Watford. Countess of Essex

Colin Wilson

OS 25" map Hertfordshire XLIV.2 pub 1940
Courtesy of Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

The marble steps in the sacrarium of St Mary’s Watford, bearing the words  ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’, are in memory of Rt. Hon. Louisa Carolina Elizabeth Countess of Essex. A plate near the steps say they are in remembrance of her loving care for the adornment of God’s House and tender regard for the welfare of all around her. The second wife of Arthur Capell, 6th Earl of Essex, she died in May 1876, just 42 years old.

A pair of attractive semi-detached almshouses were built in her memory at the entrance to the family estate, Cassiobury Park. They were single storey, with high-pitched gable fronts. At the time Rickmansworth Road was a country lane, not the main road it is now. There were railings in front of the cottages. A request was made to the Water Board in 1876, soon after the almshouses had been erected, to provide a supply. It would cost about £40 if Lord Essex would lay a pipe from the existing main.

A 1905 Council meeting discussed the removal of the posts and railings. 1909 there were suggestions about tarring the road and planting trees by the side. Entry to the Park would benefit from the removal of the almshouse railings. The Peace Hospital and the Town Hall were built later, in 1917 and 1939 respectively.

The buildings no longer exist. They are shown on maps until at least 1953. A presumption would be they were demolished when the main road was built. The site is now under a slip road at a very busy junction, certainly not the sort of place to try and take a photograph.


Rickmansworth Road, Watford
Georef:      510428 196680
Grid ref:    51o 39′ 30″N   0o 24′ 18″W
OS 25” map Hertfordshire XLIV.2 1914


Watford. A Pictorial Record
Page 29
Pub Festival of Britain Committee of the Borough of Watford 1951

The Book of Watford, by J B Nunn
Page 107
2nd ed 2003  ISBN 0 9536918 1 0

Newspapers can be accessed on the British Newspaper Archive website

Watford Observer 10 June 1876 page 4 col 4 Water supply

Herts Advertiser 03 February 1877 page 6, 7 Mentions two almshouses built in memory of the late Countess, in a plantation by The Elms

Herts Advertiser 18 March 1905 page 7 col 4 discussion about removing the railings

Watford Observer 09 October 1909 page 3 col 2 discussion about removing the railings



This page was added on 17/10/2022.

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