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North Mymms - Parish and People
by Dorothy Colville

Chapter 18 - Frowick & Roestock Hall

Frowick, which has given its name to the area bounded by Balloon Corner and Huggins, Pooleys and Parsonage Lanes, was, until demolished in about 1950, a typical Victorian villa on the site of a much older property. It had an ornate awning above its front door, a flight of steps from the lane and an odd little drive from the stables, across Huggins Lane, round a small clump of shrubs and back again into the lane.

At the turn of the century it was the home of three brothers, Horace, Hugh and Claude Lermitte. Claude was captain of the cricket club for a time; Hugh was musical and was always willing to have his piano taken round to the boys’ school in order to help some good cause and at the same time give the parishioners a musical treat; Horace went to "business."

They were a generous trio. Every June the head teachers of the two schools recorded in their log books "Six pecks of strawberries sent today by Mr. Lermitte." When in April 1906 a disastrous fire destroyed two picturesque wooden cottages in the middle of Welham Green and rendered the families homeless it was the brothers Lermitte who organised a fund to help the unfortunate ones. For a number of summers two boys from the boys’ school and two girls from the school at Water End were sent, in charge of a lady teacher, to spend a fortnight at the seaside.

After the Lermitte brothers left Frowick a grandson of the family who gave the font to the church went to live there. He was Mr. Harry Daniell, and of him Lord Clauson wrote "Mr. Daniell’s father was for many years chief constable of Hertfordshire and lived at Hatfield. Mr. Harry Daniell was on the Stock Exchange. He had served in the Herts Yeomanry and reached the rank of major, retiring before the Great War. In 1914 he rejoined as a lieutenant. He had considerable antiquarian tastes and formed a large collection of book-plates." Mr. Daniell did a great deal of work on our churchwardens’ accounts, and extracts from them were published in the Hertfordshire Mercury in November 1917. When he left Frowick he went to live on the outskirts of Welwyn Garden City, where he died in the early 1930s.

Roestock Hall, off Powder Beech Lane

No trace remains of this "good red-brick house," which according to the Victoria County History was "till lately known as The Grange." The ecclesiastical parish boundary revision of 1958 transferred the Roestoek Hall area to Colney Heath parish. In 1964 St. Albans Rural District Council demolished the Hall and has since built a colony of small dwelling houses and a block of flats on the site. But the name of the admiral whose home was Roestock Hall from the early 1890s until his death a short time before the outbreak of the 1914-18 war is remembered.

Admiral Sir John Fellowes, K.C.B., was born in Brighton in 1843. He was educated at the Royal Naval Academy, Gosport. As one of Queen Victoria’s aides-de-camp in the early 1890s he was a familiar figure in the social and official life of London, but "he loves the sea and prefers the quarter-deck to a waxed floor for dancing" (Gaskell, Hertfordshire Leaders, published 1907). This statement confirms that of one who as a boy worked on Saturday mornings at The Grange: "The admiral set great store by the title ‘Admiral’ because he had worked for that one but had only inherited the other."

Admiral Sir John Fellowes retired to civilian life in 1897 and took an active part in parish affairs, being a churchwarden for some years. He was buried in North Mymms churchyard.

The unusual name Powder Beech Lane has fallen into disuse and is now known as Fellowes Lane. The block of flats for elderly people is known as The Grange and is in Admiral’s Close, compliments that would have given great pleasure to the admiral who once lived there.

Dorothy Colville, 1971


Chapter 19 - Bell Bar
Index - North Mymms Parish and People

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