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Preston Tearles

I first came across a Tearle family living in Preston when I discovered Charles Tearle, who had been killed in France in World War 2

Here is his service record from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Name: TEARLE, CHARLES  Initials: C

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment

Unit Text: 1st/5th  Bn.

Date of Death: 30/11/1917

Service No: 36932

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 8.


This memorial is, of course, in France, but Charles 1894, Preston, was the son of Charles 1858 Preston and Jane nee Fletcher. He died, along with more than 7000 British and Commonwealth forces, in the Battle of Cambrai, Nov and Dec 1917. Through his grandmother Sarah Tearle 1832 of Leighton Buzzard, he traces his ancestry to Joseph 1803 of Tebworth and Mary Ann nee Smith, and through them to Richard 1778 and Mary nee Pestel, which puts Charles on the branch of Joseph 1737. Joseph 1803 made the trek to the North when his own son, Joseph 1838 of Leighton Buzzard married Sophia Kibble. Her mother, Elizabeth, took them up to Preston, probably for a better life but also so she could be with her own family.

My involvement with the Preston Tearles started with the entry above of young Charles who was killed during WW1 in France. Then Richard sent me a report from CemSearch of all the graves in the Preston Cemetery. You can see the report on his Yahoo site, the link for which is on the last page. I found Charles in that list then I found the death of Joseph Tearle aged 90 and I sent off for the certificate. Here are the details:

Death cert 1889 Trinity (Preston) Lancaster 14 April 1889, 90yrs, Old age. Informant, Joseph Tearle, son, at 279 Newhall Lane Preston.

Using this certificate as a starting point, I developed a theory on the origins of the Preston Tearles.

Let’s start near the end and work both ways. According to the CEMSEARCH records “Report for Tearle in the Preston Cemetery,” Joseph Tearle died in Preston 1902 aged 64. There he is in the 1901 census at 34 Maitland St, Preston, living above a grocers shop, aged 61 with Sophia (63) and daughters Elizabeth 28 and Mary A 17. He records his place of birth as Beds Leighton Buzzard.

1901 Joseph 1840 LB p2 Mary A 17 in Preston

1901 Joseph 1840 LB p1 Sophia 63 Elizabeth 28 in Preston

Now here’s the first part of the theory. Mary Ann nee Smith is wife to a Joseph and mother to a Joseph as well. Perhaps the name of this last girl is a hint that Mary Ann nee Smith is the mother of this Joseph. Also you may notice that the numbers don’t tally. In 1901 he is 61, but in 1902 he is 64. In the same records there is the death in 1889 of Joseph Tearle, 90, father of Joseph, above. Since he is the father of Joseph Jnr, and we think Joseph’s mother was Mary Ann nee Smith, then Joseph Snr must be husband to Mary Ann. We also notice in the cemetery record the death in 1895 of Elizabeth Kibble, 83, mother of Sophie.

In the 1881 census I found Elizabeth Kibble, mother of Edwin Kibble and his family, with young Charles Edward Tearle (Preston) 21, nephew.

1881 = Charles Edward 1860 neph w Elizabeth Kibble 69 in Preston.

So the Kibbles and the Tearles kept close links. Also in the 1881 census in Preston is Joseph 1798 (ie Joseph Snr) born Beds Tebworth (transcribed Searle, but our man, all right) in the household as father-in-law of William Smellie, so Phoebe 36 (1845, from LB) William’s wife, is Joseph Snr’s daughter and Joseph Jnr’s sister.

1881 = Joseph 1805 Teb with dau Phoebe Smellie 36 in Preston.

There were just over 2000 Josephs in Preston in 1881, but only three of them were of interest to us. In 1881, Joseph Jnr (1839 LB) and Sophia were living in Fishwick, Preston, with six children.

1881 = Joseph 1839 LB n Sophia 44 Geoffry 17 John Thomas 15 Edward 12 Elizabeth 9 Alfred 6 Joseph 3 in Preston.

We now know that Joseph Snr’s family must consist of Mary Ann nee Smith, Joseph and Phoebe, who must be younger than Joseph Jnr. Since Joseph and Sophia are an unusual name for a couple, we’ll keep our eye on them as we work backwards. In the 1871 census, George 1825 and Maria are in Holbeck, Leeds, while there is a Jabez 1853 Stbg in Shipley, Yorks, labourer for an engineer – this is Joseph 1798 of Stanbridge and Maria nee Millings’ boy. Is it looking for work that’s driving them North?

Also in the 1871 census we can see Joseph 1803 Teb living with Phoebe Smellie. This is Joseph Snr and his daughter.

1871 = Phoebe 1845 LB wife William Smelley 26 Mary A 2 Joseph 4m Joseph Tearle 1803 Teb in Preston.

