Watford: Churches and charities

A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.

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'Watford: Churches and charities', in A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2, ed. William Page( London, 1908), British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/herts/vol2/pp464-469 [accessed 23 July 2024].

'Watford: Churches and charities', in A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2. Edited by William Page( London, 1908), British History Online, accessed July 23, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/herts/vol2/pp464-469.

"Watford: Churches and charities". A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2. Ed. William Page(London, 1908), , British History Online. Web. 23 July 2024. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/herts/vol2/pp464-469.

In this section


The church of OUR LADY has a chancel 39 ft. long by 20 ft. wide, a north chapel as long as the chancel and a foot wider, and a south chapel 32 ft. by 13 ft., a nave 71 ft. by 25 ft., with north and south aisles 9 ft. 6 in. wide, shallow north and south transept chapels, north and south porches, and a lobby at the west of the south transept chapel; and a west tower 16ft. 3 in. square inside, overlapped by the aisles north and south. All measurements are internal.

Some pieces of twelfth-century masonry, found during repairs, lie in the vestry at the west end of the north aisle, but no part of the church as it now stands shows detail older than c. 1230. The south arcade of the nave, the chancel arch, and probably the substance of the walling of the chancel belong to this time. Nothing else in the church appears to be older than the fifteenth century, and any evidence of earlier work has been obliterated by the complete refacing of the church in 1871.

Totternhoe stone is used for ashlar and flint rubble for the walling, but in the modern work Bath stone has been used.

The chancel has a five-light east window of the fifteenth century, a great part of the stonework being modern. In the south wall is a double piscina with moulded capitals and bases, and trefoiled arches with roll cusps, c. 1230. All other fittings in the chancel are modern, including the chancel seats and screens behind them, and the stone reredos below the east window. On the north of the chancel is the Essex chapel, built in 1595–6 by Bridget countess of Bedford, (fn. 1) and opening to the chancel by two four-centred arches with a central pillar of the Tuscan order, its capital enriched with egg-and-dart moulding. It is lighted from the east by a large square-headed window of five lights with a transom, a second window of three lights on the north being blocked by Sir Charles Morrison's monument.

The south chapel, now containing the organ, opens to the chancel with a fifteenth-century arcade of two bays with four-centred arches. The east and one of the south windows are now blocked by the organ, but a second three-light window on the south side remains unobstructed. At the west of the chapel is a modern arch. The window tracery, here and elsewhere in the church, except in the east window of the chancel, was entirely renewed in 1871.

The nave is of six bays, with a chancel arch of two chamfered orders and labels with mask dripstones, and half-octagonal responds with moulded capitals and bases, the date being c. 1230, and coeval or nearly so with the south arcade of the nave. The upper roodloft doorway remains on the north side. The north arcade has pointed arches of two hollow-chamfered orders and a weathered label, which mitres above the arches with a string of the same section. The clearstory, with windows of three cinquefoiled lights, is of the same date as the arcades, c. 1460, and a bequest of 1455 to repairs of the body of the church in a St. Albans will shows that something was being done here about that time. The south arcade has thirteenth-century responds at east and west, and the arches are of the same date, but have all been under-built, and of the pillars the first, third, and fifth from the east are of the fifteenth century, and the second and fourth date from 1871. The original pillars may have been clustered like the east respond or octagonal like that at the west, and fragments of such pillars are among the stones lying in the north-west vestry. The string over the arches, and the clearstory windows, are like those on the north, and of the same date.

The north transept chapel has a three-light north window, but neither in this nor in the south chapel is there any ancient detail. The latter has a modern lobby on the west side, a three-light south window, and a modern trefoiled piscina. It is set out without reference to the arcades of the nave, its west wall being about level with the middle of the second bay, and it may possibly represent an earlier transeptal arrangement of the church before the thirteenth-century alterations, but all evidences of antiquity having been removed from it, the fact can only be noted.

