Category Archives: Northampton, UK

Tearle Family history from Northampton

02Jan/16

Richard Elmore Tearle 1914, Pottersbury, UK

Coventry War Memorial

Coventry War Memorial

Name: TEARLE, RICHARD ELMORE Initials: R E
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Civilian Regiment/Service: Civilian War Dead
Age: 27    Date of Death: 11/04/1941
Additional information: of Hare and Hounds Hotel, Bramble Street.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. John G. Tearle, of 80 Western Road, Wolverton, Bletchley, Buckinghamshire.
Died at Hare and Hounds Hotel. Casualty Type: Civilian War Dead
Reporting Authority: COVENTRY, COUNTY BOROUGH

Since Bletchley did not meant much to me (except for the Enigma machine we had visited) I concentrated on other things. Sue Albrecht of Auckland, NZ, gave me my first hint about the story of this chap. “I see that John Gates Tearle on the WW1 Cosgrove memorial married a Violet Elmore in 1913. I also see on your site that one of the WW2 casualties was a Richard Elmore Tearle. What’s the bet that Richard Elmore Tearle is John Gates Tearle’s son?”

I checked his death date for action that night and this is what Wikipedia said:

“On the night of April 8/April 9, 1941 Coventry was subject to another large air raid when 237 bombers attacked the city dropping 315 high explosive bombs and 710 incendiary canisters. In this and another raid two nights later on April 10/April 11 about 475 people were killed and over 700 seriously injured. Damage was caused to many buildings including some factories, the central police station, the Warwickshire Hospital, King Henry VIII’s School, and St. Mary’s Hall.”

Richard has sent me a little more information from a website dedicated to deaths during the Blitz and it tells us that Richard Elmore Tearle was employed as a bodybuilder at the Humber car works and that he is buried in a communal grave in the London Rd Cemetery, Coventry.

Coventry War Memorial from the gate.

Coventry War Memorial from the gate.

It’s a terrible irony, and very sad, that John Gates Tearle should survive WW1, and his son be killed in England, as a civilian, in WW2. It is now clear that he was buried in a communal grave with more than 1100 other victims of German bombing of the Coventry Blitz. By a communal grave, we mean that the Coventry Borough Council dug a large pit and the bodies of the citizens of Coventry were placed side by side and buried. There was a memorial service, but no headstones, and much haste because of the possibility of more bombing.

To mark the occasion, the Great Cross of the CWGC was erected to denote a CWGC site, and the Coventry War Memorial was built. On it, all the names of those in the communal grave were inscribed. There is also a small pocket of CWGC headstones, surrounded by a low, whitewashed wooden fence and more headstones scattered randomly around the cemetery.

Richard Elmore Tearle on the Coventry War Memorial.

Richard Elmore Tearle on the Coventry War Memorial.

John Gates Tearle 1890 Wolverhampton, married Violet Elmore in Pottersbury in 1913. His parents, Charles 1859 of Stanbridge and Lizzie nee Gates were in Wolverton (the home of the big railway workshops on the LNWR line from Euston, through Leighton Buzzard to Preston and beyond) was a Railway Platelayer. Charles was a servant for a farmer of 100 acres in Newbold around 1881, so he had obviously used his farming connections to move from Stanbridge. Perhaps it was just luck on his part that he was then well sited to take advantage of the industrialisation of Northampton, in order to improve his prospects. Charles was a son of William 1832 of Stanbridge and Catherine nee Fountain, amongst other children, whom you will see liberally scattered throughout this site. William’s parents were Thomas 1807 of Stanbridge and Mary nee Garner of Toddington, from whom my family is descended. Family Tree Maker tells me John was a 2nd cousin to my father. Thomas is a son of Richard 1773 Stanbridge and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth, and Richard is a son of John 1741. So Richard Elmore is on the branch John 1741.

18Mar/15

John Gates Tearle, 1890, Wolverton, UK

I’d heard that there was a Tearle memorial in Cosgrove Church and it took me two trips there even to find it. However, the adventure was worth the trouble because this is a fascinating story. You can see below the memorial to “Those who served” in WW1 and amongst the names was John G Tearle.  His parents were Charles 1859 of Stanbridge and Lizzie nee Gates. They called him John Gates Tearle.  He had the service number 1469 and he fought with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

WW1 Memorial on the wall of St Peter and St Paul, Cosgrove

WW1 Memorial on the wall of St Peter and St Paul, Cosgrove

Now, Lizzie Gates was the daughter of Ephraim Gates and Sarah nee Tearle 1837 Stbg, and Sarah’s parents were Abel 1810 Stbg and Martha nee Emmerton. This means she is on the branch Joseph 1737 via William 1769 and Sarah nee Clark. You can see the marriages of both Abel and Sarah in the Stanbridge banns register.  Thus Lizzie is on the branch Joseph 1737.

