"Watford is a market town and parish (including the hamlets of Cashio, Levesdon and Oxhey), in the hundred of Cashio, or liberty of St. Albans - 15 miles N.W. from London, 20 W.S.W from Hertford, about 7 S.S.W. from St. Albans, and 3 E. by N. from Rickmansworth; "

[From Royal National and Commercial Directory and Topography of Herts, Pigot & Co., London, 1839]



"In 1831 the parish of Watford contained 5,293 inhabitants, of which number the 'town hamlets' reckoned 2,960."

[From Royal National and Commercial Directory and Topography of Herts, Pigot & Co., London, 1839]


Church History

"The parish church stands nearly in the centre of the town; it is a large stone edifice, having two chapels annexed, and a lofty square tower at its western end, surmounted by an hexagonal spire; the church is dedicated to St. Mary.

"The burial-place of the Essex family is situated upon the left side of the chancel. Amongst the monuments there are two that, from the excellence of their workmanship, attract particular attention: the first of these is to the memory of Sir Charles Morison, Knt.; the other to that of his son, Sir Charles Morison, Bart., and his lady; the latter is placed against the north wall, and both are beautiful specimens of the sculptural skills of Nicholas Stone. Other monuments, to the Clarendon and Bucknall families, embellish this church, and merit the inspection of those who are gratified by 'contemplation among the tombs.'

"The living is a vicarage, enjoyed by the Hon. and Rev. William Capel. There are places of worship for baptists, Wesleyan methodists, and for a congregation of Lady Huntington's connexion."

[From Royal National and Commercial Directory and Topography of Herts, Pigot & Co., London, 1839]

There is a picture (32 kbytes) of the parish church of St. Mary, Watford; supplied by Paul R. Joiner.


Church Records

The Parish Registers for the Parish church of St. Mary for the periods:-

  • Baptisms - 1539-1984
  • Marriages - 1539-1994
  • Burials - 1539-1892
  • Bishop's Transcripts - 1570-1855

are deposited at Hertfordshire Record Office, County Hall, Hertford, SG13 8DE. [D/P117]

Entries from the Marriage Registers for the period 1539-1837 are included in The Allen Index at Hertfordshire Record Office.

The period 1539-1812 is covered by the IGI.

Transcripts of the parish registers for the period 1539-1880 are deposited at the Society of Genealogists, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, LONDON, EC1M 7BA.

The following records for churches in the ancient parish of Watford are also available at Hertfordshire Record Office, County Hall, Hertford, SG13 8DE.:-

  • St. Andrew [D/P117A]
    • Baptisms - 1857-1962
    • Marriages - 1858-1967
  • St. Michael [D/P117C]
    • Baptisms - 1905-1982
    • Marriages - 1913-1991
    • Burials - 1916-1917
  • Christ Church [D/P117D]
    • Baptisms - 1896-1961
    • Marriages 1909-1975
  • St. Mark [D/P117D]
    • Baptisms - 1931-1952
  • St. George [D/P117D]
    • Baptisms 1904-1931
  • St. James [D/P117E]
    • Baptisms - 1909-1972
    • Marriages - 1913-1971
  • St. John [D/P117K]
    • Burials - 1904-1962
  • St. Peter [D/P117H]
    • Baptisms - 1936-1988
    • Marriages - 1944-1978
  • Leavesden [D/P117G]
    • Baptisms - 1853-1975
    • Marriages - 1854-1987
    • Burials - 1853-1921
    • Bishop's Transcripts - 1854-1887
  • Oxhey, St. Matthew [D/P117F]
    • Baptisms - 1880-1963
    • Marriages - 1881-1977
  • Oxhey, All Saints [D/P117J]
    • Baptisms - 1950-1982
    • Marriages - 1954-1986

Description & Travel

"pleasantly situated on a gently rising eminence upon the river Colne, over which there is a viaduct for the London and Birmingham railway, which important line passes the town; and about a mile from it is a station, where a large hotel has lately been erected for the accommodation of passengers waiting for the trains.

"The Grand Junction canal passes about a mile to the west of the town, by the latter the transmission of its products and the introduction of those of other places is effected, and a water communications maintained with the metropolis and the northern counties.

"Watford consists of one main street, nearly a mile and a half in length, well lighted with gas from works established in 1834. The manufactures comprise silk, straw plat and paper; the malting business is extensive, and there are some corn-mills of great power and one for the manufacture of oil cake.

"In 1760 the lordship of this manor was vested in the family of Baron Ellesmere, who sold it to the Earl of Essex, whose family still possess it; the present earl is also patron of the living and lay impropriator of the great tithes. A court of request, for the recovery of small debts, is held in the court-house every alternate Tuesday, and the magistrates sit on the same days.

"The charities comprise two endowed schools (founded by Mrs. Fuller in 1701), in which forty boys and twenty girls are educated and partly clothed; two sets of alms-houses - one for four poor women, the other for eight; and an apprenticeship fund. A large union poor house, capable of accommodating two hundred and fifty inmates, has recently been erected under the present poor law act.

"There are many handsome seats and mansions in the vicinity - Cashiobury, the seat of the Countess of Essex; the Grove, Lord Clarendon; Nascot House, Geo. Ricketts, Esq.; and Watford Place, Jonathan King, Esq., are generally admired.

"The chartered market, which is well attended, is held on Tuesday; and there is another on Saturday, for butcher's meat, &c. The fairs are on the Tuesday after Trinity-Sunday, for pleasure; 29th August, and following day, for cattle. and 9th September for pleasure and hiring servants."

[From Royal National and Commercial Directory and Topography of Herts, Pigot & Co., London, 1839]

You can see pictures of Watford which are provided by:




Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Watford has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



The North Watford History Group has created a new website.

"It is at an early stage of development, but already contains articles on different aspects of the history of North Watford, with more in the pipeline"



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TQ110963 (Lat/Lon: 51.65454, -0.396834), Watford which are provided by: