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.


Louis/Lewis, 1890, Edlesborough

I have uncovered the story of Louis Tearle. I have previously researched Jane Tearle, nee Draper, and now it was the turn of Louis. I started with this headstone: Louis, died 1935 aged 45, so born 1890, had a wife Mary Jane and a son Aubrey, born 1910.

1901 = William 1852 Edles Ann 49 Louis 11 in EB


I started with the 1901 census and there Louis was, 11 years old, born in Eaton Bray, (EB) living next door to the Baptist Chapel (built 1835) in Edlesborough with father William 1853 Edles and his wife Ann 1852 Edles. William was a “cattleman on a farm” and the enumerator’s overseer added William to the generic group Ag Cattle.

In the 1891 census for Eaton Bray, there he was, one year old, son of William 1853 Edles and Ann 1852 Edles as well as an older brother, Albert, 17yrs, so it would seem that William and Ann had been in Eaton Bray for at least 17 years. Both father and son were Agricultural Labourers while Ann supplemented the family income as a Straw Plaiter.

1891 = William 1853 Edles Ann 39 Albert 17 Louis 1 in Eaton Bray

I looked up the 1881 census for Eaton Bray and the family was there; William 1853 Edlesborough, Ann 1852 Edles, Albert 7, so 10 years younger, but there was a Louisa, aged 2. Well. This probably means that Louisa had died by 1891, and in trying to keep the name alive, William and Ann named their new boy Louis. I paused for thought and asked one of my colleagues at work. He didn’t think it was at all odd – names are often recycled, he said.

1881 = William 1852 Edles Ann 29 Albert 7 Louisa 2 in EB

Louis’ mother was Ann nee Bird and William his father was the first son of George 1831 of Eaton Bray and Hannah Maria nee Janes, who were married 13 Nov 1852 in Edlesborough. George was the son of Jabez 1792 of Northall and Mary nee Green. Jabez was the son of William 1749 of Stanbridge and Mary nee Prentice. Thus, Louis is of the branch William 1749.

You will notice that Jeffery 1891, of the Dunstable WW1 memorial, and Louis share the same grandparents; Louis and Jeffery are first cousins.


Workers at Sun Engraving and Sun Printers, Watford, UK

Annotated by Ewart Tearle, Apr 2011.

Thanks to Rosemary Tearle of Auckland, New Zealand.

Sun Engraving and Sun Printers was a large printing company in Watford in the 20th Century. Here is their company history page and the link below is to a list of employees. I have extracted the Tearle names from this list and attempted to identify them from the information already held in the Tree. The annotation is beneath the company listing, in italics.

Note the two military men in the list –

David Philip Tearle, Gunner, Royal Artillery and

Herbert Lewis Tearle, Sgt, Royal Engineers.

I can find no further information on the military service of these two men, but WW2 service is no small thing.


The names below are on a single page of a large number of employees of the company:

Tearle, Anne (Miss) (daughter of Tearle, Donald) (m 1963, Worth, Colin) Production Cost Analysis; Prod Control w S.Print (1959-65); ph; src sn/Jun63, Sum65, Aut65, Aut67; Impr v8/3; Wood, JG

Anne Tearle 1944 Watford, dau Donald Edward T 1922 and Roma Monica nee Braham. G-grandson of Jabez 1844 and Susannah nee Payne.

Tearle, Anthony E. (Tony) Engraving, jnymn w S.Print 1967-85} ; src sn Aut 67; Wardlow, Adrian; Dryburgh, John; NSList

Antony E Tearle 1951 of Watford, son of Donald Edward Tearle 1922 and Roma Monica nee Braham.

Tearle, D. Finishing w S.Print (1981- } ; src snn/87


Tearle, David P. (Dave), Gnr. (R.A.)Letterpress m/c, asst w S.Engrv, S.Print (1932-71); src SaW/2/4; SWn Aug 42, Christmas 42, May 43; snn/23

David Philip Tearle 1909 of St Albans, son of Edward Joseph Tearle 1879 and Emma Elizabeth nee Warner. Brother of Leslie James 1896 who was killed in France 1915.

Tearle, Donald (Batman) (father of Tearle, Anne) Letterpress m/c, asst w S.Print ?; src Wood, JG

Donald Edward Tearle 1922 of Watford, son of Edward George Tearle 1898 and Nellie E nee Boultwood. Grandson of Edward Joseph 1874 and Jane nee Picton.

