Tag Archives: Stanbridge


John Tearle of Hyderabad – A hundred years in India

All Saints Church, Marlow, Buckinghamshire

All Saints Church, Marlow, Buckinghamshire


John Tearle was a Lt Commander in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. He was awarded the Atlantic Star and the Africa Star. He had served on the DEVONSHIRE and the MANCHESTER.

He was awarded five medals in all, which he wore on a bar during formal military occasions. One was the War Medal 1939-1945 awarded to all personnel who had completed at least 28 days service between 3 Sep 1939 and 2 Sep 1945; then the 1939-1945 Star which was awarded for operational service between 3 Sep 1939 and 2 Sep 1945, and John certainly had plenty of that. Another was the Africa Star, the fourth was the Atlantic Star, and the fifth was the Defence Medal. Servicemen were only allowed five medals for fighting in World War 2, and John had a full house.

He would have won the Africa Star because he had served on the HMS Manchester in the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic Star because the Manchester had also served in the Atlantic convoys, joined the search for the Bismark, and she had also been engaged in the reinforcement of Spitzbergen. She had a very sad end when she was hit by a torpedo dropped from an enemy aeroplane on 13 August 1942, and was severely damaged off the coast of Tunisia. Her captain decided she was unable to make it back to port, so to save his men, he ordered the ship scuttled. He was court-marshalled, found guilty of negligence, and dismissed from service. It is likely that John’s children would be very grateful for the captain’s gesture.

It is not clear when John Tearle served on the HMS Devonshire because she was never sunk, and since she was built in 1926 and scrapped in 1954, he could have served on her at any time, and for any length of time. She is famous for rescuing the Norwegian royal family in 1940, for which they still supply a beautiful Norwegian fir every Christmas to stand, emblazoned with white lights, in Trafalgar Square. In a book by the author entitled William A J Tearle, Firefighter of Lostwithiel, there is recounted the story of Victor Tearle, who served on the Onslow, and escorted the Norwegian royal family back to Norway at the end of the war. The Devonshire was the flagship of that convoy. She also served in the Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean escorting ANZAC forces from Suez to Australia.

He had a brother and two sisters, known familiarly to the family as Uncle Frank, Aunt Kitty (married to Robert) and Aunt Betsy, married to Angus.

It was noted, also that John Tearle, engineer, had been recorded in shipping passenger lists to-ing and fro-ing from London to Bombay:

10 Mar 1950 from Sydney to Bombay on the Strathaird
16 August 1950 on the Strathmore (sister ship of the Strathaird)
23 May 1952 he arrives in Southampton from Durban on the Athlone Castle
30 May 1958 he arrives in Southampton from Bombay on the Carthage.

This is because he was the chief engineer at Singareni Coal Mines, not far from Hyderabad. His wife, Jean Tearle, had also made the trip to and from Bombay many times, often accompanied by one or more of her children, some of whom had been born in India.

It came to light that John Tearle’s father was John Herbert Tearle. He was a man well known in the records stowed in the Tearle Tree. Born in 1881 in Bisham, Berkshire, he married Mary Ward in Westminster City in 1900 and in the 1911 census he was an accountant. It is now possible to construct the family of which John Tearle was a member:

John’s family:

Parents: John Herbert Tearle and Mary nee Ward (married 1900, four children)

Violet Elizabeth 1901,
Francis John Enoch 1902,
Kathleen May 1910,
John Tearle 1916

It becomes immediately clear who the nick-names in the introduction belong to:
Uncle Frank was Francis John Enoch Tearle (even his obituary in The Times called him Frank)
Auntie Kitty was Kathleen May
Auntie Betsy was Violet Elizabeth.

The entire family must have lived a long time in the North, because John’s marriage to Jean Searle in 1941 was in the Northumberland registration district, although, without the marriage certificate, there is no way of telling where in that district the marriage took place. Once it was established that John Tearle 1916 in the Tearle Tree was John Tearle, Lt Commander RN above, this ancestry became clear:

John Tearle 1916 and Jean nee Searle
John Herbert Tearle 1881 and Mary nee Ward
Enoch Tearle 1841 and Elizabeth nee Jones
Abel Tearle 1810 and Martha nee Emmerton
William Tearle 1769 and Sarah nee Clarke
Joseph Tearle 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp
Thomas Tearle 1709 and Mary nee Sibley.

