Category Archives: Bedfordshire, UK

Tearle Family history in Bedfordshire.

29Jun/19

Thomas Tearle 1777 & Thomas 1780

Who was the miller of Luton in the 1841 census?

Ewart F Tearle 2019

These two families have fascinated us since at least 2008, and I am aiming to lay their story out clearly, and to give my best judgement on who the families are, and why they cannot be confused. I have cleared the Tearle Tree of all references to family for both Thomas 1780 and Thomas 1777. As I research the rebuild of this part of the tree, I shall make sure that all the families are covered, and as best I can, re-filled with the genuine occupiers of their branch on the Tearle Tree.

First, I am going to catalogue all the early Thomas Tearles, any one of whom might cause a problem with us, before we research Thomas Tearle 1777 born in Cublington, and Thomas Tearle 1780, of Stanbridge. These two boys, who are first cousins, have always been the first choice of the researchers into this intriguing story. All of the boys considered below will be the grand-sons of Thomas 1709 and Mary nee Sibley.

The reason we are looking at the early Thomas Tearles is because there was a Tearle family in Luton in the 1841 census headed up by Thomas Tearle, miller, aged 60. The members of his family were: Mary 60, Susan 28, Martha 25 and Caroline 20. There was also Mary Fullarton 30, Emma Fullarton 5yrs, Mary Fullarton 2yrs and Sarah Wright 30, who was a lodger. So who was this Thomas Tearle?  Let’s see who might be the contender amongst the early Thomas Tearles

Joseph Tearle 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp

Three Thomas Tearles were born to Joseph and Phoebe – Thomas 1771, Thomas 1774 and Thomas 1780. The two earlier Thomas boys died in the same year of their birth, according to the Stanbridge PRs. Thomas 1780 married Sarah Gregory on 27 October 1802, in Chalgrave. They had a baby, Mary Tearle, baptised in Chalgrave on 14 April, 1805. In 1818 Thomas was named an executor for the will of his brother, John Tearle 1787, one of the early leaders of Methodism in Stanbridge. Thomas died and was buried in Chalgrave in 1820, just 39 years old.                           

Thomas Tearle 1737 and Susannah nee Attwell.

Thomas 1737 was a twin to Joseph 1737 (or they were both baptised in the same year). Thomas 1737 and Susannah are the parents of Thomas 1777 and below is Thomas’ baptism in Cublington, the first baptism of 1777.

Thomas 1777 baptism in Cublington, Buckinghamshire

John Tearle and Martha nee Archer

These are the parents of Thomas Tearle 1763, who married Mary Gurney. This Thomas is not a contender because the couple had their own nine children. They were married in Eaton Bray and never left it. Mary nee Gurney died in 1817 and Thomas died in 1839.

William Tearle 1749 and Mary nee Prentice

William and Mary did not name any of their children Thomas

Richard Tearle 1754 and Mary nee Webb

The last of the early Tearle boys, Richard 1754 moved to Sandridge, near St Albans in Hertfordshire, and had a son Thomas 1799. He was baptised in St Peter’s parish on 24 January 1799. That is all I know about him; I assume he died early. However, a 1799 birth date takes him out of this conversation.

So now we have the problem of two Tearle boys, separated by only three years, one whose wife has died (Thomas 1780) and one (Thomas 1777) who may never have been married at all.

I have a note from Dermot Foley in 2008:

“I have been in contact with a woman who is related by blood and marriage and she insists that Thomas Tearle was the son of Thomas Tearle 1737 and not Joseph. She has seen the census return for 1841 and knows the details on the death certificate.” By this, she means that Thomas 1737, and not Thomas 1780 (son of Joseph and Phoebe) is the father of Thomas 1777, which is true, but it does not solve the problem of who is the father of the Tearle girls in Luton. The death certificate of Thomas Tearle, miller, with information supplied by his daughter Susan Tearle, is that he was 72 years old when he died in 1849. Simple arithmetic would certainly imply this is Thomas 1777. Having found out that much, let’s see if it unlocks the problem of the list of children who were in the house of Thomas the miller on the night of the 1841 census.

Factual information
Susan Tearle, Thomas Tearle’s daughter, has filled out the death certificate.

Pat sent me this from the Leighton Buzzard PRs:

Marriage
Name: Mary Fullers
Gender: Female
Marriage Date: 21 Nov 1796
Marriage Place: Leighton Buzzard,Bedford,England
Spouse: Tho Teale  
FHL Film Number: 826454, 845460

And, sadly, this may be their first-born:

Leighton Buzzard PRs, Burial:

1799 OC6 Inf of Thomas Tearle of Billington

Thomas would have been 19 when he married.  I have skipped directly to Mary Tearle’s death certificate, also signed by Susan Tearle, which states that Mary was 75 at the time of her death in 1848. This would indicate she was born in 1773.

Factual document
Susan Tearle has also signed the death certificate for her mother.

It seems unlikely that Susan would be wrong about the age of each of her parents since her father Thomas was still alive in 1848, and died the following year. If we take it that this family is one unit, then Mary Fullers married when she was 23 years old (1796) and had her last child when she was 48 (Caroline, 1821). This is possible today, but I do not know about the circumstances in Victorian times. However, in a 2008 essay, in my notes on the Tearle/Fullarton families I was at a loss as to how Thomas 1780 marries Mary Fullarton and has a large family from 1802 to 1821, remembering that this same Mary will still be 48 when she has her last baby, no matter who she marries. Also, it is not possible for Thomas 1780 to have any more children after 1820. Consider also that Thomas 1780 cannot be confused with Thomas 1777, because Thomas 1780 was a dealer in straw plait in 1818 in the Chalgrave area, whilst Thomas 1777 was a journeyman miller in Luton. There are also the local boundaries, such that Thomas 1780 and his family were centred on Chalgrave, whilst Thomas 1777 lived in Houghton Regis and moved south on the A5, through Dunstable, to live in Luton. Again, Thomas 1780 has one wife, one child, and died aged 39 whilst Thomas 1777 lives in Luton, he is a miller and he has a wife and five daughters and dies at age 72. This is Pat’s way of differentiating the two families, and I think she is right. Pat’s killer blow; “I do not think this is the same Thomas, they are two different people.”

Having put the challengers behind us, let’s have a look at the fascinating story that is exposed by the documentation, mostly the changes wrought by advancing technology, and the totally different lives that Bedfordshire women could afford themselves because the straw hat industry allowed them to work when, where and how they wanted. The shining example of the miller’s family is that they are all women, and only one becomes married. I think that speaks volumes about Victorian women and the grinding, care-centric male-dominated society in which they lived, along with the daily tragedy of young women dying in childbirth. If you can avoid marriage – do so.

I should also note that my term for Thomas – the miller of Luton – is not to imply that he owned a mill. Sometimes he called himself a miller, and at other times he called himself a journeyman miller.

The 1841 census in Luton lists the following people living in the house of Thomas the miller:

  • Thomas Tearle 60yr
  • Mary Tearle 60yr
  • Susan Tearle 28y
  • Martha Tearle 26y
  • Caroline Tearle 20y
  • Mary Fullarton 30y
  • Emma Fullarton 5y
  • Mary Fullarton 2y
  • Sarah Wright 30y

We can see in the list above that there is another Fullarton, also called Mary. She is the daughter of Mary Tearle 60y, who has married George Fullarton in the Church of St Mary, Luton. Emma and Mary Fullarton are her children.

Also in the 1841 Luton census, we find Sophia Tale (Tearle) living with Ruth Field in Castle Street. Both are straw hat workers. Sophia is aged 30, which would make her born in 1811, and therefore younger than Mary (1805) and the same age as Susan, but census ages are not always particularly reliable with this small item of data.  Ruth Field and Sophia are living next door to a house occupied by John Field.

1851 census: Neither Thomas nor Mary are alive for the 1851 census, but many of the people in the 1841 census are still living together, this time in Chapel St, Luton:

  • Susan 38y
  • Martha 35y
  • Caroline 34y

1861 census: the house looks very much like the 1841 census, except the members in the house are in 31 Wellington St, Luton. This was a long lane of shops, on both sides of the street, with accommodation above. The Tearles lived here for at least 40 years.

  • Susan 48y
  • Martha 46y
  • Caroline 44y
  • Mary A Fullarton, niece 22y

Mary Ann Fullarton married Edward Bachini, an Italian from the city of Florence. They were married on 10 October, 1862, in Luton. I have listed four of their children on the Tearle tree, and Mary Ann died in 1924.

1871 census: Here is much the same group living in the house at 170 Wellington St, Luton:

  • Susan 58y
  • Martha 48y
  • Caroline 46
  • Ellen Hoy, niece 14y

You will see Ellen Hoy 1857, in at least the next four censuses, because her mother, Emma Fullarton 1838, married Charles Hoy in Luton, 1855. It is unclear why and how Charles went to Luton from Enfield, London, but Ellen Louisa Hoy was their only child. Emma died in 1856, probably caused by childbirth. Charles married Ellen Elizabeth Irons from Wheathampstead, near St Albans, in 1857, and I have documented all of their children up to the 1881 census.

1881 census: 170 Wellington St, Luton

  • Sophia 76y
  • Susan 67y
  • Martha 62
  • Caroline 60
  • Sarah Cadwell, lodger
  • Ellen Louise Hoy 24y

And on the same page as above:

  • Charles Hoy 48y
  • Ellen Elizabeth Hoy 43y
  • Kate Hoy 22y
  • Harry Hoy 16y
  • Alfred Ernest Hoy 11y
  • Frank Horatio Hoy 9y
  • Charles Hoy 6y

The 1881 census is the third time we see Sophia. This time we know she is the eldest sibling, because she is the head of the house. Ellen Louise Hoy stays with the Tearles while Charles Hoy and Ellen Elizabeth cope with their growing family.

1891 census: 194 Wellington St, Luton

  • Susan 78y
  • Ellen Hoy 34y
  • Mary Fullarton nee Tearle 81y
  • Emma Hoy 18y

1901 census: 194 Wellington St, Luton

  • Mary Fullarton nee Tearle 93y
  • Ellen Hoy 47
  • Sarah Cadwell, boarder

Now that we have the facts before us, we can look at the relationships of the people in this story. There is some conjecture that the first two girls (Sophia and Mary) might be half-sisters, or cousins of the rest of the girls, because Mary Tearle and Sophia fit nicely into the early year gaps, and therefore might be the girls from the marriage of Thomas 1780 and Sarah nee Gregory. However, Mary Fullarton nee Tearle says she was born in Thorn (a satellite of Houghton Regis https://www.houghtonregis.org.uk/the-history-of-houghton-regis ) so it is not close enough to Chalgrave, and since everyone else is associated with Houghton Regis, then so is Mary, and so is Sophia. I have Mary’s marriage certificate of 6 November 1830. I have no idea why she should say she was Mary Ann, nor why George Fullarton should sign himself J George Fullarton. But the fact is, Mary Tearle is the bride, and Sophia, her sister, who has signed as a witness, has attended to ensure things go well. As you can tell from the censuses above, these two women are the sisters of Susan, Martha and Caroline Tearle; five girls, all sisters, and Thomas 1777, miller of Luton and Mary nee Fuller/s his wife, are indisputably their parents.

Marriage record
Sophia Tearle has attended the wedding of her younger sister Mary Tearle

This investigation could stop here, but I think a few words of follow-up would not go amiss. Let’s tidy up some loose ends.

Who was Mary Fuller and where did she come from? She was called Mary Fullers in the Leighton Buzzard PRs, but I think that’s incorrect. I have found a 1773 baptism for Mary Fuller in Millbrook, Bedfordshire. Her parents on that document are Richard Fuller and Sarah Crawley and they were married in Millbrook, in 1773.

Here is the data from Ancestry:

  • Name:                         Mary Fuller
  • Gender:                      Female
  • Baptism date:             20 Dec 1773
  • Baptism place:           Millbrook, Bedfordshire, England
  • Father:                                    Richard Fuller
  • Mother:                      Sarah
  • FHL Film Number:      599351

How did they end up in Luton? I know that the march from Millbrook to Luton might give cause for some to think that I am stretching things a little, but the 19th century was a time of vast change, especially for rural farming families. If a Tearle family from Leighton Buzzard can leave the town and trek all the way up to Preston, and never come back, it’s not difficult to visualise a rural family leaving Millbrook for a better life in Luton.

The Mary Fullarton 30y in the 1841 census was Mary Tearle, who married George Fullarton. Now, who was he? Barbara Tearle assures me that the post-war parish registers published by the Bedfordshire Record Office have Fuller and Fullers, but no Fullartons. The reason is that the Fullartons were a Scottish family from Castle Douglas in Kirkcudbridgeshire. George Fullarton was in Castle Douglas for the 1841 census. We now know that George’s parents were Henry Fullarton and Mary Anderson, both born in Kirkcudbridgeshire.  Also in the 1841 census (this time, in Luton) are Mary Fullarton 30y, Emma 5y and Mary 2y, George Fullarton’s family at that date. We find out in the 1861 census that Mary Fullarton, niece 22y, the daughter of Mary and George Fullarton, is actually Mary Ann Fullarton. She is the niece of all the Tearle women in the house.  

George and Mary Fullarton nee Tearle had three girls; Emma Fullarton 1838, Mary Ann Fullarton 1839 and Eliza Fullarton 1849, who married Henry Isaac Sell in 1888. As far as I know, Eliza and Henry had one child, Lillian Sell, in 1896. Harry Isaac Sell was significant enough in his church to have a plaque which memorialised him. That church has become the Luton Christian Fellowship church in Castle St, and Harry’s plaque is still there.

Factual place
Church in Castle St, Luton, where Harry Isaac Sell is memorialised
Historical fact
Luton church still has its old memorials.

Another incident that has clouded the picture somewhat, and that should also be cleared up is the question of Charles Hoy and Ellen Elizabeth Irons.  Emma Fullarton 1838 married Charles Hoy in Luton, 1855. She had just one child, Emma Louisa Hoy in Luton, 1856. It would appear she died as a result of that birth in about July 1856. Charles Hoy then married Ellen Elizabeth Irons, in 1857.

Emma Louisa Hoy stayed with the Tearle women: she is with them for the 1871, 1881 and the 1891 censuses. She had her own baby on 16 Oct 1872 and called her Emma Hoy. Emma married William Robert Betts in Luton in mid 1899. I know of one child, Marjory Emmie Ireal Betts, born 6 April 1909 in Luton. She married Stanley J Prince in Colchester, January 1946, and died in Colchester in 1997.

I think I have covered this story as deeply as it can be, in that I wanted to chart the early years of the Tearle/Fullar/Fullartons to resolve the question of which Thomas was the miller of Luton, and parent of the very independent Tearle family who lived there. A question that was answered by Pat as early as 2008, but which has worried me considerably over the years since then, is now put to rest.

My heartfelt thanks to Barbara Tearle, to Pat to Richard Tearle and to Dermot Foley, for not giving up on this story.

15Jun/19

Toddington

There are three separate but related Tearle families in Toddington: two families descended from John 1741 of Stanbridge and Martha nee Archer and the other family (the Marlow/Tearles) descended from Joseph 1737 of Stanbridge and Phoebe nee Capp. Let’s start with the story of the children of William Tearle 1796 of Stanbridge and Catherine nee Fossey of Toddington. William is the father of the family which descends from John 1741. He married Catherine Fossey on 29 Jan 1824 in Toddington and from some family stories it seems she was often affectionately referred to as Kitty.

Here they are on Lodge Farm Toddington in 1841, working for William Martin, farmer.

1841 = William 1791 Beds Catherine 60 Sarah 16 Moses 14 John 11 in Tod

By 1851 they had moved to Parsons End. William was still an Ag Lab, and Catherine, Sarah and her little Joseph had become straw plaiters, like most other Bedfordshire families.