The rear arches of two two-light windows in the north aisle are of the fifteenth century, and the north doorway, with a four-centred arch under a square head with quatrefoils in the spandrels, is of the same date, (fn. 2) but the north porch and all other details are modern. The south porch and doorway are modern, in Bath-stone masonry, but the rear arch of the doorway is old.

The tower opens to the nave with a modern arch of three orders, dating from 1871, and to the aisles on north and south with fifteenth-century arches (fn. 3) of three continuous chamfered orders, the west ends of the aisles being used as vestries. The west doorway and window over it retain some old masonry on the inside, but their outer stonework is entirely modern. The fifteenth-century tower is a fine specimen of faced flintwork, of three stages finished with a plain parapet, from within which rises a small leaded spirelet, of a type common in the county, and known as the Hertfordshire spike. The belfry windows are of two lights with a quatrefoil in the head, of modern masonry, and access to the upper stages is given by a vice in the north-east angle.

The nave roof dates from the second half of the fifteenth century, and has moulded tie-beams with braces having pierced and traceried spandrels. These rest on carved stone corbels with figures of angels holding shields; but those in the four angles of the nave take the form of large grotesque heads. The chancel roof is of low pitch, with moulded and embattled tie-beams and wall plates, the rafters being modern. The Essex chapel has a flat ceiling with moulded beams crossing at right angles, and that of the north transept chapel is slightly canted, also with moulded crossbeams. All the seating in the church is modern, but the pulpit in the north-east angle of the nave is of c. 1670, hexagonal, with carved cornice and inlaid panels, and having garlands in Gibbons' style in high relief at the angles. Under the tower is a carved seventeenth-century chest, and there is a smaller one at the west end of the Essex chapel.

The font stands under the tower, and is an elaborate specimen of modern work, with a tall wooden cover.

Against the north wall of the chancel are fixed the brass figures of a man and woman of early fifteenth-century style, said to be those of Sir Hugh de Holes, 1415, and his wife Margaret, 1416, but it is doubtful whether they formed part of the same memorial. In the Essex chapel are a fine set of monuments, although two of the best have lately been removed to Chenies. These are the alabaster and black marble altar tomb with the effigy of Bridget countess of Bedford, 1600, flanked by small kneeling figures in armour, and a second altar tomb with columns at its angles and in the middle of each of its long sides, the latter being of a red breccia, and the former of black marble, with shields in each panel and the effigy of Lady Elizabeth Russell, d. 1611. At the north-east corner of the chapel is the large alabaster and black marble monument of Sir Charles Morrison, 1628, and two sons, whose effigies are of white alabaster. It was made by the well-known Nicholas Stone at a cost of £400. West of it is a mural monument, of c. 1580, uninscribed, with a female figure kneeling at a prayer-desk under a canopy of alabaster and black marble, carried by two black marble shafts with Corinthian capitals. In the floor is a brass with three figures, commemorating three servants of the Morrison family, Henry Dickson 1610, George Miller 1613, and Anthony Cooper, undated. All three had been forty years or more in the Morrison household.

There are eight bells and a priest's bell: 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6, by T. Lester, 1750; 4, by Thomas Lester of London, undated; 7, by John Briant of Hertford, 1786; 8, by Thomas Lester of London, undated. 1 bears the inscription, 'At proper times my voice ile raise and sound to my subscribers praise'; and 8, 'I to the church the liveing call and to the grave I summonds all. Thomas Lester of London made us all.' (fn. 4)

The church possesses a very fine set of plate, headed by a tall silver-gilt standing cup of 1561, given by Lady Morrison in 1613; a secular piece of plate, meant rather for display than use. There are also a silver-gilt chalice and paten of 1610, two bread holders of 1637, and an almsdish of 1642; also two silver flagons of 1628, and a modern French chalice.

The parish registers begin in 1539, and the oldest books are as follows:—Book i to 1557, ii to 1666, iii to 1702—included in this is the civil register from 1653–9; iv to 1712; v, 1678–1713, an affidavit book of burials in woollen; vi, 1716–33, there being a gap in the registers between 1712–16; vii to 1766; viii to 1786; ix to 1809; x to 1812; xi and xii, marriages from 1754 to 1813, on the printed forms.


