Tag Archives: registry


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


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.




Helen Hinkley, 1865, London

6 July 2001

Mr Jim Spence



Dear Jim

I have brought to England all the material about the Orange family that you sent me. A few weeks ago, I was browsing through it all and I realised that I had heard of Southwark and couldn’t think why.  They ordained the latest Bishop of St Albans in Southwark Cathedral and while I was looking through your material I saw Helen Hinkley, 53 Union St, Southwark.  Within weeks, I was called to a job interview at Sainsbury’s 169 Union St, Southwark and I spent the day, either side of that interview, wandering around the area that Helen would have known so well.  In a week or so, I was appointed to a job with Sainsbury’s in Rennie St, just around the corner from Union St.  I sent the following to Mum:

I have landed a very nice job as a Technical Support Analyst on the Help Desk for Sainsbury’s head office in Rennie House, Rennie St, Southwark.  Pronounced SUTHic.  The place is often confused with Suffolk because lots of Brits can’t say the th in Suthic, so it comes out suffok anyway and people say to me, “Oh, you’re working in Suffolk – that’s a long way from St Albans ….”

Now, Mum.  Your grandmother, Elsie’s mum, Helen Orange, nee Hinkley (I’ll call her Helen Hinkley for the moment) was born in 1865 and lived at 53 Union St, Southwark.  When she left for NZ in 1883, she left from a very good place to leave. It’s easy to picture the Dickensian pea-soup smogs and imagine peering through slit eyes as you pick your way to work through the grubby brick buildings, skipping past horse droppings, breathing the foul and putrid air and listening for the trains hissing  and rattling noisily overhead, as they make their way to London Bridge or Blackfriars.

She was a nurse in London, did you know? I’d love to know if you ever met her – she died in 1928, and you would have been 7 at the time, and she divorced your grandfather in 1924, so it’s quite possible you never meet her.  However – back to Southwark.  I’ve taken to walking all around the Bankside area that Helen would have been familiar with and I have been looking for anything older than 1883, so that what I am looking at, she would have seen.  

Well, there is a lot.  Firstly, her house is still standing.  

53 Union St Middle house was Helen Hinkleys.

53 Union St – middle house was Helen Hinkley’s.

It’s just the shell and is being refurbished for business premises, but many of the houses around it are still in 1883 condition and you can easily get a sense of the dust, grime and poverty of the area.  It was primarily a warehouse district and many of the Victorian era buildings still standing, although converted to modern use mostly as offices, have retained the lifting gear attached to the outside walls.  

She would have been familiar with the Southwark Cathedral, which was called the Church of St Mary Overie when she lived there – it became a cathedral in 1910.  It’s only a few streets away, adjacent to London Bridge.

Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral

She would have been familiar with the stories of The Clink – the prison that gave all others the name.  It’s just a few streets away, even though it wasn’t an active prison when she lived there, the rubble from a huge fire in the area in 1814 was still there in 1883 and its underground vaults still exist, too. It was the prison for the Duke of Winchester in Winchester Palace and it started life in the 1300’s.  A really horrible place.  

Entrance to the Clink.

Entrance to the Clink.

Southwark has been home to prostitution and crime since Saxon times.  The Duke of Winchester “regulated” the brothels and owned a large section of Bankside since King Steven gave it all to him in the 1130’s. The Clink was his private prison and he held life and death over its inmates until the prison was destroyed in 1780.

Prisoner in the overhead cage outside the Clink.

Prisoner in overhead cage outside the Clink.

There is a little bit of Winchester Palace still standing – a wall and a large rose window – and under that is the Clink. In Clink St, of course.  The palace itself, in its heyday, was inside a fully-walled area of about 200 acres; all that’s left today is that bit of wall with the window, and the remnant of the Clink.

Winchester Palace, the last fragment.

Winchester Palace, the last fragment.

She would also have been familiar with St Paul’s Cathedral towering over the Thames on the other side of the river, and all the other works of Sir Christopher Wren in the area built in the late 1600’s, early 1700’s.  

St Pauls Cathedral.

St Pauls Cathedral

His chief mason, by the way, was a man called Edward Strong who was a citizen of St Albans and is buried here in St Peters Church. The Blackfriars bridge Helen crossed to get to The City from Bankside is the same one I cross to get to work, because it was built in the 1760’s; by an engineer called Rennie, incidentally.  She would have been familiar with the Blackfriars rail bridge, too, that crosses the Thames and swings through Southwark on a big brick viaduct.  I suspect that then the arches would have been open, but today they are bricked up for lockups – and there is a very large amount of space to be let under the arches of a rail bridge.

Ivor Adams, my cousin on my grandmother Sadie Tearle’s side, who has worked in The City most of his life, said that Bankside was the haunt of the Teddy Boys in the 1920’s and 1930’s and even today, in spite of all the upgrading that has been done there, areas just to the south, like Peckham, and Elephant & Castle, are still poverty-stricken and crime-ridden.  If you stay close to the river, you’re ok. It’s very nice.  I walked 7 minutes from work down The Thames Walk to the Tate Modern, a coal-fired electricity station that has been converted into the largest indoor space I have ever seen.

Tate Modern.

Tate Modern.

And they use all this space for an art museum. Free admission, too.  I could only spend 10 minutes there but the building outside is massive in brick, dominated by a tall red-brick chimney that has been a feature of the Bankside skyline for nearly a century.  Inside, it is light and airy and there are overhead cranes quietly tucked away waiting to move large and heavy exhibits.