1851 = William 1797 Stbg Catherine 52 Sarah 26 John 18 Joseph gs 8 in Tod

Kitty died in 1854 and William remarried on 07 Mar 1858, in the Hockliffe Chapel, to Elizabeth Ireland of Toddington. In the 1861 Toddington census, they are living in Dunstable Street with a lodger

1861 = William 1797 Stbg Elizabeth 50 in Tod

In the 1871 Toddington census they are living with three young lodgers, in Prospect Place.

1871 = William 1797 Stbg Elizabeth 68 in Tod

William died on 11 Sep 1873, in Prospect Place, Toddington. Here is Elizabeth in 1881, host to a young visitor, a Bonnet Sewer, in her house on Dunstable Road.

1881 = Elizabeth 1803 Tod wid in Tod

Elizabeth died in Dunstable Street, Toddington on 05 Apr 1884.

Toddington Manor from the driveway
Toddington Manor from the driveway
Toddington Manor house
Toddington Manor house
William Dodge Cooper Cooper Hatchment in St George in England Church
William Dodge Cooper Cooper Hatchment in St George in England Church
Market Square, Toddington
Market Square, Toddington
The Old Town Hall and St George in England Church, Market Square
The Old Town Hall and St George in England Church, Market Square
18Feb/17

Eaton Bray Tearle memorials

St Mary’s Church, Eaton Bray

The vicar of Stanbridge, Helen Gardiner, wrote to me to say she had seen mention of a Tearle in the Church of St Mary’s, Eaton Bray. She thought it was on the lectern. This was of great interest because Eaton Bray is one of the Tearle Valley villages, which we had visited, but on all occasions, St Mary’s was closed. This time (Feb 2017) we were lucky, a very pleasant and knowledgeable lady was arranging flowers for the coming weekend services and she was happy to have company while she did so. St Mary’s is an old and beautiful church built in the 1200s, so it is not a classic Norman design, but it is tall and of ample proportions, with a few additions that had been tidily added over the centuries of its life. Very few of its headstones are left; some are leaning against two perimeter walls, and a block of concrete had little plaques of the names of villagers who had been cremated. A war memorial took pride of place at the head of the pedestrian access to the building. We examined everything we could find for Tearle names, but there was nothing, in spite of there being Tearles in Eaton Bray since at least the early 1700s.

The first impression of the interior of the church is that it is filled with light and it is well maintained.

St Mary’s Eaton Bray interior towards the altar

A glance over your shoulder exposes the quite beautiful pipe organ attached to a wall behind which is the belfry. I asked the flower lady about the organ and she said there were recitals in the church, and they were well attended.

The pipe organ, St Mary’s Eaton Bray

Over time, some quite beautiful stained glass windows had been added.

St Mary’s Eaton Bray stained glass windows

We set about trying to find the Tearle memorial that Rev Helen Gardiner had referred to. First, though, was a complete surprise; a Roll of Honour with the name Robert Tearle.

St Mary Eaton Bray Roll of Honour

He had been born in Eaton Bray in 1887 and died in 1962. Below is the reference in closeup: “Beds” refers to his original enrollment as a private in the Bedfordshire Regiment.

Robert Tearle on St Mary Eaton Bray Roll of Honour

Then we found the lectern and the name of the Tearle we had come to find: it was Jeffrey, born in Eaton Bray in 1874, who died in 1952.

Lectern with Jeffery Tearle’s name

Here is a closeup of the memorial:

Jeffrey Tearle 1874-1952 in St Mary’s Eaton Bray

We were very touched; Jeffrey had continued his work as church verger, literally until he died.

But there was one more surprise; underneath the organ was a display which included a booklet on the Roll of Honour which, when it had been taken from its original hanging place was found to contain a note of all the villagers who had served in the Second World War, and amongst those was Jeffrey’s son Basil Jeffrey Tearle, who was born in Eaton Bray in 1921.

Basil Tearle St Mary’s WW2 Roll of Honour

Who were these men, and what do we know about them? Let’s start with Robert. He was born in 1887, so he was only 27 when WW1 started. He was always going to be drawn into that massive conflict which raged across Europe for four years at the cost of approximately 10 million military lives, and around 6 million civilian casualties.

Robert Tearle 1887, of Eaton Bray, was born to Alfred Tearle and Mary Ann nee Roe, also of Eaton Bray, on the 15 Sep 1887. His parents took a little while to baptise him, but that did take place, on 4 Sep 1890. He was the eldest of four children – Doris May in 1899, Arnott in 1900 and Aubrey in 1903 all followed him. Alfred and Mary Ann were married in 1887, in the beautiful church you can see above. In 1911, when Frederick filled in the census form, he was a bootmaker and poultry farmer, working from home. Robert was 23yrs old and he was a shoemaker and repairer, working on his “own account” presumably from the same address. The other children were at school.

In order to show you Robert’s ancestry, I need to digress for a moment and show you an outline of the Tearle tree from Alfred and backwards into history. Alfred’s father was William Tearle, born 1830, in Eaton Bray, who married Harriet Janes, of Eaton Bray, in 1851. They had three children, Hannah 1852, Tabitha 1854 and George 1856, who died in 1873. Remember Tabitha; we shall see her again.  In 1858 Harriett died, aged just 28yrs. I’m afraid I do not know why. With three small children on his hands, William married Ann Rogers of Leighton Buzzard in 1861, in the beautiful little church above, St Mary’s of Eaton Bray. At the time, she was a single mother with a son, John Rogers (named after her father) born 1857. The couple had seven children, of whom Frederick was second. Jonas, the first of their Tearle children was born and tragically died in 1861 at what cost to his parents, we cannot tell. Most of the Tearle children who were born after Alfred moved to the industrial areas of Northamptonshire, to become machinists and boot makers, and here is why: in 1849, a branch railway line was opened from Stanbridgeford to Dunstable; it was a walk of a few miles from Eaton Bray to the station, but only a few hundred yards from Stanbridge, and the people of Tearle Valley could take advantage of the opportunities in the new industrial cities to rid themselves of the sometimes intolerable grind of rural poverty.

William’s parents were George Tearle 1797, of Eaton Bray and Mary nee Hill of Hallibridge, near Spalding, in Lincolnshire. How they met is anyone’s guess, because people tended not to travel much outside their immediate countryside, if only because travel was difficult, dirty, expensive, and sometimes hazardous.

George’s parents were Thomas 1763 of Stanbridge, and Mary nee Gurney of Eaton Bray. In this marriage, we can see the movement of one family from the ancestral home of the Tearles in Stanbridge, to a village still in the same well-defined valley, about 4 miles away. And there they stayed, until the children of Alfred heard the call to the cities not particularly far from home.

Thomas’ parents were John Tearle 1741 of Stanbridge and Martha nee Archer. They had seven children, of whom Thomas was the second. John’s parents were Thomas Tearle 1709 and Mary nee Sibley. In another essay on this site, I have explored the relationships and events that lead to the marriage of Thomas and Mary, but the Tree now goes back to John Tearle of Stanbridge born about 1560, and with a few gaps here and there, the story of the Tearles in and around Tearle Valley goes back as far as the late 1300s.

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03Jun/16

William Alfred John Tearle 1890, Firefighter of Lostwithiel

It was Richard Tearle, leader of the Tearle research group, who first came across the story of William Tearle, the Cornish firefighter. He wrote to me in January, 2009.

Ewart – whilst idly browsing, I came upon this article:

“In September 1939 the National Fire Service was formed with Lostwithiel being a part of the service. By this time, `Loveday’ was replaced by a trailer and drawn by a lorry that was kept in Skelton’s Garage, Bridgend. Lostwithiel was frequently called to attend fires in Plymouth, Devonport, and Torpoint during the blitz of 1940 – 1941. During one of these raids, Section Leader Tearle lost his life, he was one of Lostwithiel Unit’s earliest casualties of the war.”

There are no other details that I can find – do we have any records of Tearles in Cornwall? This man clearly died as a civilian, albeit a member of the fire brigade. ‘Loveday’, by the way was a horse drawn steam engine….

Tracy Stanton was quickly onto the story – she had found the death registration: Q2 1941 William A J Tearle Bodmin reg dist. vol 5c page 234. Age 51.

And she had found more –
On the Firefighters Memorial site the date is given as 26 April 1941 but his MI in Restormal Rd Cem. reads as 1 May 1941. He appears to be William Alfred J Tearle born 1890 Woburn district. I found him in the 1891 census in Toddington, mother Eliza. Ann born Falmouth, Cornwall.”

Pat Field added to the growing list of telling details:
“Could this be a grandson of John 1831 and Maria Major? They had a son William 1863 born in Toddington.
1901 census: 7 Albany Road Toddington gives us William Tearle (transcribed Searle) 37 Carter born Toddington, Elizabeth 38 Wife born Falmouth and children Elizabeth 19 born Acton, Violet 15 born Acton and William A J 11 born Toddington.”

We had found a Toddington man who had moved to London, married a Falmouth girl, had three children in London, moved back to Toddington and had one more. That lad, William, had moved to Lostwithiel, Cornwall, and died fighting fires in the Plymouth Blitz. Extraordinary. If he was 11 in 1901, then he was a perfect age to be dragged into WW1, which he obviously survived.

I found the Lostwithiel Museum and rang the curator, Tremar Menendez. I asked him if he knew of a William Tearle. “Oh,” he said, “You best talk to Gillian Parsons, she knows everyone and everything.”

Smiling, I rang the number he gave me. Gill Parsons did know everything. She and a fellow museum committee member had researched William and his death and had written an article for the Museum Monthly. She would send it to me. As a result of the article, the Firefighters Memorial Trust had carried out its own research and agreed that William’s name should be added to the Firefighters National Memorial at the head of the Millennium Bridge, close to St Pauls.

“I have seen that memorial many times and examined it closely twice. I have not seen a Tearle name on it.”

“His name,” she said, “was added in November 2008.” I had not been to see the monument since about August.

Her article, a letter and some photographs arrived by post a couple of days later. She had met Victor, William’s son, in the village – he had just been to London to see the monument and he was very pleased. “Apparently,” she wrote, “his father married Ellen Hambly from Covich’s Mill (a very small hamlet about three miles away) near Lostwithiel.” William’s name had been added to a memorial in St Andrews Church, Plymouth, and Victor remembered going to the ceremony many decades ago. Victor would be pleased to speak with me if I contacted him.

Unfortunately, Victor could hardly understand a word I said because he was very deaf. “Is it all right if I come and see you?” I asked. “I would like that,” he said.

“How would you like to go to Plymouth for a week in the holidays?” I asked Elaine.

“The furthest west we have been is Ilfracombe, so that would be good,” she said. “What’s the occasion?”

I told her my plan was to see the memorial in St Andrews Church in Plymouth and then go to Lostwithiel to meet Victor.

“Lost who?”

“Lost-with-ee-yall. Brunel country,” I said. “There is a fabulous bridge near Plymouth, a railway station in the village, and a Roman bridge.”

St Andrews Church, Plymouth.

St Andrews Church, Plymouth.

DSC_9436 William AJ Tearle memorial St Andrews Church PlymouthSt Andrews Church was in the very centre of Plymouth and overlooked a bombed-out church lower down the same hill. The firefighters memorial was a brass plaque mounted on the wall in a small chapel. It was deeply moving. Every man listed had died fighting fires in Area 19 (Plymouth) during WW2. Tearle, W. A. J. was clearly visible at the bottom left.

The outside of the chapel was lined with several small cabinets containing large books of people’s names; victims of both wars.Two of the volumes were of National Roll of the Great War. I asked a churchwarden if I could see the contents and he gleefully brought me the key. The books were beautifully printed on stiff, cloth paper, but there were no Tearles in them. Another cabinet had a hand written volume of remembrance for the Merchant Marine. I looked for Louisa nee Lees, but again, there were no Tearles. We spent the rest of the afternoon on Plymouth Hoe, examining all the monuments on Monument Hill, including those of the Crimean War and the Boer War. The Plymouth Naval Memorial took the longest, because out of sight of this view, below, is another huge semi-circle of names. There were no Tearles.

Plymouth Naval Memorial

Plymouth Naval Memorial

The following morning we arrived in Lostwithiel; it was a voyage of about 20 miles and the roads that William had traveled to fight fires in Plymouth would not have been as good as the one we had driven on. How did he manage it? It was raining heavily. We met Gillian Parsons. “I’ll show you around the village and then I’ll take you to meet Victor. First, though, is the museum.” We walked down an alley near the river. “This is the Fowey River,” she nodded towards the building on the other side, “and the big building is Brunel’s warehouse. The other buildings were part of the railway station, but have been converted to apartments. Brunel’s building is untouched.”

“The railway?” I asked.

Lostwithiel Museum

Lostwithiel Museum

“We are on the line from Paddington to Penzance via Plymouth,” she said. “It wasn’t dug up by Dr Beeching so it still works.” She stopped. “Here is Fore St. It used to be called High St, but not now. Mind you, it still is the high street.” She unlocked the door of the museum. “I’m afraid you can’t take any photos,” she said, “but this is the very first Lostwithiel fire engine, given to us in 1716 by Lord Edgcumbe. Alongside it are the bellows from the smithy.”

I looked at the tangle of wooden spars and wheels. It was like something out of a storybook that had suddenly come to life. The fire appliance was tiny, and obviously horse-drawn. How on earth did it ever put out fires? There was no tank; where did the water go? “It delivered men to the fire, not water,” she said. “When they got there, they fought the fire with buckets and beaters.”

“When I first heard about the Lostwithiel Fire Service,” I said, “they mentioned a horse-drawn fire appliance called the Loveday. Is this it?”

“No,” she said. “That was the third appliance the service owned. It was bought in 1904 and was definitely our most famous. The Loveday was named after her daughter by the then mayoress of Lostwithiel and this building was the old fire station that the Loveday set out from for any of the village fires. The new fire appliance was a trailer pump unit, drawn by a lorry, which was garaged in Bridgend. It’s only just up the hill so the men did not have far to go to get it.” She opened a drawer and showed me a remarkable photograph.

William Tearle 1890 right rear with the Lostwithiel Fire Service team

William Tearle 1890 right rear with the Lostwithiel Fire Service team.

“Here is the Loveday,” she said, “a steam-powered, horse-drawn pump. By late 1939, shortly after this photo was taken, the National Fire Service was formed and we took delivery of our new appliance.”

I studied the picture with William, marked with a cross, sitting proudly at the front of his beloved fire engine. “The Loveday was a Merryweather appliance, quite well known in London, where they also had self-propelled versions. Ours may have been horse-drawn, but it still put out fires and it still saved lives,” said Gill.

“What happened to it?”

“Victor said it has ended up in a museum in America,” she said a little wanly. “It’s sad that the local people did not value their treasures years ago. The new fire station is at the entrance to the town car park, it’s called B17. We had to campaign for years to get it. We are a volunteer service now, but we used to run a Green Goddess.” She waved her arm around the interior of the building. “Did you know this used to be the Corn Exchange?”

“I suppose there wasn’t a lot of corn to sell,” I said, taking in the size of the room. I am used to the St Albans building. In both cases, the telephone rendered the building superfluous to requirements.

“Upstairs was the Guildhall and it is still the council chambers.”

“The council meets upstairs?”

“It has for hundreds of years.” I looked at the squat, round form of the bellows with its long handle folded back over the top. It was a little like a small, over-fat barrel, and was possibly made of leather with a wooden plate on the top. I didn’t dare touch it. “The smithy was used until quite recently,” said Gill, “and it was sold when the last blacksmith died. Actually, I’m not sure you’d call him a blacksmith; he made wrought iron art objects rather than shoeing horses.” She smiled, “Would you like to see it?”DSC06807 William and Ellen house and smithy

On the corner of North St and Church Lane stood this unprepossessing, square three-storeyed building and next to it was a much older slate-roofed squat building with a big bay window.

“The smithy is a seventeenth-century building and you can see its double doors, including this half-door. The last blacksmith made the sign above the door.”

