Tag Archives: England

18Mar/18

George 1810 of Chalgrave and Elizabeth of Stanbridge

The origin of the Sutton, Surrey Tearles

By Ewart F Tearle

Barbara Tearle, Rosemary Tearle of Auckland and Pat Field started the research into the story of George and Elizabeth in 2005. Rosemary’s husband, Michael Tearle, is a Sutton, Surrey native. The years of research were concluded in 2014.

It is quite difficult to piece all the bits of this story together, mostly due to the lack of records, and some families not baptising their children. Many families have to be stitched together from the stories of others in Tearle Valley.

The Stanbridge Parish Records (PRs) record the birth on 29 June 1770 of John Tearle, son of John Tearle 1741 and Martha nee Archer. John 1741 was one of the sons of Thomas 1709 and Mary nee Sibley. He heads one of the founding branches of the Tearle Tree. It is also the largest and when I have printed it for TearleMeets, the unrolled sheets stretch along the floor of Stanbridge Church from the altar to the vestry. 

The Tilsworth PRs record the marriage of John Tearle of Stanbridge to Mary Janes on 14 January 1792.

In the Stanbridge PRs John and Mary Tarle/Tearle were baptising children from 1794 to 1817. Their first child, though, was Thomas 1792, born in Ivinghoe Aston, Buckinghamshire.

He was registered in the Ivinghoe PRs; 8 October 1792, Thomas, son of John Tale and Mary. All of their other children were born in Stanbridge, including Gene (Jane?) in 1807, who married Jonas Gates, Elizabeth born 1810, who married George Tearle, and Ruth born in 1813, who married George Gates.

Here is a note on the Tilsworth Church building and another note on its history

John Tearle, Carpenter, 70 years old, is in the 1841 census, married to Mary Tearle. He does not make it to the 1851 census, but Mary does. Here, she is recorded as a widow, 79 years old, on parish relief and she is a carpenter’s wife. She came originally from Ivinghoe Aston, Bucks. At 79 years old, she was born in 1772. This is proof positive that her maiden name was Janes. I am not sure why her daughter Elizabeth 1833 says in the Wesleyan Methodist circuit baptisms that her mother was Mary Tearle, rather than Mary nee Janes, but she may simply have misinterpreted the question.

These records are capable of making mistakes. For instance, in the Dunstable Circuit Methodist Baptisms are these two girls, baptised on the same day, and recorded with the wrong father’s name, because Annie Eastment married Charles Tearle, not John Tearle.

27 Oct 1870 23 Nov 1870 Laura Ellen John & Ann Dunstable Should be Charles & Ann Dunstable Circuit
17 Nov 1866 23 Nov 1870 Sisera Eastment John & Ann Dunstable Should be Sylvia to Charles & Ann Dunstable Circuit

Charles 1836 was a son of George 1810 and Elizabeth 1810; he married Annie Eastment. He was a brother of James Tearle 1834 who founded the Sutton, Surrey Tearles. Subsequent children were recorded correctly.

Here is the full list of the children of John 1770 and Mary nee Janes, all of whom, from Richard 1794 onwards are recorded in the Stanbridge PRs:

Thomas 1792              Richard 1794
Ann 1796                     Sarah 1800
Susan 1802                 Mary 1803
Jane 1807                   Elizabeth 1810
Ruth 1813                   Jabez 1817

Now that we know who the bride is, it is time to have a look at George 1810, her second cousin.

The Stanbridge banns register notes that the banns for George and Elizabeth were read to the Stanbridge church congregation on 22 April 1831, 29 April and 6 May. In the margin, is the note “Married May 15”, so I think that means they actually were married in St John the Baptist, Stanbridge. The entry also says that George was “of Dunstable” but that does not mean George was born in Dunstable, just that he was living there at the time.

 

 

 

 

Their first child, a daughter, Elizabeth, born in Dunstable in 1833, was baptised in the Wesleyan Methodist church in Dunstable, in 1833, and Elizabeth 1810 was recorded as the daughter of John and Mary Tearle.  The two witnesses at George and Elizabeth’s wedding were George and Ruth Gates. They were Methodists too, and baptised their children at the Leighton Buzzard Methodist church.  There were two Gates couples, George and Ruth, and Jonas and Jane.  The Leighton Buzzard Methodist baptisms of both couple’s children report that Ruth and Jane were the daughters of John and Mary Tearle. The question is – which Mary Tearle?

