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North Mymms - Parish and People
by Dorothy Colville


The late Dorothy Colville's book on the history of North Mymms, the parish and its people has been published in full on this site. Dorothy's husband Richard has given the Brookmans Park Newsletter permission to make her work available to all over the Internet. The text has been left as it was in Dorothy's book but long chapters have been broken up to reduce the page download time.

Foreward & Introduction
A former Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire writes about Dorothy Colville's involvement with the parish. Dorothy's own introduction to the book is also included.

A collection of black and white photographs and drawings of places referred to in Dorothy Colville's book.

Group photographs
A number of black and white group photographs referred to in the book.

Chapter 1: The Parish
From the Domesday Book until 1831. How the parish developed, the lifestyle of its people and law and order.

Chapter 2: Names and Numbers
The population grew from 306 people in 1845 to a total of 3,620 people in 1951. Certain family names survived the years of change.

Chapter 3: The Parish Church
The present church could be the third built on the site and has experienced much change in its structure and its features.

Chapter 4: The Coat of Arms
A royal coat of arms in the church - was it designed to mark the recovery from illness of King George III in 1774?

Chapter 5: The Amber Tankard
A 300-year-old amber takard, made in Germany in 1659, is one of the treasures in the church but it was almost sold in 1806 to pay for repairs to the church bells.

Chapter 6: Silver Treasure
A chalice of silver gilt dating from before the reformation has unique markings linked to a complex history. It is part of 'a set of silver ornaments such as is seldom seen in any church'.

Chapter 7: The Churchyard
Few inscriptions are legible and many tombstones have disappeared altogether.

Chapter 8: The Churchwardens' Accounts and Other Matters
The responsiblities of the early church wardens included repairs and improvements to the church as well as footpaths, roads and sometimes local rescue efforts.

Chapter 9: The Parish Charities
Money raised by charities in the parish from 1600 onwards went towards the purchase of land, educating children and training them for work and for looking after the poor.

Chapter 10: Our Parish Magazine
A Regularly published since 1865 it has served as a local newspaper, a noticeboard for the parish, a sports magazine and a carrier of anecdotes such as when Bracelet the cow trampled the graves.

Chapter 11: Schools
Severe winters and hot summers caused problems for children. They were also under pressure to earn extra cash for their families. The cane - known as 'the doctor' was always present.

Chapter 12: Aerial Travellers
In 1784, 200,000 people gather to see a balloon rise above London carrying a man, a cat and a dog. It floated north landing in a field in North Mymms. The spot is still known today as Balloon Corner.

Chapter 13: Manors and Houses
The growth and demise of the Manors and large houses of North Mymms, including the day Brookmans Manor was burnt to the ground.

Chapter 14: North Mymms Park
A beautiful red-brick Jacobean manor house now replaces the original which, in 1554 was nearer the church. In 1590, it was decided to build a new manor to the west of St Mary's Church.

Chapter 15: Potterells
The ancestral home of the Coningsby family for more than 200 years from 1658 onwards. The present house was probably built during the middle of the 18th century.

Chapter 16: Hawkshead House and Abdale
Built in 1520 Hawkshead House is now part of the Royal Veterinary College. Abdale at Water End dates back to the end of the 18th century and was used as a shelter during the 1939-45 war.

Chapter 17: Moffatts House and Muffets Farm
With the farmhouse thought to be 200 years older than the house, mystery still surrounds both buildings ... and was it the place where the nursery rhyme, "Little Miss Muffet' was written?

Chapter 18: Frowick & Roestock Hall
Two Victorian red brick homes, now demolished, which were well known landmarks in the parish and held a place in its development.

Chapter 19: Bell Bar
A small hamlet clustered about the gates of the manor of Brookmans. A self-contained community at the beginning of the century with its own smithy, bakehouse, two farms, an inn, mission room, post office and ten cottages.

Chapter 20: Three Famous Writers
Thomas More, John Heywood and Henry Peacham all spent some of their lives living in the parish of North Mymms.

Chapter 21: Mr Capes
A short story about the man who charmed the warts off childrens hands including those of the author Dorothy Colville when she was a little girl.

Chapter 22: The Sibthorp Story
The Sibthorp family with their links to the old manor at Skimpans in North Mymms and their political lives in London.

Chapter 23: The Sabine Family of Hertfordshire
Five generations of the Sabines, Sabens or Sabyns have lived in Hertfordshire and each has had a Joseph in the family. This chapter looks at the lives of five of them.

Chapter 24: The Pretty American
Frances Ruth Payson, the third child of a young American couple who came as a bride to North Mymms in the late summer of 1844 to become emersed in the social life of the parish.

Chapter 25: Getting About His Parish
A short chapter remembering the two tall, athletic parsons who rode through the parish on the 'tallest bicycles in the world to see and be seen'.

Chapter 26: The Story of the Local Railway
In 1844 as the parish was busy ploughing, sowing and planting rumours grew that a railroad was to cut through the local countryside. Six years later it was built without bridges and many lives were lost on the level-crossings. The parish didn't have a station until the 1930s when Brookmans Park Station was built.

Chapter 27: From Pilot to Sky Pilot
The extraordinary life and career change of the Rev Horace Meyer, who was vicar of St Mary's, North Mymms for eight years from 1856.

Chapter 28: Arthur Young, 1741-1820
The man who studied farming techniques and help changed much of North Mymms from poor soil and gravel to the rich arable land it is today.

Chapter 29: The Cottage Garden Show
The birth of the North Mymms Horticultural Society in 1868 and the pride taken in growing vegatables and rural craft skills resulted in an annual show of the best the parish could produce.

Chapter 30: A Sunday Afternoon Visitor
The man who would drive out from Southgate, north London, after Sunday lunch to deliver chocolates to the children of North Mymms. The custom had begun 15 years earlier when his car had broken down in the parish and the children had helped him.

Dorothy Colville sums up her thoughts after she had finished writing her book North Mymms - Parish and People.

Foreward & Introduction

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