A History of Preston

in Hertfordshire


A meeting in support of Mr HG Fordham, the Liberal Candidate, was held at Temple Dinsley, Preston on Friday, 7 August. The Hon. Henry Brand M.P. presided. The Chairman in introducing Mr Fordham spoke at some length on the question of allotments for agricultural workers. Mr Fordham then addressed the meeting and at the close of his speech a resolution confirming him to be a fit and proper person to represent the constituency was proposed by Mr Gray, seconded by a working man from the audience and supported by Mr A Ransom ......the resolution was carried nem. con. almost everyone in the room holding up his hand in its favour.

14 August 1885



Mssrs George Jackson and Son are instructed by J Barrington White Esq to sell by auction on the premises on 6 and 7 August 1908:

Surplus household furniture, including oak and mahogany bedroom suites, oak writing table and other useful furniture of bedrooms, reception rooms and domestic offices and a small quantity of wine.

Horses: a handsome chestnut gelding, seven years old, 16.2, perfectly quiet in single and double harness and a powerful grey cart mare, seven years old and a good worker.

Eight excellent carriages and carts: a Brougham (double-seated), a Victoria, an Omnibus, a Brake, a two-wheel Dog Cart, a two-wheel Pony Dog cart, a Game Cart and a Spring Loading Cart.

The whole of the well-made harness, a capital harness room table with clothing drawers and other harness room furniture, dairy utensils and a few farm implements, garden implements and a collection of greenhouse plants.

31 July 1908



Harry Monk, Samuel Chalkley, Alfred Bradwick and James Wilshire, four youths of Hitchin were charged with assaulting Charles Crane, a young man of Preston, at Ippollitts on 27 September.

Mr Wells, solicitor, Hitchin appeared for the prosecution and said it would be proved to be a most unprovoked attack on a Sunday evening when the defendants met the complainant walking towards Temple Dinsley and attacked him. The prosecutor was set upon by all four at once and suffered great pain from the injuries for the next two days. The only difficulty mightb be as to the identity of the prisoners but he thought he should have enough evidence for that.

Charles Crane said he lived at Preston and was an under-gardener at Temple Dinsley to Mr McMillan. On Sunday evening he was walking along with other young fellows when he heard a noise and four young fellows passed them and three young women. After they had passed they came up behind and said, “I’ll show you Charlie Smith”. Two of them struck Gilbert and Walter Peters who were with the witness and they ran away. The other two then struck George Peters and then the first two attacked him, one holding his arms at his side while the other two struck him. When George Peters the last of his companions went away, they all set upon him and one of them took his stick away. He had no opportunity of striking any of them with the stick as they were holding his arms. One of the young women said, “Don’t Harry”. He went to work the next day but could not do much and suffered great pain in his stomach for two days afterwards. It was quite dark and he could not recognise who they were.

The defendants had nothing to ask.

George Peters said he lived at Preston. On 27 September he was walking with two others named Peters and Crane. On the road they met four lads and three girls. He could not recognise

them again as it was quite dark. After they had passed they came back and struck his brother and cousin and knocked them in the hedge and they ran away. They then set upon the witness and Crane, the witness got away and looking back he saw them all onto Crane; one was holding him while the others were punching him. Crane had a dog, puppy with him and they kicked it.

One of the defendants said the dog barked at them and they thought the other party set the dog on them and that was what made them stop.

Sarah Ann Taylor, a young girl was called and said she lived at St Andrews Street, Hitchin. On that Sunday evening, she and two other girls were walking with the four defendants and they met four others with a dog. The dog caught hold of Wilshire’s trousers and Crane then hit Wilshire with a stick on the hand and they went away. That was all that happened. Witness said all the defendants went into the Chequers at Preston and had a little drink, some whiskey and they (the girls) stayed outside but had some of the drink.

Walter Peters added he did not hear the dog bark or hear anyone complain of being bitten or being hit with a stick.

Gilbert Peters said the lads turned back and hit the witness in the side and he ran off and Walter and him got out of sight as quick as they could.

Supt. Reynolds said the noisy conduct of the defendants and others at the public house had been greatly complained of.

Each of the defendants were fined 15/- including costs or 14 days at St Albans prison in default. The defendants walked out of the dock in a body saying they would have the fourteen days then.

Wilshire was further charged with stealing Crane’s stick. He said he took hold of the stick and Crane let go of it after he had hit him with it. Crane said the stick was taken away from him at the time of the assault and he did not see it again until he saw it in the hands of the police at the Police Station. A fine of five shillings was imposed or seven days imprisonment.

9 October 1891



Jesse Froy, bricklayers apprentice of Hitchin, was charged with assaulting PC Bush at Preston Fair whilst in the execution of his duty on 27 October. James Bates, Ernest Moules and Henry Halley, bricklayers labourers of Hitchin, were also charged with assaulting PC Bush.

From the evidence it seems  Bates, Moules and Hailey were making a disturbance at Preston Fair about 10 pm. They had their oats off and said they had come for a row and Bates offered to fight the best man in Preston. The police were knocked about in attempting to put an end to the disturbance, Froy assisting the other defendants.