The church of Watford belonged to the abbey of St. Albans and was granted in 1188 for the guests' prebend. (fn. 5) It was confirmed to the abbey by Henry II, John, Edward IV, and Honorius III. (fn. 6) Abbot Geoffrey (1119–46), who rebuilt the priory of Markyate, granted tithes in Cassio and Watford to that foundation. (fn. 7) Another part of the tithes and 10 marks of a rent of 12 marks from the vicarage were assigned in 1257 to the improvement of the food of the monks. (fn. 8) The remaining rent of 2 marks was given by the next abbot to the refectorar for celebrating the anniversary of John de Noreys, who was buried at St. Albans. (fn. 9) Abbot Robert (1151–66) appears to have granted to the priory of Markyate all the great tithes of Watford, and tithes of hay in the parish of Little Bushey, for which the nuns had to pay a yearly rent of 22 marks. Litigation arose about this rent in 1367, the result of which was a further grant of tithes and land in Watford to the prioress in exchange for an undertaking on her part to pay the rent. (fn. 10) In 1344 the presentation to Watford vicarage was said to be in the hands of the king, (fn. 11) and five years later the king again presented to the church by reason of the voidance of the abbey. (fn. 12) Abbot John Stoke (1440–51) granted a presentation to Ralph Boteler, Lord of Sudeley. (fn. 13) The advowson belonged to the abbey during the fifteenth century, (fn. 14) and this was one of the vicarages which was exempt from the king's tenths. (fn. 15) The advowson and rectory afterwards seem to have passed to the priory of Markyate, (fn. 16) as after the Dissolution they were granted in 1545 to Sir John Russell (fn. 17) as a late possession of the priory of Markyate. He was created earl of Bedford in 1550, (fn. 18) and died in 1555, when he was succeeded by his son Francis, (fn. 19) who sold the rectory and advowson in 1582–3 to Sir Charles Morrison of Cassiobury. (fn. 20) From this point their descent is identical with that of Cassiobury, until 1907, when the advowson was sold to the bishop of Newcastle (formerly bishop of Sodor and Man) and others.

In 1701 the vestrymen of Watford parish acknowledged the right of Algernon earl of Essex to the chancel of the church. (fn. 21)

Petronilla de Ameneville, who at one time occupied the manor of Cassio (q.v.), towards the end of the thirteenth century, gave 5 marks per annum for a perpetual chantry in the church of Watford. A priest and two boys were to be in daily attendance to celebrate mass for her soul and the souls of her ancestors. (fn. 22) This chantry seems to have disappeared before the suppression of the monastery. In 1416 there were three chaplains serving in the church. (fn. 23)

A croft and meadow were left for finding an obit in Watford church, and this property was granted in 1559 to George Howard. (fn. 24)

In the middle of the fourteenth century there was a recluse living in the churchyard named Katherine Talemache who received a licence to beg from Bishop Bek (1342–7). (fn. 25)

There were fraternities of the Holy Trinity and of Corpus Christi in Watford in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, (fn. 26) and there were chapels in the church dedicated in honour of our Lady and of our Lady of Pity. (fn. 27) There was also a chapel of our Lady in the churchyard in the fifteenth century. (fn. 28) Thomas Dutton left a sum of money 'yerely to distribute and geve in the capell of Our Lady within the churchyarde of Watford on Maundy Thursday at the wasshyng of the awters thirtene penyloves to pore people in the worship of God and his xii apostles, and the two wardens yerely to restrayne in their handes for their diligent labor for the executyng their office to eche of them vid., the residue of the profettes yerely to be had of the said Bakers Acre to be delyvered and paid by the said wardens to the use profette and mayntenaunce of the bretherhed masse of the Trinite and Corpus Xti in the parissh church of Watford aforesaid for ever.' Many gifts were left to the upkeep of various lights in the church, e.g. Rood light, St. Thomas light, St. Katherine light, Bachelor's light, Madene's light, light of the Crucifix, St. Christopher's light, light of Sts. Fabian and Sebastian, light of St. John and of the Holy Trinity. (fn. 29)

