Tag Archives: family


George Tearle 1818, Dagnall, UK

Grandfather of the Watford Tearles

This is another story of the family of Fanny Tearle 1780. We have elsewhere discussed the origins of Fanny, and John L Tearle (Tearle, a Bedfordshire Surname) tells her story at some length. George 1818 is the founding father of the Watford Tearles and what I intend to do is to show the development of the Watford Tearles and the highlights of their 150 years in Watford. Let’s start with George’s father.

Fanny Tearle had one son, Abel, born 1797 in Edelsborough. He married Hannah Frost of Tilsworth on 16 Oct 1817 in Edelsborough. We can catch up with them in 1841. Here they are in Dagnall, working oln the farm of Thomas (?) Mead. Dagnall, Edelsborough and Northaw are so close together they are almost one village, strung along a country road. You can see that George has already left home.

1841 = Abel 1795 Bucks Ann 35 John 15 William 4 Joseph 6 Jabez 5 in Dagnall.

He is down the road a bit, in Slapton. He is working for Mary Gurney, who calls herself a Victualler, and is probably a pub-keeper. George learns his craft here. He will go on to be a brewer. Now, the choice of Slapton is interesting because John 1824 Dagnall, George’s younger brother also goes to Slapton and he, too, works for Mary Gurney and you can see him in the 1851 census in Slapton. This time she is calling herself a Maltster and Victualler, while John is a Malt Maker. John’s story is an interesting one – or more correctly, the story of his wife, Sarah nee Bishop. Look up this story under John 1824 of Dagnall.

1841 = George 1821 Bucks MS for Mary Gurney in Slapton

1851 = George 1818 Dagnall Ann 31 Jabez 6 Catharine 2 Sarah Ann 1m in Elstree

As a point of interest, George’s sister, Susanna 1827 Dagnall, is featured on one of the headstones in the Dunstable public cemetery.

Thelma Mary Shepherd

Thelma Mary Shepherd 1931 Wing, Buckinghamshire, UK

I cared deeply for Thelma, and here is the obituary I wrote for her:

Goodbye Thelma Shepherd 2005

Thelma Mary Shepherd

Thelma Mary Shepherd

We were still living in New Zealand when I wrote to Barbara Tearle of Oxford in 1992 asking her if my grandfather Arthur Tearle had any brothers and sisters. She wrote back to say he had one brother and many sisters, and she would put an advertisement in the local paper to see if there were any members of that family still in the district. It was Thelma who wrote to me. She explained that she was the daughter of Harry Tearle of Wing, son of Mahlon who was the brother of my grand-father Arthur and they were both the sons of the blacksmith of Wing, Levi Tearle.

From that letter came a lasting and deep friendship that I have enjoyed with my cousin, Thelma. We wrote letters, swapped cards and I even rang her a couple of times. She never forgot a birthday and she had a knack of getting a card to me on time, even though she may have sent it from England only three days before. She rang me once to say she had been allowed to buy her little house on the High Street in Wing that she had rented from the council for many years. Did I think she should buy it? I said “Definitely, it’s always better to own it than to rent it.” That Christmas she asked us to raise a toast to her as a newly propertied woman.

In March 1994, our dear son Jason was tragically killed and it was Thelma who organized her aunt Clarice Pugsley and cousin Sheila Leng to go with her all the way to New Zealand in November that year to help us in our grief. It was Thelma who gave us the 6 walnuts from the tree in Jennie Pugh’s back yard, which was itself a son of the tree that grew in Levi’s garden in Wing, which in turn was grown from a walnut gathered from the tree which grew for his mother in Stanbridge. Elaine, Thelma, Clarice, Sheila, my mother Tia and my father Frank each planted one of the walnuts under the kitchen window of our house in Whawharua. Two of those walnuts grew into trees and both of them are planted in different places on our farm, a tribute to Levi Tearle and the wonderful family he had brought up. Two years later, my father and I transplanted one of the saplings to a special corner of the block set aside for the tree and the Rev Fred Day, retired, of Te Kuiti conducted a small ceremony entirely in Latin to dedicate the tree to Jason’s memory. It was Thelma, too, who held Elaine’s hand in the car on the long journey to collect Jason’s ashes in the urn from the funeral director’s studio and Thelma, Clarice and Sheila were there in Hamilton with Genevieve, our daughter and a small collection of family and friends when my younger brother sang “Let the Circle be Unbroken” as Elaine and I finally laid our beautiful son to rest. A special bond had been formed, a bond that would grow stronger with time.

There was the wonderful reunion when they met my father for the first time. He and Mum came to Otorohanga for the formalities and saved us all the long trip to Hahei, and there were tears on the one hand and joy on the other, because my father was first cousin to Thelma’s father, Harry, and first cousin to Clarice herself. Arthur was much loved and much missed by his sisters.

Elaine and I were working in Te Kuiti at the time and each day we would go to work and we would organize something for “The Girls” to do while we were away. One day a Te Kuiti businessman took them on a trip to the black sand beach at Mokau where they met up with a bus carrying marching girls on tour. The busload of marchers was so taken with Thelma, Clarice and Sheila having come so far, that they put on their marching display, in their lovely costumes, just for them. They sat in the sun on a giant log watching the marchers while Tony Pivac poured tea from a flask into plastic mugs on a blanket on the beach. It was a magical day. On another morning, we took them to the Waitomo Club where they met one of the local bowling enthusiasts and captain of his team, the best bowler in the Waitomo. When we came home Thelma, Clarice and Sheila were sitting on the pool deck in the late afternoon summer sun, swirling their legs in the cooling water, drinking New Zealand sauvignon blanc, laughing and shadow bowling and celebrating Sheila’s remarkable win. She had crushed them, every single Waitomo bowler who had dared challenge her; every one who had thought she was merely lucky with the way she bowled. No-one had told them Sheila was the Bedfordshire champion. They thought she was just an English girl! Thelma and Clarice had sat in the shade under the veranda of the Waitomo Bowls Club and watched their cousin play her beautiful shots with borrowed bowls; and they had laughed and cheered for Sheila and talked with these delightful Waitomo Club players who bought them cups of tea and cool glasses of lemonade all day long. It was one of the sunniest and happiest days of the many adventurous days that Thelma spent in New Zealand.

“I was very brave today,” she said with a shy smile, “I watched someone take a bungy jump.”

“I was very brave today, I watched the “geezers” in Rotorua and dipped my feet in a hot pool.”

“I was very brave today, I walked under the Natural Bridge. I know its solid stone, but anything could have happened.”

That was after the day we took them on a trip along the Marokopa Road. We stopped briefly at the little Waitomo Caves School where Elaine used to be principal. We took a ride in a cave boat inside the Waitomo Caves and Thelma sat there utterly in awe, revelling in every minute of looking up at the thousands of beautiful glowing pin-pricks of light and being most impressed at how handsome and polite the young chap was who rowed the boat and helped her in and out.

We drove to the Marokopa Falls and Thelma watched the thundering water and felt the spray – that was brave, too, she said. Then we walked from the road to the Natural Bridge and along a narrow path beside a clear, cold stream. That was brave, too. We walked along the black sands of Marokopa Beach, dug fossils from the mudstone and listened to the thunderous roar of the Marokopa surf. That was brave, too. She was loving being an outdoors girl. We stopped at the Waitomo Hotel on the way home and had a cup of tea, just so we could go inside and sample its Olde Worlde elegance. It’s a late Victorian kauri building in a Regency style perched on top of a limestone cliff with a panoramic view over a pretty valley full of native bush. Thelma stood in the open glass doors and drank in the view while she told me how much she loved being in New Zealand. She would emigrate here and we could all live in the sunshine and she wouldn’t have to freeze in the bitter English winters.

That night we sat outside and had a glass of wine on the wooden steps of the house deck and Thelma looked up to see the Milky Way. “Where’s the Southern Cross?” I showed her where it was and how it pointed more or less to due south. “I have never seen so many stars.” During the time she was there, she would sit on the deck overlooking the farm and admire the skill and sheer hard work of Hurricane Jimmy, as they called him, the farmer who looks after our block. They admired his tractor work and he would come over to see them sitting on the deck and swap stories with them about his time on holidays in England and what they were doing on their holiday in New Zealand. Thelma talked about Hurricane Jimmy for years. For the whole time they stayed with us a tui visited the flax flowers and sang his beautiful melodies. A tui is a thrush-sized native bird, glistening black with a white tuft of feathers at the throat and a remarkable song of great clarity and purity of tone, distinguished from his imitators by a self-deprecating little cough at the end. They were totally charmed by this beautiful bird and considered themselves blessed.

They left a couple of days before Christmas. “Why not stay? We go to Pauanui for Christmas. You could join our beach barbies and go surfing every day. Who wants to go back to winter?”

“We’ve got to go home, our families would miss us.”

When we saw them off at the airport it was in the knowledge, the certain knowledge, that we would see them again. Our English family was not a myth; it was real, and the people we had met – Thelma, Clarice and Sheila – were some of the loveliest people we had ever met.

Elaine and I moved to England in 1999 and between then and now, Elaine’s friendship with Thelma has deepened into an enduring love. Elaine and Thelma dropped into a routine of contacting each other before the school holidays and Thelma would plan a trip they could take together. One year, she was feeling very lonely and asked us to take her to see Clarice. We drove down to Ilfracombe and Thelma stayed with Clarice while Elaine and I stayed in one of Clarice’s cottages about 3 doors away in the same street. Thelma and Clarice were like schoolgirls again; they gossiped and laughed and dug out family photos until deep into the night. We took Thelma to Lynmouth and she and I rode the cable railway up to Linton.

“I was very brave,” said Thelma, “I went up the railway and I didn’t close my eyes. Anything could have happened, you know.”

She and Clarice had a very tearful parting but they would see each other one more time. Clarice came up all the way from Ilfracombe to St Albans and Elaine took her and Thelma and Jennie Pugh to the Moat in Luton and it’s true that they never saw each other again. Thelma was so pleased that she had seen her beloved aunt.

On other holidays, Thelma would sit happily in the passenger’s seat and guide Elaine through the narrow country lanes of Beds and Bucks and point out all the places she used to bike to and all the places she used to know and she would talk about all the people who used to live there. One holiday recently she took Elaine to Southwold and Great Yarmouth and they sat on a wooden bench overlooking the beach, wrapped in blankets while she watched the RAF trying to salvage a Harrier jet that had crashed off the beach. Not far away, a young chap in T-shirt and shorts was watching the scene through a telescope mounted on a tripod and he noticed her watching him intently.

“Do you want to see the rescue?” he asked.

“Oh,” she said, “Do you think I might?” For the week they were there, the news was full of this Harrier being salvaged, but Thelma had organized a ring-side seat. Each morning she and Elaine went to the beach, examined the scene through the telescope and talked knowledgeably to the owner about things military. After all, her brother was an RAF Squadron Leader with an MBE.

“I was very brave,” she said, “I paddled in the North Sea. I could have been frozen, you know.” As she sat in the bus shelter with Elaine drying her feet, she collected quite a gathering of people who were happy to talk to this delightful old lady telling her story to her Kiwi companion. In a nearby café, she met people she knew from Wing. Later, she wanted fish and chips. Not any old fish and chips, mind, the ones in Great Yarmouth were not good enough. The only ones suitable were the fish and chips in Kessingland. There are rules about fish and chips; they have to be excellent quality and it’s not proper to pay too much. If the sign says the fish and chips are too expensive, you move on until a sign says the price is right. Thelma knew these things and Elaine loved her for it.

One holiday, Thelma navigated Elaine through the Buckinghamshire country lanes exploring thatched cottages and little Norman churches, some still showing damage from visits by Cromwell’s army. They trawled the churchyards for famous people from this time and examined the oak doors for bullet holes from Cromwell’s muskets. Thelma always had an exciting story to tell for every place they visited. Every holiday trip was thoroughly planned and each trip had a theme. Sometimes, they would sit under a tree while Thelma got her breath back and they would watch the passers-by and giggle as they made up stories about what their lives might be like. Thelma never took Elaine anywhere on the main roads, she always took “The scenic route.”

