Essendon, Hertfordshire

My Ancestors at Essendon Place


As a girl, Beatrix Potter used to visit her grandparents at Camfield Place, often staying there over the summer. It was at an estate adjoining Essendon Place, in the parish of Essendon, Hertfordshire, England, where earlier in the century my ancestors, Sarah Lawman King and her daughter, Mary Ann King Frost, worked as laundresses. Mary Ann’s husband, William was employed there as a bootman (a shoe and boot maker).

In the last century Camfield Place was the home of Dame Barbara Cartland, writer of numerous Harlequin novels and godmother of Princess Diana. The parish church in Essendon was damaged during WW I by a bomb dropped from a German zeppelin.

My connection with Essendon is as follows. (clicking on person's names or 'here' will take you to my genealogical site, The Barber Family.)

Mary Ann King (daughter of Abraham King and Sarah (nee Lawman) King) was christened 16 October, 1814 at Essendon, Hertfordshire. Apparently, she was engaged or had planned to marry a local 'labourer' - William Webb, supposedly of an extensive land-owning family of Essendon, Hertfordshire - but he was killed in a 'tragic accident' of some kind, in August of 1833. Mary Ann King was already pregnant and gave birth to their son, William (Webb-King) in Essendon, on 5th of January, 1834. (William Webb was christened 1 December, 1811, at Essendon. He was the son of James and Catherine Webb.)

Mary Ann King married William Frost (c. 30 May, 1819) of Much Hadham, Herts in 1848, at Essendon. Again, she took in work as a laundress, with her mother Sarah (Lawman) King. In the 1851 Census, she was living at 'Laundry Cottage,' Essendon. Their children were born in Essendon: William Henry, Frederick, Mary Anne, and Charles.

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