles IL, and received from him the honour of knighthood; after this he sent his son William to Oxford, where he made rapid progress in all the studies and excelled in all the athletic exercises of the University. He then obtained a commission in the army, but threw it up on embracing Quakerism, and returned home. Here, however, he had no peace, for as soon as his father found out that he would not take off his hat either to him or the King, he turned him out of doors. This only made him the more staunch, and he was appointed a regular minister among the Quakers, and was thrown into Newgate, where he lay six months for simply preaching in the streets; and on his being liberated he went down to Chalfont to visit his old friend Pennington. This individual had lately married the widow of Sir William Springett, one of the leaders of the Parliamentary forces, who had a grown-up daughter, and all the three had lately embraced the principles of the Friends. To these principles Penn was regarded as a martyr, and he was therefore welcomed by them, and by all their co-religionists, with the greatest enthusiasm. The daughter's name was Gulielma Springett, which they contracted into Guli. She grew up remarkably beautiful and amiable, and was thoroughly educated and highly accomplished, and she retained her love of music after she had joined the new sect, and thus frequently entertained Milton, who continued passionately fond of it to the last. The handsome young Quaker, and the pretty little Quakeress, soon found out that they were made for each other, and everybody else thought so too. They were married in 1672, when he was in the twenty­eighth year of his age, and they took a house in Rickmansworth, and for several years resided here. The house they lived in was that which is called Basing House, and is now occupied by R. W. Henderson, Esq., Surgeon. A gentleman of this town, well known and highly respected, and one of whose ancestors went out with him to America, remembers going to school there, and seeing a pane of glass on which Penn had written with a diamond his name, and the date, 1676. It is much to be regretted that this interesting relic was not preserved. He then seemed (says his biographer, Hepworth Dixon) to be sinking down into the tranquillity of the country gentleman, for he had an ample fortune, as his father had died two years before thoroughly reconciled to him, and leaving him estates worth £1,500 a year; but he was now awakened from his dream of domestic bliss by the persecutions of his brethren, and he went forth to comfort and confirm them in the faith, and defend them against all aggressors; and he was cast into prison for refusing to take an oath, and to render what he called "hat worship." While in prison he improved the time like Bunyan, and wrote his best work, "No Cross, No Crown."

It was in the year 1675 that Richard Baxter visited Rickmansworth, and preached in the parish church, as I have already said, and entered into controversy with William Penn. In "Baxter's Life and Times" we read, "The country about Rickmansworth abounding with Quakers, because William Penn, their captain, dwelleth there, I was desirous that the poor people should for once hear what was to be said for their recovery, which coming to Mr. Penn's ears, he was forward to a meeting, where we continued speaking to two rooms-full of people, fasting, from ten o'clock till five: one lord, two knights, and four conformable ministers, beside others, being present, some all the time, some part. The success gave me great cause to believe that it was not labour lost."* The statements, however, as to the result of the conference given by the champions of both combatants are very conflicting: hard words passed between them, and both sides remained much as they were before.

In the following year, 1676, Penn removed from Rickmansworth on account of the continued interruptions he was exposed to from the multitude of his Quaker friends, and retired into a quiet place in Sussex to work out the scheme which he had formed here, at the urgent request of his brethren; and at last, in 1680, he obtained from Charles II. a patent assigning him a large tract of country in North America, on the west side of the Delaware, and constituting him proprietor and governor of the province, which was to be called, in his honour, Pennsylvania. This grant was made him in consideration of 16,000 due from the Crown to Admiral Penn. On landing, he made a treaty with the Indians, which was honourably kept on both sides" the only treaty that was not violated, and the only one which was not confirmed by an oath." Great numbers flocked thither from England and Ireland, and the Continent, and a great many went from this neighbourhood, which may account for their disappearance from Rickmansworth. He had many enemies at home, however, who thwarted him, and endeavoured to deprive him of the government, and they had a temporary success. He had to come backward and forward several times to England to obtain redress, and in one of those journeys he lost his wife, who had been all along a great comfort to him, and a most efficient help even in his business transactions; and she was interred in Jordan's burial ground, by the side of their eldest son, who died in the 21st year of his age. Penn married again. Harassed by opposition and embarrassed in circumstances, he returned to England, and agreed to sell his rights to the British Government for 12,000; but before the transaction was completed he died at his seat in Ruscombe, Berks, in 1718, and was interred by the side of his first wife, in the presence of an immense concourse of spectators. The proprietorship of Pennsylvania was sold by his family to the State of that name, after the American Revolution, for 130,000. The Hon. Thomas Penn then purchased Stoke Park, in Bucks (where the poet Gray is buried), and Mr. Thomas John Penn, the last descendant of this celebrated family, died there last year (1869). He sold to Mr. Catlin the original painting by West of "Penn's Treaty with the Indians," which is now in the Town Hall of Philadelphia.


