Guide to Old Hertfordshire


The Leighton Buzzard Observer



While this paper is a Bedfordshire paper its advertisements and some news will have Hertfordshire connections. This alone would not be sufficient for mention on this web site. However Barbara Quick (barbara @t is in the process of producing a detailed index - and indexes of local papers are rare. At present (January 2007) it covers one issue from 1861 and four months from 1863 have been indexed - but more are promised. Even this limited time period produces 15 news items for Tring and 8 for Hitchin.

The following examples show the types of information you can expect to find on searching for Hertfordshire place names:

Newspaper Date: 1/1/1861
Type of Event: Petty Sessions
Subject: Furious riding

Summary: on Monday 24th Dec. 1860, Mr. DAY of Hemel Hempstead, Herts defended Thomas DEACON of Linslade Livery Stables, when he was charged with furiously riding a horse through North Street, Leighton, endangering lives and limbs of people travelling along that street.

Newspaper Date: 10/3/1863
     Type of Event: Court hearings, Hertfordshire Crown Court
Subject: Arson

Summary: At the Crown Court at Hertford, Mr. Justice WIGHTMAN presided. A labourer named COLLINS, was indicted for feloniously setting fire to a stack of barley and a stack of hay. Council for the prosecution was Mr. J.P. MURPHY. There was no counsel for the defence. He was convicted and sentenced to eight years penal servitude

Newspaper Date: 10/3/1863
Type of Event: Court hearings, Hertfordshire Crown Court
Subject: Attempted obstruction of the Great Eastern Railway

Summary: At the Crown Court at Hertford, Mr. Justice WIGHTMAN presided. A thirteen year old boy named DORSETT, was indicted for wilfully obstructing the Great Eastern Railway by placing a piece of iron thereon at Great Amwell so as to endanger the passengers. Council for the prosecution was Mr. SLEIGH. and Mr. TAYLOR for the defence. The learned Judge left the case to the jury and the boy was found not guilty.

Court cases were a valuable source of material in local papers at this date. While one might find more detailed accounts of Hertfordshire trials in Hertfordshire newspapers the fact that this paper is indexed makes it possible to identify the names , places, and dates of the events described.

Newspaper Date: 10/3/1863
Type of Event: Marriage
Subject: BURGESS-MEAD, at Swaffham, Norfolk

Summary: On the 2nd. March. at the Baptist Chapel, Swaffham, Norfolk, by the Rev. W. WOOD, Mr. John BURGESS of Tring, Hertfordshire was married to Julia, youngest daughter of the late Mr. John MEAD, of New Ground Farm, Nr. Tring, Herts.

Births, marriages and deaths can be useful as they may well include stray items such as this one, which could otherwise be difficult to track down.

Newspaper Date: 17/3/1863
Type of Event: Public Notices
Subject: Sale of Bonners Farm

Summary: Sale by auction, by Mr. H. HOLYOAK, 12 Castle Street, Luton, Beds., Auctioneer, to take place at Bonners Farm on the premises on Fri. March the 20th, 1863, of Bonners Farm, Flamstead, between Luton and Markyate Street, and all the live and dead farm stock and effects, by the order of Mr. G. GREGORY, who is leaving the farm. Catalogues had of the Auctioneer, 12, Castle Street. Luton, Beds

Property adverts such as this one will appear in papers over a wide area to attract customers - so one can expect adverts relating to the sale of North Hertfordshire farms to appear.

Newspaper Date: 17/3/1863
Type of Event: Advertisement
Subject: Artificial Teeth

Summary: Advertisement by Messrs. Ephraim MOSELY and Sons of Grosvenor Street, Grosvenor Square, London, for his newly invented 'special application' artificial teeth, gums and palates. From himself at the above address daily appointments on alternate Tues. at Swan Hotel, L. Buzzard, alternate Fidays at Mr. DAVENPORT's Chemist Holywell Hill, St. Albans, Herts., Alternate Sats. At Mr. ROBERT's, Market place, Hertford, Herts., alternate Mons. At George Hotel, Luton, Beds., alternate Weds. At Mr. BURGES's, High Street Dunstable, Beds., alternate Thurs. at Mr. WHARTON's, Tea Dealer, High Street, Hemel Hempstead, Herts., alternate Mons. At the Fountain Hotel, Huntingdon, Hunts., alternate Tues. Sun-Street, Hitchin, Herts., alternate Weds. At Mr. BEALL's, confectioners, The Cross, Royston, Herts., alternate Thurs. at Mr. MAY's, Bookseller, North Street, Bishop Stortford, Herts., and alternate Fri. and Sats. At Mr. BROWN's, St. Peter's Green, Bedford, Beds.

Adverts of this type are likely to appear regularly in a number of different papers .