Category Archives: Tearle Stories UK

From England we are able to research the history of the Tearle Family. Here we will share what we have found in our research, and our travels around England, to find Tearle sites and Tearle graves.

28May/16

Horace Tearle 1892, Leeds, Yorkshire, UK (Yorks Hussars)

There really is a parish called Wortley-de-Leeds, and it was in St John the Evangelist Church of that parish, little Horace Tearle was baptised on 5 June 1892. The fear of babies dying drove Victorian parents to the the church as soon after their baby’s birth as possible. The church records show Horace was born on 28 April 1892. That is how anxious they were.

Horace Tearle 1892 baptism Wortley Leeds

At the time of Horace’s Christening, William 1859 was a miner in Fromeside, Wortley, Leeds.

To put this family in context, William Tearle 1859 of Bramley, Leeds, married Annie Lee Lavers on 21 October 1882 in Wortley, Leeds. His parents were George Tearle 1825 of Leighton Buzzard and Maria nee Franklin. George and Maria’s first child, Julia, was born in Leighton Buzzard. Their next two children, James 1852 and Edward 1855 were born in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, and this James married Mary Abigail Ryder in Bramley, Leeds in 1875 and then emigrated to Australia in 1883. George and Maria moved to Leeds in about 1856, and the rest of their family – George 1857, William 1859, Elizabeth 1862 and Harry 1864 were all born in Leeds. George’s parents were Joseph Tearle 1803 and Mary Ann nee Smith. This is the family who moved from Leighton Buzzard to Preston and started the Preston Tearles. As you can see, George did not follow them to Preston, Lancashire; he went to Leeds, in Yorkshire. Charles 1894 of Preston and Horace 1892 are second cousins. The parents of Joseph Tearle 1803 were Richard Tearle 1778 of Stanbridge and Mary nee Pestel, and Richard’s parents were Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp. Thus, Horace is on the branch of Joseph 1737.

In the 1800s we were living in the grip of the Industrial Revolution, where some families made vast fortunes, whilst their factories blew contamination into the air, poured pollution and poison into the rivers, and allowed their workers’ conditions to be little better than slaves. No wonder their babies died. It was also a time of upheaval and mass migration. As mechanisation modernised farming, and fewer labourers were needed, so the farming life became untenable when people could no longer make a living from the land.

George and Maria moved North. William became a miner; here is his marriage:

William Tearle Annie Lee Lavers marriage 1882 Wortley Leeds -1

It is a poignant reminder of the life they left behind; far from rural Bedfordshire, William was a miner, and George, who had been an Agricultural Labourer, was now a “labourer in a brick works.” Annie, the local lass, cannot write, but William signs in a beautiful copperplate hand and one of the witnesses is his brother James’ wife, Mary Abigail nee Ryder. Within a year, they would be in Australia.

1901 William 1860 Leeds Annie 40 James 15 Maud 13 Annie 11 Horace 8 Wilfred 5 Laura 3 Edmund 11m in Potter Newton Yorks -1

The 1901 census, above, notes that William is a coal miner, and son James is working in a wool factory. You will have noticed that William and Annie’s first child was called James, no doubt after William’s favoured elder brother. Horace is eight years old.

1911 William 1860 Leeds Annie 50 James 25 Annice 21 Horace 18 Wilfred 15 Laura 13 Edmund 10 George Henry 8 Clifford 5 in Leeds -1

The 1911 census tells us (as usual) quite a lot more. But amongst all the data, William, James and Horace are “Below ground” miners. Unfortunately, William and James do not tell us their exact roles in the mine, but Horace does. He is a “hurrier.” His role was to pull heavy carts of coal along the underground pathways to exits where the cart would be winched to the surface. The hurrier was tied to the cart with a heavy chain, and usually, at the other end of the cart, there would be a girl who was the “thruster,” pushing the cart with her hands and forehead, usually while kneeling. She would lose her hair over time due to the pressure of the cart on her head. Fortunately, Annice and Wilfred are in cloth-making factories, rather than the dreadful life girls had underground. Still, working in a factory was a job of long hours, low pay and awful working conditions. It is nice to see that all the younger children are at school, because in the 1840s children as young as five years old were working underground, in mines. Also in this picture of 1911 is Horace’s immediately younger brother Wilfred Tearle 1896 of Bramley, Leeds. He would share Horace’s story.

Goodness knows what drew Horace into The Great War, perhaps getting out from under ground to help in the developing adventure in Europe might have been a pull, or he was volunteering before he was conscripted? For whatever reason, Horace signed up on 4 Oct 1915 (the day he attested for “4 years service in the United Kingdom”) a full five months before conscription was enforced in March 1916. He was given the number 3398 and was inducted into the 3/1 Yorkshire Hussars. He was 23 years old, 5ft 6in tall, he had good vision and good physical development. He was kept on “Home” duties, meaning anywhere in the UK including Ireland, and during that time he married Annie Elizabeth Peat, on 3 June 1916. Married life came to an abrupt halt on 10 Nov 1916 when he boarded a ship in Liverpool, bound for Greece, which arrived in Salonica on the 21st. He was in the MEF, the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. Fortunately he was a few months too late to join the action in Gallipoli, but he would have been told that his role was in warfare over Greece, the Balkans and Turkey.

I have one document that tells a great deal about how the war treated Horace. Here it is:

Horace Tearle 3393 and 643197 and 76203 WW1 army service record p8

Firstly, you can see that he has learned another skill; he is a mechanic. In a later document he is referred to as an engineer. Perhaps when he gets back home, he may not have to be a miner. On 3 Aug 1917, Horace was driven to a field hospital with an unknown condition. On the 4th, he had an extremely high temperature, and on the 12th he was diagnosed with malaria. His life had now changed forever; you do not recover from malaria, you simply get used to coping with it. In November he is returned to his unit. On the page after this one, there is a stern order stamped on his card:

“Malaria case – Not Available for a Theatre of War where MALARIA is Prevalent.”

The fact that the order is stamped on his record shows us that this was a common event. He was posted to other units – the Royal Dragoons and the Derby Yeomanry, but he was moved on – somehow he did not fit their needs. He was finally transferred to the Labour Corps. When he was well he could work, and when he was having a malaria “turn” he could rest. On 2 Nov 1918, he joined “A” Company, the Labour Corps. He would be used to move goods and clean up after the war. Armistice day arrived on 11 November 1918, and Horace’s service was reviewed. He had enlisted on 4 Nov 1915, been in the MEF from 10 Nov 1916 to 10 Jun 1918 and then on “Home” duties until 7 Nov 1918, a total of 3 years and 35 days. During that time, Horace was transferred to Aldershot Barracks, in Hampshire. In August 1918, with too much time on his hands, Horace got into a drunken state and overstayed his leave by almost half a day. He was loudly admonished, and given three days confined to barracks as a punishment, and probably sent on parade-ground cleaning duties. It was the only blemish on his military record.

On 7 Nov 1918, Horace was transferred to soldier class “P”. He was now the reserves, he could go home, but he might also be called up at any time until his four years was up. To all intents and purposes, he was free.

Horace Tearle 76203, 643197 WW1 army medal Rolls -1

Here is his medal card, which shows that the Labour Corps (his last unit) had gathered sufficient information to award him two service medals – the Victory Medal and the British Medal. In 1922, Horace signed for the receipt of his medals. With his malaria always threatening, and boiling over at times, it must have been difficult for him to accept that this is all he got for the pain he would endure for the rest of his life.

I know very little about what happened next, except that he and Annie had a girl, Joan, in 1920, and that Horace died in 1929, just 36 years old. Malaria still kills millions of people each year, and Horace’s fight with it in the 1920’s would have been difficult, and often very painful and debilitating. It is a very sad end for a man who had hoped for so much more.

02May/16

Edward George Tearle 1896, Hemel Hempstead, UK (Labour Corps)

It is not very often, in the 20th Century, that a man and his son go to the same war, but for Edward Joseph Tearle 1874 of Watford, and his son, Edward George Tearle 1898, that is exactly what happened. I shall start with the entry in National Roll of the Great War:

Tearle Edward George National Roll

Edward George is a little bit lucky. The phrasing of the middle sentence exaggerates his importance a little bit, and “frequently in forward areas” means he was not very often in the line of fire. It is true, though, that Labour Corps men were used for replacement battalions, and often Labour Corps units were kept within the range of artillery for long periods. So we are not to downplay the danger, nor the effect that artillery, and the stench of death and disease would have on a twenty-year old fresh from the rural quietness of early Hemel Hempstead.