Charles’ parents were William 1832 Stbg and Catharine nee Fountain. William was the brother of my gg-grandfather James 1827 Stbg so Charles was a cousin of my g-grandfather Levi, the blacksmith of Wing. This puts him on the branch John 1741.

You can see John just 10 months old, in the Wolverton census of 1891.

1891 = Charles 1860 Stbg Lizzie 32 Rose L 7 John G 10m in Wolverton. Charles is a railway worker, like his father, and is living amongst a group of railway employees, possibly employee accommodation.

And then we see them one last time in the Wolverton census of 1900.

1901 = Charles 1860 Stbg Lizzie 42 John 10 Nellie 6 in Wolverton. Charles is a railway platelayer and is living at 524 Glyn Sq, Wolverton. So I’m now fairly sure this was tightly-packed worker accommodation.

John married Violet Elmore in 1913 and they had a son in 1914 who they called Richard Elmore Tearle. This is where John’s story becomes very sad. Richard was working in Coventry during the Blitz of 1940 and he was tragically killed in a bombing raid. You can see his story on the WW2 page.

List of men from Cosgrove who served in WW1

List of men from Cosgrove who served in WW1

Detail of the list, showing John G Tearle

Detail of the list, showing John G Tearle

18Mar/15

Rowland Grigg Tearle, 1916, London, UK (RAMC)

In the church of St Andrew, Yardley Hastings, there is the memorial to Rowland Grigg Tearle, and other young men who died in the Great War.

St Andrews, Yardley Hastings, Northants.

St Andrews, Yardley Hastings, Northants.

Here are his details from Roll of Honour:
Private 55930, 11th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps. Died at home 9th June 1916. Age 20. Born London, enlisted Northampton.
Buried near the East boundary in ST. ANDREW CHURCHYARD, YARDLEY HASTINGS.

WW1 memorial inside St Andrews Church.

WW1 memorial inside St Andrews Church.

His details as recorded by CWGC are exactly the same as this.

The army records that Susannah Rogers was paid two gratuities, as the sole person named in his will.

Rowland Tearle UK Army Effects

Rowland Tearle UK Army Effects.

Rowland’s (sometimes spelt Roland) WW1 army medals card recorded that he died 9/6/16 and that he had earned the British Medal, the Victory Medal and the Star. It noted that he joined the French Theatre of war on 27/5/15 and that he was in the Royal Army Medical Corps. I can find no other military record.

CWGC headstone for R Tearle in St Andrews Church cemetery.

CWGC headstone for R Tearle in St Andrews Church cemetery.

Given that he died at home, we can suppose either a horrible injury or a debilitating trench disease. I wonder if the local NHS would have any knowledge of him? I am often reminded of how short his life was; I do hope there is something more we can say for him.

There was a good deal of discussion about the origins of Rowland and why he was living with Susannah Rogers, so I sent off for his birth certificate. He was born Rowland Grigg Tearle on 8 Jan 1896 in Queen Charlotte Hospital, Marylebone Road. His mother was Elizabeth Tearle, Book Keeper, Hotel of Willesden. There is no recorded father. The informant on the certificate was E Tearle, mother, 20 Victoria Road, Kilburn. He was registered on 11 Jan 1896 in the Sub-district of St Mary, County of London. Here is a compressed version of his 1901 census return:

1901 = Rowland 1896 Paddington border Susannah Rogers 57 Mary 30 Frank Gordon 1 Calcutta India boarder in Yardley Hastings Northants

It seemed to me very odd that he should be just five years old and living in another family far away from London, where presumably his mother would still be. Since we had no father for young Rowland and that prevented us from knowing his mothers’ familial relationships, I hoped that Susannah Rogers would be able to lead us to her. I found Susannah in the 1861 Bozeat, Northants census –

1861 = Susannah Rogers 1844 Harrold wife Stephen 21 William J Robinson 8 brother in Bozeat Northants

She was just 18, born Harrold, Beds, and was married to Stephen Rogers, a Gamekeeper, of West Tytherley, Hampshire, which is half way between Salisbury and Winchester. They were boarding her younger brother, William J Robinson. So now we had a formal identification for her. She was Susannah Robinson 1843 Harrold. So that means this is her and her parents and her grandfather in the 1851 census:

1851 = Susannah Robinson 1844 Harrold Beds Mary 33 William 36 William Abrahams 83 in Northants

I found Stephen and Susannah with their first children, William and Mary Elizabeth, in the 1871 census –

1871 = Susannah Rogers 1843 Stephen 31 William 8 Mary E 9m in Cornwall

They were back in Buckinghamshire for the 1881 census, but there was a surprise for me –

1881 = Susannah Rogers 1843 Stephen 41 William C 18 James A 14 Mary E 10 Thomas J 6 in Weston Underwood Bucks

I tried to find James A 1867 Turvey, Beds, in the 1871, but he is invisible.