From the point of view of John’s grandchildren, they are looking at nine generations of their family’s history. It is now time to put some detail into the events that led to the construction of the family tree immediately above.

The trunk of John’s Tree

John Herbert Tearle has an army service record. It is an odd entry of just 3 pages, and on the first page (militia attestation) someone has scrawled diagonally across it in blue pencil: Purchased 6/12/96. At the top of the page, there is the number that John Herbert will live with for the rest of his life – 5610, his military serial number – and the unit he was joining – the 3rd Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment. There are some interesting answers to the questions on the form:

Born: Aldershot, Hants.            It is not clear why he said this, because his birth registration clearly states he was born in Bisham, Berkshire.
Living: Marlow, Buckinghamshire
Employer: Messrs Medmenham Pottery Co, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, for which company he was a clerk.
The second page tells us he was 5ft 8¼ in tall with scars on his left knee. A medical examination pronounced him fit for army service on 25 November 1896.
The third page (statement of service) is very short;
Length of service: 25.11.96 to 5.12.96. 11 days. Purchased.

This would suggest he had not liked the army and, since he was only 18, it is safe to assume his father had paid the fee. His father, it turns out, is a very interesting man indeed, with a biblical name that many of us would love to carry even today.

John Herbert’s family

Parents: Enoch Tearle and Elizabeth nee Jones (married 1869, seven children)
Jeffrey Jones T 1871,
Minnie 1874,
Emily 1876,
Martha Elizabeth 1877,
John Herbert 1881,
Katherine Mary 1885,
Samuel Hugh 1889

Enoch Tearle was born in Stanbridge, Bedfordshire, on 21 June 1841, the year of the ground-breaking census exercise that has taken a snapshot of British life every ten years since, with breaks in the war years. Abel, Amos, Enoch, Levi and Noah are some of the beautiful names liberally sprinkled amongst the Tearle families, matched by equally beautiful and historic names given to girls: Abigail, Ruth, Catherine, Charlotte, Martha and Phoebe to name just a few. The Victorians loved the Gothic as you can see from their churches and public buildings and even in the decorations on their more expensive houses. Gothic was part of the language of their belief in God, and so their children’s names reflected this spirit of their deep-seated Christian beliefs. What better way to express your devotion, than to give your children the names of His favourite sons and daughters?

From Bisham in Berkshire to Stanbridge in Bedfordshire we have, in one bound, leapt into the heartland of the Tearles. It is in this village, and in the little valley where Stanbridge nestles, that the Tearles have lived, worked, loved and died for at least five hundred years. The Tearles call it Tearle Valley, and the wider district is known as Tearle Country. The map of Stanbridge helps to delineate the boundaries: the village lies at the head of a valley aligned roughly north-west to south-east, with Stanbridge at the head. Even Eggington is not within Tearle Valley. There are limestone cliffs to the south-west. This limestone has been extracted for building blocks from time immemorial. It was called Totternhoe Stone and it was soft and carveable, but hardened nicely over time – perfect for lining the walls inside, for instance, St Albans Abbey, now St Albans Cathedral. Along the base of the upland runs the A4145 from Leighton Buzzard to Hemel Hempstead. On this road is Northall. An arch drawn from Northall across the north of Stanbridge to the A5 will describe the top of Tearle Valley. Following the A5 (Watling Street) to the junction of the Icknield Way – which, since ancient times, has followed the dry route along the tops of the hills through this part of Bedfordshire – will lead to the junction of the A4146, and everything inside is Tearle Valley, the ancestral home of most of the Tearles alive today. Inside the valley are Totternhoe, Eaton Bray and Edlesborough. Within ten miles are the country towns of Leighton Buzzard, Luton and Dunstable. These towns are in the wider area known as Tearle Country, and there are more Tearles in this small area of Bedfordshire than anywhere else in the world.

It turns out that the Tearles are a Bedfordshire, and indeed a Stanbridge family of rural folk who have worked the land as tenant farmers, and occasionally land owners, until the last Tearle who lived in Stanbridge died in a cottage on Peddars Lane in 1956.

