St Albans. Churchyard Cottages
Nestling at the eastern end of St Peter’s churchyard, at the end of Clifton Street, you can find Church Cottages, founded by Rev H N Dudding who died in 1895. He also founded almshouses in St Peter’s Road. They have scriptural inscriptions on the outside.
By 1941 decisions were needed as to the future of a number of almshouses in the St Albans area.. The Charity Commission said it was not their responsibility; they were the custodians, not the owners. While other properties could be put on the open market, it was suggested that Church Cottages be offered to the church for £100. An offer was made in July of that year, but it was stipulated that the residents should not be disturbed. Even so, they were sent a letter stating that the trustees could no longer be responsible for repairs as there was no money.
Property maintenance is always an issue, including on small properties. Applications for improvement grants were made in 1958. The floor timbers needed replacing. By 1964 a further grant was applied for. Detailed specifications of the works required are held at HALS. They almost read as if the properties were being rebuilt, with a new addition. Shares were sold in July 1965 to raise money for refurbishment of these and St Peter’s Road. The works were completed by 1966. It was expected the refurbishment would last at least 15 years, but work to reduce damp was needed by 1971. This work was not done properly.
There was some discussion about converting the two cottages to make one dwelling for a married couple. Part of this was that some expenses could be reduced if the husband could look after the garden. Eventually it was decided to keep two separate dwellings, for two tenants who would be friendly neighbours. Planned improvements were ventilators, roof overhaul, damp control, a fence and a bulkhead light. There was an ongoing issue with overhanging trees which could not be resolved.
Nowadays the almshouses are administered by the United Almshouse Charities, who also administer the almshouses in St Peter’s Road.
The name of these almshouses varies. Sometimes they are called Churchyard Cottages, sometimes Church Cottages. At one point the Council had to ask for clarification as they thought they were St Peter’s Cottages.
1 and 2 Church Cottages, Clifton Street, St Albans
Georef: 515176 207561
Grid ref: 51o 48′ 18″N 0o 19′ 58″W
OS 25″ map Hertfordshire XXXIV.8 pub 1898
The Victoria County History of the County of Hertford, ed William Page
Issued Archibald Constable & Co. 1908. Reprint by Dawsons of Pall Mall 1971 ISBN 0 7129 0476 X
This publication is available online at http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/herts/vol2/pp412-424
Documents held at HALS
DP/93/25/26 1964 – 1971 Includes Charity Commission schemes and orders
D/P93/25/28 St Peter’s Church Charities minute books 1939 – 1972
DP/93/25/29 (Mar 1973 – Nov 1974) St Peter’s Almshouses: Trustees minutes
SBR/4508/786 (1964 – 1966)
Records of the Borough of St Albans (1353 – 1991)
Housing: Improvement Grants
File E/3/7/786: Almshouses 1,3,5,7 St Peters Road …
Websites accessed Oct 2022
Herts Advertiser 09 February 1895 page 5 col 6 Obituary for H N Dudding. Can be viewed on the British Newspaper Archive website