In the 1911 census he is living with his family in Watford, and although at 13 years old is still at school, he has an after-school job as an errand boy. At the outbreak of war, he was only 16 years old, so he would not be eligible to go to war until he was at least 18 years old. When he did so, his occupation was Cocoa Presser, he was 5feet 11in tall (which was tall for those times) and 20years 4months old, with a scar on his left knee; and he did not want to go into the navy. He enlisted on 2 March 1916, and he was called up on 19 June 1918. The war still had five months to rage, and a lot of men died in that time. On Armistice Day alone 11,000 soldiers perished, more than were killed on D-Day in WW2.

When he was eventually called up, the medics pronounced him fit for training, in spite of “an old fracture of the right elbow. Very deficient action of right forearm.” He was posted to the BEF (France) and moved three times to different Labour Corps groups. It is not possible to say where he was or what he was doing at any time, but on 18 Oct 1919, he signed a form to say “I do not claim to be suffering from a disability due to my military service.” And that is the end of Edward’s military experience. Here is the sheet that tells you where and when he went; to me it is completely obscure:

Edward George 643043 WW1 army service record p8

Edward George 643043 WW1 army service record p8

In 1921, he married Nellie Elizabeth Boultwood in Watford and there would appear to be only one child from this marriage; Donald Edward Tearle 1922, born in Watford.

Edward George died in Watford in 1948 aged only 50. I think we will always wonder if the war was even partly responsible for this. Here is the notice of the probate of his will:

Edward George Tearle National Probate 1948

Edward George Tearle, National Probate 1948

Edward’s ancestry information are the same as for his father, Edward Joseph Tearle 1874 of Watford.

02May/16

Sidney Thomas Tearle 1893, Willesden, UK (RASC)

Sidney Thomas Tearle was born to Zephaniah Tearle and Annie nee Buckingham on 7 March 1893 in Stonebridge, Willesden, London, and he was baptised a few weeks later. Because infant mortality rates were very high, particularly in London, parents wasted no time in getting their babies baptised. Helpfully for us, the minister has written Sidney’s birth date in the margin.

Sidney Thomas baptism in St Michael and All Angels, Stonebridge 1893

Sidney Thomas baptism in St Michael and All Angels, Stonebridge 1893

The genealogical details you need to know are that Zephaniah 1869 of Stanbridge was the son of single mother Jane Tearle 1844, of Stanbridge. She had three children: Minnie 1865 who died just a year later, Zephaniah, and Tryphena 1872, who tragically died in 1892, just 20 years old. Jane’s parents were John Tearle 1823 of Stanbridge and Eliza nee Irons. John was himself the only son of a single mother, Mary 1803 of Stanbridge, and she was a daughter of John Tearle 1770 of Stanbridge, and Mary nee Janes. And John 1770 was, of course, a son of John 1741 and Martha nee Archer.

The address, 23 Melville Rd, is the same for the 1901 census. Here, we find out that Zephaniah is a plate-layer on the railway and that both he and Annie had come directly from Stanbridge, in Bedfordshire. We will have a look much more closely at Zephaniah and Annie in another article, about them and their lives, and the other Tearle families who lived in Willesden. I thought I would show this page to help understand the neighbourhood that Zephaniah had moved to. He is working on or near the giant tangle of lines and trains that was Willesden Junction in the late Victorian and early 20th Century years. The people who live around him are decidedly working class; the one exception being the “Gentleman” Mr William Carpenter Hall, from 14 Park Rd.

In the 1911 census, Zephaniah and Annie have been married for 21 years, and have had five children, none of whom have died. Sidney is working for a butcher, as is Albert, his younger brother.

1911 Zephanaiah 1869 Annie 43 Bertram 20 Sidney 18 Albert 15 Lily 13 Stanley 11 in Harlesden

1911 census: Zephaniah 1869 and Annie, with Bertram 20 Sidney 18 Albert 15 Lily 13 Stanley 11 in Harlesden.

Since Sidney was 18 in 1911, then he was the perfect age (21yrs) to be dragged into WW1. Here is his entry in National Roll of the Great War:

Tearle Sidney Thomas National Roll

The note is both interesting, and chilling. The date, November 1917 is interesting, because he married in 1917:

Sidney Thomas 1893 marriage Florence May Fuller Emmanuel Paddington Westminster 1917

Sidney Thomas Tearle 1893, marriage to Florence May Fuller, Paddington, Westminster, 1917.

But look at the date! 26 December. Since he joined in November, and was on the Western Front in the same year, then there was not much time in which to have a wedding. You can see on the form that he was already a soldier (ASC) but that the army had signed him up and was about to use his butchering skills. I gather they were not expecting him to be engaged in too much fighting, because even basic training takes six weeks to two months.

The chilling part is that he was never out of range of the artillery, because he was delivering food and ammunition to the trenches – and then there is a list of some of the vast and most violent battles of the Great War. Arras, Vimy Ridge, Cambrai “and other sectors” says National Roll airily. Sidney was not in the Great War for as long as some of the other Tearles whose stories are told in National Roll, but he was in the thick of it.

There are just two items left in my catalogue of Sidney’s life: his medals card and his address once he returned to civilian life. Firstly, his medals card. However truncated the message is, it tells us most of what we need to know. This is another card that does not record a soldier’s entry into the Theatre of War, and as a result we have only the note from National Roll to tell us where he was, when, and what he did. In about 1922, he would have received by post his Victory Medal and his British Medal.

The last tiny dot of evidence I have for the life of Sidney Thomas is his address in 1932, from the Willesden Electoral Roll; Minet Gardens, NW10. We can see from the address that Sidney has not moved far from where his parents lived at 17 Minet Avenue, where they were in 1911. And Lilian Tryphena Noyce, living at number 11, is Sidney’s sister.

You take your culture with you; Zephaniah and Annie have brought the habits of the village with them, and living closely together is part of that culture.

 

http://www.tearle.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Sidney-T-Tearle-M-380389-WW1-army-medals-record.jpg

Sidney’s medals card from the RASC.

 

Sidney Thomas Tearle, Minet Gardens, NW10.

Sidney Thomas Tearle, Minet Gardens, NW10.

16Apr/16

Edgar Tearle 1890, Stanbridge, UK (7/Beds Regt)

We have already had a look at Edgar’s brother, Frederick John Tearle 1884 of Stanbridge, who came back from WW1, wounded forever. He lived with his family in the house on Peddars Lane and finally died in 1956.

Edgar’s story is somewhat different, but it starts the same way. His parents were John Tearle 1861 of Stanbridge and Annie nee Walker. In the 1901 census, the family was living in the second house from the corner of Tilsworth Rd. John was a carter on a farm, and Frederick, the eldest son, was a “cowman” on a farm. The enumerator somewhat dismissively called John an Ag Horse, and Frederick an Ag Cattle, by way of job description. Edgar was seven years younger than Frederick, and at 10yrs old, he was still at school. Alice Agnes at 6yrs and 1yr old Mabel Edith made up the family.

In the 1911 census, there are a few changes, and we learn a little more about John and Annie. Firstly, John is now a County Council employee and he is working on the roads. Annie and John are in their late forties and they have had seven children, of which two have died. That may explain the seven-year gap between Frederick and Edgar. And there is one addition to the family, little Eric who is five years old, and he is at school.

Three years pass, and in that time cataclysmic forces rise steadily across Europe until finally what was to become the Great War fired the first shots in Sarajevo. The first months were gentle enough, not much different from previous small wars in Europe, and it appeared to many that it would all “be over by Christmas.” Edgar, caught up in the moment, volunteered. This would be quite an adventure, and not to be missed. Here is his entry in National Roll of the Great War.

Tearle Edgar National Roll

He was unbelievably lucky. He joined the war in the first few months, and was in Europe the following January, with just four months training. Professional soldiers are expensive to train, and expensive to replace. Volunteers, like Edgar and hundreds of thousands who followed him, were used in first-line positions to take the enemy fire and to probe the weak spots. How Edgar survived is a mystery. By the time he was wounded, he was a battle-hardened soldier who had a hastened return to the front line, to help show naive new troops how to fight, and stay alive.

