North Mymms - Parish and People
by Dorothy Colville
Chapter 15 - Potterells
Potterells, which became the home of Dame Martha Coningsby in 1658, remained the ancestral home of the Coningsby family for more than 200 years. The present house is not the original one, but was probably built during the middle of the eighteenth century. The turret above the former orange house houses a clock with the date 1767 upon its face and is perhaps a clue as to the date of the house itself. The upper storey was added about 130 years later.
Potterells had a carriageway through its own grounds to within half a mile of the parish church. It wound its way between highly cultivated fields dating from Mr. Casamajor’s time and skirted a "lake" where the stream from Brookmans widened out before joining the Mimmshall Brook at Water End. Little rustic bridges spanned the "lake" at its narrow ends, and although very shallow it was an attractive feature of the park and was a favourite skating place. The little bridges are still there, but the lake is reed-choked and a haven for moorhens.
The carriageway entered the public road a short distance north of Teakettle bridge. Along this drive Caroline Lydia Casamajor came to visit the school she had built in Water End. She passed the village pound less than 100 yards from her school. The pound was still standing in 1900. It has been suggested that the cluster of trees near the bridge marks the site of a cottage occupied by one who combined the work of a gate keeper with that of the pound keeper.
Until the coming of the motor-car this carriageway was used by all who lived at Potterells. Wedding processions and funeral cortégés alike traversed the gravelled drive, the last funeral to come that way being that of Mrs. Cotton Curtis, who died in 1903. In 1950 the drive was still very clearly defined.
During the incumbency of the Rev. Horace Meyer Potterells was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wheen, whose’ daughter, Hondtia, died in July 1867. The lectern in church is the memorial to this young girl who died before she was twenty.
Set in a mellow red-brick wall which was probably half a century old when Arthur Young visited Mr. Casamajor is a charming little relic of the Seymour family, who owned Potterells from about 1909 until 1934. Gone are the colourful herbaceous borders, which have been replaced by a wide sweep of closely mown grass, but there it hangs, a dainty wrought-iron gate - an elongated S superimposed upon a decorative heart-shaped motif, flanked by the dates 1884-909 and over it all a graceful H supported by two R shapes, a symbol of twenty-five happy years of marriage.
This cultured aristocratic family played a prominent part in parish affairs. Mr. Hugh F. Seymour was a churchwarden for many years, one daughter made the beautiful Mothers’ Union banner for the parish church and another ran the local Girl Guides. The daughters regularly visited the school at Water End, where they taught country dances to the girls. The musical talents of Mrs. Seymour and her daughters were always available for any good cause. The name of one son can be seen on the war memorial.
Dorothy Colville, 1971
Chapter 16 - Hawkshead House and Abdale
Index - North Mymms Parish and People