Kay Rumney (kayfrumney @t hotmail.co.uk) of Radlett asks: Please could you help me find a place called Archer's Farm, Aldenham. Charles Henry Rumney is my great grandfather and when I got his birth certificate it states that he was born at Archer's Farm, Aldenham in 1859. When I looked on the Census for 1861 it has just got that he was born in Aldenham and there is no mention at all of Archer's Farm. I have tried looking at old maps and also posted on various sites that I am looking for Archer's Farm to no avail. I wondered if you could help me. I know that there are older siblings but do not have their certificates at the present time. I have even asked people who have lived in Aldenham all their lives and who may have had ancestors who might have mentioned the farm but again to no avail.
The census enumerator's book [Ancestry] which covers the area where Charles was in 1861 describes the order in which the households were visited:
If you have another look at the 1861 census you will see that Joseph Romney (Charles's father) was a farm labourer, and it was one of a number of households collectively known as "Round Bush" - although the census enumerator hadn't written "ditto" in the address column.
The 1871 census shows Charles (now an 11 year old agricultural labourer) was still at Round Bush (most likely in the same household) - this time described as No 4 Cottage, Round Bush. The head of household was Richard Larkin, agricultural labourer, and Charles was described as wife's son - so presumably Joseph had died, and his wife remarried, while continuing to live at the same address.
An 1808 map of Aldenham shows High Cross and Detrow. Round Bush was about half way between them. Round Bush is shown on a number of other maps, including some modern maps, and there is a public house called the Round Bush, which apparently opened in the mid 19th century, so would have been known, and probably frequented, by your ancestors. [Hertfordshire Inns & Public Houses]
So we now know that the family were living in a group of cottages known as "Round Bush" and that they were agricultural labourers. It was quite common for old farm houses to be used as cottages for agricultural labourers (when I was a child we lived in part of a former farm house which had been divided up in this way). It may be that one or more of the cottages at Round Bush may have been part of a former farm called Archer's Farm.
However there is another possibility, which is perhaps more likely. The 1866 Post Office Directory shows that there was a James Archer, Esq., living in a house in Hog Lane, Aldenham. [Named Hoy Lane on the Smith map] It is possible that James had a farm (perhaps Joseph was one of his farm labourers) and he provided facilities for Joseph's wife's lying in at "Mr Archer's Farm". After all many cottages were very small and crowded and childbirth at home, although the norm, would have been difficult in a building with perhaps no more than two small bedrooms for the whole family.
Of course it could be that Charles's mother was actually working on a farm belonging to Mr Archer when she went into labour and may have had the baby on the spot!
The book The Book of Radlett and Aldenham has a brief history of the Round Bush area, and while it is shown on maps as early as 1607, it probably did not develop into a hamlet of 22 dwellings and a population of 82 (1841 census) until after the enclosure in the parish in 1803. [This may be why it is not named on Smith's map - as while the map shown was published in 1808, it is based on an earlier 1801 map.]
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