Giacomo Finaldo commits a crime at Old Rosen, St Albans Road, in 1858

The felon flees to Harpenden

This article first appeared in Newsletter 125, April 2015

From the Hertford Mercury and Reformer, Saturday 16 October 1858, page 3. Credit: Copyright, British Newspaper Archive

The case came before the Michaelmas Quarter Sessions at St Albans on October 21 1858 and was reported in the Hertford Mercury and Reformer on Saturday 30 October 1858, p3.

Report of the trial. Credit: Copyright, British Newspaper Archive

The translator, named in the article as Francis Napoleon de Szoslakarski, was a refugee from the 1830 uprising in Poland. His correct name was Francis Napoleon, Chevalier de Szostakowsky. He was granted naturalisation papers on 16 March 1859 (certificate 2871, National Archives ref. 1601/88/2871). Apparently no other parties to the offence were found.

Watercolour sketch of Old Rosen by John Henry Buckingham – 1800-1881. Credit: Scan from J H Buckingham: A Window on Victorian St Albans (p.42) by Felicity Hebditch, St Albans Museums, 1988

The ‘Old Rosen’ was a small building on the St Albans road between Harpenden and St Albans. It lay opposite the lane that leads to Cheapside Farm. Long since demolished, its site is now a grassed area adjacent to the road.

Buckingham’s watercolour probably dates from about 1860. It shows the view looking south on the St Albans Road: the lane on the left leads to Cheapside Farm, with a pond at the corner. The road was widened and levelled in the mid C20. The small building beyond the tree is shown on contemporary maps.

Extract from Bryant’s map of 1821. Scan from internet

Bryant’s map of Hertfordshire, 1821, does not name Old Rosen, but it is shown immediately north of the ‘23’ on the St Albans road. The ‘23’ is the Turnpike mile post marking 23 miles from London. The small building seen in the Buckingham painting, is also shown on the south side of the lane to Cheapside Farm.

The 24th mile post is mapped at Ayres End Lane. The mile post locations have since moved north due to road improvements – the current 24 mile marker is now opposite Beesonend Lane.

‘Old Rosen’ is named on the Dury & Andrews map of 1766 and on the early Ordnance Survey maps but Bryant gives the clearest mapping.

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