Hertfordshire Genealogy

Guide to Old Hertfordshire






About one mile from the Village [of Offley] is a Manor House called LITTLE OFFLEY, which is a pretty residence in a pleasant Park. A Hamlet called MANGROVE is also near, but is partly in the Parish of Lilley.

About two miles from Offley, on the borders of Bedfordshire, is the pleasant Village of LILLEY, or Lilley Hoo. Chauncy says "it received the latter addition because it formerly belonged to the Hoos," an ancient family which resided at Kimpton, and held several Manors in this County; but Clutterbuck, in his history, shows that this is totally unfounded, and that the Hoos never at any time had possession of this Manor. It stands on the road from Hitchin to Luton. There is a small Church, dedicated to St. Peter, with a tower and six bells, which has been rebuilt in the Geometrical or Early Decorated style, it contains several old monuments, with long inscriptions, commemorating the virtues and high connections of members of the Docwra family, who lived at Putteridge, in this Parish, for many years. The living is a Rectory, of the value of 420 per annum, with a handsome residence, in the patronage of St. John's College, Cambridge; 26 acres of glebe are attached to the living. There is a good National School. The Wesleyans have a place of worship here. The population of the Parish is 520; the number of acres, 1822.

PUTTERIDGE BURY, about half a mile distant, is a handsome residence situate in a very pleasant Park. It was certified in the reign of Henry VI. that the Manor of Putteridge Bury was held by Eliza Darrell at the yearly rent of "one pound of pepper :and one pound of. cinnamon." The co-heirs of Sir B. Rawlings, who afterwards possessed it, sold it to John Sowerby, Esq., who purchased Lilley of the Docwra family before-mentioned.

Guide to Hertfordshire, 1880

Sign of the Silver Lion, Lilley, Herts
Sign of "The Silver Lion", Lilley
from A Pilgrimage in Hertfordshire


Hertfordshire Inns & Public Houses says that "The building has been identified with a row of cottage and gardens of which Henry Hare was tenant in 1848. It was first mentioned as an Inn in 1859, with James Pates as licensee."

The 1866 Post Office directory lists four public houses - , the Silver Lion (James Pates), the William IV at Mangrove (Henry Smith) and  the Sowerby Arms (John Stormer). In 1882 they had been joined by the Red Lion (Charles James Ebbs).

There is an account of the Silver Lion in the book In a Green Valley.

Wikipedia (in 2010) reports that the Silver Lion has recently closed,


St Peters Church


War Memorial



Books on Lilley


The Lilley Picture Book


The Guiding Stars


In a Green Valley

  Between the Hills: the story of Lilley, a Chiltern Village


Lilley Rectory, Lilley, Herts, Post Card
Lilley Rectory, undated
Photographed and Published by W. H. Cox, 90 Castle Street, Luton


Rupert Brook knew it well and brings it into one of his poems; here he would walk when he was a Cambridge University, by

The Roman road to Wendover
By Tring and Lilley Hoo

 A rampant lion raises its head on cottage wall and gatepost, the crest of the Docwra family who lived in the fine park of Putteridge Bury generations ago. All that is left of the church they knew is the Norman chancel arch which has been reset in the chancel wall, the linen-folds panels and the old oak of the pulpit, the piscina, and the 15th century font at which were baptised a 17th century curate's two sons, John and James Janeway. John was a mathematical genius; James seemed at one time something like a rival to John Bunyan. They built a chapel for him in Jamaica Row, Rotherhithe, and there he preached while plague and persecution were rife, escaping both to die of consumption in 1674. ...

Arthur Mee, Hertfordshire


The Lilley Village web site has information about what is happening in the village.

At the time of writing (November 2011) it has a comparatively small number of photographs and the history section is very limited but I am sure more will be added - so check it out. The history pages already contain two very useful tithe maps. One is for 1769 while the detail on the right comes from the 1845 map.

If you know of other books, websites, etc, relating to this place, please tell me.

November 2010   Information added about the Silver Lion