My name is Michael Francis Chandler, I live in Kansas USA. I am trying to find old family links to my family line from Bishop’s Stortford. The furthest records I have to this area shows my Grandfather line as Thomas Chandler 1st born Bishop’s Stortford 1468 died 31 Jan 1551, Thomas Chandler 2nd and Thomas Chandler 3rd from there was Henry Chandler father of William Chandler Born 12 Oct 1595 married Annis and sailed to Boston in the early 1600s with 5 children along with the Dain Family.

I would like to make any contact with Chandler families still in Bishop’s Stortford from this same line and any means of help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you and Gods speed. michaelchandler2112@gmail.com July 2014

My great-great grandparents ran the Robin Hood pub in Bishop’s Stortford in the later 19th century. They were James and Dorinda Jackson. Their son James was my great grandfather and his son Arthur, my grandfather, used to go and stay in the Robin Hood when he was a boy. After James and Dorinda died in about 1901/2, their unmarried daughter Elizabeth Ann Jackson carried on as a publican in the area. I don’t know whether this was still at the Robin Hood. Does anyone have any photos of James and Dorinda, or of their son James or of any of the Jackson family? My email contact is m.f.byrne137@gmail.com Regards Michael Byrne (May 2013)

I agree with all the comments expressed in your guest book re Bishop’s Stortford, it is a wonderful source for Stortford in bygone days. If I may I would like to add my own memories. I was born in 1937 and lived first of all at 76 London Road (now demolished). It was a railway house because my Dad worked on the railway. In 1939 we moved to a new house in Dimsdale Crescent and I lived there with my brother and Mum and Dad until I went into the army. It was a very close knit community on the outskirts of town very near farmland owned by Jack Low who used to deliver milk to us in the early days of the war. Us kids used to play in the woods and meadows nearby often supervised by Jack Low’s gamekeeper Mr Wolsey!

I remember a German bomber crashing in Little Hallingbury and me and my Dad retrieved a bit of the tail plane which we buried behind our shed at 20 Dimsdale, pieces of which may still be there. I remember helping with Tom Brown, delivery of milk from the dairy first by a horse and cart with a horse called Molly and afterwards an electric cart.

I remember most of the shops in town during the war. There was Powell’s the Fish shop, Harts the sweet shop, Graters, Thomas Cycle shop, Hickling & Williams, Sainsburys, Williams Photographers, 48hr Service (Cobblers) and Huckerby & Puttick hairdressers (they used to cut my hair). I can also remember pretty well all of the shops through to the end of North Street and back along the other side.

I remember being fitted with my gas mask in the council offices at the causeway. I believe they called it a micky mouse because it was red and blue. I went to school at St Michaels, first in the infants (Mrs Nice, Mrs Darnell, and Miss Peacock were teachers). The air raid shelters separated us from the junior school where we had Mr Kirk, Mr Charnley, Mr Watts, Mr Hazzard, and later Mr Lynch, Miss Davey, Mrs Hutchinson and Miss Turner. The dinner ladies were Mrs Pratt, Mrs Harlow and Mrs Green (Edna). I later obtained a Scholarship to the College and left to work in the furniture trade and then did National Service.

I remember going to dances at Long’s Restaurant, dancing to such bands as Fred Wilson, Harry Radley, and Bob Payne. There were also dances at the Drill Hall (Market Square) but there were quite often fights there! I remember going to the concert for the RAF Fund where Harry Peck who had a fish and chip shop was compare (he was a bit of a comic as well). In the cast was a very young Petula Clark and Bennet and Williams, well known comedy acts.

I live in Devon now, aged 75, and sometimes travel to Stortford to see old friends. I must say it is not as I remember and loved but never the less I still have the happy memories of my youth. My brother Doug worked on the switchboard at Herts and Essex, so David Hanscomb may remember him. I worked with a Mr Searle in a furniture shop who lived at Rhodes Avenue, so the person researching the Searle family may be related to him. I also remember Taylors Electrical at Hockerill (forgive me for saying so but it was a bit of a ramshackle place!). There is a whole lot more I can relate but I think that is enough for now.