I have attached photos of the landmarks in the Bankside area that Helen would have seen.  

I have also found Glen Parva, Blaby, Leicester, where Albert Edward Orange (1865-1942) came from.  It was a Roman settlement and nestles in a crook of the A426 and the Leicester Ring-road. There is a Great Glen in the area as well as Peating Parva, Ashby Parva and Wigston Parva.  Elaine’s cousin, Jack Dalgleish, lives in Leicester and we have been to see his family several times.  Would you like some photos of 1870’s Glen Parva? Next time we go to Leicester we’ll stop and have a look to see what is left.  Do you have a street name?  That would be a real help.

Kindest regards

Ewart Tearle



All photos and documents on this page courtesy Tasmanian State Library and remain copyrighted to them.

The story of the Tasmanians starts for me with an email from Richard in March this year, 2007. He had found some Tearle headstones in a graveyard, on the Tasmanian State Library website.

“There are 5 pictures, but 4 are of the same stone and appear to be of:

  • Minnie Maud
  • Arthur W Floyd
  • Henry
  • Katherine
  • William d1919

But one of the pictures states also the grave of Lucy Ethel – though my poor eyes cannot see that!

The other stone is of Ernest, but pretty useless information wise…”

When I tried the site, and entered Tearle into the Search, I found the headstones, too. They were in the Lefroy General Cemetery, just outside Launceston. Rosemary deepened the mystery when she found a William Tearle who died in 1919 in Opotiki, NZ.

Here are the headstones that started it all – Henry and Katherine and their family

Henry and Katherine Tearle

Henry and Katherine Tearle

…and Ernest Tearle. But who were they, and what was their story?

Ernest Tearle

Ernest Tearle

I sent Aus $20 to Marie Gatenby, the researcher at the State Library, and she sent me some surprising information, and some pictures and documents she said I could reproduce here.

Firstly, there was a picture of the small bronze plaque attached to the base of the headstone above, in memory of Lucy Ethel.

Lucy Ethel Tearle

Marie wasn’t able to reproduce for me the headstone on Ernest’s grave because she said it wasn’t able to be photographed. However the inscription said:

“In Loving Memory of


Died 29th August 1956

Aged 75 Years.”

Then we took out the photo of the main headstone and we read what was written there.

Minnie Maud and Arthur W Floyd, Henry Tearle, William Tearle

So we now had the following family:

  • Parents; Henry Tearle 1846-1905 and Katherine 1847-1942
  • Minnie Maud 1874-1901 m Arthur W Floyd
  • Ernest 1881-1956
  • William 1884-1919
  • Lucy Ethel 1887-1983

But we needed more….

The envelope from Launceston had a little more valuable information:

The death notice in the local paper said Charles Ernest, son of Henry and Catherine, was the brother of Lucy Tearle of Lefroy.

A Digger notice in the Tasmanian Federation Index said Florence Annie married Josiah Freer in the Methodist Chapel in Launceston in 1911.

And finally, we see that Lucy Ethel was the sister of Minnie Floyd, Fred, Florence, Ernest and William

Our family is better sketched now:

  • Henry Tearle 1874-1901 m Katherine Birkham 1847-1942
  • Minnie Maud 1874-1901 m Arthur W Floyd
  • Frederic Henry 1876
  • Florence Annie m Josiah Freer
  • William George 1884-1919
  • Charles Ernest 1881-1956
  • Lucy Ethel 1887-1983.



Joan Perkins of South Australia added to the increasing knowledge:

“I discovered a Charles Tearle married an Ellen Charlotte Mary Rae (Ray) in Victoria in 1876. Just out of curiosity I checked for births between 1876 and 1884 this week (on microfiche). I found a William George born 1884 to Henry Tearle and Kate Birkham. How’s that? Henry and Kate also had Frederick Henry born 1876, Florence Annie born 1879, Charles Ernest born 1881. So far I do not have a marriage date for Henry and Kate. I also found George Errnest born 1882 to Charles and Ellen (Rose?). Charles and Ellen Rae also had Jessie Anna born 1884. They must also have had a daughter Charlotte as I have the death of a Lottie Tearle aged 25 in 1916 at a place called Fryerstown. I don’t know where that is. I have the death of Ellen Tearle aged 63 in Fitzroy North in 1919.”

We turned our attention to the story of William George 1884.

As far back as Dec 2005, Rosemary had become interested in the story of William George Tearle, who died in Opotiki, NZ in 1919. She wrote to us:

“A few weeks ago I found an entry in the NZ government archives for a William George Tearle, probate file 1920. I sent off for the information and found that:

“A few weeks ago I found an entry in the NZ government archives for a William George Tearle, probate file 1920. I sent off for the information and found that:

William George Tearle, a bushman, died 9 November 1919 at Opotiki, leaving behind a savings account in the NZ Post Office of 221 pounds, 7 shillings and 10 pence; and a horse and motor car to the value of 53 pounds.

I then sent for a print-out of his death certificate. It reads:

Name: William George Tearle

Occupation: Bush Feller

Age: 35 years.

Cause of death: Intestinal obstruction and post operative shock.

