Victorian farming and land ownership changes in North Mymms

How the parish evolved at the end of the 19th century


Photograph of Jack Honour ploughing September 1914
Jack Honour ploughing September 1914

At the end of the 19th century the agricultural economy of North Mymms was undergoing dramatic change. A run of cold, damp summers had seen crops fail and incomes fall. Smaller farms were struggling. At the same time, wealthy professional people, whose economic focus was on London, were moving into the area seeking their own little patch of the rural experience. The area's demographic and agriculture were both undergoing rapid change.

Life as a tramp in Victorian Hertfordshire

An early example of undercover journalism


Image courtesy of Dr Peter Jones, Early Career Lecturer in Urban History After 1800  Centre for Metropolitan History, Institute of Historical Research, University of London
Image courtesy of Dr Peter Jones, Early Career Lecturer in Urban History After 1800
Centre for Metropolitan History, Institute of Historical Research, University of London

Almost 150 years ago, the journalist and writer James Greenwood disguised himself as a homeless person and walked the length of Hertfordshire in order to experience, first hand, what life was like for a tramp in Victorian England.

He wrote about the fellow travellers he met on the way and the degrading conditions they faced. His journey took him through North Mymms. Stopping at the White Swan in Bell Bar he witnessed confidence tricksters using their misfortune to try to eke out a living.

Virtual tour of St Mary's Church, North Mymms

Discover the history of St Mary's in 3D


St Mary church North Mymms taken in June 2015 Image by the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
St Mary church North Mymms taken in June 2015
Image by the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

For those not able to visit North Mymms parish church, this site now has a virtual three dimensional tour of the inside of St Mary's. The interactive slideshow highlights many of the historical features of the church.

Reverend Leonard Buxton of St Mary’s North Mymms

Serving North Mymms through WWII


The Rev Leonard Buxton and his family prior to their arrival at St Mary's, North Mymms  Image by Olive Edis, courtesy of the Cromer Museum, Norfolk
The Rev Leonard Buxton and his family prior to their arrival at St Mary's, North Mymms
Image by Olive Edis, courtesy of the Cromer Museum, Norfolk 

A couple of family photographs of the Reverend Leonard Buxton, his wife Kathleen, and their six children have been acquired by a museum in Norfolk. The Rev Buxton was the vicar of St Mary’s, North Mymms from 1930 to 1944. The curator of the Cromer Museum has send digital copies of the images to the North Mymms History Project so that they can be shared on this site.

Historical treasures of the parish church of St Mary, North Mymms

A series of features from the 2004 and 2005 parish magazines


The church of St Mary, North Mymms, taken in August 1966 Image by Ron Kingdon, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection
The church of St Mary, North Mymms, taken in August 1966
Image by Ron Kingdon, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection

Introduction


The following is a reproduction of a series of articles about the historical aspects of the fabric of St Mary's church, North Mymms. They were written for the parish magazine by Patricia Cook, a former churchwarden, and were published intermittently during 2004 and 2005. The articles, which were later put on the St Mary's Church website in a feature entitled 'Know Your Church', are reproduced here with the permission of the church. The North Mymms History Project has also been given permission to reproduce the original line drawings by local artist Jean Atkinson, who has been closely involved with St. Mary's for many years, including serving on the parochial church council. We have added modern-day photographs of the items Jean sketched at the foot of this piece.

A short history of the parish church of St Mary, North Mymms


Introduction 


ostcard of the parish church of St Mary, North Mymms in the 1900s Image from J Potter, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection
Postcard of the parish church of St Mary, North Mymms in the 1900s
Image from J Potter, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection

The original version of this booklet about the history of the parish church of St Mary, North Mymms, was compiled by local historian and teacher Dorothy Colville in 1962. It sold for 6d. It was revised and reprinted in 1977 and 1983, with a revised price of 3p, and updated and reprinted again in 1990. The North Mymms History Project has transcribed the booklet and embedded the original below. The booklet is from the Peter Miller Collection and was digitised by Mike Allen.