The very last trip Elaine and Thelma took was to Mentmore. Thelma was too weak to get out of the car, so Elaine jumped out and photographed the scene so Thelma could see the picture in the little screen on the back of the camera. She told Elaine all about the places they were seeing and how things had changed over time. She imagined herself living there…

A couple of days later, Thelma rang us to say she wanted to drive her red Ford Ka to Mentmore, did we think it was a good idea? Elaine said, “If you feel you can make it, then, yes of course you should go.” Thelma later rang to say that she had taken exactly the same route she had taken with Elaine and had sat in her car and looked out over that beautiful valley all the way to the narrow, steep spire of Leighton Buzzard church. As far as we know it was the last time she drove her beloved little Ka.

Thelma had a heart and a mind for the simple things; she had an encyclopaedic knowledge of English plants and of local history and yet she could play the high life as well. She was on the committee that vetted the people who would live in the Wing Almshouses. She took this job very seriously; my grandmother Sarah Jane Adams was brought up in the Wing Almshouses. On our last visit to see her in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, she told us how angry she was that the government was messing her pension about. Every time she went to hospital the pension stopped immediately, but it took weeks to get it started again when she got back home and that was a long and tiring business when it was so difficult for her to leave the house.

“I am going to write to the Minister of Pensions and tell him how to do this properly,” she said. “If you hear that he has resigned to spend more time with his family, you may assume that I had a hand in his downfall.”

Thelma was a woman of dignity and wonderful presence. She was intelligent and steeped in the knowledge of her family and mindful of her obligations to her friends, her mother and her village. She was a woman of rare character and great charm. She was a woman of the old school; gracious, generous and beautiful to the core. We shall not see her like again.

Ewart Tearle
St Albans
January 2005

Magheragall Parish Church

Dawsons of County Antrim

A little family history.

“Belfast?” Elaine’s always up for going anywhere new, but this was unusual. “Is it safe?”

“EasyJet goes from Luton and we haven’t been there yet.” I looked up the short report from Jeanette Youngman. “We may be able to go to Lisburn once we get there and look up a few headstones in Magheragall.”

“Oh, nice. And?”

“And after that we can do as you like.”

Perhaps as early as 1980 Jeanette sent me a report she had commissioned from a family research company in Belfast. She wanted to know the story of her grandfather, William Dawson 1857-1910. She had been to Belfast and visited a Ewart family there and they had been very hospitable. The names on the report were echoes of the names that Mum’s family had used in NZ.

DSCF1622 Magheragall Parish Church

Magheragall Parish Church

Briefly, James Dawson of Lisburn 1776-1829, had a son William Dawson 1821-1889. This William married Ann Ewart (1826-1898) in Magheragall Parish Church (above) in 1852. Her parents were John Ewart and Jane Kirk. They had married in the Magheragall Church in 1809. William and Ann had 9 children one of whom was Richard Dawson 1855-1925, his immediately younger brother William Dawson 1857-1910 and his immediately younger brother James Ewart Dawson 1860-, and finally Thompson Dawson, about 1863, all of them born in Magheragall parish. William Dawson 1857-1910 was my maternal great-grandfather, as well as being Jeanette’s grandfather. So Jeanette (nee Dawson) was the same generation as my mother. By going on this visit to Belfast, I had an opportunity to seek out just a little of the story of William and his family.

My great grandfather, William Dawson, emigrated to New Zealand, where he met and married a Northern Ireland girl, from Lisnacloon, which is as far west as one can go, called Marguerite Matthews, after whom my mother was named. One of their sons was my grandfather, James Ewart Dawson and my mum named me after him. She called me Ewart, she said, because she didn’t want me called Jim. Mum always told me that William had left from Lisburn, which was close to Belfast.

We walked straight through Belfast International Airport, no passports asked for, and caught the 200 bus to the Central Bus Station. We had to take our bags to the Welcome Centre because our hotel wouldn’t store them. Something to do with security. Why the Welcome Centre would store them and not the hotel escaped me.

“The weather report said that it would rain all weekend, so a nice sunny morning like this might be the best chance to photograph a church,” I said to Elaine.

You pick up the bus for Lisburn from the Central Bus Station. No 51. As the bus left the station, on our right hand side was a huge notice painted on the end of a terrace house:

“You are entering Loyalist territory…” I missed the rest.

Are they still doing that?

Magheragall is just a church and a hall. There are no houses clustered around it as you might expect in a village, and the front door was locked, but there were the headstones and we examined all of them for Dawsons and Ewarts, eventually finding and photographing all of the ones in Jeanette’s report. The headstone on the left is for my ggg-grandfather, John Ewart who had married Jane Kirk in this church in 1809.

John and Jane Ewart headstone, Magheragall Parish Church

John and Jane Ewart headstone Magheragall Parish Church

Close to the door of the church was this headstone, right, which the report thought could be my ggggg-grandfather. It lists three generations of the Dawsons of Magheragall: James b1776, Richard b1802 and James b1820. This headstone, then, took my family back to living in this district since 1776


Richard Dawson headstone in Magheragall Parish Church

Richard Dawson headstone in Magheragall Parish Church

The report wasn’t at all sure who William Dawson 1801-1855 was, in the picture on the left, but he was memorialised along with his wife Jane and two infant children. I had no opportunity to find out where Killultach Cottage was. This is the inscription on the base of the left-hand pot.

William Dawson headstone.

William Dawson headstone.

The undated and unnamed Ewart headstone, right, is adjacent to John and Jane Ewart’s headstone above. We can safely assume whoever these parents were, they were John’s children and that his grandchildren raised the memorial.

Ewart headstone

Ewart headstone

Thompson Dawson, who died in 1937, was a brother of Mum’s grandfather, William 1857. You can see, then, that this family was still in Magheragall until at least 1994.

Thompson Dawson headstone.

Thompson Dawson headstone.

I don’t know who Thomas Lewis Dawson was, but this grave shows quite an extensive familial pattern in the parish, and also underlines how recently there was Dawson presence in the district. I have no certain knowledge, but it would not surprise me to find Dawsons still living there.

Thomas Lewis Dawson grave.

Thomas Lewis Dawson grave.

We were intrigued to see this sign pointing down a narrow lane that ran under a disused railway bridge from the road immediately in front of the church. “Her Majesty’s Prison” surmised Elaine. While we were there, several cars ran down the road, or emerged from it.

Sign to Maghaberry Prison

Sign to Maghaberry Prison

I stood for a long time reading and thinking about the first headstone we had seen. James Dawson, the father of the Richard Dawson who had erected the headstone, had been born in 1776. Richard had thoughtfully, perhaps even reverently, named his son after his father. Suddenly, the Dawsons had stopped being a mystery; my family had quite deep roots in County Antrim. I wondered where they had originally come from.

Some history from the Linen Building Library

In the Linen Building Library in Donnegal St, Belfast, the following morning I found some of the answers, courtesy of “The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland” by John P Prendergast, 1922.

According to Prendergast, Henry VIII lost power over the English born in Ireland, and wrestled back control of Ireland by beheading the House of Kildare (English aristocracy) for treason and enacting legislation that allowed only the Privy Council to sign into law any Bills passed by the Irish parliament.

In an area of land in the north, called the Pale, the inhabitants were of English descent, Protestant, and loyal to the Crown. Beyond the Pale, English authority was considerably weaker. Henry sent in loyal English families (Protestant, of course) to own and farm the land and to strengthen his hand. The problem was, since he was himself in a war with the Pope over his attempt at divorcing Catherine of Aragon, and since he had declared himself Protestant in order to sideline the Pope’s authority, he was now weakened in his own authority over anyone still loyal to the Pope and the Catholic Church. In one of those peculiar quirks of history, at that moment a parallel universe was born. Events moved on elsewhere, but the Irish in the north continued with Henry’s War.

He handed the work onto his heirs and Elizabeth 1 encouraged soldiers and “Adventurers” to take up land in Ireland. Prendergast’s appendix showed a James Dawson taking up land as an adventurer in the Baronetcy of Iffa and Offa in about 1640. This district is in northern Tipperary and is close to the border with County Antrim. It would appear he is our ancestor. I didn’t find out anything about the Ewarts, but they probably share the same story, since Ewart is a Northumbrian name, of Saxon origin, living in the Scottish Borders; sometimes English, sometimes Scottish. William Ewart Gladstone, Prime Minister of England, was fond of saying there wasn’t a drop of blood in his body that wasn’t Scottish. I did, though, find a William Ewart and Son Ltd, Flax Spinners, in Ewart’s Place, off Ewart’s Row, off Crumlin Rd, Belfast, in the 1950s. In 1979 the factory disappeared and between 1980 and 1989, the area was allowed to run down. In 1990 Ewart’s Row was no longer listed in the Belfast Street Directory. There is or was (I didn’t find it) a Ewart’s Warehouse in central Belfast.

I was sure that in the report to Jeanette there was an address for William’s brother – somewhere in Belfast. I re-read the report. Richard had joined the Royal Irish Constabulary as a 20-yr old, and so had William, aged just 18½ yrs. He was dismissed in 1881 and arrived in New Zealand not long after. I don’t remember Mum telling me any stories about Richard, but given that William called one of his sons James Ewart Dawson, and that was the name of his immediately younger brother, then William certainly did not forget his family back in County Antrim.

I determined to find the address: 41 Fairview Street, Belfast. Richard had lived there from 1911 to 1925, said the report, as “Richard Dawson R.I.C. Pensr.” I asked the hotel’s breakfast chef where Fairview Street was.

“I don’t know,” he said, “but I’m 1000% certain the name no longer exists.” I went back to the Welcome Centre and the chap there gave me a Belfast city map.

He looked at it very closely, “It’s not here,” he said, “but I’m pretty certain that it was off the Crumlin Road. Go up to the Mater Hospital and ask at the information desk. They’ll know where it was.”

“Crumlin Road? Isn’t that something to do with the Troubles? The Loyalists?”

He turned away. “Ask the Mater, they’ll know.”

An introduction to the Troubles

Outside, it was teaming with rain so we leapt into a taxi and asked him for Fairview Street.

“I’ve never heard of it,” said the driver, “and it’s not here in the directory.” He waved a small, tattered book above his head. We asked him to take us to the Mater Hospital, and he knew where that was.

I asked at the desk just inside the double doors of the entry to Mater Hospital and the lady there said, “It doesn’t exist any more, but it used to be directly across the road from the entrance doors.”

I went back to the entrance doors and looked across the road, but there was only a steel wall. We paid off the taxi and went exploring, crossing the road and going left. A grand neo-Victorian (if there is such a word) chapel sat across the road, next to the Mater. A sign alongside me said Fairview Nursing Home; we were near.

Blue Murals across the village green.

Blue Murals across the village green.

We followed a road between the nursing home on our left and a brick wall on our right and descended a gentle slope that swept off to our right. As the road levelled out, we saw quite a large village green and terraced houses. No trees. Two end terraces had blue pictures on them and one directly in front of us had an orange picture.

Walking along Old Lodge Road.

Walking along Old Lodge Road.

I realised with a sudden chill that the orange picture had two gunmen on it and as I got closer I could see that the whole was a mural, a memorial to a Steve McRea. Alongside the memorial was a modified version of a WW1 anti-war poem that I had grown up with. “Age shall not weary…” I was shocked. Fancy pressing a nearly-sacred work into a turf war such as the Troubles. I walked around the green, wondering if I was attracting undue attention, especially hostile attention, and I hoped my South African hat, and the camera, would provide assurance that I was a visitor. A house was flying an England flag, and the two blue murals were about oppression and ethnic cleansing. It was very intimidating.

A middle-aged man walked across the green and I approached him. “Do you know where Fairview Street was? I understood it was around here.”

He stopped and looked at me carefully. “You see that house with the English flag? It went from there up to the Mater. Why?”


Fairview Street was here.

Fairview Street was here.

“My great-grandfather’s brother lived at 41 Fairview Street from 1911 till about 1925. He was a sergeant in the RIC.”

“Umm, it’s been gone a long time, but that’s where it used to be, I’m sure of it.”

I turned around and photographed the house with the English flag. The Royal Irish Constabulary had become the Royal Ulster Constabulary and that was the basis of the existing police force in Northern Ireland.

A much older man was walking his dog in the rain. I thought he would know more about the street. Perhaps he had even walked in it. I asked him the same questions.