Peter Barker: barkersindevon@btinternet.com Anyone that knows me, please get in contact.

January 2013

Thanks for all your hard work and really interesting website. I lived in Bishop’s Stortford from 1959 until 1978. I moved to 80 Nursery Road in 1959 from Pinner (Middlesex) and my first school was St Michaels Infant School, (sadly a car park now) and them went to St Michaels Junior School, followed by Bishop’s Stortford Boys High. By the time I had moved up to the High School, I had moved up the road to 50 Jervis Road, where I lived until 1978 when I moved to Braintree.

Growing up in Bishop’s Stortford was great, so much to do and discover. My many memories include the old houses opposite Baxter’s fish and chip shop and a toy shop called Wrights. I would often go into Baxter’s with my penny pocket money and buy a tiny bag of chips and save all my birthday money to go to Wright’s or even Danes for a toy.

I left school at an early age and first worked at S.W.Stevens in town as a trainee television engineer, The Steven’s brothers owned adjacent shops, one sold televisions and radios, the other brother sold music and sheet music. I spent many visit’s going through the joining door and listening to music in one of the booths. I wonder if anyone remembers Vera who served behind the counter. I later worked at Shepherd Electric and Sellick electrical, then worked at Ernest Lake & Harvey Frost, then Boyd Gibbins as a bricklayers labourer.

Bishop’s Stortford has changed much, but my childhood memories are fond ones.

John Lewin February 2011
I was reading some of the memories on your Thorley/BS site. Mr John Lewin was reminiscing about Bishop’s Stortford. He said in his article that he was a trainee TV engineer for Steven’s TV/record shop and did anyone remember Vera? I am Vera’s niece and she lived and retired in Birchanger. Unfortunately she died about 3 years ago and was very dear to me. Could you pass on the information please?

Many thanks, Mrs Deborah Murray. January 2015

Each time I come back to this wonderful website, I am further impressed by all the work which has gone into it. The additions make it better and better! I rate this one of the best sites one could possibly find on the web. It is particularly welcome since the local museum at the Rhodes Centre is such a disappointment. Each time I have been there or have tried to make contact I have been put off, either because they were too busy to give me access to the archives, or the archives were not available following their move and they really did not know what they had got.

My interest is in the Miller family in Bishop’s Stortford. One of the members of the family was Joshua Miller, who was a maltster and barge owner, but the family goes much further back than that. Some of them emigrated to America in 1635, and before that some of the family lived in Dane O’Coys. There’s a lot to trace – but fortunately a lot of the early details have already been collected by Spencer Miller, who stayed in Bishops Stortford for some years in the 1920′s for the purpose. His researches are now available on CD. I left a copy with the Museum – I wonder if they can find it if it is asked for?

David Miller

Dear Sir,

Thank you for a wonderful collection of facts on Bishop’s Stortford, and in particular about the George Inn. I have been fortunate enough to visit your town on several occasions to further my interest, that being I have been able to trace my ancestor and his family, being William and Eliza Trappitt and children. William, I understand, worked at the George Inn as a groom in the stables at the rear of the premises. Your web site has enabled me to add more to my research.

If anybody reading this would like to pass on anymore details of the Trappitt family, they can contact me at john.trappitt@o2.co.uk Regards J. Trappitt

An excellent site, thank you.

My mother taught at Northgate School during the forties; her first post after qualifying in Edinburgh. She died many years ago, but I am interested in hearing about her time in Bishops Stortford, if there is anyone who remembers her now. In particular I understand she may have helped the local Labour Party during the 45 election campaign but I don’t know if she was ever a member. Her name was Betsy Parker, and she came from Wigtownshire. I think she must have left the area around 1946. I am curious because I only heard about her interest in politics a couple of years ago, and would love to know more!