The defendants were found guilty as charged. Froy, who had just come out of prison for a very gross assault on the police, would be sent to prison for two months. Hailey had been fined before for a similar offence and Bates seemed to be the ringleader. Both were both sent to St Albans for one month. Moules had not been charged before and was fined £1 including costs.

5 November 1897



Arthur Smith and Albert Rutland, labourers of Hitchin, were summoned for trespassing in search of game at Preston on 8 April 1906.

Rutland did not appear. His wife who came to represent him said he had met with an accident and could not come. The charge against him was heard in his absence. PC Hagger said that while in Dead Womans Lane, Preston he saw the defendants in search of game on Mr Albert Brown’s farm. They had a dog with them. Smith denied the offence and said they merely walked along a footpath. Each defendant was ordered to pay 5/- costs

20 April 1906



George Swain was charged with being drunk and riotous at Preston on Saturday night. He admitted the offence. PC Hoy said the defendant was drunk and used very bad language. He was the only man he had trouble with in Preston and the inhabitants com,plained about him. A fine of 15/- including costs was imposed and paid

18 July 1884

George Swain was admitted to Hospital on Wednesday suffering from injuries to the head and face caused by his being dragged along the road by the horse which had got out of control. He is getting on well.

6 August 1909

An inquest was held at the Hospital on Monday touching on the death of a farm labourer named George Swain. It seemed that Swain was at work in a field at Preston with a hay drag; the horse ran away and Swain was thrown to the ground. His feet were entangled in the reins and he was dragged some two hundred yards. He was removed to hospital as quickly as possible. His injuries were so serious that it was seen his chances of recovery were slight and he died on Saturday. Verdict: accidental death

13 August 1909



Frank Tomlin, Stanley Tomlin and George Taylor, young men of Hitchin, were charged with wilful damage to windows at Preston to the value of £2 on 10 April (ed. A Sunday).

Florence Wray said that while she and her brother were bird-keeping (ie scaring) on that date she saw the defendants and asked them the time. She then saw them go on towards two empty houses at the windows of which they threw stones breaking 26 panes. The agent for the owner, Mr Squires, said all the panes were broken recently and he hoped the Bench would make an example of the defendants who admitted throwing one stone each as this was not the first time damage had been done to the property. Funded 10/- each including costs

22 April 1904



At a meeting of the Joint Hospital Board, the question of a site for the hospital was discussed, but no decision was come to as the board are awaiting for a definite answer from Trinity College, Cambridge as to the purchase of some land. Wymondley Cross Road and Jacks Hill were were mentioned. As to the former, a resident in the former threatened proceedings at law if it were selected. The Chairman said there were many natural objections to Jacks Hill. A suggestion was made as to Preston Hill but this was thought to be out of the way.

11 April 1902



A pretty wedding took place at the Parish Church, Kings Walden on Thursday 12 June between Ralph Francis, eldest son of Mr RE Sanders, the Carriage Works, Hitchin and Royston and Alice Emily, second daughter of Mr Armstrong, Hill Farm, Preston.

There was a large gathering to witness the event which was performed by Rev GS Clayton, the vicar. The service was choral and was conducted by Mr Hartless. The bride was attired in white silk trimmed with lace and orange blossom and wore a veil of orange blossom. She carried a shower bouquet and wore a gold bracelet, the gift of the bridegroom. The bridesmaids were Miss Flo Armstrong (sister) and Miss Irene Sanders (sister). They were dressed in white muslin over pale green and white hats swathed with white chiffon and foliage. They wore gold brooches and carried bouquets of pink roses. Mr F Armstrong (brother) was best man. After the wedding between 50 and 60 of the friends of both families sat down to breakfast in a spacious marquee erected on the lawns of Hill Farm. It was tastefully decorated with bunting and flags. The honeymoon will be spent in Bournemouth. A large quantity of lovely flowers were sent by Mr T Fenwick Harrison, and Mr J Barrington White among others.

20 June 1902



Frederick Armstrong, Preston Hill Farm, was fined 5/- for driving an unlighted vehicle on the highway in the night-time at Gosmore on 23 November.

6 December 1901



Miss Flood, Mistress of Preston School for a term of three years has been presented by the parents and children and her friends in the village with a travelling bag, toilet set etc as a parting gift for the kind, firm and admirable way in which she has conducted the school since her appointment.

20 August 1890



At the Sun Hotel, Hitchin on Tuesday Mssrs Geo Jackson and Son sold two lots of property at the direction of the trustees of the late William Brown. Lot One: the Red Lion public house at Preston with piece of pasture(let at £65 in all) was bought by Mr JW Green, brewer of Luton for £1,650. Lot Two: three cottages with gardens and nearly two acres of old pasture at Bendish (let at £18 in all) was sold to RH Archer for £250.

11 September 1896



Three cottages at Preston (rent £16 5/-) were sold to Mr EB Lindsell for £200 at the direction of the executors of Mrs Foster.

9 September 1904






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