Sunday, 16 November 2014

A little bit of India in Hertfordshire





 
Balls Park in Hertfordshire, former home of Edward Harrison.

Many of my friends and readers are interested in Indian history, and it would be a safe assumption that most of them would expect to look towards India to find buildings and artefacts that are linked to India's history.  In fact there are a surprisingly large number of surviving buildings in Britain which are directly linked to India. Balls Park, just outside and to the south east of Hertford is one such place.

Balls Park is a house largely built out of the profits of the East India Company trade with India and China, and demonstrates just how well it was possible for employees of the East India Company to do, if only they could survive long enough to retire to Britain.

Harrison would become Governor of Madras, and his decisions were to give my great x 5 grandfather John De Morgan, the lucky break he needed to get his career under way.

Edward Harrison was born on the 3rd of December 1674, very probably at Balls Park.  The estate is thought to have been bought by his grandfather Sir John Harrison, a Royalist wealthy financier and customs official, who constructed the original house between 1637 and 1640, possibly to the designs of Nicholas Stone the king’s master-mason.



Balls Park from Chauncy History [1]



The house was re-modelled and extended a number of times by Richard Harrison, Edward's father and by Edward Harrison, himself following his retirement.

[1] From http://www.hertfordshire-genealogy.co.uk/data/books/books-3/book-0330-balls-park.htm

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