The following description of the people who lived in the area around St Stephen’s Church is derived from the census returns from 1851 to 1911. Watling Street is not mentioned. People who lived in that area were just living in “St Stephen’s”. Some of the dwellings have names. We know that there were two other dwellings next to the vicarage – two cottages and St Stephens House plus cottages opposite the church, but it is not clear from the early censuses which side of the road is being referred to. The dwellings opposite the church are medieval.
In 1851 the vicar of St Stephen’s church was the 31 year old Rev Cunningham Boothby. He lived in the Vicarage with his wife, family and household. The only other residents were John Godman, aged 22 a land and timber surveyor and Henry Cox a farmer.
The vicar in 1861 was Rev Marcus Southwell aged 56. His wife was Cecilia also 56 and they had three housemaids and a cook. Present at the time of the census were their daughter Cecilia Dinsdale aged 34 with her five children, a nurse, a needlewoman and a servant.
In Stable Cottage which is next to the church lived Frederick Pratt aged 42 a coachman with his wife Emma aged 38 and family. They also had a seven year old schoolchild boarding with them. Then there are another five dwellings which are likely to be the line of terraced houses opposite the church. These were occupied by:
• William Harvey aged 50 a fund holder and bank proprietor with wife Harriet aged 45, daughter and domestic servant;
• Thomas Mills aged 61 a coal merchant with wife Hannah aged 60, son John also a coal merchant plus two servants;
• Ann Ward aged 79 an annuitant plus one servant;
• Mary Bull aged 60 an annuitant plus a daily governess, a servant and Frederic Kintle aged 30 a lodger and curate of St Stephens;
• John Godman 32 Land Surveyor plus Mary his wife aged 35 and three children.
Rev Marcus Southwell is still the incumbent of St Stephen’s in 1871 with his wife Cecilia. They had a cook, butler and housemaid living with them.
Frederick Pratt is still living in St Stephens’s but his house is now called Coachman’s Cottage not Stable Cottage next to the vicarage. He is still a coachman. Living with him are his wife Emma, his daughter Emma a dressmaker, Frederick his son a saddler, Alice his daughter another dressmaker, George his son a clerk to accountant plus three more children.
There are six more households. One of these must be on the vicarage side near Coachman’s (Stable) Cottage. It is probably St Stephen’s Cottage as this mentioned in 1881. The others are the houses on the opposite side.
• Ann Lewis aged 48 a governess, Jessica Lewis her sister aged 46 also a governess plus ten girl pupils obviously boarders some coming from abroad – four born in India and four from Chile. There were also two servants and a cook so a large household. This might be St Stephen’s Cottage.
• Thomas Cartwright aged 44 a farmer (170 acres) plus Charlotte aged 46 his wife, and son George Hart aged 20 an art student in Kensington. Plus a cook and two servants.
• John Godman now aged 42 Surveyor and Assistant Overseer plus wife Mary Ann and five children. John was also the census enumerator in 1861 and 1871.
• Mary M Bull aged 70 and daughter Mary Jane Bunn aged 33 both pensioners.
• Mary Murrel the curate’s widow aged 56 plus two daughters
• James Bailey aged 45 Assistant Controller HM Army with Ellen Jane his wife aged 34 and two children.
In 1881, Rev William Dudley aged 43 was the vicar of St Stephen’s. He lived there with Georgina his wife aged 33, four children, and Harriet Goldie aged 42 his sister-in –law. Also living in the Vicarage were a nurse, domestic servant, nursemaid, cook, parlour maid, housemaid, general manservant, and dairymaid.
In St Stephen’s Cottage lived Ann Lewis aged 59 who ran a school for ladies with her sister and Lina Biber aged 23 a governess and teacher who was born in Zurich. They had eight pupils. St Stephen’s cottage is near the vicarage.
There were another five households:
• Thomas Cartwright is still there now a retired farmer living with his son George aged 30 a farmer (480 acres) employing fourteen men and three boys, and a cook and housemaid. The farm is most likely to be St Julian’s.
• John Godman now aged 52 is still living there – a surveyor and overseer parish clerk. Living with him are his wife Mary, son Arthur aged nineteen an engineer machinist, daughter Rosa aged seventeen a governess, and Louis Welling aged 25 a boarder and railway clerk.