Tearle, Herbert L. (Bert) (1912-90), Sgt. (R.E.) Block Process w S.Engrv { 1939-45} ; ph; src SaW/1/2/4; SWn Aug 42, May 43; Everly, Marian

Herbert Lewis (aka Lewis Herbert) Tearle 1912 of Watford. Grandson of Levi 1852 and Jane nee Packard. Married Freda M Minter.

Tearle, K. Gravure m/c, jnymn w S.Print (1954-67); src snNov67



Alfred George Tearle, 1872, Watford, UK

I have been having a look at the Alf Tearle of Watford correspondence of December 2006, as a result of an enquiry by Ian Tearle.

There were two Alfred George Tearle births registered in 1872; one was in Leighton Buzzard, while the Watford Alfred George is here:

Name: Alfred George Tearle

Year of Registration: 1872  

Quarter of Registration: Jan-Feb-Mar  

District: Watford  

County: Hertfordshire  

Volume: 3a  

Page: 400

And here is his marriage to Minnie Cyster in 1892:

Name: Alfred George Tearle

Year of Registration: 1892  

Quarter of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec  

District: Watford  

County: Hertfordshire  

Volume: 3a  

Page: 922

In 1901, Alfred George (who was 29, a carpenter) and Minnie were living at 29 Sutton Rd, Watford. The whole family is recorded as having been born in Watford.

1901 = Alfred G 1872 Watford Minnie 29 Beatrice 7 Gertrude 5 Alfred E 3 Alice 2 Rosie 2m Susannah mother wid 60 John L bro 24 Samuel H bro 19 in Watford. Sadly, young Alfred E, the 3-year-old above, would enlist for WW1 and be killed.

As you can see, living with them are Alfred’s mother, Susannah and his brothers John Leonard 1876 Watford and Samuel Haws 1882 Watford. Although the birth registration of Samuel has him as Howes, the correct spelling is Haws. The name comes from his grandmother, Annie Haws 1819 of Dagnall, who was the wife of George 1818 of Dagnall. Alfred’s parents were Jabez Tearle 1844 of Borehamwood and Susannah nee Payne. In 1891, the family is living in 12 Elury (I cannot make it out properly) Rd, Watford. Susannah is already a widow and she is working as a laundress. Alfred is a carpenter’s apprentice, Edward is a stonemason’s apprentice and young John is an errand boy.

1891 = Susannah 1841 Watford Alfred 19 Edward 17 John 14 Samuel 9 in Watford

In 1881 we find out that Jabez 1841 of Borehamwood is the father of this family. This famous name – quite numerous amongst the Tearles – was first used for Jabez 1745 of Stanbridge, one of the family of Thomas 1710 and Mary nee Sibley. He never married nor had children, but he seems to have been very well-known amongst his extended family and his name is perpetuated throughout the 19th Century Tearles. Mind you, it’s not so uncommon as names go: 1500 Jabez were married between 1881 and 1891 in England.

1881 = Jabez 1845 Borehamwood Susannah 40 Alfred G 9 Edward J 7 John L 4 in Watford

Jabez is a brewers labourer and the family is living at 23 Albert St Watford.

Jabez and Susannah are in Watford for the 1871 census. He is a brewers labourer, she is a dressmaker and they are living in Birches Lane, Watford. I assume he says he was born in Elstree because in the 1851 census, when Jabez was 6yrs, George and Ann were living in Elstree.

1871 = Jabez 1845 Elstree n Susannah in Watford

Here are Jabez and Susannah getting married.

Name: Jabez Tearle

Year of Registration: 1870  

Quarter of Registration: Apr-May-Jun  

District: Pancras (1837-1901)  

County: London, Middlesex

Volume: 1b  

Page: 73

Which brings us back to Jabez’ parents, George 1818 of Dagnall and Annie nee Haws, whose youngest son William Haws Tearle 1858 of Borehamwood, went off to Australia and started the families of the Australian Tearles.

George’s parents were Abel 1797 of Edlesborough and Hannah nee Frost. And Abel’s mother was the famous Fanny Tearle 1780.