Sometimes the data that links families takes a long time to arrive. For instance, Charlotte Tearle 1808 of unknown origins is found in the 1851 census in service – she is 43 years old and from Tebworth, Bedfordshire. In 1858 she marries James Smith and says her father is Richard Tearle, labourer. Now we know who she is – a daughter of Richard Tearle of Tebworth, he had two wives – Mary Pestel and Ann Willis. Charlotte is the daughter of Richard and Mary nee Pestel.

Firstly a note about Chalgrave. This little parish consists of a village, a civil parish and two nearby hamlets – Tebworth and Wingrave. English custom has it that any assemblage of houses (no matter how large) without a church is a hamlet, and any rural grouping of dwellings (no matter how small) with a church is a village. We are referring to a Church of England church, of course, also known as the Established Church. If you walk from Stanbridge down the hill to Tilsworth (about 200 yards) you’ll see just how small a village can be.

In official documents a person may be shown to be from Tebworth, or Tebworth, Chalgrave. In the first instance, the reference is to the hamlet, and the second reference is to the hamlet and parish. The same applies to Wingrave. A reference to Chalgrave may or may not infer its village. However it may be, you can rest assured that any reference to Chalgrave is to enclose only a few hundred acres of land.

To return to Richard 1778, we note that he is a son of Joseph Tearle 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp. Joseph was the first son of Thomas Tearle and Mary nee Sibley, so Richard is one of Thomas’ grandsons. His baptism is recorded in the Stanbridge PRs:   Baptism: 1 Nov 1778 Richard, son of Joseph and Phoeby.

Phoebe nee Capp, his mother, was an ardent follower of Methodism, and that allegiance followed her family for many generations. Some of the early Tearles baptised their children in the Dunstable Circuit, mostly at the rather imposing Wesleyan chapel in The Square, Dunstable.

In the Chalgrave Baptisms, there are only five Tearle entries:
5 May 1805     Mary dau Thomas and Mary Tale (unknown)
1 Nov 1812      Pheebe, dau George and Betty Tale (daughter of George 1785 and Elizabeth nee Willison. Died 1837 in Leighton Buzzard)
31 July 1814    William, son Richard and Mary Tail, Tebworth, Labourer (married Hannah Pratt in 1838)
25 July 1816    Thomas, son Richard and Mary Tail, Tebworth, Labourer (married Ann Jones in 1840)
24 June 1818  Mary, dau Richard and Mary Tail, Tebworth, Labourer (married Richard Fensome in 1843)

The Tearle Deaths list is even shorter:
24 June 1818  Mary Tail 39 years (Mary nee Pestel, wife of Richard 1778)
1 April 1820     Thomas Tail, 39 years (unknown)

It is a very telling entry; Mary Tail, the mother, died on the same day her daughter was baptised. This should close the book on the children of Richard 1778 and Mary nee Pestel, but it does not. Over several years we found Chalgrave “strays” – people born between 1803 and 1818 who said they were from Chalgrave.

To complicate things a little, there was another couple in Chalgrave parish who were having children: George Tearle 1785, from Stanbridge, and his wife Elizabeth (Betty) nee Willison. They married in Toddington on 6 October 1811, and their first child, Phoebe, was born in Chalgrave on 1 November 1812, as you can see above. George 1785 was a son of Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp, so he was a younger brother of Richard 1778, and cousin to John 1770.

The children of George 1785 and Elizabeth nee Willison (Betty) were:
Phoebe 1 Nov 1812                            Thomas 09 Apr 1815
John 20 July 1819                               George 09 Jun 1823
Ann 27 Mar 1826                                Joseph 30 Apr 1829

George 1823 was a successful businessman and merchant. He married Sophia Underwood, daughter of a wealthy and influential Luton business family. Their grandson, Ronald William Tearle 1897, was killed in 1917 and is buried in the Huts Cemetery in Dikkebus, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. He is also remembered on the War Memorial outside the council offices in Luton.

Joseph 1829 was a straw bonnet maker in Bedford, and married Carolyn Haydon in Luton in 1854. One of their sons, Joseph Sydney Tearle, was baptised on the Luton Methodist circuit (probably in Chapel St) in 1861. He emigrated to Australia and died in Cooktown, Queensland in 1886, unmarried.

Apart from George 1823 and Joseph 1829, the children of George and Betty did not marry, and some died very young.

