Folly Methodist Chapel, Wheathampstead

Memorial Windows

"The Folly Boys Off to the War"
click to enlarge

The Folly is an area of old houses built half a mile outside Wheathampstead village centre. It would at one time have been cheap workmens’ dwellings. Not so now as the houses have been modified and upgraded to become desirable residences. Alongside the road out of Wheathampstead towards Luton was the site of the Folly Methodist Chapel, built 1887.

It housed two stained glass windows in memory of the boys from the Folly who died in the First World War. There are no details in the chapel minutes to tell us how the names were draw up or indeed when the windows were fitted. It was certainly well after the First War as one of the men who died from war injuries, did not die until April 1921.

The chapel was demolished about 2006. The windows formed part of the general recyclable building material and were advertised on eBay. They were bought for £120 by a lady who thought it an absolute tragedy that these men, who had fought so bravely, and of whom the windows said that ‘their name liveth for evermore’, were obviously not being remembered. She held on to them for some years, trying to find an appropriate home for them, and eventually heard about our War Memorial Project and offered them to myself and then to St. Albans City Museum where they now reside.

The names listed on the Folly Methodist Chapel Memorial Windows.

Sidney Bandy   
Died 15th April 1921. Husband to wife Maud and father of four children. Discharged 1919 as medically unfit. Died a lingering death probably from TB. He will be remembered on a new plaque to be added to the Wheathampstead War Memorial.

Cyril Carter      
Died 26th November 1914 on board HMS Bulwark, blow up in Sheerness harbour, from an error in the magazine. Not enemy action.

Francis George Gray
Died 24th October 1918. Francis was the second of three sons of George and Mary Gray, who lived at Cherry Trees in Wheathampstead. His dad was a railway labourer, farm labourer and later a gravel digger. Francis became a domestic coachman and in 1899 married Florence Kate Burgin in Hemel Hempstead and moved to Bovingdon, where in 1911 they are found living at Green Lodge Stables with their children Albert, aged 10, George, aged 8, and one-year-old Marjorie. Name to be added to the war memorial.

Murray Walter Harrison
Died  11th April 1915. He was born at the Folly. In the  1911 census Murray, then 18 years old, is lodging in High Street, Bedford, and has a job as a draper’s shop assistant. Name to be added to the war memorial.

Horace William Izzard   
Died in hospital in Rouen on September 6th 1918, aged 20.

Bertie Lawrence  
Listed on the window as H. Lawrence. “H” for Herbert which was never Bertie’s name. He died on the third day of the battle of the Somme 3rd July 1916.

George Minal(l)  
Died 29th March 1918. Son of Edward & Elizabeth Minall of 49 New Farm, Station Road, Harpenden. He is not on the Wheathampstead memorial as he is listed on Harpenden’s War Memorial.

Albert Edward Munt
Died 31st July 1917. Albert lived at Cherry Tree Cottages at the far end of the Folly.

Albert William Odell 
Died 23rd September 1917. Albert was just 21 when he was killed on September 23rd 1917, when 12th Battalion was involved in the Battle of the Menin Road Bridge.

Cyril John Pearce  
Discharged in June 1916 after a medical board declared him “medically unfit”. Died 3rd October 1916. He was 24 years old. Name to be added to the war memorial although he was technically not a soldier at that time.

George Upton Robins  
Died 5th May 1915. Captain in command. Killed in a gas attack defending Hill 60.

Horace George Wilson    
Died 31st July 1917. Married wife Louisa in Paddington, London, in 1906 and they had a son, Edward George, aged 10 and daughter Elsie Louisa, aged 8, living at The Hill, Wheathampstead when he died.


More details and picture of the above names are available in the book “More Than Just a Name” by Terry and Margaret Pankhurst. This tells the stories of all the soldiers of both World Wars in the parish of Wheathampstead Hertfordshire. Available from Terry Pankhurst at, 243 pages, mostly colour, price £15.