In the 1861 census there are some nice little tie-ups: Joseph (1850) in Leighton Buzzard (LB) and Sophia 23 have little Charles 1 at their knee (born in Preston) and are living in Preston with Elizabeth Kibble as head of the house and Edwin her son 10yrs.

This is definitely Joseph Jnr from above, but you do have to wonder how his age can swing so far in just 20yrs.

1861 = Joseph 1840 LB Sophia 23 Charles 1 in Preston.

In the 1851 census in Lammas Close, Leighton Buzzard, there is a Joseph 1803, widower, of Tebworth, father, living with George 24, LB, Maria 21 and Julia 6m. More tellingly, also there on that night was Phoebe 6 LB, sister (of George) and Charles 2 LB, brother – of George.

1851 = George 1824 LB Maria 24 Julia 6m Joseph 1803 Teb wdr father Phoebe 6 LB sis Charles 2 LB bro in Lammas Close LB.

A short distance away in Vandyke Rd, Leighton Buzzard (look up Multimap) living as brothers-in-law to John Sharpe are Thomas 1837 and Joseph 1839. This means Ann Sharp was Ann Tearle 1823 LB. This is the daughter of Joseph and Mary Ann.

1851 = Thomas 1837 LB Joseph 1839 LB in house as brother-in-law to John Sharpe and Ann 1823 LB in Vandyke Rd, LB.

So we now know that Joseph Snr’s family consisted (at least) of Ann 1823, George 1827, Thomas 1837 Joseph 1839, Phoebe 1845 and Charles 1849. There are other christenings for Joseph and Mary Ann nee Smith, but since they haven’t shown up in this story it is not necessary to list them. Also, don’t take too much notice of the ages; in 1841, Ann and George were both 15. This list is independent of the Leighton Buzzard christenings and has been compiled by working backwards; This family is without doubt that of Joseph and Mary Ann nee Smith.

Now, in order for this story to hold up, Mary Ann nee Smith must have died between 1849 and census night 1851, and eventually I found Mary Ann’s death certificate:


I have Joseph T and Mary Smith married in LB 3 Jan 1825 witnessed by William Clarke. In 1833 (LB) they baptize James. In 1836 (LB) they baptize Thomas. But they did not stay for Joseph. HOWEVER, I have the birth certificate of Joseph Tearle born 7 Sep 1838, LB, son of Joseph Tearle and Mary Ann nee Smith.

When telling the story of the Joseph Tearles you have to be careful that you don’t mix up Joseph and Mary’s Joseph (1838 LB) with Joseph and Maria’s Joseph, 1836 Stbg. George and Elizabeth of Tebworth also have a Joseph born 1829, Tebworth, and we distinguish this Joseph because his father is not Joseph and he was not born in LB.

The Preston Tearles are definitely Tearle Country Tearles; they are the descendants of Joseph Tearle of Tebworth, born about the turn of the 19th Century. He certainly was not born 1798 nor was he 90 when he died. If we take his age in the 1841 census, that makes him born as late as 1806. I am quite confident that the tree is correct; Joseph 1798 was from Stanbridge and married Maria Millings.

So now we need to search the Tebworth/Chalgrave records to find Joseph 1860-ish. There’s a nice big gap there between Phoebe 1803 and William 1814, children of Richard and Mary nee Pestell…. and a large number of the descendents of Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp called a daughter Phoebe.The original Joseph was Joseph 1803 (he changes his age with each census, but this is him) one of the unbaptised children of Richard 1778 of Stanbridge and Mary nee Pestel.

As a result of a lot of discussion and a full review, I have ended up with this family for Richard and Mary:

Phoebe 1803    Chalgrave

Joseph 1803/4    Tebworth

James 1806    Tebworth

Charlotte 1808    Tebworth

George 1809     Wingfield

William 1814    Chalgrave

Thomas 1816    Tebworth

Mary 1818    Chalgrave

Joseph 1803 and Mary Ann had, amongst others Sarah 1832, and Ann 1826 who married John Sharpe and hosted Thomas 1836 and Joseph 1838 for a while in LB, at least in 1851.

Joseph 1838 married Sophia Kibble and they are housed by Sophie’s mother Elizabeth Kibble, who takes them up to Preston, where many of her family live. Joseph’s father and Phoebe his sister follow them. While she is in Preston, Phoebe meets and marries William Smellie of Preston. Sarah 1832 has a boy Charles and then goes up to Preston and marries Thomas Hoole from Manchester. She has two children by him and dies in Preston, aged 53.

Young Charles marries Jane Fletcher and has, amongst others, Pvt Charles Tearle who is killed in France in 1917.

Those are pretty bare bones, but that’s it. All the Preston Tearles in the CemSearch report of the Preston Cemetery are the family of Joseph 1803-Ish, born in Tebworth.