“Fairview Street? You see that house with the English flag, it went straight up to the Mater Hospital from there. That street between us and those houses was called Old Lodge Street, but it’s not now, and there were quite a few streets that ran from there up to the Crumlin Road.”

I stopped to think. “The Crumlin Rd?”

“Up there,” he said pointing past the house with the English flag.

“You mean the road in front of the Mater Hospital? Isn’t the Crumlin Road something to do with the Troubles? Is it the Loyalists?”

He looked at me in the pouring rain, brushing aside my offer of an umbrella. “You’re standing in the middle of it.” He waited until he saw my face clearing from the shock. “This is called the Hammer.”

“This village green?”

“The Hammer. Your Fairview Street, and quite few others, used to run up the hill to the Crumlin Rd from Old Lodge Road. There used to be hay carts and goods wagons running along Old Lodge Road, but you don’t see them now. The houses there got old and eventually they were pulled down and those new ones were put up in their place, but the street layout was changed to slow down access to the Hammer.”

“And Steve McRea?”

Memorial to Steve McRea.

Memorial to Steve McRea.

“Oh, he was drinkin’ at the Club just behind us one night and one of the boys pulled out his gun and shot him. That boy still lives here.”

“He wasn’t killed by the Republicans?”

“No! He was killed in a bar-room brawl and I could show you the house of the lad who shot him. He was killed by his own neighbours.”

“How do you feel about these murals? The atmosphere here?”

“It’s a bit much, isn’t it?” he said. “I don’t like it at all.”

I looked at the terraced houses and their pristine white curtains, “This might not be quite middle class,” I said, “but it’s certainly not a slum. I expected the Troubles to be taking place in the burnt-out wreck of a smelly hell-hole. But it’s quiet and there are children being taken for walks.”

I stopped as Elaine joined us and he was happy to share her umbrella. “There is a sign beside the Steve McRea mural that says ‘Anyone caught defacing Loyalist murals will be seriously dealt with’ how do they feel about that?”

He tapped a cream brick wall we had been sheltering beside, “There used to be a mural on this wall, but the new owner came out one morning and painted it over. There was a bit of a fuss, but nothing much. More mutterings than actual talk. If you can’t sell your house, you have to redecorate it.”

“Do you think the Good Friday agreement has finally settled the Troubles?”

“Once Ian Paisley joined the party, the Troubles were over.” He paused for a moment and whistled up his dog. As he climbed into his car he added, “If Tony Blair hadn’t gone to Iraq, this might have been his finest hour.”

I showed Elaine where Fairview Street used to be, using the house with the English flag as the marker. “My great-grandfather William, and his brother Richard were both in the Royal Irish Constabulary,” I explained. “Richard lived here, off the Crumlin Road in the very heart of the Troubles. How much and what sort of a role did he play?”

Elaine murmered quietly through the purr of the rain on her umbrella, the water glistening grey on her cream coat. “William had a job in the RIC in Sligo,” she said. “Jeanette said he was dismissed very young and shortly after went to NZ. I wonder why he was dismissed? Did he say yes and do something terrible, or did he say no, and they fired him for that?”

We roamed the nearest houses, documenting the murals. A small group clustered under their umbrellas and examined a mural of a Royalist soldier being comforted as lay dying, with his spirit on a white charger dancing on the water, in a hurry to leave and claim his reward from God.

The history lesson.

The history lesson.

A few thin trees waited, leafless, for spring.

The primitivist murals with their emotional re-writing of history and violent appeals against ethnic cleansing were nevertheless sobering and even intimidating.

On one wall, a severed and bloody hand crawled ashore with Viking warriors in the background cheering it on as they prepared to land in their fighting ships. The Red Hand Brigade was pictured everywhere.

Red Hand brigade mural.

Red Hand brigade mural.

It must have been a comforting thought for the locals that they were protected by such a malignant force, or perhaps it was one of the methods used by the force itself to ensure compliance and silence from the homedwellers.

The story on the painted brick wall below accompanies the mural on the house alongside. They claim they are being attacked on a daily basis and that’s why they have had to set up the Vigilanty (sic) groups to defend themselves.

Mural explanation

Why we have set up vigilante groups.

The scroll alongside the picture of the burning terrace houses quotes the Belfast Telegraph: “Several hundred familys were forced to flee their homes last night as houses came under attack from republicans. The number of homeless is running into Several thousand, more people were moving out of riot areas today. The women and children have been offered shelter in Cities across the world. Security forces moved in to bring calm to riot areas.

End of terrace mural, quoting the Belfast Telegraph.

End of terrace mural, quoting the Belfast Telegraph.

Below is an end of terrace mural showing the development of the Ulster paramilitary forces. The figure in the middle top, in the balaclava, is the pinnacle of that evolution.

End of terrace mural.

End of terrace mural.

This last pair of pictures shows a painted brick wall that explains the establishment of the Ulster Defence Association.

UDA manifesto mural.

UDA manifesto mural.

I am not familiar with all the symbols on the house below, but I recognise H block from the Maze prison, just outside Lisburn. It was almost exclusively Catholic prisoners who were held there, so I am unsure of the message of this mural.

UDA mural.

UDA mural.

We decided that we were wet enough and cold enough, and that our cameras had taken a sufficient beating, for us to retreat to the city by taking a bus from near the Mater. We walked back to the Steve McRea house because it looked as though that street led back up to the Crumlin Rd. I stopped a postie, “The building with all the pillars on the corner up there?”

Crumlin Rd Courthouse and Crumlin Rd Gaol chimney.

Crumlin Rd Courthouse and Crumlin Rd Gaol chimney.

He looked up the hill.

“Do you know what it is, please?”

“It was,” he said with heavy emphasis, “the Crumlin Rd Courthouse.”

“It’s pretty posh, isn’t it?”

“It’s not used now. And no-one’s bought it. As part of the Good Friday Agreement, they gave up using this courthouse and only use the one in town. They used to try prisoners in the courthouse and then take them by underground tunnel to the prison.”


“Do you see the chimney? It belongs to the Crumlin Rd Gaol. They used to hold mostly IRA prisoners there. Mind you, Ian Paisley was there for a while.”

“This is a loyalist area but they held IRA prisoners in the local jail?”

“It’s closed now, too – part of the Good Friday Agreement – and they are trying to turn it into an arts centre with caffs and such-like. The prisoners from here all went to a new prison in Marghaberry.” He paused. “Mind you, most of them aren’t prisoners any more, either.” He pedaled off.

The Crumlin Rd Prison. I’d heard stories; they were dim echoes of violence, contempt and political manoeuvring.

I remembered Marghaberry; the side-road going under the bridge opposite Magheragall Church. Elaine was right.

We walked up the hill and I photographed the prison building before we crossed the road to see it more closely, and to catch the bus back into the city. It was at once menacing and beetle-browed but at the same time massive and self-assured in its Victorian brownstone solidity. It was like Mt Eden Prison – heavy and overpowering and yet, now that it is vacant, it’s not something that should immediately be destroyed. It has its own organic beauty. A perfection of form and function.

Crumlin Rd Prison.

Crumlin Rd Prison.

Was the chimney solely for coal-fired heating?

The courthouse building opposite, with its grandiose statues of British Justice, looked faded and care-worn. Why was it not possible to sell it, or to buy it? Perhaps the weight of its history was crushing the very stones it was built from. Too pretty, too colonnaded, too self-important; a busy modern world wants nothing of it.

On the bus, I took out the Belfast city map that the man from the Welcome Centre had given us and we had a look at where we had just been. I have reproduced a small portion of the map and you can see Belfast city is bottom right, so this area of the Troubles is west and north-west of the city. The Crumlin Road runs west, along the blue route for a while. Immediately above it on the extreme left of this map is the Boyne. You remember the battle of the Boyne. King James 1 (of the King James Bible) won a famous battle for England here and ever since the Loyalists have been indulging in marching celebrations in full summer. The brown road is the Shankhill Rd and it marks the boundary between the Protestant Loyalists and the Catholic Republicans. South of the Shankhill Rd to the purple Falls Rd is the Belfast Republican stronghold. Two adjacent neighbourhoods who refused to get on.

Map of West Belfast

Map of West Belfast

The Mater Hospital is shown on the map, but not the Crumlin Rd Gaol. I couldn’t help thinking – what was Richard doing all this time? For ten years or so he lived in retirement on Fairview St, in the very heart of the Troubles. His job as a policeman would have brought him into daily contact with both sides. Probably in conflict, also, with both sides. How did he cope? What did he do? What did he think? Did he work for peace?

Still a little shocked but without doubt very wet and quite cold, we called in to a little cafe alongside a row of bus stops and in full view of the Town Hall. We had to share a table and some beautiful leather loungers with an attractive young girl in a blue dress who said she was at Queen’s University. “So you have a genuine local accent?”

“I come from just out of Belfast, but I think it’s pretty close,” she grinned.

“Is it holiday at the moment?” Elaine asked. “You’re not in class.”

“I don’t always attend class – I also do charity work, helping others cope and giving them counselling. I don’t work for money.” She stood up and brushed the crumbs of her dinner onto the floor. “God provides,” she said with breathtaking innocence. “I never go hungry. And I always have a roof over my head.”

I turned around as she left. A young goth, whom I had noticed arriving, had been joined by what looked like his mother and some of her family. So goths have mothers.

A Belfast goth.

A Belfast goth.

I couldn’t resist. I walked up to the group and asked if I could take his photo. He nodded. They were intrigued. I took the photo and they saw the result in the camera viewer. The sky blue background and the shy young goth with his tattoos, black clothing and facial piercings were all so much in place in a major European city. After the head-turning madness of the Troubles, normalcy seemed so refreshing.

The crumbling of Fairview Street

I felt that I had one more job to do, so I returned to the Linen Centre Library to see what I could find out about Richard’s stay at 41 Fairview Street, and then to see when and how Fairview St ceased to exist. The tousled-headed, skinny young man on the library desk waved me through, recognising me from the previous visit. I took the 1901 Belfast Street Directory from the tall glass cabinet and hefted its bulk onto the oaken table where I had sat last time. The directories were tattered and time-worn, but most of them were there, judging from the dates stamped on the leather bindings of their 4” wide spines. 41 Fairview St was easy to find, since all the streets were listed in alphabetical order. After I had tried a few books, I could open them at about 1/3 of the way in and turn just a few pages to get to Fairview St. Richard wasn’t there in 1901, so I skipped to 1905 and he wasn’t there, either. Then, in 1910 there was this entry:

Fairview St

41  Dawson R RIC pensr

I checked every year and he was there until 1920, when I noticed that his neighbours had changed. Perhaps they hadn’t, but I saw the kinds of people who lived around him. At 1, 3 and 51 there were other RIC men, and I discovered it was quite a short street, too, because the numbers went from 1-51 and that included both sides of the street. There was a slater, a carpenter, a grocers asst, a shopkeeper, cattle dir (drover?) and a waiter. He was there in 1922 and all the way to 1925. In 1926 I noticed there were policemen at 1, 13, 19, 51, 6 and 8. He was there still in 1927 and then the entry changed for 1928:

41 Dawson Mrs Mary Jane

Was that his wife or his daughter-in-law? The 1929 directory was missing but the entry for 1930 was the same as for 1928. In 1931 the directory noted:

41 Short Wn Gardener

Perhaps Mary Jane was his wife and she, too had died.

I skipped to 1965, and all the properties from 1-51 were occupied, so I skipped to 1975. By this stage it had a British Post Code: BT13 1AU, but the listing was quite ominous: 1-53 were vacant and 2-56 were vacant ground. I took this to mean that all the houses on one side of the street were derelict and no longer inhabited, if even habitable, and that all the other side of the street had been bulldozed. In 1976, all the lots were vacant, again in 1977, again in 1979 – and then in 1980, the street name itself was missing from the directory. Fairview St was gone.

I showed my notes to a tall, greying man who had been ferrying books to and from a shelf not far from me, his green trousers and harris tweed jacket catching the corner of my eye as he moved about. We could have been in London, rather than Belfast. “What’s that all about? The vacant houses and then the vacant land.”

