Stanstead Abbotts. Wilberforce

Colin Wilson

Wilberforce Cottages, Stanstead Abbotts. Aug 2016
Colin Wilson
The datestone on the centre gable of Wilberforce Cottages, Stanstead Abbotts. Aug 2016
Colin Wilson

Thomas Buxton was a partner in Truman, Hanbury & Buxton of Spitalfields, one of the largest breweries in the country. His residence was at Easneye, near Stanstead Abbotts. Thomas did a great deal of good in the village. On his death in 1908, at the age of 86, his son John Henry moved to Easneye from his home at Hunsdon Bury.  John may have continued his father’s philanthropy but details are scarce. But his wife Emma (Minnie) did much for the village until she died in 1924. Her great grandmother was Elizabeth Fry. John outlived her by 10 years, dying in 1934. The year before he died he ordered the building of the four Wilberforce Cottages at the bottom of the main drive, for retired workers from the Easneye estate. They do have something of the appearance of the traditional almshouse, complete with datestone.

Whether or not these cottages can be designated as almshouses is a moot point, the very definition of an almshouse being rather fluid. For example Louisa Cottages in Tring were built for retired estate workers. While Louisa Cottages are affiliated to the Almshouse Association, Wilberforce Cottages are not. When I visited in August 2016 I learnt that one of the cottages was inhabited by a retired worker. The others were let out, often on short term lets. A friend who lives in the village said she thought they were almshouses. On this basis I would rather record them so readers can make their own decision and they would not be forgotten.

For those who like irrelevant trivia, Easneye was the location for the first of the well-l=oved St Trinians films. The Buxton family still owns Easneye (though it has been used as a children’s nursery and a theological college) and the family does take an interest in the local community.


Cappell Lane, Stanstead Abbotts
Georef:    538346 212613
Grid ref:  51o 47′ 43″N   0o 00′ 17″E
OS 25″ map Hertfordshire XXX.13 pub 1947


Truman, Hanbury & Buxton & Co. Ltd – Brewery History Society Wiki

This page was added on 24/12/2023.

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