The Tearle Family group was taken at 69 Calverley Steet,Preston approximately 1898 and is as follows: Back Row: (Left to right) Edwin, Joseph, Elizabeth, Thomas and George (Edwin is either Edwin Kibble or Edward Tearle, and I have no record of a George) Front Row: Alfred, Joseph (father) Mary Ann (age 14) Charles and Sophia (mother) This photo was sent to me by Hazel of Preston, for which I am deeply grateful.

The wedding photograph is of Mary Ann Tearle (the youngest daughter daughter in the photo above) to Henry Gillgrass Parker (couple on the left). This photo was also sent to me by Hazel of Preston

The wedding photograph is of Mary Ann Tearle (the youngest daughter daughter in the photo above) to Henry Gillgrass Parker (couple on the left).
This photo was also sent to me by Hazel of Preston

Hazel also went on a field-trip to the Preston Cemetery and transcribed the following information from the three headstones still standing there:

The first is the family of Joseph 1838 LB and Sophia nee Kibble. You can see listed here Joseph 1803 Tebworth, his father.


In affectionate remembrance of Elizabeth daughter of Joseph and Sophia Tearle who died January 5th 1865 aged 4 years. Also Sophia their daughter who died March 11th 1877 aged 10 months. also Joseph Tearle grandfather of the above children who died April 14th 1889 aged 90 years also Elizabeth Kibble mother of above Sophia Tearle who died Jan 2nd 1895 aged 83 years also Emily May daughter of Edward and Emily Tearle (grand-daughter) who died Dec 19th 1899 aged 1 year and 7 months also above named Joseph Tearle who died October 18th 1902 aged 64 years. also Elizabeth Tearle daughter of above who died October 25th 1906 aged 35 years. Also Rachel Tearle daughter of Joseph and Rachel Tearle(grand daughter) who died March 7th 1908 aged 11 months. also Sophia wife of above named Joseph who died January 20th 1922 aged 84 years.


Charles Edward Tearle who passed to the higher life April 10th 1906 aged 48 years also Elizabeth Ann wife to the above who passed to the higher life June 19th 1946 aged 85 years. Also Gladys,daughter of the above,who passed to the higher life Sept 15th 1893 aged 12 years. Also Mabel,daughter of the above who passed to the higher life August 17th 1897 aged 4 years. also Edith,daughter of the above who died July 4th 1945 age 61

This is Charles Edward 1860 Preston, eldest son of Joseph 1838 and Sophia, above.


Joseph son of Charles and Jane Tearle who died May 13th 1893 aged 4 months also Arthur their son who died August 9th 1900 aged 1 month also PTE Charles Tearle 1/5th L.N.L Regt. son of above killed in action November 30th 1917 aged 23 years. Also Jane,wife of above Charles and mother of the above children who died October 9th 1921 age 62 also Charles, husband of Jane and father to above children who died 26th June 1922 age 64. Also Mary Fletcher mother of the above Jane Tearle who died Dec 11th 1898 age 74. Also Sarah Hoole, mother of the above Charles Tearle who died November 14th 1884 age 53. Also Ellen sister of ????? (I could not read any further as the stone was covered with soil.

This is Charles 1858 Preston, son of Sarah 1832 LB, who was an elder sister of Joseph 1838 above. His wife was Jane Swarbrick. One of their sons, Charles 1894 Preston, as you can see from the inscription, was killed in WW1.

Charles was killed during the Battle of Cambrai, which started on 20 Nov 1917. When the Germans regrouped and attacked on 29 Nov, after initial Allied success, Charles was killed in the following 5 days of fierce action. Cambrai Memorial was established to commemorate those who have no grave. A railway porter, he is remembered by the LNWR memorial in Euston Rd, although there are no names on it.

Euston Station War Memorial

Euston Station War Memorial.

Around the base of the monument there are four over-sized bronzes of military men; a sailor, an infantryman, an airman and a gunner.

Bronze figure Euston Station War Memorial

Bronze figure Euston Station War Memorial.

I understood that there was a list of about 3500 names of railway employees killed in WW1 associated with this memorial, and I spent a day around the station trying to find it. Eventually, I discovered that the names had been collated and printed in a book, a copy of which was given to the family of every casualty. It would be interesting to know who of Charles’ family the book was given to, and whether it still exists. I would love to see it.

Suffice it to say, that the Euston memorial will have to speak for Charles, and now that we know at least some of his story, and the history of his family, we can be assured that we will not forget him, and that we will always remember the sacrifice he made for his country and his family.


See the story of James 1862, the soldier, who is buried in Cardiff.