Comments about this page

  • Hi Jonty, if it’s possible could I get little more information as my family lived at 17 Folly Fields. My Grandfather was in the First World War, Frank Douglas Hawkins. I have such fond memories playing at the little park at the back of the house. In fact my sister broke her arm jumping off the swing. And the outside toilet…. Amazing memories!
    Thank you

    By Patricia Hawkins (10/11/2023)
  • Albert Edward Munt was the brother of Stanley Munt of 30 Batford Road. Grandfather of Dinah and yours truly

    By Colin Munt (03/04/2023)
  • Joy Baker, I wonder whether there is any connection with the Munt family at 30 Batford Road, Harpenden? Di Castle lent us her family albums and information for this page on harpenden-history website –
    Diana Munt worked with her father and uncle Charlie Smith at the cobblers at 3 Station Road in the 1950s

    By Rosemary Ross (03/12/2021)
  • Hello Michael, I would be interested to see your find, my Great Grandmothers brother was one of the soldiers from the Folly who is on the window.
    I’m also extremely interested in local and military history.
    my email is
    I also live just along from the Folly
    Look forward to hearing from you

    By Kris Schug (17/11/2018)
  • Hello I’m hoping someone can help me. I’m currently working at number 12 at the Folly Fields And I have come across a WW1 medal which I  found underneath the old wash house shed base that used to be in the back garden. I have also found some old intact bottles believe to be from 1901 /1920 I would be grateful if somebody could get in touch as I can only imagine this medal belongs to one of these lads on that window.  

    By Michael Grey (06/06/2018)
  • Hello Joy, hopefully you will get this message.

    My name is Kris Schug, I used to live in number 2 Marshalls Way between the early 1980’s and the mid 1990’s with my Mum and Step father.

    I remember your Father Les, and I think you and your family that lived with him too? 

    My reason for contacting you is, for years I have been extremely  interested in local history , especially  the Folly, Cherry Trees & Marshalls Heath , as my family have lived in the area for generations.

    I also founded a Facebook group some years back, to remember those folks and places now long gone, from the area, to arouse memories and generate discussion

    The Folly chapel always held a fascination with me and it was sad to see it go, members of my family worshipped there too, and my Great Grandmother’s brother, Bertie Lawrence, was one of those commemorated on the windows.

    I would dearly like to see photographs of the memorials you have in your possession, if you would be kind enough to share?

    Also I’m trying to compile a story for a local publication regarding three local lads who signed up together and served in the Great War, one of the trio being Harry Smith (your Grandfather Cecil’s brother) I have found Harry’s service records online and also Cecil’s. 

    I was hoping you would have further information, if you were willing to share? On Smith Bros. Builders formation , growth etc and Harry Smith’s position in the company, or really any family information you have post First World War 

    My email is  I hope to hear from you soon 

    Very best wishes 


    By Kristian Schug (11/02/2018)
  • My parents (Leslie & Elsie Smith, nee Hunt) were active in Folly Methodist Chapel all their lives.  Leslie was organist for 70 years from the age of 11, having been taught on the organ at St. Helen’s Church, Wheathampstead.   I was brought up going to Sunday School at Folly.  When the Chapel was sold and due to be demolished, I purchased the other two memorial windows – to Henry Smith and Arthur Hunt.   They are currently displayed in our home in Manningtree, Essex.   My grandfather, Cecil John Smith, started a building company after the first World War and built most of the houses in the Cherry Trees area, all of the estate towards Batford and the council estate at Marford, Wheathampstead.   Smith Bros built the rooms behind the Chapel (the hall in the 1920’s and the Sunday School Room in 1938 – I have the copper memorial plaque to the opening of the SS Room.   Other members of the family (Smith, Munt, French & Hunt) were workers in the Hat Factory next to the Chapel, on the railway or as agricultural workers, when the Chapel was built.

    By Joy Baker (17/11/2017)
  • If anyone has any information or photographs, please share them with the Herts at War Project ( – Jonty Wild

    By Jonty Wild (19/08/2017)

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