In 1552 a certain man of Watford named Warren was turned out of his house by reason, as he supposed, that the said Warren 'was an earnest man in helping to the pulling down of images in the church, as was given him in command by the king's commissioners.' When asked by the magistrate, Sir William Paget, what images had been pulled down, 'the said Warren answeryd the seyd Lorde Padget that they hadd plokyd downe fowre tabernacles: "yea," quoth the seyd Mr. Heydon (the accuser of Warren), "and the Trynitye also." To whome my Lorde made answere that that was the chefyst thyng that ought to be plokeyd downe.'

The inhabitants of Watford in 1556 held freely four tenements and three closes called Blaketts for ever as well towards the repair of the parish church of Watford as the wages of a man called the 'towne clarke.' (fn. 30) This tenement, which probably took its name from the family of that name, was acquired by John Wynslowe, a serf of the abbot of St. Albans, who rebelled against the abbot's rule, (fn. 31) and so perhaps forfeited his holding, for it is afterwards said to have been alienated by Abbot Thomas (1349–96), (fn. 32) perhaps to William Flete, who held it in 1428. (fn. 33) It then passed with the manor of More in Rickmansworth (q.v.) to Ralph Lord of Sudeley, and was bought from him by Abbot John of Wheathampstead during his second abbacy (1451– 64). (fn. 34)

The ecclesiastical district of St. Andrews was formed in 1858, (fn. 35) when the church was built to take the place of a temporary building erected in 1856. The living is a vicarage in the gift of trustees. Christ Church in St. Albans Road is a chapel of ease to this church and was consecrated in 1905. St. George's, a temporary church at Callowland, is also a chapel of ease to St. Andrews.

The parish of St. John was founded in 1904. (fn. 36) The church was consecrated in 1893 and was a chapel of ease to St. Mary's, but is now a perpetual curacy in the gift of the bishop of St. Albans. The ecclesiastical parish of St. Michael and All Angels was formed in 1905 (fn. 37) from the parish of St. Mary. The church was dedicated by the bishop of Colchester in 1905. The living is in the gift of the bishop of St. Albans.

There were conventicles held at Watford in 1669 at the houses of Richard Roberts and of John Crawley, and in other places, and houses were licensed as Nonconformist places of worship in 1672. (fn. 38) A Baptist church was founded at Beechen Grove in 1707 and there had previously been a Baptist station in this parish. During the pastorate of Edmund Hill the church was greatly increased and a new chapel was built in 1835. The present chapel was erected 1876–9. (fn. 39) A house in Leavesden was certified in 1821 as a chapel for Independents and Baptists, and the Baptists now have a chapel in Leavesden Road. There are strict Baptist chapels in Derby Road and Queen's Road.

The Congregationalists built a church in Clarendon Road which was registered in 1878, (fn. 40) and now have a chapel in St. John's Road. The Wesleyans built a chapel in Water Lane in 1814, having begun their work at Watford in 1808 in the market place and in a room at Hedges Yard. In 1838 the chapel, now used as a mission hall, in Farthing Lane, was opened, but Watford does not seem to have been made a circuit town till 1872. The ground on which the present Wesleyan chapel stands was purchased in 1869 and the building was erected soon after and registered in 1872. (fn. 41)

The Scotch Presbyterians and Plymouth Brethren have chapels at Watford, and the Primitive Methodists have two chapels and a mission room. The Salvation Army Barracks are in St. Mary's Road.

The Roman Catholic church of the Holy Rood in Market Street was completed in 1895 at the charges of Mr. Stephen Taprell Holland of Otterspool, Aldenham.