The reason I have covered the Tearle births above is because, having assured ourselves of the parentage of the Tearle children listed, and taken a lesson from the story of Charlotte that there were some undocumented children, we might be able (with Barbara’s help) to give a home to the other Chalgrave strays:

Joseph 1804               James 1806                George 1810

Joseph is the first. There is an extensive essay on the origin of the Preston Tearles and in that essay, we looked for Joseph’s parents. Richard and Mary nee Pestel looked the most likely couple because their first child was Phoebe 1803, then no more children until William 1814. Joseph’s death certificate of 1889 in Preston, said he was 90 years old, which took us back to 1799. We checked the 1841 census, and at that time both he and his wife Mary Ann nee Smith were 35 years old, so that meant 1806. As a group we settled on 1804, two years after the birth of his elder sister. We checked the 1851 census, where Joseph was boarding with his son, George 1825. Joseph was male, father, 48 years old, and crucially, he was from Tebworth. In the early 1800s George and Betty had not started their family, and only Richard and Mary nee Pestel were having children in Tebworth – starting with Phoebe. Joseph 1804 of Tebworth looked very comfortable in this family.

Next was James Tearle and Mary nee Webb. I was contacted by the gg grand-daughter of James and Mary, who considered that it was most likely that Richard and Mary nee Pestel were James’ parents: the first son was called Richard, and one of the girls was Phoebe. In the 1841 census, James and Mary were living in Dunstable with seven children. In the 1851 Dunstable census, James reported he was from Tebworth while Mary was from Little Brickhill, where they were married on 17 March 1825. Both James and Mary were 35 years old, so that made James born in 1806. We fitted him in between Joseph and Charlotte, and he looked quite at home there.

The last stray was George, who had married Elizabeth Tearle 1810 in Stanbridge on 15 May 1832. They had three children, so we tried the children’s name test. Elizabeth was named after her mother, and James 1834 was probably named after James 1806, above. Quite why they called the last boy Charles is anyone’s guess, but two out of three will do. We checked the 1841 census, and George said he was thirty, making his birthdate 1811. The early census birth-dates are more reliable because the numbers are smaller, and more likely to be closer to the actual birth date than later censuses. The 1851 census was enlightening in other ways: George was 41 (born 1810) a Post Boy who carried mail from town to town and he was from Wingfield. This means he was from Chalgrave parish. His death certificate said he was a groom, 80 years old and living in Dunstable. Details were supplied by Elizabeth Tearle Fensome (George’s daughter had married Charles Fensome in 1863) who was present at the death of her father. The 1810 date for his birth fits very nicely in the dates between Charlotte 1808 and William 1814.

There is just one final thing to do, and that is to explain how Richard 1778 had one more child – apparently after his wife Mary Pestel had died. John Tearle 1823 was baptised at Chalgrave on 27 April 1823, son of Richard and Ann. The writing is difficult, but it says Ann, and certainly does not say Mary. In the Chalgrave PRs, Richard married Ann Willis on 24 January 1822.

The postscript to this story is that George and Elizabeth’s son, James 1834 of Dunstable most likely left the town from Dunstable Church St station on the Great Northern Railway – third class, no doubt – and arrived in Euston Station on the same day. Nothing could be further from his forbears than this. It was like flying to the moon, but the landing was real – he was in London. On the 5th of May 1860 he married a Berkshire girl in Islington, Sarah Ann Jones. They had four children in Holloway, Islington then left for Sutton, Surrey, where John Thomas Tearle was born in 1871. He was followed by Laura Ellen in 1873 and Henry Arthur in 1875. James died on the second of July, 1876, only 43 years old. His legacy, though, lives on. The era of the Sutton, Surrey Tearles had started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18Feb/17

Eaton Bray Tearle memorials

St Mary’s Church, Eaton Bray

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

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

St Mary’s Eaton Bray interior towards the altar

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

The pipe organ, St Mary’s Eaton Bray

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

St Mary’s Eaton Bray stained glass windows

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

St Mary Eaton Bray Roll of Honour

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

Robert Tearle on St Mary Eaton Bray Roll of Honour

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

Lectern with Jeffery Tearle’s name

Here is a closeup of the memorial:

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

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

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

Basil Tearle St Mary’s WW2 Roll of Honour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

29Mar/16

Edward Joseph Tearle 1874, Watford (Royal Engineers)

Let’s start with Edward’s entry in “National Roll of the Great War” because although the paragraph below was written at the end of his service, it will help us introduce him – not least because he is now on my list of men who fought in Gallipoli. And so far, none have come out unscathed.
Tearle, E J (Rgt No: 101941)

Tearle Edward Joseph RE National Roll

You can see from “National Roll” that Edward’s WW1 experience was definitely in two halves. He was wounded in Gallipoli, recovered, went to Egypt, and then he was sent to Europe where he was kept out of the firing line, but was still working. There is one document that spells this out:

Edward Joseph Tearle 101941 WW1 army service record p4

Edward Joseph Tearle 101941 WW1 army service record p4

This is the document from Chelsea that tells us most about Edward’s career. You can see that he joins the Royal Engineers on 1 June 1915, but in only a month’s time, he is in the MEF, the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, and off to war somewhere in the Middle East – or so. One month’s training? I found the reason – Edward had already been involved with the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment. It is commendable that he joins the war effort so soon after war is declared but another thing you may have calculated by the title of this story, was that he was 40yrs old at the time.  He said he was a stone mason, so he was signed up for the Royal Engineers.

