Ridge. Jean Trotter

Colin Wilson

Jean Trotter's almhouses, now known as Orchard Mead. 2016
Colin Wilson
The dedication stone on the front gable. 2016
Colin Wilson
Sketch map showing the location of the almshouses

Gilbert Scott later designed or restored about 850 buildings, including the Midland Hotel at St Pancras station, the chapel of Exeter College, Oxford, the Albert Memorial and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Whitehall. His partner at the time these almshouses were designed was W B Moffatt. Nice pedigree.

The Historic England site mentions that there were originally 5 almshouses. The dedication stone reads, ‘1844 These almshouses were erected in accordance with the wish of Miss Jean Trotter of Dyrham Park’.

There do not seem to be any textual references to Jean Trotter’s almshouses in Victoria County History, but they are shown on a map. Maybe the relevant phrase is ‘there are no endowed’, indicating the upkeep was privately financed or that that the building was given with the wish that others would later provide for it.

Jean Trotter

Jean Trotter, the daughter of John and Felicity Trotter, was born in Soho Square, in the parish of St Anne, Westminster on 10th November 1804. While she was baptised on the same day, the birth was not registered until 4 years later. She never married. She lived at Connaught Place West, in Middlesex, and died aged just 38 on 29th August 1843 in Florence, where she is buried in the Cimitero Accatolico.

Her will dated 29th July 1843 and proved 29th December the same year includes the clause, ‘I give and bequeath ….. £500 to my brother John Trotter to be applied by him towards the erection of almshouses and for the benefit of the poor in the neighbourhood of Dyrham Park’. This document also lists many of her family connections.

Dyrham Park

According to F Cass, Dyrham Park was bought in 1798 by John Trotter, who was succeeded by Captain John Trotter, who died in1870. The manor was eventually held by four generations of Trotters, until it was sold to the Middlesex and Hertfordshire county councils in 1938 (which may link with the purchase date of the almshouses just after the War).

Later History

A conversation with the owner in October 2016 revealed that the almshouses were in such a poor state by the end of World War II that they were little more than hovels. There was an earth closet at the forge next door, but no gas, electricity or sewage.

The property was bought from Middlesex County Council soon after the end of WWII for £1000. The additions at each end were added at that time. The property is now in private hands and is named Orchard Mead.

It was listed as grade II by Historic England in 1985, with a reference of 1103540.


Address:         Cross Oaks Lane, Ridge, Potters Bar EN6 3LL
Georef:           521399 200334
Grid ref:         51o 41′ 20″N  0o 14′ 00″W

The almshouses are shown on the 1895 OS map Mddx 1.SW, published 1898. A copy can be viewed at http://maps.nls.uk/view/101454736


South Mimms, by Frederick Charles Cass (rector of Monken Hadley)
Page 35
Pub Westminster, printed by Nichols and Sons, 25 Parliament Street 1877
A copy is held at HALS.

The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire by N Pevsner
(rev B Cherry), pub. Penguin Books 1977 ISBN 0 14 071007 8, 1977

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.

A collection of watercolours painted by John Norman 1980 – 2007 is held at HALS ref DE/X1009/1/1. It includes the Almshouses, Old Guinea Inn and Tyttenhanger House, Ridge (includes notes on the parish and village, completed in a calligraphic style).

Websites accessed June 2018

Websites accessed June 2018

‘Sheet 040’, in Map of Hertfordshire (Southampton, 1873-1885), British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/os-1-to-10560/hertfordshire/040 shows the map in Victoria County History.

A P Baggs, Diane K Bolton, Eileen P Scarff and G C Tyack, ‘South Mimms: Other estates’, in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham, ed. T F T Baker and R B Pugh (London, 1976), pp. 285-290. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol5/pp285-290 notes the sale of Dyrham Park as recorded in Victoria County History.

The link for Historic England is https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1103540

Jean Trotter’s birth record can be accessed at https://www.ancestry.co.uk/interactive/2972/40612_B0147119-00242?pid=1706186&treeid=&personid=&rc=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=lZp140&_phstart=successSource.

Jean Trotter’s will can be accessed at https://www.ancestry.co.uk/interactive/5111/40611_309659-00672?pid=391523&backurl=https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D5111%26h%3D391523%26tid%3D%26pid%3D%26usePUB%3Dtrue%26_phsrc%3DlZp138%26_phstart%3DsuccessSource&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=lZp138&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true#?imageId=40611_309659-00672

Jean Trotter’s  burial record can be found at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/160824659

http://www.workhouses.org.uk/buildings/Scott.shtml provides further information about Scott and Moffatt

This page was added on 04/07/2018.

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  • Ephraim Ambler and his wife Rebecca Goodman are recorded as living in the Ridge almshouse in the 1891 censuses.
    They were my great uncle’s wife’s grandparents.

    By Rosemary Wilson (30/10/2018)