Charles Walter Yule Tearle, 1919, Harlesden, UK

Brian Tearle has asked me to see if I can find his Willesden ancestors. This is what I have found:

Brian’s father is Charles Walter Yule Tearle, b1919 in Harlesden, Willesden, Mdx.

In the years since I took up the quest to find out who this man and his family was, I had a good deal of help from, especially, Pat Field of Bedfordshire and Sue Albrecht of Auckland.

Brian sent me his father’s birth certificate, and that said his father was George Tearle and his mother was “Ellen Tearle formerly Rodgers”. Importantly, it also noted the address: 77 Carlysle Avenue, Harlesden and that he was “Private, Royal Army Medical Corps (General Carman).” That hit a note; G Tearle, the soldier in the National Roll, was also from the same address and had the same job in the army; they would be the same man.

Brian then sent me his father’s marriage certificate and it showed they were married in the Petersfield Registry Office in Nov 1940. Charles was a sapper in the Royal Engineers, as well as being a railway porter in civilian life. His father was George Tearle. The marriage certificate did not help me a lot, because the name George Tearle doesn’t tell us much.

I came across the medical records of all the Tearle men who had been injured, or at least came to the attention of an army hospital. The medical records were kept at Chelsea Hospital, and a George Tearle was amongst them. The Attestation page was crystal clear – George Tearle, 77 Carlysle Ave, Willesden. He was 34yrs in Dec 1915, (born 1881) and he was a labourer. The army gave him the number 331034, and put him in the Middlesex Regiment, and from there he was transferred to the 19th Coy, RAMC in Sep 1916. His infringements were relatively minor – 7 days confined to barracks for a guard duty error, and 14 days imprisonment for being 36hr late from leave.

And then I came across the page about his family:

Address 77 Carlysle Ave, Willesden

His “Platonic Wife” Ellen Yule and children:

Ellen Dorothy 1903

George 1912

Alan John 1913

Athol James 1914 and

Charles Walter Yule 1919.

Now I knew all this about him, and he definitely was Charles’ father, but I still didn’t know exactly who he was. And a platonic wife, with children, seemed an odd expression.

It was Pat who solved the problem when she found George’s marriage certificate of 1948; it was a revelation. His name was Otho George, he was 65, a bachelor and he was marrying Ellen Yule, aged 69, a widow. George’s father’s name was Jonathon Tearle and Ellen’s father was Alfred Rogers. We also found George’s baptism in St Michael and All Angels, Paddington, in Oct 1884, his name certainly was Otho George and his parents were Jonathon and Alice Tearle. Sue had also found a previous marriage for Ellen Rogers to William James Alfred Yule in 1897. She was finally allowed to marry George when William Yule died.

Otho George 1882, born in Willesden, was a son of Jonathon Tearle 1862 of Stanbridge and Alice nee Kearns, who were married in 1882. They had two boys in WW1, and one of them, James Harry Tearle 1891 of Willesden, was killed in the Somme in 1917. Jonathon was a son of William 1832 and Catharine nee Fountain, and traces his lineage back to John 1741. His father became my step-gg-grandfather when he married my gg-grandmother, Mary nee Andrews in Watford in 1893.


Sarah Tearle nee Bishop, 1829, Oxon, UK

I am now going to have a look at the story of Sarah Bishop b1829 of Little Milton, Oxfordshire. I don’t have the 1841 census return because she would have been 12 so possibly at home in Little Milton and there are three Sarah Bishops there. Without the marriage certificate, I can’t be sure I have the right one.

HOWEVER – in 1851, Sarah is a servant for a farmer in Slapton, Bucks and there she meets our handsome John.

1851 = Sarah Bishop 1829 Oxon servt to Thomas Ginger Slapton

In 1861 Sarah and John have a lovely family, John is a maltster and Sarah looks like she can afford to stay home and look after the children.

1861 = John 1825 Dagnall Sarah 32 William 8 George 6 Jabez 5 Sarah A 3 Louisa B 1 in Slapton

John dies in 1867 and times get very difficult. William goes to live with Uncle George in Watford (John’s brother) while George becomes apprenticed to a grocer in Dunstable. By 1871 Sarah is called a victualler and has only Jabez, Sarah and Anna left at home, while Louisa is a nursemaid in the household of Alfred Gurney, a malster of Slapton. Perhaps he works for Sarah… But I suppose there is more than one pub in the village. Sarah is running the Carpenter’s Arms.

1871 = Sarah 1829 Oxon Jabez 16 Sarah A 13 Anna F 7 in Slapton

In 1881, Sarah is a publican and grocer. Another example of just how strong and determined our Victorian mothers were. It looks as though the business has grown. Sarah Ann is a dressmaker, possibly working from the store, as is Louisa, now back home with Mother. Anna is a pupil teacher. In the 1880s a pupil teacher was a teacher apprentice (sort of) and was working to get onto the teaching staff as opposed to an assistant teacher, who helped out, but would never become a teacher.