In 1580 Francis earl of Bedford and the Lady Bridget his wife by deed poll founded the almshouses in Church Street for eight poor women to be chosen from this parish, and from Langley and Chenies in the county of Bucks. In 1558 Charles Morrison, esq. charged certain of his estates in Bushey and Watford with a yearly pension of £20 and sixteen loads of firewood for the inmates, and in 1629 Dame Mary Morrison by deed further endowed the almshouses with a yearly sum of £20 16s., and in 1789 Mary Newman by her will bequeathed £200 for the same purpose. The earl of Essex as owner of the Cassiobury estate pays annually the sum of £70 which includes the above-mentioned annuities, —the sixteen loads of firewood being commuted for an annual payment of £20 7s. 8d.—and the dividends on a sum of £252 consols, representing the investment of Mary Newman's legacy. Each of the eight almswomen receives the sum of £2 3s. 9d. a quarter. A sum of 40s. a year is also paid by the overseers under an Act of 12 George III for the enlargement of the churchyard.

The inmates are also entitled to a share of Ann Phrip's legacy of £1,000 bank stock (see Dame Dorothy Morrison's almshouses below.)

Charity of Dame Dorothy Morrison for a preacher and four almswomen:—In or about 1613 Dame Dorothy Morrison appointed a lecturer to reside in her capital messuage, called Watford Place, and four poor widows, almswomen. Sir Charles Morrison, her son and executor, for carrying out her charitable intention, charged his park, called Langley Park, with an annuity of £50 for the maintenance of the said preacher, and four poor widow women successively for ever.

In 1824 the house and garden and orchard adjoining (except about 14 perches) were under the Act of 1 and 2 Geo. IV, cap. 92 exchanged for a messuage in the High Street, known as the Lecture House, and an orchard containing half an acre, and new almshouses were built on the 14 perches by Stewart Marjoribanks, esquire.

In 1878 the property acquired by exchange was sold for £2,280, which with accumulations is now (1906) represented by £2,501 16s. 4d. consols with the official trustees, and in 1901 the annuity of £50 was redeemed by the transfer to the official trustees of charitable funds of £1,667 three per cent. perpetual debenture stock of the London and North Western Railway Company.

In 1791 Hannah Pocock by deed endowed the almshouses with £350 stock (now consols), and in 1797 Ann Phrip by will left £1,000 bank stock (now held by the official trustees), the income to be divided equally among the four occupants of these almshouses and the eight occupants of the almshouses founded by the earl and countess of Bedford (see above). In 1904 each of the twelve almswomen received £7 16s. in respect of this trust fund.

The charity and subsidiary endowments are governed by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 18 August, 1880, whereby the trustees of Dame Elizabeth Russell's Charity for a lecturer are constituted trustees of the lecturer branch of this charity.

In 1843 David Salter by deed, dated 6 October, granted and conveyed to trustees a parcel of land in the High Street, Watford, as a site for the erection of four almshouses, each to be occupied by a poor man and his wife, or an unmarried poor person, male or female, of good character, and of the age of fifty years at the least, whether receiving parochial relief or not.

The said David Salter died in 1848, and by his will, proved in the P.C.C. on 27 January of that year he endowed the almshouses erected by him with £1,300 consols—less legacy duty. The trust funds now consist of £1,170 India 3 per cent. stock, and £143 India 3½ per cent. stock, and a sum of £114 18s. 3d. on deposit in the Post Office Savings Bank. The inmates of each of the four almshouses receive £6 18s. a year from the charity.

In 1884 Miss Mary Bailey Smith by deed (enrolled 19 January, 1885) conveyed unto the Rev. Richard Lee James, the Hon. Reginald Capell, and George Green, the then vicar and churchwardens of Watford Town Hamlet, their heirs, and assigns three cottages or almshouses, then lately erected by her at the corner of Farthing Lane, Watford, and land adjoining, in trust to permit the same to be occupied by widows or spinsters, members of the Church of England, being respectively more than sixty years of age, and having been inhabitants of Watford Town Hamlet for ten years previous to their admission.

The said Mary Bailey Smith, by her will, proved on 1 December, 1894, bequeathed £1,500, increased by a codicil to £2,500, to the aforesaid vicar and churchwardens upon trust to invest the same, and out of the income thereof to pay 5s. a week to each of the inmates of the almshouses, subject as therein mentioned. The sum of £2,500 was invested in the purchase of £2,345 7s. 7d. India 3 per cent. stock in the corporate name of the official trustees of charitable funds.