Name & Surname of Father, Maiden Surname of Mother, Occupation of Father: Not Known

Where born: Unknown

How long in NZ: 16 years

The marriage information box is empty. William was buried at Opotiki by a Church of England Minister, Thomas Fisher.

For those who don’t know NZ – Opotiki is a lovely spot in the Bay of Plenty on the east coast of the North Island. Bushman/feller – this was a hard task as NZ “bush” is really a rain forest. William must have been a hard working young man.”

There was no question in my mind that Rosemary’s William George and the William on the Lefroy headstone and the William George found in Joan Perkin’s research above were the same man. Then new information came to hand that proved it conclusively.

At this stage Richard met Mia Saunders of Whakatane, NZ, who volunteered to go to Opotiki and look up William’s details for us. What she found was a goldmine. She has sent us a copy of the page in the location book of the cemetery and using this she has located the site of William’s unmarked grave. She has also sent us the page of the cemetery register that shows William being buried. All of this was deeply moving for us, and a wonderful gesture from her.

Given the date and place of William’s burial, we had identified him at last.

Entry for William in the Register of Burials, Opotiki, NZ 9 Nov 1919. Photo courtesy Mia Saunders.

Entry for William in the Register of Burials, Opotiki, NZ 9 Nov 1919.
Photo courtesy Mia Saunders.

Cemetery map for Opotiki Cemetary

Cemetery map for Opotiki Cemetary

location of William’s unmarked grave, in the triangle of grass nearest the camera, with a general view beyond.

location of William’s unmarked grave, in the triangle of grass nearest the camera, with a general view beyond.

have no further information on Frederick, but it looks as though he has left Tasmania and we may find his story on the mainland. We now know that all of the other Launceston Tearles have died. I met a lady in a cafe in Madrid and she said she was from Tasmania; Launceston, in fact. She knew the Lefroy cemetery and would have a look to see if there were any Tearles in Tasmania. I very much doubt now that she will find any. There may be Freer grandchildren in Tasmania and it would be interesting to know if they are aware of their Tearle connections.

In the meantime, Rosemary was working on another two passions of hers – the Kent Tearles, and the children of Richard 1754 of Stanbridge who came to Sandridge, near St Albans, married Mary Webb and started having children from 1778. One of their sons was Joseph 1788 and he married Mary Cook in St Peter, St Albans (which could have been St Leonard’s Church, Sandridge) and died in Sundridge, Kent in 1870. Through her research on Joseph, she was able to provide the link from the main Tree to Henry and Katherine nee Birkham. Here is Joseph’s story as told in the Sundridge censuses:

1841 Joseph 1791 (not born in Kent) Mary 50 Ann 30 Joseph 20 Charles 15 Henry 15 Mary 15 in Sundridge Kent

In 1851 only Joseph, Mary and Mary the dau are still together, and still in Sundridge:

1851 = Joseph 1788 (of St Albans) Mary 63 Mary 24 in Kent

And in 1861 poor Joseph is in the workhouse, still in Sundridge, Kent:

1861 = Joseph 1788 (of St Albans) pauper in Sundridge

In Sundridge Church there is the following inscription on a headstone near the tower:

“Mary, wife of Joseph TEARLE died February 17 1855 aged 67 years. The above Joseph Tearle died March 10 1870 aged 82 years.”

We followed the story of young Joseph born 1820 and Henry 1826, but Charles 1826 had a different story. Rosemary found this:

“Marriage in Parish Church, Sevenoaks, Kent

1846 10 May, Charles Tearle, of full age, Bachelor, Labourer, Sevenoaks Town, father Joseph Tearle, Gardener

Susan Oliver, of full age, Spinster, no profession, Sevenoaks Town, father James Oliver (Deceased) Labourer

Both signed, Witnesses Joseph Tearle and Mary Ann Wright or Loright. This Joseph is probably Charles’ elder brother.

Whatever age he is given in various censuses, Charles was actually born in London on 8 Aug 1821, christened 26 Sept Upper Street Independent Islington London,  the son of  Joseph Tearle and Mary Cook.   Charles and Susan had 2 children and with a third older child went to Australia 11 May 1849 on the “Eliza”. An interesting aside: the older child who went to Australia (above) was a Charles, born 4 years before the marriage of Charles and Susan.  I found a birth reg for a Charles Searle Oliver in June 1/4, Marylebone, 1841.”

Rosemary sums it up thus:

“Family that went to Australia on “Eliza” on 11 May 1849 is: Charles 27 Ag Lab, Susan 27 wife, Charles 7 years, Henry 2 years, Anna infant (I think Charles 7 years, may have been the Charles Searle Oliver born Marylebone 1841)

Arrive Port Adelaide 23 Aug 1849

Susan dies 30/8/1852 aged 30 (born 1822)

Joseph dies 13/10/1852 aged 5 months (born May 1852)

Henry marries Kate Birkham circa 1873 or 4.”

And the rest, as they say, is history. A footnote: Apart from the NZ connection with William George, I have another, much closer, connection with the Tasmanian Tearles; I live 15mins walk from St Leonard’s Chruch, Sandridge, where Richard 1754 of Stanbridge and Mary nee Webb married and lived, where Joseph 1788 of St Albans was born and raised, and where this story started.


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


Aubrey Bruce Cooper Cecil, born 1878, on board the vessel ‘Scottish Prince’

Born: 10th September 1878 onboard the vessel ‘Scottish Prince’

Died: 25th August 1918 in Brisbane, Australia

Aubrey Bruce Cooper Cecil served in the 3rd Queensland Contingent, Roll number 205.

