Bentley Heath. Earl of Strafford

Colin Wilson

View of Bentley Heath with the almshouses in the centre. Postcard posted 1916.
Postcard by W A Bray. HALS ref MIS018 photo collection. Courtesy of Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies
Bentley Heath almshouse. Feb 2017
Colin Wilson
The emblem on the Bentley Heath almshouse. Feb 2017
Colin Wilson

It seems that George Byng, 2nd Earl Strafford, had some involvement in two almshouses. He purchased the site of the Brewers almshouse at Kitts End in 1856. The farm house built on the site still bears his emblem of a coronet above a letter S. In 1864 he built a block of 4 almshouses at Bentley Heath, which bear the same emblem. They were near the northern gates of his residence, Wrotham Park, and close to Trinity church. At the time Bentley Heath was in Middlesex, becoming part of Hertfordshire later.

George Byng, Earl of Strafford, is not to be confused with George Byng, Lord Aldenham, who built some almshouses at Elstree in 1844.

Born in 1806, George lived till the age of 80, dying in 1886. Following a military career he became involved in politics for the Whig party, rising to the level of Privy Counsellor. He succeeded to the title Earl of Strafford in 1860.

A 1975 article in Hertfordshire Countryside details improvements to properties owned by the Wrotham Park Estate Company. The almshouses are specifically mentioned, and a grant of £1000 per dwelling was obtained. The work involved a rear bedroom extension, structural repairs. plus wiring, plumbing and heating improvements. The frontages were retained.

The buildings still exist (as at 2020) and were granted listed building status in 1985 by Historic England.

A Barnet Press notes the death of Mary Price in 1908. She left an estate worth £932 6s 5d. This would equate to about £113,000 in 2020, about a third of the cost of a modest house in the area. While not wealthy, she was not at the poverty level.


20-26, Bentley Heath Lane, Barnet, Potters Bar
Georef: 524881 199618
Grid ref: 51o 40′ 54″N   0o 11′ 43″W
OS 25″ map Hertfordshire XL.16 pub 1898 shows the location. See building 790 at top left corner


Victorian Almshouses in Hertfordshire, by J A Vyse
A Building Conservation thesis for A A Building Conservation course 1982 – 4
A copy is held at HALS

Hertfordshire Countryside vol 30 No 190 Feb 1975 p10

DE/X1025/2/79/4. A postcard of Bentley Heath, showing the pond with the almshouses in the background. Date is about 1916.
MIS018 in the photograph collection.

Historic England (site accessed May 2020)

A Biography of George Byng can be found at (site accessed May 2020)

Barnet Press Saturday 16 May 1908 Page: 1 records the death of Mary Frances Price. It can be viewed on the British Newspaper Archive website at
The record can also be found on the website at
The information can also be found at (site accessed Jan 2020)

This page was added on 22/05/2020.

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