H.M. Alderman on the bells of North Mymms

Introduction


Councillor H.M. Alderman fourth fromleft attending a North Mymms Parish Council meeting in 1957 Image courtesy of NMPC and part of the Images of North Mymms Collection
Cllr H.M. Alderman, fourth from the left, attending a North Mymms Parish Council meeting in 1957
Image courtesy of NMPC and part of the Images of North Mymms Collection

70 years ago a series of articles appeared in the North Mymms Parish Magazine about the history of St Mary’s Church. They were written by Harry Maynard Alderman, a local writer, historian, accomplished artist, carpenter, and parish councillor.  In the 1940s and 1950s Mr Alderman was a frequent contributor to the parish magazine, writing serialised articles about St Mary’s church, including pieces about the history of the bells, the brasses, and the fabric of the church.

The North Mymms History Project has transcribed the series about the bells of St Mary’s from copies of the magazine published in December 1950 and in January, March, April, and May 1951. The source material is courtesy of the Peter Miller Collection.

Maintaining the tombstones of North Mymms

A call, 50 years ago, to preserve parish memorials


Dorothy Colville's own tombstone in the new burial ground at St Mary's North Mymms Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Dorothy Colville's own tombstone in the new burial ground at St Mary's North Mymms
Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Introduction


The image above is of the tombstone for Dorothy Colville, local teacher and historian, who is buried at St Mary's, North Mymms. Dorothy, the author of the book North Mymms Parish and People, cared passionately about North Mymms and the preservation of its history.

Half a century ago she wrote an article entitled 'A plea for tombstones', published in the Hertfordshire Countryside magazine in September 1969. The North Mymms History Project has reproduced the feature below, and embedded a copy of the original piece at the foot of the page.

We have also added some recent images of the tombstones which Dorothy wrote about to show how they have aged over the last 50 years.

Restoration of the belfry at St Mary's, North Mymms

Replacing rotten oak, retuning almost three tons of bells


John Wiseman, a St. Mary’s ringer, preparing for the removal Image by Jane Russell (nee Sherlock) released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
John Wiseman, a St. Mary’s ringer, preparing for the removal of the bells in early 1985
Image by Jane Russell (nee Sherlock) released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Bell tower falls silent for three months


In early 1985 the bells at St Mary's, North Mymms, were lowered from the belfry that most had occupied for almost 180 years. The oak frame which had been supporting them had begun to rot. Woodworm had damaged the beams. The old oak had been supporting six of the eight bells weighing almost two and a half tons. The parochial church council (PCC) feared the frame might collapse, causing damage to the 800-year-old tower. So an extensive refurbishment plan was put in action costing an estimated £20,000 pounds.

The Burns Family of North Mymms Park 1893-1997

North Mymms Notes no 16


By Mike Allen


North Mymms House, the 1900s extension on the left Image from A Nott / G Knott, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection
North Mymms House, the 1900s extension on the left
Image from A Nott / G Knott, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection

Introduction


In this edition of North Mymms Notes, Mike Allen looks at the history of the Burns family of North Mymms Park, who had a large part to play in the development of the parish during the late 1800s and early 1900s. This latest issue (number 16) is reproduced on this site with Mike's permission. This feature has been edited and formatted for the web.

The Woodman, Water End

North Mymms Notes number 20


The Woodman Inn, Warrengate Road, Water End - July 2018
Image by the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Introduction


Built in the late 17th or early 18th century, The Woodman Inn at Water End is a Grade II listed building with an interesting history. Local resident, historian, and photographer, Mike Allen, has traced the pub's past in this latest issue (number 20) of his North Mymms Notes, reproduced on this site with his permission.

Mason marks of St Mary's Church, North Mymms

North Mymms Notes number 17


St Mary's Church, North Mymms, which has mason marks on some of the tower steps - July 2018 Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
St Mary's Church, North Mymms, which has mason marks on some of the tower steps - July 2018
Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Introduction


In this articles in Mike Allen's series of North Mymms Notes he looks at the history of the mason marks that have been etched in the stairs leading to the tower at St Mary's Church, North Mymms. Mike has researched why they were made, what they stand for, and why so little is known about the men who helped build the parish church.