This photo of Aubrey shows him in the uniform of the Third Queensland Mounted Infantry Contingent. His hat is adorned with the traditional Emu feathers. At the conclusion of his tour of duty, Aubrey signed off in South Africa and re-enlisted at Pretoria on 20th April 1901 with the Bushveldt Carbineers for further service in South Africa.

The Honourable Aubrey Bruce Cooper, Corporal, No. 46, of the Bushveldt Carbineers and the Pietersburg Light Horse, Australian, is featured in the book below containing the Campaign trail and the country traversed by the BVC / PLH.

Aubrey Bruce Cooper Cecil

Aubrey Bruce Cooper Cecil

Cover of the book "Bushveldt Carbineers"

Cover of the book “Bushveldt Carbineers”

He qualified for the Queens South Africa Medal with clasps (below):

  • Cape Colony 11 October 1899 – 31 May 1902
  • Rhodesia 11 October 1899 – 17 May 1900
  • Orange Free State 28 February 1900 – 31 May 1902
  • Transvaal 24 May 1900 – 31 May 1902
  • The King's South Africa Medal, with clasps

    The King’s South Africa Medal, with clasps

The Queen's South Africa Medal, detail

The Queen’s South Africa Medal, detail

Aubrey was discharged from the Pietersburg Light Horse at Pretoria on 13th February 1902, and his Kings South Africa Medal with the two date clasps (above left) was issued from the Pietersburg Light Horse roll.

During 1911, while Aubrey Bruce was in England, he departed from Liverpool onboard the ‘Medic’ and arrived in Sydney, Australia, 10th November 1911. The following year 5th June 1912 he married Sarah Watt (nee Lisk) in Toowong Presbyterian Church, Brisbane, Australia. Sarah was 10 years older than her husband. She was also a widow with seven children aged between 6 and 25 years old.

Aubrey was a Clerk in 1913 while living with his wife at 17 (or 178) Ann St, Brisbane. The census shows Sarah at home looking after the children.

It was only five years later on the 26th August 1918 that Aubrey Bruce died. He was only 40 years old. They had been living at Station Road, Indooroopilly near Brisbane. He is buried at Toowong Cemetery in Brisbane, Site Portion 2A Section 32 Grave 2. (Along with Sarah’s first husband, and later, Sarah).

Grave in Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane

Grave in Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane

Close-up of headstone

Close-up of headstone

Aubrey Bruce and Sarah had no children together and Sarah later remarried.

On www.ancestry.com there is probate order dated 14th October 1931, reproduced here.

Aubrey's probate order

Aubrey’s probate order, in London, 1931.


Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil, 1881, Chiswick, UK

Contributed by Wendy Skelley, Auckland, New Zealand.

Born: 16 June 1881 in Chiswick, Middlesex, England

Died: 28 February 1967, Mt Albert, Auckland, New Zealand

Egerton was a young man when his father died in 1900. It was not long after that he became a soldier.

Boer War as an Australian soldier

Service Number 99, of the 6th Queensland Imperial Bushmen (6th QIB);

Served in the Second Anglo Boer War in South Africa from May 1901 to May 1902.

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil
Description on Enlistment
Name……………………………………Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil
Hair…………………………………….. Dark Brown
Height……………………………………5 feet 5.5 inches
Weight…………………………………..8 stone 12 pounds
Chest measurement……………………..32.5 inches
Chest Expansion…………………………34.75 inches
Age………………………………………22 years and 7 months

Badge of the Queensland Imperial Bushmen

The 6th QIB departed from Australia at Pinkenba, Brisbane on April the 4th 1901 on the British transport “Victoria”. Upon arriving at Cape Town on May the 2nd 1901, the convey moved out and proceeded to Durban arriving on the 7th of May. Near Ermelo on the 21st Boers sniped at the flank with the 6th QIB suffering a few casualties; however they succeeded in capturing 15 Boers and much stock.

June 2nd, sustained their first loss to enteric fever. Brisk engagement on the 11th at Kaffir’s Spruit. Surprised and captured a laager on the 13th at Kopjesfontein on the right of the Vaal River. On the 21st June captured two Boer conveys suffering some casualties. June 22nd fighting at Lindique Drift with some casualties.

During August made substantial captures at Bultfontein. September, October and November in operations at Wakkerstroom district and east of the Transvaal. During December marched to Newcastle by Botha’s Pass and through Drakensberg to provide protective cover during the construction of blockhouses in that corner of the Orange River Colony.

On the 2nd of February 1902 at Liebenberg’s Vlei the 6th Imperial Bushmen joined with the New Zealanders and pursued a Boer convey in the area then charged the enemy’s rear guard with much gallantry, whilst the South African Light Horse bravely rushed the centre. Three guns with 3 wagons of ammunition, 26 prisoners (including 2 captains and a field cornet), 150 horses and mules plus 750 cattle were taken. Five Boers were killed and eight wounded. By the end of February after a big drive 300 prisoners had been taken.

During March and April several drives were undertaken with similar success. The 6th QIB embarked at Durban on May the 17th, 1902 in the Transport Devon and arrived at Albany on the 5th of June, Sydney on the 13th and Brisbane on the 17th then disbanded on the 23rd June 1902.