“Three kinds of relocation,” he explained in the kind of accent I had heard from Ian Paisley on the television. “You could volunteer to relocate and you’d get a new house somewhere else: you could get burned or bombed out of your house and the aut’orities would find a new one for you: or you could just go somewhere else and leave the whole thing behind.”

“Like New Zealand, or New York?”


And do you think of Northern Ireland as Ulster?

“Ulster and the Loyalists? The first thing they wanted was Home Rule because they didn’t want to be run by an absentee government in Westminster. Then when it came near, they realised that Home Rule meant being run from Dublin and they decided they didn’t want that, so they made it look as though the British Government was pushing them out of Britain, where they rightfully belonged. So now they wanted local rule, and they appealed to an area called Ulster as their homeland. Thing is, Ulster includes counties in Ireland, and Northern Ireland has a different boundary from that which would correctly be Ulster.”

“They just made up the rules as they went along,” said a much shorter man who had joined us “and took whatever suited them.”

“Calling themselves Ulstermen suited their political purposes,” said the first man tiredly. “I’m glad it’s over. Look how the city is prospering.” He looked again at my notes, “Fairview St? Off the Crumlin Rd?” I nodded.

“There is a long stretch of the south side of the Crumlin Road where they cleared away everything. But first they had to vacate all the houses. Leaving them to rot was the perfect way of clearing them out.”

He moved off. They had finished talking to me. I could feel that they had generated quite a bit of passion, and I thanked them and left.

The young man at reception nodded as I dropped off my pass.

The wounds are still raw. The hurts still hurt, but the citizens of Belfast warm to the present, look to the future and turn their backs on their violent past. The parallel universe has finally converged and Henry’s War is over.

Ewart Tearle

May 2008


Tearle Meet 2006

The first Tearle meet (inspired by a suggestion from Barbara Tearle) was held at St John the Baptist Church, Stanbridge, Bedfordshire, on 8 July 2006. I hoped about two dozen would attend and we welcomed 50. It was actually a really good number because many people were able to talk to each other and it was a comfortable number to fit in the church. We had people from a very wide area – Rugby, Warwick, Wales, Brighton – so people certainly gave a lot of their time to attend. Many people also brought documents and Jennie Pugh brought some artifacts from my great-grandfather Levi’s smithy in Wing.

Richard works with James of Stowe

Richard works with James of Stowe

As everyone arrived, we gave them a copy of the Tearle Memorials in Stanbridge pamphlet. Here are John and Pat Field, pamphlet in hand, scouting the memorials.

John and Pat Field arriving

John and Pat Field arriving

And here’s an idea, below, of just how big the Tree is when printed and glued.

The tree printed and glued together

The tree printed and glued together

We were very fortunate to have Enid Horton and her daughter Lorinda, below, who volunteered to examine the banns register and transcribe all the Tearle events therein.

Enid Horton and her daughter Lorinda working on the banns register.

Enid Horton and her daughter Lorinda working on the banns register.


The Dagnall Tearle's

The Dagnall Tearles

We had a visit from the Dagnall Tearles, above, and they lingered long over the John 1741 branch, then went off to Edlesborough to see the memorials there. An engaging group. Front left, Elaine Tearle of Dagnall.

One of our long-term supporters, Jo Smith, was there and she and daughter Tracy, below, met and worked with many of the visitors

Jo Smith and her daughter Tracy

Jo Smith and her daughter Tracy.

A group of us went on an expedition to Wing. Here we are at the cricket grounds inspecting the fencing and the gate that Levi built. I’m the one kneeling. The manager of Ascott House said they might call it Tearle’s Gate.

Front: John and Ewart Tearle and Ingrid Taylor. Behind: David Ashley, Sam Tearle, Barbara Ashley, Jennie Pugh and Barbara Tearle, James and Richard Tearle.

Front: John and Ewart Tearle and Ingrid Taylor. Behind: David Ashley, Sam Tearle, Barbara Ashley, Jennie Pugh and Barbara Tearle, James and Richard Tearle.

A copy of the typed version of the Bishop’s Transcripts had been given to the church and Rev Janet Spicer left it for us to refer to.

Bishop’s Transcripts

Bishop’s Transcripts

Barbara Tearle, below, is Richard’s sister and a world expert on the Tearles. Here she is on the left, meeting one of the visitors with Elaine in the background talking with Lorinda.

Barbara Tearle, left

Barbara Tearle, left

One of the highlights was a visit by a family who hadn’t seen each other for quite a while. Descendants of Mahlon, second son of Levi Tearle of Wing, are John Tearle in the centre, brother to Sheila, while James and Sam are his sons. Jennie Pugh, centre, is their aunt, a grand-daughter to Levi.

John Tearle in the centre, brother to Sheila, while James and Sam are his sons. Jennie Pugh, centre, is their aunt, a grand-daughter to Levi Tearle, blacksmith of Wing.

John Tearle in the centre, brother to Sheila, while James and Sam are his sons. Jennie Pugh, centre, is their aunt, a grand-daughter to Levi Tearle, blacksmith of Wing.

Richard sent his recollections

A fabulous day that began 24 hours earlier. I travelled down from Lichfield on Friday 7th having booked a room for an overnight stay. The journey was thankfully uneventful and I managed to take in an hour or so in Leighton Buzzard, spending much of that time walking around the graveyard of All Saints Church and then enjoying a much needed mug of coffee in their small cafe.

Then I took the bus to Dunstable, trying to take in every inch of the route. we came upon Stanbridge almost without warning. Suddenly there was a magnificent sign for the 5 Bells and my first fleeting impression was that this was one of the biggest pubs I had ever seen! I barely had time for that thought to register before we were passing the Church of St John the Baptist. And what a beautiful church it looked too. Atop a slight hill and with gravestones on all sides it looked the very epitome of a country church. The bus moved on through Tilsworth and soon we were moving out of the main area we call Tearle Valley: but the signposts all bore familiar names; Houghton Regis, Eggington, Edlesborough, Eaton Bray. I couldn’t help imagining my ancestors walking along these ways or working, perhaps, in some of the fields that flashed by on either side.

On arrival in Dunstable I sought out my accommodation: a little further out than I had imagined, but the Tearle antenna found it without difficulty. I booked in, time to freshen up, unpack, take a rest and appraise the brilliance of Federer and the immense potential of Nadal and then it was out for a pre-arranged dinner appointment with Barbara. Time flew by before we realised that we had spent close on 3 hours indulging in excellent Italian cuisine and recalling family stories, childhood memories and the idiosyncrasies of various relatives from both sides of the family. By the time I got back it was gone eleven o clock and logs could learn a thing or two from me about sleeping!

And then the day dawned…

The sun shone and there was a bit of a breeze which meant that temperatures did not feel too high. Barbara met me where I was staying and within a few  minutes Jo and Tracy arrived to pick us up, as had been arranged. Tracy took us through the country side while Jo gave as a fascinating running commentary – neither of us had really been in these parts before. We arrived at the Church bang-on 10.00 and there were already half a dozen or so cars parked on the grass verge.

The first people we met were Pat and John as they arrived at exactly the same time. Ewart was waiting for us all at the entrance to the church, already surrounded by half a dozen earlier arrivals. Ewart then proceeded to hand out the pamphlets he had made up about the Tearle memorials in the graveyard and we set our stuff out on tables for people to look at. Meanwhile, people were pouring into the church – and I am not exaggerating! – and introductions were flying around left, right and centre.

It was heartening and, as Ewart later put it, humbling, to hear the words “I’m not a Tearle but read about today in the Parish Magazine and thought I’d come along as I used to live in the village.” This occurred on a number of occasions. At one stage I counted over 40 people in the church and expectations were exceeded!

Elaine arrived with print outs of the tree and these were laid out on the floor. At times it was impossible to get to them because of the number of people interested. There were a number of old photographs of various family members and one item that was always popular was the Scrapbook that Jo had compiled about old Dunstable.

I am hoping that someone  who has a better memory than me can post an account naming people who were there, because I will miss out many and I apologise to them for that.

To give you an idea of how successful it was, Elaine had to go to the 5 Bells to warn them that nearly three times as many people as had been notified to them were intending having lunch there!

I managed to take five minutes to look around the churchyard and meeting up with James and Sam, the sons of John (who had come away from the Llagollen Eistedfodd to attend – serves them right for picking the same day as us!)

All too soon 12:00 arrived and we had to vacate the church. CDs that Ewart had brought along were sold and the money donated to the church. And then most of us repaired to the 5 Bells.

Lunch was a wonderful, relaxed affair. It was very gratifying to see people who had never met before chatting away and making notes of telephone numbers or e-mail addresses. A word should be said about the staff of the 5 Bells: faced with an influx of some 25 Tearles, they organised things magnificently and were friendly and helpful throughout.

Ewart made a short speech, followed by an even shorter one by myself and the day began to wind up, but there was one more treat for some of us. Ewart had arranged that we visit Wing and look at some of the things relating to Levi the Blacksmith. We saw the iron railings and gate that surround the cricket ground at Ascott House and our thanks go to Patrick, the Estate Manager who allowed us to do this, accompanied us and gave us some insight into the stories behind the Rothschilds and life in those times.

Then we went to Wing and looked at Levi’s cottages and the where the smithy had stood. Ewart took us to the Church and we saw Levi’s headstone. At this point, I had to leave and I must thank Elaine for taking the time out to drive me to Leighton Buzzard station.

Special mention must be made of Jennie, Levi’s granddaughter, who was with us the whole day.  At 91, I hope I am that sprightly and compos mentis when I get there! She told some wonderful stories of Levi and was clearly moved by the whole event. I would like to nominate Jennie as Guest of Honour and her presence brightened an already brilliant day!

To sum up, then: an unqualified success of great value to all who were there and, I hope, an inspiration to all members. My personal thanks go to Ewart and Elaine whose organisational skills are second to none and to all those who turned up and made it the success it undoubtedly was.

We will be back!

Richard Tearle 09/07/06

Jo sent me her notes on the day’s events:

I have just read Richards account of his day at the meeting, from start to finish, he obviously absorbed every moment from the time he arrived in Leighton Buzzard to the time he got back on the train to Litchfield & it was lovely to read his memories of the day.

I have to say that it was a truly lovely 4 hours for myself & Tracy. Tracy came along but thought she might be bored with all this family chat, but found she enjoyed herself. We were sorry we had to leave early as we would have liked to have gone to Wing, but Tracy had to get back to relieve her partner of the joys of looking after two very energetic boys, one being 3 1/2 & the other nearly two.

I was also pleased to see so many people in the church & also the people who weren’t related but just wanted to join in with us. I would like also to thank Richard, for making the day possible through his web site & to Ewart & Elaine for bringing along the now huge family tree, the CD’s & memorial information. It was also good of the Rev to set out the parish records for us to see.

Hopefully this meeting will be one of many, & we can get to know each other better, but like Richard said we will have to discuss that & see how the membership numbers go. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Jennie in the Restaurant & when she proudly announced to Tracy & I that she was 91 we found it hard to believe as she looks years younger, & she is an inspiration to us all, a very lovely lady.

Here is Barbara’s account:

The TearleMeet 2006

The Tearle family get together, announced in the last issue of the journal, took place on one of those idyllic summer days of sunshine, warmth, and gentle breezes.  It was successful beyond the wildest dreams of the organisers.  They would have counted it a winner with a dozen people, so they were overwhelmed to find that it had attracted about forty.  The day could not be called a Tearle reunion as we had not met before and in fact only a few people had ever met any of the others.  

The day was organise by Ewart Tearle, a New Zealander now living in St Albans.  It developed naturally from his contribution to the Tearle webgroup run by Richard Tearle.  Ewart has been entering everyone’s individual family research on a giant Tearle family tree and touring the area of “Tearle valley” photographing gravestones and the churches of our ancestors, so the obvious next step was to gather the living Tearles together so that we could meet each other.

The TearleMeet attracted Tearles from the south coast and the Midlands as well as from the Leighton Buzzard, Luton and Dunstable area.  We met for two hours in Stanbridge church by kind permission of the vicar, who had announced the event in the parish magazine with our invitation to any parishioners who might be interested – and they were!  Several Stanbridge ladies told us about the last Tearles in the village, two sisters who were there in the early part of the 20th century.  Their deaths ended the family’s association with the village which goes back to 1470 and possibly earlier.