Here is his medals card, showing his service awards, as noted above by National Roll.

Edgar Tearle 14397 and 590090 WW1 army medals record

You can see that he was in the Bedfordshire Regiment, number 14397, but interestingly, he was also in the Labour Corps. This was a huge operation to move supplies and maintain transport links.

Here he is, below, in his army uniform: this is a much-loved picture.

Edgar 1890 Stbg

He was always in danger. The battles he was involved in are legendary for slaughter and the waste of men’s lives. Loos. The Somme. Passchendaele. Cambrai. These battles, even today, are the stuff of nightmares. How he stayed alive is the first mystery; how he kept his sanity is another.

But somehow or other, he did both and in 1922 he married Louisa Jane Abraham, in Leighton Buzzard, and they had four children. Here is Louisa Jane with her second daughter, Daphne, taken in about 1930.

Louisa Tearle nee Abraham and Daphne

At the end of his working life, Edgar received the Imperial Service Medal, for his work in the Post Office.Notice of Imperial Service Medal to Edgar

On the next page is the medal he would have received with the note, above:

Edgar 1890 Imperial Service Medal

Edgar was living in a house at 12 Lamas Walk, Leighton Buzzard, when he was struck so sick he was moved to Churchill Hospital in Oxford, where, unfortunately, he died, aged only 60yrs.

Here is his entry in the National Probate Register:

Edgar Tearle entry in National Probate Register 1952

He was a fine man, and we can be proud that he was one of us.

15Apr/16

Frederick John Tearle 1884 (8/Beds Regt) and the last Tearles in Stanbridge

At the end of WW1, a private initiative began that tried to tell the stories of the soldiers of WW1. It was called National Roll of the Great War and while volumes were written, the work could hardly be called comprehensive. However, of the seventeen Tearle men whose stories are in the Roll, one volume does include the stories of two Stanbridge men, who were lucky enough to survive the war. The first is Frederick, and the second is Frederick’s younger brother, Edgar Tearle 1890.

Here is Frederick’s entry in National Roll:

Tearle, F J, Private, 8th Bedfordshire Regiment, who gave his address as Tilsworth Rd, Stanbridge. Below is his entry in National Roll:

Tearle Frederick John National Roll

This man was Frederick John Tearle, 1884 of Stanbridge, regimental number 27560 Bedfordshire Regiment and 59749 Suffolk Regiment.

It is a little odd that National Roll says that Frederick earned the 1914-15 Star, because his service medal record leaves this off.

Frederick J 27560, 59749 WW1 army medal rolls

Frederick J Tearle 27560, 59749 WW1 army medal record.

Mind you, they do not mention which Theatre of War Frederick joined (France) and when, so perhaps the card is incomplete.

Frederick was a son of John Tearle 1862 of Stanbridge and Annie nee Walker. John’s parents were James Tearle 1823 and Hannah nee Philips. James’ parents were Richard and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth, and that means that Frederick was on the branch of John 1741.

In the 1901 census Frederick was 17, Edgar was 10yrs old and at school and there were Alice Agnes, 6yr, and Mabel Edith only 1yr. John was a carter on a farm and Frederick was a cowman. The 1911 census, as usual, is a little telling. The form is filled out by Annie, and that reminded me that on their wedding certificate in 1884, John made his mark, but Annie signed her name. It tells us that although in their late 40s, the marriage  had already run for 28yrs, that they had 7 live births, but that two had since died. John is a roadman for the County Council, and I think that would be a good step up, and would pay better, and more reliably, than carting farm produce. Frederick (27yrs) was still a farm labourer, and younger brother Edgar, now 20yrs old, was working at a plant nursery. Alice Agnes is 15yrs and still at home.

In 1914 the entire land mass of Europe shook with the oncoming rush of war. Britain’s treaties caused her to take sides, and she dived headlong into a disaster on a global scale. Edgar signed up first (it was going to be over by Christmas, remember) in September 1914, and Frederick, who was but a grain of sand on a beach pounded by mighty waves, signed up too. It was March 1915.

Three of the battles mentioned in National Roll were vast slaughterhouses over months of war. The gently rolling lands of southern Belgium and Pas-de-Calais in northern France, where the River Somme winds lazily to the sea, were battlefields carved deeply with dugouts, underground headquarters and trenches. Disease was rife supplies ran out, and often the enemy trenches were as close as 100m. In this terrain, men fought for days for no gain, and in that endeavour they died in their tens of thousands. Frederick was unbelievably lucky to survive. It looks as though his injury in the Battle of the Somme was sufficiently serious for him not to be sent back to the battlefield. He was also, I think mostly for administrative reasons, transferred to the 8th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, which reviewed his documentation and approved the awarding of his service medals. This also explains how he was given two army numbers. He was finally free to go home.

Frederick John Tearle 59749 record of service medals

But in what condition did he return home? The noise, the carnage, the friends he lost, all of these would have taken an enormous toll on him. In the battle of Cambrai, it was noted that large rats ate the bodies of dead soldiers. That the daily toll of men was about 300, even when the artillery was not firing. And Cambrai, remember, was when tanks were first used on a large scale. The battle of Cambrai was also where Charles Tearle 1894 of Preston was killed, and Ernest John Tearle 1898 (on the same page, above) was gassed.

I mention this, because Richard Inns, a Stanbridge villager, told me that Frederick returned to his parents’ house, closed the curtains, and was seldom seen outside the house for the rest of his life.

Over time, this house saw sad events:

John 1862 died in 1927

Annie nee Walker, John’s wife, died in 1931

Alice Agnes died in April 1956

Frederick died in September 1956.

So far as I know, Frederick was the last person living in the house; I suspect that the loss of his sister would have hastened his death.

Four houses from the intersection of Pedders Lane and Tilsworth Road is the house where the last Tearles in Stanbridge lived. It has been added to, but it still exists:

Pedders Lane - the last Tearle house in Stanbridge

Pedders Lane – the last Tearle house in Stanbridge

When you read the service that Frederick did for his country, and the horrific battles he fought in, there can be no wonder that he could not (or would not) marry on returning to Stanbridge. It is also little wonder that his entire world was reduced to the interior of the last place where he had felt affection and security.

Edgar died in Churchill Hospital in Oxford in 1950, but he had been living in Leighton Buzzard until then; I am not certain where Eric was living at the time, but when he died in September 1968, he was the last person born in Stanbridge to carry the Tearle name. A name which had lived in this village since at least 1580, was gone.

03Apr/16

Joseph Tearle 1878, Preston (4/Loyal Nth Lancs)

The Preston Tearles are all descended from one marriage in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, between Joseph Tearle 1803 and Mary Ann nee Smith. They had (amongst many children) a son called Joseph, born in 1838, who married Sophia Kibble in Preston, Lancs, in 1858. Other members of the family drifted up to Preston on the Euston-Dunstable-Preston railway line and became part of the Lancashire business culture that Joseph had joined. Unsurprisingly, the parents of Joseph 1803 were Richard 1778 and Mary nee Pestel, and Richard’s parents were Joseph 1737 of Stanbridge, and Phoebe nee Capp.

Now, the son of Joseph 1838 (of interest to us militarily) was Joseph 1878, who had married Rachel Elizabeth Parker in 1900, in Preston. In the 1901 census, they were living in the house of Rachel’s parents and Joseph was working as a drysalter – basically, as a chemist. You would have thought that a man with three children in 1911, and 34yrs old in 1914, would be safe from the recruiters, working busily to send men to WW1. Not so for Joseph. I have precious little documentation, but his medals card speaks volumes:

Joseph 4029 WW1 army medal rolls

Joseph Tearle 4029 WW1 army medal rolls.

Firstly, on 31 June 1915 he joined the 4th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was given the number 4029 and the rank of private. His discharge date is odd – in the middle of 1916, fully two years before the armistice of 11 Nov 1918. In the next column is the reason for his early release – he was given a Para 392 discharge. Paragraph 392 of the King’s Regulations refers to a medical or physical condition (eg wounds) so serious that he “is not fit enough to be an efficient soldier.” I cannot find the Chelsea records that would document the process of this decision, but I do have the document that grants him the Silver War Badge. This badge would allow him to go home and wear it on his civilian clothes to indicate that he did everything he could to go to war, that he had caught a dreadful sickness caused by active service, and to the highest standards of the British army, he was in no condition to fight.