E.B.C. Cecil as a private was paid 5 shillings per day. A proportion amounting to 1 shilling was requested to be paid in South Africa for personal needs with the balance of his pay of 4 shillings to be forwarded to his mother Mrs. A.C.Cecil C/- Albion Post Office, Brisbane.

Mrs. A.C.Cecil resided in Brisbane at the corner of Milne Street and Old Sandgate Road (now Bonny Avenue), Albion in a residence named “Fernmount”.

E.B.C. Cecil was issued, upon arrival in South Africa, with a Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1* Serial No B394 in .303 British calibre. He carried this weapon throughout the campaign and suitably engraved the butt stock to commemorate his contribution.

This particular specimen with the serial number B 394 was the 10,394th in a production run of 26,647 for the Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1*. Manufactured at Enfield in 1900, The Mark 1* was the last of the line of the Lee Enfield Carbines.

This mark or model replaced the Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1 as a result of the abolition of all clearing rods in British service in 1899. The Mark 1* was the same in all respects with the exception of the omission of the clearing rod. The mark was introduced into British service on August 7th 1899 and replaced in 1902 by the standard British all Services weapon the Short Magazine Lee Enfield Rifle Mark 1.

Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1* used in the Anglo Boer War of 1899 to 1902..

Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1* used in the Anglo Boer War of 1899 to 1902..

The engraved butt of Burleigh’s rifle.

The engraved butt of Burleigh’s rifle.

Egerton’s Boer war history and gun are featured in the book “Carvings from the Veldt” written by Dave George.

Information on his record indicates E.B.C. Cecil was not wounded or incapacitated by illness and returned to Australia healthy.

Private Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil was issued with a Queens South Africa medal and two clasps ‘SA 1901 and SA 1902’.

Carvings from the Veldt

Carvings from the Veldt

Private Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil was issued with a Queens South Africa medal and two clasps   ‘SA 1901 and SA 1902’.


During 1902 Egerton returned to Durban, Natal in South Africa to obtain employment. His brother was also in Natal at this time. It is unknown if he obtained employment, but while there he met Katherine Tebay (nee O’Keeffe), who was also in South Africa with her husband.

New Zealand

By 1907 Egerton is living in New Zealand with a Catherine Tebay (nee O’Keeffe). She was also known as Kathleen Frances Cecil and Kathleen F Tebay. She had married Mr Robert Tebay at Ballarat, Victoria, Australia in September 1900. It is unknown what happened to her husband. No record of him after their marriage has been found.

The family story is that Egerton & Catherine met in Pretoria, South Africa and returned to New Zealand together. Egerton’s brother Aubrey was also in Pretoria in 1902. Robert Tebay’s brother, John, died in Natal about 1902; I cannot find war records for either of them.

After they settled in New Zealand together, Egerton and Catherine lived at Arahiri, Putaruru in the North Island where he was a sawmill hand, they were still living there on the 1911 census.

They had two children: Burleigh Victor Cecil (1907) and Melba Doreen (1908). Both children were registered without a father’s name, and with their mother’s married surname – Tebay. However, Egerton accepted responsibility for his illegitimate children, and in 1917 his son’s birth certificate was amended with his name certified as father. (They are also acknowledged in his estate after he died.)

Vic, Burleigh, Kath and Dolly

Vic, Burleigh, Kath and Dolly

During 1914 the family lived at 1 Montague Street, Newton, Auckland. Egerton was working for the New Zealand Railways.

Sadly in 1916 things got rough and Egerton was convicted of assault and sentenced to six months hard labour in Auckland. Due to circumstances the children were taken from Egerton and Catherine and became wards of the state. Egerton and Catherine separated under difficult circumstances.

Before Egerton left for war in 1918 he married Edith May Viall (who already had a young daughter called Lily) and they lived together in Mahurangi, Rodney, Auckland. Egerton was working as a clerk.

Egerton embarked on the 16th May 1918 at Wellington, New Zealand.

While he was away at war his brother, Aubrey Bruce Cooper Cecil, died in Brisbane, Australia.

WW1 as a New Zealand Soldier



The Ionic, one of the ships used in the transportation of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force to join British troops in WW1.

The cover of the on-board magazine and the details of the transportation.

The cover of the on-board magazine and the details of the transportation.

The following is sourced from Egerton’s WW1 Medical Files:

5 November 1918  Injury to his right ankle while in France when his trench was blown in by a shell explosion.

28 November 1918   While he was in hospital he developed influenza.

10 January 1919  Medical notes from NZ Command Depot, Codford, Wiltshire, England    2 month med cert.

9 April 1919   HMNZTS Paparoa, 3 month med cert.

24 June 1919   Certificates sent from Sick & Wounded records to Base records.

20 August 1919  Letter for report of medical prognosis from military base.

7 October 1919  Auckland base, 3 month med cert.

We have no record of when he became a sergeant.

It is noted however, on Egerton’s medical records that he was wounded on the 5th November 1918 in France. It is possible that he was involved with the recapture of the French town – Le Quesnoy.

One report says:

“As recently as a week before the Armistice, on 4 November 1918, New Zealand troops had been involved in the successful recapture of the French town of Le Quesnoy. The attack cost the lives of about 90 New Zealand soldiers virtually the last of the 12,483 who fell on the Western Front between 1916 and 1918.”