William Tearle 1890 in the smithy at Lostwithiel.I looked closely at the sign “LOSTWL SMITHY” and the vents in the roof. “It’s a private dwelling,” she continued, “and not connected to the house any more, but that’s where your William worked, and the house on the corner was where he and Ellen and their children lived.”

She produced another picture. “Here’s a photo Victor loaned me which shows William at the smithy.” I looked at the picture and the building in front of me. I could see the opening to the forge, now covered by a bay window, and I could see the main door fastened back against the left-hand wall, with the business sign just visible above it. “There was more than one smithy in Lostwithiel,” she said, “but this used to be quite a hub of village life. William was close to the high street and used to make horseshoes in a variety of sizes and hang them in the smithy ready for use. If someone turned up unexpectedly, William could always find shoes to fit. He gave a very good service, too. When he shod a horse he cleaned each foot, trimmed it and polished it so that the owner, when he paid, felt he had received a lot for the price he paid. In winter, William had one of the few warm places in town, so that anyone with time on his hands, and a word to spare, would drop in on the smithy and have a nice conversation, while he warmed up with his back to the forge!”

“How much did he charge?”

“For shoeing horses? In the 1930s I should think around three shillings per horse.” I thought about it. “In 1960, my dad said to me it would make all the difference to him if he was earning five pounds a week. So seven horses a day would be a guinea and six days a week would be six guineas. He’d have to line them up, wouldn’t he?”

Gill smiled, “Would you like to see the cemetery now?” DSC06826 Ewart cleans Williams headstone LostwithielWe opened the gate to the Restormal Rd Cemetery and secured the lock. “I have catalogued all the headstones in the cemetery, so I really do know everyone here,” said Gill. “The churchyard was closed a long time ago and for a while this was a kind of churchyard extension, kept tidy by the sexton. These days, it is owned by the council, and they maintain it.” She led us down a cleanly mown strip of grass, slippery in the wet. “There is the headstone,” she said. “It has been moved for some renovations to the cemetery, so I am not sure where the grave actually is.” I cleaned the headstone the better to read the inscription.

DSC06828 Detail on William Tearle headstone Lostwithiel“That’s lead lettering in Lostwithiel granite,” said Gill.

I stood up and took a pace back to see the headstone sitting in the grass, glistening in the rain and surrounded by dancing spring flowers. Each of us stood for a moment, reading the inscription and thinking of what had brought us together in this place and at this time. “I’ll take you to see Victor now,” said Gill. “I promised Mavis we’d be there by 1pm.”

It wasn’t far from the Restormal Rd Cemetery to Victor’s and from their cheery wave we could see we were well received. Gill, pictured on the right with Elaine, introduced us to Victor and Mavis and left.

“What a lovely lady,” said Elaine. “The museum is lucky to have her; she went so far out of her way to help us today.”

Mavis had put lunch on the table for us and while we ate Victor showed us the relics his father had left behind, and told us the story of his life. “Here’s a picture of the family,” he said.

Tearle family album Myrtle Victor Raymond Hambly T Ellen Rosina nee Hambly Frederick Hambly T William Alfred John Olive 1927

He carefully lifted a small sepia print from the mantelpiece and pried off the back of the frame, the better for me to see it.

“He was born and bred in Brentford, London,” he said, “and he had two sisters; Myrtle and Olive. That’s Myrtle standing on the left, then me, Victor Raymond Hambly Tearle sitting on my mother’s knee. Her name is Ellen Rosina nee Hambly. Standing in the middle is my brother Frederick Hambly Tearle, then my father William Alfred John Tearle, then Olive.” He looked up.

“But there’s one missing – ten years after this photo, my mother had a younger brother for everyone, whom she called William. He was a quantity surveyor and yard foreman for Churchill and Johnson, a building firm in Basildon. He went there to live with Myrtle and Olive. He was killed in a lorry accident near Luton and he is buried in the Leyndon cemetery near Basildon.” He looked at me carefully. “He was only 7yrs old when Bill (my father, William; they always called him Bill) was killed.” He continued, “Myrtle was born in 1916 and she married Donald Jones in 1939. Now, Olive was born in 1920 and she married Alf Mitchell. Fred, he married Evelyn and I was born in 1925 and I married Joan Goodman in,” he thought for a moment, “1947/48/49. She died of breast cancer when she was only 34yrs.” He looked intently at the photo as if to drag from it some insight into these family tragedies. He scanned the photo and his eyes stopped on the picture of his gently smiling father.

“He became a blacksmith in Brentford, and he joined the Royal Horse Artillery to fight in the Great War. They sent him to Cornwall and he was carting gunpowder from Trago Mills. That’s how he met my mother. They married after the war in Braddock Church and they lived in Taphouse, then in Sandylake Cottage just out of Liskeard, then they came to Lostwithiel and moved into the house on the corner of Church Lane. My father set up the smithy in that little building alongside the house. It had five bedrooms, so when my grandparents came to live with us, it was a good thing the house was a big one. My grandfather, William, was an employee of the Greater London Council. My father wanted me to become a blacksmith like him, but I joined Coop and Brewers the local bakers, who were also my father’s best customers. I took an apprenticeship with George Brewer.”

“My father worked with the Loveday, you know,” he said. “He joined the Lostwithiel Fire Brigade in the 1920s and it may be in a museum now, but he fought fires with it. In those days, the brigade was owned by the council, and they supplied the uniforms, but the men had to buy their own trousers. That museum you went to was the Fire Brigade building. In 1939 the Loveday was retired and there was a new fire pump, which was mounted on a trailer and drawn by a lorry. That was the time when the National Fire Service was formed and my father became Section Leader Tearle. They would call him the Station Manager now. During the Plymouth Blitz, the men worked during the day, then they’d get the call at night to fight fires in Plymouth. He would take the fire engine to Saltash – you’ve seen the Brunel Bridge?”

I nodded.

“It’s a railway bridge, no way across for a vehicle. So they loaded the fire unit – lorry and trailer – on to the ferry and crossed the river that way. In those days the ferry was drawn across the river by chain. My father was in command of the fire brigade and he would work all night long and then come home, and have to work all day in the smithy as well.”

He had come to the hard part. He put down the picture. “The lorry had the ladders on it and the trailer with the pump got pulled along behind. The men sat up on the lorry amongst the ladders. The lorry fell into a bomb crater and my father was thrown out onto the road, with the ladders falling on top of him. He was taken to Bodmin hospital and died there 4 days later. Peritonitis.”

“Let me show you what kind of son he was.”
DSC_9581 Present from France from William for his fatherVictor opened the glass door in the cabinet behind me and brought out two small objects, a cutlass and an anvil. “Bill brought home the  knife and the anvil from Calais after WW1. They DSC06832 Present from William to his fatherwere made in France. The cutlass blade says “Souvenir of Calais” and Bill had the handle engraved “To my dear father.”

I tried to distract him, “What did you do in the war?”

“I joined the Royal Navy as a baker on the HMS Onslow. Fred joined the navy, too, as a petty officer shipwright. One of my best friends, also a baker’s mate, was on the HMS Exeter. He died when she was torpedoed. My first wife, Joan, was a WREN.”

“I saw the Exeter on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, I said. “Your friend’s name would be there.”

“The Onslow was Cap’n Dee’s destroyer,” said Victor, resuming, “and it was sold to the Pakistan government after the war, to help form the Pakistan Navy. She was torpedoed, too, when I was working on her, but the torpedo didn’t explode. Do you know what that’s like?” He pointed to his left, “The officers’ quarters are aft,” he waved to his right, “and the rest of the crew is for’ard, but the kitchens are amidships. That means we sit above the magazine. When you are torpedoed in the magazine there is a hell of a big bang.

We heard the torpedo hit, then later we heard it explode, but out to sea on the other side of the ship. I can’t tell you how relieved we were. We worked the North Atlantic route guarding convoys taking supplies to the Russians from Scapa Flow. I have a service medal given to me by the Russians but I wasn’t allowed to wear it until quite recently because of the Cold War.

After the war, we were part of the escort that took the King of Norway back to Oslo. We were met by a fleet of little boats, some of which had been three days at sea, waiting for us.”

Victor’s service record below includes his citation from the Norwegians.DSC06829 Victor Tearle and citation

And on the right are his service medals.DSC_9607 Victors medals

Below is a recent medal from the Russians celebrating sixty years since the Russian relief supply convoys first operated.

DSC_9610 Victors Arctic Convoy medal

“Victor,” I said, “Your grandparents came to live with you in Lostwithiel. Did they die here?”

“Oh, yes, and I can show you where they are buried in the Restormal Rd Cemetery. Would you like me to take you there?”

I would be delighted, but first a little caution. “It’s raining and underfoot is very slippery. With steel replacement knees, are you going to be safe doing this?”

“If I’d wanted the safe option all my life, I wouldn’t have joined the navy,” he said shortly. “I’ll cope.”

We drove round to the cemetery and Victor opened the gate, clipping the latch back. “Over here, the third site from the gate.” He looked around. “I thought there used to be a headstone. There has been some work done in this cemetery and either they have removed it, or perhaps there never was one.”

DSC_9617 William and Elizabeth Ann Tearle unmarked grave Lostwithiel

Above is the unmarked grave of William 1863 and Elizabeth Ann Tearle in the Restormal Rd Cemetery. The site itself is between the two graves in the foreground. We stood for a moment and paid our respect to the unmarked grave. We carefully walked down the mown strip and stopped at William’s headstone. “It’s not very well maintained,” said Victor, “and the council is saying that all memorials that are unsafe in their view will be removed. There are a few that have been pushed over, a few that have fallen over and a few that are in poor condition. I would rather they restored the memorials than simply carted them away. What a loss!”DSC_9620 Victor Tearle stands next to his fathers grave Lostwithiel

We stood at William’s headstone silently, each with our own thoughts. “When they put in this path, I reminded them that it ran right over Bill’s grave, but it’s done now, so what can I do?”

“The grave is under the path?”

“Yes. They have moved the headstone a little and it’s not lined up properly, but right here, underneath the path and at right angles to it, is my father’s grave. You know he was the only man in the Lostwithiel Fire Service to be killed in the Plymouth blitz? And he was only 51.”

Myrtles Wedding to Donald Jones with Lostwithiel Fire Brigade honour guard Cornish Guardian No 429

We returned to Victor’s house and he rummaged in a drawer in his lounge for a moment. “You won’t have seen this,” he said. “It’s one of several pictures of my sister Myrtle’s wedding in 1939. The Lostwithiel Fire Service turned out for her guard of honour. My father was so proud of that. The fire service was part of the National Fire Service then and they had their standard uniform – mind you, they still had to buy their own trousers. They were right pleased with their new fire engine, too. You know Myrtle joined the Fire Service after Bill died? That young chap there is Donald Jones. Myrtle and Olive went to Basildon and ran a transport company and it was when my younger brother William joined them that he was killed in the lorry accident.”

“I have a little present for you, now, Victor,” I said, and I lay out on the table the six pages of the hour-glass chart that I had printed of the branch of William 1863 of Toddington. “Your grandfather was a Toddington man. These days it’s a trucking stop, but many Tearles have come from there.” I pointed to William 1863. “There’s your grandfather, with Elizabeth Ann of Falmouth. Did you know her maiden name, by the way?”

“No,” he said slowly, “I never heard it.”

“It’s there for you now: Elizabeth Jane Cox. And there’s your father, William Alfred John Tearle, who has married Ellen Hambly. This is a history chart so we don’t keep it up to date with births later than about 1920.”

He nodded and scanned William’s family, “Auntie Lizzie, Ellie and Violet. She never married, you know, Violet; she ran Waylet’s cafe on the main arterial into Southend. Aunt Ellie married a chap called Colbeck. He had lost a leg in WW1. They came to Lostwithiel from Putney when I was about seven years old and took in foster children with mental problems. Aunt Lizzie was the manageress of Lyons corner shop in the centre of London. You know I can’t remember her husband’s name. He was killed during the War. Where are you?”

I said, “There are your great-grandparents, John Tearle and Maria nee Major. You can see that John was born and bred in Toddington, as well as your grandfather. Beyond them are William Tearle and Catherine nee Fossey and it was he who made the jump from Stanbridge, where the family originates, to Toddington.”

Victor examined the chart, “Born Stanbridge, died Toddington.” He counted on his fingers, “William, William, John and William; so four generations in Toddington.”

I nodded. “The last William, see how his father is Richard? His wife, Elizabeth, had her first child at 18yrs old in 1796 and her last child, possibly twins, in 1823. Thirteen children in all, and we don’t know how many died as stillbirth or as infants.”

Mavis gasped, “Thirteen children over 27 years.”

“You can see that you are descended from William, a son of Richard and Elizabeth, and I am descended from Thomas, William’s brother. Richard and Elizabeth are our common ancestor. I may be a distant cousin, but we are both members of the same family.” I traced his tree back to John 1610.

“1610,” said Victor. “That’s a while ago.”

“I have some more,” I said and pulled out the 1891 Toddington census return. “Here’s your father, William, just one year old, and you can see in the right margin that he was born in Toddington. Here’s your grandmother Elizabeth Ann, born in Falmouth.” I took out the 1901 Toddington census and he examined it intently. “Here’s your father, now 11 years old and your grandfather, a carrier. For whatever reason, he has left his London job and come to work in Toddington for at least eleven years. A trucking man, too. You can see they have come from London because Elizabeth, Eleanor and Violet are all shown as born in the registration district of Acton, a London address. We can’t always account for everything, but we document what we find.”Victor and Mavis Tearle, Lostwithiel.

Victor and Mavis Tearle, Lostwithiel, 2009.

Over our last cup of tea, he gave me a piece of advice – how to eat a Cornish pasty. “You put the crimped edge into the palm of your hand and start at the pointed end. That way you can fold down the paper bag as you eat it and the pasty will hold the hot gravy in until you make your way down to it. Don’t forget, I’m a baker so I know. Next time you come here, let me know a little more in advance and I’ll make you some pasties. Mavis and I often do for family gatherings and she’s a very good pastry cook.”

I stopped for a moment. “You put the ingredients into the pastry and then cook the pasty? I thought you cooked the ingredients in a pot, like a stew.”


“No!” they said in unison. Victor said, “In the old days you would take your pasty in your pocket with you, all nice and hot, and keep your hands warm on cold winter mornings.”

We collected our gear and loaded it into the car while we thanked Victor and Mavis for their hospitality and generosity. We had met, one way or another, three generations of the Toddington Tearles. William 1863 and his wife Elizabeth Ann nee Cox, from Falmouth, had joined William 1890,  the blacksmith and firefighter and his wife Ellen nee Hambly, here in Lostwithiel after he retired from local government. William’s family included Victor, the third generation in Lostwithiel, their grandson and son respectively. I had learnt a great deal about William and his family, not the least because I had met Victor and seen the influence that William had had on him. He is a man of deep conviction and solid humanity. A salt of the earth man, a working man. A man we can be proud of. From the tantalising fragment Richard had supplied, we had uncovered a story of bravery, commitment, patriotism, loyalty and family pride.

Our last view of Lostwithiel - their new fire station.

Our last view of Lostwithiel – their new fire station.

 

DSC_1430 Firefighters National Memorial at St PaulsWe went to London to see the Firefighters National Memorial and to record the additional plaque with William’s name. The memorial stands across the road from St Pauls Cathedral, on the walkway approach to the Millennium Bridge.

It already has hundreds of names on it, from firefighters killed in the line of duty fighting fires throughout Britain during WW2. Since William was killed under just such circumstances, then it is right that he is remembered along with the others. We were pleased to see that his bravery in running towards a fire when everyone else was evacuating, and the sacrifice he made in the execution of his duty, has finally been acknowledged at a national level.

DSC_1475 William Tearle on Firefighters National MemorialThe recently added plaque is near the ground but very easy to find. Here is a detail of the plaque with William’s name clearly legible.