Ewart’s wife Elaine spread the family tree  – made up of 60 or more A4 sheets of paper stuck together – along one of the side aisles.  Several people brought scrapbooks and photographs.  Ewart brought a yoke and a piece of ironwork made by Levi Tearle, a blacksmith in Wing in the late 19th century.  Throughout the morning, people were crawling over the tree working out were they were – or rather where their ancestors were because it contains no-one born after 1917.  I failed miserably to find Zephaniah Tearle (b. 1868) for one lady who wanted to know where he fitted in, only to be told by Ewart that he was not on the tree as it is not yet clear who his parents were.  I had more success tracing the ancestors of the actor Tearles, Sir Godfrey, his brother Malcolm and half brother Conway Tearle, who was not a Tearle at all.  Someone else remembered the son of Trelawney Tearle, from the era of the First World War.  Lest anyone think that all Tearles have unusual names, most are John, Thomas, Robert, William, George, Jane, Sarah, Mary and Elizabeth, so the different ones stand out as welcome points of reference.

Two hours passed very quickly amidst crawling on the floor, looking at photographs, finding the Tearle graves in the churchyard and the memorial in the church (to the Tearle wife of a Methodist missionary to Africa, both of whom died within months of leaving England) and meeting other people.  Many introductions began with the phrase “I’m from the Eaton Bray branch” or the Totternhoe or Luton or Wing branch, meaning that their ancestors moved there from Stanbridge during the 19th century.  But no-one was from my branch, the Toddington Tearles.

At noon, we crossed the green to the Five Bells who had been warned during the morning of a group of 25 for lunch.  They set aside one end of the restaurant for us to continue chatting and served food and drink with great speed.

Several of us spent the afternoon in Wing viewing the places connected with the blacksmith Levi Tearle, in the company of a delightful lady who admitted to being 91 and remembered living in his house or one of the cottages he built.  We were also taken on the Ascott estate to see the iron gate and railings which Levi made and which surround the cricket pitch.

The day brought home to me some of the geographical and social conditions of our Tearle ancestors.  For centuries all but a handful of escapees lived in an area radiating for no more than about five or six miles from Stanbridge – but maybe that is the subject of another article.

We all enjoyed the day and hope to repeat it in two years time.  It would not have been possible without Ewart’s immense work and enthusiasm and the goodwill of the vicar.  The moral of the event for family historian is that an impromptu, low key, gathering is relatively easy to organise and brings a new interest to family history.

Barbara Tearle


Tearle Meet 2008

Held in Stanbridge on Sat 5 July 2008.

The highlight of the whole day has to be the huge distances people had come to be there. We had families from Australia and Canada, Rugby and Southampton – and everywhere in between. When we set off to the 5 Bells pub in Stanbridge for lunch, we had 50.

Here are the Canadians – mother Sheila Rodaway (on right of the picture) and daughters Sharon Mallette and Diane Hill. Incredibly, they were on the Thomas 1737 branch and as descendants of Jabez, they were closely related to John L Tearle the author.

The Canadians - Sharon Mallette, Diane Hill and Sheila Rodaway.

The Canadians – Sharon Mallette, Diane Hill and Sheila Rodaway.

Somehow a TearleMeet is not complete without Jennie Pugh, but today’s Meet was extra special for her, because it marked the reunion of the Wing Tearles. Jennie is descended from Levi, the blacksmith of Wing and Alan Gibbs is descended from his brother Amos. For many years, Amos was the blacksmith’s assistant. Jennie and Alan  swapped stories and memories of Wing for a long time.

Jennie Pugh and Alan

Jennie Pugh and Alan

We had a little attendance book and Barbara volunteered to be hostess and ensure everyone signed it. Here she is overseeing brother Richard while he does the honours. Elaine had brought Jennie Pugh from Luton and she is lining up to sign as well.

Barbara Tearle, Richard Tearle and Jennie Pugh with the registry book

Barbara Tearle, Richard Tearle and Jennie Pugh with the registry book

Here  is half the Australian attendance on the day. Helen Manning nee Tearle and family are examining the John 1741 branch to see from where on the branch they descend. A charming family, they involved themselves fully all day in the ongoing activities.

Susan and Allan Manning

Susan and Allan Manning

We also had a visit from the Soulbury Tearles. Here they are, right, studying at lunch. I told them the story of Norman

Soulbury Tearles

Soulbury Tearles

Lawrence Cooper, an ex-villager and still an owner of ancient Stanbridge land, gave us a presentation on Victorian Stanbridge using his collection of postcards and photos.

Lawrence Cooper

Lawrence Cooper

In the picture are Helen Manning, Susan and Allan, Pat Field, Alan Gibbs and Ray Reese from Australia, watching the presentation.

Helen Manning, Susan and Allan, Pat Field, Alan Gibbs and Ray Reese from Australia, watching the presentation

Helen Manning, Susan and Allan, Pat Field, Alan Gibbs and Ray Reese from Australia, watching the presentation

For a small branch, William 1749 was well represented. Here are Peter and Viv Rolfe, examining the printout.

Peter and Viv Rolfe

Peter and Viv Rolfe

Alan Manning and I, swap stories. He was keen to take with him Lawrence’s presentation so that his family could be reminded of their fabulous day in Stanbridge.

Alan Manning and Ewart Tearle

Alan Manning and Ewart Tearle

In the picture above is the Joseph 1737 branch of the tree. At the last Meet in 2006 the whole tree fitted here, a testament to the hard work of all its contributors.


Joseph 1737 branch of the tree


The First Meet of 2006 was a hard act to follow: this, the Second Meet of 2008 will be even harder. The day, for me, began at 6.45 with the arrival – on time – of a taxi to take me to the station. The clouds were low, dark and threatening and, sure enough, by the time I boarded the train, it was raining quite heavily. But no amount of rain was going to dampen my spirits: too much planning, so many e-mails flying back and forth and so much anticipation were not going to be spoiled by a few drops of rain! By Milton Keynes it had almost stopped and blue skies appeared to the East: Leighton Buzzard saw the first sunshine of the day and by the time I arrived at Stanbridge, the weather looked very promising indeed.

Ewart, Elaine, Barbara and Laurence – the Churchwarden – were already there when I entered the Church of St John at around 9-15.  I thought my early arrival might enable me to contribute something to the preparation of the event: not so – it had already been done! Barbara was acting as hostess and I signed a Visitor’s Book that Ewart had provided – evidence of a lesson learned from last time. I was also able to place my lunch order as copies of the menu were available. Another excellent idea.

Please don’t ask me in which order people arrived: the Visitor’s Book would only prove my memory to be a lie, but I recall that Pat and John Field were there early as were Ray and Denise Reese with Alan and Helen Manning and daughter Susan. At this point I began to realise the importance of the event: Ray’s party were from Australia having timed their holiday, I believe, to enable them to attend! And when Charlotte from Ottawa and Sheila (also from the Southern Hemisphere) arrived I knew we had something special. Steadily, more and more people arrived – Jo, Ingrid, Tracy, Joan, Alan Gibbs, David, Paul and others.

I had brought along some of my Godfrey memorabilia as well as The Bottle which caused both amusement and interest from those who had not seen it before. There, I thought, it exists! Barbara had brought along a folder containing descriptions and many prints of Thomas Tearle the silversmith’s work. A beautiful catalogue which drew admiration from so many.

Ewart, of course, had done so much. Prints of the layout of the Churchyard, envelopes for the afternoon’s project, flyers containing all of our website addresses and the provision of a scanner/copier – no stone was left unturned. The Trees were laid out on pews, but two of them had to be laid out on the floor as they were too big.

Mid morning, and Laurence began his slideshow of Old Stanbridge. By this time, the sun was shining brightly and warmly and most of us were equipped with coffee or tea (supplied by Ewart) and Elaine’s delicious melt-in-the-mouth shortbread. Thanks, too, to John Field for facilitating that morning tea. Thanks, here, to Laurence for a most interesting display and commentary on village life.

More people arrived, including Jennie Pugh, our star guest from 2006. Despite recovering from a recent, minor, operation, Jennie was delightful and very definitely ‘on form’. Although 93, she has promised to be at the next Meet!

Now, here’s a story for you. On  Thursday night I received an e-mail from Christine who had been sent a clipping from the LB Observer advertising the event: she outlined her connection and hoped to be there. On Friday night, I received another e-mail from Joan saying she and Jenny Fellowes would be attending and reiterated her connection through the Soulbury line. So, there was Joan and Jenny and their cousin Christine who had not seen each other for 40 years!

Ian, his uncle David, cousin Stephen and their respective families arrived and were immediately enthusiastically studying the various trees, tying up what they had with what we had. This was good stuff – it is what it is all about!

Incredibly swiftly, lunch time arrived, but not before we were visited by the Rev Janet Spicer who commented, (somewhat ruefully?) that ‘she had a congregation’. We were able to fulfil our promise that ’50 for lunch’ had been promised to the 5 Bells – exactly 50 it was, according to a swift head count. We were looked after by the staff there and despite a couple of hiccups (not being caused by the food, I should add!), all went well. Ewart gave a short speech and an explanation of his plans for the afternoon. It must be said that Ewart played down his role, both for the day and his maintenance of The Tree: Barbara quite rightly, stood up and thanked him and reminded us all of the tremendous amount of work he puts in to that ‘maintenance’ and  the huge debt of gratitude that we all owe him. Hear, hear.

After lunch, I sat in the garden for a while, bathed by warm sunshine talking to David.  David’s nephew Ian seems to be the prime mover in the research side for that branch, but all of that family have a great interest. David, it turned out, is the brother of Alf Tearle, who was mentioned in despatches during WWII. Another heart-warming moment. Timetables and schedules precluded me from taking part in the activities Ewart had planned and, following some long goodbyes, Elaine kindly took me to LB station and I began a long and wearying journey home – but that’s another story!!

To close, I would like to apologise to anyone I have missed in the above, or have written incorrect details about. Above all, I must once again express my deepest gratitude to Ewart, Elaine, Barbara, Pat and Laurence and everyone who freely gave their time and support whether or not they were able to attend. Finally, to all who did attend, but – and I trust you will understand – especially to our overseas visitors who not only came but also must have brought their native sunshine with them!!!

Richard Tearle, July 2008


Pieces of String Too Short to Save – The Tearles

Chapter 6, the Tearles

By Bob Chancellor

Frances Marie Tearle was born October 20, 1913, in Carthage, Missouri, but her family moved away from Carthage when she was a baby, going to Chicago. Thirty years later, she would return to the vicinity of Carthage for the first time when our family moved to Webb City, just ten miles away. Frances always talked fondly of her early childhood in Chicago – particularly the beaches along Lake Michigan. Her father was head of the copy writing department for the Dry Goods Economist. The family then moved to Boonville which she really considered her home town.

Frances Tearle

Frances Tearle

Mother went through elementary and high school in Boonville, and for two years, attended Christian College, an all girls junior college, in Columbia. I know that at Christian, she was interested in mod-ern dance, because one time Life Magazine did a photo feature about those dancers and she was among them. After college, for a time, she worked at the Boonville Daily News as a secretary and typist. She told me one of her main jobs was to take dictation daily from the Associated Press, which would call with a summary of the state and national news. Apparently the Daily News did not have a teletype machine. She was a pretty girl and a pretty woman. Everyone who knew Frances was struck by how sweet and gentle she was.
Her father was Arthur Tearle, a dry goods merchant, was born in Stanbridge, Bedforshire, England in October, 1881. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 22, arriving at Ellis Island, aboard the ship Carpathia, on June 10, 1904. (The steamship Carpathia would later gain fame when it rescued 705 survivors of the Titanic in April, 1912, and later again when it was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine in 1918).

Steam Ship Carpathia

Steam Ship Carpathia

He listed his occupation as a draper. I remember my mother saying that for a time he worked at a hospital, where he saw and cared for drunks, reinforcing his aversion to alcohol. Phoebe, her younger sister, is not aware of this story. Anyway, so far as is known, he never drank liquor and both he and his wife were strongly opposed to it. He listed his destination as Kansas.
After finishing public schools, he had become an apprentice in the dry good business in England, holding posts in London, Northampton and Reading. He decided to come to the U.S. while doing social settlement work in Northampton, when he met a couple, whose wife had lived in the U.S. He worked at a dry goods store in Fairfield, Iowa, and then attended Koster Window Trimming and Advertis-ing School in Chicago.