1881 = Sarah 1829 Oxon Sarah A 23 Louisa B 21 Ann T 17 in Slapton

In 1891, Sarah and dau Sarah Ann are running the business in Leighton Rd, Slapton in a property called a “public house and grocer” by the census enumerator. Sarah Ann is running her dressmaking business from the premises, probably helping Mother in busy times. Sarah calls herself an Innkeeper and grocer. She is 62, still working.

1891 = Sarah 1829 Oxon Sarah A 35 in Slapton

In 1901 Sarah and Sarah Ann are in Ivinghoe! Sarah, at 72 is now a retired grocer and Sarah Ann is still a dressmaker “on own account” meaning she is not on parish relief. They are living next door to George and Susan Ginger. He is a lock-keeper on the canal and I wonder if it is this pair who has drawn Sarah to Ivinghoe. We may never know, but Sarah has well deserved a quiet and gracious retirement.

1901 = Sarah 1829 Little Milton Oxon Sarah Ann 43 in Ivinghoe.

Here is the last chapter in the story of Sarah nee Bishop. Pat Field sent me this picture from the Ivinghoe Churchyard. She says:

“Have today found a Tearle Gravestone in Ivinghoe. The details on the stone were “In Loving Memory of Sarah Ann Tearle who died Aug 19th 1910 aged 52yrs also Sarah Tearle Mother of above who died Oct 5 1915 aged 87yrs.”

She certainly did have a nice long retirement.

Sarah Tearle headstone, Ivinghoe

Sarah Tearle headstone, Ivinghoe


Peter Frank Tearle 1927, Edlesborough, UK

This headstone belongs to Peter Frank 1927 of Edlesbrough. He married Iris Patricia Galpin in Luton in 1948. His father was Frank 1898 of Eaton Bray who married Selina Gore in 1921. His grandfather was George 1861 Edles and his g-grandparents were George 1831 EB and Hannah Maria nee Janes. George’s parents were Jabez 1792 of Northall  and Mary nee Green and that means Peter is on the branch William 1749 (and Mary nee Prentice).


Frank was the brother of Jeffery 1891 EB who was killed in France in 1914. This makes Peter Jeffery’s nephew.


Louis/Lewis, 1890, Edlesborough

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

1901 = William 1852 Edles Ann 49 Louis 11 in EB


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Reginald Frank Tearle 1908, Watford, UK (RAFVR)

Reginald Frank Tearle 1908, Watford

Initials: R F
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Sergeant (Obs.)
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Age: 35
Date of Death: 27/04/1944
Service No: 1379571
Additional information: Son of Frank and Margaret Tearle of Watford; husband of Eleanor Tearle, of Watford.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. A. Cons. Grave 158.

I’m afraid the CWGC is silent on the circumstances of Reginald’s death.

His father was Frank Tearle 1881 of Cambridge who married Margaret May Warr in Watford in 1905 and died in 1927. His grandparents were Abel 1850 of Dagnall and Alice Gray nee Collier, while his g-grandparents were Thomas 1830 Dagnall and Jane nee Draper.

Thus, he is on the branch of Thomas 1737.

Below is his headstone in Watford North Cemetery:

Reginald Frank Tearle CWGC headstone Watford North Cemetery

Reginald Frank Tearle CWGC headstone Watford North Cemetery

And here is a closeup of the text:

Sgt RF Tearle Watford North Cemetery

Sgt RF Tearle Watford North Cemetery


Frank Tearle 1898, Eaton Bray, UK (RASC)

Tearle, F  Private, RASC

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

Here is what National Roll of the Great War  says:

Tearle Frank RASC National Roll

Below is his army medals card:

Frank Tearle M279390 WW1 army medal rolls

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

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

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

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

Frank Tearle 1898 WW1 Silver War Badge

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

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

Susanna Tearle, 1827 Dagnall headstone in Dunstable Cemetery.

Susanna Tearle, 1827, Dagnall, UK

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

Susanna Tearle, 1827 Dagnall

Susanna Tearle, 1827 Dagnall

Susanna Tearle, 1827 Dagnall

Susanna Tearle, 1827 Dagnall, headstone in Dunstable Cemetery.

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

1861 = Jabez 1837 Dagnall Susannah 30 housekeeper in Dunst

1871 = Susanna 1830 Dagnall serv for Benjamin Bennett in Dunst

1881 = Susanna 1827 Dagnall housekeeper in Dunst

I do wonder who erected this beautiful memorial to her.

