The History of Preston, near Hitchin

A website

By Philip Wray

Preston Village

The village of Preston has a comprehensive website which explains its history using censuses, the parish records (baptisms, marriages and burials) of Hitchin, Ippollitts and Kings Walden and the manorial records of Maidencroft, Temple Dinsley and Missenden.

It includes scores of historical news stories, dozens of maps, hundreds of photographs of people and places, family trees and pages about its notable inhabitants farms, church and chapel, school, Temple Dinsley and Minsden Chapel.

There is a listing of family interests of people researching villagers and a contact page.

This page was added on 06/03/2010.

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  • On 11 July 2015 an A5 booklet “St Martin’s Church, Preston in Hertfordshire” was released. The following is a review by Chris Reynolds (webmaster of Genealogy in Hertfordshire):

    “This is another excellent book by Philip Wray, describing the history of this little church which was consecrated in 1900. The book starts of with a history of religious worship at Preston, including the former chapel at Minden (now in ruins) and non-conformist activity, including the Bunyan Chapel. It goes into more detail on the building of the church, its furnishing, and stained glass windows – all illustrated in colour. In recent years parishes have merged and from 2016 it will be part of the Hitchin team of churches. The book includes the early baptisms, marriages from 1909 to 2014, a list of burials together with a of the churchyard. It fact it is one of the best church guide books I have ever seen – and hopefully other churches will be upgrading this guide books to this standard.”

    A copy of the booklet may be obtained for £5.00 (+p&p) by emailing Philip Wray at

    By Philip Wray (16/10/2015)
  • On 18 February 2015 a new book, “A History of Preston in Hertfordshire” was published.

    The publication is educational, informative and non-commercial. It is divided into three sections: firstly, the history of the village including the Knights Templar at Temple Dinsley; the ruined Minsden Chapel; Bunyan’s Dell; discovering the lost hamlet of Welei; Preston Church and School and the architecture of Sir Edwin Lutyens in the village. Secondly, the historic cottages of Preston are pictured and described. Finally, selected events and people of the village are described such as men from Preston who fought in The Great War and how the village was affected by WW2.

    This is a typical reaction to the book: “An excellent production.  I found it very moving to read. Captures the spirit of Preston and its inhabitants through the ages.”

    For copies of this local history book, which is available for a contribution of around £12 (plus p&p), please e-mail

    By Philip Wray (26/03/2015)