Abbots Langley

Bricklayers Arms, Abbots Langley, 1866-1966


June, 2008

Marie Griffiths (bmgriff @t of New Zealand writes: Below is part of a letter I have received from relations in the UK. I am trying to resolve the mystery. Can you please tell me where the Bricklayers Arms, Abbots Langley, was and the name of the church that would have been just past the Bricklayers Arms. "Mothers Brother" we think is a John White b. abt 1854, the lady from America, Eliza White b.1856.

"My Mother's brother had a pub at Abbotts Langley, Herts called the Bricklayers Arms. He was the first man to drive a tug to Paddington Basin. Someone pulled the levers and cut his fingers off. She came from America to get in the pub with her brother, who owned it, her name was Miss White. They moved to Valour Villas, Breakspear Road Abbots Langley, that is where he died. She is buried just past the Bricklayers Pub at Abbots Langley Church yard."


  The Brickmaker's Arms, early 20th century
  This is a reduced sized version of one of two pictures in Abbots Langley, by Scott Hastie. The book also contains more detail about the pub in the 20th century.

The Bricklayer's Arms, Abbots Langley, was in the village and was apparently built, together with a number of shops, by the British Land Company in 1866. In 1871 John House was the licensed victualler of the pub, and between then and 1881 he was succeeded by Philip White. The 1882 Directory describes Philip as a beer retailer and coal merchant and he continued at the pub until 1920, when he sold his interest to Arthur Gristwood Tibbles. From 1948 the pub was run by Tommy Walters, but in 1966 Benskins (the brewery whose pub it was) decided to close it down.

Have a look at the census returns online from 1851 to 1901 (look at the tutorial if you don't know how to do this). You will find that Phil(l)ip was the son of John and Elizabeth White, and was born circa 1843 at Hunton Bridge, Abbots Langley. He was one of nine children. Philip never married and the census returns showed siblings were living in the Brickmakers Arms with him in the 1881, 1891 and 1901 censuses.


The Lych Gate and Village, Abbots Langley,

with the graveyard behind the low wall.


Valentine postcard JV 68613 (Sepiatype series, taken 1911, also known in Carbotype series)


There is no evidence for a John White born circa 1854 or an Eliza White born 1856 Associated with Abbots Langley. However as Philip's parents were John and Elizabeth the story may, in part, have jumped a generation. You should have no difficulty in finding a bit more about John and Eliza(beth) using the techniques described in the tutorial.

There are two books which should give you useful background if you can get hold of they, either through the New Zealand library service, or by purchasing second hand online. They are Scott Hastie's book on Abbots Langley, and Alan Faulkner's book on The Grand Junction Canal (which has information on the Paddington Basin).

[An interesting aside, the Brickmaker's Arms has been left out of the book Hertfordshire Inns although it was apparently still trading when the book was published.]

Marie responded: With the information you sent and having now seen a copy of a death cert I can put names to "My Mother's brother" The letter I mentioned was written by a Daniel DeJonge's wife, Daniel was telling her what to write. Daniel's death cert. tells me his mother was Annie Kemp. Annie Kemp was the daughter of George Kemp and Sarah White, I have sent for Annie's death cert. to confirm this. Sarah White was born about 1847 in Hertfordshire, hopefully she will be a sister to Phillip White the publican at the bricklayers Arms.

I have been searching the census today and have built up a family, I now have to set about proving it is right. One of Sarah & Phillip's sisters will be the lady buried at the Abbots Langley Church yard. I will try our library for the books you mentioned. I know if I visit your country again Abbots Langley will be on my list of places to visit.

I can confirm from the 1851 census that Philip had a sister called Sarah who was born about 1847. You are lucky that the people you mention did not die in England where the death certificate contains little useful information.

Your comments about the origins of the letter could well strengthen my suggestion that there may have been a confusion about names. Where something has been written down by an elderly person for posterity I start by assuming that it is about 75% correct and start by trying to identify the problematic 25%. For instance my grandfather recorded that he was named after his great grandfather, a Richard Locke, a coach builder of Leighton Buzzard. It appears that my grandfather did not know that his grandfather was illegitimate and had an older half brother which fitted the description.

Page created June 2008