William Penn



The Friends who remained in the neighbourhood after the departure of their brethren, continued to assemble regularly for worship at Chorley Wood, as they had been in the habit of doing before. Reference is made to this place in the Minute Books of the Upperside Monthly Meeting of the County of Bucks nearly two hundred years ago, or, to speak definitely, "ye 10th day of ye 10th month, 1673." The meeting-house was connected with the dwelling-house of a highly respectable family of the name of Wilson. The last proprietor of this name was succeeded by his nephew, Mr. George Thompson, who broke off his connection with the society by marrying out of it.

There was also a burying-ground connected with the meeting-house, where the Wilsons and a number of other Friends were interred. The last member of the society who was buried there was Mr. Emmott Skidmore, of Frogmore House, Rickmansworth, in the year 1836. Part of the ground is now planted and built over; and through the influence of the Rev. S. Thompson, the other part was duly consecrated, that his father, the above Mr. G. Thompson, might be interred there; and this is still the burying­ place of his family, and of the families of his relatives, the Messrs. Barnes.

A new church directly opposite, and at the east end of the extensive common, is now in the course of erection.





Very different from Penn's scheme of colonization was that of another which was introduced into this parish by Fergus O'Connor. He was a man of considerable note in his day. Born in 1796, in Meath, at Dungar Castle, the celebrated seat of the Wel1esley family, he became a barrister-at-law, and on account of his supporting O'Connel1, he was elected M.P. for the county of Cork, and afterwards for Nottingham in 1847, when he was recognised as the leader of the Chartists. He headed the great gathering of that body on the 10th of April, 1848, at Kennington Common, when they threatened to march on London, but the veteran Duke of Wel1ington was prepared for them. When the speakers had delivered their violent harangues, O'Connor became alarmed at the responsibility which he had incurred, and urged the vast crowd to disperse without going any farther; and so great was his influence over them that they did so, and sent forward their monster petition for the Charter to be presented to Parliament in the usual way. In 1852 he became incurably insane, and in 1855 he died, and was followed to his grave at Kensal Green by an immense concourse of people, though he had involved many of them m ruin. They saw, however, that this was not from any deception or treachery on his part, for he had ruined himself as well as them by his land scheme.

That scheme was, as he said, to bring back the good old times when England was contented and happy, and factories were unknown, and every peasant had his cottage and piece of land, and maintained himself in comfort and independence. In 1846 there was a farm of upwards of a hundred acres for sale at Heronsgate, which Mr. O'Connor purchased for the Chartist Co­operative Land Society, and divided into allotments of two, three, and four acres, and erected a cottage on each.