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


John Gates Tearle, 1890, Wolverton, UK

I’d heard that there was a Tearle memorial in Cosgrove Church and it took me two trips there even to find it. However, the adventure was worth the trouble because this is a fascinating story. You can see below the memorial to “Those who served” in WW1 and amongst the names was John G Tearle.  His parents were Charles 1859 of Stanbridge and Lizzie nee Gates. They called him John Gates Tearle.  He had the service number 1469 and he fought with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

WW1 Memorial on the wall of St Peter and St Paul, Cosgrove

WW1 Memorial on the wall of St Peter and St Paul, Cosgrove

Now, Lizzie Gates was the daughter of Ephraim Gates and Sarah nee Tearle 1837 Stbg, and Sarah’s parents were Abel 1810 Stbg and Martha nee Emmerton. This means she is on the branch Joseph 1737 via William 1769 and Sarah nee Clark. You can see the marriages of both Abel and Sarah in the Stanbridge banns register.  Thus Lizzie is on the branch Joseph 1737.

Charles’ parents were William 1832 Stbg and Catharine nee Fountain. William was the brother of my gg-grandfather James 1827 Stbg so Charles was a cousin of my g-grandfather Levi, the blacksmith of Wing. This puts him on the branch John 1741.

You can see John just 10 months old, in the Wolverton census of 1891.

1891 = Charles 1860 Stbg Lizzie 32 Rose L 7 John G 10m in Wolverton. Charles is a railway worker, like his father, and is living amongst a group of railway employees, possibly employee accommodation.

And then we see them one last time in the Wolverton census of 1900.

1901 = Charles 1860 Stbg Lizzie 42 John 10 Nellie 6 in Wolverton. Charles is a railway platelayer and is living at 524 Glyn Sq, Wolverton. So I’m now fairly sure this was tightly-packed worker accommodation.

John married Violet Elmore in 1913 and they had a son in 1914 who they called Richard Elmore Tearle. This is where John’s story becomes very sad. Richard was working in Coventry during the Blitz of 1940 and he was tragically killed in a bombing raid. You can see his story on the WW2 page.

List of men from Cosgrove who served in WW1

List of men from Cosgrove who served in WW1

Detail of the list, showing John G Tearle

Detail of the list, showing John G Tearle


Rowland Grigg Tearle, 1916, London, UK (RAMC)

In the church of St Andrew, Yardley Hastings, there is the memorial to Rowland Grigg Tearle, and other young men who died in the Great War.

St Andrews, Yardley Hastings, Northants.

St Andrews, Yardley Hastings, Northants.

Here are his details from Roll of Honour:
Private 55930, 11th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps. Died at home 9th June 1916. Age 20. Born London, enlisted Northampton.
Buried near the East boundary in ST. ANDREW CHURCHYARD, YARDLEY HASTINGS.

WW1 memorial inside St Andrews Church.

WW1 memorial inside St Andrews Church.

His details as recorded by CWGC are exactly the same as this.

The army records that Susannah Rogers was paid two gratuities, as the sole person named in his will.

Rowland Tearle UK Army Effects

Rowland Tearle UK Army Effects.

Rowland’s (sometimes spelt Roland) WW1 army medals card recorded that he died 9/6/16 and that he had earned the British Medal, the Victory Medal and the Star. It noted that he joined the French Theatre of war on 27/5/15 and that he was in the Royal Army Medical Corps. I can find no other military record.

CWGC headstone for R Tearle in St Andrews Church cemetery.

CWGC headstone for R Tearle in St Andrews Church cemetery.

Given that he died at home, we can suppose either a horrible injury or a debilitating trench disease. I wonder if the local NHS would have any knowledge of him? I am often reminded of how short his life was; I do hope there is something more we can say for him.

There was a good deal of discussion about the origins of Rowland and why he was living with Susannah Rogers, so I sent off for his birth certificate. He was born Rowland Grigg Tearle on 8 Jan 1896 in Queen Charlotte Hospital, Marylebone Road. His mother was Elizabeth Tearle, Book Keeper, Hotel of Willesden. There is no recorded father. The informant on the certificate was E Tearle, mother, 20 Victoria Road, Kilburn. He was registered on 11 Jan 1896 in the Sub-district of St Mary, County of London. Here is a compressed version of his 1901 census return:

1901 = Rowland 1896 Paddington border Susannah Rogers 57 Mary 30 Frank Gordon 1 Calcutta India boarder in Yardley Hastings Northants

It seemed to me very odd that he should be just five years old and living in another family far away from London, where presumably his mother would still be. Since we had no father for young Rowland and that prevented us from knowing his mothers’ familial relationships, I hoped that Susannah Rogers would be able to lead us to her. I found Susannah in the 1861 Bozeat, Northants census –

1861 = Susannah Rogers 1844 Harrold wife Stephen 21 William J Robinson 8 brother in Bozeat Northants

