Facts and Events
||28 Apr 1832
||Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, EnglandBatford Mill
||10 Jun 1832
||Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, EnglandSt Helen
||6 Jun 1841
||Harpenden, Hertfordshire, EnglandCold Harbour
||30 Mar 1851
||Harpenden, Hertfordshire, EnglandUpper Top Street
||7 Apr 1861
||Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, EnglandPiggots Hill
||24 Oct 1863
||Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, EnglandSt Helen
to Charles Wright
||2 Apr 1871
||Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, EnglandThe Folly
||24 Dec 1871
||St Albans, Hertfordshire, EnglandRegister Office
to Daniel William Nicholls
||3 Apr 1881
||Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, EnglandBrewhouse Hill
||5 Apr 1891
||Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, EnglandHamwell Cottage, Nomansland
||31 Mar 1901
||Harpenden, Hertfordshire, EnglandWest Common
||24 Nov 1906
||St Albans, Hertfordshire, EnglandThe Infirmary, Union Workhouse
Maria Hornet was born at Batford Mill on the River Lea in the parish of Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, although the river at that point was the boundary with the neighbouring parish of Harpenden. She was the fifth child of a labourer called Joseph Hornet and his wife Mary Swallow, although two of the couple's children (both boys named John) had died as infants, such that Maria only had two surviving older siblings: William and Mary Ann.
A few days after Maria's first birthday, her father Joseph died, aged just 32. Her mother Mary was left with the three children to look after. Less than a year after Joseph's death, Mary married again to a widower named Francis Warner. It appears that Mary and Francis Warner had three daughters, although no baptism has been found for their daughter Susan . At the time of the 1841 census the family was living at Cold Harbour - part of Harpenden on the banks of the River Lea, very close to Batford Mill where Maria had been born.
When Maria was eleven her stepfather Francis died, followed shortly by her youngest half-sister Sophia Warner. Her mother Mary was left with five of her own children to look after - and possibly some of Francis's children from his first marriage to look after too. By 1851, Mary and her children were living at Upper Top Street in Harpenden.
Maria's mother married for a third time in 1851 to a labourer named William Myers, who thus became Maria's second stepfather. Mary and William moved to The Folly in Wheathampstead parish, another hamlet on the River Lea between Batford and Wheathampstead village. In 1857, a few days after Maria's 25th birthday, her mother Mary died, aged 54.
Also in 1857, at about the same time that Maria's mother died, Maria had a son named William. However, he died aged two years old in 1860.
In 1861, Maria was working at Piggots Hill in Wheathampstead as a house servant for a farmer of 450 acres named William Bates and his wife Jane.
In 1862, Maria had another illegitimate child, Sophia, who was born in the nearby town of St Albans but baptised back at Wheathampstead in 1863. Later on in 1863, at the age of 31, Maria was married to a Charles Wright, who was four years older than her and from the Marshalls Heath area of Wheathampstead. They had two children together, but after only five years of marriage, Charles died, aged 40, in 1868. Maria was left with her daughter Sophia and her two Wright children, Frederick and Sarah. The 1871 census finds Maria, Sophia, Frederick and Sarah living at The Folly in Wheathampstead, with Maria working as a straw plaiter.
In 1871, Maria's half sister Susan Warner died, aged 36. Susan had been living at Nomansland to the south of Wheathampstead with a man named Daniel Nicholls, with whom she had had seven children, but (for reasons that are not clear) had not married. On Christmas Eve 1871, Maria and Daniel Nicholls were married, bringing together their children as step-siblings who were already half-cousins. Particularly confusing must have been the fact that they both had daughters called Sarah - Sarah Wright having been born in 1867 and Sarah Nicholls in 1868.
Maria had a further three children with Daniel Nicholls at Nomansland: Clara, George and James, although James died as a baby. In 1881 the family was living at Brewhouse Hill in Wheathampstead - the only sighting of the family actually living in Wheathampstead village rather than in the more remote hamlets. By 1891 they were living back at Nomansland. The cottage they lived in in 1891 was described as having four rooms. Come 1901, all the children had left home and Daniel and Maria were living in a two roomed cottage on West Common in Harpenden, which appears to have been at a place called Soapsud Alley, just north of Pimlico Cottages.
