Ardeley Bury



Early postcard of Ardeley Bury

Yardley is principally celebrated as the residence of Sir Henry Chauncy, the Historian of the County of Hertford. His history shews extensive knowledge and research, and although occasionally very discursive, displays much erudition on the part of its author, a great insight into the genealogical history of a vast number of noble and knightly families who have been residents in the County, or connected with it by various causes, and a great amount of general information. Sir Henry was a member of an ancient and honorable family, who came into England with the Conqueror, and whose name appears on the roll of Battle Abbey. In the reign of Richard n., they removed to Pishiobury, in the Parish of Sawbridgeworth, in this County; and in that of Elizabeth, to Yardleybury, which became their residence through a family marriage. Sir Henry was born here, and after completing his education at Cambridge, was called to the bar, and became a bencher of the Middle Temple, a Magistrate for Herts., and Steward of the Borough Court of Hertford. After a new Charter had been granted to Hertford by Charles II he was elected Recorder, which office he continued to hold till his death. He was married three times, had several children, died in the year 1700, and was buried with several of his ancestors in the family vault in the Church of the Village in which he was born. The old Manor House is seated in a Park, pleasantly diversified, formerly surrounded by a moat, which is now dry. It has the appearance of a castellated Mansion, and is a handsome and imposing structure, in the occupation of Mrs. Bastard.

Guide to Hertfordshire 1880

See The Historical Antiques of Hertfordshire for further information on Sir Henry Chauncy

Some Court Cases involving

Sir Robert Murray of Ardeley Bury

On December 25th 1846 there was an incident that led to a later incident and aseries of court cases, very extensively reported in the press relating to Sir Robert Murray, of Ardeley Bury. They are of particular interest because they involved a "Special Jury" (a practice no longer followed) where being tried by one equals meant that is an ordinary citizen brought a case against a wealthy landowner who happened to be a magistrate the jury consisted only of wealthy landowners. The story is too long to report in detail but the following extracts from different court cases summarise the underlying story.


The case of this insolvent [John Beadle], was briefly mentioned a few weeks ago in the Morning Post. He came up praying his Honour to name a day for the final order. His debts amount to about 200l being the costs of an action which he brought  against Sir Robert Murray, a magistrate of the county of Herts, for false imprisonment

A solicitor, on behalf of Sir Robert Murray, now opposed the insolvent's release.

Mr. Sturgeon, who appeared for [John Beadle], said he was very glad to have an opportunity of showing in a public court how this poor man had been treated. His client was a poor higgler, residing near Sir Robert Murray's seat [Ardeley Bury], in Hertfordshire. Sir Robert was, it appeared, a fowl fancier, and having missed some of his own and found some in the insolvents premises, said they were his. The insolvent denied the charge, and referred Sir Robert to a farmer, from whom he had bought them. He was, however, handcuffed, chained down in a cart and driven on a Christmas-day through his own village to gaol, where he was kept on bread and water for two days, the fowls upon Beadle's premises were taken to the yard of the farmer from whom he said he purchased them, and they proved the correctness of the poor man's story, for they ran across the yard at once, a distance of two hundred yards, to their roost, which they at once perched upon. (Laughter.) It was true the action of Beadle against Sir Robert was unsuccessful, but right did not always prevail against might, and he had persons in Court to prove that the insolvent's witnesses were tampered with on the occasion of the trial.



 Miles v. Murray.

Mr. Chambers, in opening the case, ... Looking to the circumstances of the ease he could imagine no motive that could have actuated the defendent [Sir Robert Murray], except anger at the friends of the man Beadle. The plaintiff [Miles] was fishmonger at Walkern, a respectable man in his humble way, and he was acquainted with Beadle. It happened on the 23rd of July that Beadle and Miles went to Ardeley; they had to pass over a footpath before Sir R. Murray's house. As they did so they agreed to run a race from Walkern to Ardeley church for half-a-crown. Miles won the race, and they went to a public-house, when they met a man named Swallow. As they were returning along the footpath they saw two persons approaching. Swallow was laid hold of. Sir Robert Murray who appeared to be one of them said, give it them. Miles was caught hold of by the collar by Kennedy, who struck him severely with a hunting whip. Sir Robert, who observed more persons were present, and being frightened, said "Come away, I am satisfied." Swallow said, "Sir Robert shall hear of this to-morrow," and it was very proper that he should hear of it. Miles had to sit down on account of the blows he had received, and was with difficulty got home. Sir Robert Murray might have made some apology and amends for his conduct, but he had never done so and (Mr. Chambers) could imagine no motive that could have actuated him, except a desire to assault Beadle's friends. Beadle being with them.


Herts Midsummer Assizes.


SATURDAY, July 10.

(Before the Right Hon. Baron Parks.)




George Jacob Bosanquet, of Broxbourne-bury, Esq., Merchant.

Thomas Symms Muling, of Royston, Merchant.

Daniel Hankin, of Stanstead, Esq.

Joshua Lomax, of St. Michael's, Esq.

Charles Booth, of Stanstead, Esq.

Thomas Caldwell Merchant, of Aspeden, Esq.

Richard Oakley, of Harpenden, Esq.

Charles Johnstone, of Cheshunt, Esq.

Wm. Herbert Woodhouse, of Hertingfordbury, Esq.