Frank Tearle 1898, Eaton Bray, UK (RASC)

Tearle, F  Private, RASC

This is Jeffrey’s brother, Frank, born in Eaton Bray in 1898, son of George 1861 of Edlesborough and grandson of George 1831 of Eaton Bray and Hannah Maria nee Janes. The parents for George 1831 were Jabez 1792 and Mary nee Green and Jabez’ parents were William 1749 and Mary nee Prentice.

Here is what National Roll of the Great War  says:

Tearle Frank RASC National Roll

Below is his army medals card:

Frank Tearle M279390 WW1 army medal rolls

Frank Tearle M/279390 record card from the WW1 army medal rolls

You can see that it is woefully thin. He has served in the army from 3 Aug 1916 until 12 Sep 1919 and he gets no recognition at all. He will have been separated from his family for some time, on army duty, but because he was never posted overseas, all of this counts for nothing. Now, what I cannot do, is guess what his sickness was, but we know from this card that he was given a Para 392 discharge as “Not fit enough to be an efficient soldier.” He will have been sent to England, and possibly his own home, some time before 12 Sep 1919, because when it was determined that a Para 392 discharge was applicable, he would probably have been allowed to return to his own home, but still tied to army regulations until his discharge date.

What National Roll does not say was that Frank was the recipient of the Silver War Badge, which was given to those who, through injury or sickness, caused by active service, were unable to continue in active service. This is what the army recorded:

  • Name:  Frank Tearle
  • Discharge Unit:  R.A.S.C
  • Regiment Number:  M/279390
  • Rank:  Pte
  • Badge Number:  B307103
  • Unit: Royal Army Service Corps (Woolwich)
  • Piece:  3226
  • List Number:  RASC 4351-4600
  • Record Group:  WO
  • Record Class: 392
Frank Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

Frank Tearle 1898 WW1 Silver War Badge

The central column in blue ink records the serial number of the War Badge that was awarded to him, and the right-most column reinforces the clear inference from his army medals card that he never served “overseas”. Ireland was counted as Home, not overseas, so it never counted as war service.

Frank married Selina Gore in 1921 and they are the parents of Peter Frank Tearle, whose headstone is in the graveyard of Edlesborough Church.

Susanna Tearle, 1827 Dagnall headstone in Dunstable Cemetery.

Susanna Tearle, 1827, Dagnall, UK

This is the memorial to Susanna, born 28 May 1827, in Dagnall, Bucks, not far from Edlesborough. Her parents were Abel 1797 Edlesborough and Hannah nee Frost. Abel was the son of the famous Fanny Tearle who is the ancestor of several families in Australia. Fanny is very likely to be the daughter of Thomas 1737 Stanbridge and Susannah nee Attwell. Thus Susanna, then, is of the branch Thomas 1737.

Susanna Tearle, 1827 Dagnall

Susanna Tearle, 1827 Dagnall

Susanna Tearle, 1827 Dagnall

Susanna Tearle, 1827 Dagnall, headstone in Dunstable Cemetery.

Here are the 19th Century census returns I have found for her: I’m afraid I can’t find her before 1861. The story of her brother Jabez is extensively told in John L Tearle’s groundbreaking book Tearle, A Bedfordshire Surname

1861 = Jabez 1837 Dagnall Susannah 30 housekeeper in Dunst

1871 = Susanna 1830 Dagnall serv for Benjamin Bennett in Dunst

1881 = Susanna 1827 Dagnall housekeeper in Dunst

I do wonder who erected this beautiful memorial to her.

I am still looking for the memorial to Thomas and Bethia. I have heard that their memorial is in the public cemetery, but I have not been able to find it


Levi Tearle, 1855, Thorn, UK

If you thought Chalgrave was small, then Thorn, where Levi was born, is little more than a scattering of farm buildings. As you leave Dunstable on the A5 going north down Chalk Hill, you will see the A505 left to Stanbridge. A couple of hundred metres along to the right is Thorn Rd. Thorn is a couple of kilometres on your left. Levi’s parents are William 1815 of Chalgrave/Tebworth and Hannah nee Pratt. William’s parents were Richard 1778 of Stanbridge and Mary nee Pestel, and Richard’s parents were Joseph 1737 of Stanbridge and Phoebe nee Capp. Thus Levi is of the branch Joseph 1737. You can follow his progress through the 19th Century censuses below. He married Mary Summerfield of Dunstable in 1874.


This handsome headstone in Dunstable General Cemetery is to Mary nee Summerfield and Levi 1855.