Arthur Tearle

Arthur Tearle

He became window trimmer and publicity man for the Rush Store in Cherryvale, Kansas, where he met Louise Nunnelly.

passenger list

A Cherryvale newspaper article in 1910 states: Arthur Tearle made a little trip to Independence (Kansas) this morning, returning with two very important documents. One was his marriage license and the other was the proof that he is now a full fledged citizen of the United States. Mr. Tearle came to the United States six years ago. This morning he foreswore allegiance to the new King George by taking out naturalization papers. Not quite true that he became “a full fledged citizen,” this was his original naturalization application, and precedes his Certificate of Naturalization by the required five years.
They were married May 18, 1910. Another article in the Cherryvale Daily Journal, notes Miss Nunnelly had had a short residence in Cherryvale, coming after the Christmas holidays as a special supervisor of music in the public schools
“Mr. Tearle,” the newspaper said, “is also an im-portant factor in musical circles, possessing a cultivated tenor voice. He has made himself very popular in Cherryvale as well as proved himself a successful young business man.”
He became a naturalized American citizen on June 14, 1915. The naturalization certificate by the U.S. District Court at Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri, shows he was married at the time to Mary Louise Tearle, whose address was 1136 Maple Street, Carthage, Missouri; and had a minor child, Frances Marie Tearle, of the home. Judging from this time table, he was still a British citizen at the time of my mother’s birth.

Arthur Tearle and baby Frances in Carthage

Arthur Tearle and baby Frances in Carthage

From Chicago, the family had moved to Missouri, where he was in charge of advertising for the Chasnoff stores of Sedalia, Warrensburg and Boonville. In 1922, he became manager of Chasnoff’s Boonville store and became its owner in 1927, doing business as the Tearle Dry Goods Store on Main Street.

From the History of Cooper County, by E.J. Mel-ton, 1937: “From early boyhood he sang in choirs, first of the State church in England, and then in his adopted country. He was director of the Presbyterian choir in Boonville, a deacon in the church and active in the Knights of Pythias lodge. (According to Phoebe, her mother also was a member of the choir and they often sang duets. He also had been the choir director of the Broad-way Presbyterian Church in Sedalia.)

At the time of his death (of a heart attack, at age 55) in January, 1936, he was a member of the Boonville Chamber of Commerce and was hon-ored by a resolution of that organization. He died fourteen days before my birth –that fact led to my fascination in researching his history, thus the length of this chapter. And you will notice, I carry his surname as my middle name. “Tearle” is a very unusual name both in this country and in England – his obituary said he was survived by four sisters in England and was the youngest of a large family. I have seen reference to three brothers, who are not mentioned in any of his family history. If they existed (and his daughter Phoebe has no knowledge of them) then they must have pre-deceased him. With no (surviving) brothers or uncles, there was no one to carry the name forward, except me.
In an article in the History of Cooper County, written some time after his death, Arthur Tearle was described as quiet and self-effacing, “but his idealism, steadfast character and thorough capaci-ties put him in a position of leadership.”
In an interview with the writer of the Cooper County History article, in December, 1934, Arthur Tearle reminisced about Christmas in England and said he would enjoy a visit. “However, I know I would find things different over there. Time and change bring disillusionment when one returns to old haunts. A short stay, I am sure, would forever cure recurring homesickness for scenes of my boy-hood. There is greater opportunity here than in England and I love the country of my adoption.” He never returned to England.

I knew my maternal grandmother, Mary Louise Nunnelly Tearle better than any of my other grandparents. In fact, I lived with her for part of ayear, in 1955. Her full name was Mary Louise, but she apparently always just went by Louise. She was born September 27, 1883 at Danville, in Montgomery County, Missouri. Her parents were John Theophilus Nunnelly, born in 1837, and Mary Frances Bush, born in 1842. Louise was the youngest of seven children, and I remember her talking about her sisters, Eva, Ora and Gertrude, and brother, Guy. There was another brother, Lu-ther, and a sister, Birdella, who died at the age of three.
Mr. Nunnelly was a mill operator and implement dealer in Montgomery City, where Grandmother Tearle went to school, but she never talked about her life as a girl. She next appears in my records in Cherryvale, Kansas, as a music teacher and fiancée of Arthur Tearle. She, of course, moved with her husband to Carthage, Chicago, Sedalia and to Boonville, where she raised her family. The Tearles lived in a two story brick house high atop a hill at the south end of Main Street. The house is still there – my mother told of the car run-ning out of gas and being able to coast all the way down the Main Street hill to a service station to refill the tank.

John and Mary Nunnelly

John and Mary Nunnelly

My aunt Phoebe was born October 15, 1920 in Sedalia and was in high school in Boonville when her father died. Louise had worked in the store alongside her husband on occasion, but neither Frances nor Phoebe ever worked there. Upon Arthur Tearle’s death, Mr. Malone, a rival merchant who apparently had some investment in the Tearle store, took over the store and closed it. Phoebe remembers “it was not a pleasant situation and it upset mother greatly.” Another competitor, Mr. Koppel, was described by Phoebe as being a lot of help after Arthur died, and offered Louise the job of running his store, the Sunny Day, a dress shop. Being the widow of a successful Boonville merchant apparently had not left Louise and Phoebe too well off.
About four years later, in 1940, Louise and Phoebe moved to Kansas City where grandmother went to work at Emory Bird Thayer, in the linen department, and Phoebe says she enjoyed that job very much. She worked there nearly 20 years. Phoebe recalls they moved to Kansas City because Phoebe wanted to attend the Edna Marie Dunn School of Fashion Illustration and De-sign. “Mother didn’t want me to go to K.C. by myself and she had no reason to stay in Boonville, so we moved. I’ve always felt bad about that because she had such nice friends in Boonville. I think her life would have been much more pleasant there than in Kansas City.”

The Tearle family visits Frances at Christian College, Columbia

The Tearle family visits Frances at Christian College, Columbia

In Kansas City, Grandmother Tearle can best be described as “indomitable and energetic.” She was short, buxom and had white hair, which had turned at an early age. She never had a car, but walked long distances – often the 30 or so blocks to work – and rode public transit to work and to shop, always wearing a hat and little red gloves. She always lived in apartments, first near the Country Club Plaza and later on Armour Blvd. To my knowledge, she never had a boyfriend, nor any interest in re-marriage although she did tell me she had had opportunities. When she retired from the store, she stayed on in her apartment until dementia forced Mother and Phoebe to place her in a nursing home. She died in July, 1968, at the age of 85. At the time we were living in Thailand and unable to attend her funeral.

Phoebe and me (Bob). While in high school, she used me as a home economics project

Phoebe and me (Bob). While in high school, she used me as a home economics project

Phoebe, who was an accomplished artist, also worked at Emory Bird Thayer in the advertising department after finishing the Dunn school. Then she got a job at Trans World Air-lines in the advertising department but was put in the reservations de-partment “to get a feel for the airline.” She liked that so much that she just stayed in reservations from 1943 to 1946. While working there, she met Marshal S. Ken-nedy, a college roommate of her boss. They were married in September, 1946, in Buffalo, New York, and live two years in Youngstown, New York, on the banks of the Niagara River where it flows into Lake Ontario. There they spent a lot of time sailing on his parent’s 28 foot boat.
Marsh Kennedy worked for a time with TWA, and then with Bell Aircraft Company. I remem-ber when I first met him, he gave me some Bell Co. pictures of the XS-1 experimental rocket-powered airplane, which was a Bell project. To me, he was an exciting creature, who drove an MG sports car. Their first daughter, Laura, was born in Youngstown, May 3, 1948. Then they moved back to Kansas City, where Marsh worked for the Bendix Aviation Corporation. The com-pany was a prime contractor to the Atomic Energy Commission, and while Marsh could not talk much about his job, he did travel frequently to New Mexico to observe nuclear bomb tests.

Marsh Kennedy, preparing to attack the snow in Buffalo, NY

Marsh Kennedy, preparing to attack the snow in Buffalo, NY

They lived at Lake Quivira, west of Kansas City, from 1951 to 1965, and their second daughter, Kristin, was born August 23, 1951. In 1965, the family moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where Marsh worked for Mason, Hanger, Silas, Mason engineering company until his death July 11, 1967. Phoebe and the girls moved back to Kansas City in 1968, and not too long afterward, Phoebe married Arthur C. Popham, a successful lawyer and member of a prestigious Kansas City family.
Art, like Marsh, was a flamboyant character – he had done a lot of big game hunting and had a house full of African trophies, as well as several dioramas of his animals at the Kansas City Museum. He, too, was a car aficionado, having been the owner of a Cord in his younger days. He died September 23, 2009 at the age of 94.
Phoebe’s eldest daughter, Laura, married and since divorced a journalist, Richard Olive, in 1977, and they had one son, Andrew Kennedy Olive, born November 17, 1980. Laura died in San Francisco on September 16, 2002.
Kristin married Larry Bowen in Houston on June 30, 1984, and they had two children, Marshall Thibideaux Bowen, born September 28; 1985 in Kansas City, and Marguerite (Maggie) Louise Bo-wen, born October 11, 1988. She was named after Louise Tearle. Larry, a master professional chef, died June 24, 2009.

Boonville was revisited in 1990 by my aunt Phoebe, (second from left) when she took my brother Steve, his wife Kay (at left) and her daughters Kristin (in front) and Laura (at right) on a tour of her old home town.

Boonville was revisited in 1990 by my aunt Phoebe, (second from left) when she took my brother Steve, his wife Kay (at left) and her daughters Kristin (in front) and Laura (at right) on a tour of her old home town.

To read the rest of “Pieces of String to short to Save” by Bob  Chancellor, you can buy the book here

The promo for the book to give you more information on it is here: Book Promo


Dunstable Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1710-1940

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

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

Fiche 1853-1945

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


1861-1940 – Fiches 1-21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1911 census. Joseph 1737.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Soul Food – A Tearle Family Recipe Book of Memories

Written by Genevieve Tearle  2001

These recipes are taken from a beautiful little book Genevieve wrote and illustrated for us; recipes we use all the time, many from family occasions.

It is one of most treasured things we have ever been given.

I have included her illustrations, and inserted a few more pictures where they add interest. The text is true to the original and the Kiwi-isms are retained.

Where possible, I have taken pages directly from her

Chocolate Crunch

  • 6oz Anchor butter,
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 c weetbix,
  • 1 c flour,
  • ½ c sugar
  • 1 T cocoa,
  • 1 t baking powder
  • Take 2 bored kids on the weekend or school holidays. Set one aside. Melt butter and essence. In a bowl mix together Weetbix, flour, sugar, cocoa, & baking powder. Pour melted mixture over dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Leave ¼ of mixture in bowl for second child to have while licking the bowl.
  • Press remaining mixture into a greased Swiss Roll tin and bake for ½ hr at 180C. Ice while hot and cut into squares for kids’ lunches and random snacks.

Apricot Chicken

  • 8 chicken pieces,
  • 1 packet onion soup
  • Can apricot halves,
  • sprinkle of herbs
  • ½ c water,
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • Take one cold winter’s evening and a family meal. Place all ingredients into a casserole dish or browning dish. Cook at 180C for 45-60 minutes, or microwave on high for 20 minutes. Serve over rice.
  • Water can be substituted by white wine for a richer meal.
Hamilton Girls High School

Hamilton Girls High School

Baked Snapper

  • 1 lemon,
  • 1 tomato,
  • 1 onion,
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T brown sugar,
  • handful raisins
  • Take one freshly caught snapper from the family fishing trip. De-scale and gut in the kitchen sink. Rub the inside of the cavity then rub with salt and brown sugar. Slice up lemon, tomato and onion. Layer the above in the fish and top with raisins. Bake or microwave.
  • Recipe also suitable for that perfect 4lb trout brought home by Dad and the kids.

Elaine and brothers after a day at sea


  • 1 c plain flour,
  • ¾ c milk,
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 egg,
  • extra milk
  • Combine all ingredients into a bowl and beat well. Use extra milk to thin if too thick, or flour to thicken. Heat a frying pan and melt butter.
  • Pour over pancake batter (note thickness will vary widely and that’s a good thing).
  • Serve over the breakfast bar with lemon & sugar or jam & ice-cream.