New Zealand had the highest per-capita loss of any nation involved in WW1.

Another report notes:

“Just a week before the end of the First World War in November 1918, the New Zealand Division captured the French town of Le Quesnoy. It was the New Zealanders’ last major action in the war. To this day, the town of Le Quesnoy continues to mark the important role that New Zealand played in its history. Streets are named after New Zealand places, there is a New Zealand memorial and a primary school bears the name of a New Zealand soldier. Visiting New Zealanders are sure to receive a warm welcome from the locals.”

The War Effort of New Zealand; The Codford Depot

New Zealand Command Depot, Codford (circa 1918)

New Zealand Command Depot, Codford (circa 1918)

To give you a little flavour of the times, above is an illustration of the NZ command depot, Codford, pictured in the War Art archives

… when the wounded or invalided soldiers were sufficiently recovered to leave Hornchurch, they were sent to the Command Depot at Codford to be “hardened” for further active service training.

… This, also, was the first stage on the return journey to the trenches.

Life after the War

After Egerton came back from the war, he moved with Edith May and her daughter Lily to 9 Edgerley Ave in Epsom, Auckland. The house has since been demolished to make way for what is now the Newmarket overpass for the motorway.

Egerton became a motorman and worked for the Transport Board. They had two daughters together, Thelma and Winifred (pictures at end of Egerton’s story).

Egerton and Edith May Cecil

Egerton and Edith May Cecil

Egerton’s mother, Elizabeth, was living with the family in Epsom when she died in 1929. She is buried in an unmarked grave at Waikumete Cemetery, west of Auckland.

The unmarked grave in Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland, of Elizabeth Cecil nee Peadon, Egerton Burleigh’s mother, is in the very foreground of this photo.

The unmarked grave in Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland, of Elizabeth Cecil nee Peadon, Egerton Burleigh’s mother, is in the very foreground of this photo.

It was only four years later when sadly Edith May Cecil died in a car accident in November 1933 in Waiuku, south of Auckland. Edith is buried in Hillsborough Cemetery in Auckland. Her grave is covered in burnt shells.

The desperately tragic story of the death of Edith May Cecil is told in these three pictures.

Edith's grave

Edith’s grave

Detail of Edith’s headstone

Detail of Edith’s headstone


After the death of his first wife, Egerton lived alone at their house in Epsom. Then in 1944 he married Cassie Carter Dent (nee Natzke), who already had two children – Frank and Evelyn. Cassie was the sister of renowned opera singer Oscar Natzka; a brief biography is planned.

By 1949 Egerton and Cassie had moved to Te Mata near Thames. Egerton was retired but it was not long before they moved back up north to 6 Sidmouth St, Mairangi Bay in Auckland.

Together they lived there until Cassie died in 1962. His granddaughter Ninette remembers visiting him, his ankle always gave him grief and she remembers his limp.

Egerton’s last move was to the Ranfurly Veterans’ Rest Home in Mt Albert, Auckland.

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil died of Myocardial Degeneration on the 28th February 1967.

On his death certificate it says that he was cremated at Waikumete Cemetery. They have no records of this so we don’t know what happened to his ashes, or if indeed he was actually cremated there.


Ranfurly veterans home, Mt Roskill, Auckland, New Zealand

Egerton was a true Anzac soldier. He fought in the Boer War as an Australian soldier and in WW1 as a NZ soldier and in WW2 as an Instructor.


Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil 1881 - 1967

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil 1881 – 1967

Egerton’s children

Burleigh Victor Cecil Tebay (Vic) with his wife, Beatrice

Burleigh Victor Cecil Tebay (Vic) with his wife, Beatrice

Melba Doreen (Dolly) Hare

Melba Doreen (Dolly) Hare

Lil and Joe Sunich

Lil and Joe Sunich

Winnie McNae and Thelma Barnie

Winnie McNae and Thelma Barnie


‘Aubrey’s Sons’ has been compiled by Wendy Skelley in New Zealand, 2011 (wendy.skelley@xtra.co.nz)

Thanks to Egerton’s granddaughters Ninette Skelley and Lorraine McNae for some background details and photos, Herbert Rogers for his amazing Boer War details and photos, Barbara Tearle for the ‘A Victorian Mésalliance, or, Goings on at the Manor’ and her inspiration to carry on the story and most of all a big thank you to my life-long partner, Tony Skelley, for enduring the hours while I tippity tapped away.


Aubrey Cooper Cecil, 1847, Toddington, UK

Aubrey Cooper Cecil  – born 10th March 1847 at Toddington Manor, Bedfordshire, England.

 The Manor House, Toddington, about 1860

The Manor House, Toddington, about 1860

The story of Aubrey’s ancestry and childhood has already been told in ‘A Victorian Mésalliance, or, Goings on at the Manor’ written by Barbara Tearle.

Here, the story of Aubrey and his family continues from 1870 onwards …

On the 1871 census Aubrey is listed as the ship’s surgeon onboard the ‘Alibi’ in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. His medical training has never been established, and he was known for his prankster antics so he may well not have been a medic.

During 1876 Aubrey and his brother, Egerton Dodge Cooper Cecil, played cricket for Hampshire. However it was a short-lived sporting career. Aubrey was a right-handed batsman and represented Hampshire in a single first-class match in 1876 against Derbyshire, scoring six runs.