The night of 26/27 April 1941 was in the middle of what was to be called the Plymouth Blitz. William was critically injured racing to a fire in Devonport, and died in Bodmin Hospital on 1 May 1941, hence the two dates that Tracy had found.  

We are very grateful to the staff and researchers of the Lostwithiel Museum for uncovering William’s story, and for their actions in ensuring that William was remembered for the work that had cost him his life.

Post script

I have uncovered a potted, but detailed, History of the HMS Onlsow, part of a much larger piece on the ships of the Royal Navy written by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd)

* After the allied landings in Normandy (operation NEPTUNE) in May 1944, the Onslow was leader of a flotilla ordered to patrol the English Channel to keep secure the Allied hold of the French coast. The torpedo strike Victor recounted above happened on 18 June 1944.

* On 5 June 1945 the Onslow (and others) escorted the HMS Norfolk to Oslo, taking home the Norwegian king, for which there have been celebrations in Trafalgar Square every Christmas since.

* HMS Onslow was deployed by the Pakistan Navy as the TIPPU SULTAN until 1957, being returned to Royal Navy duties as an anti-submarine frigate in 1960. She was finally taken off service and scrapped in 1980.

* HMS Exeter was one of the fleet, which included the New Zealand cruiser the HMS Archilles, that famously won the Battle of the River Plate, in Dec 1939. There is a wonderful picture of the huge amount of damage she sustained during this battle. She was then engaged in the Battle of the Java Sea with the Australian Navy against the Japanese and after a great deal of fighting during February, was finally sunk by torpedo on 1 March 1942. This was a towering warrior of a ship and a true friend of the ANZACs.

Ewart Tearle, May 2009

Epitaph:

August 2016

I received a very tearful call from Mavis in September 2011 to say that Victor had died, and Elaine and I determined then that we would visit Mavis, see Victor’s grave, and pay our respects to his memory, as the last chapter in this story. In these August holidays we have visited Lostwithiel and made good our intention. Mavis was delighted to see us and coincidentally we met Vivienne, Victor’s eldest daughter.

The road to the Lostwithiel cemetery is as steep a climb as a car can be coaxed. We looked for Victor’s grave, but found that he had been buried with his first wife.

Here is their grave:

Grave of Joan and Victor Tearle

Grave of Joan and Victor Tearle

Here is the text on each of their headstones:

Headstone of Joan Tearle nee Goodman

Headstone of Joan Tearle nee Goodman

Headstone for Victor Tearle

Headstone for Victor Tearle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and here is the view to their grave from the cemetery gate.

Joan and Victor Tearle grave location from Lostwithiel cemetery gate

Joan and Victor Tearle grave location from Lostwithiel cemetery gate.

You can see the vase of flowers in the middle ground on the left diagonal from the front headstone.

I cannot overstate the admiration I have for Victor, and for his father, William AJ Tearle. Mavis said that at heart Victor “was just a Cornishman,” and if that means he was a generous, full-hearted man, with a love of life and a deep appreciation of his obligations, then we can leave that thought as his epitaph.

02Jan/16

Jeffrey Tearle 1891, Eaton Bray, UK (1/Beds Regt)

On the Roll of Honour in the Dunstable Priory Church, there are two names: Tearle G and Tearle J. The first is George Tearle, born 1876 in Dunstable; the second is Jeffrey Tearle, born 1891 in Eaton Bray. They are only distantly related.
Below is a picture of the War Memorial in the grounds of the Dunstable Priory Church.

Here is his entry in National Roll of the Great War:

Tearle Jeffrey Cpl National Roll

Here is Jeffrey’s service record from the CWGC.

  • Name: TEARLE, JEFFREY Initials: J   
  • Nationality: United Kingdom
  • Rank:Corporal   Regiment/Service: Bedfordshire Regt Unit Text:1st Bn.
  • Age: 24  Date of Death: 31/10/1914
  • Service No: 3/6459
  • Additional information: Son of Mrs Sarah Jane Tearle of 9 Alfred St, Dunstable, Beds
  • Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference:Panel 10 and 11.
  • Memorial: LE TOURET MEMORIAL

War memorial inside the gates of Dunstable Priory Church.

War memorial inside the gates of Dunstable Priory Church.

Jeffrey was born 1891 in Eaton Bray and his parents were George 1861 of Edlesborough and Sarah Jane nee Horn. He was the brother of Frank Tearle 1898 also of Eaton Bray. George 1861 was the son of George 1831 and Hannah Maria nee Janes. George 1831 was the son of Jabez 1792 and Mary nee Green and his parents were William 1749 and Mary nee Prentice. Thus Jeffrey is of the branch William 1749. George 1876, the other Tearle man on the memorial, descends from Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp, via Charles Bowler Tearle and Constance Cleaver nee Dickens. Jeffrey and George are 4th cousins.

Panel of WW1 casualties on Dunstable Church war memorial

Panel of WW1 casualties on Dunstable Church war memorial.

Steve Fuller, historian of the Bedfordshire Regiment says of Jeffrey:

“His death – on the 30th October – two companies of the Bedfords retook trenches the Ghurka’s had vacated as a result of all their Officers being killed or wounded and them not knowing what else to do under a heavy bombardment. That day was a confusing minor engagement that is not really listed or included in the diary. The Germans caused even more hassle as they were shouting “We are Ghurka’s” at the Bedfords, making them hesitate and allowing the Germans to pick those who paused within sight of them. Nasty little **&@##’s. The following day saw the Beds split in 2 and both portions in the trenches supporting other units who were hard pressed by localized attacks and bombardments. The entire 15th Brigade was having a horrible day but they simply clung to their posts and put up with it despite the dwindling Officer supply. Although the diary does not record it, several men were killed.”

Roll of Honour inside Dunstable Priory Church.

Roll of Honour inside Dunstable Priory Church.

“Jeffrey being on the Le Touret Memorial would be down to his being buried in the field and his grave being lost in the four years of fighting that raged over the area before the Imperial War Graves Commission began the process of collecting the dead from all over the battlefields and condensing them into the cemeteries we know today. The chances are that he is buried in a cemetery as an unknown soldier, bless him. When men were killed outright on the spot they were buried where they fell, left there until it was possible to do something abut their corpse or moved to a small collection area, usually behind the trench lines somewhere. All these kind of graves were condensed in the 1920’s but they are still finding men even today, as you may well know.”

Closeup of Roll of Honour inside Dunstable Priory Church

Closeup of Roll of Honour inside Dunstable Priory Church.

The massed graves at Le Touret Military Cemetery

The massed graves at Le Touret Military Cemetery

Jeffrey does not have a headstone at Le Touret Military Cemetery, he is remembered by inscription on the Bedfordshire Regiment section of the Le Touret Memorial.

Corporal Jeffrey Tearle Bedfordshire Rgt Le Touret Memorial

Corporal Jeffrey Tearle Bedfordshire Rgt Le Touret Memorial

Here is Le Touret Memorial it remembers the names of more than 13,000 soldiers “who have no known grave” and were killed in the Le Basse – Bethune area of Pas de Calais.

Le Touret Memorial

Le Touret Memorial.

Jeffrey Tearle in the Book of Remembrance

Jeffrey Tearle in Le Touret Book of Remembrance.

21Mar/15

Dunstable Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1710-1940

Compiled by Pat Field
Annotated by Ewart Tearle and Pat Field Mar 2010


DUNSTABLE BAPTISMS
ST PETER
Dunstable Parish CD up to 1813 – none
Dunstable Parish CD 1813 – 1852
27 Jan 1834 ADA dau of James Tearle, Horsekeeper.
Adah dau of James 1806 and Mary Ann nee Webb. Joseph 1737

Fiche 1853-1945

July 8 1853 GEORGE NASH TEARLE son of Richard & Kezia Tearle Labourer of West Street
Dunstable
Son of Richard Webb Tearle and Kezia nee Wright. Gson of James 1806, married Mary Ann Hallifax.
Joseph 1737.

July 28 1872 ARTHUR TEARLE son of Charles & Sarah Tearle – Lab Victoria Street Dunstable
Son of Charles 1840 & Sarah nee Hill. Married mary Ann Bullock. Joseph 1737.

May 28 1890 FLORENCE EMILY TEARLE dau of Charles & Annie Tearle Painter of Dunstable
Dau of Charles 1836 & Annie nee Eastment. Married George Spivey. Joseph 1737.

June 10 1894 FREDERICK JAMES TEARLE son of Charles Bowler & Constance Tearle Lab of Church Walk Dunstable born Jan 15 1885
Son of Charles Bowler T 1848 & Constance nee Dickens. Married Maggie Clara Weller. Joseph 1737.

June 10 1894 ARTHUR THOMAS TEARLE son of Charles Bowler & Constance Tearle Lab of Church Walk Dunstable Born July 9 1886
Son of Charles Bowler T 1848 & Constance nee Dickens. Married Beatrice Putman. Joseph 1737.

Nov 1 1908 FREDERICK WILLIAM HENRY TEARLE son of James Henry and Edith Lydia Tearle Warehouseman of 64 Edwards Street Dunstable
Son of James Henry T 1884 & Edith Lydia nee Morgan. Sergeant in the Australian Army in WW2.
Married Patricia Bridget Cotter. John 1741.

Sept 7 1911 IVY CONSTANCE TEARLE dau of Albert Edward and Norah Kate Tearle of 37 Church Street Dunstable Motor Fitter
Ivy 1906, dau of Albert Edward 1879 & Norah Kate nee Cardell nee Pecks. Gdau Charles Bowler T.
Joseph 1737.

Sept 7 1911 WINIFRED IRENE TEARLE dau of Albert Edward and Norah Kate Tearle of 37 Church Street Dunstable Motor Fitter
Winifred 1908, dau of Albert Edward 1879 & Norah Kate nee Cardell nee Pecks. Joseph 1737.

Sept 7 1911 ALBERT EDWARD TEARLE son of Albert Edward and Norah Kate Tearle of 37 Church Street Dunstable Motor Fitter
Albert 1910 son of Albert Edward 1879 & Norah Kate nee Cardell nee Pecks. Joseph 1737

Mar 18 1916 DORIS SYLVIA TEARLE dau of Louisa Sylvia Tearle of Rokley Gt Northern Road Dunstable Domestic Servant
Dau of Louisa Sylvia Tearle 1890, gdau Charles 1863 and Louisa Caroline nee Green. Joseph 1737.

Dec 1932 GRACE TEARLE dau of Alfred and Annie Tearle of 8 Richard Street Dunstable

Ethel Grace dau of Alfred 1887 and Annie nee Rathbone. Bap at 18yrs. Married Stanley Capp.
William 1749.

?Dec 1934 ?ELIZABETH TEARLE dau of Arthur and Elizabeth Tearle of 10 Chiltern Road Dunstable Lab born 17 ? 1916 ?
Irene Elizabeth 1916, dau of Arthur 1877 and his second wife Elizabeth Saunders. Gdau Tabitha 1854. Died 1940 and is buried in Dunstable Cemetery

Nov 15 1939 STANLEY ALBERT TEARLE son of Alfred & Annie Tearle (address unreadable) Machine Operator
Stanley Albert 1913 son of Alfred 1887 and Annie Rathbone – he married in Q4 1939, probably the reason for a late baptism. William

1749. Sept 30 1945 JOHN HAROLD TEARLE son of Alfred George and Vera Dorothy Tearle of 35 Grantham Road Luton Drayman born 2nd July 1945 UNK poss son of Alfred George 1901 and Vera Dorothy Irons) NOTE; These records were badly filmed and lots of pages were completely unreadable , the original
records may reveal more if needed.

DUNSTABLE MARRIAGES
23 Nov 1710 WILLIAM TALE – ANN FORD of Stanbridge
UNK. If this was his first marriage, the latest William could be born would be 1694. The nearest to this is William 1699, son of Thomas and Sarah nee Pepyatt, so this is not him. The only likely candidate on the Tree is William 1671 Stbg son of John 1645 and Jane on the John 1560 Tree (Nathaniel’s Tree). Unfortunately for us he married an Elizabeth and they had children from 1707 to 1722, so it isn’t him. A likely person may be William 1670 of Stanbridge, whose parents were John 1645 and Jane nee Purrett. William was the grandson of John 1620 and he married Susannah; they had a Mary Tearle in 1697 and another Mary in 1700. If Susannah died, it could well be this William who married Ann Ford.
There is a birth to this couple recorded in the Stanbridge PRs:
1711 NO21 Eliz d Wm-Ann T


DUNSTABLE PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHURCH

7 March 1908
ARTHUR THOMAS TEARLE 21 Compositor 14 Church Lane Dunstable Father Charles Bowler
Tearle dec Lab
BEATRICE PUTMAN 19 72 Bury Park Road Luton Father Mark Putman Lab
Witnesses Mark Putman and Ellen Putman
Arthur Thomas T 1887, son Charles Bowler T 1848 and Constance nee Dickens. John 1741


 

DUNSTABLE WESLEYAN, THE SQUARE, DUNSTABLE

28 July 1914
ROBERT TEARLE 26 Batchelor Hat Blocker 41 High Street North Dunstable Father Alfred Tearle
Dealer
HETTY FLORENCE BOURN 23 Spinster Hat Machinist 41 High Street Dunstable Father William
Stow Bourn Gas Foreman
Witnesses Elsie Elizabeth Bourn and William Bourn Robert 1887, son Alfred 1866 and Mary Ann nee Roe. G-gson George 1797 and Mary nee Hill. John
1741.
ST PETERS PARISH CHURCH
9 Aug 1852
RICHARD WEBB TEARLE 27 Batchelor Lab of West Street Father James Tearle Lab
KEZIA WRIGHT 32 Widow West Street Father John Nash Farmer
Witnessed by John Tearle and Harriett Tearle
Richard Webb T 1826, stonemason, son James 1806 and Mary Ann nee Webb. Kezia died young, and their son George Nash T lived with Richard’s parents. G-gson of Joseph 1737.
10 July 1859
CHARLES TEARLE 23 Painter & Glazier High Street Father George Tearle Groom
ANN EASTMENT 20 Sewer Church Street Father George Eastment Gen Dealer
Witnesses George Eastment and Elizabeth Tearle
Charles 1836 son George 1809 and Elizabeth 1810. George is descended from Joseph 1737 and Elizabeth from John 1741. Charles is the g-gson of them both. One of their daughters, Charlotte Louisa, emigrated to NZ and died in Auckland 1947.

1868 September
CHARLES BOWLER TEARLE 21 Batchelor Lab of High Street Father James Tearle Ostler
CONSTANCE CLEAVER DICKENS 22 Spinster Father Simon Cleaver Farmer
Witnesses Thomas John Smith and Clara Cleaver Charles Bowler T 1848, brother of Richard Webb T above, son of James 1806 and Mary Ann nee Webb. Bowler is named after Mary Ann’s mother. Joseph 1737.


24 December 1871
CHARLES TEARLE 31 Batchelor Lab Dunstable Father William Tearle Lab
SARAH HILL 32 Spinster Dunstable Father James Hill Labourer
Witnesses George Tearle and Eliza Allen
Charles 1840, son William 1814 and Hannah nee Pratt. G-gson Joseph 1737.


7 June 1874
HARRY JOHN BULL 20 Batchelor Blocker High Street Father John Bull Shoemaker
EMILY TEARLE 21 Spinster ? High Street Father James Tearle Groom
Witnesses Joseph Boskett and Clara Tearle
Emily 1852, sister of Charles Bowler T and Richard Webb T above.


21 Dec 1874
LEVI TEARLE 20 Batchelor Blocker High Street Father William Tearle Stoker Gas Works
MARY SUMMERFIELD 21 Spinster High Street Father Thomas Summerfield Lab
Witnesses J. L Spittel and ? could be Fanny Mead or Ward got cert
Levi 1855 of Thorn, son William 1814 and Hannah nee Pratt. Joseph 1737.