And Enoch? He was the very model of a Victorian villager. His sister Ann was a strawplaiter who died young at just 47. She never left home and never married. His sister Sarah married a fellow villager, Ephraim Gates and went to Watford. Ephraim secured a job on the railways, but very sadly was killed walking along the line in the fog of an early Monday morning, in October 1872. It must have been desperately difficult for Sarah, a washerwoman, to care for her children after Ephraim’s death. His brother Amos moved to Walsall in Warwickshire, as a mining engineer. He married there and in the 1911 census he was a retired engine driver. His sister Phoebe was married in the beautiful little Stanbridge church in 1863 and also moved to Warwickshire where she registered the birth of three children in Nuneaton, only 20 miles away.. His sister Mary Clarke Tearle was baptised a Methodist in a tiny brick chapel next to what is now the Stanbridge school. The chapel no longer stands. Enoch’s youngest brother was Benjamin. He, too was baptised a Methodist. He was in the Royal Artillery (Southern) discharged on 15 February 1883. His regimental number was 23882, he was a gunner (ie a private) discharged at the end of his 1st period of service. He had accumulated no service towards his pension. This would appear to mean that either he was on a limited engagement, or that he had not served abroad. In the 1891 Stanbridge census, he was an agricultural labourer living with Alfred and Annie Buckingham. He died in 1900, never married.

When you look at these little vignettes of Enoch’s family from 1841 to 1900, it is possible to see the impact of waves of change that transformed the Victorian years. The eldest girl shows the farm-based life of the Bedfordshire village. Strawplaiting was not well paid and a plaiter had to make a length of about 6 yards a day. From time to time a plait dealer would sell the families bails of straw and then collect the plaited lengths and pay the family for them, by the 6-yard length. There is an excellent little display on this craft in the St Albans Museum near the centre of the city, and a very extensive and fascinating display of the strawplaiter’s art in the Wardtown Museum in Luton. It is an enlightening experience to see both the complexity of the task, and the simplicity of the cottage that housed it. The lengths of plait would be turned into straw hats, and whilst Bedfordshire is no longer the hat-making capital of the world, Luton even today has businesses that make the very best hats for people who are about to attend the most prestigious events, such as the horseracing at Royal Ascot. Children as young as five were working at plaitmaking – as long as their fingers could perform the motions, they were at work. It sounds terrible, and it probably was, but to the girls concerned, it gave them a freedom that few other women in England enjoyed – because they had their own money. This means that they could stay out of service. It meant they did not have to find a poorly-paid, and sometimes very difficult job, in someone else’s house performing menial tasks for long hours, and being constantly at the call of anyone their senior. Not having to be in service was an ambition very few people in Britain could hope to attain. In this respect, the Bedfordshire girls were lucky.

Over the one hundred years from 1841 to 1941, life in Britain changed beyond recognition, and Enoch and his family felt the full force of those irresistible changes. The major element of change for the Tearles was education. Methodism introduced free education for country children that had never been available before, and literacy allowed poor families such as the Tearles to take advantage of the other huge change that occurred in the 1840s – the railways. In about 1838 a line was laid from Leighton Buzzard to Euston Station via Dunstable – and suddenly London was only forty miles away; you could save up a fare and take a third class carriage all the way to London, and be there in a day. Elsewhere in tearle.org.uk I have discussed the Willesden Cell, a group of villagers living in London who traveled to and from Stanbridge. They lived in railway cottages and earned railway wages. Nothing could be further from the rural life than that. Their education, no matter how basic, equipped them to work in urban occupations and the railways supplied the means to travel there, and even the occupations in which to work. And that life banished crop failures and starvation for those families forever.

In the midst of all this change, what did Enoch do? The best way to explore his life is through the censuses because without too much difficulty they can be download from ancestry.co.uk and the source documents can be examined. In 1841, his father Abel and mother Martha were living in a cottage in Stanbridge with Ann, Sarah and Amos, as well as his mother’s younger brother. Enoch’s father was an ag lab. This is a Victorian catch-all phrase for anyone, no matter how skilled, whose fundamental means of survival was working for a farmer. The census was usually around April, so Enoch does not appear here, but he is not far off.

Enoch’s family:

Parents: Abel Tearle and Martha nee Emmerton (married 1833, eight children)

Ann 1835,
Sarah 1837,
Amos 1839,
Enoch 1841,
Phoebe 1843,
Mary Clarke T 1846,
Benjamin 1848,
Elizabeth 1851.

In 1851, there is a picture of unchanging, stable rural life, as glimpsed through the kitchen window. Martha is an ag lab wife, Ann and Sarah are strawplaiters, Amos (11yrs) and Enoch (9yrs) are scholars (they are at school) and Phoebe, Mary, Benjamin and Elizabeth probably have the run of the village green. It is almost certain that Amos and Enoch were educated at a school in Stanbridge because in 1842 the Primitive Methodist congregation bought a thirty foot plot of land for £5 and built a chapel and school. It was a fervent belief of the Methodists that the individual needed to read the Bible. They had to know for themselves what the scriptures said, so they could fully understand God’s Word. In many English villages, if there is a Methodist chapel, it would have doubled for a couple of classrooms and it would have preceded a state-run school by several decades.

In 1861, Abel was a platelayer on the railway. No longer a mere ag lab, Abel was employed in permanent work. Platelayers, as the name suggests, built the railway track. For all that, it can’t have paid a huge amount of money because Martha, Ann, Phoebe and Mary were all still plaitmaking, while Benjamin and Elizabeth were attending to their studies at school. However, Enoch and Amos are not  there in Stanbridge.

Enoch married in 1869. Actually, he married twice; there is a certificate for their marriage in St Paul’s Liverpool, the details of which are:

17th November 1869 at Saint Paul’s Church, Parish of Liverpool, Lancaster.
Enoch Tearle:  Full Age:  Bachelor:
Father’s name   Abel Tearle: Profession: Platelayer
Elizabeth Jones:  Full age:  Spinster
Father Samuel Jones Profession:  Farmer
After banns
Witnesses Mary Drury and George Foster

And then he married again in a Methodist chapel, in Wales:

8th September, 1870 at the Wesleyan Chapel, Johns Street, Chester, Flintshire
Enoch Tearle:  Aged 28 years:   Bachelor:
Profession: Private 4th King’s own Regiment: Residence:  Chester Castle.
Father:  Abel Tearle:
Elizabeth Jones  Aged 21 Spinster:
Residence Shields Court, Castle Street, Chester.
Father Samuel Jones:  Profession:  Farmer
By certificate:
Witnesses: Richard Sanders and Esther Taylor

It would probably not be a surprise, given her name, that Enoch’s wife, Elizabeth Jones, was Welsh, and since the distance from Liverpool to Chester is not very far, perhaps Enoch and Elizabeth went to the nearest place in Wales from Liverpool while he was on furlough. Elizabeth came from Hope’s Place, Flintshire, which is a village not far from Wrexham. I wonder whose idea it was to have a second marriage ceremony in a Methodist chapel in Wales? It is a charming and romantic gesture. I am fairly certain that the St Pauls in question was the beautiful, classically Georgian building in central Liverpool demolished in 1931, almost inevitably, by the railways, and now the site of the Liverpool Football Club’s Anfield Stadium.

From the second marriage document it is clear to see what Enoch has been doing in the previous few years – he joined the army. And he has set a precedent. He has joined the King’s Own Regiment. Its full name is the King’s Own Royal Lancashire Regiment, usually shortened to the Royal Lancs Regt, or The King’s Own. The 4th Division (also known as the 4th Foot) has a home in Aldershot, Hampshire.

In 1871, the census people came to visit Enoch, and there is a lot more about his activities. For some reason he was counted twice, and that is most unusual. The first record has Enoch in the Chester Castle Barracks, he is a private in the 4th Foot, and he is from Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire. Amongst the soldiers is a drummer from London and other men of the 4th Foot come from Liverpool, Chester, Ireland, Wareham, Northampton and Cambridge. The second 1871 census return is from Bridge St, Chester, where Enoch Tearle, aged 29 lived with Elizabeth Tearle, aged 20. Enoch described himself as private, soldier, 4th King’s Own Regiment, from Stanbridge, Bedfordshire, while Elizabeth was simply dressmaker, from Flintshire. This is not a military street, even though Chester has been a military town since Roman times. Chester Castle itself was built by the Normans and still stands within the city walls. In this street, there are another two dressmakers, a master painter, a stone mason, a butcher, a cashier in a millinery department, a draper’s assistant and a general servant. There is even a pupil teacher, the backbone of the profession in the early history of education in England. All of these are working people, but this neighbourhood is a long way, in kind and in distance, from Enoch’s village. There are no farmers and there are no ag labs. And, interestingly, in this street there are very few children.

