Yattendon (The story so far)

The Yattendon story!

Or How did the name Yattendon get around the World!

Why do we have a Yattendon Road in Horley? What is the connection between the pretty little village of Yattendon in Berkshire, population about 250, and Horley, Surrey.

The first reference to Yattendon, in Horley, appears on the 1870 25″ Ordnance Survey map. It shows Yattendon Lodge, the large imposing Victorian Gothic house that used to stand on the Brighton Road in Horley together with several associated buildings.

At the beginning of my search I had been convinced that the connection would be through the first owner of Yattendon Lodge a certain John Alfred Burkinyoung, a well off retired tea planter from India. Several months later after chasing the Burkinyoung family history I still had not found the connection. I got in touch with the local historian of Yattendon to see if he could help – there was not even a tentative connection.

A careful examination of the 1871 census showed that Joseph Hatto,34, gardener, place of birth Hampstead, Surrey, lived at Yattendon Cottage. The Lodge was unoccupied. There was an error in the census, there is no Hampstead in Surrey. However I had noticed, during my searching, that on the Berkshire O.S. map of Yattendon that the next village, only 2 1/2 miles away was called Hampstead Norreys. A search through the census returns for that area of Berkshire revealed that Joseph Hatto was baptised in 1817 at Hampstead Norreys. In fact there were great extended families of Hattos all over that part of Berkshire. Further searching revealed that he was a gardener in Eaton ( the old spelling for Eton ), Windsor. It was while he was at Windsor that he married his first wife, Amey in 1847. They then moved to Greenford. Amey died in 1854. The next entry is of the marriage of Joseph to Leah Longhurst, from Abinger at Shere in 1857. Joseph and his family must have moved to Horley sometime around this time as the local Parish records of St Barts Church, Horley show three Hatto children being married at the church in 1870,1874 and 1875. Leah died and is buried at St Barts in 1881. Joseph seems to have moved from Horley and is believed to have been buried in Steyning Sussex in 1882.

Joseph Hatto left Yattendon Cottage sometime between the 1871 and the 1881 censuses. The 1881 census shows the next occupier of Yattendon Cottage as being Aaron Belcher from Sparshott, Berkshire. Was he a friend of Joseph’s ?

From looking at the Burkinyoung family history it would appear that John Alfred was somewhat of a romantic spendthrift. There being no other connection between his family and Yattendon I consider that it is quite possible that he named his new house in Horley after the charming little village in Berkshire, the family home of his humble gardener.

It was just after concluding this research that my Grand-daughter, who lives in a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, spotted a nearby road – Yattendon Close!
What was the connection between the UK and New South Wales? Was it between Horley,Surrey or Yattendon, Berkshire? The NSW Records Office soon informed me that Yattenden Close and Yattenden Park in the Baulkham Hills Shire Council area of NSW came into being in 1983. They were built on the site of an old racecourse that stood near an equally old inn, “The Horse and Jockey” that was built in the 1850’s. Also, in passing, they told me that there was a very famous Australian racehorse called Yattendon!  Yattendon was at the peak of his fame during the 1850’s. Did he race at The Horse and Jockey racecourse? A Google search revealed that there was another Yattendon Road in Coolah, also in NSW, some 60 Km north of Sydney. So how did the name of a very small Berkshire village end up in Australia?

I contacted my historian friend in Yattendon . Was there a local connection? He told me that several men had been transported to Botany Bay after being convicted for their part in the Swing Riots of 1830. Further research showed that a local man, Thomas Hicks, a horsebreaker by trade, was sentenced to transportation for fourteen years. On arrival in Botany Bay he was assigned to a Mr Henry Cox. Henry, his brothers and father, Captain William Cox, ran a very famous race horse stud farm quite near Sydney. It was this stud that “Yattendon” was raised. By all accounts Hicks was a very good man. He was given an absolute pardon in 1838. He decided to remain in Australia and married a local girl. I consider that it is not beyond the realms of fancy to think that his coming to Botany Bay from Yattendon was the reason for Yattendon to appear as a name to be commemorated in the naming of a horse. Incidentally there is another race horse stud farm near Coolah!

David Hall, November 2008