29 Oct 1882
HENRY GEORGE GILBEY 22 Bat Baker Church Street F Daniel George Gilbey ? Officer
MARY ANN TEARLE 19 Spinster Dunstable Father Charles Tearle Straw Dealer
Witnesses ? Gilbey and Harriett Tearle – got cert
She was registered as Mary Hannah, but married as Mary Ann 1864, dau Charles 1831 and Sarah
Ann nee Brandon. John 1741


2 Jan 1905
JAMES HENRY TEARLE 21 Bat Straw Hat Manufacture High Street South F George Tearle lab
EDITH LYDIA MORGAN 22 Spinster Straw Hat Manufacture Dunstable Father ?Morgan
Witnesses John Haines and Rosa Dyer got cert
James Henry 1844 Dunst, son George 1851 and Louis nee Finch. Emigrated to Australia 1912. Lived
in Brisbane. John 1741.

10 March 1906
ALBERT EDWARD TEARLE 26 Batchelor Mechanic St. Peters Rd Dunstable Father Charles
Bowler Tearle Lab
NORAH KATE CARDELL 29 Widow St Peters Street Dunstable father Lot Pecks? Platelayer
Witnesses Francis Bowler Tearle and Beatrice Pecks
Albert Edward 1879 Dunst, son Charles Bowler T and Constance Cleaver nee Dickens. Joseph 1737.

8 June 1908
HERBERT ERNEST BURGESS 20 Batchelor Straw Hat Trade 64 Edward Street Father John
Burgin deceased Blocker
PRISCILLA TEARLE 21 Single Domestic Servant 64 Edward Street Father George Tearle lab
Witnesses William Herbert Pateman and Edith Lydia Tearle
Priscilla 1886 Dunst, dau George 1851 and Louisa nee Finch. Went to see brother James Henry T when he was living in NZ for a while. Edith Lydia is her sister-in-law. John 1741.


23 Oct 1909
SYDNEY JOHN TEARLE 28 Batchelor Lab Church Walk Dunstable Father Charles Bowler Tearle
deceased lab
ALICE ANN NORTHWOOD 26 Spinster Church Walk Dunstable Father Leonard William Northwood
Blockmaker
Witnesses George Northwood and Beatrice May Saunders
Sydney John 1880, son Charles Bowler T and Constance Cleaver nee Dickens. Awarded the Military
Medal in WW1 for rescuing men while under fire. Joseph 1737.

26 Dec 1912
ALFRED TEARLE 24 Batchelor Lab Church Street Dunstable Father George Tearle dec Lab
ANNIE RATHBONE 23 Spinster Printer Church Street Dunstable Father Samuel Rathbone Shepherd
Witnesses John Henry Tearle and Lily Northwood.
Alfred 1887, son George 1861 and Sarah Jane nee Horn. G-gson Jabez 1792. Witnesses are Alfred’s
brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law. William 1749.


7 June 1913
JOHN HENRY TEARLE 28 Batchelor Telegraph Wireman Alfred Street Dunstable Father George
Tearle dec Lab
LILY NORTHWOOD 26 Spinster Litho Printer Church Walk Dunstable Father Leonard William
Northwood Blockmaker
Witnesses Amelia Mead and Harry Northwood
John Henry T 1885, son George 1861 and Sarah Jane nee Horn. G-gson Jabez 1792. William 1749.


8 Sept 1913
GEORGE SPIVEY 33 Batchelor Butcher Stuart Street Luton Father William Spivey Baker
FLORENCE EMILY TEARLE 32 Spinster Milliner High Street South Dunstable Father Charles Tearle
Painter
Witnesses Walter James Tearle and Lizzie Lavinia Spivey
Florence Emily T 1881, dau Charles 1836 and Annie nee Eastment. Joseph 1737.


18 June 1921
WILLIAM THOMAS MEAD 20 Bat Builder Victoria Street Dunstable Father Amos Mead Lab
AMELIA TEARLE 28 Single Alfred Street Dunstable Father George Tearle dec Lab
Witnesses Frank Tearle and Selina Gore
Amelia 1892, dau George 1861 and Sarah Jane nee Horn. Witnesses are her youngest brother and her soon-to-be sister-in-law. Died at only 37yrs. G-gdau Jabez 1792. William 1794.


2 May 1925
DONALD RALPH TEARLE 20 Batchelor Engineer Eaton Bray Father Richard Ralph Tearle Retired
Policeman
PATTY MURIEL KENDALL 21 Spinster Clerk St. Peters Road Dunstable Father William Thomas
Kendall Gardener
Witnesses William Thomas Kendall and Leonard Leslie Tearle
Donald Ralph T 1904, son Richard Ralph T 1870 and Lillian Rosa nee Lofts. G-son Nathaniel 1839.
Leonard Leslie is Donald’s eldest brother. John 1560.


24 December 1938
STANLEY WILLIAM CAPP 25 Batchelor Bricksetter 44 Church Road Woburn Sands Father James
Thomas Capp Bricklayer
ETHEL GRACE TEARLE 24 Spinster Book Examiner 47 Great Northern Road Dunstable Father
Alfred Tearle Maintenance Worker
Witnesses Alfred Tearle and Horace James Capp
Ethel Grace T 1914, dau Alfred 1887 and Annie nee Rathbone. Born in Bethnel Green, London. Died 2001. Witness above is her father. G-dau George 1861 and Sarah Jane nee Horn. William 1794


DUNSTABLE CEMETERY BURIALS

1861-1940 – Fiches 1-21

1868 Sept 15 HANNAH TEARLE 24yrs Sewer London Road
Hannah 1844, dau of James 1806 and Mary Ann nee Webb. Joseph 1737.

1869 May 13 JAMES TEARLE 63yrs Groom London Road
James 1806, son Richard 1778 and Mary nee Pestel. Joseph 1737.

1871 Aug 24 ROSE EMILY TEARLE 1yr dau of Chas Tearle Ashton Street Dunstable
Dau of Charles 1836 and Annie nee Eastment. Joseph 1737.

1872 May 11 MARY ANN TEARLE 67yrs Widow High Street South Dunstable
Mary Ann nee Webb wife of James 1806. Joseph 1737.

1872 May 13 JOHN TEARLE 44yrs Lab High Street South Dunstable
John 1830, son of James 1806 and Mary Ann nee Webb. Joseph 1737

1872 Oct 28 ELIZABETH TEARLE 27yrs Plaitmaker Union Street Dunstable
Elizabeth 1845, dau William 1814 and Hannah nee Pratt. G-gdau Joseph 1737

1876 Dec 14 MARGARET TEARLE 5 weeks dau of Charles Tearle Ashton Street
Dunstable
Dau of Charles 1836 and Annie nee Eastment. Joseph 1737.

1881 Nov 11 SUSANNA TEARLE 54yrs Housekeeper High Street Dunstable
Susanna 1827, dau of Abel 1797 and Hannah nee Frost. Housekeeper for her brother Jabez 1836 for
many years. One of the few Tearle headstones in Dunstable cemetery. Thomas 1737 via Fanny 1780.

1884 Sept 2 ANNIE TEARLE 3 days dau of Annie Tearle Church Street Dunstable
Dau of Ann 1858, gdau Charles 1831 and Sarah Ann nee Brandon. John 1741

1885 April 1 MARGARET TEARLE 3 weeks dau of Ann Tearle Union Street Dunstable
Dau of Ann 1851, gdau of William 1814 & Hannah nee Pratt. Joseph 1737.

1889 May 4 CHARLES TEARLE 50yrs Painter King Street Dunstable
Charles 1836, husb Annie nee Eastment, son of George 1809 and Elizabeth Tearle. Joseph 1737.

1890 April 12 GEORGE TEARLE 80yrs Groom High Street Dunstable
George 1809, husb of Elizabeth Tearle, father of Charles 1836 and son of Richard 1778 and Mary
nee Pestell. Joseph 1737

1891 Jan 8 ANNIE TEARLE 32 yrs Sewer Church Street Dunstable
Ann 1858, dau of Charles 1831 and Sarah Ann nee Brandon. “Deaf and dumb from birth.” John 1741.

1891 Feb 14 CHARLES TEARLE 50yrs Lab Union Street Dunstable
Charles 1840, husb Sarah nee Hill, son of William 1814 and Hannah nee Pratt. Joseph 1737.

1892 Jan 18 HANNAH TEARLE 72yrs Sewer Union Street Dunstable
Hannah nee Pratt, wife of William 1814. Joseph 1737.

1892 Oct 6 ELIZABETH TEARLE 82yrs Widow The Square Dunstable
Elizabeth Tearle 1810, dau John 1770 and Mary nee Janes and wife of George 1809. John 1741.

1892 Feb 24 SARAH ANN TEARLE 61yrs Plaiter Church Street Dunstable
Sarah Ann nee Brandon – wife of Charles 1831. John 1741

1893 Aug 11 RICHARD TEARLE 68yrs Stone mason High St South Dunstable
Richard Webb Tearle 1826, son James 1806 and Mary Ann nee Webb. Joseph 1737.

1895 Oct 21 WILLIAM TEARLE 81yrs Gasman Union Street Dunstable
William 1814 son of Richard & Mary nee Pestell. Joseph 1737.

1896 June 23 RUTH ALLEN TEARLE 54yrs High Street Dunstable
Ruth Allen ne Willis, wife of James 1847. Joseph 1737.

1897 May 26 CHARLES TEARLE 67yrs Carter Church Street Dunstable
Charles 1831, son of Thos 1800 and Mary nee Cook, husb Sarah Ann nee Brandon. John 1741.

1900 July 7 MARY MATILDA TEARLE 22yrs Sewer 30 St. Marys Street Dunstable
Mary Matilda nee Weedon, wife of Arthur 1877, who was the son of Tabitha. Mary and Arthur’s son
Reginald born and died EB 1899. Arthur married Elizabeth Saunders in 1905. John 1741.

1901 Aug 31 WINIFRED VERA TEARLE 8 mths dau of Wm Tearle 96 High St South
Dunstable
Dau of William Charles 1869 and Jennie Anstee, gdau Charles Bowler T. Joseph 1737.

1915 Feb 22 ALBERT EDWARD TEARLE 36yrs Mechanic 37 Church Street Dunstable
Albert Edward 1879, son of Charles Bowler T and Constance Cleaver nee Dickens. Joseph 1737.

1915 March 9 THELMA TEARLE 1 mth child of John Henry & Lily Tearle 36 Richard St
Dunstable
Dau of John Henry 1885 and Lily nee Northwood. William 1749.

1915 May 6 ERNEST HARRY TEARLE 45yrs Lab 14 Church St. Dunstable
Ernest 1870, son of Charles Bowler T and Constance Cleaver nee Dickens. Joseph 1737.

1915 Dec 13 JANE TEARLE 43yrs wife of Chas Tearle 4 Downs Road Dunstable
This is Jennie nee Anstee the wife of William Charles Tearle, they are living at 4 Downs Road in the

1911 census. Joseph 1737.

1918 July 27 NORAH KATE TEARLE 42yrs wife of Albert Tearle, 47 Church Street Dunstable
Norah Kate nee Cardell wife of Albert Edward 1879, son of Charles Bowler T. Joseph 1737.

1920 Jan 24 GEORGE TEARLE 44yrs Discharged Soldier 14 Church Walk Dunstable
George 1876, son Charles Bowler T and Constance Cleaver nee Dickens. Fought in France in WW1,
buried with CWGC headstone.

1922 Nov 22 FRANCIS BOWLER 50yrs Packer 11 Church Walk Dunstable
Francis 1872, son of Charles Bowler T and Constance Cleaver nee Dickens. Joseph 1737.

1923 June 28 HETTY FLORENCE TEARLE 33yrs wife of Robert Tearle 40 Belmont Road
Luton
Hetty Florence nee Bourn, wife Robert 1887, gson William 1830 and Ann nee Rogers. John 1741.

1923 July 23 CISSIE NORAH KATE TEARLE 11yrs dau of the late Albert and Kate Tearle 193
Church Street Dunstable
Cissie 1912, dau of Albert Edward and Norah Kate nee Cardell nee Pecks. Gdau Charles Bowler T
and Constance Cleaver nee Dickens. Joseph 1737.

1925 April LEVI TEARLE 70yrs 100 Church Street Luton
Levi 1855 of Thorn, married Mary Summerfield. Son of William 1814 & Hannah nee Pratt. Joseph
1737.

1928 Dec 31 CONSTANCE TEARLE 80yrs Widow of Bowler Tearle 3 Counties Asylum
Arlesly (3 Church Walk Dunstable)
Constance Cleaver nee Dickens the wife of Charles Bowler Tearle. Joseph 1737.

1932 June 27 SELINA FLORENCE TEARLE 42yrs wife of Frank Tearle 24 Worthington Road
Dunstable
Selina nee Gore, wife of Frank Tearle 1899, son George 1861 and Sarah Jane nee Horn. William
1749.

1933 June 29 MILLICENT TEARLE 22yrs Spinster Leavesden Mental Hospital (10 Chiltern
Rd Dunstable)
Millicent 1911, dau of Arthur Tearle 1877 and Elizabeth nee Saunders. Arthur’s mother was Tabitha.
John 1741.

1933 Nov 22 SARAH TEARLE 79yrs Widow 6 White Hart Yard Dunstable
Sarah Jane nee Horn wife of George 1861, son of George 1831 and Hannah Maria nee Janes.
William 1749.

1939 May 27 AUDREY MARINA TEARLE 10mths dau of Frank Tearle and Edith Tearle,
Worthington Road Dunstable
Dau of Frank 1899 and 2nd wife Edith Weaver, married 1937. Frank was the son of George 1861 and
Sarah Jane nee Horn. William 1749.

1940 April 20 LILY TEARLE 53yrs wife of John Henry Tearle 14 Richard Street Dunstable
Lily nee Northwood wife of John Henry1885. Son of George 1861 and Sarah Jane nee Horn. William
1749.

1940 Nov 11 IRENE ELIZABETH TEARLE 24 yrs dau of A Tearle 10 Chiltern Road
Dunstable
Dau of Arthur Tearle and Elizabeth nee Saunders. Arthur was the son of Tabitha 1854, g-gson of
George 1794 and Mary nee Hill. John 1741.

 

 

19Mar/15

Lords of the Manor, The story of the Cooper Family of Toddington Hall

A short history of Toddington Manor

The Manor House c1850

The Manor House c1850

The manor of Toddington dates back to the 11th century at least when its fifteen and a half hides were held by Wolfweird ‘Levet’ before the Conquest. In the 1240s it was held by Simon de Montford by virtue of his having married Eleanor, sister of Henry III whose first husband, William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke had been granted the manor following that marriage. It later passed to Roger Bigod, the King’s seneschal who, when he died in London, ordered that his body be buried there, but his heart be buried at Toddington. In 1362, the manor was worth £12 12s 8d indicating how the manor had suffered from the plague earlier that year.

In the early 15th Century, Sir Thomas Cheney of Kent married Ann Broughton, heiress of Sir John Broughton in Toddington. There was no manor house at that stage for it was their son, Henry who began the building in 1559 following the death of Sir Thomas. In 1563, Henry was knighted here by Elizabeth I. The imposing mansion, based on three courts, was three storeys high with four-storey round towers at each corner, and a 210ft-long frontage from north to south. But Sir Henry died childless in 1587 and the estates passed to his widow, Jane. She was from the Wentworth family, daughter of the 1st Baron Wentworth. Though the manor was to stay in the Wentworth family for the next few generations, it had a chequered career. King James I was entertained there in 1608 but when Jane died in 1614 the estates passed on again to her great-nephew, Sir Thomas Wentworth, the 4th Baron and later Earl of Cleveland. Unfortunately both he and his son ran up massive debts. The manor, which had been sequestered by the Commonwealth, then passed to Cleveland’s  granddaughter, Henrietta Maria, Baroness Wentworth.