Here is his record in the awarding of the Silver War Badge, as well as the document itself:

WW1 Silver War Badge
Name:    Joseph Tearle
Discharge Unit:    4th L.N. Lancs.
Regiment Number:    4023
Rank:    Pte.
Badge Number:    117528
Unit:    Infantry (Preston)
Piece:    3085
List Number:    TH 0401-0800
Record Group:    WO
Record Class:    329

Joseph Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

Joseph Tearle 4023, WW1 Silver War Badge.

The hand-written numbers in the central column are the serial numbers of the badges awarded to each soldier. You can see that he was given a Para 392 discharge, and that he had not fought overseas.

16Feb/16
Levis house Wing

Wing Tearle Memorials

I suppose Wing wouldn’t immediately spring to mind as a hotbed of Tearle activity, but this ancient little village, just over the border in Buckinghamshire from Leighton Buzzard, became a very busy spot when a blacksmith and his brother moved to Wing in the late 19thC to set up their houses and bring up their families. 133 years later, Tearles still live in Wing.

Below is the headstone for my g-grandfather, Levi, b27 July 1850 in Stanbridge and his wife, Sarah nee Blake b24 Aug 1851 also in Stanbridge. 

Levi and Amos are sons of James 1827, featured on the Stanbridge page, and Mary nee Andrews. Also recorded here are: 

Rose b1877, Wing

Edith b1892, Wing

Emily (Pugh) b1886, Wing.

These are some of Levi and Sarah’s children.

Here are the summaries from all of the census returns in which Levi appeared. You can see the full extent of his and Sarah’s family in the last two returns. His family called themselves “The Tribe of Levi.”

  • 1851 = James 1828 Stbg p1 Mary 23 in Stbg
  • 1851 = James 1828 Stbg p2 Levi 8m in Stbg
  • 1861 = James 1827 Todd Mary 31 Levi 11 Sarah 8 Elizabeth 5 Isabella 3 in Stbg
  • 1871 = Levi 1851 Stbg apprentice blacksmith in Stbg
  • 1881 = Levi 1851 Stbg p1 Sarah 29 Arthur 6 in Wing
  • 1881 = Levi 1851 Stbg p2 Rose 3 Mahlon 11m in Wing
  • 1891 = Levi 1851 Stbg Sarah 39 Arthur 16 Rose 13 Mahlon 19 Ellen 9 Ruth 7 Emily 4 Minnie 2 in Wing
  • 1901 = Levi 1851 Stbg Sarah 49 Arthur 26 Ruth 17 Emily 14 Minnie 12 Edith 9 in Wing

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Some of the Tearles attended All Saints, the beautiful little Saxon church in Wing 

All Saints Church

All Saints Church

but Levi and his family were Methodists and attended the Methodist chapel (above right) down the road in Church St, where Levi was the superintendent of the Primitive Methodist Sunday School. This is now a private dwelling.

Wing Methodist Church

Wing Primative Methodist Church.

Levi and Sarah were married by banns in Stanbridge on 23 Mar 1874. Their son, Arthur, my grandfather, was born in Wing that December 24th. Levi’s parents were James b1827 Toddington and Mary nee Andrews of Eggington. James parents were Thomas 1807 and Mary nee Garner. Thomas’ parents were Richard 1773 and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth. Richard’s parents were John 1741 and Martha nee Archer. Thus Levi is of the branch John 1741.

Levi and Sarah, my great-grandparents

Levi and Sarah, my great-grandparents.

Levi and his grown-up family. Rear row, Levi, Ellen and Mahlon. Front row, right to left; Ruth, Emily, Minnie and Edith.

Levi and his grown-up family. Rear row, Levi, Ellen and Mahlon. Front row, right to left; Ruth, Emily, Minnie and Edith.

I suppose memorials don’t always have to have a name on them. Apart from the beautiful house he built in Wing, Levi’s lasting memorial will be the fencing he made for the property around Ascott House, Wing. This is the cricket ground fence.

Cricket ground with fence built by Levi

Cricket ground with fence built by Levi.

Here is his house which he built in Stewkley Rd. In 1901, the Big House (the one on the left) was not built and Levi and family, including my grandfather, Arthur, were living in the cottage in the middle. The painted cottage contained Mr and Mrs Cutler and family. 

Levi's house

Levi’s house.

Jennie Pugh of Luton says that the house next door to that always contained the chauffeur from Ascott Hs and the Rothschilds sent the children of the chauffeur to a school in Leighton Buzzard that charged £3.00 per term. As far as I know, Levi did not build the two cottages, but Jennie says he did carve Ebenezer Cottages into their window sills, named after a (Methodist preacher?) friend of his.

The little tablet briefly records the family of Harry Tearle b1908 in Wing. He was a son of Mahlon and grandson of Levi. He married Millicent Green, from a very long-standing Wing family. 

Harry Tearle b1908

Harry Tearle b1908

They and two of their children – Roy, who died only nine years old and Thelma – all of whom died in Wing, are listed here. Thelma is actually buried in another section of the churchyard and here is her tablet.

Thelma Mary Shepherd

Thelma Mary Shepherd

Emily, Mahlon’s sister, also has a sad story. In 1913 she married John Pugh, a butler, and had a son Ernest b1915, Wing. John Pugh joined the war in 1915 and lived and fought through it all as a sergeant machine gunner until just three months before the war ended. Here he is, on the war memorial in the Wing churchyard.

Emily stayed in Wing for the rest of her life, working as a maid for one of the local families. She is remembered on Levi’s headstone, above.

War Memorial, Wing Churchyard

War Memorial, Wing Churchyard

Martha Timms lived across the Tilsworth Road from Amos when they were growing up in Stanbridge. They married in St Johns Stanbridge on 18 July 1881 and moved to Wing soon after Levi, Amos’ elder brother, set up the smithy there. Amos was the blacksmith’s assistant until Levi’s son, Mahlon, took over the job. There is no memorial in Wing to Amos or Martha, but here is the headstone for Jeffrey, Amos’ first son and his wife, Maud nee Cutler. Amos and his family are, of course, on the branch of John 1741.

The headstone for Jeffrey, Amos’ first son and his wife, Maud nee Cutler

The headstone for Jeffrey, Amos’ first son and his wife, Maud nee Cutler

This memorial is for Jeffrey’s son, Fred.

This memorial is for Jeffrey’s son, Fred.

Strictly speaking, the graffiti in the clock tower, below may not be called a memorial at all. I am pretty certain it was carved by a young Mahlon Tearle, perhaps while he was mending something to do with the bells, or the clock.

Some 20th Century graffiti on the wall near the church bells.

Some 20th Century graffiti on the wall near the church bells.

There is a great deal of information about Wing on a site dedicated to it, and all the events that have happened there.

Did you know, for instance, that when Levi lived in Wing, there were no fewer than three blacksmiths in the village – and at least one wheelwright.

While we are there, here are the bells and mechanism he might have been repairing.

While we are there, here are the bells and mechanism he might have been repairing.

16Feb/16
DSC7617 Ewart studies the grave of Alfred, Florence Mary Tearle and Annie nee Hodges Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford wl

Watford Tearle Memorials

Vicarage Rd Cemetery

Elaine and I visited the Vicarage Rd Cemetery in Watford on 24 Apr 2011, armed with a printout of Tearle names and grave numbers given to Iris Adams and me by the warden of Watford North Cemetery when we went looking for Tearle graves there a couple of years previously. At Watford North, we had found Reginald Frank Tearle.

To start with, the Vicarage Rd Cemetery is pretty big. Without a map, it would be almost impossible to find any particular grave, and even with a map, the layout is somewhat chaotic, due mostly, I should think, to the number of times it has been enlarged, and re-numbered. One of the saddest things was that some of our earliest graves, and therefore the most important, had been re-used, and if there had ever been a headstone, it was now long gone. The only clue was in the catalogue number of the particular site.