In 1881, Enoch is much closer to his roots than in bustling, urban, militarised Chester, but the census return still tells a well-traveled tale. Enoch and Elizabeth are living in the village of Bisham, Berkshire, where he is a butler, and Elizabeth is a full-time wife. He says he is only 34 and she is 29. Enoch’s arithmetic is a little out of sync with his age because, since he was born in 1841, he was 40 in 1881. Enoch has left the army and he is working, to make up the gap between his military pension and what he needs to spend to keep his family in the manner he wants. The most senior person in a great house is the cook; the next most senior is the butler; Enoch would be on a good wage. He also has a family: Jeffrey Jones Tearle, Minnie, Emily and Martha Elizabeth. Jeffrey was born in Aldershot, Hampshire, the southern military training camp; Minnie was born in Woolwich, the London barracks; Emily was born in Athlone, Ireland and Martha was born in Aldershot. John Herbert was born in 1881 in Bisham, Berks, so he is not far away when the census enumerator comes knocking. That Emily was born in Ireland means that Enoch did his country’s duty in policing the Irish revolution that began in 1798 and finally ended with Irish independence in 1922.

The 1891 census shows Elizabeth living in Great Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Neither Elizabeth nor Minnie, the eldest girl, give an occupation but Emily is a dressmaker and Bessie, John Herbert and Katherine Mary are at school while little Samuel Hugh is just two years old. The range of occupations is expanding in small town life – there is a foreman in a brewery, a locomotive fireman, two millers and a butler in Elizabeth’s street. Enoch was in London for this census, working at 24 Portland Place, not far from the present Broadcasting House and today houses the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music. In 1891 this imposing building was the home of three elderly Yorkshire sisters, all single. They had a household of no less than nine staff, and Enoch was their butler.

In 1901, things have changed a little. Enoch’s occupation as the enumerator wrote it is illegible because of a deep black cross over it, drawn by the person who was checking all the different occupations people gave and distilling them into a few codes. So, for instance, ag lab was still in use for a farm worker. Enoch was definitely a worker so he was employed, rather than running his own business. Elizabeth, Katherine and Samuel Hugh do not give an occupation, and at 11yrs old it is certain that Samuel is still at school, but at 15yrs, it is not clear whether Katherine might be still at school, although it cannot be ruled out. The situation, though, looks calm and peaceful. Marlow, Buckinghamshire, is a rural idyll on the banks of the River Thames with large English trees, an imposing spire on a tall and elegant church and a graceful weir down which the Thames tumbles and chortles on its way to London. Enoch has moved back to his comfortable place in rural England.

The 1911 census always gives a little more than one would expect from a dry catalogue such as a census. For instance, it notes that Enoch and Elizabeth have been married for 41 years and had a total of nine live births, of whom seven are still living. Enoch is nearly seventy years old, and says he was formerly Army. Katherine is a teacher (assistant), employed by the Buckinghamshire County Council. Enoch says they are living at home in Jubilee Cottage, Newtown, Marlow.

Having found out as much as possible from the censuses taken in Enoch’s lifetime, there are a few details that can be filled in on Enoch’s army record because his discharge papers from the army in 1879 are in the public record. Firstly, they tell us he enlisted at Bedford on 15 November 1858 into the 2nd Battalion, 4th Division, King’s Own Royal Lancashire Regiment, when he was just 18yrs old and worked as a farm labourer. He was 5ft 4in tall, had sandy hair and a slight frame. He had been in service for 21 years and 9 days, which consisted of a first period of 9yrs 145 days then re-enlistment for a further 11yrs 214 days. In that time he had collected a silver medal for long service and good conduct, plus 5 good conduct badges. He was rated as conduct very good, 5B, which would appear to be the best conduct of all, since conduct ratings ranged from fair, then good 1B to 5B, then very good 1B all the way to 5B. In a written note, his conduct is described as very good, habits regular, temperate. The Methodists were keen on temperance, so Enoch was following his up-bringing. His medical record says he was sick four times in Corfu, twice being treated for climate-related conditions, between 1858 and 1863, otherwise he was never injured and never wounded. That is why he was missing in the 1861 census – he was on the island of Corfu, off the coast of Greece. He was actually on service abroad for 9yrs.  Also formally noted was that he had never been entered in the regimental defaulters book and he had never been tried by court martial. His formal discharge date was 25 November 1879, he was 39yrs old, of sallow complexion, brown eyes, red hair and his occupation was labourer. His intended place of residence was Captain Yorkes, Bisham Grange, Gt Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

At this point two more documents concerning Enoch came to light. One was a listing in the Kelly’s Trades Directory for 1907 which shows Enoch was a shopkeeper in Newtown, Marlow. Presumably, he was trading from this cottage, or at least from a premise very close to it. The last document is the calendar listing for the probate on Enoch’s will. His date of death was 4 March 1920 and the administrator for the £161 worth of his estate, was Bessie Tearle, spinster. “Bessie” was Martha Elizabeth Tearle, born 1877 in Aldershot. Bessie died, still unmarried, in 1957, in Hastings, on the south coast.

The reason for spending so long telling Enoch’s story is because it has ripples and resonance for many of his descendants; to John and even to John’s children. Enoch must have been a larger-than-life, formidable character of a man, because his influence on the future of his family is far-reaching and plain to see. However, for the moment, the story is focussed on where the roots of John Tearle’s Tree are firmly planted.

Abel’s family

Parents: William Tearle and Sarah nee Clarke (married 1795, eight children)

Joseph 1796,
Joseph 1797,
John 1799,
James 1801,
Benjamin 1804,
Daniel 1806,
Mary 1808,
Abel 1810

There is already mention of Enoch’s parents, Abel Tearle and Martha, but a closer examination is rewarding. Abel was born in Stanbridge in 1810; he is one of a family whose christenings were recorded in the Stanbridge Parish Records (PRs) that were reported on earlier. Abel is almost at the end of the records that Emmison transcribed:

Abel son of William and Sarah Tearle was baptised on 15 April 1810

Held under lock and key and hidden in the grand old Victorian safe deep in the vestry, is the Stanbridge Church banns register. When I first visited Stanbridge Church in 1997, the churchwarden carefully lifted it from a shelf in the safe and, walking amongst the pews, finally stopped and laid the book on the wooden lid of the medieval font. He opened the blue cover and I saw that the first page was headed 1821 and the first entry was dated fifth day of June. On that day, William Millar and Mary Janes had heard called out in the church the first of their three banns. The book has many pages of printed forms and the churchwarden explained that the vicar fills out one form for each couple who are going to be married. All the entries are written in india ink, which is very dense and contains no acid. The vicar uses the same kind of dip pen that children used in primary school in the 1950s, with an inkwell in the corner of a battered wooden desk, with its flip-up seat and hinged lid. Asked why the book was not in a museum, or a historical collection, the churchwarden replied,

“Because we are still using it.”

Here is a book that opened in 1821 in a small church in a Bedfordshire village and it is still in use, recording banns for the villagers of Stanbridge who love each other and want to be married. In 2006, at the very first TearleMeet in Stanbridge Enid Horton, and her daughter Lorinda, made it their mission to transcribe all the Tearle events recorded in the register. There were thirty-one entries. The first was 9 September 1825 when John Tearle married Elizabeth Mead, and the last was 21 April 1923 when Ernest Webb married Mabel Edith Tearle. The record held thirty-one marriages in 98 years. Those names are a roll-call of the Tearle family in Stanbridge. On 23 June 1833 Abel Tearle had the first of the three readings of the banns announced for his marriage to Martha Emorton (sic). The vicar has carefully overwritten the e he wrote in Emerton with an o. After much research and checking with modern spellings it was noted that the most common spelling of the name was Emmerton, so that is how it will look from this point forward.

