Ada Bignall | Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Biography:
Ada Bignall

ADA BIGNELL; 1877 – 1956 Ada Bignell (Nee Norwood) was born in Berkhamsted on 18th April 1877. Her parents were Frederick Norwood, an agricultural labourer, who had been born in Tring and Sophia Norwood who came from Ley Hill near Chesham. Frederick and Sophia had five children, of whom Ada was the fourth: George, born in 1866; Lizzie, 1870; Frederick, 1874; Ada, 1877; Charles 1881. The Norwood family lived in High Street, Berkhamsted. Ada attended Berkhamsted and Northchurch National School. Berkhamsted’s first elementary school was founded in 1834 and was built on the corner of the High Street and Park View Road. This was known as the British, or Chalk School and latterly became the Board School. Three years later, as a result of a rift between the non-conformists and those representing the Church of England, the Rector of St Peter’s Church campaigned for a separate Church of England School and with the support of the Countess of Bridgewater, who provided both financial support and land, classrooms and a small master’s house was built behind the Court House. The new National School opened in July 1838. Pupils had to pay “the school pence” between 1d and 3d towards the cost of the school. The very poorest could apply for exemption from the school pence. The Church of England also built an infant’s school in Gossoms End and a mixed School at Northchurch. When the Church of England built Victoria School in 1897, the buildings behind the Court house were vacated. Whilst we do not know about Ada’s academic achievements, the school records do tell us that she was adept at needlework. On the 10th June 1886 the Annual Exhibition of needlework was held at the Town Hall and Ada is recorded as being amongst those girls who won first prize for their needlework. The school records also tell us that in August the following year,1887, “…Ada Norwood was sent home on Thursday because of several ringworms on head and face.” At the time of the 1891 census Ada was 23 and her occupation is recorded as house maid. She was then still living with her parents at 38 High Street, as was her younger brother Charlie. He was then 20 years old and was working as a labourer.  Her older siblings had all moved on. Ada herself married Henry Bignell in 1910. The 1911 census reveals that the newly married couple were then living with Ada’s parents in their home at 38 High Street, along with a 13 year old nephew, Frederick Herbert Norwood, who was the son of Ada’s elder brother, also called Frederick. There is no record that Ada and Henry had any children of their own. The electoral rolls show Ada and Henry continued to live at 38 High Street with Ada’s parents. Her mother’s name last appears on the roll in 1922 and her father’s in 1927, so presumably they each died shortly after 1922 and 1927 respectively. The rolls for 1929 and 1930 reveal that Henry and Ada moved from 38 High Street, presumably after the death of Ada’s father, and were living at 22 Victoria Road.  By the time the 1939 Register was compiled, the couple had moved again and were living at 10 Woodlands Avenue. They both lived at that address for the rest of heir lives, Henry dying at 10 Woodlands Avenue in 1948 and Ada also there on died 22nd January 1956. She is buried alongside Henry in Rectory Lane Cemetery.
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ADA BIGNELL; 1877 – 1956
Ada Bignell (Nee Norwood) was born in Berkhamsted on 18th April 1877. Her parents were Frederick Norwood, an agricultural labourer, who had been born in Tring and Sophia Norwood who came from Ley Hill near Chesham. Frederick and Sophia had five children, of whom Ada was the fourth: George, born in 1866; Lizzie, 1870; Frederick, 1874; Ada, 1877; Charles 1881. The Norwood family lived in High Street, Berkhamsted.

Ada attended Berkhamsted and Northchurch National School. Berkhamsted’s first elementary school was founded in 1834 and was built on the corner of the High Street and Park View Road. This was known as the British, or Chalk School and latterly became the Board School. Three years later, as a result of a rift between the non-conformists and those representing the Church of England, the Rector of St Peter’s Church campaigned for a separate Church of England School and with the support of the Countess of Bridgewater, who provided both financial support and land, classrooms and a small master’s house was built behind the Court House. The new National School opened in July 1838. Pupils had to pay “the school pence” between 1d and 3d towards the cost of the school. The very poorest could apply for exemption from the school pence. The Church of England also built an infant’s school in Gossoms End and a mixed School at Northchurch. When the Church of England built Victoria School in 1897, the buildings behind the Court house were vacated.

Whilst we do not know about Ada’s academic achievements, the school records do tell us that she was adept at needlework. On the 10th June 1886 the Annual Exhibition of needlework was held at the Town Hall and Ada is recorded as being amongst those girls who won first prize for their needlework. The school records also tell us that in August the following year,1887, “…Ada Norwood was sent home on Thursday because of several ringworms on head and face.”

At the time of the 1891 census Ada was 23 and her occupation is recorded as house maid. She was then still living with her parents at 38 High Street, as was her younger brother Charlie. He was then 20 years old and was working as a labourer.  Her older siblings had all moved on. Ada herself married Henry Bignell in 1910. The 1911 census reveals that the newly married couple were then living with Ada’s parents in their home at 38 High Street, along with a 13 year old nephew, Frederick Herbert Norwood, who was the son of Ada’s elder brother, also called Frederick. There is no record that Ada and Henry had any children of their own.

The electoral rolls show Ada and Henry continued to live at 38 High Street with Ada’s parents. Her mother’s name last appears on the roll in 1922 and her father’s in 1927, so presumably they each died shortly after 1922 and 1927 respectively. The rolls for 1929 and 1930 reveal that Henry and Ada moved from 38 High Street, presumably after the death of Ada’s father, and were living at 22 Victoria Road.  By the time the 1939 Register was compiled, the couple had moved again and were living at 10 Woodlands Avenue. They both lived at that address for the rest of heir lives, Henry dying at 10 Woodlands Avenue in 1948 and Ada also there on died 22nd January 1956. She is buried alongside Henry in Rectory Lane Cemetery.

Relatives