Gill gil.gray@btinternet.com

What a wonderful site I am enjoying it so much. I was born in Bishop’s Stortford but I am now living in California. I left Bishop`s Stortford in 1964 but I have returned to Stortford many times. My Mother Joyce bailey was a student nurse at Haymeads hospital in the late 1930′s early 1940′s, my Grandfather William Bailey was a tailor in Stortford. My father Bill Huckerby was a gentlemens hairdresser in town first working for Miller/ Smith next to the old fire station and across from the Regent cinema later moving to the Market Square with Mr Puttick (Huckerby & Puttick Hairdressers). I went school at St Josephs and then to the Secondary School in the Causeway. I left school in 1956. Thank you once again for the wonderful site. Jann Huckerby Davis

What a great website congratulations on a job well done. Born in Bishop’s Stortford in 1946 its lovley to visit back home. I have lived in Perth western Australia for 25 years and visit back regularly. My father could have told you some great stories. I personally thank you for the butterflies you get in your stomack when you read of the beautiful town. Thank you. MCCRYSTAL

I live in Harlow but have spent a great deal of time in Bishop’s Stortford and thought I knew something of the town until I came across your truly wonderful site. There are many town histories on the internet, however, yours is, by far, the most detailed and informative while maintaining and including many personal touches that make it all the more enjoyable. Thank you. Simon Field

An excellent website, thoughtfully laid out. I am researching my ancestors who came from Hockerill and the information about Hockerill and London Road was very informative. The Myson family moved from London Road and Cambridge Road in the late 1800s to Camden Town in London where my great great grandfather worked for Gilbey’s as a wine packer. I did not know of the Gilbey connection with Bishops Stortford until coming to this site, which makes me wonder whether this was chance or not. David Van der Spiegel Redhill, Surrey Email: addlened@ntlworld.com

l came across this site looking for information on Bishop Stortford. I have visted the area, as my great grandfather lived at 5 Portland Road. My grandfather was also born there. It was lovely to see the house still standing. I am looking for any information on the Garrads who lived at that address between 1916 to 1943. I do know that my great grandfather was a maltsters foreman. His name was a John Barrington Garrad. My email address is paulapeacock@btinternet.com Also, if any one remembers my granfather at school, Peter Garrad, I would be grateful for any information or pictures. I will visit again as its a lovely place to visit. Keep up the good work. Paula

Thanks for creating this site it has let me learn more about my town create job on the creating this site keep on running this site it will help ever one to learn about town. Ben Brown

On 7th January 1957, a group of nurses (of which my wife and I were but two) began their 3 year general training at Herts & Essex Hospital. January 7th 2007 will see the 50th anniversary of those times. Although the old hospital is no more, we would like to contact ANYONE who was a student nurse, or worked at the hospital from 1942 until its closure – or at Rye Street Hospital. We would also like to hear from anyone who might be able to pass on names and information about former hospital staff. Please contact: davidhandscomb389@hotmail.com

I am a former resident, born and bred in Bishops Stortford, now living in Fort Lauderdale Florida. I wanted to let you know this is the most fantastic history lesson I have ever had of my home town. What a great website! My Great Grandfather used to own a store in Hockerill called Hockerill Radio Stores – his name was Percy Taylor. My great grandmother’s name was Nora Taylor, nee Thurgood. My father, my uncle and myself all used to work at Franklins Garage as mechanics. I also worked at the old Maslens electrical store in Northgate End, which I think was sold to a photography store (Cox I think). There, I worked with a great old man by the name of Mr Sessions, and I am sure he had something to do with the original Mr Gray (who ran Grays in the Chantry). My mother worked at Photosound when they were in Devoils Lane for at least 12 years, when John Johnson and his father Charlie Johnson first started. Charlie was a local photographer in Stortford for many years photographing weddings etc. My father also worked at the old dairy when it was by the Red Bridge along Hallingbury Road, and also Stort Ash, a transport company that was a major employer back in the 50′s and 60′s.

