Ware in 1838
Ware is in Braughing hundred, on the east bank of the Lea, 20 miles from London on the road to Cambridge. The parish comprehends 4,430 acres, and had in 1831 a population of 4,214, including the population of Amwell End ; of the population, about one-eighth or one-tenth is agricultural. Up to this place the Danes, in the reign of Alfred, brought their vessels, and protected them by a dam or wear across the river, from which wear the town is said to have obtained its name ; but this is disputed. Ware consists of one long street and several smaller ones. The church consists of a chancel, with a chapel on each side ; a knave with two side aisles, and two projections resembling transepts : with a square embattled tower : the font is of perpendicular architecture, with considerable enrichments. There is a considerable trade at Ware ; the market, which is on Tuesday, is one of the greatest in the county for corn, and there are two yearly fairs. At one of the inns in this town (the Saracens Head) is a large bedstead, twelve feet square, elaborately carved in oak, and probably of the age of Queen Elizabeth. It is alluded to by Shakespeare (Twelfth Night, act iii., scene ii.), and is popularly known as the Bed of Ware. The living of Ware is a vicarage united with that of Thundridge, of the yearly value of £333, in the deanery of Braughing, the archdeaconry of Middlesex, and the diocese of London. There were in the parish in 1833, two infant or dame schools with 26 children, an endowed grammar school with 28 boys, a Lancasterian school with 120 boys, a national school with 75 boys, two charity schools with 94 girls, ten day or boarding and day-schools with 190 children, and a Sunday-school with 38 girls.