Bacon & Egg Savouries

  • Pastry:
  • 1 c flour,
  • ½ t salt,
  • 60g Anchor butter
  • 3-4 T water
  • Take two intermediate aged children (one at a time) and combine with Home Ec classes. Sift flour & salt into a bowl. Rub in butter. Add water 1 T at a time. Mix to a dough. Roll out pastry and cut into circles to line patty tins.
  • Filling:
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 50g cheese (grated)
  • bacon (chopped).
  • Mix all ingredients together. Spoon filling into pastry cases. Bake at 200C for 15 minutes.
  • Repeat recipe often during school holidays or when guests are coming for lunch.

Macaroni Cheese

  • ½ c macaroni elbows,
  • 3 T Anchor butter,
  • 1 small onion finely chopped,
  • 2 rashers of bacon,
  • 2 T flour,
  • ½ t salt,
  • 1 ½ c milk,
  • pinch cayenne pepper,
  • 1 ½ c grated tasty or colby cheese.
  • Cook macaroni pasta. Set aside. Melt butter in a saucepan & saute onion and bacon. Add flour & salt and cook until bubbly. Cool.
  • Add milk gently while stirring. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly while thickening. Remove from heat & stir in cheese. Season with cayenne pepper or ground pepper.
  • Place macaroni cheese in oven proof dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and grill until golden brown.
  • Serve accompanied with cheap white wine during T-Col days or with orange juice for a casual family evening.

Pauanui Lunch

  • 1 loaf fresh bread from the hot bread shop, 4 cinnamon rolls, 4 ice-creams from Mr Whippy, 1 salad (optional).
  • Eat ice-creams first (and quickly to avoid melting in the hot summer sun). With whatever room left available, fill with fresh bread, cinnamon rolls and casual salad.
  • Relax for at least half an hour before moving to the beach and the more energetic pursuit of boogie boarding.
Pauanui Beach House

Pauanui Beach House

60 Minute Rolls

  • 1 T dried yeast,
  • 1 T sugar,
  • ½ c warm water (mix together & stand for 5-10 mins in a warm place).
  • 1 T Anchor butter,
  • ½ c hot milk (add butter to milk allowing butter to melt. Cool to “warm”).
  • 2 ½ c flour,
  • 1 t salt (sift, make a well in the centre).
  • Add the yeast & milk mixtures to the dry ingredients.
  • Mix with an old wooden spoon and beat well.
  • Turn onto the breakfast bar & knead well until smooth & elastic.
  • Raise in the hot water cupboard for 10-15 mins until dough doubles in size.
  • Knead dough lightly and form into even sliced rolls. Prove for 10-15 mins or until rolls double in size.
  • Cook at 250C just above middle for 15-20 mins or until golden brown.
  • Serve with butter, cheese or jam while still hot.

Where the babies come from: Waikato Hospital from across Hamilton Lake.

Ewart and Genevieve

Coconut Ice

  • 1 tin sweetened condensed milk,
  • 3-4 c icing sugar,
  • 4 c coconut,
  • 1 t vanilla essence,
  • 4-6 drops red food colouring.
  • Combine 3 c of icing sugar with condensed milk, coconut & vanilla. Mix well.
  • Add remaining icing sugar if required to make firm. Press half the mixture into the base of a 20cm square cake tin.
  • Colour remaining mixture and spread over the white coconut ice. Chill until firm, cut into squares and serve to the soccer team after a match or wrap in small plastic bags for the school fair.

Apple Crumble

  • Stewed apple (enough to fill a pie dish.)
  • 1/3 c flour,
  • 25g Anchor butter,
  • ¼ t cinnamon
  • 2 T brown sugar,
  • 1 T rolled oats.
  • Mix together flour, cinnamon, oats & brown sugar.
  • Melt butter.
  • Add melted butter to dry ingredients.
  • Sprinkle mixture on top of apple. Bake at 190C for 20-30 min or until golden brown.
  • Serve with Swiss Maid Custard.
  • Variation: chopped walnuts & raisins & cinnamon can also be added to the apple mixture.

Nana Satchwell’s Apricot Squares

  • 4oz Anchor butter,
  • ½ tin sweetened condensed milk,
  • 3oz brown sugar,
  • 1 pkt crushed Girl Guide biscuits,
  • 1 c dried chopped apricots.
  • Melt butter, sugar & condensed milk together.
  • Add apricots and biscuits.
  • Press into a slightly greased tin & sprinkle with coconut (optional). Leave to set in the fridge.
  • Retain half the resulting for the family & drop the other half off to your best friend.

Ginger Crunch

  • 4oz Anchor butter,
  • 4oz sugar,
  • 7oz flour,
  • 1 t ground ginger,
  • 1 t baking powder.
  • Cream butter & sugar, add sifted dried ingredients.
  • Knead well & press into a shallow greased tin. Bake 20-25 mins at 180C.
  • Put into a saucepan
  • 7 T butter,
  • 4 T icing sugar,
  • 2 t golden syrup,
  • 1 t ground ginger.
  • Heat until melted then pour over slice while hot & cut into squares before it gets cold. Serve in school lunches.

Nearest town and school; Otorohanga


  • 2 c brown or white sugar,
  • 2 c water,
  • 1 T vinegar,
  • 1 T Anchor butter.
  • Put all ingredients into a saucepan  Boil without stirring until a little tried in cold water snaps.
  • Pour into buttered muffin dishes and serve to the kids in school lunches or as a weekend treat wrapped in greaseproof paper.
Hamilton Boys High School

Hamilton Boys High School

Shepherd’s Pie

  • 1 large onion,
  • 1 packet mince,
  • 1 clove crushed garlic,
  • 1 tin tomatoes,
  • generous serving of frozen mixed vege,
  • cheese grated,
  • soy sauce & worcestershire sauce to taste.
  • Brown chopped onion & garlic in a little olive oil. Add mince & cook until brown. At the same time cook potatoes & mixed vege.
  • Combine mince, chopped canned tomatoes, a little soy sauce & worcestershire sauce to taste with mixed vege in a casserole dish.
  • Top with mashed potatoes & then grated cheese.
  • Cook at 180C for 15-20 mins until cheese is golden brown. Serve for a winter dinner round the TV.

Eggy Bread & Strawberries

  • 1 punnet of strawberries,
  • 1 T sugar.
  • Cut strawberries into halves & remove the leaves. Put into a bowl & sprinkle with sugar.
  • Wrap bowl in a tea towel & refrigerate.
  • Combine 2 eggs with 1 T milk and a shake of nutmeg. Beat vigorously.
  • Heat a frying pan & melt butter to cover the bottom.
  • Dip white bread or slices of French toast into the egg mixture & cook through over a moderate heat.
  • Serve eggy bread with strawberries & reduced sauce out of the bowl. May also top with whipped cream or marscapone. The perfect anniversary breakfast-in-bed treat!

Pumpkin and Vege Soup

  • 1 pumpkin,
  • 1 large onion,
  • 2 carrots grated,
  • several sticks of celery cut finely,
  • 1 packet onion soup,
  • 2 c water,
  • pepper to season.
  • Carefully cut up pumpkin into pieces & place in a saucepan. Cover with water & add onion soup mix.
  • Heat until boiling then turn down to simmer. Leave for half an hour.
  • Cut up onion & add with carrot & celery to the broth. Season to taste.
  • Allow to reduce before blending to smooth consistency.
  • Serve in bowls with hot buttered toast or 60 minute rolls.

The essential Kiwi fritter

  • 1 ¼ c flour
  • 1 ½ t baking powder,
  • ½ t salt,
  • 2 eggs,
  • ¾ c milk.
  • Sift flour, baking powder & salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
  • Beat eggs, then beat in the milk. Pour into the well and stir until the dry ingredients are just dampened. Add corn, whitebait, cut cooked vegetables or any leftovers into the batter & stir.
  • Cook in a frying pan in a little butter or olive oil and serve with a salad or with relish for a quick and easy lunch after Saturday sport with the kids.
After-sport playground. Farmlet and district, Otorohanga

After-sport playground. Farmlet and district, Otorohanga


  • 4 egg whites,
  • ¼ t salt,
  • 1 c caster sugar,
  • 1 t vanilla essence,
  • 1 t vinegar,
  • 2 t cornflour,
  • 1 bottle cream (whipped) & fresh fruit to top.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 120C. Place egg whites & salt in a bowl. Beat until peaks just fold over when spoon is removed. Beat in caster sugar 1-2 T at a time.
  • Continue to beat until the mixture is very stiff. Beat in the vanilla essence, vinegar & cornflour. Place mixture on baking paper on an oven tray.
  • Bake for 1 ½ – 2 hours or until surface is crisp and lightly coloured. Cool on rack. Top with cream & fresh fruit & serve generously to family.

Fruit Salad

  • Take a generous amount of fruit. Cut into chunks & serve in a large bowl.
  • Great with whipped cream or on its own as the perfect end to a wedding supper.
Elaine, 4yrs, flower girl at Auntie’s wedding

Elaine, 4yrs, flower girl at Auntie’s wedding

Melted Moro Bars with fruit

  • 65g Moro Bar
  • ¼ c light sour cream,
  • selection of fresh fruit
  • Cut the Moro Bar into 1cm wide slices.
  • Microwave on 50% power for 1 ½ – 2 mins or until melted.
  • Add sour cream and stir vigorously until smooth and creamy.
  • May need to return the sauce to the microwave oven for 20-30 seconds and beat again. Serve with seasonal fruit.
  • An alternative to the healthy fruit salad (tastier too!)

Sunday Breakfast

  • Take 5 eggs (1 extra for Dad) 8 rashers of bacon, 3 tomatoes halved (none for Genevieve) and 8 pieces of bread.
  • Preheat the oven to grill at a medium heat. Arrange bacon on a draining rack over a baking dish & put under the grill. Tomatoes also cooked like this.
  • Heat water in a saucepan until boiling. Add eggs to the water & watch carefully to avoid overheating (runny yolks a must.)
  • Toast bread and keep warm in the oven. Arrange toast, eggs, bacon & tomato (except for Genevieve) on warm plates & serve over the breakfast bar with orange juice.
  • Note: The kitchen on Sunday morning is Dad’s domain.

Xmas Breakfast

  • As per previous recipe, but Dad won’t be ready until 10am and the presents must wait until after breakfast & Dad’s shower & dressing….

Birthday Chocolate Cake

  • 4 oz Anchor butter,
  • 1 c sugar,
  • 1 egg,
  • 1 t vanilla essence,
  • 1 T vinegar,
  • 1 T golden syrup,
  • 2 c flour,
  • 1 t baking powder,
  • 1 T cocoa,
  • ¾ c milk,
  • extra ¾ c milk with 1 t baking soda dissolved in it.
  • First pull out the birthday cake book and allow the birthday child to choose a cake design of their choice.
  • Next, cream butter & sugar. Add egg, vanilla, vinegar & golden syrup. Sift flour, baking powder & cocoa.
  • Add alternately with milk. Lastly add milk with baking soda. Put in a ring tin & microwave for 13-15 mins.
  • Decorate according to the child’s wishes, adorn with candles, and serve with chippies, jelly and other birthday treats. Spoil the child enough to last them until Xmas!
Elaine and Jason.

Elaine and Jason.


  • 2 c water,
  • 2 ½ c milk,
  • 2 c rolled oats,
  • ½ c bran flakes,
  • ¼ – ½ t salt.
  • Bring the water & milk to the boil in a saucepan. Stir in the rolled oats, bran flakes and salt. Cover the pan & simmer over a low heat for about 5 mins or until the porridge is thick and creamy. Stir occasionally.
  • Cover in a very thick crust of brown sugar & top with a little milk to hide the taste of the porridge & turn a healthy breakfast into a sticky sweet. This breakfast is to be avoided, when at all possible.


  • 1 c flour,
  • 2 T sugar,
  • 2 t baking powder,
  • 1/8 t salt,
  • 1 egg,
  • 2 T Anchor butter melted.
  • Sift flour, sugar, baking powder & salt into a bowl. Beat the egg, then beat in the milk & melted butter. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  • Cooking in a frying pan over a moderate heat in a little butter until golden brown.
  • Serve with Grandad’s raspberry jam and whipped cream.