There was a WW1 Great Cross close to the main entrance, and visible from Vicarage Rd as you drive past the Watford football stadium, to indicate that there were CWGC headstones in the cemetery, but there was no enclosure of a group; the headstones were wherever you could find them.

Vicarage Rd Cemetery War Memorial, Watford.

Vicarage Rd Cemetery War Memorial, Watford.

We paid our respects at the War Memorial, took our list of grave numbers and gradually found them all.

The triangle in the lower foreground is grave D-DED 441, for Charles Tearle b/d1879. The headstone on the left of the picture was also placed in 1879. Charles was the infant son of Jabez 1844 and Susannah nee Payne.

Grave D-DED441 the triangle Charles Tearle d1879 Vicarage Rd Cemetery

Grave D-DED441 the triangle Charles Tearle d1879 Vicarage Rd Cemetery.

We called this Tearle Corner; the highest concentration of Tearle graves close to each other we had ever seen. There are actually three graves, but they are occupied by eight people in total

Tearle Corner Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford

Tearle Corner, Vicarage Rd Cemetery, Watford.

This is a general view of site 953-K: George 1902-1931, Edward Joseph T 1874-1933, and Jane 1871-1944. George 1902 was the son of Edward Joseph Tearle and Jane nee Picton.

Tearle Corner grave K953 George 1902-1931 Edward Joseph T 1874-1933 and Jane nee Picton Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford

Tearle Corner grave K953: George 1902-1931, Edward Joseph T 1874-1933 and Jane nee Picton – Vicarage Rd Cemetery, Watford.

The headstone for 953-K. Edward Joseph Tearle was the son of Jabez 1844 and Susannah nee Payne. Jabez was the son of George 1818 and Annie nee Haws. Thomas 1737 via Fanny 1780

DSC_9597 Tearle Corner headstone K953 George 1902-1931 Edward Joseph T 1874-1933 and Jane nee Picton Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford

Tearle Corner headstone K953 – George 1902-1931, Edward Joseph T 1874-1933 and Jane nee Picton. Vicarage Rd Cemetery, Watford.

William 1852 married Catherine Newsham Hodson in 1875. He was the son of John 1824 and Sarah nee Bishop of Slapton, and when John died young, William was brought up in Watford by his uncle George 1818 and his aunt Annie nee Haws.

Tearle Corner grave K862 William Tearle d1913 Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford.

Tearle Corner grave K862 William Tearle 1852-1913, Vicarage Rd Cemetery, Watford.

There is one name on each wing of site 861-K, the grave of Mabel Tearle 1884-1955, Elizabeth Strickland 1821-1903, Elizabeth Louise Tearle 1852-1924 and George 1854-1945.

Tearle Corner grave K862 William and K861 Mabel Tearle 1884-1955 Elizabeth Strickland 1821-1903 Elizabeth Louise Tearle 1852-1924 George 1854-1945 Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford

Tearle Corner grave K862 William and K861 Mabel Tearle 1884-1955 Elizabeth Strickland 1821-1903 Elizabeth Louise Tearle 1852-1924 George 1854-1945. Vicarage Rd Cemetery, Watford.

Elizabeth Strickland was the mother of Elizabeth Louise, so she was George’s mother-in-law, and Mabel’s maternal grandmother.

Elizabeth Strickland 1821-1903.

Elizabeth Strickland 1821-1903.

When you are given a printout of the grave numbers for a person, or number of people, there is also a rather vague map of the general locations (eg K) but the only way to tell where you are is to refer to the grave numbers, such as is shown here.

How to tell the exact grave number.

How to tell the exact grave number.

Mabel 1884-1955 is variously called Lizzie, Lizzie Mabel and Mabel, depending on the document in question.

Lizzie Mabel 1884-1955

Lizzie Mabel 1884-1955.

Elizabeth Louise (as here, or Louisa, sometimes) 1852-1954 was a London girl from Stepney, who married George 1854 in St Pancras in 1879.

Tearle Corner grave K861 Elizabeth Louise Tearle 1852-1924 Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford

Tearle Corner grave K861 Elizabeth Louise Tearle 1852-1924 Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford

George 1854 was also a son of John 1824 and Sarah nee Bishop. He was firstly a grocers assistant in Dunstable but by the time he met and married Elizabeth Louisa Strickland, he was in London working as a railway clerk. Watford has strong railway links, so George has added family links in coming to Watford.

Tearle Corner grave K861 George Tearle 1854-1945

Tearle Corner grave K861 George Tearle 1854-1945

E-CON 76, the grave for Sarah Ann 1851, Elizabeth Amelia 1821, George 1818, Jabez 1844 and Lucy 1857; potentially the most important grave of all. It probably never had a headstone, and you can see that, sadly, the site is re-used.

E-CON76a grave for Sarah Ann 1851 Elizabeth Amelia 1821 George 1818 Jabez 1844 Lucy 1857 reused

E-CON76 – grave for Sarah Ann 1851 Elizabeth Amelia 1821 George 1818 Jabez 1844 Lucy 1857 reused.

E-DED 441 is the grave for Albert Edward Tearle 1906-1907. It is the unmarked grave in the centre foreground. Albert was the son of John Leinad T 1876 and Alice nee Allainey, and grandson of Jabez 1844 and Susannah nee Payne.

E-DED441 Albert Edward Tearle 1906-1907 unmarked grave Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford

E-DED441 Albert Edward Tearle 1906-1907 unmarked grave Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford.

F-974 Alice Mary Tearle 1868-1917 was the daughter of Thomas 1847 (the railway engine driver) and Mary nee Bowler. She is descended from John 1780 and Sarah nee Claridge. William 1749.

F974 Alice Mary Tearle 1868-1917 Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford

F974 Alice Mary Tearle 1868-1917. Vicarage Rd Cemetery, Watford.

F-892 The grave of Thomas Tearle 1847-1925 and Mary nee Bowler is immediately behind that of their daughter, Alice Mary 1868. Thomas is the son of Thomas 1820 and Sarah Jane nee Elliott. He is the grandson of William 1749.

F892 Thomas Tearle 1847-1925 and Mary nee Bowler Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford

F892 Thomas Tearle 1847-1925 and Mary nee Bowler. Vicarage Rd Cemetery, Watford.

615 H-CON (Below) Arthur Fred Elliott Tearle 1877-1948, Florence Mary 1905-1907 and Annie nee Hodges 1872-1954. Arthur is a son of Thomas 1847 and Mary nee Bowler, so he is the brother of Alice Mary, above.

615 H-CON Ewart studies the grave of Alfred, Florence Mary Tearle and Annie nee Hodges. Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford.

615 H-CON Ewart studies the grave of Alfred, Florence Mary Tearle and Annie nee Hodges. Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford.

Here is a general view of the graveyard showing the site of the grave of Arthur and family.

615H-CON Arthur F E Tearle 1877-1948 Florence Mary 1905-1907 Annie nee Hodges 1872-1954 Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford wl

615H-CON Photo to show the location for the grave of Arthur F E Tearle 1877-1948 Florence Mary 1905-1907 and Annie nee Hodges 1872-1954. Vicarage Rd Cemetery, Watford.

561-L Mildred Annie Tearle 1884-1908. Unfortunately, this grave, too has been re-occupied and Mildred Annie’s name is no longer on it. Mildred was the daughter of Anne Elizabeth Tearle 1859 before Anne Elizabeth married Joseph Moore in 1888.

561L - foreground reused grave Mildred Annie Tearle 1884-1908 Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford

561-L – Foreground, reused grave of Mildred Annie Tearle 1884-1908 Vicarage Rd Cemetery, Watford.

The grave is definitely 561-L which is listed for Mildred Annie Tearle. Here is a close-up of the corner post showing (just) its number. She is the grand-daughter of Abel 1833 and Sarah nee Davis and g-granddaughter of Joseph 1797 and Maria nee Millings.

Marker post for grave 561-L

Marker post for grave 561-L

Below is a picture of plot 1150 L-CON for William 1857-1933. The clipboard marks the site. William married Mary Jewell nee Trust nee Cox. He was the son of Abel 1833 and Sarah nee Davis, so he was the brother of Ann Elizabeth 1859, and Mildred Annie’s uncle. Joseph 1737.

grass plot 1150L-CON William 1857-1933 Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford

Grass plot 1150L-CON William 1857-1933. Vicarage Rd Cemetery, Watford.