I did find him the the 1891

1891 = James Rogers 1867 Turvey Beds Valet in Northants

as well as Susannah and Stephen, now living in the Keepers House near Yardley Hastings, where Stephen was a Gamekeeper for the Yardley Chase forestry estate, not far from where Milton Keynes is now.

1891 = Susannah Rogers 1843 Harrold Stephen 51 Thomas J 16 Mary E 20 in Yardley Hastings Northants

Pat Field found the Buckinghamshire Records marriage of Mary Ann Tearle 1866 and James Abraham Rogers in Q1 1886 Newport Pagnell, Northants, 3a, p695. “Date 8 Mar 1887 Entry James Abraham Rogers, full age, bachelor, Servant of Little Linford son of Stephen Rogers, Gamekeeper married Mary Ann Tearle full age spinster servant of Little Linford dau of John Tearle deceased. Witnesses James X Johnson, Alice Sheargold Banns not found Parish Little Linford St. Leonard.

Mary Ann was the dau of John 1823 (the marine) and Sophia nee Walker. This is the first occasion where I found James’ middle name. He has been, as is often the case with Victorian families, given the surname of his maternal grandfather. James’ being on his own on census night meant that his family had to be somewhere else, and they were:

1891 = Mary A Rogers nee T 1866 Aylesbury Arthur Rogers 1 visitor in Sussex E Grinstead

In 1901, Mary Ann and James were in Knightsbridge, London

1901 = Mary A Rogers nee T 1866 Linslade James A Rogers 34 Arthur 11 Edith 8 in Lon

For Susannah, the 1901 census painted a different picture – she was now a widow, and there was a young chap – Frank Gordon, 1yr – born in Calcutta, India living with her, then Rowland, and Mary Elizabeth, her daughter.

1901 = Rowland 1896 Paddington border Susannah Rogers 57 Mary 30 Frank Gordon 1 Calcutta India boarder in Yardley Hastings Northants

They had must have moved into the village after Stephen’s death, and Mary was earning some money for them as a dressmaker. Rosemary wrote to tell me she had seen Rowland still living with Susannah in the 1911 census in Yardley Hastings. For me, Susannah was now officially an In-Law, and has her place on The Tree.

There was a definite family connection, then, between Susannah Rogers and the Tearles, specifically John 1825 and Sophia nee Walker, but this didn’t explain why Rowland was living with her, and whether there was an equal familial relationship with his mother, Elizabeth. I did the Tearle births calculation: 22 years for the boys from the birth of their first child, perhaps as few as 18 for the women. Elizabeth had to be born earlier than 1878, but probably not earlier than 1866.

Sophia died in 1880 and was buried in All Saints, Leighton Buzzard. Rosemary reminded me of the 1881 census return, with the kind of blinding insight that only Rosemary does. In the 1881 Leighton Buzzard census there is recorded the contents of a house in Vandyke Rd. This is so important to the story that I have reproduced the essential viewing portions of both pages of the return.

wp96916090_05_06

Page 1

Page 2

Page 2

The head of the house is Mary 1822 LB, there is her brother John 1824 LB, Greenwich pensioner (navy) and her other brother Charles 1827 LB also a Greenwich pensioner, then Harriett 1860 LB a niece, then Alice 1862 LB a niece, then Charles H 1865 LB a nephew, Charles E 1866 from Morpeth, and Eliza 1869 and Elizabeth 1872 from Linslade.

Since everyone in the house is either a brother, nephew or niece of Mary 1822, then all of them are direct descendants of John 1780 and Sarah nee Claridge.

In the 1871, Mary had two of Edmund’s children, plus her own.

1871 = Mary 1822 LB Sarah 1846 LB Alice 9 Charles 6 in LB I couldn’t find Harriett 1860 anywhere.

Harriett 1860, Alice 1862 and Charles 1865 all come from another of Mary’s brothers, Edmund 1833, who lived just round the corner in Hockliffe Rd, but who died in 1867 and his wife Harriett in 1869. In 1871, Edmund 1855 who would become a well-known stage manager and actor, was already in Liverpool working in an office, so he was independent.