This handsome headstone in Dunstable General Cemetery is to Mary nee Summerfield and Levi 1855.

1861 = William 1815 Teb Hannah 42 Charles 20 George 18 Elizabeth 15 Ann 10 Levi 6 Mary A 2 in Dunstable

1871 = William 1815 Chal Hannah 52 Charles 30 Elizabeth 25 Anne 19 Levi 16 Mary 12 in Dunstable

1881 = Levi 1855 Thorn p1 Mary 27 William 5 in Dunst

1881 = Levi 1855 Thorn p2 Ada A 3 Alice M 2 Sydney G 7m in Dunst

The young couple were both involved in the straw hat industry – Levi as a plait dyer, and Mary as a hat sewer.  

1891 = Levi 1855 Dunst Mary 37 William 15 Ada 13 Maud 11 George 6 Edward 2 in Luton

Levi and family have moved to 13 Melson St, Luton. Levi calls himself a Plait Dyer and Bleacher and he seems to be earning enough such that Mary does not have to work. As you know, Luton was the centre of the straw hat industry, and even to this day, Luton Town football team is called The Hatters and Luton still has an active and world-renowned hat industry.

1901 = Levi 1855 Thorn Beds Mary 46 Alice M 21 Sidney G 14 Edward J 11 in Luton

This is the last view we have of Levi and his family. He is at the same address and still a Plait Dyer.

He died 19 April, 1925.


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


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.


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.


Edward Kefford W Tearle 1907, Lexden, UK (CMP)

Elaine and I got quite a surprise, even a shock, to see the name E TEARLE on a WW2 memorial outside St Marys Church in the pretty little village of Old Welwyn. Welwyn Garden City is close to St Albans, and you can walk to Old Welwyn from Hatfield. It took us a while to gather the information needed to tell his story, but here it is now.

The E Tearle honoured on WW2 section of the Old Welwyn memorial is Edward Kefford W Tearle, of the military police, b1907 in Essex.

WW2 names Old Welwyn

WW2 names Old Welwyn.

The memorial itself is next to St Marys, Old Welwyn.

War memorial closeup Old Welwyn

War memorial closeup, St Mary’s, Old Welwyn.

Here is the information supplied by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Lance Corporal
Regiment/Service: Corps of Military Police
Date of Death:31/05/1940
Service No: 7683659
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Plot 2. Row C. Grave 26.

This Edward Kefford W Tearle b1907 Lexden, Kent, was the son of Edward Kefford Tearle 1878 of Hatfield and Maud Sarah nee Micklefield, and as far as I know, he was their only son. He was the grandson of William 1857 of Soulbury and Sarah nee Kefford. He was the great-grandson of John 1831 Soulbury and Harriet nee Figg.

 Both these families are descended from Richard 1805 and Martha nee Walker, the parents of all the Soulbury Tearles. Leslie James T, John Henry T and Edward Kefford W Tearle are all descended from John Tearle 1830 and Harriet nee Figg, while Norman is descended from Richard 1843 (John’s brother) and Elizabeth nee Ellingham. All the Soulbury Tearle families are on the branch of John 1741.

WW2 names detail Old Welwyn

Detail of the WW2 names, Old Welwyn.

The CWGC said of Edward’s last hours: “The British Expeditionary Force was involved in the later stages of the defence of Belgium following the German invasion in May 1940, and suffered many casualties in covering the withdrawal to Dunkirk. De Panne village was the site of the final General Headquarters of the BEF in 1940, and there was a Casualty Clearing Station on the beach, which was an embarkation beach for the evacuation. From 27 May to 1 June 1940, the Germans strove to prevent the embarkation of the troops by incessant bombing, machine-gunning and shelling. The first German troops reached the village between 14.00 and 15.00 hrs on 31 May, and after heavy fighting, the commune was completely occupied by about 9.00 hrs on 1 June.”

Jonathon Tearle wrote to me on 20 Sep 2006

“This is my grandfather who was killed at Dunkirk in WW2. Although the evacuation was considered a great success, some poor souls got left behind to slow down the German advance. Edward was one of these brave men, and he wasn’t even a regular.”

Here are the results from our visit to the De Panne Communal Cemetery. We took the bus from Ypres to De Panne and a tram trip from De Panne to the cemetery below.

The Great Cross De Panne Communal Cemetery

The Great Cross; De Panne Communal Cemetery.

