A History of Preston

in Hertfordshire

The History of Preston’s Cottages:

Poynders End/Jacks Hill

From time-to-time I receive requests for details of the history of local cottages which have not already been researched. One such recent enquiry relates to Hill Cottage at Jacks Hill.

 

This abode was of particular interest to me as my greatx3 grandparents, Robert and Martha Currell, lived in this cottage circa 1802. My grandparents, Alfred and Emily Wray, had also briefly lived in one of these homes, likely Hill Cottage, in 1897.

N

To Ladygrove, Preston

and Hitchin

To B651 and Hill End

Hitchwood Lane

Minsden Cottage

Hill Cottage

Hitchwood

Hitchwood

c1811

c1844

Hill Cottage

Hill Cottage

Minsden Cottage

Minsden Cottage

1910

Hill Cottage

Minsden Cottage

Hill Cottage

Well

Minsden

Cottage

1898

Before examining the history of these cottages in detail, there are several points of interest. Although the two properties were linked by a track to Poynders End Farm in the nineteenth century, they were associated with Hill End Farm in 1910 - probably being for the use of its labourers. Also, the cottages were in Hitchin parish, whereas Poynders End Farm was in the parish of Ippollitts.

 

During the nineteenth century the cottages were both divided into two homes. By 1910, however, they were individual abodes, each having three rooms and a scullery. It follows that when divided earlier, each dwelling had but two rooms. Also, while today Hill Cottage is rendered and has a slate roof and the bricks of Minsden Cottage have been painted, in 1910 (when the area was also known as ‘Mount Pleasant’) they were described as being ‘red-bricked’ with tiled roofs. They also had ‘good gardens’ and a common ‘deep’ well.

 

Jacks Hill was in the small manor of Missenden or Minsden (not Temple Dinsley). The manorial records of Missenden from 1700 until 1879 are held at Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies. These provide much of the following information. The copyright owner of the composite home, Minsden Cottage, paid the Lord of the Manor a paltry annual rent of 1d - which reflects its relative size - even the two-up; two-down cottages fronting onto Preston Green attracted an annual rent of 4d.

Hill Cottage, 2 Jacks Hill, Preston

Hill Cottage has been described thus: a house built in the middle of seventeenth century, altered and extended at each end in the nineteenth century and late twentieth century (which can be seen from the photograph above). Timber frame rough-cast, brick extensions rough-cast, and steeply pitched roofs, now slated. A one-and-a-half-storied, three-roomed, internal-chimney, lobby-entry plan house facing south, with two-room extension to the east end at the lower level, and a single-room extension to the west end with a rectangular front bay window. The south front has three gabled dormers at the eaves and four windows to ground floor. -lights small-pane recessed casement windows. Projecting rectangular enclosed porch to lobby entrance. Rear slope of roof raised as a dormer in the bay on each side of the chimney. Interior has chamfered axial beams with bar stops, old wall-plates and an exposed, clasped-purlin on collar roof and straight wind-braces from former gable-ends.

From the late seventeenth century, this cottage and its surrounding six acres of land in three fields (shown as 10 in the c1844 map above) with an annual manorial rent of six shillings was owned and farmed by the Flindall family - George snr and later his grandson John Flindall who took possession of it in 1719.

 

On the death of John Flindall who lived in the cottage (he was buried at Ippollitts on 28 June 1770 when he was described as a farmer), the entire holding passed to his daughter, Mary, the wife of Abraham Geary, who also lived in the cottage. On her demise in September 1785, her estate was left to her son Abraham Geary, a miller at Hertford. In 1787, Abraham sold the holding to Joseph Pedder, a carpenter living at Vine Cottage, Preston (Link: Joseph Pedder). He or Hannah Merritt occupied the six acres.

 

By the time that Joseph Pedder bequeathed part of his estate to his daughter, Elizabeth English (wife of John English) according to his will of 1802, it was evident that the cottage had been divided into two homes of two rooms which were occupied by my greatx3 grandfather Robert Corrall (sic - and his family of nine in 1801) and Sarah Wheeler, nee Geary, who was the daughter of Abraham Geary.

By September 1806, the households of John English and Edward Andrew occupied the property. Following the deaths of John and Elizabeth English, the holding passed to their fourth son, Thomas English, who was born at Preston in around 1798. He was a grocer trading from Vine Cottage in the village in 1851. In around 1844, Hill Cottage was occupied by Thomas Robottom. Thomas English then moved to Hitchin, retired, and in 1859 he sold his holding at Jacks Hill to Thomas Alexander Dashwood for £350. The two homes were then inhabited by Sarah Payne and an unknown Crewe.

