Few now alive in South Mimms remember Father Allen hay, who died in 1954, having been Vicar at St. Giles for 58 years. Recently his grandson, Mr. Charles Rigg, asked if we could identify the location of his great-grandmother’s grave.

She was called Eliza Pope, and came from Leith, near Edinburgh. Her father had moved down south from the north west coast of Sutherland , where the family had lived since about 1600; he was a successful merchant. Eliza, having married John Hay, a master flour miller in Leith, had two sons, Allen and Arthur. Her husband died soon after their birth. In due course she moved with her sons to St. Helier in Jersey, where the boys went to school. Allen met his future wife Alice in Jersey. Allen went to Cambridge University and thence into the Church, and his brother into the Indian Army. With the boys off her hands, Eliza decided to move back to Scotland, to Dumbarton, to be with one of her elder brothers.

In 1909, by which time Allen Hay had been Vicar at St. Giles for over 10 years, Eliza’s brother died, and she moved down to South Mimms to be with her son. In the 1911 Census, she is listed at living at St. Teilo in St. Giles Avenue (the houses were built on Allen Hay’s initiative on Glebe land). Later she moved to Ridge Farm Cottage, although she died at Hadley Green on 13th June 1924. She was buried in St. Giles Churchyard by her son on 17th June 1924.

Armed with all this information we have searched the plans of the churchyard, but, while we have been able to identify the grave of one Susanna Elizabeth Hay, this is clearly not the same person. It is strange that there were more Hays in South Mimms around this time. Sadly many of the gravestones were broken or illegible when Brian Warren did his first plan of the churchyard in 1991.

Mr. Rigg adds the information that his mother (one of Allen and Alice Hay’s daughters) was married from the South Mimms Vicarage and as a child he had many happy visits there, and to the village, where he has memories of buying Tizer from a shop just over the road from the Vicarage. Noting that his great-grandmother’s maiden name was Pope, I asked him if there was any connection with Pope’s Farm, which used to stand where the Frowyke Crescent houses were built along (and behind) Blanche Lane. However, given her Scottish origins, this is not possible. But this is another instance of the co-incidence of Mimms names and those connected with Allen Hay’s Scottish roots.
William Marsterson and Maria Dixon


Doug Ryan writes:

I wrote in the last edition of our Parish Magazine suggesting that if you wanted some “ me or quiet time” then St Margaret’s would be open during Good Friday afternoon. This year Archdeacon Janet played soft music interspersed with readings from the Bible. I popped in for half an hour and I understand that others were there for ten minutes and some for an hour or more. If you didn’t make it this year I really recommend that you try it next year. It’s just such a relaxing place to be, somehow the stress and concerns of everyday living just seem to melt away.

How nice it was to see so many families coming into St Margaret’s on Easter Day. It is a very special day, the day of Jesus’ resurrection. A day for celebration. I was watching some of the younger children as they came into Church they were gazing around, absorbing the stained glass windows the high beams the family crests that hang on the walls and maybe that indefinable peace that I always feel when I enter an old church – and of course the marvellous mural of Jesus being carried across a stream. I’m always amazed to learn that it was painted nearly five hundred years ago.

Our service was led by Archdeacon Janet, whose relaxed presentation was just right. She immediately included the children into taking part in the service: three of them, the youngest only four years old, were asked to come to the front and hold Easter eggs, whilst she explained, using the eggs, the meaning of Easter. I think from that moment the children in the Church felt they were part of the congregation, and were all very quiet, throughout the service. At least that is until after the service, when they were told that there were lots of Chocolate Easter eggs hidden around the Church.

I’ve made a lot of references to children in this little article, but l do think it’s so important that we involve and welcome children into the Church to help them understand the true meaning of Easter and Christmas, and hopefully want to know more.

After the service, and whilst the children were busy hunting Easter eggs, we all enjoyed tea or coffee together with some delicious hot cross buns. T’was a very Happy Easter.


On the 3rd to 5th April, the Year 5 & 6’s from St Giles’ Primary School went to Moat Mount in Mill Hill. We did many fun activities; archery, an obstacle course, orienteering and more. Despite the weather, which was not the best, we had plenty of fun doing activities until 5pm, then we had our dinner and fun in our rooms with our friends.
One of the best things about Moat Mount was the wildlife. We saw herons, squirrels and rabbits, we were told that there was a woodpecker too! The lake was so clear that the trees were reflected in the water. It was so pretty; we took some amazing photos with our cameras!
One of the leaders had hurt their foot, so we couldn’t do the aerial runway. Everyone was obviously disappointed, but Miss Bell, Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Thrussell came up with a good alternative; have a bonfire! It was Olivia’s birthday so we made smores from roasting marshmallows and putting digestive biscuits on top, she got the first one. We all sang Happy Birthday, had birthday cake and hot chocolate.
By Ayla aged 10 and Macy aged 11


Some members of the congregation at St. Margaret’s Ridge will remember their last Vicar (1972-79), subsequently Priest-n-Charge (1979-81), John Simpson. He left to become Archdeacon in the Diocese of Canterbury, and later Dean of Canterbury Cathedral. His death recently was reported in the Church Times, which will be sad news for those who still remember him from 40 years ago.