After a short but memorable stint in the MEF, Edward was sent to Europe with the BEF (the British Expeditionary Force) and it would appear he was kept well out of trouble, but obviously still able to work. He accumulated a total of 3yrs 363 days of overseas service and left Europe in early 1919, to spend a few months being assessed, and then being discharged on a Para 392 “Not fit enough to be a soldier”. As you can see from the document below, it was due to sickness.

Edward Joseph Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

Edward Joseph Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

Edward J Tearle 101941 WW1 Army medal roll

Edward J Tearle 101941 WW1 Army medals award card.

We can speculate all we like in the absence of documented evidence, but there is a range of very nasty diseases you can get from fighting in Gallipoli or Egypt; and Edward could have caught his, as Arthur Walter Tearle did, from hospital. Without the documents above, we would never have found out about Edward’s Silver War Badge, because below that is the card that recorded his service medals.

He did not get the 14/15 Star because he was not overseas in 1914, but you can see he has been awarded the 1915 Star, the British and the Victory medals. I assume the date of 21 July 1915 (and not 1 July 1915, which was his MEF starting date) being recorded as his entry into the Egypt Theatre of War, is the date his ship anchored at Suvla Bay, in preparation for the landing in Gallipoli on 6 August.

Edward left the army and went back to civilian life on 29 June 1919. Twenty years earlier, he had married a Hemel Hempstead girl (who lived barely 10 miles away) by the name of Jane Picton, in 1897, and his eldest son, Edward George, was born in 1898. In 1914, he was 16yrs old. On 22 June 1918, at a little over 20yrs old, he joined the Labour Corps and went to war, too. His war was short, of course, but he did go to France.

Edward’s sickness never left him. He died on 23 June 1933, at 60 Vicarage Rd, Watford, only 59yrs old. His entry in the London probate register is pretty grim, and probably reflects the debilitating condition that the war had given him.

Edward Joseph Tearle Watford probate 1933

Edward Joseph Tearle Watford probate 1933

When Elaine and I visited the Vicarage Road Cemetery in Watford, we found a corner that had so many Tearle graves and headstones, we called it Tearle Corner. Edward’s second son, George, was there, as were both he and Jane. The grave reference is K-953.

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

Tearle Corner headstone K-953. George 1902-1931, Edward Joseph Tearle 1874-1933 and Jane nee Picton. Vicarage Rd Cemetery, Watford.

The ancestry information on Edward that you need to know is as follows: his parents were Jabez Tearle 1844 and Susannah nee Payne, his grandparents were George 1818 and Annie nee Haws, the grandparents of many Watford (and Australian) families today, and George was the son of Abel 1797 and Hannah nee Frost. Abel, of course, was the son of Fanny Tearle (who became Fanny Johnson) who was a daughter of Thomas 1737 and Susannah nee Attwell.

 

28Mar/16

Bertie Tearle 1900, St Albans

I know frustratingly little about Bertie, but this is what I do know: he was awarded the Silver War Badge. Here is the documentation, from which we can deduce a few things:

Bertie Tearle Silver War Badge documentation

Bertie Tearle Silver War Badge documentation

Firstly, you can see that he joined the war late, but then he would, because he was only 14 when the war started. The Cause of Discharge column indicating a Paragraph 392 reason simply means that he was so wounded, he was not fit enough to be a soldier. He joined the war on 4 Feb 1918 and he is wounded beyond repair by 31 Dec 1918. He was just 19yrs.

No records from Chelsea Hospital survive for Bertie, so we cannot know the state of his injuries, nor even when he received them, but he has been in two different regiments; the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, and the Royal Fusiliers (City of London) 4th battalion and 2nd battalion. This is also the regiment that Arthur Walter Tearle joined, as well as Herbert John Tearle.

The war ended on 11 November 1918 and the 2/2 London Division was in Palestine for much of 1918, so we can assume Bertie was injured, or caught some awful desert disease, in Palestine.

We can now turn to two more sources of documentation, both reserved for Bertie’s service medals.