On the 24th August 1878 Aubrey married Elizabeth Peadon at the All Saints Church in Southampton, Hampshire, England. Elizabeth was the only child of William Peadon and Mary Mathews. They were Innkeepers from Chard in Somerset, England. William was deceased at the time of marriage and Mary was living with her old Aunt.

Within the next few weeks Aubrey and Elizabeth left England and the next record of them is appearing in Australia in 1878.

When they left England Elizabeth was heavily pregnant and on the 10th September 1878, on board the vessel ‘Scottish Prince’, she gave birth to their first son, Aubrey Bruce Cooper Cecil.

It is hard to imagine how difficult that voyage must have been.

They arrived with their newborn son 16th December 1878 in Townsville, Australia.

Aubrey began working in Australia but returned to Hampshire in England after his mother’s death in August 1880.

The Scottish Prince

The Scottish Prince

The 1881 census was conducted on the 3rd April and Aubrey was living with his wife and son, boarding at a policeman’s house.

Their second son, Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil, was born 16th June 1881 at Chiswick Cottages, Middlesex, England. Egerton was named after Aubrey’s brother.

The couple and their two children then returned to Australia not long after.

In the Shipping News published in the South Australian Register Monday 9th January 1882 it lists Mr & Mrs Aubrey Cecil arrived on the Lusitania, a steamer, that left London November 24 1881. They had travelled staying in the second saloon to Sydney. The Lusitania was built in 1871 and owned by the Pacific Steam Nav. Co.

Aubrey became a Government Agent on ships voyaging to the Pacific Islands.

The following are extracts from Brisbane’s historical papers online.

 19th May 1882 “The licenses for plying in the recruiting trade have been received from Brisbane, and are now in the hands of Mr. H. St. Geo. Caulfeild, Polynesian Labour Inspector, who expects the May will sail towards the end of the week. Mr. Aubrey C. Cecil, for some considerable time on the Lochiel, has been appointed Government agent on board.”

19th May 1882 “The licenses for plying in the recruiting trade have been received from Brisbane, and are now in the hands of Mr. H. St. Geo. Caulfeild, Polynesian Labour Inspector, who expects the May will sail towards the end of the week. Mr. Aubrey C. Cecil, for some considerable time on the Lochiel, has been appointed Government agent on board.”

 29th July 1882 “Aubrey C Cecil to be a Government agent, on the supernumerary staff, to accompany vessels licensed to carry Pacific Islanders under the provisions of the Pacific Island Labourers Act of 1880.”

29th July 1882
“Aubrey C Cecil to be a Government agent, on the supernumerary staff, to accompany vessels licensed to carry Pacific Islanders under the provisions of the Pacific Island Labourers Act of 1880.”

A further news item notes the following:

4th December 1882

“Mr Aubrey Cecil, Government agent of the Chance, who most kindly hastened to render all the aid in his power to the shipwrecked ‘Jabberwock’.”

In 1887 Aubrey and Elizabeth had another son, Vernon Digby Cooper Cecil, who sadly was only one when he died.

Aubrey was away at sea often, so it is likely that the boys didn’t see a lot of their father growing up.

The Cecil family home was at 75 Milne Street, Clayfield, Albion, Brisbane, Australia.

Clayfield has always had a reputation as an exclusive Brisbane Suburb and has not diminished with the newer development. Many of the older more substantial homes have fortunately survived.

The Cecil home, Brisbane, Australia

The Cecil home, Brisbane, Australia

A detailed story on the history of the Clayfield area where they lived was documented by an old resident whose family moved there in late 1899. To give you an idea of the environment the family lived in on land, I have included excerpts in this story …

… The main arterial roads such as Breakfast Creek Road, New Sandgate Road, Old Sandgate Road (now Bonney Avenue – so named to commemorate the memory of Flores Bonney, who gained considerable fame as an aviatrix) had some semblance of being formed, but the subsidiary roads were more or less reservations, 66 feet wide and with a plough furrow down each side to act as a gutter and water table – the centre was more or less of the old three track style now very rarely seen, even in the country, the two outside tracks made by the vehicle wheels and the centre track made by the horse.

These roads were naturally very dusty and so an occasional water cart was used in an endeavour to abate this nuisance. One seldom travelled on any road in any type of vehicle without a dust coat.

… The Clayfield area was close enough to be able to enjoy the Brisbane River and in addition was served by two main waterways, Breakfast Creek and Kedron Brook. The former, however, apart from the boat anchorage was of little value, but Kedron Brook rising in the back hills of The Gap, flowed into Schultz’s Canal, The Serpentine and so on into Moreton Bay.

… Almost everybody had a horse drawn vehicle of some sort as in those days most houses had room to run horses and most conveyances were drawn by a single animal, although occasionally in town one saw pairs, but very seldom tandem.