Known inhabitants of the cottages at Jacks Hill from 1835 to 2000

What follows is a list of the known residents of the cottages at Jacks Hill and their households with a note where possible of the cottage in which they lived. From the details of the censuses, Minsden Cottage  (1) and Hill Cottage (2) were probably each converted  from two cottages to one dwelling between 1901 and 1911.

1836  Grundon (1)

          Daniel Moules (1)

1841  George and Mary Sanders (1)

          Peter and Ann Moules (1)

          Thomas, Joseph and Ann Andrews (1)

1847  William English (2)

          Charles Saunderson (2)

          Ann Andrews (1)

          Widow Moules (1)

          George Sanders (1)

1851  James and Elizabeth Payne (2)

          James and Elizabeth Payne (2)

          Ann Andrews (1)          

          Ann Harvey (1)

1861  Sarah Payne (2)                              

          Ann Walker  (1)                                

          William and Emma Ward (1)         

1871  James and Mary Ann Smith (2)       

          Edward and  Ann Walker (1)        

          William and Emma Ward  (1)

1881  John Payne and Jesse Smith (2)   

          William and Elizabeth Shaw (2)    

          John and Fanny Crawley (1)

          John and Ann Palmer (1)      

1891  Jesse and Emma Smith (2)

          John and Hannah Payne (2)

          George and Sarah Thrussell (1)

          Joseph and Eliza Thrussell (1)

1897  Alfred and Emily Wray (2)

1901  Jesse Smith (2) (resident from 1896 until 1908)

          Unoccupied (2)

          George and Sarah Thrussell (1)

          William Thrussell (1)

1905  Herbert Sharpe

1910  Jack Clements

1911  John Oliver (home with 2 rooms)

          Thomas Payne (home with five rooms)

          Charles Gilbert

1919  Steven Charles Andrews

          Leonard Charles Smith

          John Virdew

1924  John Murphy

1927  Frank Harper

1935  Herbert William Hammond

1940  Edmund William and Kathleen Mary Burrows (married Dickie Jenkins)

1942  Reginald Harry Darton

1945  Sydney James Best

1949  Minnie Wallace

1951  Malcolm Rgers

1952  Stanley C Constant (2)

1953  Jack Wright

1958  Jack Mangham

1960  Walter Towner

1962  Peter Willoughby (1)

1963  Ronald Pinkney (1)

1974  Martin Reynolds (2)

1992  Patricia A Brown (2)

1992  The Pilato family (1)

 

Minsden Cottage, 1 Jacks Hill, Preston (aka Goremore Hole)

A detailed survey of Minsden Cottage as per the evaluation of Hill Cottage is not to hand, so that the approximate date of when it was built is unknown. The first reference to it in the existing Missenden manorial roll was in 1726 when it was known as Goremore Hole. It had four poles of associated land and was occupied by Edward Evegrave (a labourer living at Langley who evidently was the owner) and John Newton.

 

In 1728, Edward Evegrave sold the cottage to Robert Thurgood, a brewer from Baldock, for £37. He, in turn, sold the dwelling in 1741 to George Field, yeoman at Langley who bequeathed it to his wife, Sarah, and thence to his son, Henry Field, who lived at Hertingfordbury, Herts.

 

The property (which was still divided into two homes) was then purchased in 1768 by Charles Dymock, a labourer living at Langley Bottom. Eleven years later in 1779, when Charles Dymock and John Sanders were the occupants, the former sold his holding to William Barker, a labourer from Hatfield who bequeathed it to his cousin and heir, William King of Old Whiston, Hunts.

 

By 1802, the property had been sold to Thomas Waller (the younger) a carpenter from Hitchin and it was occupied by William Saunders. Twenty-six years later, in 1828, Thomas sold the cottage to John Grundon of Langley for £80. It had previously been occupied by William Saunders and then by John Saunders and Thomas Young, John Grundon died in 1835 and was buried at St Mary’s, Hitchin on 4 July. Minsden Cottage was then acquired by Joseph Saunders who was living there in 1844 and shortly afterwards he sold it to Thomas Dashwood.

 

 

 

The track approaching the Jacks Hill cottages

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