  • 3 c plain flour,
  • 6 t baking powder,
  • ¼ t salt,
  • 50g Anchor butter,
  • 1 ¼ c milk.
  • Sift flour, baking powder & salt into a bowl (or mixer). Cut in butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs (hence the mixer).
  • Add milk and mix quickly to a soft dough.
  • Lightly knead. Lightly dust an oven tray with flour. Press scone dough out onto this. Cut into even pieces, leave 2cm between scones. Brush tops with milk. Bake at 200C for 10 min until golden brown.
  • Serve for the family with butter, cheese, gherkins, jam, peanut butter, meats and a selection of relishes & chutneys and whatever else can be found in the fridge to go on the breakfast bar.
House, pool and back yard. Breakfast bar through ranch slider doors from deck.

House, pool and back yard. Breakfast bar through ranch slider doors from deck.

Chocolate Mousse

  • 1 family block Caramello chocolate,
  • 2 egg yolks beaten,
  • 2 egg whites whipped to peaking,
  • 1 bottle cream whipped.
  • Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Fold in egg yolks & stir until chocolate has a glazed appearance.
  • Fold in the whipped cream, followed by the egg whites one T at a time. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Refrigerate for a couple of hours and serve either on its own or with fruit, or stir chocolate balls through the mousse for a uniquely “Mum” treat.

Anzac Biscuits

  • 100g Anchor butter,
  • 1 T golden syrup,
  • ½ c sugar,
  • ¾ c coconut,
  • ¾ c rolled oats,
  • ¾ c flour,
  • 1 t baking soda,
  • 1 T hot water.
  • Melt butter and syrup together in a large saucepan. Cool. Mix sugar, coconut, rolled oats & flour together. Stir into saucepan. Dissolve soda in hot water & mix in. Place rounded teaspoonful on a greased tray. Bake at 180C for 15 mins or until golden.
  • Serve to English relatives and colleagues for a uniquely ANZAC experience with biscuits!
ANZAC graves, Lone Pine, Gallipoli. Photo by Genevieve

ANZAC graves, Lone Pine, Gallipoli. Photo by Genevieve

Banana Cake

  • 125g Anchor butter,
  • ¾ c sugar,
  • 2 eggs,
  • 1 cup mashed bananas,
  • 1 t baking soda,
  • 1 T hot milk,
  • 2 c plain baking flour,
  • 1 t baking powder.
  • Take one foster sister home for a rare visit and set to work for all those cookies she’ll take with her. Cream butter and sugar.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add mashed banana & mix thoroughly.
  • Stir soda into hot milk & add to creamed mixture.
  • Sift flour & baking powder together. Stir into mixture.
  • Turn into a greased, lined 20cm cake tin. Bake at 180C for 50 mins or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Leave in tin for 10 mins before turning out onto cooling rack.
  • Eat while still warm because with family in the house, it will never last until cold.


Backyard BBQ

  • Take a healthy dose of Kiwi sunshine, 1 set of plastic outdoor furniture, several salads (including a potato salad) a selection of meat (steak NOT optional) & a generous loaf of bread.
  • Cook the meat over the BBQ, serve onto a plate on the table. Serve yourself, relax & take a dip in the pool after lunch!
Nice place for a BBQ, NZ

Nice place for a BBQ, NZ

Chicken Kebabs

  • Skewer pieces of chicken, slices of courgettes, mushroom halves, pineapple pieces and capsicum onto skewers.
  • Roast over BBQ, relax and enjoy as per previous recipe.

Beef Nachos

  • 1 packet mince,
  • 1 onion chopped,
  • 1 can tomatoes,
  • 1 pottle tomato paste,
  • 1 can baked beans,
  • 100g cheese (grated) nacho chips,
  • sour cream to top.
  • Fry onion in olive oil until soft. Add meat and cook until brown. Add canned tomatoes (chopped) tomato paste & baked beans. Reduce heat and simmer. Arrange over nacho chips, top with cheese & microwave on high for 1 min to melt cheese.
  • Top with sour cream & sprinkle with Tobasco sauce if required.

Chocolate Cup Cakes

  • 50g Anchor butter,
  • 50g brown sugar,
  • 1 egg beaten,
  • 75g self-raising flour,
  • 3 T cocoa, pinch salt,
  • 120ml milk.
  • Microwave butter & sugar on high for 20-30 secs. Whisk until creamy. Add egg and whisk well.
  • Mix in flour, cocoa & salt alternatively with milk. Mix until smooth,
  • Place in microwave muffin cases in muffin tray. Half fill each case, elevate and microwave on high for 2 min.
  • Remove cup cakes from tray and leave to cool.
  • Serve still warm with whipped cream and kiwifruit for a messy treat for the parents on kids’ cooking night.

Pizza Elaine Style

  • Make 1 batch scone mixture (as above).
  • Roll out onto a pizza tray.
  • Top with tomato paste, spaghetti, onion, pineapple, bacon, tomato & other ingredients as required. Top with cheese.
  • Bake at 180C until base is cooked through & cheese is golden brown.

Honeyed Yams

  • Chop ends off the yams.
  • Slice into 2mm wide slices.
  • Gently fry in a little butter until yam slices are a little softened and golden brown.
  • Stir through 1 t honey & serve with chicken and other vegetables.

Cheese on Toast

  • Wait until half time in a 2am-starting All Blacks Test or the FA Cup Final. Then toast bread, top with cheese and grill in the oven.
  • Share between father & daughter, with a cup of tea for Dad.
  • Must be speedily made to avoid missing any of the second half.
Photo of the All Blacks by Genevieve

Photo of the All Blacks by Genevieve


  • 200g Anchor butter,
  • ½ c sugar,
  • 1 ¼ c plain flour,
  • ¼ c cocoa,
  • 2 c Cornflakes.
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Sift flour & cocoa. Stir into creamed mixture.
  • Fold in Cornflakes. Spoon mounds of mixture onto a greased oven tray, gently pressing together.
  • Bake at 180C for 15 mins or until set.
  • When cold ice with chocolate icing and decorate with walnut halves (‘cause that’s the best bit!)

Stuffed Mushrooms

  • Take a couple of handfulls of mushrooms and return them to the refrigerator.
  • Time is just too short to stuff mushrooms, and food should be relaxed and casual to be most enjoyed by this family.
  • Simple, substantial fare!

Hokey Pokey

  • 5 T sugar,
  • 2 T golden syrup,
  • 1 t baking soda.
  • Put sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan.
  • Heat gently, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.
  • Increase the heat & cook until mixture just starts to boil. Stir occasionally, if necessary, to prevent burning. Remove from heat.
  • Add baking soda. Stir quickly until mixture froths up.
  • Pour into battered tin immediately. Leave until cold and hard.
  • Break into pieces and serve.
  • May have to be repeated often if Jeremy is visiting from Aus.

Potatoes in Cream

  • Slice potatoes thinly (don’t need to be pealed), slice one onion thinly, ½ pot of cream, grated cheese.
  • Layer potato and onion. Every couple of layers pour over small amount of cream and sprinkle with grated cheese. May also sprinkle parsley through this dish. Top with cheese.
  • Bake at 180C for 30-45 mins.
  • Serve with glazed orange carrots, buttered beans and meat of your choice.
Our wedding invitation photo in Genevieve’s recipe book. Nice touch, Love...

Our wedding invitation photo in Genevieve’s recipe book.
Nice touch, Love…

Vegetable Bake Off

  • 8 mushrooms halved,
  • 4 tomatoes (cut into 8 pieces)
  • courgettes (thickly sliced)
  • yellow capsicum (in thick strips)
  • potato & pumpkin (cut into chunks & microwaved on high to soften)
  • pieces of feta cheese,
  • basil pesto,
  • olive oil.
  • Toss all ingredients except olive oil into a generous roasting dish. Dot with basil pesto & drizzle over olive oil. Bake at 180C for 45 mins or until ingredients are turning golden brown.
  • Serve on generous plates at Genevieve’s Auckland house for a group of friends, or alone.
Auckland City from Mt Victoria

Auckland City from Mt Victoria

Creamy Pasta Bows with Chicken

  • Pasta bows (boiled)
  • ½ punnet cream,
  • juice of 1 lemon,
  • 1 onion,
  • 1 large boneless chicken breast,
  • 1 yellow or red capsicum,
  • handful mushrooms.
  • Saute onion in a frying pan in a little olive oil.
  • Add chicken & brown.
  • Pour over cream & lemon. Bring to a slow boil, turn down heat and allow to simmer for a further 5 mins.
  • Serve with chilled white wine (can be de-alcoholised) for a low fuss but high impact meal to be enjoyed by guests.

Auckland City

Mini Auckland Pizzas

  • 4 pita breads,
  • tomato paste,
  • oregano,
  • feta cheese cubes.
  • Toast pita breads. Arrange on a baking tray.
  • Cover with tomato paste. Sprinkle with oregano ( can also use rosemary) either fresh or from a jar.
  • Top with feta cheese cubes & grill for approx 2 mins.
  • Serve in front of the Tennis Open on Sky Digital.

An Auckland kauri villa

Potato Salad

  • Cut potatoes into generous chunks.
  • Cook in a pan until cooked through. Allow to cool.
  • Combine mayonnaise with mustard and toss through potatoes. Sprinkle with spring onions, capsicum & fresh herbs.
  • Toss the salad & serve in a generous platter by the BBQ.
Auckland Harbour from the Devonport Ferry

Auckland Harbour from the Devonport Ferry

Chocolate Log

  • 1 packet chocolate chippie biscuits,
  • generous serving of sherry,
  • one bottle of cream whipped.
  • Soak biscuits in sherry one at a time.
  • Arrange in a log shape with whipped cream between individual biscuits and then around the log.
  • Sprinkle with chocolate flakes.
  • Refrigerate until chilled through.
  • Serve infrequently; divine, but very rich.
Bird of paradise flower, Auckland

Bird of paradise flower, Auckland


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

A short history of Toddington Manor

The Manor House c1850

The Manor House c1850

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

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

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

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

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

The Manor House 1860

The Manor House, 1860


John Cooper Esq

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

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

John Cooper was Sheriff of Bedford in 1812.

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

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

William Dodge Cooper Cooper

17 Aug 1782 - 9 Aug 1860

17 Aug 1782 – 9 Aug 1860

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The water pump William presented to Toddington

The water pump William presented to Toddington

Closeup of the presentation shield

Closeup of the presentation shield

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

Hatchment of the arms of Elizabeth Cooper Cooper

Hatchment of the arms of Elizabeth Cooper Cooper

Hatchment of the arms of William Dodge Cooper Cooper

Hatchment of the arms of William Dodge Cooper Cooper

Memorial to the Cooper Cooper family in Toddington Church

Memorial to the Cooper Cooper family in Toddington Church

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

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

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

Major William Cooper Cooper

William Cooper Cooper

William Cooper Cooper

William Cooper Cooper

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

The gamekeeper, Norman Snoxall, and the poacher

The gamekeeper, Norman Snoxall, and the poacher

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

Apollo and the Muses

Apollo and the Muses

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

The grand fireplace, Toddington Manor

The grand fireplace, Toddington Manor

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

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

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

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

William did have children, however – 4 girls:

Edith born 1860 – married Reginald William Borlase Warren Vernon,

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

Harriet born 1868 – married Lionel Tufnell,

Ida born 1870 died 1876.

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

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

Park House, Highgate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wavell House on the Hillcrest Estate photographed in January 2011

Wavell House on the Hillcrest Estate photographed in January 2011

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

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

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

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


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

Arms and crest of the Coopers of Toddington

Arms and crest of the Coopers of Toddington

Arms and crest of the Coopers of Toddington


Mowing the lawn at Toddington Manor, date unknown

Old Lodge Farm, Toddington, c1860

Old Lodge Farm, Toddington, c1860

Cottages near the church, Toddington

Cottages near the church, Toddington

Cottages near the church, Toddington

Cottages near the church, Toddington

The stable yard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A window in Toddington Church was donated by Caroline.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources, thanks and acknowledgements

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

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

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

Richard Tearle

February 2012


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