In 1683, her lover, The Duke of Monmouth, illegitimate son of Charles II was forced to hide at Toddington after being implicated in the Rye House Plot. He was exiled and Henrietta followed him, but returned to Toddington. Monmouth was executed in 1685 following the Battle of Sedgemoor and Henrietta died a year later. Sixty years later sees the manor in serious disrepair and partially dismantled by William Wentworth, the Earl of Strafford, the only parts remaining more or less intact being the North East Corner, the kitchens and one solitary turret.

In 1806, the ruin was bought by John Cooper Esq who, together with his son-in-law, William Dodge Cooper Cooper, set about restoring the manor to its former glory and this is how it stands today.

It is with John Cooper that our story begins…..

The Manor House 1860

The Manor House, 1860

 

John Cooper Esq

Not too much is known of John Cooper and his early life other than that he was born on 16th January 1759 and baptised on February 11th. He married Jane Gidden – who was probably from Wilmslow, Cheshire – and they had one daughter, Elizabeth. John’s father, Thomas, appears to have changed the family name from Cowper to Cooper and of the twelve children he sired, only two, John and Sarah, survived infancy. Sarah also died quite young as well – in her late teens – as she passed away in 1785. John must have been the lucky one.

When he bought Toddington Manor in 1804, he had already amassed a lot of property as far flung as Ashley, Timperley, Partington and Hale in Cheshire, Rayleigh, Gravesend and Ramsgate in Kent as well as a house in Finsbury Square, London. Property in West Thurrock and two small farms in Bayhouse were purchased in 1807. This amounted to some 706 acres. Between 1806 and 1809, John Cooper purchased the Highgate brewery – a business which was known to exist in the 1670s – in Highgate, London from John Addison who had purchased it himself from the Southcote family not long before. It cost Cooper £1,000 pounds and comprised three parcels of land (£480 + £420 + £100) and probably included the brewery and yard. Under Addison, the brewing activities relocated to Homerton and John Cooper dismantled the brewery and turned the lands into his Town House Estate, Park House. The total area was approximately twelve and a half acres. A more detailed history of Park House is described in a later section.

John Cooper was Sheriff of Bedford in 1812.

His daughter, Elizabeth, married her cousin, William Dodge Cooper Heap in 1803 and it can only be assumed that this was ‘arranged’ in order to keep the manor – and all other property owned by John Cooper – safe within the family. Part of the provision of this marriage was that William change his surname to Cooper which he officially did in 1819.

John Cooper died in 1817 and his will published in October of that year named Elizabeth Cooper as his heir.

William Dodge Cooper Cooper

17 Aug 1782 - 9 Aug 1860

17 Aug 1782 – 9 Aug 1860

William Dodge Cooper Heap was born at South Hayling – on Hayling Island in Hampshire – to the Curate of South Hayling,  Rev John Heap  and Anne Dodge Cooper, who was born and brought up in Bosden, near Cheadle in Cheshire. A custom of the times was to include past family surnames in a young child’s forenames, thus when young William he was baptised with the names of his maternal great grandparents.

The life of a Churchman would often mean a lot of moving around, and so it was with the Heaps: The Rev John would take his family to Westborne in 1795.

On 19th March, 1803, in the County of Middlesex (at St Luke’s Church, Old Street, Finsbury), William married John Cooper’s daughter and heiress, Elizabeth.

Because she was his cousin, part of the marriage agreement was that he changed his surname to Cooper in order to inherit. This he did in the year of 1819 by Letters Patent following the death of his father-in-law.

William Dodge Cooper Cooper was now Lord of the Manor in Toddington and a leading landowner in Highgate. He appears to have divided the majority of his time between the two estates and rather than sit back and play the country squire, was extremely active in his duties. He was a magistrate in both Bedfordshire and Middlesex and was Deputy Lieutenant in the former as well as being Sheriff in 1824.

He chaired the Assembly at the Gatehouse Public House in Highgate and was Chairman/Treasurer of Highgate Public School as well being on the Management Committee of the National School – now St Michael’s – a short walk along North Road from the public school. Book Society Meetings were also held at Park House.

William and Elizabeth had several children: John was born on 30th January 1804 but probably died in infancy as no further records can be found; Jane, who was both deaf and dumb, on 7th November 1805; Elizabeth on 30th November 1806; William was born 10th April 1810; Amelia, 15th November 1812; Caroline on 4th September 1813; Henrietta on the 2nd September 1815, but sadly died at the age of 5 on 7th June 1821. Lucy followed 1st November 1818.  Alfred John was born on 31st August 1819 but also did not survive infancy. James Lyndsay, 12th February 1821. Elizabeth married a Dutch count and Lucy was espoused to Henry (later Sir) Robinson of Knapton in Norfolk. Amelia’s marriage at the age of 36 was not so grand: Moses Tearle was a twenty one year old labourer, probably working for the Lord of The Manor at Toddington and one can only speculate on the circumstances of this liaison.

The stories of these three girls – Elizabeth, Lucy and Amelia – have been expertly told elsewhere, so I will not go into any significant detail here.

The London Gazette dated 12th February 1829 states that William and all other elected Sheriffs of their Counties were present at the King’s Court at Windsor – presumably for investiture by his majesty, King George IV.

There is a similar entry for 13th November 1827 and a notice of nomination on Nov 10th 1828. Commission signed by the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Bedford:

William Dodge Cooper Cooper, Esq. to be Deputy Lieutenant. Dated 27th March 1834.

William was very keen to encourage his labourers and was a leading light in allotting them small pieces of lands on his estate – allotments. In 1835, the secretary of Society for the Encouragement of Arts, George Atkin, wrote to the Lord of the Manor enquiring as to ‘how far the good results that followed the first introduction of this plan continue to be realized’. William replies – apologising for the delay as he was away from home (the letter was sent from Park House on the 5th of August, 1835) and assures Mr Atkin that he has made some observations which he trusts will not be unacceptable. In other words, we may gather that the scheme was a great success. The letter is signed as ‘Wm. D.C. Cooper’.

In 1839 it was noted that ‘William D.C. Cooper was the largest landowner in the parish with 706 acres’ – this would be his estates in West Thurrock and Bayhouse.

In the census of 1841, the family is living at Park House. Joining them is eldest son William’s wife, Laura (nee Ellis) and presumably their son William Smith Cowper Cooper who was born in 1832, the year after his parents were married. The house also boasts six household servants.

It was also noted in the Dover Telegraph of 1850 that William was ‘Present at Dinner’ on the 30th of November in Ramsgate, Kent. William had a house in Nelson’s Crescent, overlooking the harbour.

In 1851, a very long winded document states that, for the lands that William Dodge Cooper and his wife (as well as other landowners) owned in the parish of Harlington that had been leased to tenants under the Act of Enclosure, the price of a bushel of wheat need be determined in order that a fair tithe, rent or corn rent could be established for the previous 10 years, these dues being payable to the vicar of the parish church of Harlington.

In 1855, William presented the village with a water pump, sited on the village green. Sources inform me that this was still in use during World War II and it was quite hazardous to collect the water as the Luftwaffe were continually trying to bomb the nearby tank factory! It is probably that the pump replaced a pond in the square which would have provided for townspeople and also visitors and there livestock ie horses. In all likelihood, two people with a large bucket on a stick carried on their shoulders would be the method of obtaining water.

The water pump William presented to Toddington

The water pump William presented to Toddington

Closeup of the presentation shield

Closeup of the presentation shield

Elizabeth, daughter of John Cooper and wife of William, died on 6th June 1855 – she was 72. We can only imagine the grief in the household. The more so as their daughter Jane died the following year on the 9th August 1856.

Hatchment of the arms of Elizabeth Cooper Cooper

Hatchment of the arms of Elizabeth Cooper Cooper

Hatchment of the arms of William Dodge Cooper Cooper

Hatchment of the arms of William Dodge Cooper Cooper

Memorial to the Cooper Cooper family in Toddington Church

Memorial to the Cooper Cooper family in Toddington Church

On the 2nd of March 1856, one Samuel Fletcher was convicted for stealing two steel rabbit traps of the value of 7 shillings, which were the property of William D C Cooper Esq at Toddington. Fletcher was was sentenced to 1 month of hard labour. Poaching was clearly a problem – as we shall see later in the story of William D. C’s son, William.

William Dodge Cooper Cooper died on 9th August, 1860 at the age of 78.

William’s will was proven in Her Majesty’s (Queen Victoria) Court of Probate on 6th October 1860 naming William Cooper Cooper and the Rev James Lyndsay Cooper Cooper as executors. A notice appeared in the London Gazette dated 17th March 1865 and was published by N C and C Milne – the family solicitors.

Major William Cooper Cooper

William Cooper Cooper

William Cooper Cooper

William Cooper Cooper

William Cooper Cooper (he doesn’t seem to have any other names) became the Lord of the Manor on the death of his father. He was 50 years old. When he was 21, he married Laura Ellis – on 26th April 1831 – and a year later their only son, William Smith Cowper Cooper, was born. Laura was the daughter of Captain Thomas Ellis of Tuy-dee Park, Monmouthshire. He was a Justice of the Peace as well as Deputy Lieutenant of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Whilst perpetuating the use of family surnames (was Smith from Laura Ellis’ side?) it rather looks as though William the father was looking at the earlier spelling of their surname when naming his child.

Commissions signed by the Vice Lieutenant of the County of Bedford name William as vice Lieutenant from 1843, and 3 years later on the 21st February 1846, William (Gent) enlisted in the Bedfordshire Militia as a lieutenant. At some point he was promoted to Captain, for the London Gazette reports on the 24th March, 1858, Captain William Cooper Cooper ‘be a Major’. It is not known when, but William left the militia sometime after that. In 1855, the regiment was sent to Ireland from Aldershot for garrison duty during the Crimea war. The Militia had been reorganised in 1852 because of the threat of invasion from Napoleon III.

Still surviving is a water colour painting, shown below, of a view of his office in Aldershot…

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…as well as this painting of a private of the Bedford Light Infantry Militia.

Clearly William had an artistic bent since he was known as a collector as well as being a pioneer in the art of photography. Here, below, we see a very early photograph taken by William, in 1854.

It was mentioned earlier about the nuisance of poachers. Well, the above photograph shows one caught by Norman Snoxall, the gamekeeper for the Toddington estate, who was a former police officer in another part of Bedfordshire. He died a couple of years after this photo was taken. What became of the poacher is unknown.

William’s apparent love of this artistic doesn’t just stop with painting and photography: some years earlier – 1836, when William’s father was alive – a Roman brooch was dug up by a gang of labourers and taken to William who, according to the story, promptly bought it. I have speculated elsewhere as to whether one William Tearle was amongst those labourers and even contemplated the possibility that he could have been the man who dug up the artifact. Probably, we shall never know.

Also in the William Cooper Cooper collection is the Toddington Brooch. An Anglo Saxon cruciform brooch, this has been dated to the 6th century and whilst it has been questioned as to whether it was found at Toddington, the describer (name and source unknown) points out that “Major Cooper Cooper is known to have collected material from Toddington”.

The gamekeeper, Norman Snoxall, and the poacher

The gamekeeper, Norman Snoxall, and the poacher

In 1844, William purchased at auction a carving entitled “Apollo and the Muses” – a piece that had previously been part of the old Manor House before its near destruction by the Earl Strafford. The myth of Apollo and the Muses is well known. The subject represents Apollo and the nine muses in concert, and is full of exquisite detail, the figures in high relief; The date is thought to be of the sixteenth century. It measures 6 feet by 4 feet two inches, and weighs about two hundredweight.

Apollo and the Muses

Apollo and the Muses

It might be suggested that the Cooper dynasty set about restoring the Manor – John and William Dodge with the structural building and William Dodge and son William concentrating on the more aesthetic aspect – for example, the grand fireplace:

The grand fireplace, Toddington Manor

The grand fireplace, Toddington Manor

William continued to photograph Toddington and it must be said that we have all benefited from his foresight. Some of these pictures are reproduced in the Miscellany section below.

On Feb 2nd 1867 William was present at the Queen’s Court on the Isle of Wight – Osborne House – for his investiture as Sheriff of the County of Bedfordshire.

William died in 1898 and his place as Lord of the Manor was taken by his son, William Smith Cowper Cooper.

And, sadly, here the story ends, for this William died a mere 7 years later in 1905. With no male heirs, the Manor house was sold as was the London residence, Park House.

William did have children, however – 4 girls:

Edith born 1860 – married Reginald William Borlase Warren Vernon,

Leila born 1862 died 1882 and appears on Caroline’s memorial,

Harriet born 1868 – married Lionel Tufnell,

Ida born 1870 died 1876.

All four girls had Cowper Cooper as their last two names and when the two surviving daughters married,that was the end of the Cooper surname.

The family were only residents at Toddington for a hundred years, but I like to think that their restoration of the building both inside and out and the way in which they conducted themselves as Lords of the Manor has left a legacy that has enriched the history of a little Bedfordshire village called Toddington.

Park House, Highgate

I have explained how John Cooper bought the land, sold the brewery that stood there and built his town house on the land. Here, exactly, is where it stood: the site of Park House and its grounds sits on a plateau of land in Highgate, a part of the Northern Heights of London, forming a triangle between Southwood Lane on the east side, North Hill to the west . On the northern side there is a steep bank known as The Bulwarks and Highgate Village is a five minute walk to the west. Beyond The Bulwarks, Highgate Wood – formerly The Bishop’s Wood – spreads towards Muswell Hill; Hampstead Heath is only a short walk to the west. In the days of the Cooper Coopers, and for very many years before, the surrounding land was used for rough grazing. Highgate is still is termed a Village today, but in those days it would certainly be more recognisable as such rather than a concrete extension of the crawling spider that is London now.

It is interesting to note that an unknown article dated 1851 refers to Park House being known as the residence of ‘Squire Cooper’, though whether this refers to William DCC – who would have been Squire at the time – or his father, John, is not stated. Either – or both – would often ride in the direction of Muswell Hill through Gravel Pit Wood (now Queen’s Woods) and my guess would be that the path would possibly take the course of Muswell Hill Road, which today separates the two forested areas. Whatever form it took, the ride was known as ‘Squire Cooper’s Ride’.

Wide and busy, the Archway Road, cuts off Highgate Woods from The Bulwarks; one can only imagine the true extent of uninterrupted scenery, with its sometimes gentle, sometimes steep undulations, deep forest and rough grazing land.

Not too many years ago, excavations very close to – and within the grounds of – Park House revealed not only cellars related to the brewery that had stood there, but also a series of tunnels. It would appear that these were made with intention of hiding Militia at a time when the threat of invasion from Napoleonic France was very real.

It is most likely, too, that my ancestor Moses Tearle – who married William DCC’s daughter Amelia  – spent some time at Park House with the family; they were married in Hornsey.

The untimely and early death of William Smith Cowper Cooper meant the end of Park House – as it did of Toddington Manor – and the Highgate residence was sold.

In 1848 it had been converted from a school for backward children into a refuge for prostitutes and in 1855 it was leased to the London Diocesan Penitentiary (later the House of Mercy) for, it would seem, the same purpose. The poet Christina Rosetti was a volunteer here. In 1900 it passed to the Clewer sisters but fell vacant in 1940.

The House survived for another 7 years before it was demolished to make way for the estate built by Hornsey Borough Council for the main purpose of housing those who had lost their homes during the war and new, young families. It was aptly named Hillcrest and still survives today, though many of the apartments are privately owned.

The seven blocks of flats were all named after leading military men of the second world war – Tedder, Dowding, Montgomory, Mountbatten, Cunningham, Alexander and Wavell. And it was into No 6, Wavell House that Leslie and Mollie Tearle, with their two young children Barbara and myself, Richard, moved in the year of 1949. It would be almost 50 years before this amazing coincidence of family history would be discovered.

