St Albans. St Michael's

Colin Wilson

Harriot Grimston married Major Poore at St Albans Abbey in March 1885.  The Grimston family was prominent in the area. The head was entitled the Earl of Verulam and the family seat was at Gorhambury House. Harriot was the 3rd Earl’s eldest daughter. The newspaper article noted that Harriot had made herself popular by many benevolent acts in the area, particularly in St Michael’s.

The wedding procession passed St Michael’s almshouses on its way from the Abbey to Gorhambury. Like many other properties they were decorated in celebration. The almshouses had a banner suspended, having on one side the words, ‘Health and Happiness’, and on the other, ‘Prosperity’.

That passing reference in a newspaper article is unfortunately the only information which has so far come to light. The OS maps of the time do not annotate any buildings in the area as almshouses. The nearest idea is that the procession passed the Rose and Crown, a pub dating back to 1538. The almshouses were mentioned after the pub;  the route subsequently turns right along St Michael’s Street and Gorhambury Drive.

Sadly the wishes on the banners did not materialise. Harriot died at Eastney in August 1888 aged just 43. Her death notice was printed in Hertfordshire Almanac Jan 1889 p 157. Death and funeral notices published in Herts Advertiser mention her good works, including at St Michael’s, but do not specifically mention the almshouses.


See OS 25″ maps XXXI4.7 and XXXIV.11 1879 and 1892
Georef for the Rose and Crown is 513751 207422


Herts Advertiser, Saturday 28 March 1885 Page: 6 col 3.
This article can be viewed on-line at (site accessed Feb 2020)

Herts Advertiser Saturday 18 August 1888 col3.
This article can be viewed on-line at (site accessed Feb 2020)

Herts Advertiser Saturday 25 August 1888 col 4
This site can be viewed on-line at (site accessed Feb 2020)

Hertfordshire Almanac Jan 1889 p 157.

This page was added on 19/02/2020.

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