Edward Kefford William Tearle 7683659 De Panne Communal Cem

Edward Kefford William Tearle 7683659; De Panne Communal Cemetery.


John Tearle and Harriett nee Figg were shockingly poor – they lived in cottages in Simonsyde (off the Coopers Green Lane to Stanborough) and they spent time in the Hatfield Union Workhouse. To compound their tragedies caused by poverty, John and Harriet’s grandsons were killed in WW1: Leslie James Tearle was killed in France and John Henry Tearle was killed in Gallipoli. Then, in WW2 this man, their g-grandson, was tragically killed defending the beaches of Dunkirk as the British and French armies made their escape, on the very same day that his second cousin, Norman Tearle, was killed trying to ferry men from the beaches to the waiting warships. Norman went to war from Soulbury, while Edward’s family had left the village two generations earlier.

We went to see Norman’s grave in Oostende, by tram, later on the same day that we visited De Panne.

Edward Kefford W Tearle, above, died in May 1940, but his father, Edward Kefford Tearle (John Henry’s brother) died in September the same year. So poor Maud Sarah Tearle nee Micklefield lost both her son and her husband within six months.


Leslie James Tearle, 1915, St Albans, UK (1st Herts Rgt)

The War Memorial, St Albans.

The War Memorial, St Albans.


Initials:L J    Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private    Regiment/Service: Hertfordshire Regiment
Unit Text:1st Bn.    Age: 19    Date of Death: 11/07/1915
Service No:2007
Additional information: Son of Edward and Emma Tearle, of 49, Culver Rd., St. Albans, Herts.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead    Grave/Memorial Reference: I. B. 9.

His parents were Edward Joseph, b 1869, Simonshyde, Hatfield and Emma Warner b1872, Hatfield. Edward was the son of John b1831 Soulbury and Harriet nee Figg. John was the son of Richard 1805, Stanbridge and Martha nee Burnard. Richard was one of the many sons of Richard 1773, Stanbridge and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth – my ggggg-parents. And this Richard was the son of John 1741. Thus Leslie is of the branch John 1741.

LJ Tearle on the St Albans War Memorial. Leslie James Tearle

LJ Tearle on the St Albans War Memorial. Leslie James Tearle

WW1 memorial St Albans Town Hall

Leslie is remembered on the Honours Board in the Old Town Hall.

Here is a closeup of Leslie's name on the board.

Here is a closeup of Leslie’s name on the board.


Leslie is also remembered on the Roll of Honour in All Saints Church, Hertford.

Leslie is also remembered on the Roll of Honour in All Saints Church, Hertford.

Here is the header section of the memorial.

Header section of the memorial.


Leslie and Alfred Tearle on the Hertford War Memorial.

Leslie and Alfred Tearle on the War Memorial in All Saints, Hertford.

The first Tearle name on the list above in All Saints, Hertford is Alfred Edward Tearle 1897, of Watford.

Leslie James was killed on 11 July 1915. The Long Long Trail says of that time: “there was no general change in the situation on the Western Front. It was a period of static warfare, where the army suffered average losses of 300 men a day from sniping and shellfire, while they continued to gradually improve and consolidate the trenches.” and “The army continued to suffer from a shortage of material, notably heavy artillery and machine guns (although Lewis guns were officially issued from 14 July onward).”

He is buried in Woburn Abbey Cemetery, Cuinchy, a village on a canal (with a lock) in Pas de Calais, with a four-hourly train connection.

Below is the view from the road of Woburn Abbey Cemetery, Cuinchy. There was no one battle here; the area was always in range of German guns as was Woburn Abbey, the name given to a house nearby, which was used as a battalion headquarters and dressing station. No details are given by CWGC about the circumstances in which young Leslie died.

Woburn Abbey Cemetery Cuinchy

Woburn Abbey Cemetery, Cuinchy.

Leslie James Tearle in the Book of Remembrance; Woburn Abbey Cemetery, Cuinchy

Leslie James Tearle in the Book of Remembrance; Woburn Abbey Cemetery, Cuinchy.

His parents would have written the epitaph for his headstone, pictured below:
“He died a noble death fighting for his country.”

Leslie James Tearle Woburn Abbey Cemetery Cuinchy

Leslie James Tearle headstone, Woburn Abbey Cemetery, Cuinchy.