This was an action brought by the plaintiff, a gentleman's servant, against the defendant, a gentleman and magistrate of the county, residing at Ardeley-bury, in the county of Hertford, to recover damages for an assault and battery. Mr. M. Chambers, Q.C., and Mr. Lush, appeared for the plaintiff; and Mr. Sergeant Shee and Mr. Edwin James for the defendant.

Mr. M. Chambers stated that the assault, which was the subject of the present action, arose out of the same occurrence which gave rise to an action brought by a person named Miles the last Assizes, when a verdict was given for the plaintiff. The assault was committed at the same time, and the circumstances were the same. Both assaults were the consequence of previous proceedings, in which Sir Robert Murray had taken a part. An action had been brought against him sometime since for false imprisonment, by a person named Beadle, whom Sir Robert had accused of taking his fowls. ... ... ...

 Further extracts see Mrs Coggins at the Old Bell Public House


This happened at a time when an assault by an ordinary member of the public on a wealthy member of the establishment would have been considered a criminal court matter and the attacker would almost certainly have been sent prison by the magistrates court, In this case the police never considered investigating Sir Robert's actions amd while Swallow won his civil case against Sir Robert Murray the special jury of wealthy landowners only awarded the trifling sum of one farthing damages.


Hertford Mercury 18th July, 1846, 30 November 1846, 6 March 1847, 7 July 1847

Morning Post 26 February, 1847, 19 March, 1847


Some Time Line Notes

1676 Map: Yardley Bury marked on Sellar's map [Yardley is a variant spelling of Ardeley]

1695 Map: Ardley Bury marked on Oliver's map. Sir Henry Chauncy listed as occupant.

1766 Map: Yardley Hall marked on Dury & Andrew's map 

1835 WHITEHALL, Dec. 27. The King: has been pleased to give and grant unto Adolphus Cottin, of Hinde-street, in the parish of St. Marylebone, in the county of Middlesex, Esq., his Royal license and authority that he and the issue of his marriage may (in compliance with directions contained in the last will and testament of John Murray, of Ardeley Bury, in the county of Hertford, Esq., Commissary-General to his Majesty's Forces, deceased) take and henceforth use the surname of Murray only, instead of and in substitution for that of Cottin, and also use the arms of Murray only; such arms being first duly exemplified according to the laws of arms, and recorded in the Herald's Office, otherwise the said Royal license and permission to be void and of none effect. And also to command that the said Royal concession and declaration be recorded in his Majesty's College of Arms.

 Morning Post 15 January, 1835

1851 Directory: Ardeley Bury in the possession of Lady Murray and rented by Captain Conway

1856 DEATH: April 14, at Gynee Tal, John Murray Murray, Esq., Lieut 8th Regt. Light Cavalry, A.D.C. to his Honour the Lieut-Govenor of the N W Province, Bengal, and eldest son of the late Adolphus Cottle Murray, Esq., and Lady Murray, of Ardeley Bury, Herts, aged 22, John Bull 14 June, 1856

1856 BIRTH: On the 28th ult, at Ardeley Bury, prematurely, the wife of Charles J. Bastard Esq., of a daughter, still born. Herts Guardian, 6 December 1856 [Presumably Charles Bastard had taken up residence by this date.]

1860 DEATH: On the 21st Inst,Lady Murray, wife of Sir Robert Murray of Ardeley Bury, Herts, Bart.  Morning Advertiser, 27 April, 1860

1865 The Ardeley Park Hunt Races took place on 27th September, one of the stewards being Charles J Bastard, Esq., of Ardeley Bury.

1866 Directory: "The mansion of Ardeley Bury belongs to P. Longmore, Esq., and was formerly the residence of Sir Henry Chauncy, Knt., the historian of Hertfordshire, whose family leased the property from the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's [London] for about 200 years. It is now the residence of C J Bastard, Esq."

1872 On the 20th instant, at Versailles , Georgina Murray de Cantillon de Ballyhigue, relict of Eugene de Cantillon de Ballyhigue, formerly a Lieutenant in the 1st Regiment of Grenadiers of the French Imperial Guard, and daughter of the late John Murray, |Esq., and Lady Murray of Ardeley Bury, Herts. Herts Advertiser 29th Jume 1972

circa 1880 Ordnance Survey Map; Have a look for it on old-maps.

1882 Directory: James J. Scott

1890 Directory: Captain James Thomas Scott

1912 Directory: "The demesne and lordship were granted by King Athelstan to the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's, by whom also the great tithes were appropriated in 1290, by King Edward I. The mansion with the demesne and great tithes, commuted at 550 yearly, were sold by the Dean and Chapter about the year 1815 to Commissary General Murray (a Waterloo veteran), whose successor bequeathed them to the late P. Longmore esq. and they were next sold by his trustees to J J Scott esq, father of the late Lt-Col James Thomas Scott J. P.  and are now held by the Scott Trustees; the mansion of Ardeley Bury, standing in a park of 100 acres, is a fine structure of brick in the Castellated style, principally built in 1820, but there still remains a small portion of the old Elizabethan house, erected about 1581; and surrounded by a moat; there are also the remains of an ancient tower on the east side of the house; it was formerly the residence of Sir Henry Chauncey kt. the historian of Hertfordshire, who died in April. 1719; it is occupied by Col. Hans Charles M Woods, late R.A."

1937 Directory: The Bury was occupied by John Howard Carter, esq.. J.P.

Listed Building Information

Some information on the moat is given on the Gatehouse web site


More modern pictures provided by Terry Hope


August 2017   Page Checked - Significant update including press reports.