Dame Elizabeth Russell's Charity for a Lecturer:— In or about 1610 Dame Elizabeth Russell granted to trustees a water mill and land adjoining at Kelvedon, Essex, the issues and profits thereof for the maintenance in the parish of Watford of a preacher to preach weekly. The mill is let at £35 14s. per annum. A sum of £529 4s. 11d. consols arising from the sale of a portion of the land at Kelvedon is also held by the official trustees.

The charity is governed by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners, dated 3 October, 1879, under which the curate of the parish church receives the income of this charity, as well as the income derived from Dame Dorothy Morrison's Charity (lectureship branch), consisting of £2,501 16s. 4d. consols also held by the official trustees (see below).

In 1629 Dame Mary Morrison charged certain copyhold estates in the parish, hamlets, and fields of Watford with an annual payment of £50 for apprenticing children of the parish, and with a further annual payment of £2 for expenses of meetings of the trustees.

The rent-charge of £52 (less land tax) is paid by the earl of Essex, and is applied in payment of premiums of £10 for each boy apprenticed. By a resolution of the trustees the £2 a year for their meetings is also carried to the apprentice account.

In 1632 Dame Mary Cowper by deed granted to trustees estates in the county of Warwick upon trust to pay to the vicar of Watford and his successors for the time being the yearly sum of £50 for his better encouragement to take pains in the preaching of the Word of God in the church and parish. The rentcharge (less land tax) is duly received by the vicar.

The said Dame Mary Cowper also charged certain lands in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, with the annual sum of £20 for the poor of this parish and King's Langley.

The sum of £10 is annually paid by Mr. George Hone of Tewkesbury, and distributed among the poor of the parish.

The Free School was founded in 1708 by Mrs. Elizabeth Fuller. (fn. 42)

In 1765 Sarah Ewer, who died in 1767, by her will left £200, the interest to be applied in apprenticing out poor boys belonging to the parish to the trade of saddler. Owing to a failure of applicants, the fund was augmented by accumulations, and is now represented by a sum of £773 18s. consols with the official trustees. By a scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 17 May, 1872 (amended in 1890), the dividends are applied in scholarships to three or four boys.

The same testatrix also left £100 to be laid out in land, the rent to be applied in the reparation of her late husband's tomb in the churchyard, and at the expiration of every five years the surplus to be applied for the benefit of poor housekeepers of the parish. The legacy is represented by £100 consols. The two sums of stock are held by the official trustees.

The London Orphan Asylum, formerly at Clapton, was instituted in 1813, and incorporated in 1845, for the maintenance and clothing of fatherless children. It is possessed of considerable funds arising for the most part from voluntary gifts and donations, not subject to the Charitable Trusts Acts.

In 1876 George Moore by his will bequeathed £2,000 for the permanent benefit of the institution, and in 1884 Miss S. Hibbert by her will bequeathed £500 consols, subject to a life interest then existing.

The institution is also possessed of some other permanent endowments.

In 1639 Thomas Baldwin bequeathed one moiety of the profits arising from divers springs of water in Hyde Park, Middlesex, unto the poor of the parish of Watford, where he was born, Berkhampstead St. Peter, where he was a scholar, and St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, where he then resided, to be divided amongst the poor, 20s. to be given yearly to the poor prisoners of the Gatehouse, Westminster.

The water-works were sold under an Act of 5 Geo. II. The share of this parish was invested in South Sea stock, which is now represented by £675 15s. 2d. consols with the official trustees, the dividends of which are applied, with the other eleemosynary charities, in the distribution of flannel and tea.

In 1641 Francis Combe by his will devised property situate at Bricket Wood, containing about 4½ acres, and three messuages to the poor of Watford. The property was sold in 1893 with the sanction of the Charity Commissioners for £800, which was invested in £807 1s. 2d. consols with the official trustees, the dividends of which are applied with the other eleemosynary charities.

