Berkhamsted Frith or Common and Ashridge

“Lady Marian’s name is particularly associated with what has become known as ‘the Battle of Berkhamsted Common’” (you can read Jennifer Sherwood’s article about Lady Marian Alford, 1817-1888 in the Society’s Chronicle for Mar 2018; summary here).

Lady Alford_bk5092

Lady Marian Alford at Ashridge

In the first lines of her book Berkhampstead Frith or Common and Ashridge, published in 1878, Lady Marian explains her reasons for writing…

“My object in writing a true version of facts which have been placed before the world in a garbled form, either intentionally, or through ignorance, is to show exactly the position in which my eldest son was placed, his actions and motives.”

On page 22, she explains that “opposition to the enclosure had arisen from a class of persons, who, having no rights themselves, yet imagined that waste lands were… public property. Lord Brownlow… believed that when he bought the Honor and Manor of Berkhampstead from the Crown… he acquired the privileges belonging to them.”

“The Steward of the Manor was unaware of the existence of the surveys of 1607 (Dodderidge’s) and of 1616 (Norden’s)… they were overlooked until the lawsuit began, when they were printed [by Brownlow’s lawyers]… at least [provided] a proof of the honesty of our intentions, if not the acumen of our legal advisers.”

Maps referred to it the book…Alford Map 1Plan of the Manor of Berkhamstead 1866
according to the bounds described in Dodderidge’s Survey of 1607Alford Map 2.1Plan of the Manor of Berkhamstead 1878
shewing roads new and old and proposed under enclosure

With thanks again to Bill Willett for taking the trouble to photograph the pages of the book and the maps from our collection in the Museum Store.