Researching The Manor

Our focus during the initial development of our website Tringruralhistory.co.uk, was on the 20th Century, in particular World War II and its aftermath.

We then decided as a second phase to go much further back and to use some of the older houses in the villages as the centre point of our research into past residents. Our starting point was Puttenham – the oldest of the Tring Rural villages – and we accessed the Historic Buildings Council’s listed buildings on their website. The only property listed in Puttenham was Manor Farmhouse on Church Lane, on the right as you approach the Church. The current owner and resident, Lis Josling was approached and was delighted for us to be involved; she also gave us some valuable information during our research process.

The First Family

Though the Historic Buildings website suggested that the building was first constructed in late 16th century, the first recording of residents was in the early 1700s. This was only found after a visit to the Hertfordshire Archives in Hertford, where the original Parish Registers and ‘Poor Books’ are kept. This enabled us to find out that the first people known to have lived in the house was the Ives family. This was clearly an important family in the village as successive Ives men became ‘Overseers to the Poor’ – a sign of a relatively rich and important citizen – from around 1738 to the early 1800s.

It is not always possible to know which Ives family member occupied the property because, at the time of the Enclosure Act 1816, they were occupying three properties in Puttenham, The Old Rectory and Potash Farm, as well as Manor Farm. There were also marriages into other families; for instance John Montague married Elizabeth Ives and was shown in the 1861 census as main occupant of Manor Farm, probably living there until around 1880. Even the ubiquitous Chapman family had connections with the Ives’s; Elizabeth Ives’ sister Jane married a Joseph Chapman and their son Thomas was recorded as living with John and Elizabeth in 1861.

The days of the Deverells

We can be much more definite about who followed the Ives family as main residents. The second phase of ownership followed the purchase of the Farm by John Deverell, son of a wealthy farmer, previously based in Soulbury, in the early 1880s. He obviously made his presence felt in the village quite quickly as, by 1886, he was suing one John Procter for stealing two of his hens! Procter was found to be not guilty.

Deverell didn’t seem to have much luck in his married life; his first wife Annie died soon after they moved in to Manor Farm.Deverell married again in 1889 to Jane Leach and they continued to live at Manor Farmhouse until the turn of the century and beyond. But he was again to become a widower in 1910 when Jane passed away and was buried in Puttenham Church.  But he must have hoped for better luck third time when he married Alice Frost in 1912; Alice then bore him a daughter Robina Mary in 1917.

The Turners come to Puttenham

In the meantime a new family was settling in the area. Henry Turner was a vet who worked on the railways – looking after their horses apparently – and his extended family was to have a big impact on village life . Turner had married Sarah Walker in 1885 and they moved into Hertfordshire from their original homes in Worcestershire in 1911. Their initial move was to Tring but before long they purchased the Old Rectory in Puttenham, after Henry’s father – a wealthy colliery proprietor – died around 1917.

There must have been a substantial inheritance because Henry added to his property portfolio by buying Ivy Cottage, next door to Manor Farm, around 1920. His sister in law, Helen Piggott (nee Walker) moved in there and was soon joined by her sister Emily Walker. The numbers were boosted even more when Helen’s daughter Alice took up residence around 1929.

The Turners take over

John and Alice Deverell left Puttenham in 1926 and Henry Turner completed his Puttenham property portfolio by buying Manor Farm from them. From that point it is difficult to know which of the Turner extended family was living in which house as the census returns for all the family continued to refer to ‘Manor Cottage’.

The family numbers reduced when Helen Piggott died in 1945 and even more so in 1956 when both Sarah and Emily passed away. This left Alice Piggott on her own and, in the early 1960s she moved out, leaving Manor Farm empty and available.

Teddy comes to Puttenham

Someone had to fill the vacuum when Henry and Sarah left the scene and this was achieved by Teddy Meyer. Henry Turner had two children, Harry Logan and Nellie. Nellie married a Swiss citizen, Theodor Willhelm Meyer and they had a son Theodor, known to everyone in Puttenham as Teddy. After the death of Henry and Sarah, it appears from legal documents that Harry Logan transferred his interest in the Puttenham properties to Nellie and Theodor and that these later passed on to Teddy.

The memories of those still alive confirm that Teddy was a regular, popular visitor and benefactor to the village. His close relationship to the village and the Turner extended family is confirmed by the fact that he is buried in Puttenham Church close to those relatives who lived at Ivy Cottage and Manor Farm.

In the early 1960s, Teddy made the decision to rent out Manor Farmhouse to a succession of occupants with mixed success. In the year 2000, he decided to sell the Farmhouse and it was bought by John and Lis Josling. Lis still lives in the Farmhouse today.

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