He had purchased several other estates, and divided them out in a similar way in different parts of the country, and there was one stipulation which he insisted upon, and that was that there should be no public house on any of those estates, for he regarded intemperance as the curse of the working classes. Weavers and cotton-spinners, and artisans of different trades belonging to the Chartist body, were induced to pay in a specific sum of a few pounds, and then lots were drawn for the different plots; and thus a number of strangers from distant parts of the country were brought to settle down in what was now called O'Connorville. They came with high expectations, thinking to escape the din and smoke and tyranny of factories, and enter on the enjoyment of an Arcadian life. The scheme was no doubt founded on benevolence, and looked well on paper, and in some places it has answered better, where the soil was richer and the settlers had been used to agriculture; but here it was an utter failure. While the grass was growing the steed was starving, and a long, dreary struggle ensued, and the majority after a short time sold their allotments and abandoned the place in despair. After O'Connor's death the company was wound up in Chancery, and in 1857 the estate came again to the hammer; and now the very name of O'Connorville, as well as the scheme itself, has well-nigh passed into oblivion, and the different plots of land have gone into other hands that know better how to use them.


Feargus O'Connor



There was another member of Parliament in this very parish who took as deep an interest in the working classes, and by employing a large number in what they were adapted for, diffused comfort and prosperity among them. This was Mr. Herbert Ingram. He purchased Loudwater Mill in 1848, and afterwards built the spacious new dwelling-house, which he richly decorated and furnished. He rose from a very humble condition to a position of great influence and respectability.

Born of humble parents at Boston, in Lincolnshire, he received the rudiments of education in the grammar school of that town, where he subsequently commenced business as a printer. While diligently attending to that, he was most assiduous in promoting the interests of his native town. The gas works, water works, railways, etc., were all fostered by him; but being more than usually active and energetic, the position of a thriving country printer did not satisfy him, and he went to the great city, and started the Illustrated London News, and thus commenced a new era in the diffusion of knowledge, and in the popularizing of art. A new means of improved education was thus provided by which to chronicle passing events in pictures, as well as by verbal description. This paper was the object of his greatest care and pride, and it was an immense success, and procured a large fortune for his family.

He was held in such high esteem, and such unlimited confidence was placed in him, that he was elected to represent his native town in Par­ liament three different times in succession, and always by large majorities. As he found his attention too much taken up by the manufacture of the paper, he sold Loudwater Mill in 1858 to the present proprietor, Wm. M'Murray, Esq.

In 1860, exhausted by the fatigue of business and by the labours of a long parliamentary session, he resolved during the recess to pay a visit to the American continent, and there seek, in company with his son, a brave and intelligent youth of fifteen, that relaxation which he so much needed; but in crossing one of the lakes in Canada they were shipwrecked, and, in company with 300fellow-passengers, found a watery grave.

The son's body was never recovered, but the father's was washed ashore, and the countenance was observed to be calm and peaceful. Every effort was made to restore life, but in vain. He was in the forty-ninth year of his age. His remains were brought home to England, and honoured with a public funeral at Boston by his fellow-townsmen and constituents, and a monument has been since erected to his memory: The Illustrated News itself, however, is his best monument; for with such judgment did he form his plans, and constitute his literary staff, that it has flourished as much since his death as it did before, and with even far greater success.




Illustrated London News


Herbert Ingram

Illustrated London News



There are others who have resided in this parish, and are still living, who have risen to considerable eminence, and two of them have conferred on Mill End some portion of their fame.

You can scarcely take up a paper without seeing an advertisement of Benson's clocks and watches. You can hardly pass a railway station without seeing a board with flaming characters setting forth his chronometers, and church clocks, and timepieces of every description. One of his clocks at the Wesleyan chapel, with its fine toned bell striking the hours and the quarters, is a public benefit; and his show-room in Bond Street is one of the sights of London, displaying a vast amount of ingenuity, taste, and wealth. Mr. Benson, when a lad, lived at Mill End. He was the son of a Baptist minister who officiated at the chapel there in 1832; but the youth's talent, energy, and perseverance overcame all the obstacles arising out of somewhat straitened circumstances; and now he is one of the first tradesmen in London, and his name is published all over the world.





About the same time another lad was living for a short period with Mr. Swannell, (one of his father's executors), and then left for London, and served a seven years' apprenticeship to a printer, and thus became a freeman of the great metropolis. Long before he had completed his time, when on a visit to his old quarters, he used to say that, if his life were spared, he would one day be Lord Mayor. Notwithstanding many jokes passed on his apparent presumption, he stuck resolutely to his purpose. Soon after he was out of his apprenticeship, a gentleman of considerable means wished to put his son into business, who had served his time to a stationer, and he wished to combine both the businesses of printing and stationery; and, as the son knew nothing about printing, he looked out for one who did; and Joseph Causton was recommended to him as the most suitable person he could find, and they commenced business together, as partners. They were very successful, and after a time the stationer died, and the whole concern came into Mr. Causton's hands. He prospered more and more, not by craft and chicanery, but by sheer talent, industry, and integrity, and now the firm is Causton and Sons. His success showed how attentive he had been to business, but he had at the same time a public spirit, and became in succession Liveryman, Common Councilman, Alderman, and at last, Sheriff of London and Middlesex; and, by virtue of his office, he had to take a prominent part on the recent occasion of the Queen's opening Blackfriars Bridge and the Holborn Viaduct; and Her Majesty has been since pleased to confer on him the honour of knighthood, so that he is now Sir Joseph Causton; and if his life is spared for another seven years, (and possibly before that), he will, in the ordinary course of rotation, have attained the great object of his ambition, and be Lord Mayor of London; and, as his career has been throughout so honourable, all must wish him this happiness.





There are other ways, however, of rising to fame besides by business and wealth; and of this we have an instance in the case of one who spent some years of his life in this town. He commenced his career under the most adverse circumstances, exemplified in the most striking manner the pursuit of knowledge under difficulties, then published his thoughts to the world, and now takes his place among the recognized living poets of the day. Gerald Massey was born at Tring, in May, 1828. His father was a canal boatman, very poor, and very ignorant. The family were often without bread, and the children, as soon as they could be of any use, instead of being sent to school, had to go to a silk mill to earn a few pence. At eight years of age Gerald went there regularly at five o'clock in the morning, and toiled till half-past six in the evening, in all seasons and in all weathers. In the midst of all this, however, he managed to pick up a little education at a night-school, and acquired a strong taste for reading, and read whatever came in his way. At fifteen he went up to London as an errand-boy, where a whole world of books was opened to him, which he devoured with avidity, even at the book-stalls, and often went without a meal to purchase a volume. At last he fell in love, and took to rhyme as a matter of course. This gave him a taste for poetry, which (strange to say) he never cared to read before. A dormant sense was awakened within him, and at the end of four years he rushed into print, and gave many proofs of vivid genius and poetic fire. He resided at Rickmansworth from 1860 to 1864, and during that time wrote several beautiful poems. The public were so deeply interested in them that his claims were brought prominently forward; and, while the poet was living here, Lord Palmerston placed his name on the Civil List, so that he is now in receipt of an honourable pension from Government as long as he lives.



Gerald Massey





In leaving this place we may remark, that Rickmansworth is well provided with the means of locomotion, both for goods and passengers. First of all, there is the Grand Junction Canal, beginning at the border of Warwickshire at the junction with the Oxford canal, and passing by Northampton, Leighton Buzzard, and Berkhampstead, and through the Grove and Cassiobury parks close to the town, and on to Uxbridge, till it enters the Thames near Brentford, and is continued by the Paddington canal to Limehouse. Altogether it is ninety miles long, and runs through three tunnels, of which one is a mile and a half long, and it has ninety-eight locks to counteract the descent. The summit level at Tring is the highest water level in all England, and of the same height as St. Paul's, namely, about 400 feet above the level of the Thames at its junction with that river. To supply the waste, it is fed by five great reservoirs of water, one of which, at Aldenham, covers sixty acres. Thus constant communication is maintained between the north and the midland counties and London through this town; and manufactures, minerals, and agricultural produce are conveyed from one place to another. This canal was begun in 1792, and opened in 1805.

Then there is the branch line from Rickmansworth to the Watford junction, with its numerous trains, bringing the town within an hour's distance from London, and affording easy access by the North-Western Railway to all parts of the country. This branch was opened in 1862. We may take advantage of it to pass on to Watford.


Grand Junction Canal


The Railway