A History of Preston in Hertfordshire
Temple Dinsley Lodges
The Temple Dinsley Lodge(s) were situated at the junction of St Albans Highway and the chestnut
tree-lined drive to the east of the mansion, about a quarter of a mile north of the School Lane,
Preston turning. This map is dated circa 1880:
The two lodges in 2010
From this photograph some details of the lodges become apparent. They have solid brick walls, as
revealed by their header and stretcher brickwork formation. Also, No 1 Lodge pre-dates its semi-
detached neighbour - its bricks have a wooden framework, the brickwork above the windows is
different, as are the styles of the chimney pots.
Originally, there was only one Lodge - the Sales Particulars of Temple Dinsley dated 1873 state that
there is a ‘carriage drive through a long avenue of chestnut trees at the end of which is an entrance
This Lodge was probably not built by 1861 as the first page of the census enumerator’s walk begins
at Poynders House and ends at Kiln Wood Cottage, School Lane and doesn’t record a lodge -
although there is an uninhabited cottage on this page. It should be noted that the Lodge was in St
In the 1881 census there is a note that Temple Dinsley Lodge was occupied by a butler, John Straw
(34, born Kirkby, Notts), his wife, Agnes (32, also born at Kirkby) and their children, Eliza Maud (5),
Thomas Fawcett (born 9/1877) and Thomas Albert V (born 12/1879). All the children were born at
Kensington, London. Their dates of birth indicate that in 1881, the family moved to Preston during the
previous eighteen months and as Henry Brand was the incumbent at Temple Dinsley from around
March 1880, it may be from that time that the Straw family arrived in the hamlet. There is no record of
the children at Preston School. The family had moved on to Derby by 1881.
A map of Preston dated 1884 shows only ‘a lodge’ (singular), but the 1891 census refers to two
Temple Dinsley Lodges (which were unoccupied) - so No 2 Lodge was built between 1884 and 1891.
In 1901, Lodge No 1 was occupied by Joseph Ashwell (43, born in Rutland, a gardener), his wife,
Fanny Emma (43, Ashfordby, Leics.) and their son, Ernest Valentine (12, born Egham Surrey).
Ernest enrolled at Preston School on 5 March 1900.’Admitted - been to an endowed school at Egham
- (he) reads well and does not look a dull boy.’ In April 1913, Ernest, now a chauffeur at Bryanstone
Mews, London having driven for four years, was fined £5 for driving a car to the danger of the public
(at 27 mph).In December 1901, The Hitchin parish magazine reported that, Joseph was the ‘People’s
Warden. We regret to say that we have lost the services of Mr. Ashwell, who has left Preston. He will
be missed both at this Church and at the Men’s Class, in which he took a keen interest.’
Caroline Baxter Walter (48, born Marylebone, London - a housemaid) and her niece, Lillie Cooper
(12, born Bloomsbury, London) were living at Lodge No2.
The 1911 census showed two families occupying the two Lodges: Alfred Wright, a butler aged
forty-seven born at Harrold, Beds and his wife, Emma, forty-nine born at Peterhead, Durham.
Next door was William Cullum, a chauffeur aged twenty-eight who was born at Twycross, Leicester,
together with his wife, Amelia, (29) born in Reigate, Surrey. Both Lodges were two-up; two down. The
couple had at least three children, two of whom, Constance Katherine and Violet Daphne, attended
Preston School. During WW1, William joined the RAF (Reg No 225157). In 1918, William was living at
Kiln Wood Cottage, Preston. In August 1919, this comment was made in the Hitchin Parish Magazine:
‘Mrs. Vickers invited all the children to tea and gooseberries in Temple Dinsley Gardens. This was
followed by sports and races of every description – egg and spoon race, potato, running races for
every age down to two future scholars of three years old – this race was won by Leslie Cullum. There
is a note that the family moved to Luton in March 1920.
In around 1913, these photographs were taken of the Lodges:
From 1911, this listing of occupants is derived from a number of sources. Bear in mind the change of
owners of Temple Dinsley during this period, especially Princess Helena College from 1935.
1918 Robert Brind who moved to Preston from St George, Hanover Square, London and returned to
London in September 1918.
1920 Daniel Satchell who came to Preston from Oxford.
1920 John Flint (38, from Surrey) together with his wife, Annie Elizabeth (41, from Darlaston, Staffs).
1922 William Henry Cook who moved to Watton, Herts in 1929.
1927 Caroline Longley. She relocated to Chequers Lane, Preston.
1930 Ernest and Daisy Faulkner. They were previously living at Deptford, London.
1930 Harold and Mary Ann Cross
1936 Alex Fleming McDonald. He was billetted to Knebworth, Herts in 1941.
1937 Thomas Kimber ( born 1883, a water engineer) and his wife Minnie (born 1891)who moved to
Preston from Langley, Herts.
1939 Reginald D Lambert (born 1901, chauffeur) and his wife Beatrice M (born 1899) and Olwen G
Williams (born 1901)
1939 May C A Tew (born 1905) and Alan J Few (1939) Together with Emily E Nesbitt (born 1912)
Now we have arrived at the WW2 years and many of the the occupiers of the Lodges were evacuees,
who are noted in registers with an ‘E’.
November 1940 George Reginald and Patricia Mary Wigley (born 1932 and 1932) arrived from
London and were cared for by a Mrs Lambert. They returned to London in December 1941
February 1944 George Gates came to Preston from Weobley, Herefordshire. As well as his son,
Leonard George Gates, George was looking after Patrick O’Sullivan. The Gates family moved to
Battersea in August 1944, while Patrick returned home to Hornsey in May 1944. Mrs Gates was also
caring for Tessa Leonard and Margaret Norton (born 1936 and 1938) who haled from Kenton, M-sex
and returned home in September 1944
April 1945 Frank Westell, who moved with his family from Hertford Heath
June 1948 Frederick Neeve/Neve who relocated from Feltham, M-sex
October 1949 Alec Thomson moved to Preston from Hitchin and left for Scotland in October 1950.
June 1941 William Neve.
February 1957 Alfred Wilshire and his family came to Preston from Luton and emigrated to
Princetown, New Jersey, USA in March 1963.
1962 Stanley Leggett
1964 Leonard and Rosamund Spencer
1969 and 1971 Raymond and Gilian Labdon (at No 2)
1971 to at least 2001 David I and Irene Walker (No 1)
1991 Mary Sullivan (No 2)
1991 and 2001 Barbara Revell (No 2)