Grass plot 1150L-CON William 1857-1933. Vicarage Rd Cemetery, Watford.

Grass plot 1150L-CON William 1857-1933. Vicarage Rd Cemetery, Watford.

A general view showing the location of 1150 L-CON. The headstone beyond is for a chap called Rogers.

790-M As the corner post shows, the grave for Olive Archdeacon Tearle 1881-1985. This is not the name on the grave, so it’s another re-used site. She was the sister of Lizzie Mabel, featured above.

790M corner post for Olive Archdeacon Tearle 1881-1985 Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford

790M corner post for Olive Archdeacon Tearle 1881-1985. Vicarage Rd Cemetery, Watford.

Olive Archdeacon T is the daughter of George 1854 and Elizabeth nee Strickland. She was born in 413 Commercial Rd, Tower Hamlets, and George was in the railways as a clerk in those days.

reused grave 790M Olive Archdeacon Tearle 1881-1985 Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford

Reused grave 790M for Olive Archdeacon Tearle 1881-1985. Vicarage Rd Cemetery, Watford.

The families:

There are three separate families associated with the headstones above:

Family 1.

Abel 1797 and Hannah nee Frost. He was the son of Fanny 1780 and g-son of Thomas 1737 and Mary nee Sibley. Two of his boys were the fathers of families as follows –

John 1824 and Sarah nee Bishop of Slapton – William 1852 and Catherine nee Hodson, George 1854 and Elizabeth nee Strickland.

George 1818 and Annie nee Haws’ son, Jabez 1844 and Susannah nee Payne and three of their sons, Alfred George 1872, Edward Joseph 1874 and John Leinad 1876.

Their sister Elizabeth Amelia 1821.

Family 2.

William 1749 and Mary nee Prentice

John 1780 and Sarah nee Claridge, whose children were all born in Leighton Buzzard. John was a member of the 2nd Dragoon Guards and father to a line of theatrical Tearles one of whom was Sir Godfrey Tearle, the movie and Shakespearean actor. He was also the father of many sons who joined the Royal Marines – at least four that I know of. Thomas 1847, the railway engine driver, married Mary Bowler. Their daughter is Alice Mary 1868 and their son is Arthur Fred Elliott T 1877. He married Annie Hodges and their daughter Florence Mary 1905 is featured on their headstone.

Family 3.

Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp. Their grandson Joseph 1769 and their gg-gson William 1857.

Joseph 1797 and Maria nee Millings. Joseph was the son of William 1769 and Sarah nee Clark, and grandson of Joseph 1737.  Mildred Annie 1884 is their grand-daughter, the daughter of Ann Elizabeth 1859 and grand-daughter of Abel 1833 (and Sarah nee Davis) who was a son of Joseph 1797 and Maria nee Millings.

William 1857 was the brother of Ann Elizabeth 1859 and Mildred Annie’s uncle. He married Mary Jewell nee Trust nee Cox.

16Feb/16

Stanbridge Tearle Memorials

The parents of almost all the Tearles alive today are a Stanbridge man called Thomas b1710 and his wife, Mary nee Sibley. They had five sons who carried the Tearle name – Joseph b1737, Thomas b1737, John b1741, William b1749 and Richard b1754. There was a Jabez b1745, but he never married and had no children. In order to positively identify any Tearle, I trace them back to one of these men. So where you see the statement, for instance, that John, below is on the branch of John 1741, you will know they are a descendant of John 1741 above. The Tearle Tree is built on this basis and we can trace almost any person who enquires to one of these branches.

In line with the south entrance of St John the Baptist Church, is a carved stone with a very old cross on it. Although it does not signify occupation in and around it, this stone does server to remind us that Stanbridge has been place of significance since before Roman times.

Stanbridge Church rock

Stanbridge Church rock

The clock on the church was donated by the villagers who raised money for it to celebrate the end of WW1. It was unveiled by the daughter of Lily Robinson nee Cox.

Stanbridge Church clock

Stanbridge Church clock

The memorial below is for John Tearle b16 Jan 1840 in Stanbridge; “For sixty years sexton of this parish.” Also on the memorial are other members of John’s family: Maria nee Bliss b1844 in Totternhoe, Frederick b1871 in Stanbridge and Sabina b1875 in Stanbridge. John Tearle was sexton while the Rev Thomas Green was making major upgrades to the fabric of St John’s during the 1890s.

He is on the branch of John 1741.

John Tearle 60 years sexton of this parish

John Tearle 60 years sexton of this parish

The site below is for Eliza Tearle b1873 and Kate Tearle b1873, who died within months of each other in 1954 and are in this grave by the footpath.

Kate and Eliza Tearle, Stanbridge.

Kate and Eliza Tearle, Stanbridge.

They are the twin daughters of John the  sexton (mentioned above.)

Very close to the foot of the grave above, is the memorial to Phoebe Tearle b 1877 Stanbridge. She married George Horne, also of Stanbridge, and they left to seek their fortune in Leeds.  Phoebe is one of the daughters of John 1840, the sexton, and Maria. Note how close her memorial is to that of her sisters, Eliza and Kate. I am not certain that she is buried here.

Phoebe Horne nee Tearle and George

Phoebe Horne nee Tearle and George

Annie Rose is the sister of Kate and Eliza and thus a daughter of John the sexton. She died in 1950.

Headstone Annie Rose d1950 and Charles Rose d1951

Headstone for Annie Rose d1950 and Charles Rose d1951

This little cluster of graves is interesting because others close by may be similarly related. You can see below that the graves of Eliza, Kate, Phoebe and Annie are a close little grouping. Research is continuing to see if other sites nearby are also Tearle graves by another name.

Foreground, Kate and Eliza, with Phoebe Horne and Annie Rose

Foreground, Kate and Eliza, with Phoebe Horne and Annie Rose

This headstone below is for James Tearle b15 Apr 1827 in Toddington and Mary nee Andrews, b1830 in Eggington. They were married in Stanbridge 26 July 1846.

James and John the sexton are brothers. James is my gg-grandfather. While his son Levi went on to become a skilled blacksmith, running a successful business in Wing, James always described himself simply as an agricultural labourer. After his father died, Levi travelled from Wing to see his mother, Mary Tearle nee Andrews, in Stanbridge almost every weekend.

James Tearle d1887 and Mary d1914.

James Tearle d1887 and Mary Tearle d1914.

James, too, is on the branch of John 1741.

The memorials to John and James are close together. It seems likely that the church paid for John’s headstone, while Levi Tearle of Wing, their son, would have paid for James and Mary’s headstone.

The memorials to John 1840 and James 1827 are close together.

The memorials to John 1840 and James 1827 are close together.

In an odd sort of way, this headstone below for Caroline Shillingworth and Charles is also a Tearle memorial, since in 1888, he married Mary Tearle, the widow of James Tearle, above. When he died in 1891, Mary went to his funeral as Mary Shillingford, widow of Charles and it was as Mary Shillingford that she married William  Tearle in the registry office in Watford. This William Tearle was the brother of both James and John above. His first wife was Catharine Fountain, universally known as Kate. Mary died in her son Levi’s house in Wing in 1914 and William died in 1 Grovebury Rd, Leighton Buzzard in 1920. I have never found his burial, but it is in the Stanbridge churchyard.

Charles and Caroline Shillingford, Stanbridge

Charles and Caroline Shillingford, Stanbridge

Under the trees, to the south of the church, are the Methodist graves, and some of these are highly significant for us.

 John Tearle d1818 and Elizabeth Rickard Stanbridge

John Tearle d1818 and Elizabeth Rickard Stanbridge

John Tearle d1818 and Elizabeth.

John, b1787 in Stanbridge, married Elizabeth Flint of Stanbridge on 4 May 1813. They had three children before he died in 1818, and they certainly made their mark.

Elizabeth remarried, to William Rickard, but you will notice his headstone nearby has his name only on it, whilst Elizabeth is written on John’s headstone, but as Elizabeth Rickard. You will see John on the branch of Joseph 1737, because he is a son of Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp. This is one of the Methodist graves.

The headstone of William Rickard

The headstone of William Rickard.