Bertie Tearle 60996, GS92961, GS92961 WW1 army medal rolls

Bertie Tearle 60996, GS92961, GS92961 WW1 army medal rolls

There is firstly a list of the fighting units he belonged to, and it’s worth remembering that the GS/ notation refers to a General Service soldier, and that in turn simply means Territorial and that means volunteer. He is awarded the Victory medal and the British War Medal.

Bertie Tearle Silver medal

Bertie Tearle service medal allocation documentation.

You can see that the medal card refers to this document; in the top right-hand corner is the number 4484, which is the “Page” number on the medals card. It is the Royal Fusiliers which sets out the medals to be awarded, and this was the last regiment to which young Bertie belonged.

The only other documentation I have (except for turn-of-the-century censuses) is Bertie’s entry in the National Probate Calendar of 1961.

Bertie Tearle probate

Bertie Tearle probate notice, 1961.

He still lives in St Albans, he has married, but he has no children, and he owns very little. The “effects” of £592 shown here is probably the value of his house. We do not know if he worked anywhere, and we do not know if he even walked. He has lived to 61yrs old, but that is not a great age; his sacrifice in going to war has been ongoing for the rest of his life.

Now, who was Bertie? His parents were Edward Joseph Tearle 1869 and Emma Elizabeth nee Warner. Edward grew up in the Symonside Cottages, just off Coopers Green Lane, between St Albans and Stanborough. His parents were John Tearle 1830 of Soulbury and Harriett nee Figg. Both of these parents spent time in the Hertford Workhouse, incarcerated because of debt and grinding poverty. John’s parents were Richard Tearle 1805 of Stanbridge and Martha nee Walker, the founders of the Soulbury Tearles. Richard was a grandson of John 1741 and Martha nee Archer.

Edward was a younger brother of William Francis Tearle  1857 and the uncle to John Henry Tearle  who was killed in 1915, so Bertie was a cousin of John Henry’s, and was himself the uncle to Edward Kefford William Tearle, who was killed at De Panne in WW2.

If anyone thought that moving from Soulbury to Hertfordshire would give them a better life, I do not think it really panned out that way.

26Mar/16
From vestry to altar the branch of John 1741

The origin, spelling and meaning of the surname Tearle

The origin, spelling and meaning of the surname Tearle
By Barbara Tearle
March 2016

Tearles from Bedfordshire

Most people bearing the name Tearle in England, Australia, New Zealand and Canada today can trace their descent from a family in the village of Stanbridge near Leighton Buzzard in south Bedfordshire. Some American Tearles are also descended from Stanbridge families but there are other derivations of the name Tearle in the USA.

The evidence for the name – how it is spelt and where it originates –  comes mainly from parish registers, wills, manorial documents, court cases, deeds and census returns.

The earliest records date back to the middle of the fifteenth century, where the name was spelt Terle:

  • In 1443 Richard Terle was on a jury held at Aylesbury to enquire into the ownership of the Edlesborough lands of Alice wife of John Adam (Cal IPM 21-25 H6 1442-1447 p.41)
  • and in 1444 John Terle was on a similar jury held at Leighton Buzzard into the Bedfordshire lands of Sir Walter Lucy (Cal IPM 21-25 H6 1442-1447 p.161)

These juries were standard procedure for inquisitiones post mortem – enquiries held on the death of major landholders into their property so that the King knew what dues were owed to him.  The presence of two Terles on juries in the mid-fifteenth century shows that the family was of good status locally and that they lived in the south Bedfordshire or adjacent Buckinghamshire area.

During the remainder of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries a succession of John Terles (with the occasional Robert Terle) are recorded as holding property in Stanbridge and – in one instance – in Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

The family continued in Stanbridge until the name died out there in the mid twentieth century.  In the intervening centuries, it spread to nearby parishes in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.  Eighteenth century and subsequent occurrences in north Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire are almost certainly from the same family and they continue living there to this day.

The few occurrences in London in the early and mid-eighteenth century were of the goldsmith Thomas Tearle who was from Stanbridge but who appears to have had no surviving descendants and another family whose origins have not yet been traced.

During the nineteenth century the family spread from Bedfordshire to northern England (Preston and Liverpool in particular); Willesden in London as railway workers; south London by the latter half of  century; and a few elsewhere around the country.  The spread seems to have been due to seeking work; joining the military; entering the church; becoming teachers; taking to the stage as provincial touring actor/managers.

The nineteenth and twentieth centuries were also the period of emigration, with Tearle families going to the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Tearles from other parts of the United Kingdom

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the name Tearle or Tarle appears in parish and other records well away from south Bedfordshire.

