Standon. Hadham Road
Leaving Standon on the Hadham Road you pass an attractive pair of buildings, with white weatherboarding on brick bases. They are the almshouses.
Erected in the 18th century, they may have originally been the weaving sheds linked to the workhouse, which housed up to 70 souls. The 1834 Poor Laws centralised workhouse provision, the inhabitants going to Ware. At some time after this the buildings were repurposed for use as almshouses. As happened in other places, the privies were regarded as defective by 1881.
1897 was Victoria’s diamond jubilee. Proposals were put forward in celebration. They included plans to replace or improve the almshouses. In the end they were entirely renovated inside and out, only the thatched roof being left. It was reported that they presented a particularly pleasing aspect to the village entrance, and the aged folk were comfortably housed. The houses were well lighted, ventilated and cheerful. The work was carried out by Mr C Whitaker, and most of the cost was borne by a gentleman in the village. Further repairs were needed in 1902, financed from the Coronation Fund.
Thatched roofs have a finite lifespan, so replacement was needed by 1906. Local farmers provided the straw, local gentlemen provided the finance, and an expert thatcher was employed. This was for the present group lower down the hill. The original ten residences, were later reduced to five by combining residences. They have tiled roofs and chimneys which look too tall. The explanation is that the thick thatch required taller chimneys.
These buildings (now 1 – 5) were grade II listed by Historic England in 1967, ref 1308085.
At a later date a further block of almshouses was built just up the hill. They look very similar, but have lower chimneys as they had tiled roofs from the start.
The Charities and Beneficiaries
The buildings are now owned and managed by the Barclay’s and Standon United Charities. They have other properties at Puckeridge and Wadesmill. These are available to men or women of any age who are in housing need and resident in the area of the existing parish of Standon or Thundridge Parish (north of the River Rib). Applicants are accepted as ‘of limited means’ if their only form of income is state benefits or they have limited income. Cats and dogs are allowed. Doubtless they are a boon to some of the residents.
The Charity is registered with the Charity Commission ref 209195. Its objects cover more than almshouse provision. Of the linked charities, only John de Standon is specifically for almshouse provision. His charity dates back to 1658, originally being for general and educational needs. Its current purpose is almshouses for the residence of almspeople who shall be poor persons of good character who are in conditions of need, hardship and distress.
A few appointments have been reported in the newspapers consulted, but no anecdotes. Please refer to the newspaper list at the end of this article.
Hadham Road, Standon
Georef: 539693 222173
Grid Ref: 51o 52′ 51″N 0o 01′ 42″E
OS 25” map Hertfordshire XXII.6 1897
The Victoria County History of the County of Hertford, ed William Page
Vol 3 p366
Issued Archibald Constable & Co.1912 Reprint by Dawsons of Pall Mall 1971 ISBN 0 7129 0477 8
This publication is available online at http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/herts/vol3/pp347-366
Standon Hertfordshire by Rose Wetherall
Orig. pub. 1893 reprint 1988.
Profits to St Mary’s Church Standon
1-5 Almshouses, Hadham Road, Standon
Historic England publication ref BF112393 Aug 2006 (not consulted for this article)
Websites accessed Jun 2022
Historic England https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1308085
Newspapers. These can be accessed on the British Newspaper Archive website
Hertford Mercury and Reformer 31 December 1881 page 4 col 4 defective privies
Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow 21 May 1897 page 8 col 6 Jubilee almshouse proposal
Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow 01 April 1898 page 8 col 4 Restoration of almshouses.
Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow 02 September 1898 page 8. Mrs. Gault to enter the vacant almshouse.
Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow 16 May 1902 page 8 col 3 A vacant almshouse was assigned to Mrs. H. Martin, and another was practically without a tenant..
Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow19 September 1902 page 8 col 3. the balance should be expended in repairing the almshouses.
Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow 07 November 1902 page 5 The vacant almshouse was assigned to Mrs. Salmon, from Puckeridge. The meeting consented to receive the balance of £6 12s 5d. from the Coronation Fund offered by the Coronation Committee for the repair of the almshouses, and the clerk undertook to see the necessary repairs were carried out.
Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow 25 March 1904 page 5 col 7. Meeting to consider the balsam thesis of the Standon Charity Trustees and Wadesmill Almshouse Fund.
Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow 30 September 1904 page 8 col 2. It was decided not to take any further steps with regard to selling some of the Charity land for building purposes. Three almshouses were vacant and applications for their reoccupation were received from three widows, Mrs. Phillips, Mrs. Manning and Mrs Thurgood.
Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow 30 March 1906 page 6 Application granted from Mrs. Ilurren, of the Buffalo’s Head, for one of the almshouses.
Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow 11 May 1906 page 5 col 6. The vacant almshouse should be offered to Mrs. Woodcock, a deserving widow residing at Colliers End.
Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow 09 November 1906 page 8 col 4. The almshouses were insured for £5OO.
Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow 23 November 1906 page 8 col 3. Rethatching the almshouse