Pirton. Pollard Cottages

Colin Wilson

Pollard Cottages, Pirton. Apr 2022
Colin Wilson
The datestone on Pollard Cottages. Apr 2022
Colin Wilson
OS 25" map VI.12 1924, showing the almshouses to the north west of the church
Courtesy of Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies

Palacia Fenn Pollard died in 1913 aged 84, leaving an estate of nearly £14,300. The 1881 census records her as a farmer’s wife, while the 1911 census says she was born in Finchley, North London and was a widow aged 82 who lived at High Down. Victoria County History, pub 1912, reports that High Down (the local manor house dating back to about 1599) was owned by Mr. F. A. Delmé Radcliffe, and occupied by Mrs. Pollard. The 1913 references on the Find a Grave website and a kneeler in the church would seem to refer to her.

Mother and daughter sharing the same unusual name did cause some confusion, especially as they died within a couple of years of each other. Her daughter married Rev H W Russell, and the 1881 census records her a visiting Pirton under the name of Palacia Russell. Her mother is named as Palacia F Pollard. Her gravestone indicates she lived in Kent, at least for a while. She died at High Down in 1911 aged 52. There is a memorial plate on the lectern step in St Mary’s church. The Civil Register Death Index records her as Palacia Russell.

Two almshouses were erected opposite the church in 1914, probaly in memory of the mother. They are still in operation over a century later. However in all that time they scarcely appear in the usual historical records, while the nearby Hammond / Handscome almshouses are mentioned.

The Pollard Cottages are registered with the Charity Commission, ref 211545. They are described as almshouses for poor persons of good character, preference being given to those who are resident in or near the parish of Pirton at the time of appointment. The governing documents are a conveyance and trust deed dated 09 February 1932 and a scheme of the 30 August 1967.

These almshouses are not included in a 2016 Almshouse Assocation list for Hertfordshire. The Hitchin United Charities are the main reporting body, but Pollard Cottages are not a linked charity. However, the 2020 accounts show that they are owned by Hitchin United Charities.

A couple of views linked with the almshouses are on the Pirton history website. One refers to Clara Harris nee Carter (1879) & her daughter Grace outside Pollard Cottage circa 1920s. The other shows Grace Ellen Harris sitting outside the cottage where Elizabeth Carter and her husband Samuel Webb, lived. This is dated about 1923.


Crabtree Lane, Pirton
Georef:     514624 231698
Gridref:     51o 58′ 20″N  0o 19′ 59″W

OS map Hertfordshire VI.12 (Holwell; Pirton; Shillington) Revised: 1897 Published: 1898 shows the area but predates the almshouses. See plot 132. This map can be viewed on-line at https://maps.nls.uk/view/104199139
OS map Bedfordshire XXVI.12 (Holwell; Pirton; Shillington) Surveyed: 1922 Published: 1924 annotates the almshouse. This map can be viewed on-line at https://maps.nls.uk/view/114483159


A Foot in Three Daisies. Pirton’s Story, by Pirton Local History Group 1987. ISBN 0-9512103-0-0
P26. Pollard’s almshouses were named after Palacia Pollard of Highdown

The Victoria County History of the County of Hertford ed. William Page
Vol 3 p46
Issued Archibald Constable & Co 1912. Reprint by Dawsons of Pall Mall 1971 (ISBN 0 7129 0477 8)
Available online at https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/herts/vol3/pp44-51

Monumental Inscriptions Pirton, pub Hertford Family and Population Society 1990 compiled by Jean Laidlaw
C11 is on the lectern step. Palacia Pollard was the widow of Revd H W Russell and daughter of J Pollard. Died 12 Feb 1911

http://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details/?regid=211545&subid=0 links to Pollard Cottages site

https://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details/?regid=236308&subid=0 links to the Hitchin United Charities site

https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=60526&h=2034649&tid=&pid=&queryId=870f7994921a69f26da543ccdebd4d41&usePUB=true&_phsrc=AYK26&_phstart=successSource gives date of Jan 1913

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/137191938 cites the grave, dated 1913, is in the churchyard

Probate record https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageviewer/collections/1904/images/31874_222409-00427treeid=&personid=&rc=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=AYK27&_phstart=successSource&pId=4126058. She left about £14292. 2s 5d. Died Jan 1913

This page was added on 22/08/2020.

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