The actual site of Park House is unknown and although this view and that of Wavell House (below) do look similar, I don't believe that they are compatible. The Hornsey Society article states that Park House faces North Hill and is located fairly centrally. If this is the case, it would have been a little behind and to the right of where the photographer was standing to take the picture of Wavell House.

The actual site of Park House is unknown and although this view and that of Wavell House (below) do look similar, I don’t believe that they are compatible. The Hornsey Society article states that Park House faces North Hill and is located fairly centrally. If this is the case, it would have been a little behind and to the right of where the photographer was standing to take the picture of Wavell House.

Wavell House on the Hillcrest Estate photographed in January 2011

Wavell House on the Hillcrest Estate photographed in January 2011

Entrance to the Hillcrest Estate in Southwood Lane. Park House Passage is on the left and leads to North Hill and the Wrestlers Public House.

Entrance to the Hillcrest Estate in Southwood Lane. Park House Passage is on the left and leads to North Hill and the Wrestlers Public House.

“The Bulwarks” from the junction of Park Road and Southwood Lane. The visible block of flats is the rear of Wavell House.

“The Bulwarks” from the junction of Park Road and Southwood Lane. The visible block of flats is the rear of Wavell House.

Miscellany

In writing this story there have been many ‘tangents’ which I have reluctantly ignored in the main body of the text as well as numerous photographs which, though of high relevance, might have distracted from the story. I hope to put some of that right in this section, though things will not be in any chronological order nor any particular order of priority.

Arms and crest of the Coopers of Toddington

Arms and crest of the Coopers of Toddington

Arms and crest of the Coopers of Toddington

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Mowing the lawn at Toddington Manor, date unknown

Old Lodge Farm, Toddington, c1860

Old Lodge Farm, Toddington, c1860

Cottages near the church, Toddington

Cottages near the church, Toddington

Cottages near the church, Toddington

Cottages near the church, Toddington

The stable yard

(Major William Cooper Cooper was known to have been the photographer for pictures 1,3 and 4 – perhaps others).

Brief mention has been made of other children of William Dodge Cooper Cooper and it is worth adding just a little more. Lucy married Henry Robinson of Knapton in Norfolk on 14th July 1842 and bore him five children. In 1845 he was knighted, but it transpires that he had a mistress and sired three children on her. The marriage continued, but one wonders about the situation and what grief Lucy must have endured. She died in 1889 aged 71 and her memorial appears with her husband’s in Knapton Church.

Elizabeth married a Dutch nobleman, Count Alexander Charles Joseph Vander Burch, chamberlain to His Majesty the King of the Netherlands. Much of her time would have been spent abroad, but there is evidence to suggest that she made visits to her sisters in Toddington.

Amelia’s marriage to Moses Tearle has never been recorded in any official records and their story is one of the most intriguing. Moses changed his name to Cecil (Cecill in some accounts) but no one has yet discovered the reason why! They moved away from the area and Wendy Skelley has given us an excellent account of the lives of their sons. See other articles on Egerton and Aubrey

Caroline Cooper Cooper lived at Toddington all her life, never marrying, and died at the age of 88 in 1901.

Caroline's grave in Toddington Cemetery together with Leila Evelyn, daughter of William Smith Cowper Cooper.

Caroline’s grave in Toddington Cemetery together with Leila Evelyn, daughter of William Smith Cowper Cooper.

Caroline's grave in Toddington Cemetery together with Leila Evelyn, daughter of William Smith Cowper Cooper.

Caroline’s grave in Toddington Cemetery together with Leila Evelyn, daughter of William Smith Cowper Cooper.

Still in existence is a cookery book signed on the front page by Caroline – that its recipes are for foreign food suggests that it may have been given to her by her sister, Elizabeth. It is dated 1848 in her hand.

Still in existence is a cookery book signed on the front page by Caroline – that its recipes are for foreign food suggests that it may have been given to her by her sister, Elizabeth. It is dated 1848 in her hand.

The South Window - “Faith Hope and Charity” donated by Caroline Cooper Cooper in memory of her parents

The South Window – “Faith Hope and Charity” donated by Caroline Cooper Cooper in memory of her parents

A window in Toddington Church was donated by Caroline.

Circa 1892, she wrote: “I have promised my brother Major Cooper that I will contribute whatever he may require up to £150 for the window now being erected in Toddington Church in memory of my late father and mother. If this is not paid before my death it will of course be a debt due on my Estate which I desire you to satisfy.

If the stained glass window is not paid for before my death £250 more or less to be paid for it – in memory of my dear father and mother.

The South Window – “Faith Hope and Charity” donated by Caroline Cooper Cooper in memory of her parents

James Lindsay Cooper Cooper was the youngest of the family and entered the Church quite early in his life. As patron of the Living of Toddington, his father presented him to the people in 1846 when he was aged 25. A year earlier, James had married Rebecca Singleton and their only child, also named Rebecca, died at just six months of age.

James resigned from the Church on inheriting property in 1862, but a mere 8 years later he, too, died at the young age of 48. A six and half hundredweight bell (no 2 at Toddington Church) and made by John Warner was inscribed in 1906: “To the glory of God and in memory of the Rev James Lindsay Cooper Cooper by his widow.”

“In addition to archaeological work carried out by professional archaeology units, some useful work was done by Victorian antiquaries.  Major C Cooper of Toddington Manor published several reports of finds from the Toddington district. Two early Anglo-Saxon brooches, believed found in the 19th century by Major Cooper in Toddington parish (exact provenance unknown), are in the collections of Northampton Museum.  One of these, a large cruciform brooch, is the subject of a detailed analysis by Kennet (1969).”

You can download the PDF from the list in the link to Kennet. The title is: A late 6th-century cruciform brooch from Toddington, Bedfordshire: an Anglo-Saxon connexion examined (pp 206-9)
Kennett, David H

I had hoped to include illustrations of this cruciform brooch as well as the ‘famous’ bronze elephant found on Major Cooper’s land, but the only ones I have found are in PDF format and cannot be reproduced here.

Notes by “Adams” on the works carried out by William D. C. Cooper and of the Apollo carving bought by his son, Major Cooper Cooper

Notes by “Adams” on the works carried out by William D. C. Cooper and of the Apollo carving bought by his son, Major Cooper Cooper

Sources, thanks and acknowledgements

In writing this account, I have borrowed from the stories of the Toddington Tearles excellently written by Barbara Tearle and Ewart Tearle and I have tried to knit these tales together without diverting attention away from them. Likewise from Wendy Skelley in New Zealand who with great kindness sent me just about all her research notes, so the hard work was hers and any mistakes have been my misinterpretations or conclusion jumping. It was her enthusiasm for the project when I first suggested that I attempt it that spurred me on. Thank you all.

Various publications have been used to gain some further snippets of information: The London Gazette (online), Bedfordshire at War, and numerous books on Bedfordshire. Also to Hornsey Historical Society for an article on Park house which I have used to base my narrative of that section. The picture of Park House also comes from that source.

Mention must be made of the Toddington Village page on Facebook and especially Phil Mead whose clear love of the village has led him to find out so much that has to do with the Cooper Coopers. He – and one or two others there – have answered my often stupid questions and also provided very valuable information that may not have been obtainable elsewhere. And it is them that I must thank, too, for so many of the illustrations of Toddington Manor and the general area.

Richard Tearle

February 2012

19Mar/15

Aubrey Bruce Cooper Cecil, born 1878, on board the vessel ‘Scottish Prince’

Born: 10th September 1878 onboard the vessel ‘Scottish Prince’

Died: 25th August 1918 in Brisbane, Australia

Aubrey Bruce Cooper Cecil served in the 3rd Queensland Contingent, Roll number 205.

This photo of Aubrey shows him in the uniform of the Third Queensland Mounted Infantry Contingent. His hat is adorned with the traditional Emu feathers. At the conclusion of his tour of duty, Aubrey signed off in South Africa and re-enlisted at Pretoria on 20th April 1901 with the Bushveldt Carbineers for further service in South Africa.

The Honourable Aubrey Bruce Cooper, Corporal, No. 46, of the Bushveldt Carbineers and the Pietersburg Light Horse, Australian, is featured in the book below containing the Campaign trail and the country traversed by the BVC / PLH.

Aubrey Bruce Cooper Cecil

Aubrey Bruce Cooper Cecil

Cover of the book "Bushveldt Carbineers"

Cover of the book “Bushveldt Carbineers”

He qualified for the Queens South Africa Medal with clasps (below):

  • Cape Colony 11 October 1899 – 31 May 1902
  • Rhodesia 11 October 1899 – 17 May 1900
  • Orange Free State 28 February 1900 – 31 May 1902
  • Transvaal 24 May 1900 – 31 May 1902
  • The King's South Africa Medal, with clasps

    The King’s South Africa Medal, with clasps

The Queen's South Africa Medal, detail

The Queen’s South Africa Medal, detail

Aubrey was discharged from the Pietersburg Light Horse at Pretoria on 13th February 1902, and his Kings South Africa Medal with the two date clasps (above left) was issued from the Pietersburg Light Horse roll.

During 1911, while Aubrey Bruce was in England, he departed from Liverpool onboard the ‘Medic’ and arrived in Sydney, Australia, 10th November 1911. The following year 5th June 1912 he married Sarah Watt (nee Lisk) in Toowong Presbyterian Church, Brisbane, Australia. Sarah was 10 years older than her husband. She was also a widow with seven children aged between 6 and 25 years old.

Aubrey was a Clerk in 1913 while living with his wife at 17 (or 178) Ann St, Brisbane. The census shows Sarah at home looking after the children.

It was only five years later on the 26th August 1918 that Aubrey Bruce died. He was only 40 years old. They had been living at Station Road, Indooroopilly near Brisbane. He is buried at Toowong Cemetery in Brisbane, Site Portion 2A Section 32 Grave 2. (Along with Sarah’s first husband, and later, Sarah).

Grave in Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane

Grave in Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane

Close-up of headstone

Close-up of headstone

Aubrey Bruce and Sarah had no children together and Sarah later remarried.

On www.ancestry.com there is probate order dated 14th October 1931, reproduced here.

Aubrey's probate order

Aubrey’s probate order, in London, 1931.

19Mar/15

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil, 1881, Chiswick, UK

Contributed by Wendy Skelley, Auckland, New Zealand.

Born: 16 June 1881 in Chiswick, Middlesex, England

Died: 28 February 1967, Mt Albert, Auckland, New Zealand

Egerton was a young man when his father died in 1900. It was not long after that he became a soldier.

Boer War as an Australian soldier

Service Number 99, of the 6th Queensland Imperial Bushmen (6th QIB);

Served in the Second Anglo Boer War in South Africa from May 1901 to May 1902.

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil
Description on Enlistment
Number…………………………………99
Rank…………………………………….Private
Name……………………………………Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil
Hair…………………………………….. Dark Brown
Eyes…………………………….……….Hazel
Complexion……………………………..Dark
Height……………………………………5 feet 5.5 inches
Weight…………………………………..8 stone 12 pounds
Chest measurement……………………..32.5 inches
Chest Expansion…………………………34.75 inches
Age………………………………………22 years and 7 months

Badge of the Queensland Imperial Bushmen

The 6th QIB departed from Australia at Pinkenba, Brisbane on April the 4th 1901 on the British transport “Victoria”. Upon arriving at Cape Town on May the 2nd 1901, the convey moved out and proceeded to Durban arriving on the 7th of May. Near Ermelo on the 21st Boers sniped at the flank with the 6th QIB suffering a few casualties; however they succeeded in capturing 15 Boers and much stock.

June 2nd, sustained their first loss to enteric fever. Brisk engagement on the 11th at Kaffir’s Spruit. Surprised and captured a laager on the 13th at Kopjesfontein on the right of the Vaal River. On the 21st June captured two Boer conveys suffering some casualties. June 22nd fighting at Lindique Drift with some casualties.

During August made substantial captures at Bultfontein. September, October and November in operations at Wakkerstroom district and east of the Transvaal. During December marched to Newcastle by Botha’s Pass and through Drakensberg to provide protective cover during the construction of blockhouses in that corner of the Orange River Colony.

On the 2nd of February 1902 at Liebenberg’s Vlei the 6th Imperial Bushmen joined with the New Zealanders and pursued a Boer convey in the area then charged the enemy’s rear guard with much gallantry, whilst the South African Light Horse bravely rushed the centre. Three guns with 3 wagons of ammunition, 26 prisoners (including 2 captains and a field cornet), 150 horses and mules plus 750 cattle were taken. Five Boers were killed and eight wounded. By the end of February after a big drive 300 prisoners had been taken.

During March and April several drives were undertaken with similar success. The 6th QIB embarked at Durban on May the 17th, 1902 in the Transport Devon and arrived at Albany on the 5th of June, Sydney on the 13th and Brisbane on the 17th then disbanded on the 23rd June 1902.

E.B.C. Cecil as a private was paid 5 shillings per day. A proportion amounting to 1 shilling was requested to be paid in South Africa for personal needs with the balance of his pay of 4 shillings to be forwarded to his mother Mrs. A.C.Cecil C/- Albion Post Office, Brisbane.

Mrs. A.C.Cecil resided in Brisbane at the corner of Milne Street and Old Sandgate Road (now Bonny Avenue), Albion in a residence named “Fernmount”.

E.B.C. Cecil was issued, upon arrival in South Africa, with a Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1* Serial No B394 in .303 British calibre. He carried this weapon throughout the campaign and suitably engraved the butt stock to commemorate his contribution.

This particular specimen with the serial number B 394 was the 10,394th in a production run of 26,647 for the Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1*. Manufactured at Enfield in 1900, The Mark 1* was the last of the line of the Lee Enfield Carbines.

This mark or model replaced the Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1 as a result of the abolition of all clearing rods in British service in 1899. The Mark 1* was the same in all respects with the exception of the omission of the clearing rod. The mark was introduced into British service on August 7th 1899 and replaced in 1902 by the standard British all Services weapon the Short Magazine Lee Enfield Rifle Mark 1.

Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1* used in the Anglo Boer War of 1899 to 1902..

Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1* used in the Anglo Boer War of 1899 to 1902..

The engraved butt of Burleigh’s rifle.

The engraved butt of Burleigh’s rifle.

Egerton’s Boer war history and gun are featured in the book “Carvings from the Veldt” written by Dave George.

Information on his record indicates E.B.C. Cecil was not wounded or incapacitated by illness and returned to Australia healthy.

Private Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil was issued with a Queens South Africa medal and two clasps ‘SA 1901 and SA 1902’.

Carvings from the Veldt

Carvings from the Veldt

Private Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil was issued with a Queens South Africa medal and two clasps   ‘SA 1901 and SA 1902’.

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During 1902 Egerton returned to Durban, Natal in South Africa to obtain employment. His brother was also in Natal at this time. It is unknown if he obtained employment, but while there he met Katherine Tebay (nee O’Keeffe), who was also in South Africa with her husband.

New Zealand

By 1907 Egerton is living in New Zealand with a Catherine Tebay (nee O’Keeffe). She was also known as Kathleen Frances Cecil and Kathleen F Tebay. She had married Mr Robert Tebay at Ballarat, Victoria, Australia in September 1900. It is unknown what happened to her husband. No record of him after their marriage has been found.

The family story is that Egerton & Catherine met in Pretoria, South Africa and returned to New Zealand together. Egerton’s brother Aubrey was also in Pretoria in 1902. Robert Tebay’s brother, John, died in Natal about 1902; I cannot find war records for either of them.

After they settled in New Zealand together, Egerton and Catherine lived at Arahiri, Putaruru in the North Island where he was a sawmill hand, they were still living there on the 1911 census.

They had two children: Burleigh Victor Cecil (1907) and Melba Doreen (1908). Both children were registered without a father’s name, and with their mother’s married surname – Tebay. However, Egerton accepted responsibility for his illegitimate children, and in 1917 his son’s birth certificate was amended with his name certified as father. (They are also acknowledged in his estate after he died.)