Tearles in Sussex and the south coast are variant spellings of Tourle, which is an established surname in that area.   Tearle in the West country may be a variant spelling of Terrell/Tyrrell, although there appears to be a family with the name, not merely random occurrences.  Tarle, Terle or Tarles in East Anglia, Staffordshire and London are a mystery.  There are no obvious family connections between any of them and the Bedfordshire Tearles, although of course there may be a medieval connection that has not yet been uncovered. These are research projects waiting to be explored for anyone conversant with medieval sources around the country.

Tearle in Ireland

A few people in nineteenth and early twentieth century English censuses recorded that they were borne in Ireland.  One or two of them were the children of the two English actor/managers (Osmond and Edmund Tearle).  Some are children of Stanbridge-descended soldiers stationed in Ireland.  Not all the Irish Tearles have yet been accounted for.

Jewish Tearle

There is a Jewish family called Tearle which has no connection with the Stanbridge-descended family.  The Jewish family originated in two brothers, Isaac and Lewis, who came to England from Lithuania around 1900 and settled in the Jewish community in Liverpool, then Manchester.  It needs an expert in Jewish naming to know if that was the name they used in Lithuania or if it was adopted on arrival in England (though why would anyone in their right minds want to saddle themselves with a name that no-one can spell or pronounce?).  According to genealogical sources (FamilySearch, censuses, etc) there were Jewish migrants to USA about the same time called Terle.

Spelling

The form Terle was the normal spelling until the middle of the sixteenth century when Tearle emerged.  For many decades the two forms, Terle and Tearle, were used interchangeably until Tearle gained the ascendancy during the seventeenth century.  While it is inappropriate to be too fussy about spelling (our ancestors weren’t), in this instance the older spelling and the change to the current one are worth noting. The best explanation may lie in other spelling changes of the sixteenth century. For example, during the same period the spelling yere was giving way to yeare and erth to earth.  What more natural for scribes to apply this model and write Tearle for Terle?

At the same time as this standard change was taking place, there were many other ways of spelling the name, probably explained by local pronunciation and phonetic spelling.  Those variations for the Stanbridge-descended Tearles in the Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Northamptonshire area include:

Common variants, in alphabetical order:
Tail
Tale
Tarl
Tarle
Tearl  (mainly in Northamptonshire)
Terl (early nineteenth century instances)
Terle  (throughout the sixteenth century in Stanbridge)

Occasional variants occurring a few times only:
Tayle
Teale
Teall
Tealler
Tearel
Teirle
Terill
Terrle
Terull
Tiarl
Tiarle
Tirle
Turl
Tyrell (early eighteenth century north Buckinghamshire)

Derivation and meaning

Surnames were adopted over a period of several centuries during the middle ages, stabilising into hereditary names sometime later.  In order to have a chance of determining the probable derivation and meaning of a surname, its earliest occurrence must be sought because it will be nearest to the original use and reason for adoption.

Few surname dictionaries include Tearle.  Henry Harrison in his Surnames of the United Kingdom gives a derivation from old English þearl meaning strict or severe.  This may be based on the similarity in spelling.  Barber’s more recent British Family names – their origin and meaning explains it as being from the Dutch personal name Terlet.  Given the late emergence of the spelling Tearle and the earlier spelling as Terle, the þearl explanation does not hold up to scrutiny.  Its origin should be sought in an earlier period.

What did Terle mean?  Where did it come from?

I can offer no explanation.  However a project which is examining the surnames of the United Kingdom may add something to this account and enable a stab to be made at its meaning.  The project is called FaNUK – Family names of the United Kingdom. It is based at the University of the West of England and the results of its work are scheduled for publication in 2017.  They will be published as an online database and as a new surname dictionary by Oxford University Press, Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland.  I look forward to seeing it and finding out whether it can shed light on Tearle and similar sounding names – Dearle, Hearle, Learle and Thearle.

© Barbara Tearle
March 2016

13Mar/16

Herbert John Tearle 1898, Bexleyheath

Herbert was born in Bexleyheath in 1898, a near-perfect date for him to be drawn into WW1. His parents were George 1863 of Hockliffe and Elizabeth nee Clark. I do not yet have a reason for George’s move to London, but he married Elizabeth in Dartford in 1887 and in the 1911 census George and Elizabeth were living at 115 Broadway, Bexley Heath, Kent, where he said his occupation was a florist. It is likely, then that the location was a flat above a shop. When he died at 87 years old, it was in a place called The Grange, in Bloomsfield Rd, Bexley Heath, Kent. His will named his executors as Frank Tearle, Company Director, and Herbert John Tearle, Builders Merchant, so his family has followed their father’s interest in small business. His parents were Jabez 1841 of Hockliffe and Mary nee Clarke. Jabez traces his ancestry back to John 1741.

