Frogmore. Francis Wigg
Frogmore House in this article is not the royal property at Windsor, nor the listed building in High Street Watford (NHLE ref 1175515). Just to confuse the issue, Frogmore Hall in Aston (near Stevenage) is recorded by Historic England as Francis Wigg’s house (ref 1101435).
Frogmore House, Frogmore
The 1883 OS map Herts XXXIX (surveyed 1871-2) shows the location of Frogmore House at 51o 43′ 09″ N0o 20′ 11″ W on the west side of Frogmore.
The St Albans Conservation Area Character Statement for Park Street and Frogmore of 2001 refers to a Frogmore House as statutorily listed. Part of the estate is now a mobile home park. It adds that most of the buildings have existed in the same form, with alterations to doors and windows. The Historic England reference is 1347114, but Francis Wigg is not mentioned.
Francis Wigg, an architect based in the Paddington area of London, owned and refronted Frogmore House. Francis died in 1868 aged 78; his wife died in 1872. There is a memorial window to them in Holy Trinity Church, Frogmore.
Apart from the almshouses, Francis Wigg was a patron of the Chapel of Ease (Holy Trinity Church, built 1842; it became a parish in 1859) and took over 2 buildings in 1831 to convert into a National School and school house (although they were demolished by the Midland Railway in 1866).
The 3 almshouses, Nos 14 – 18, were built in 1842, as shown by the date stone on the building. The 1883 OS map shows them to the south of Frogmore House. They are listed buildings locally but not nationally. For some reason they are numbered in reverse order, like a block.
The almshouses also go by the name of Frogmore Old Almshouses, following the building of almshouses next door by two of his children (known as Children of Francis Wigg or Frogmore New Almshouses).
The dedication stone reads, ‘These almshouses were erected and endowed by Francis Wigg. of Frogmore in this parish. A.D. 1842’.
The three inmates were to be poor men or women, inhabitants of the parish for at least ten years and in the habit of frequenting the parish church. Was this St Stephen’s, about 3 miles away in St Albans, or the newly-built Holy Trinity, which was a chapel of ease at that time? A married couple could be admitted as a single inmate of the age of sixty-five and upwards. Inmates would receive £11 a year and one ton of good coal.
Victoria County History notes that in 1852 Wigg transferred £1,500 reduced £3 per cent. stock into the names of trustees as an endowment for the three almshouses. The vicar of St. Stephen’s for the time was always to be a trustee. The endowment fund (in about 1906) amounted to £2,095 1s. 9d. consols, the original endowment having been augmented by a gift in 1855 of £50 by the executors of the late Isabella Young, also by the investment from time to time of surplus income, and of a gift in 1898 of £500 by Mr. Carr Wigg.
Francis Wigg’s Foundation was registered with the Charity Commission (ref 310993) in 1965 and removed in 1998. By then the funds had all been spent. The site refers to support for the Sunday School, and does not mention the almshouses.
However, there is the Frogmore Old Almshouses Fund, Charity Commission ref 251353, which makes grants. The contact details are linked with Holy Trinity church.
J A Vyse (1984) mentions on page 16 that by then the building was no longer an almshouse, and was called Wigg Cottage.
When visited in Dec 2016 the property was advertised for sale. The vendors kindly gave permission to photograph the rear of the property, where the stone referring to the pump was discovered on the wall. The 1872 OS map shows wells just a little to the north and to the south of the almshouses. Nonetheless a pump was provided for the sole use of the almspeople. It may be that the pump was provided later as the stone refers to both sets of almshouses, and those next door (built by Wigg’s children) were not built until 1890. The stone is also built into that wall.
Victorian Almshouses in Hertfordshire, by J A Vyse
A Building Conservation thesis for A A Building Conservation course 1982 – 4
Copy held at HALS.
The Victoria County History of the County of Hertford (4 vols) Ed William Page
Issued Archibald Constable & Co
Vol 2 pp 431-2. Pub 1908. Reprint by Dawsons of Pall Mall 1971 ISBN 0 7129 0476 X This is part of Victoria County History of the Counties of England. Ed H Arthur Doubleday. This publication been digitised by British History Online (BHO) and is available online at http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/herts/vol2/pp424-432
Websites accessed June 2018
https://maps.nls.uk/view/102343358# is Hertfordshire XXXIX, surveyed 1871-2.
https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1101435 is Frogmore Hall, Aston
https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1175515 is Frogmore House, Watford
https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1347114 is Frogmore House, Frogmore
http://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details/?regid=251353&subid=0 is the Frogmore Old Almshouses Fund