This ancient family have been settled in Hertfordshire since at least the 12th century. The family enters our village history on two separate occasions, firstly in the 16th century and briefly in the late 19th, so it will be interesting to take a quick look at the family’s background. Within the Thorogood family are two schools of thought concerning the origins of the family. The name is of Norse Viking origin (Thor, a Viking god) and one possibility is that they came with Guthrum in the late 9th century and stayed in Hertfordshire or they came with William in 1066. Whatever was the truth, the name first appeared in Hertfordshire records circa 1100 and there were still some of the family around in the late 19th century at Rye House and Hoddesdon. Today there are still a few Thorogoods and Thurgoods in the E. Herts. and N. Essex area with a flourishing branch in Australia, descended from Arthur of Rye House and there are other different lines in the U.S.A. and Canada.

    The Thorogood family in the 13th century were a highly respected family with a coat-of-arms and estates in Hertfordshire, mainly at a place named Chelston (or Chelton) Temple which the family tree records as ‘cannot now be identified.’     However, my own research takes us to Temple Chelsin in Bengeo, near Ware. This was owned by the Knights Templar but was leased in 1524 to be farmed by Nicholas Thurgood (Thorogood) for 40 years.  However, at the Dissolution, Henry VIII gained possession and granted the manor to his Chief Secretary, Sir Ralph Sadleir of Standon.

     In about 1553 the manors of Thele, Hailey and Rye were leased to Thomas Fleming of Stanstead Abbotts on a 99-year lease by owner George Ogard, but Fleming died shortly afterwards bequeathing the lease to his wife Agnes. She then remarried a John Thorogood who became lord of all three manors for a while, living at the manor house at the Rye.   John Thurogood died in 1560 and George Ogard finally sold the manor to William Frankland in that same year.  A John Thorogood born at Temple Chelsin, Bengeo, in 1503 died in 1560 and must have been the same John Thorogood as the dates do tally.

Rare actual photograph of Rye House in 1887, year of the Jubilee. The boys appear to be playing with carpet bowls.

(Courtesy of the Thorogood family history site)

  For a period we had a Thorogood as lord of the manor of Thele, Hailey and Rye. There have been Thorogoods living in Ware and district ever since. We jump forward in time now to the Thorogood Family History online which states that in 1887 a family of the Hoddesdon Thorogoods were living at the Rye House.

     ARTHUR VICTOR JUBILEE SAMUEL WILLIAM THOROGOOD was born on 3 February, 1887 at Rye House, and owes part of his name to the fact that 1887 was Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Year after 50 years on the throne. He used to claim that he was born in the Great Bed of Ware, which was displayed at Rye House at that time.  His parents were George and Isabella Thorogood. It seems ironic that in the 16th century a Thorogood was lord of the manor of Rhele and Rye House and three centuries later some of the family went back to rent accommodation there in the ruins. Arthur Thorogood was a house painter when he grew up.  In 1911 he was living with his parents in Edmonton, London, when he emigrated to Australia on the Marathon.   Arthur died on 14th April, 1945. Family history research shows there were several Thorogoods born around the 1880s and as Rye House had no church, they were recorded as being born in Hoddesdon in St. Catherine’s parish.

    The family had been closely connected with Hoddesdon since Elizabeth Thorogood married Sir Marmaduke Rawdon of Hoddesdon in 1610.  He built Rawdon House, Hoddesdon as his family home in 1622. This is today a block housing offices. On the land of this site three houses and gardens were built to be later occupied by various members of the Thorogood family. How long the family stayed at Rye House is not known, but after the owner, Mr. Teale’s death, the Teale family stayed for some time before selling the pub and Rye House to the Hoddesdon brewery of Christie and Company.

Ron Dale