Back in June of this year (2005) myself and my wife came back to Stortford for a week to visit family. We stayed at the George Hotel. It was great to read all about the old coaching inn on your website. I love my home town and have very fond memories of it. As I look at some of the pictures and read articles in the local paper (Herts & Essex Observer) it really distresses me to read how many changes take place to local buildings and places of such historical value. Barrie Plumb

Greetings from Australia. I am researching the family names and this town has been mentioned on several occations so decided to have a hunt on the internet to see what I could find and was very surprised. If anyone is researching the SEARLE name I would be interested to hear from you. I can be contacted on rooks@bigpond.net.au Jennifer Rooks

Thank you so much for this lovely web site. I lived in Bishop’s Stortford for over 20 years with my family. It was wonderful to read all the pages and it bought back so many memories, so much so that my sister Wendy and myself have decided to have a day of memories by visiting the town on the 18th August 2005. We had such a happy childhood, especially in the castle gardens as my parents ran the cafe in the 60s and it was such a carefree life. We both attended schools in the town and Wendy worked in the Post Office (being the first female counter clerk) and I worked for the local dentist in Hadham Road. Then I was the first advertising representative for the newly launched ‘Classified’ publication.

I would love to hear from anyone who remembers me. I have only met one person through Friends Re-united and would love to meet more. Thank you every one who made this guide possible and I will be able to show this to my elderly parents (Jack & Barbara Wright who are now in their 90′s. Dad was an engineer for the GPO and an avid member of the Workings Men’s Club (especially snooker).

I now live in Clacton-on-Sea, and can be contacted at: bevmick@rolph33.fsnet.co.uk BEVERLEY ROPLH (WRIGHT)

My ancestors come from Bishop’s Stortford and the surrounding area, and I spent many happy school holidays with my great-aunt in Bury Green and visiting other relatives in Bishop’s Stortford itself. I particularly enjoyed reading about the Stort navigation as one of my relatives, a John Phipp by name, proudly describes himself as a retired bargeman in the 1901 census, confirming verbal family history. My mother, a Reed, was born, I believe in Haymeads, and is still alive at the grand age of 93, 94 this year. It was not only enlightening, but also, a wonderful trip down memory lane.

Gill Gibbs nee Fletcher now living in Wales

What a wonderful trip through my birthplace!! I am learning so much about the place I left in 1958 and am enjoying the memories this web site evokes! My grandfather, Walter Herbert Bayford, of Alpha Place often spoke of old Mr Gilbey and Half Acres. Grandad was a postman for 44 years, delivering the post around Farnham. He also worked at W.H. Smith’s, wine merchant for many years. My mum worked at the Old House Cafe and told stories of the Grey Lady and other happenings there. My cousin, Bert Bayford was organist for many years at St Michael’s church and a local magistrate. Thank you for some stirring memories and allowing me to once again walk through the town!!!

Elizabeth Beachler nee Bayford CHURUBUSCO, Indiana USA

At 72 and now living in Devon, thoughts turn to ones birthplace. What a wonderful find for me. I attended North End school in the early 40′s, lived in a bungalow with my grandparents in the grounds of the former High school (Grammar School), and I daily collected the family milk from the farm at Dane ‘O’Coys. I will be looking more at the site now.

Pete Young

See Pete Young’s memory of Stortford: Memories Page – Guide 7

It was interesting reading about the Zelley name in Bishop’s Stortford. Brian Zelley

Having left Bishop’s Stortford to live in Staffordshire in 1984, I came back in early 2005 for a reunion to celebrate the combined 50th birthdays of my fellow former pupils from Hadham Hall School.

