A History of Preston

in Hertfordshire

Names
Ages
Mobility
Occupations

Chart showing movement of villagers 1851-61

A drift towards towns from Preston can be detected. Twenty-eight had relocated to Hitchin, Luton and Dunstable and 15 were living in London.

The census was counted on 7 April. There were 420 inhabitants in Preston that day - 207 males and 214 females. They included 68 couples and 16 widows or widowers.

 

They occupied 78 homes - an average of 4.8 residents in each cottage. Five houses were uninhabited.  Eight farms and the house at Temple Dinsley were also occupied.

A third of Preston was made up by just six families:

 

                               Sharp

                               Jenkins

                               Payne

                               Fitzjohn

                               Andrews

                               Palmer

 

The most popular Christian names were:

Males

William (40)

John (29)

George (29)

Thomas (18)

Females

Sarah (23)

Ann (23)

Mary (20)

Emma (13)

32 members

25

19

18

16

16

The oldest villager was Phoebe Pedder who was living at Kilnwood House. She was 86 in 1861 and died in 1864. The youngest child in Preston was one-month-old Arthur Aldridge at Hill End. Children aged under 20 (206) were more than half of the local poulation - 49%.

Of  the 411 surviving villagers who were counted in 1851, 241 were still in Preston ten years later - 59%. Sixty-two more were living within five miles of the village. While 60 can not be traced in 1861, 11 had moved further away but still in Hertfordshire and 37 were living outside the county.

On the land

 

Landed Proptr

Farmers

Farm labourers

Cowman

Gardeners

Horse keeper

Ploughman

Ploughboy

Shepherds

Tradesmen

 

Baker

Blacksmith

Carpenters

Carters

Dealer in hemp cord

Marine stores dealer

Grocer/butcher

Publicans

Shoemakers

Apprentice

Horse dealer

Tailors

Wheelwrights

Bank cashier

  1

  8

77

  1

  2

  1

  1

  5

  3

1

1

2

2

1

1

1

2

2

1

1

3

4

1

100

    2

    1

    1

    2

    1

    1

    6      1

    1

    2

    1

No villager was recorded as receiving parish relief and 100 were straw plaiters. The oldest plaiter was the nimble-fingered Ann Walker, aged 76, and the youngest home worker was the five-year-old, William Fairey (who was my great grand uncle).

The Preston historian, Nina K Freebody wrote an article in ‘Hertfordshire Countryside’ magazine comparing Preston in 1861 to the village in 1961. A transcription of this can be found at this link: Nina Freebody’s article,’A Typical Hertfordshire Village 100 Years ago

Top

Link to transcription of 1861 Preston census.

Link to alphabetical list of names in 1861 Preston census.

Home page

Census

summary

C1851

C1871

Site contents

Site map

1861 Census -

Analysis

Women and children

 

Straw plaiters

Bonnet sewers

Dressmaker

Landlady

Laundressers

Nursemaid

Shirtmaker

Servants

School Teacher

Governess

Housemaid

Cook