• Mary Bull now aged 80 an annuitant still living with her daughter Mary Bunn aged 43 a pensioner, plus one servant.
• Mary Howard aged 82 an annuitant and servant.
• George Latimer aged 27 an unemployed stock keeper, William Latimer his brother aged 20 a boot salesman, plus a servant.
In 1891 we find the Rev William D W Dudley aged 53 living in the Vicarage with Georgiana his wife aged 43, five children, three housemaids a parlour maid and a charwoman.
In St Stephen’s House was Mary Warwick aged 46 a domestic cook.
John Godman now aged 62 is living in St Stephen’s post office with his wife who is a sub postmistress. He is still a surveyor’s assistant and overseer and parish clerk. This is the first mention of the post office and as John has been living in one of the houses opposite the church for the last 40 years, it is likely that it is the same house converted into the post office.
At St Stephen’s we find:
• William Horton aged 56 living on own means with his wife Clara aged 57.
• Walter Bowley Ellis aged 37 a solicitor’s clerk with Marian aged 37 his wife plus two children, his mother-in-law Elizabeth Parker aged 72 living on own means and a servant.
Living in the Vicarage Stables is James Thomas aged 50 a coachman with wife Emily aged 48 and two children. This is probably the Coachman’s Cottage or Stable Cottage mentioned in previous censuses.
Jessie Lewis aged 70 living on her own means was living in St Stephen’s Cottages.
In 1901 Rev William D. W. Dudley was still the vicar living in the Vicarage with his wife, three children, cook, parlour maid and housemaid.
In the houses opposite (just called St Stephen’s) there were the following:
• Thomas Follett aged 48 a gardener plus his wife Susan aged 49;
• Jessie Lewis aged 85 plus a nurse, cook and housemaid;
• William Green aged 45 a draper with wife Leonora aged 37, 4 children, a nurse, housemaid and cook. William Green founded the shop Green’s department store which used to be in Chequer Street, St Albans until the 1970s. He was also a city councillor and became Mayor of St Albans in 1927. A son, Phillip Louis Samuel Green was born in 1896 in St Albans but sadly lost his life during the Great War at The Somme on September 18th 1916 aged 20.
• John Godman is still there now aged 72 and still Parish Clerk plus Mary Ann his wife aged74, Arthur son 39 mechanical engineer and his wife Rose, Frederick Monk 21 grandson an electrical engineer and another granddaughter, a boarder and a gardener. Elizabeth de Montmorency aged 41 living on own means with a son, nurse and housemaid. There is no mention of the post office so perhaps it was somewhere else.
• Arthur Molson aged 48 a retired hospital surgeon with wife Emilie aged 36, a son and a servant.
In 1911, the census also records the number of rooms in each household so we get a better idea of how they lived.
In the Vicarage (19 rooms) the Rev William Dudley Wadell-Dudley now aged 73 was still the vicar of St Stephen’s living with his wife Georgina aged 63, daughter Maud Emily aged 41, son Robert Roland aged 24 in the student army, plus three servants.
St Stephen’s House (11 rooms) lived William Samuel Green aged 55 a draper with Leonora his wife aged 47, four children, a housemaid and cook.
In St Stephen’s Cottages (6 rooms) lived John Willett aged 44 a cowman on farm with Emma his wife aged 44, son William aged 18 a farmworker, son John aged 14 also a farmworker and seven more children.
In St Stephen’s (cottages opposite the church) lived the following:
• Arthur Molton aged 58 a dental surgeon with Amelia his wife aged 46 and a servant (8 rooms).
• John Grice aged 44 a domestic gardener with wife Ellen aged 38 plus 3 children (5 rooms)
The next three dwellings are still St Stephen’s but now they have names:
• Cuckmans – James Fame aged 21 a groom gardener (2 rooms)
• Church Cottage – Horace Ambler aged 56 a retired surgeon and Margaret Duffy aged 29 his housekeeper (6 rooms)
• Chantry Cottage – Heaver Stuart Fremdon aged 45 a medical professor bacteriologist with the Local Government Board plus a general servant (6 rooms)