She was just 18, born Harrold, Beds, and was married to Stephen Rogers, a Gamekeeper, of West Tytherley, Hampshire, which is half way between Salisbury and Winchester. They were boarding her younger brother, William J Robinson. So now we had a formal identification for her. She was Susannah Robinson 1843 Harrold. So that means this is her and her parents and her grandfather in the 1851 census:

1851 = Susannah Robinson 1844 Harrold Beds Mary 33 William 36 William Abrahams 83 in Northants

I found Stephen and Susannah with their first children, William and Mary Elizabeth, in the 1871 census –

1871 = Susannah Rogers 1843 Stephen 31 William 8 Mary E 9m in Cornwall

They were back in Buckinghamshire for the 1881 census, but there was a surprise for me –

1881 = Susannah Rogers 1843 Stephen 41 William C 18 James A 14 Mary E 10 Thomas J 6 in Weston Underwood Bucks

I tried to find James A 1867 Turvey, Beds, in the 1871, but he is invisible.

I did find him the the 1891

1891 = James Rogers 1867 Turvey Beds Valet in Northants

as well as Susannah and Stephen, now living in the Keepers House near Yardley Hastings, where Stephen was a Gamekeeper for the Yardley Chase forestry estate, not far from where Milton Keynes is now.

1891 = Susannah Rogers 1843 Harrold Stephen 51 Thomas J 16 Mary E 20 in Yardley Hastings Northants

Pat Field found the Buckinghamshire Records marriage of Mary Ann Tearle 1866 and James Abraham Rogers in Q1 1886 Newport Pagnell, Northants, 3a, p695. “Date 8 Mar 1887 Entry James Abraham Rogers, full age, bachelor, Servant of Little Linford son of Stephen Rogers, Gamekeeper married Mary Ann Tearle full age spinster servant of Little Linford dau of John Tearle deceased. Witnesses James X Johnson, Alice Sheargold Banns not found Parish Little Linford St. Leonard.

Mary Ann was the dau of John 1823 (the marine) and Sophia nee Walker. This is the first occasion where I found James’ middle name. He has been, as is often the case with Victorian families, given the surname of his maternal grandfather. James’ being on his own on census night meant that his family had to be somewhere else, and they were:

1891 = Mary A Rogers nee T 1866 Aylesbury Arthur Rogers 1 visitor in Sussex E Grinstead

In 1901, Mary Ann and James were in Knightsbridge, London

1901 = Mary A Rogers nee T 1866 Linslade James A Rogers 34 Arthur 11 Edith 8 in Lon

For Susannah, the 1901 census painted a different picture – she was now a widow, and there was a young chap – Frank Gordon, 1yr – born in Calcutta, India living with her, then Rowland, and Mary Elizabeth, her daughter.

1901 = Rowland 1896 Paddington border Susannah Rogers 57 Mary 30 Frank Gordon 1 Calcutta India boarder in Yardley Hastings Northants

They had must have moved into the village after Stephen’s death, and Mary was earning some money for them as a dressmaker. Rosemary wrote to tell me she had seen Rowland still living with Susannah in the 1911 census in Yardley Hastings. For me, Susannah was now officially an In-Law, and has her place on The Tree.

There was a definite family connection, then, between Susannah Rogers and the Tearles, specifically John 1825 and Sophia nee Walker, but this didn’t explain why Rowland was living with her, and whether there was an equal familial relationship with his mother, Elizabeth. I did the Tearle births calculation: 22 years for the boys from the birth of their first child, perhaps as few as 18 for the women. Elizabeth had to be born earlier than 1878, but probably not earlier than 1866.

Sophia died in 1880 and was buried in All Saints, Leighton Buzzard. Rosemary reminded me of the 1881 census return, with the kind of blinding insight that only Rosemary does. In the 1881 Leighton Buzzard census there is recorded the contents of a house in Vandyke Rd. This is so important to the story that I have reproduced the essential viewing portions of both pages of the return.


Page 1

Page 2

Page 2

The head of the house is Mary 1822 LB, there is her brother John 1824 LB, Greenwich pensioner (navy) and her other brother Charles 1827 LB also a Greenwich pensioner, then Harriett 1860 LB a niece, then Alice 1862 LB a niece, then Charles H 1865 LB a nephew, Charles E 1866 from Morpeth, and Eliza 1869 and Elizabeth 1872 from Linslade.

Since everyone in the house is either a brother, nephew or niece of Mary 1822, then all of them are direct descendants of John 1780 and Sarah nee Claridge.

In the 1871, Mary had two of Edmund’s children, plus her own.

1871 = Mary 1822 LB Sarah 1846 LB Alice 9 Charles 6 in LB I couldn’t find Harriett 1860 anywhere.

