A book distilled from this web site, A History of Preston in Hertfordshire, was published on 18 February, 2015. It is intended to be an educational, instructional and non-commercial publication. The book is hardback and bound with 114 portrait A4 pages on 130 gsm silk paper in full colour and includes more than 300 illustrations. Two hundred copies were ordered from Berforts of Stevenage (who have done an outstanding job) and all were sold by 28 February 2015.A reprint was ordered and has now sold out.
A review of A History of Preston in Hertfordshire by Chris Reynolds, webmaster of Genealogy in Hertfordshire
“Philip has done an excellent job in bringing together different aspects of the history of Preston, a tiny village near Hitchin. He first became interested when researching his ancestors and as his family tree grew he discovered he was a blood relative to almost half the villagers listed in the 1881 census. For this reason he expanded his interests to cover the whole village, and in 2007 he launched the History of Preston in Hertfordshire web site. He then ventured into on-paper publishing and has now ended up writing this book.As an outsider - who has little direct knowledge of the village - I have learnt a lot about the place by looking at the book, especially relating to the involvement of the Knights Templers and Temple Dinsley. Where I have first hand knowledge - such as the section on straw plaiting in Hertfordshire - I am impressed by the care and thoroughness of the way the subject is treated. I also liked the biographies of Preston men who fought and sometimes died in the First World War. Philip has put a significant amount of hard work into the research and if your ancestors came from Preston you will find much to interest you.In addition the general presentation of the book is excellent - with plenty of pictures - in colour where possible - and an easy layout which helps you to find your way around - helped by a useful index, with many personal names. The technology for amateur desktop publishing has moved on enormously since I produced my The London Gunners come to Town in 1995 and Philip's book is an excellent example of what can be done with the latest technology. The fact that the book is backed by a very good web site - is a great advantage as I am sure Philip will find that once a book has been printed new information will turn up - and where appropriate this can be made available online.”
What readers have said about A History of Preston in Hertfordshire:
“...the book looks great and is very interesting, worth all the hard work” PB“Many thanks for your excellent book, which I have just received. Well done, it is a fascinating and beautiful production” NM“I’m delighted to have sight of your new book of Preston and am fascinated by your findings.” BU“The book was safely received and has been much enjoyed and admired. What a great work!” CH“My copy arrived today and I am very pleased with it. Thank you.” MR“Congratulations Philip on a wonderful achievement, not only does it make interesting reading for us now but will be invaluable to those that follow with an interest in one small Hertfordshire Village and of course I know my Family will enjoy it. I know you have put a huge amount into the project, it is very well produced and I am sure you will be delighted with the result.” BF“I have received the book this morning. Thank you very much, I am delighted with it.” MD“I am a little cross, on opening the book I intended just to make sure all was in order and then write to you - yes I am still doing that but it is now over an hour since the book arrived and instead of getting on with my chores I have been turning the pages of the book and enjoying it so much I did not want to put it down!! Time for lunch in a minute and then I have a friend coming this afternoon - damn I will have to wait until she has gone before I can get back to the book!! Philip, you have done a great piece of work and I am delighted with it.” WD“Just a message to thank you very much for inviting us to Preston on Saturday. It was a very great pleasure to meet you and to see your efforts received so well by your friends in the village.” RP“An excellent production. I found it very moving to read. Captures the spirit of Preston and its inhabitants through the ages.” RS“Just a quick email of congratulation on your excellent book and an appreciation of the amount of time and effort you put into its creation. You can be proud of your achievement!” NM“Have just finished reading "The History of Preston in Hertfordshire", a most interesting and informative volume. The amount of information contained therein is amazing. From the content it contains it is fairly obvious that there is a lot more history still to be found in and around Preston.You are to be complimented on the effort and detail put into book.” PD“We’ve had some new local books in the last few weeks which I wanted to share with you.A History of Preston in Hertfordshire by Philip J WrayThis very handsome book grew out of the author’s adventures into his family history. He discovered that not only has he had family in Preston since 1751, he is also related by blood to almost half the villagers in 1881 and still has a relative who lives in the village. But this book is not just a personal history there is a vast amount of information about Preston itself.” Eric T Moore’s Bookshop, Hitchin
The following article appeared in the Hitchin Comet on 22 January 2015:
The following unsolicited testimonial has been kindly posted on the Genealogy in Hertfordshire web site by its web master, Chris Reynolds:
Samples of some of the book’s pages:
Preston’s location and topographyEarly historical glimpses of PrestonThe Domesday Book and PrestonPreston, Hitchin and the de Balliol familyDinsley/Preston CastleThe Knights Templar and Temple DinsleyThe treasure of the Templars and how they fell from graceThe Manor of Missenden aka MinsdenThe Knights HospitallerThe occupants of Temple Dinsley from 1312The Manor of MaidencroftPreston and the plague of 1349Owners of Temple Dinsley from the middle of the fourteenth century (including the Sadleirs)Minsden Chapel and the rebellion of Preston villagersThe recent history of Minsden ChapelJohn Bunyan and Non-conformity at PrestonViews of Temple Dinsley circa 1700Benedict Ithell purchases Temple DinsleyThomas Harwood inherits temple DinsleyRobert Hinde at Preston CastleThe Darton family at Temple DinsleyNew owners of Temple Dinsley from 1873,- the PryorsFire at Temple Dinsley
The contents of the book
The Seebohms at Poynders EndThe building of St Martin’s ChurchJames Barrington-White and the Fenwicks at Temple DinsleyThe architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and his work at PrestonNew owners of Temple Dinsley - Douglas Vickers and Almina Countess of CararvonPrincess Helen College moves to Temple DinsleyEducation at PrestonThe Red Lion at Preston GreenPreston Village buys the Red LionThe Chequers InnStraw plaitingCrime at PrestonMorality and mobility in the villageLanes and highways about PrestonPreston’s poundBeating the parish boundariesPreston’s allotmentsPreston’s Benefit ClubsCricket at PrestonPreston - best-kept smaller Herts village 1959Preston GreenThe well at Preston and wind pumpsDiscovering a lost village near Preston
Forty pages of the most popular pages from this web site, including Preston men who fought in The Great War; Preston in World War Two and the Preston Hill “Murder” and robbery case of 1864, Mary Woodhams and Preston School, The Wallers - builders of Preston, the Armstrongs and the Newells, Alfred and Emily Wray, Flossie Sugden; Mary Woodhams and Preston School, Nina Freebody - historian of Preston; Dick Middleditch - cricket umpire and gamekeeper; the reminiscences of Robert Sunderland; Samuel Hall and his family; the Scott family of Church Road; a dedication to my parents, Sam and Grace Wray; acknowledgements and references and a two-page index.