St Albans. Cock lane

Colin Wilson

You won’t find Cock Lane on a modern St Albans map; it’s now known as Hatfield Road. Clutterbuck’s history published in 1827 describes ‘four tenements in Cock-lane aforesaid, near St Peter’s-street, within this Parish, wherein poor families are permitted to dwell rent free. Three other houses in Cock-lane aforesaid, adjoining to the last mentioned, forming six dwellings’ [were erected by John Masterman]. Buckler produced a drawing of Masterman’s almshouse. Maybe the building just showing next to it is the one referred to by Clutterbuck. Note that Clutterbuck mentions both Masterman and Cock Lane.

Victoria County History records, ‘The parish formerly possessed six poor houses in Cock Lane near St. Peter’s Street occupied rent free by six poor families. These houses were sold by the Guardians of St. Albans Union in 1836 under order of the Poor Law Commissioners and the proceeds applied towards the cost of the Union Workhouse’.

Note the reference to 6 houses. Cock Lane was only 4. There are a few options. Maybe the Commissioners sold Masterman’s, but there may be a reference to Masterman’s later, in 1850. The number of dwellings sold could be incorrect. VCH does not mention Masterman or Skipwith. There is just the possibility that an extra set of almshouses existed.

Hodgkinson’s almshouses were nearby and his original provision was increased. The extension was probably to the rear, going from St Peter’s Street parallel with the north side of Catherine Lane, as that was where his Charity’s land was.

Unfortunately it has not been possible to access the Board of Guardians minutes from 1836. Cussans died before he could write up the St Albans section of his history. To sum up, there are a number of loose ends.

References

The History & Antiquities of the County of Hertford, by Robert Clutterbuck
vol 1 Cashio p123
Printed by and for John Bowyer Nichols, 25 Parliament Street, London 1827

The Victoria County History of the County of Hertford, ed William Page
Vol 2 page 422
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

This page was added on 31/08/2022.

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