… The main industry really on the outskirts of Clayfield was the Pottery on the western side of Lapraik Street and almost down to Crosby Road. This works turned out pots of all descriptions plus agricultural pipes and bricks. Two sawmills were

1908 picture courtesy of www.brisbanehistory.com

1908 picture courtesy of www.brisbanehistory.com

Thursday 24 February 1887 from The Argus,


The Government agent of the labour schooner Helena, now at Bundaberg, Queens-land, Mr. Aubrey C. Cecil, has addressed the following letter to the assistant immigration agent there:-“During the voyage of the Helena the following intelligence was given to, and the facts ascertained by, me relative to the movements of the French in the New Hebrides, which I trust you will communicate to the Chief Secretary. When in Port Sandwich on the 9th December the French officers told me that they were about to erect forts for the protection of the port, one at the North Head, one at the end of the harbour facing the entrance, and one near the company’s store; and also that the number of soldiers was to be increased to 220, and that new barracks were to be built. Whilst in Uraparapara, on the 8th January, the natives reported that a French warship had been there, and had pegged off land near the entrance to the harbour on both sides of the heads, on which it was said that they intended to erect small batteries. Whilst at Point Olroy, or Espiritu Santo, the French despatch vessel Guichen came to the anchorage, and landed a white missionary priest. I boarded her, and was told by the commander that they had within three days prior landed three other priests, two at Mate, in Villa Harbour, Sandwich, and one on private properly at Proctor’s Bay, which has been or will be bought by the Wesleyan missionary body.”

(special note …. Article later published in 1937, as below)

Three weeks ago Mr Aubrey Cecil, Government Agent on the labour schooner Helena, reported to the Government of this colony that the French were preparing to occupy the islands in the New Hebrides Group of which they at present hold possession, and that they intended to increase the number of troops there. The report was cabled to the Home Government through the Agent-General in London. The British Government promptly made representations to the French Government and asked for confirmation or denial of the report. The French Government denied the correctness of the report, but whether the denial was or was not qualified in any way cannot be judged from the information received by cable.


13th July 1889

“Mr. Aubrey Cecil, Government agent on board the Brigantine Hector, which has just returned from the South Sea Islands, has, at the request of the Under Secretary for Agriculture, presented to that department a number of plantain, yam, taro, and other plants obtained by him at the South Sea Islands. These will be despatched today for propagation at the Mackay State Nursery.”


21st May 1892 reported in The Queenslander, “The schooner May will probably sail in a few days on a recruiting trip to the South Seas. Mr. Cecil goes as Government agent.”

22nd March 1893 reported in South Australian Register, “The South Seas Hurricane, Brisbane, March 21st The barque Empreza, whose loss in the recent hurricane in the South Seas was reported, left Brisbane on January 11th with Captain Malcom in command, and Mr. A. C. Cecil, Government Agent, who took 153 return islanders for the New Hebrides.”

Aubrey Cooper Cecil died 22nd January 1900 and was buried at sea, he was only 52 years old. On his death certificate it says he as buried at Lat 105. S Long 161.13 E, near the Santa Cruz Islands north of Australia.


The Brisbane Courier

Friday 9th February 1900

“The reported death of Mr. A. C. Cecil at sea has caused a painful shock to his very wide circle of friends. The Coquette returned to port on Tuesday, and reported the demise of the Government agent as having occurred on the 22nd January. The deceased gentleman was the senior Government Agent on the staff, and was first appointed to the service in July, 1882. He bore a very high reputation, and was always regarded as one of the most valued and efficient Government agents, and his unexpected death has caused much regret, for although Mr. Cecil had not been in good health for some time prior to embarking on his last voyage, there was no reason to suspect that the end was so near.”

After her husband’s death, Elizabeth Cecil continued to live in Australia until about 1912 when she moved to New Zealand, to be with her son Egerton.



Tearle, William Major, 1899, Toddington, UK (2/Beds Regt)

Tearle, W M
Private, 2nd Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire

National Roll of the Great War” says:

Tearle William Major National Roll

Barbara has written to me about this chap and he is William Major Tearle 1899 of Toddington, son of Major Tearle 1874 of Toddington and Elizabeth Ann nee Turvey. Major is the son of Joseph 1843 of Toddington and Lois nee Major. Joseph is the son of Sarah Tearle who married John Garner and were hosts to niece Martha for very many years. Sarah was the dau of William 1796 of Stanbridge and Catherine nee Fossey. William is a son of Richard 1773 of Stanbridge and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth and Richard is a son of John 1741 and Martha nee Archer. 

I have an interest in the Toddington Tearles because my ggg-grandmother was Mary Garner 1805 of Toddington. She married Thomas Tearle 1807 of Stanbridge and their first child James 1827 was born in Toddington. James is the father of Levi Tearle 1850 of Stanbridge, blacksmith of Wing, my g-grandfather. Thomas took Mary back to Stanbridge and the rest of the family was born there. However, since Mary was a Toddington Garner, then she would be related to other Toddington Garner families.



Tearle, William Marlow, 1892, Toddington, UK (MGC)

Tearle, W
Private, Machine Gun Corps

Tearle Willie (William Marlow) MGC National Roll

J Tearle and W Tearle of Toddington are brothers of course, since they are from the same address. The first man, J Tearle, is John Tearle 1896 Toddington and W Tearle is his elder brother William Marlow Tearle (Willie Tearle) 1892 of Toddington. These are the boys of Joseph Marlow Tearle 1865 Sundon and Emily nee Evans. Joseph is the son of John Marlow and Sarah Tearle 1846 of Tebworth, with a history of name changes for her children between Marlow, Tearle/Marlow and Marlow/Tearle. She is the daughter of Joseph 1798 of Stanbridge and Maria nee Millings. Joseph is the son of William 1769 of Stanbridge and Sarah nee Clarke, and William is a son of Joseph 1737 of Stanbridge and Phoebe nee Capp.