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North Mymms Church - 140 Years of History

The Churchwardens’ Accounts of North Mymms
by H.M. Alderman

Chapter 6
The Vestry Book

The only Vestry Records at present known to exist commence with the year 1873; but they contain entries of interest as for many years after that date the Vestry was the sole instrument of government in parish affairs.

The Vestry was the Rating Authority and on March 24th, 1873, it resolved: "Hawkshead House owned by C. Coningsby Sibthorpe and occupied by Stephen Soames should be rated at £70 instead of £48, and the house in Pooleys Lane "in the occupation of the Rev. C. W. R. Hardy be rated at £20; this is probably the property known now as Frowick.

1874. March 23rd: "Eight Cottages, Laundry and Wash-house at Welham Green built by Mr. J. E. Gray be rated at £5 10s 0d each; the laundry and washouse at £6 10s 0d." This property is now known as St. Paul’s Cottages.

1876. March 27th: The "House built and occupied by Mr. John Edward Gray at Pancake Hall be assessed to the local Parochial Rates at £30." The house was originally called "The Laurels," subsequently "Welham Lodge" and now as "Welham Manor."

Monday, October 1st, 1877, was evidently a cold blustery day and the assembled Vestry was vexed as may be gathered from this entry:-

"On attending the Vestry this morning it was found that the Vestry Room was not prepared for the Rate-payers: the Church Cleaner said it had not been her business. Resolved, that the question be refered (sic) to the next Vestry as to whose duty it is to prepare the Vestry room for the use of the Vestry. "R. W. Gaussen. Chairman"

September 30th, 1878: "Two Houses built by J. E . Gray situate at Pancake Hall be assessed at Ten pounds each" (probably the Cedars and the Elms).

March 28th, 1879: "Resolved, that the Vestry Clerk be instructed to write to C. C. Sibthorp (Lord of the Manor) on Mr Sinclair’s application to enclose a small portion of the waste situate at Tollgate." No further reference to this application appears in the book.

On Easter Monday, April 18th, 1881, the Vestry resolved "the following mansions be rated to the Poor and Highway rates as under. Brookmans £200. North Mymms Place £210. Potterells £180. Abdale £60.

October 14th, 1884: The "Great Northern Railway requested the Parish to take over the new roads made by them" - adjourned.

November 11th of the same year: "Matter again postponed pending reply from the Railway Company on points raised."

The roads mentioned would be those at Marshmoor and Brookmans Park made in order to abolish the level crossings which hitherto existed at those places.

The Vestry Minutes Book teems with entries illustrating the responsibility of the Church Vestry for managing local affairs. Here is one: A special Meeting was held at the Vicarage on September 10th, 1886 "for the purpose of taking into consideration the best means of preventing the disturbance of the bed of the torrent at the entrance of the Church Avenue before it injures the foundations of the Bridge … Agreed - that our Road Surveyor (Mr. T. Nash) be empowered to do all that is necessary.

March 23rd, 1891: "That in accordance with the Resolution passed March 26th, 1888, application be made to Captain Gaussen and A. H. T. Bruce for a gift of gravel to make a Church path from the Village of Welham Green to the Parish Church." Evidently this path was not made because on February 16th, 1893, it was agreed "It is desirable to construct a footpath from Welham Green to Hipgraves Lodge and that a Special Vestry with a view to Authorizing its Construction be held."

The year 1901 was a time of controversy in the parish - to sell or not to sell the valuable Amber Tankard bequeathed to the church in 1751 by Lady Lydia Mews. Money was required for the reconditioning of the bells.

At a meeting held at 10 a.m. on Easter Monday Mr. Cotton Curtis proposed "A Vestry Meeting be held to consider the proposal." This special meeting took place on April 22nd amidst lively scenes and the result by show of hands was the proposal rejected by twenty-six votes to seventeen.

A Poll was demanded and this took place on May 4th under Statutes 58, George III cap. 69 and 59. George III Cap. 85, amended by 16 and 17 Victoria Cap. 45. Each voter stated orally for or against, the scale of votes being in proportion to the rateable value of property held. The result:

For the sale of the Tankard, 36; against, 103. The same year the Tankard was placed on loan with the British Museum authorities, where it still remains.

The money for the overhaul of the bells was eventually raised by special appeal (£149 l4s 1d) under the title of "Victoria Memorial" Fund to commemorate the Queen’s long reign.

by H.M. Alderman

Chapter 7 - Interesting Items
Index - North Mymms Church 140 Years of History
Foreword - Why H.M. Alderman wrote the book.

Editor's Note: The text has been left as it appeared in H.M Alderman's original work. For those too young to remember pounds, shillings and pence, the currency set out above as it was before we changed to a decimal system for currency in 1967. It works out as follows. £1 = 20 shillings (s) and 1 shilling = 12 pennies (d). So £1 10s 0d = £1.50 today and 1s = 5p.

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