Elizabeth Fuller's charity for sermon and bread (1708):—By an order made under the Board of Education Act, 1899, s. 2 (2), dated 31 January, 1905, a sum of £196 Midland Railway 2½ per cent. debenture stock has been transferred from the funds of the school founded by Elizabeth Fuller (fn. 43) to the official trustees to provide the yearly sum of £1 to the vicar for a sermon, and a yearly sum of £3 18s. for distribution in bread to the poor of Watford.

In 1775 Thomas earl of Clarendon by his will gave £200 to the vicar and churchwardens for the use of the poor of the parish. The legacy was increased to £300 by arrears of interest. In 1799 Thomas Villiers, earl of Clarendon, the son and executor of the aforesaid earl of Clarendon, by deed charged his freehold estates in Watford by way of mortgage with the payment of the said sum of £300 with interest at £5 per cent. per annum. The annual sum of £15 is paid by Lord Clarendon to the vicar and churchwardens, and is applied in the distribution of flannel.

Charity of Lady Barbara Villiers (see parish of Abbots Langley):—The share of this parish is represented by £224 1s. 9d. consols with the official trustees.

In 1810 Thomas Villiers, earl of Clarendon, by his will directed his executors to set aside a sufficient part of his personal estate to produce £5 per annum for the benefit of the poorest and oldest inhabitants of Watford who had not been burdensome to the parish.

The same testator left a like legacy for the benefit of the Sunday School. The charity is regulated by a scheme of 26 August, 1870.

The official trustees hold two sums of £166 13s. 4d. consols in satisfaction of these legacies.

In 1813 Mrs. Elizabeth Runnington by her will left £300 (less duty), interest to be applied towards the support of the Sunday School which had been established for girls.

The same testatrix also bequeathed £100 (less duty), interest to be applied for the benefit of the poor residing in the workhouse.

These legacies were in 1850 the subject of proceedings in the Court of Chancery, in the result of which it appears that a sum of £220 10s. 2d. consols represents the educational branch of the charity, and £72 2s. 6d. consols, the charity for the poor.

In 1870 Thomas Brown Loe by will, proved at this date, left £100 to be invested and income applied by the vicar and churchwardens at Christmas among such six poor women above seventy years of age, and not in receipt of parochial relief as they should think proper. The legacy was invested in £108 6s. 6d. consols with the official trustees.

In 1893 Miss S. Hudson by will, proved in this year, bequeathed £500 to provide an annual distribution of flannel among the poor of the parish. The legacy was invested in £506 12s. 3d. consols.

The same testatrix bequeathed £400 consols, the dividends to be applied in the distribution of coals and grocery. The two sums of stock are held by the official trustees.

Church Lands.

—There are certain lands in the parish of Watford called the Church Lands, in the possession of the parish, but the instruments upon which they were originally given cannot be traced. The charity estates consist of land in the Hempstead Road, a gravel-pit adjoining the workhouse, Holywell farm, containing in the aggregate about 37 acres, a house and shop in Back Lane, the infants' school, formerly the 'Nag's Head,' and 164, High Street, producing an annual gross rental of £140.

The official trustees also hold a sum of £1,210 12s. 7d. consols arising from investment of proceeds of the sale in 1887 of property in the High Street. The income is applied in the repairs and ornaments of the church.

The Baptist Chapel Fund.

—In 1770 Elizabeth Martyn by a codicil to her will, proved in the P.C.C. this date, bequeathed a legacy for the support of the ministry and public worship in Watford Baptist Chapel. The sum of £272 0s. 7d. consols was in 1859 transferred to the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds in respect of this fund.

In 1875 Jonathan King by deed gave £1,000, the income to be applied as to one moiety to the incumbent of St. Andrew's Church, and as to the other moiety for the organ and choir fund. The gift is represented by the sum of £1,011 7s. 4d. consols, and the dividends are paid over to the incumbent by Mr. Joscelyne Frederic Watkins, J.P., the acting trustee, to be applied for the purposes of the trust.