Daniel died in 1901, aged 70. Maria outlived him by just over five years and died in 1906, aged 74, at the infirmary of the Union Workhouse in St Albans. Her death certificate gives her address as Wheathampstead Road, Harpenden, which suggests that before going to the infirmary she had been living with her youngest son, George and his family.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Church of England. Wheathampstead Parish Registers. (Hertford: Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies), Primary quality.
BAPTISMS solemnized in the Parish of Wheathampstead in the County of Hertford in the Year 1832
No.889 / Born April 28th Baptized Jun 10th / Maria Daughter of / Joseph & Mary / HORNET / In the Bottoms, Wheathampstead / Laborer
This baptism has been linked to the Maria Hornet who married first Charles Wright and then Daniel Nicholls on the basis of the censuses in which Maria claimed to have been born around 1832 in Wheathampstead, and her second marriage certificate which named her father as Joseph Hornet.
- ↑ General Register Office. The National Archives (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO) HO 107/1-1465 Census Returns: 1841 Census Schedules, HO 107/441, book 4, f 32, p 17, 6 Jun 1841, Primary quality.
Address: Cold Harbour, Harpenden, Hertfordshire
Francis Warner, male, 45 [1791-6], Ag Lab, b. Hertfordshire
Mary Warner, female, 35 [1801-6], Pl[aiter], b. Hertfordshire
Mary Warner jun., female, 15 [1821-6], Pl[aiter], b. Hertfordshire
Elizabeth Warner, female, 15 [1821-6], Pl[aiter], b. Hertfordshire
Susan Warner, female, 5 [1835/6], Pl[aiter], b. Hertfordshire
Sarah Warner, female, 3 [1837/8], b. Hertfordshire
William Hornet, male, 10 [1830/1], Pl[aiter], b. Hertfordshire
Maria Hornet, female, 9 [1831/2], Pl[aiter], b. Hertfordshire
- ↑ General Register Office. The National Archives (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO) HO 107/1466-2531 Census Returns: 1851 Census Schedules, HO 107/1713, f 73, p 10, 30 Mar 1851, Primary quality.
Address: Upper Top Street, Harpenden, Hertfordshire
Mary Warner, head, widow, female, 46 [1804/5], Pl[aiter], b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
Susan Warner, dau, unmarried, female, 16 [1834/5], Pl[aiter], b. Harpenden, Hertfordshire
William Hornet, son, unmarried, male, 21 [1829/30], Ag Lab, b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
Maria Hornet, daur, unmarried, female, 18 [1832/3], Pl[aiter], b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
William Innance?, lodger, married, male, 41 [1809/10], Carpenter, b. Harpenden, Hertfordshire
- ↑ General Register Office. The National Archives (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO) RG 9 General Register Office: 1861 Census Schedules, RG 9/827, f 47, p 18, 7 Apr 1861, Primary quality.
Address: Piggots Hill, Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
William Bates, head, married, male, 63 [1797/8], Farmer 450 acres employing 12 men, b. Offley, Hertfordshire
Jane Bates, wife, married, female, 56 [1804/5], Farmers wife, b. Flamstead, Hertfordshire
Charlotte Bates, daughter, unmarried, female, 25 [1835/6], Farmers daughter, b. Luton, Bedfordshire
Jane Bates, daughter, unmarried, female, 23 [1837/8], Farmers daughter, b. Pauls Walden, Hertfordshire
Edmund Bates, son, unmarried, male, 21 [1839/40], Farmer's son, b. Pauls Walden, Hertfordshire
George Bates, son, unmarried, male, 19 [1841/2], Farmer's son, b. Pauls Walden, Hertfordshire
John Bates, son, male, 13 [1847/8], Scholar, b. Pauls Walden, Hertfordshire
Maria Hornet, servant, unmarried, female, 28 [1832/3], House servant, b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
John Lodge, servant, widower, male, 60 [1800/1], Labourer, b. Willyan, Hertfordshire
Thomas Smith, servant, unmarried, male, 19 [1841/2], Labourer, b. Luton, Bedfordshire
Daniel Cain, servant, unmarried, male, 20 [1840/1], Labourer, b. Pauls Walden, Hertfordshire
- ↑ General Register Office. The National Archives (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO) RG 10 General Register Office: 1871 Census Schedules, RG 10/1376, f 36, p 34, 2 Apr 1871, Primary quality.
