A recently published book, gives' an interesting account of rural life in our district as it was 260 years ago. Having been inspired
by this peep into the past, one felt a desire to probe into still more remote times in search of the origin of that glamorous name
of our estate, Goldings.
The village of Waterford existed as far back as the year 1148, when King Henry II reigned in England, and the chief
landowner was one John Goldyng. Obviously, his name became attached to the area and records of the name appear in the
Charter Rolls of 1315. Descendants of John Goldyng, Ralph Payn, Richard Revel and John Rykener, have supplied other
estate names in this locality; Paynes Hall, Revels Hall and Rickneys.
George was the occupier of Stencils Farm, which, in the days of Trafalgar" and Waterloo, adjoined the Goldings estate on the
Western side. George was a busy farmer and local dignitary, and he found time to keep a very detailed diary of his daily routine
between the years 1697 and 1710. He was a great friend of his neighbour, Richard Emmott, who resided at Goldings. In those
days, the North Road out of Hertford ran through the middle of the Goldings estate, by the mansion, which overlooked our
present cricket field, and stood on the site of our grass tennis courts. The buildings now comprising the Printing and
Shoemaking Departments are all that remain today of Richard Emmott's residence. The present road from Goldings to
Waterford follows the route of the old highway. Surface erosion has recently uncovered parts of the stone causeway which was
used to help the wheels of stagecoaches along the steep incline down into Waterford. In 1875, Robert Smith built the present
mansion, and was allowed to close this road, causing a new one to be constructed round the edge of the estate.
In his diary, John mentions a visit to "Hartford" (as it was then known) to see a famous road walker named Webster,
who attempted to walk from London to York in sixty hours. Meeting this worthy at the Cold Bath Inn, during a pause for
refreshment, John accompanied the athlete on his way as far as Goldings, but the farmer then found the pace too hot, and
reports that they covered a mile in ten minutes. He was asked to make the first Census of the district in 1801, and mentions that
he was also asked to officiate at Bramfield as tax collector. Another public duty he undertook was the inspection of local roads,
and he was much troubled by frequent flooding of the highway at Goldings. He was also called in to arbitrate when Squire
Emmott upset the Waterford community by pulling down Bulls Mill House and erecting dog kennels on the site in 1803.
and is recommended to all interested in local history.
G. H. W.