In the same 1911 census, Herbert was at school, 12yrs old.

On 22 Sep 1914, at the Hounslow recruiting office, Herbert joined the Royal Fusiliers on a Short Service attestation as “Three Years with the Colours,” unless the war lasted longer than that, in which case “you will be retained until the War is over.” This is the same London regiment that Arthur Walter Tearle joined, except that Arthur was a Territorial in the Royal Fusiliers (City of London) Regiment, and Herbert has joined the Royal Fusiliers as a regular, but none-the-less a member of a London Royal Fusiliers regiment. He said – and they believed him – that he was 19yrs old! He was 5ft 11″ (very tall for the times) with a scar on his left knee, fresh complexion, 132lbs in weight, blue eyes and black hair. He gave his religious denomination as “Congregational” but he must have picked that up in London, because his father was baptised on the Dunstable Methodist Circuit. He was given the Regimental number 4021 and he was initially inducted into the 6th Battalion.

On 5 May 1915, the eve of going into battle with the B.E.F. (British Expeditionary Force) somewhere in Europe, Herbert was instructed to write his will. It is painfully short:

“In the event of my death I give £6-6-0 (six guineas) to my mother Elizabeth Tearle and I give my remaining property to my father George Tearle.
Herbert John Tearle
No. 4021
2 Company, 3rd Battlion, Royal Fusilliers
Dover.
5-5-1915”

His service record has a number of interesting highlights, but the page below tells most of the story. You can see when he became a lance corporal, lost it, then regained it, as well as his very short stint (only 14 days) on the Western Front.

Herbert John Tearle 4021 WW1 military record p9

Herbert John Tearle 4021 WW1 military record p9

Why he was returned to Home (which could have been anywhere in England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland) I cannot fathom. The Royal Fusiliers went to Egypt in October 1915 and then Salonica in December. Herbert joined them on 6 Apr 1916. He was wounded on 27 May 1917 and returned Home. You can see that he spent some time in Napsbury Hospital, near St Albans.

West Wing, Napsbury Hospital, St Albans

West Wing, Napsbury Hospital, St Albans.

I must remind you that this Napsbury is now a village of flats, but it was originally a mental asylum, sometimes housing those who were genuinely mentally afflicted, but very often a permanent prison in which families hid away their errant daughters who had children out of wedlock. In WW1 and WW2 it was a major hospital for treating wounded soldiers, and Herbert was invalided with them. Many ANZAC soldiers owed their lives to its dedicated care; those who did not survive are buried in the Hatfield Rd Cemetery, St Albans. Herbert’s wounds were so severe that on discharge from Napsbury Hospital he was declared “No longer fit for War Service” under paragraph 392, on 1 July 1917. Herbert’s part as a soldier in WW1 was over. He was awarded the Silver War Badge:

Herbert John Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

Herbert John Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge.

In the 1920s he was sent the 1915 Star, the British Medal, and the Victory Medal. If you review the story of Arthur Walter Tearle, you will see Herbert’s Royal Fusiliers and the 2nd, 3rd and 6th battalions written on the Cornhill War Memorial.

Now, there is an odd codicil to this story. Wounded as he was, and invalided from the army, Herbert joined the YMCA and sailed for Malta, arriving there on 10 Jan 1918, still in the heat of WW1. The hospitals of Malta tended to the wounded of two major campaigns, the Dardenelles (Gallipoli) from 25 Apr 1915 to 8 Jan 1916, and then the Salonica Campaign, when the Allies gave support to Serbia in its war with Bulgaria, from 5 Oct 1915 to 30 Sep 1918.

As far as the YMCA in Malta is concerned, it is difficult to find any documentation of their activities. However, as early as 1916, a YMCA marquee was erected for the treatment of malaria and dysentery in patients from the Salonica Campaign, in the grounds of St Pauls Camp, Hutment Hospital.

The local branch of the YMCA was not started until 1974, but it has this to say about the history of the YMCA in Malta:
Although it is known that the YMCA in Malta existed during the time that Malta was a British colony, this YMCA activity stopped when Malta became independent in 1964. It is assumed that this YMCA activity was an extension of the British YMCA specifically geared to serve the military forces then stationed in Malta.