Harriett 1860, Alice 1862 and Charles 1865 all come from another of Mary’s brothers, Edmund 1833, who lived just round the corner in Hockliffe Rd, but who died in 1867 and his wife Harriett in 1869. In 1871, Edmund 1855 who would become a well-known stage manager and actor, was already in Liverpool working in an office, so he was independent.

Charles Edward from Morpeth is the son of Charles 1827.

That means that Eliza and Elizabeth from Linslade are John’s children. I don’t have a birth cert for Elizabeth, but this is probably her: Q3 1871, L.B. 3b 156. Until the certificate turns up and proves me wrong, I think it is acceptable that this Elizabeth 1871 is John and Sophia’s girl. The only other family having children in Linslade were John’s brother Thomas 1821 and Sarah Jane nee Elliott. Their last child was George 1862 and adding Elizabeth 1871 is not impossible (Sarah would have been 47) but unlikely.

We found one late clue which helped convince us; Pat Field sent me the Leighton Buzzard baptisms of All Saints Church:

1 Jan 1883 ELIZABETH dau of John & Sophia Tearle of Leighton Pensioner

Sophia nee Walker, John’s wife, died in 1880, so this was simply a late baptism for Elizabeth. It certainly helps to show that he had a daughter Elizabeth and one supposes this is not Eliza.

Which brings us back to Rowland. Rosemary had much earlier seen the wedding of Mary Ann 1866 and James Rogers, and had raised the question:

“Susannah’s daughter-in-law was Mary Ann Tearle, born Linslade in 1866.

Mary Ann’s parents were John (1825) and Sophia, nee Walker.  Her siblings were Sarah Jane (1863), John (1864), Eliza Sophia (1868) and Elizabeth (1871).

Because of the relationship between Mary Ann and Susannah, I am of the opinion that Mary Ann’s sister Elizabeth is Rowland’s mother.”

We found Elizabeth in 1891:

1891 = Elizabeth 1872 Linslade, barmaid, in Rugby but she was not in any 1901 census.

Rosemary spent some time looking at what may have happened to Elizabeth and following up on the lead of young Frank Gordon from Calcutta living with Susannah, Rosemary looked to records from India. Tantalisingly, there was a Miss Tearle 28yr on the ship Rewa bound for Calcutta, India in 1897. She found that in 1899 an Elizabeth Tearle (26yr) father John, dec, married Arthur Brown (27yr) in Calcutta, but we cannot tell if it was our Elizabeth. As Rosemary tells it, “Since Arthur was 27, perhaps Elizabeth lopped a few years off her age…”

Rosemary now had a long look for Rowland’s possible father and I’ll let her tell the story in her own words:

As to who was Rowland’s father – Rowland Grigg is an unusual Christian name and I pondered as to whether this could have been the name of his father.  I tried to see if there was a famous Rowland Grigg about when Rowland was born, but could find nothing on Google. So looked to see if a Rowland Grigg did indeed live in England.

There is a Rowland Grigg who was born, lived and died in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight – 1872 – 1901.  This seemed to be too far away from where Elizabeth lived and worked.  But then I found that Mary Ann’s two children were born in Ashurst Wood Sussex, not all that far from the Isle of Wight.  Could Elizabeth been staying with her sister Mary Ann?  Could Elizabeth and Rowland Grigg and have met?  Brighton, that most famous of holidaying sites, was near to both Mary Ann’s and Rowland’s residential areas.  The Isle of Wight itself was also a  well-known holiday destination popularised by Queen Victoria.

Rowland Grigg of the Isle of Wight was the son of a draper and had no occupation recorded in the census before he died.  His, too, was a short life.

So I think we have finally told the bare bones of Rowland’s remarkable story. He is a member of a proud and illustrious family – the theatrical Tearles. We have established that his mother was Elizabeth 1871, the daughter of John 1825, the marine, and Sophia nee Walker. I am sure there is still a story to be told about why she was in Rugby in 1891 and why she was working in Willesden about the time of Rowland’s birth. His family’s times were difficult, and children were brought up by the extended family rather than by their parents. All the evidence shows, though, that they were still well brought up. Rowland heeded the call to war, and signed up to save lives rather than to take them. This decision cost him his own life, and we can only speculate on the misery it may have caused him as he lay dying in Susannah’s house. We have established his family connections, and we have acknowledged the debt we owe to Susannah Rogers and the generosity she showed him.

There is one other memorial we discovered; on the wall of the Yardley Hastings Memorial Hall that faces the road is a memorial to the young men who died in WW1 and WW2: Rowland is with them. He has been called Greg, but we are aware of exactly who he was.

War Memorial on hall, Yardley Hastings.

War Memorial on hall, Yardley Hastings.

DSCF5681 Rowland Gregg Tearle on war memorial Yardley Hastings Northants

Close-up of names on the War Memorial Hall.