Charles Edward from Morpeth is the son of Charles 1827.

That means that Eliza and Elizabeth from Linslade are John’s children. I don’t have a birth cert for Elizabeth, but this is probably her: Q3 1871, L.B. 3b 156. Until the certificate turns up and proves me wrong, I think it is acceptable that this Elizabeth 1871 is John and Sophia’s girl. The only other family having children in Linslade were John’s brother Thomas 1821 and Sarah Jane nee Elliott. Their last child was George 1862 and adding Elizabeth 1871 is not impossible (Sarah would have been 47) but unlikely.

We found one late clue which helped convince us; Pat Field sent me the Leighton Buzzard baptisms of All Saints Church:

1 Jan 1883 ELIZABETH dau of John & Sophia Tearle of Leighton Pensioner

Sophia nee Walker, John’s wife, died in 1880, so this was simply a late baptism for Elizabeth. It certainly helps to show that he had a daughter Elizabeth and one supposes this is not Eliza.

Which brings us back to Rowland. Rosemary had much earlier seen the wedding of Mary Ann 1866 and James Rogers, and had raised the question:

“Susannah’s daughter-in-law was Mary Ann Tearle, born Linslade in 1866.

Mary Ann’s parents were John (1825) and Sophia, nee Walker.  Her siblings were Sarah Jane (1863), John (1864), Eliza Sophia (1868) and Elizabeth (1871).

Because of the relationship between Mary Ann and Susannah, I am of the opinion that Mary Ann’s sister Elizabeth is Rowland’s mother.”

We found Elizabeth in 1891:

1891 = Elizabeth 1872 Linslade, barmaid, in Rugby but she was not in any 1901 census.

Rosemary spent some time looking at what may have happened to Elizabeth and following up on the lead of young Frank Gordon from Calcutta living with Susannah, Rosemary looked to records from India. Tantalisingly, there was a Miss Tearle 28yr on the ship Rewa bound for Calcutta, India in 1897. She found that in 1899 an Elizabeth Tearle (26yr) father John, dec, married Arthur Brown (27yr) in Calcutta, but we cannot tell if it was our Elizabeth. As Rosemary tells it, “Since Arthur was 27, perhaps Elizabeth lopped a few years off her age…”

Rosemary now had a long look for Rowland’s possible father and I’ll let her tell the story in her own words:

As to who was Rowland’s father – Rowland Grigg is an unusual Christian name and I pondered as to whether this could have been the name of his father.  I tried to see if there was a famous Rowland Grigg about when Rowland was born, but could find nothing on Google. So looked to see if a Rowland Grigg did indeed live in England.

There is a Rowland Grigg who was born, lived and died in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight – 1872 – 1901.  This seemed to be too far away from where Elizabeth lived and worked.  But then I found that Mary Ann’s two children were born in Ashurst Wood Sussex, not all that far from the Isle of Wight.  Could Elizabeth been staying with her sister Mary Ann?  Could Elizabeth and Rowland Grigg and have met?  Brighton, that most famous of holidaying sites, was near to both Mary Ann’s and Rowland’s residential areas.  The Isle of Wight itself was also a  well-known holiday destination popularised by Queen Victoria.

Rowland Grigg of the Isle of Wight was the son of a draper and had no occupation recorded in the census before he died.  His, too, was a short life.

So I think we have finally told the bare bones of Rowland’s remarkable story. He is a member of a proud and illustrious family – the theatrical Tearles. We have established that his mother was Elizabeth 1871, the daughter of John 1825, the marine, and Sophia nee Walker. I am sure there is still a story to be told about why she was in Rugby in 1891 and why she was working in Willesden about the time of Rowland’s birth. His family’s times were difficult, and children were brought up by the extended family rather than by their parents. All the evidence shows, though, that they were still well brought up. Rowland heeded the call to war, and signed up to save lives rather than to take them. This decision cost him his own life, and we can only speculate on the misery it may have caused him as he lay dying in Susannah’s house. We have established his family connections, and we have acknowledged the debt we owe to Susannah Rogers and the generosity she showed him.

There is one other memorial we discovered; on the wall of the Yardley Hastings Memorial Hall that faces the road is a memorial to the young men who died in WW1 and WW2: Rowland is with them. He has been called Greg, but we are aware of exactly who he was.

War Memorial on hall, Yardley Hastings.

War Memorial on hall, Yardley Hastings.

DSCF5681 Rowland Gregg Tearle on war memorial Yardley Hastings Northants

Close-up of names on the War Memorial Hall.