John and Deborah Olney  – notice the wonderful age they lived to. He owned and worked a 154 acre farm near Stanbridge, employing 6 labourers. They probably did not live on the farm since their house is in the village near the church. Deborah is a daughter of John 1787 and Elizabeth nee Flint, above. Also on this headstone is their son, James Olney b1837 Stanbridge.

John Olney and Deborah

Deborah often gives her children the name Tearle as a middle name eg Hannah Tearle Olney – who may have died of cancer. She is named after Deborah’s younger sister.

Hannah Tearle Olney

Hannah Tearle Olney.

This small headstone is to their four children who died – Thomas and William can be seen written there, but the other two cannot.

John and Deborah Olney's four children.

John and Deborah Olney’s four children.

Close to the headstone of John and Deborah Olney is this dark headstone to Catherine Conder who died in 1892. There is also Ethel Mary Conder who died just eight months old in 1891. And tragically recorded is the death of their son Thomas Olney Conder who died in Wega, W Africa, in 1897, in a scene mirroring that of Hannah and Henry Fleet, below, because he, too, was a Methodist missionary. Catherine Conder is Deborah’s fourth child, born 1840 in Stanbridge.

Catherine Conder and Thomas Olney Conder, the Methodist missionary.

Catherine Conder and Thomas Olney Conder, the Methodist missionary.

Hannah Tearle b 30 June 1816 and Henry Fleet b1817. They were married in St Johns, Stanbridge in 1838.

Their memorial is inside the church and tells the story of their sad and early deaths. Hannah is the second daughter of John 1787 and Elizabeth, above, and was Deborah’s younger sister.

The graves under the trees and this memorial to Hannah are of Methodists. There were two Methodist chapels in Stanbridge: the Wesleyan Chapel in Leighton Rd, from which this memorial was transferred to St Johns, and the Primitive Methodist chapel, which was next door to the school on Tilsworth Rd.

The memorial reads:
Hannah, the beloved wife of Henry Fleet and daughter of John and Elizabeth Tearle of this parish, who while on a voyage with her husband to Africa, was called to her eternal reward. Jan 1, 1839, aged 22 years.
Also of the above Henry Fleet, Wesleyan Missionary, who died at Sierra Leone, Western Africa, May 30 1839, aged 22 years.

Hannah Tearle and Henry Fleet memorial

Hannah Tearle and Henry Fleet memorial.

An English custom worthy of note to the family historian; in England, it is the venue that is licensed to perform marriages. Since neither of the Methodist chapel had such a licence, marriages were performed in the Parish Church, in this case, St Johns. Likewise, burials could take place only in the St Johns churchyard; hence the Methodist marriages and the Methodist graves in a Church of England venue. It is sad to note that Methodist sites, until very recently, were on “unconsecrated ground” and the Parish Church did not have the the responsibility of their maintenance.

Another interesting thing about the Methodists is that according to “The Citizen”of Leighton Buzzard, 26 Feb 2004, “The village’s first school was opened in June 1876 at the Primitive (Methodist) chapel. It catered for 80 children but was soon full and so a new school was built next door in 1881.” I have often noticed in my wanderings around England that Methodist schools attached to, or run inside Methodist chapels often precede parish schools. The Methodists believed in reading the Bible, so of course you had to be able to read. Look up the story of the Tolepuddle martyrs. Methodism was for the poor, and the modern trade unions are the direct descendants of the early Methodists. The Tearles were at the very centre of that activity in Stanbridge.

Methodist graves under the trees

Methodist graves under the trees.

At the end of WW1, a private initiative began that tried to tell the stories of the soldiers of WW1. It was called National Roll of the Great War and while volumes were written, the work could hardly be called comprehensive. However, it does include the stories of two Stanbridge men, who were lucky enough to survive the war.

Tearle, F J, Private, 8th Bedfordshire Regiment, who gave as his address Tilsworth Rd, Stanbridge. National Roll says:

He volunteered in March 1915, and in the same year was sent to France. During his service on the Western Front he was engaged in the fighting on the Somme, at Arras, Bullecourt and Cambrai, and was wounded on the Somme during the retreat of 1918. He was demobilised in November 1919, and holds the 1914-15 Star, the General Service and Victory Medals.

Tearle, E, Private, 7th Bedfordshire Regiment, also of Tilsworth Rd, Stanbridge. National Roll says of him:

He volunteered in September 1914 and in the following January proceeded overseas. He served on the Western Front and fought at Loos and the Somme, where he was wounded. On recovery he rejoined his Battalion, and was engaged in the fighting at Passchendale, Cambrai and in the Retreat and Advance of 1918. He was demobilised in March 1919, and holds the 1914-15 Star, and the General Service and Victory Medals.

The house on the corner of Peddars Lane. Occupied by John and Annie Tearle and then by Frederick, Alice Annie and Eric until 1968, when Eric, the last Tearle in Stanbridge, died here

The house on the corner of Peddars Lane. Occupied by John and Annie Tearle and then by Frederick, Alice Annie and Eric until 1968, when Eric, the last Tearle in Stanbridge, died here

These two boys, not surprisingly, were brothers, sons of John 1862 Stbg and Annie nee Walker. The first was Frederick John Tearle, 1884 Stbg regimental number 27560 Bedfordshire Regiment and 59749 Suffolk Regiment, and the other was Edgar Tearle, 1890 Stbg number 14397, Bedfordshire Regiment and 590090 Labour Corps. Edgar married Louisa Jane Abraham in 1922. They had a son Alan Richard T in 1926 and Edgar died on 1 Nov 1950 in the Churchill Hospital, Headington, Oxford, having lived in 12 Lamas Walk, Leighton Buzzard until his transfer to Churchill Hospital.

Alice died in April 1956, Frederick died in Sep 1956, and Eric, John and Annie’s youngest son, died in July 1968.

John 1862 Stbg, was a son of James and Hannah nee Phillips. Here are John, Annie and family in the 1901 Stanbridge census:

1901 = John 1862 Annie 35 Frederick J 17 Edgar 10 Alice Agnes 6 Mabel Edith 1 in Stbg

As the enumerator walked down Tilsworth Rd, John and Annie were in the 59th house, just inside Pedars Lane.

When you read the service these two boys did for their country, and the horrific battles they fought in, there can be no wonder that Frederick could not (or would not) marry on returning to Stanbridge.

When Eric died in 1968 he was the last person in Stanbridge to carry the Tearle name. A name which had lived in this village since at least the late 1300s was gone.

16Feb/16
James Tearle and Mary headstone Stanbridge Church

Tearle burials in Stanbridge 1813-1968

Stanbridge burials 1813 to 1968

Collated and annotated by Pat Field, from the Stanbridge parish records.

Considering the paucity of Tearle headstones in the Stanbridge burial ground that surrounds St John the Baptist Church, there have been a large number of Tearle burials in the parish. Pat Field has compiled the list below to illuminate the families and their associations and you will notice that the earliest in the list include Phoebe nee Capp, as well as John 1741 and Martha nee Archer, who are at the head of two of the main branches of the Tearle family tree. As this list opens, we can see the people who would have been familiar, as children, and grand-children, with the heads of the Tearle tree.