I happened to stay in the George Hotel for my visit and tapped in the “Grey Lady” into a search engine which came up with this very interesting and, for me, nostalgic web site. Having been reassured that I did not stay in the haunted room (27!), I began to browse around the site and the memories came flooding back. Anyone who knew me back in the 50′s, 60′s, 70′s, and early 80′s are welcome to get in touch. Contact: ray.soper@tcat.ac.uk

Ray Soper Yarnfield, Staffs

It was with great delight that I discovered the Bishop’s Stortford & Thorley Guestbook on the internet. Though I currently live in Australia and regularly move around the world every 2-3 years I return to Bishop’s Stortford, my birthpace, every year to visit family and friends. The volume of information in addition to the beautiful and vast collection of photographs and illustrations makes for a very interesting read indeed. Congratulations on producing a site that truly reflects the beauty and rich history of the town.

Sheila M Lynch Australia

I thoroughly enjoyed your Bishop’s Stortford and Thorley web site. I plan to visit my ancestral home Bishop’s Storford with my family in May 2005. My ancestor Robert Emerson was born in Bishop’s Stortford and emigrated to Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England in 1628. I am his 13th generation descendant in America. If anyone can help me find some living Emerson relatives I’d appreciate an email from them. Contact: k.emerson@bankofny.com
Kenmore Emerson New York, USA SEE KENMORE’S FAMILY TREE ON THE MEMORIES PAGE (General Memories)

Greetings from Dallas, Texas. You’ve certainly written a fascinating pageturner about Bishop’s Stortford. I particularly enjoyed reading the history of the Town, Churches, Workhouses, and the pubs and inns. The pub poems are priceless! God willing, I hope to visit the Town next year, along with Thaxted to see the Circle Dancing.

Best Regards, The Rev’d Darryl M. Jordan Priest Associate, Christ Church, Dallas

I found your site very interesting. Years ago when I worked at the Telephone Exchange I went on a course and did a ten minute talk on Bishop’s Stortford. The information you have given on this site would have been very informative. Thank you for the time and effort you have put into this Site. I now work at Boardmans and some of the books you have mentioned people are still buying.

Yours sincerley MRS JANET SELVES

I have looked at this with great interest and ran off the entire article regarding my Great Grandfather, Grandfather, Father and myself. I do congratulate and thank you for the work you have done in producing such an interesting history. Walter Gilbey

As one of the first visitors to Paul Ailey’s new website, I must say what a brilliant piece of work it is – in my wanderings round the web I have never seen a history site so comprehensive on any one place. This must be the fruit of many years of hard work, added to which are the beautiful pictures which really make Bishop’s Stortford come alive. The town is much maligned for some of the less attractive features that have been imposed on it in recent years, but behind the scenes lie many fascinating hidden places, and I hope Paul’s website will attract many more visitors to the town in search of the real Stortford, a place of great history and much charm. If this sounds unlikely, to those who only go there to visit the shops, then go on a Sunday when it is quieter and seek out the riverside walks, the castle and the Meads, the beautiful parish church and the quiet charms of Windhill, the little back lanes and flights of steps. There is work still to do in tidying up some parts of town, but all around are signs of exciting new developments, many of them much more carefully blended in with the town scene than used to happen in the recent past. I think Paul’s site finally does justice to the cultural heritage of Bishop’s Stortford, and is a worthy addition to its collection of assets. Jacqueline Cooper Clavering

Very impressed – I am sure you will get many contributors as there are so many people who are proud of their town. Keith Phillips Apton road Bishop’s Stortford

Well done Paul, I have just spent the last hour wandering around your excellent website, the address of which I gained from the ‘Herts & Essex Observer’! I lived in Henham during the early 1960′s, married a local girl in the late 60′s, although this didn’t last! Worked for a number of Bishops Stortford motor dealers during the 1970′s & 1980′s. Now living near Braintree Essex, I still often visit the ‘Old Place’ and do business with the auto factors and engineers, BJ Ashpole of Southmill road, I’m also known to ‘enjoy a few jars’ in the locals! Followed by an excellent ‘feed’ in one of the many restaurants. Will be back! Thanks.

Roger G Cummings Braintree, Essex


copyright© Paul Ailey 2004