The census was taken on 3 April 1881. There were 362 residents in Preston - 179 males and 183 females. They included 63 couples and 11 widows or widowers. They occupied 69 cottages, an average of 4.2 inhabitants in each home. Other homes included six farms, Temple Dinsley and ‘The Cottage’. Six houses were unoccupied.The ‘core’ families of Preston in 1881 were:
The following were the most popular Christian names in the village:
While researching this census, for the first time the variety of Christian names is noticeable - there were 97 different choices.Ages of Preston’s inhabitants:
One hundred and seventy-five villagers were aged under 21 - 48%. The oldest was Sarah Jeeves, 81. She died in 1886 aged 89. There were two two-month-old babies: Christopher and Annie Peters, the children of Thomas and Martha and Joseph and Sarah
Mary Nash was recorded as being ‘blind’.The modernisation of farming methods was indicated by James Angell (born 1857 from Standon, Bedfordshire who was working at Hill End Farm) being described as a traction engine driver.
They comprised 33 % of the village’s population.
Of the surviving 385 villagers from 1871, 170 were still living in Preston ten years later - 44%. A further 103 people had moved within a five-mile radius of the village. Twenty-seven were living farther afield in Hertfordshire while 28 had relocated to other counties. Twenty-two were living in Hitchin and five had moved to London.Following the purchase by Henry Pryor of Temple Dinsley in 1873, Eleanor Peters (the daughter of William and Mary who were living at Preston Green) was a maid at Henry’s house at Clifton, Beds. in 1881. Three young men moved out of the village as they pursued their occupations on the railway - Alfred Smith from Poynders End was a porter at Hitchin; George Peters was a plate-layer at Hitchin and John Shaw was a railway labourer at Yorkshire.