So perhaps Herbert served at St Pauls, helping wounded servicemen and even sick medical personnel to recover, since there seems to be no other documentation on the role of the YMCA in Malta during WW1. What we do know is that Mr Herbert J Tearle, of the YMCA, received the British Medal for his work. He now has two British Medals: one for Pte Herbert J Tearle, and one for Mr Herbert J Tearle, and here is the documentation for the second medal:

Herbert J Tearle YMCA WW1, British Medal, Malta, 1918.

Herbert J Tearle YMCA WW1, British Medal, Malta, 1918.

Note:

At the time of writing the above article, I had no further information on Herbert John, but recently (2017) Hazel King has sent me the text of a family history for this branch of the Tearles, beginning with Jabez Tearle 1841, of Hockliffe, Bedfordshire. Hazel’s story is here:

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.

 

Text

02Jan/16

William Tearle 1832, Stanbridge, UK

William 1832 of Stanbridge was a son of Thomas 1807 Stbg and Mary nee Garner. His grandparents were Richard 1773 and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth and his g-grandparents were John 1741 and Martha nee Archer. William, then is on the branch of John 1741. He married Catherine Fountain in 1856.

Here he is in 1841, at home with his parents, his sister Emma and little brother John, 1840, who would go on to be the “Sexton of this parish for 60 years.”, as told by his headstone in the Stanbridge Church cemetery. William’s eldest brother (my gg-grandfather) James 1827 was already at work as a manservant in the household of James Goodeson, a farmer in Heath and Reach.

1841 = Thomas 1811 Beds Mary 1806 William 9 Emma 3 John 1 Stbg

The Tearles were not educated and many could not read or write. It is not unusual for people in the various censuses to have different birth dates because they could not keep an accurate track of their age. Couple this with the 1841 census enumerators who often rounded up or down people’s ages by as much as 5 years and you can see how William is 9 in 1841, but 12 in 1851.

This is him in 1851, just 12 yrs old, a Farmers Labourer (Servant) for William Pratt in Totternhoe:

1851 = William 1832 Stbg farmers lab for William Pratt in Totternhoe

He first appears as a railway labourer in the Stanbridge census of 1861 – now married and living in Stanbridge:

1861 = William 1832 Stbg Catherine 24 Sarah 4 Thomas 2 Charles 1 in Stbg

They were married by banns in Stanbridge Church in 1856

In 1871 he is a “Platelayer on the Railway” – does that mean he’s gone up in the world?

1871 = William 1832 Stbg Kate 36 Charles 11 John 9 Ellen 7 Henry 5 George 1 Alfred 1m in Stbg

In 1881 he is still a platelayer on railway but they are living in Houghton Regis

1881 = William 1832 Stbg Catherine 47 Henry 15 George 12 Jeffrey 9 William 7 Ezra 5 in HR

In 1891, no change in employment, but most of the children have left home:

1891 = William 1832 Stbg Catherine 57 Ellen 27 Ezra 14 in HR

In 1901 he is a “Retired Railway Platelayer,” but he has married a Mary 1831 of Eggington, who is described as Superannuated.

This Mary is Mary nee Andrews 1830 of Eggington. On Mary’s page you can see this story from her viewpoint.

1901 = William 1832 Stbg Mary 1831 Egtn in Stbg.

I’m not sure when he died, but I am looking for his death certificate.

One small note you might like to make is that Catharine was often referred to as Kate.

This is a very influential family when you look at Tearle history, and it adds to the story of the dispersal of the Tearles from Stanbridge:

Sarah 1857

Thomas 1858 married Pamela Andrews of Eggington and founded a family of Willesden Tearles, working on the railways.

Charles 1859 married Lizzie Gates in 1882 and founded a family in Wolverton, Northants, also working on the railways.

Jonathon 1862 married Alice Kearns in 1882 and was the second family in Willesden

Ellen 1864. I don’t think Ellen married. The last I saw of her was in the 1901 Edlesborough census, where she was working as a housekeeper in the household of Henry Vasey, a baker, of Leighton Rd. At the same time and in the same house, working as a Journeyman Baker, was Albert Tearle, 1874 EB, the son of William 1852 Edles and Ann nee Bird. Albert is the brother of Louis (Lewis) of the headstone in Edlesborough Church. Albert is descended from William 1749 (and Mary nee Prentice) while Ellen is descended from John 1741. This is another example of the Tearle network in operation. This is surely not a coincidence. They would have known their familial links and the fact that their distant grandfathers were brothers. Victorian women maintained these links by giving their children their own and their mother’s maiden names.

Henry 1866  went to Higham Ferrers, Northants and married Ada Hale in 1889. In 1891 and 1901 he was working in a shoe factory.

George 1870

Alfred 1871 – 1874

Jeffrey 1872

William 1874

Ezra 1876