Address: The Folly, Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
Maria Wright, head, widow, female, 39 [1831/2], Straw plaitter, b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
Sophia Hornet, daughter, female, 9 [1861/2], Straw plaitter, b. St Albans, Hertfordshire
Frederic Wright, son, male, 6 [1864/5], Scholar, b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
Sarah Wright, daughter, female, 3 [1867/8], Scholar, b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
- ↑ General Register Office. Public Record Office (PRO) RG 11 General Register Office: 1881 Census Schedules. (The National Archives), RG 11/1429, f 48, p 7, 3 Apr 1881, Primary quality.
Address: Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
Daniel Nichols, head, married, male, 47 [1833/4], Farm labourer, b. Gustard Wood, Hertfordshire
Maria Nichols, wife, married, female, 48 [1832/3], Straw plaiter, b. Batford Mills, Hertfordshire
Frederick Nichols, son, unmarried, male, 19 [1861/2], Farm labourer, b. Nomansland, Hertfordshire
Mary Ann Nichols, daughter, unmarried, female, 17 [1863/4], Straw plaiter, b. Nomansland, Hertfordshire
Sarah Nichols, daughter, unmarried, female, 12 [1868/9], Scholar, b. Nomansland, Hertfordshire
Arthur Nichols, son, male, 9 [1871/2], Scholar, b. Nomansland, Hertfordshire
Clara Nichols, daughter, female, 8 [1872/3], Scholar, b. Nomansland, Hertfordshire
George Nichols, son, male, 6 [1874/5], Scholar, b. Nomansland, Hertfordshire
Sarah Wright, daughter, female, 13 [1867/8], Scholar (2nd family), b. Folly, Hertfordshire
- ↑ General Register Office. The National Archives (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO) RG 12 General Register Office: 1891 Census Schedules, RG 12/1114, f 47, p 15, 5 Apr 1891, Primary quality.
Address: Hamwell Cottage, Nomansland, Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
4 rooms occupied
Daniel Nicholls, head, married, male, 57 [1833/4], Agric[ultura]l Labourer, employed, b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
Maria Nicholls, wife, married, female, 58 [1832/3], b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
Charlotte Nicholls, daughter, single, female, 18 [1872/3], b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
George Nicholls, son, single, male, 16 [1874/5], Agric[ultura]l Labourer, b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
- ↑ General Register Office. The National Archives (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO) RG 13 General Register Office: 1901 Census Schedules, RG 13/1310, f 20, p 32, 31 Mar 1901, Primary quality.
Address: West Common, Harpenden, Hertfordshire
2 rooms occupied
Daniel Nichols, head, married, male, 70 [1830/1], General farm labourer, b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
Maria Nichols, wife, married, female, 69 [1831/2], b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
- ↑ Death Certificate, in General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration. (London: General Register Office), Primary quality.
1906 DEATH in the Sub-district of St Albans in the County Hertford
When and where died: Twenty fourth November 1906, The Infirmary, Union Workhouse, St Albans UD
Name: Maria Nicholls
Age: 74 years [1831/2]
Occupation: Widow of Daniel Nicholls, Farm Labourer, Wheathampstead Road Harpenden UD
Cause of death: Senile Decay, Morbus Cordis, Certified by J.P. Grosant Wells LRCP
Informant: George Nicholls, son, In attendance, Wheathampstead Road, Harpenden
Registered: Twenty Sixth November 1906
- ↑ The boundary has subsequently changed, transferring the mill to Harpenden
- ↑ Susan appears living with Francis and Mary in the 1841 census and is described as Mary's daughter in the 1851 census, but no plausible baptism has been found for her at either Harpenden or Wheathampstead.
- ↑ Upper Top Street Farm was on what is now called Crabtree Lane, on the site now occupied by Gilpin Green.
- ↑ The Vale of the Nightingale, Molly Andrews, 1996 - this book includes a description of the home the author's family lived in at Soapsud Alley, including reference to neighbours on either side, from which it is clear that the author's family must have moved into the cottage that Daniel and Maria were living in at the time of the 1901 census. The name Soapsud Alley has fallen out of use, but the buildings still stand - now known as Nos. 15-20 West Common.