Vic, Burleigh, Kath and Dolly

Vic, Burleigh, Kath and Dolly

During 1914 the family lived at 1 Montague Street, Newton, Auckland. Egerton was working for the New Zealand Railways.

Sadly in 1916 things got rough and Egerton was convicted of assault and sentenced to six months hard labour in Auckland. Due to circumstances the children were taken from Egerton and Catherine and became wards of the state. Egerton and Catherine separated under difficult circumstances.

Before Egerton left for war in 1918 he married Edith May Viall (who already had a young daughter called Lily) and they lived together in Mahurangi, Rodney, Auckland. Egerton was working as a clerk.

Egerton embarked on the 16th May 1918 at Wellington, New Zealand.

While he was away at war his brother, Aubrey Bruce Cooper Cecil, died in Brisbane, Australia.

WW1 as a New Zealand Soldier

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The Ionic, one of the ships used in the transportation of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force to join British troops in WW1.

The cover of the on-board magazine and the details of the transportation.

The cover of the on-board magazine and the details of the transportation.

The following is sourced from Egerton’s WW1 Medical Files:

5 November 1918  Injury to his right ankle while in France when his trench was blown in by a shell explosion.

28 November 1918   While he was in hospital he developed influenza.

10 January 1919  Medical notes from NZ Command Depot, Codford, Wiltshire, England    2 month med cert.

9 April 1919   HMNZTS Paparoa, 3 month med cert.

24 June 1919   Certificates sent from Sick & Wounded records to Base records.

20 August 1919  Letter for report of medical prognosis from military base.

7 October 1919  Auckland base, 3 month med cert.

We have no record of when he became a sergeant.

It is noted however, on Egerton’s medical records that he was wounded on the 5th November 1918 in France. It is possible that he was involved with the recapture of the French town – Le Quesnoy.

One report says:

“As recently as a week before the Armistice, on 4 November 1918, New Zealand troops had been involved in the successful recapture of the French town of Le Quesnoy. The attack cost the lives of about 90 New Zealand soldiers virtually the last of the 12,483 who fell on the Western Front between 1916 and 1918.”

New Zealand had the highest per-capita loss of any nation involved in WW1.

Another report notes:

“Just a week before the end of the First World War in November 1918, the New Zealand Division captured the French town of Le Quesnoy. It was the New Zealanders’ last major action in the war. To this day, the town of Le Quesnoy continues to mark the important role that New Zealand played in its history. Streets are named after New Zealand places, there is a New Zealand memorial and a primary school bears the name of a New Zealand soldier. Visiting New Zealanders are sure to receive a warm welcome from the locals.”

The War Effort of New Zealand; The Codford Depot

New Zealand Command Depot, Codford (circa 1918)

New Zealand Command Depot, Codford (circa 1918)

To give you a little flavour of the times, above is an illustration of the NZ command depot, Codford, pictured in the War Art archives

… when the wounded or invalided soldiers were sufficiently recovered to leave Hornchurch, they were sent to the Command Depot at Codford to be “hardened” for further active service training.

… This, also, was the first stage on the return journey to the trenches.

Life after the War

After Egerton came back from the war, he moved with Edith May and her daughter Lily to 9 Edgerley Ave in Epsom, Auckland. The house has since been demolished to make way for what is now the Newmarket overpass for the motorway.

Egerton became a motorman and worked for the Transport Board. They had two daughters together, Thelma and Winifred (pictures at end of Egerton’s story).

Egerton and Edith May Cecil

Egerton and Edith May Cecil

Egerton’s mother, Elizabeth, was living with the family in Epsom when she died in 1929. She is buried in an unmarked grave at Waikumete Cemetery, west of Auckland.

The unmarked grave in Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland, of Elizabeth Cecil nee Peadon, Egerton Burleigh’s mother, is in the very foreground of this photo.

The unmarked grave in Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland, of Elizabeth Cecil nee Peadon, Egerton Burleigh’s mother, is in the very foreground of this photo.

It was only four years later when sadly Edith May Cecil died in a car accident in November 1933 in Waiuku, south of Auckland. Edith is buried in Hillsborough Cemetery in Auckland. Her grave is covered in burnt shells.

The desperately tragic story of the death of Edith May Cecil is told in these three pictures.

Edith's grave

Edith’s grave

Detail of Edith’s headstone

Detail of Edith’s headstone

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After the death of his first wife, Egerton lived alone at their house in Epsom. Then in 1944 he married Cassie Carter Dent (nee Natzke), who already had two children – Frank and Evelyn. Cassie was the sister of renowned opera singer Oscar Natzka; a brief biography is planned.

By 1949 Egerton and Cassie had moved to Te Mata near Thames. Egerton was retired but it was not long before they moved back up north to 6 Sidmouth St, Mairangi Bay in Auckland.

Together they lived there until Cassie died in 1962. His granddaughter Ninette remembers visiting him, his ankle always gave him grief and she remembers his limp.

Egerton’s last move was to the Ranfurly Veterans’ Rest Home in Mt Albert, Auckland.

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil died of Myocardial Degeneration on the 28th February 1967.

On his death certificate it says that he was cremated at Waikumete Cemetery. They have no records of this so we don’t know what happened to his ashes, or if indeed he was actually cremated there.

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Ranfurly veterans home, Mt Roskill, Auckland, New Zealand

Egerton was a true Anzac soldier. He fought in the Boer War as an Australian soldier and in WW1 as a NZ soldier and in WW2 as an Instructor.

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Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil 1881 - 1967

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil 1881 – 1967

Egerton’s children

Burleigh Victor Cecil Tebay (Vic) with his wife, Beatrice

Burleigh Victor Cecil Tebay (Vic) with his wife, Beatrice

Melba Doreen (Dolly) Hare

Melba Doreen (Dolly) Hare

Lil and Joe Sunich

Lil and Joe Sunich

Winnie McNae and Thelma Barnie

Winnie McNae and Thelma Barnie

Footnote

‘Aubrey’s Sons’ has been compiled by Wendy Skelley in New Zealand, 2011 (wendy.skelley@xtra.co.nz)

Thanks to Egerton’s granddaughters Ninette Skelley and Lorraine McNae for some background details and photos, Herbert Rogers for his amazing Boer War details and photos, Barbara Tearle for the ‘A Victorian Mésalliance, or, Goings on at the Manor’ and her inspiration to carry on the story and most of all a big thank you to my life-long partner, Tony Skelley, for enduring the hours while I tippity tapped away.

19Mar/15

Aubrey Cooper Cecil, 1847, Toddington, UK

Aubrey Cooper Cecil  – born 10th March 1847 at Toddington Manor, Bedfordshire, England.

 The Manor House, Toddington, about 1860


The Manor House, Toddington, about 1860

The story of Aubrey’s ancestry and childhood has already been told in ‘A Victorian Mésalliance, or, Goings on at the Manor’ written by Barbara Tearle.

Here, the story of Aubrey and his family continues from 1870 onwards …

On the 1871 census Aubrey is listed as the ship’s surgeon onboard the ‘Alibi’ in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. His medical training has never been established, and he was known for his prankster antics so he may well not have been a medic.

During 1876 Aubrey and his brother, Egerton Dodge Cooper Cecil, played cricket for Hampshire. However it was a short-lived sporting career. Aubrey was a right-handed batsman and represented Hampshire in a single first-class match in 1876 against Derbyshire, scoring six runs.

On the 24th August 1878 Aubrey married Elizabeth Peadon at the All Saints Church in Southampton, Hampshire, England. Elizabeth was the only child of William Peadon and Mary Mathews. They were Innkeepers from Chard in Somerset, England. William was deceased at the time of marriage and Mary was living with her old Aunt.

Within the next few weeks Aubrey and Elizabeth left England and the next record of them is appearing in Australia in 1878.

When they left England Elizabeth was heavily pregnant and on the 10th September 1878, on board the vessel ‘Scottish Prince’, she gave birth to their first son, Aubrey Bruce Cooper Cecil.

It is hard to imagine how difficult that voyage must have been.

They arrived with their newborn son 16th December 1878 in Townsville, Australia.

Aubrey began working in Australia but returned to Hampshire in England after his mother’s death in August 1880.

The Scottish Prince

The Scottish Prince

The 1881 census was conducted on the 3rd April and Aubrey was living with his wife and son, boarding at a policeman’s house.

Their second son, Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil, was born 16th June 1881 at Chiswick Cottages, Middlesex, England. Egerton was named after Aubrey’s brother.

The couple and their two children then returned to Australia not long after.

In the Shipping News published in the South Australian Register Monday 9th January 1882 it lists Mr & Mrs Aubrey Cecil arrived on the Lusitania, a steamer, that left London November 24 1881. They had travelled staying in the second saloon to Sydney. The Lusitania was built in 1871 and owned by the Pacific Steam Nav. Co.

Aubrey became a Government Agent on ships voyaging to the Pacific Islands.

The following are extracts from Brisbane’s historical papers online.

 19th May 1882 “The licenses for plying in the recruiting trade have been received from Brisbane, and are now in the hands of Mr. H. St. Geo. Caulfeild, Polynesian Labour Inspector, who expects the May will sail towards the end of the week. Mr. Aubrey C. Cecil, for some considerable time on the Lochiel, has been appointed Government agent on board.”

19th May 1882 “The licenses for plying in the recruiting trade have been received from Brisbane, and are now in the hands of Mr. H. St. Geo. Caulfeild, Polynesian Labour Inspector, who expects the May will sail towards the end of the week. Mr. Aubrey C. Cecil, for some considerable time on the Lochiel, has been appointed Government agent on board.”

 29th July 1882 “Aubrey C Cecil to be a Government agent, on the supernumerary staff, to accompany vessels licensed to carry Pacific Islanders under the provisions of the Pacific Island Labourers Act of 1880.”


29th July 1882
“Aubrey C Cecil to be a Government agent, on the supernumerary staff, to accompany vessels licensed to carry Pacific Islanders under the provisions of the Pacific Island Labourers Act of 1880.”

A further news item notes the following:

4th December 1882

“Mr Aubrey Cecil, Government agent of the Chance, who most kindly hastened to render all the aid in his power to the shipwrecked ‘Jabberwock’.”

In 1887 Aubrey and Elizabeth had another son, Vernon Digby Cooper Cecil, who sadly was only one when he died.

Aubrey was away at sea often, so it is likely that the boys didn’t see a lot of their father growing up.

The Cecil family home was at 75 Milne Street, Clayfield, Albion, Brisbane, Australia.

Clayfield has always had a reputation as an exclusive Brisbane Suburb and has not diminished with the newer development. Many of the older more substantial homes have fortunately survived.

The Cecil home, Brisbane, Australia

The Cecil home, Brisbane, Australia

A detailed story on the history of the Clayfield area where they lived was documented by an old resident whose family moved there in late 1899. To give you an idea of the environment the family lived in on land, I have included excerpts in this story …

… The main arterial roads such as Breakfast Creek Road, New Sandgate Road, Old Sandgate Road (now Bonney Avenue – so named to commemorate the memory of Flores Bonney, who gained considerable fame as an aviatrix) had some semblance of being formed, but the subsidiary roads were more or less reservations, 66 feet wide and with a plough furrow down each side to act as a gutter and water table – the centre was more or less of the old three track style now very rarely seen, even in the country, the two outside tracks made by the vehicle wheels and the centre track made by the horse.

These roads were naturally very dusty and so an occasional water cart was used in an endeavour to abate this nuisance. One seldom travelled on any road in any type of vehicle without a dust coat.

… The Clayfield area was close enough to be able to enjoy the Brisbane River and in addition was served by two main waterways, Breakfast Creek and Kedron Brook. The former, however, apart from the boat anchorage was of little value, but Kedron Brook rising in the back hills of The Gap, flowed into Schultz’s Canal, The Serpentine and so on into Moreton Bay.

… Almost everybody had a horse drawn vehicle of some sort as in those days most houses had room to run horses and most conveyances were drawn by a single animal, although occasionally in town one saw pairs, but very seldom tandem.

… The main industry really on the outskirts of Clayfield was the Pottery on the western side of Lapraik Street and almost down to Crosby Road. This works turned out pots of all descriptions plus agricultural pipes and bricks. Two sawmills were

1908 picture courtesy of www.brisbanehistory.com

1908 picture courtesy of www.brisbanehistory.com

Thursday 24 February 1887 from The Argus,

THE NEW HEBRIDES

The Government agent of the labour schooner Helena, now at Bundaberg, Queens-land, Mr. Aubrey C. Cecil, has addressed the following letter to the assistant immigration agent there:-“During the voyage of the Helena the following intelligence was given to, and the facts ascertained by, me relative to the movements of the French in the New Hebrides, which I trust you will communicate to the Chief Secretary. When in Port Sandwich on the 9th December the French officers told me that they were about to erect forts for the protection of the port, one at the North Head, one at the end of the harbour facing the entrance, and one near the company’s store; and also that the number of soldiers was to be increased to 220, and that new barracks were to be built. Whilst in Uraparapara, on the 8th January, the natives reported that a French warship had been there, and had pegged off land near the entrance to the harbour on both sides of the heads, on which it was said that they intended to erect small batteries. Whilst at Point Olroy, or Espiritu Santo, the French despatch vessel Guichen came to the anchorage, and landed a white missionary priest. I boarded her, and was told by the commander that they had within three days prior landed three other priests, two at Mate, in Villa Harbour, Sandwich, and one on private properly at Proctor’s Bay, which has been or will be bought by the Wesleyan missionary body.”

(special note …. Article later published in 1937, as below)

Three weeks ago Mr Aubrey Cecil, Government Agent on the labour schooner Helena, reported to the Government of this colony that the French were preparing to occupy the islands in the New Hebrides Group of which they at present hold possession, and that they intended to increase the number of troops there. The report was cabled to the Home Government through the Agent-General in London. The British Government promptly made representations to the French Government and asked for confirmation or denial of the report. The French Government denied the correctness of the report, but whether the denial was or was not qualified in any way cannot be judged from the information received by cable.

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13th July 1889

“Mr. Aubrey Cecil, Government agent on board the Brigantine Hector, which has just returned from the South Sea Islands, has, at the request of the Under Secretary for Agriculture, presented to that department a number of plantain, yam, taro, and other plants obtained by him at the South Sea Islands. These will be despatched today for propagation at the Mackay State Nursery.”

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21st May 1892 reported in The Queenslander, “The schooner May will probably sail in a few days on a recruiting trip to the South Seas. Mr. Cecil goes as Government agent.”

22nd March 1893 reported in South Australian Register, “The South Seas Hurricane, Brisbane, March 21st The barque Empreza, whose loss in the recent hurricane in the South Seas was reported, left Brisbane on January 11th with Captain Malcom in command, and Mr. A. C. Cecil, Government Agent, who took 153 return islanders for the New Hebrides.”

Aubrey Cooper Cecil died 22nd January 1900 and was buried at sea, he was only 52 years old. On his death certificate it says he as buried at Lat 105. S Long 161.13 E, near the Santa Cruz Islands north of Australia.

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The Brisbane Courier

Friday 9th February 1900

“The reported death of Mr. A. C. Cecil at sea has caused a painful shock to his very wide circle of friends. The Coquette returned to port on Tuesday, and reported the demise of the Government agent as having occurred on the 22nd January. The deceased gentleman was the senior Government Agent on the staff, and was first appointed to the service in July, 1882. He bore a very high reputation, and was always regarded as one of the most valued and efficient Government agents, and his unexpected death has caused much regret, for although Mr. Cecil had not been in good health for some time prior to embarking on his last voyage, there was no reason to suspect that the end was so near.”

After her husband’s death, Elizabeth Cecil continued to live in Australia until about 1912 when she moved to New Zealand, to be with her son Egerton.