In 1698 William Weedon by his will charged his copyhold estate in the manor of Watford with the annual payment of £1 for the benefit of four poor people of the hamlet of Leavesden. The property charged is now in the hands of several owners, and the payment is made at irregular intervals, but, when received, is divided among four poor persons.

The National School was established by deeds dated respectively 18 September, 1841, and 12 July, 1871. It has no endowment funds, and is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 1 February, 1872.


  • 1. Pat. 9 Chas. I, pt. 5, No. 23.
  • 2. Cussans, Hist. of Herts. Cashio Hund. 186.
  • 3. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. ii, 252.
  • 4. The licence from the archdeacon of St. Albans to her and her son Sir Charles Morrison is dated 27 January, 1595–6. (Index to muniments at Cassiobury.)
  • 5. East of the doorway is the recess for a holy-water stone.
  • 6. From the wills of the archdeaconry of St. Albans it appears by bequests that much work on the fabric of the church was done between 1416 and 1427.
  • 7. a North and Stahlschmidt, Ch. Bells of Hertfordshire, 238.
  • 8. Matt. Paris, Chron. Maj. (Rolls Ser.), vi, 46.
  • 9. Cart. Antiq. B. (i); Dugdale, Mon. Angl. ii, 228, 231; Cal. Pap. Letters, i, 63.
  • 10. Gesta Abbat. (Rolls Ser.), i, 95.
  • 11. Ibid. 371.
  • 12. Ibid. 467.
  • 13. Ibid. iii, 87–91.
  • 14. Pat. 18 Edw. III, pt. 1, m. 39d.
  • 15. Ibid. 23 Edw. III, pt. 1, m. 12.
  • 16. Jno. Amundesham, Ann. Mon. St. Albani (Rolls Ser.), ii, 370, 371.
  • 17. Reg. Jno. Whethamstede (Rolls Ser.), ii, 68, 97.
  • 18. Ibid. 88.
  • 19. Pat. 37 Hen. VIII, pt. 9, m. 23.
  • 20. Ibid.
  • 21. G.E.C. Complete Peerage.
  • 22. Inq. p.m. vol. 102, No. 80.
  • 23. Close, 25 Eliz. pt. 16, No. 26.
  • 24. Index to muniments at Cassio bury.
  • 25. Cott. MSS. Otho, D. iii, fol. 45, 50d. 51; Gesta Abbat. (Rolls Ser.), i, 476.
  • 26. Wills, Archd. of St. Albans, Stoneham, 3.
  • 27. Pat. 1 Eliz. pt. 7.
  • 28. Linc. Epis. Reg. Bek, fol. 8d.
  • 29. Wills, Archd. of St. Albans, Stoneham, 84d. and Wallingford, 196, 175.
  • 30. Ibid. Wallingford, 52d. and 15 and Stoneham, 8d.
  • 31. Ibid. Stoneham, 10d. and Wallingford, 175.
  • 32. Ibid. Stoneham, 14, 15d. 22 and 58 and Wallingford, 2, 11, 16, 83d.
  • 33. Aug. Off. Misc. Bks. 391, fol. 11d.
  • 34. Gesta Abbat. (Rolls Ser.), iii, 379.
  • 35. Ibid. iii, 417.
  • 36. Jno. Amundesham, Ann. Mon. St. Albani (Rolls Ser.), i, 268–70.
  • 37. Reg. Jno. Whethamstede (Rolls Ser.), i, 433.
  • 38. Census of England and Wales, Herts. (1901), p. 7.
  • 39. Clergy List (1906).
  • 40. Ibid.
  • 41. a Cal. of S.P. Dom. 1672, p. 573.
  • 42. Lond. Gaz. 4 April, 1879, 2625.
  • 43. Ibid. 22 Nov. 1878, 6281.
  • 44. Urwick, Nonconformity in Herts. 346, 364; Lond. Gaz. 10 Dec. 1872, 6264.
  • 45. See under 'Schools.'
  • 46. See under 'Schools.'