NEW PUBLICATIONS :
Pre-Reformation wills from Rickmansworth parish (1409 to 1539)
Edited by Dr Heather Falvey
Life and death in the medieval parish of Rickmansworth
Medieval wills provide insights into the lives of ordinary people: their family and social networks, their religious convictions and piety, their wealth, their personal and domestic possessions, their livestock and the tools of their trade. For many places such documents have not survived, but they have for the medieval parish of Rickmansworth, which encompassed the settlements at Batchworth, Chorleywood, Croxley, Maple Cross, Mill End and West Hyde, as well as Rickmansworth itself.
In all there are 213 surviving wills of Rickmansworth parishioners dating from 1409 to 1539, and probate documents relating to 35 others. As well as revealing details of life (and death) in the parish the wills also tell us about the church of St Mary’s, which was rebuilt (twice) in the nineteenth century. The wills also provide names of numerous relatives, servants and friends in the locality.
Although testators rarely stated where they lived – all were expected to attend St Mary’s and would be buried there – it is clear that they came from all over the parish. Tax assessments from 1524 do reveal in which settlement taxpayers lived and so people named in wills made about that time can be located more definitely.
Our latest book, Pre-Reformation wills from Rickmansworth parish (1409 to 1539), provides the text of all of these documents, including the tax assessments, and the introduction discusses life in the medieval parish.
Pre-Reformation wills can be purchased for £7.50 from the Three Rivers Museum, at any of the Society’s meetings, or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can use the order form here:
ROLL OF HONOUR 1914-1919
Three Rivers Museum has published a new Roll of Honour for the First World War. It provides details of 300 men who died in the conflict and who came from Rickmansworth Urban District or Rickmansworth Rural Parish.
This project was undertaken in partnership with Herts at War whose website (www.hertsatwar.co.uk) includes longer biographies for each man. The booklet has an overview by Brian Thomson describing the project and drawing some conclusions, together with a diary written by Reginald Tucker who was killed in Flanders on 14 December 1914. Copies of the booklet (A4, 40 pages) are available from the Museum, price £3.
CROXLEY GREEN IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR
Rickmansworth Historical Society has published (June 2014), Brian Thomson’s history of ‘Croxley Green in the First World War’.
In 1914 Croxley Green was a small, closely knit community beside Dickinson’s paper mill. Over the following four years Croxley people were thrust into the cauldron of international affairs. The Church Lads enlisted together to fight at the Somme. Volunteers rallied round to support a hospital for wounded soldiers. Well over 400 men from the village joined up. Every family was affected by the hardship, heartbreak and endurance of wartime.
Brian’s book is arranged as a chronicle of local events set within their national and international context. The narrative covers Dickinson’s Croxley Mills, the Red Cross VAD Hospital and the activities of local schools and families. It begins with a brief survey of the village as it was in 1914, then follows the course of events until the peace agreement of 1919 and concludes by describing how the community commemorated the war. 57 local men are remembered on the war memorial on the Green. Their deaths are marked at the relevant points in the narrative. Special attention is given to the Croxley Church Lads who were such a source of local pride.
Copies are available price £6 from Rickmansworth Historical Society and Three Rivers Museum. Enquiries to email@example.com
A VILLAGE BOYHOOD IN CROXLEY GREEN
Rickmansworth Historical Society published, in May 2012, Frank Paddick’s
‘A Village Boyhood in Croxley Green’.
Frank (1909-1965) lived all his life in New Road and took a strong interest in local history. He was one of the founder members of the Historical Society and contributed several well-researched articles to their journal, the Rickmansworth Historian. In his last years, he wrote this affectionate memoir which vividly brings to life a cast of characters from the 1910s and 1920s: his fellow schoolchildren and their teachers, the doctor, the farmers, the mummers and the cricketing miller.
Frank tells of a time when life in the village was dominated by Dickinson’s Croxley Mill, the main employer. Yet, the countryside was close by. It was a common sight to see cows walking up New Road to the dairy. Young lads spent their leisure hours trying to catch songbirds in the hedgerows or scrumping apples in the orchards.
Frank remembers what it was like to be a pupil at Yorke Road infants and Watford Road boys’ schools. He left school at 13 but his entertaining and informative descriptions of life a century ago are a tribute to the quality of his education. As an electrician, he contributed to building the new Croxley in the 1930s. However, he remained a countryman at heart amid
the spread of suburbia and took a historian’s pleasure in conjuring up the Croxley he had known as a boy.
Copies of the book are available priced £4 from Rickmansworth Historical Society and Three Rivers Museum. Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.