Year Name Abode Date Age
1813 ANN TEARLE STANBRIDGE Jul-24
Dau of Richard 1773 and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth.
1814 MARTHA TEARLE STANBRIDGE Jan-02 80
Martha nee Archer wife of John 1741.
1816 JOHN TEARLE STANBRIDGE Jun-30 75
John 1741, hus of Marther nee Archer.
1817 PHEBY TEARLE STANBRIDGE May-02 72
Phoebe nee Capp, wif of Joseph 1737.
1818 JOHN TEARLE STANBRIDGE Dec-22 31
John 1787, son of Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp.
Hus of Elizabeth nee Flint; see Methodist graves.
1829 JOHN TEARLE STANBRIDGE May-17 8wks
Son of Thomas 1807 and Mary nee Garner.
1833 PHEBE TEARLE STANBRIDGE Jun-16
Dau of John 1799 and Elizabeth nee Mead.
1836 JABEZ TEARLE STANBRIDGE Sep-24 19
Son of John 1770 and and Mary nee Janes.
1837 SARAH TEARLE STANBRIDGE Jan-15 2
Dau of Thomas 1807 and Mary nee Garner.
1838 GEORGE TEARLE STANBRIDGE Apr-23 24
Son of Richard 1773 and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth.
1842 JUDITH TEARLE STANBRIDGE Aug-11 64
Judith nee Knight 2nd wife of William 1769.
1846 WILLIAM TEARLE STANBRIDGE Aug-22 76
William 1769, son of Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp.
Hus of Sarah nee Clarke.
1849 JOHN TEARLE STANBRIDGE Nov 79
John 1770, hus of Mary nee James.
1850 RICHARD TEARLE STANBRIDGE Jan-06 76
Richard 1773, son of John 1741 and Martha nee Archer.
Hus of Mary nee Bodsworth.
1850 ELIZABETH TEARLE STANBRIDGE Sep-10 46
Elizabeth nee Mead, wife of John 1779.
1855 RICHARD TEARLE STANBRIDGE Mar-15 6mo
Son of Joseph 1823 and Mary nee Turney.
1855 MARY ANN TEARLE STANBRIDGE Apr-26 17
Unknown parents.
1855 JOHN TEARLE STANBRIDGE May-25 59
John 1799, hus of Elizabeth nee Mead.
1856 ELIZA TEARLE STANBRIDGE Dec-20 38
Eliza nee Irons, wife of John 1823.
1857 THOMAS TEARLE STANBRIDGE Apr-05 50
Thomas 1807, hus of Mary nee Garner.
1859 GEORGE TEARLE STANBRIDGE Aug-23 6
Son of John 1799 and Elizabeth nee Irons.
1859 ELIZABETH TEARLE STANBRIDGE Dec-22 81
Elizabeth nee Bodsworth, wife of Richard 1773.
1860 MARY TEARLE STANBRIDGE Apr-16 88
Mary nee Janes, wife of John 1771.
1862 SARAH TEARLE STANBRIDGE Jan-11 6
Dau William 1832 and Catherine nee Fountain.
1863 HANNAH TEARLE STANBRIDGE Aug-02 18
Dau John 1823 and Eliza nee Irons.
1863 MARY CLARKE TEARLE WATFORD Oct-09 17
Dau of Abel 1810 and Martha nee Emmerton.
1866 MINNIE TEARLE STANBRIDGE Mar-23 16m
Dau Jane 1843, dau Thomas 1816 and Ann nee Jones.
1868 ELIZA TEARLE STANBRIDGE Aug-05 8m
Dau William 1832 and Catherine nee Fountain.
1872 MARY TEARLE STANBRIDGE Dec-20 1yr 10m
Dau Sarah Tearle, dau James 1823 and Mary nee Andrews.
Sarah married George Blake in Dec 1877.
1873 MARY TEARLE STANBRIDGE Feb-10 68
Mary 1803, dau John 1770 and Mary nee Janes.
1874 ALFRED TEARLE STANBRIDGE Oct-29 3yr 6m
Son of William 1832 and Catherine nee Fountain.
1876 MARY ANN TEARLE STANBRIDGE Oct-24 60
Mary Ann nee Turpin, wife of Richard 1816.
Nathaniel’s mother.
1877 JOHN TEARLE STANBRIDGE Oct-04 59
John 1823, hus of Eliza nee Irons.
1880 THOMAS TEARLE STANBRIDGE Feb-17 5w
Son of John 1840 and Maria nee Bliss.
1881 FREDERICK TEARLE STANBRIDGE Feb-07 17
Son of James 1823 and Hannah nee Philips.
1881 ALBERT TEARLE STANBRIDGE Dec-25 8m
Unknown parents. Birth cert: 1881, Q2, Leighton Buzzard,
Bedfordshire, Vol 3b, Page 430.
1882 ABEL TEARLE STANBRIDGE Oct-13
Abel 1810, hus of Martha nee Emmerton.
1882 JEFFRERY TEARLE Dec-08 10
Son of William 1832 and Catherine nee Fountain. UPPER HOUGHTON REGIS
1883 ANN TEARLE STANBRIDGE Apr-23 47
Dau Abel 1810 and Martha nee Emmerton.
1883 WALTER TEARLE EATON BRAY Aug-08 7w
Unbaptised burial, authorised by bishop. Unknown parents.
Birth cert: 1883, Q3, LB, Beds, 3b, 391
1883 MARIA TEARLE STANBRIDGE Oct-08 40
Maria nee Bliss, wife of John 1840.
1886 JOSEPH TEARLE STANBRIDGE Oct-10 61
Joseph 1823, hus of Mary nee Turney.
Died in Hemel Hempstead Hospital.
1887 JAMES TEARLE STANBRIDGE Apr-17 60
James 1827, hus of Mary nee Andrews.
1890 ARTHUR TEARLE STANBRIDGE Jan-28 2
Parents unknown. May be Arthur Henry Tearle 1887.
Birth cert: 1887, Q3, LB, Beds, 3b, 393.
1892 SIDNEY TEARLE WING Jan-03 19m
Son of Amos 1861 and Martha nee Timms.
1892 HANNAH TEARLE STANBRIDGE Mar-31 61
Hannah nee Philips wife of James 1823.
1892 KATE TEARLE UPPER HOUGHTON REGIS Apr-29 57
Catherine nee Fountain, wife of William 1832.
1892 TRYPHENA TEARLE STANBRIDGE Dec-16 19
Dau of Jane 1844, dau of John 1823 and Eliza nee Irons.
1895 FREDERICK TEARLE STANBRIDGE Aug-23 24
Son of John 1840, the sexton, and Maria nee Bliss.
1896 HORACE TEARLE STANBRIDGE Apr-28 10
Son of John 1861 and Annie nee Walker.
1898 GEORGE TEARLE STANBRIDGE May-05 32
Son of James 1823 and Hannah nee Philips.
1898 JAMES TEARLE STANBRIDGE Jun-19 79
James 1823, hus of Hannah nee Philips.
1900 BENJAMIN TEARLE STANBRIDGE May-18 51
Son of Abel 1810 and Martha nee Emmerton.
1908 ELIZABETH TEARLE STANBRIDGE Jan-29 78
Elizabeth nee Chapman, wife of Joseph 1823.
1908 MARY ANN TEARLE STANBRIDGE Mar-10 67
Dau of John 1823 and Eliza nee Irons.
1914 MARY TEARLE WING Jun-04 83
Mary nee Andrews, wife of James 1827.
1915 JANE TEARLE TILSWORTH Apr-03 71
Dau of John 1823 and Eliza nee Irons.
1915 SABINA TEARLE STANBRIDGE Aug-23 40
Dau of John 1840, the sexton, and Maria nee Bliss.
1920 WILLIAM TEARLE NORTHALL Feb-12 87
William 1832, hus of Catherine nee Fountain.
Died at 1 Grovebury Rd, Leighton Buzzard.
1920 JOHN TEARLE STANBRIDGE Oct-20 80
John 1840 “sexton of this parish for 60 years.”
Hus of Maria nee Bliss.
1927 JOHN TEARLE STANBRIDGE Jun-18 65
John 1861, of Back Lane, Stanbridge.
Hus of Annie nee Walker.
1931 ANNIE TEARLE STANBRIDGE May-16 66
Annie nee Walker, wife of John 1861.
1945 THOMAS TEARLE STANBRIDGE Jan-15 73
Thomas 1870 son of James 1823 and Hannah nee Philips.
Died at 11a Dunstable Rd, Luton.
1954 KATE TEARLE STANBRIDGE Aug-03 81
Dau John 1840 and Maria nee Bliss.
Living at 7 Tilsworth Rd, Stanbridge, died in Kempston.
1954 ELIZA TEARLE STANBRIDGE Sep-21 81
Dau John 1840 and Maria nee Bliss.
Living at 7 Tilsworth Rd, Stanbridge, died in Kempston.
1956 FREDERICK TEARLE STANBRIDGE Aug-02 72
Son of John 1862 and Annie nee Walker.
10 Peddars Lane, Stanbridge. WW1 soldier.
1956 ALICE AGNES TEARLE STANBRIDGE Apr-11 60
Dau of John 1862 and Annie nee Walker.
10 Peddars Lane, Stanbridge.
1968 ERIC TEARLE STANBRIDGE Jul-05 62
Son of John 1861 and Annie nee Walker.
10 Peddars Lane, Stanbridge. WW1 soldier.

 

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