Abel and Martha were married in the little Tilsworth church a few hundred yards along the road from Stanbridge, on 9 July 1833, because at this time, marriages were not held in Stanbridge. It is notable that no-one in this ceremony could write, except the vicar. Abel, Martha, and the witnesses William Crawley and Eliza Emmerton all make their mark. We see nothing more of Abel until the 1841 census. Abel and Martha are living on the Leighton Road. For someone standing on the grass where the cars park outside Stanbridge Church, looking straight up Mill Road to Eggington, Leighton Road is to the left and does indeed go to Leighton Buzzard, about six miles away. Totternhoe Road, as it was called then, goes off to the right. It is now called Tilsworth Road and runs past that village towards the A5. Upon examination of the Stanbridge pages of the 1841 census, it is clear that anyone who does not work on the land has an occupation: Rebecca Hines is a plat (sic) Ann Emmerton is a strawplaiter, Thomas Gregory is a farmer, George Crawley is a butcher, Charles Horne is also a farmer, Charles Bridger is a tailor, John Flint is a shoemaker and Mary Mead is a bonnet sewer. All the rest of the males are ag lab, and all the rest of the women have no occupation at all. In the 1841 census, it is best to remember that adult ages were rounded down to the nearest age divisible by 5, such that someone who was actually 37 years old was recorded as 35. Children’s ages were near enough to their correct age. Abel Tearle, ag lab, then, is thirty years old, Martha is 25 with her father, Joseph Emmerton who is 65 and still an ag lab – and there are the following children:

Ann, 5yrs
Sarah, 3yrs
Amos 2yrs

We shall skip the 1851 census, partly because Abel is not there, and partly because Enoch is, and we have already looked at his page, above. Martha is described as an ag lab wife.

In the 1861 census, things have changed a lot. Abel is a platelayer on the railway. It is likely that Abel missed the 1851 census because he was in a gang laying the plates for the railway somewhere between Preston, Leighton Buzzard and London.

In the 1871 census, Abel is 61 and still a railway plate layer, while Ann (25) and Elizabeth (20) are straw plaiters. There are only two ag labs on this page. Things have certainly changed, because James Birch is a railway lab, David Giltrow is a dealer (in plait) John Ellingham is a dealer, and Elizabeth Hinde is a dressmaker. It is interesting to speculate that there might be as many men on the railways as there are left on the land. The Industrial Revolution is well under way.

In the 1881 census there is a sad story; Abel is 71 years old and is an agricultural Labourer. He could not retire, he has to keep working. He has gone back to the only other work he knows apart from the railways, and that is the land. It is unlikely he is earning very much, because his daughter Ann is at home helping Martha. Although the enumerator has not given her an occupation,  Ann’s straw plaiting would still be bringing in money that the whole house depended on. Abel died on 9 October 1882 and was buried on the 13th.

Stanbridge is an odd little church and parish, with a complicated political history. It was part of the Peculiar of Leighton Buzzard which meant it was not part of the Archdeaconry of Bedford, and its rector was a prebend of Lincoln Cathedral. In short, this meant that while baptisms and burials could be conducted in Stanbridge, marriages were performed in All Saints Church, Leighton Buzzard, or in the bride’s parish, hence the records of Tearles marrying in the Tilsworth church. A trip to Leighton Buzzard just to see its parish church is well worth the effort; the tower is so tall it can be seen for miles on the approach to town. The marriage of William Tearle and Sarah Clarke is noted in the Leighton Buzzard PRs:

William Tearle and Sarah Clarke were married on 12 November 1795

Very sadly, the Leighton Buzzard Parish records also record that Sarah Tearle died and was buried in the little cemetery that surrounds Stanbridge Church, in 1811, it seems not very long after the birth of her last child, Abel 1810, who was to become Enoch’s father.

The wife of William Tearle was buried on 11 October 1811

The Stanbridge census of 1841 reveals William Tearle (aged 70, so born around 1771) in Stanbridge, but he was married to a Judith who was 65 years at the time. The Stanbridge PRs tell who she was:

William Tearle and Judith Knight (of Tilsworth) were married on 9 November 1812

It seems heartless that Sarah died in Oct 1811, and William remarried in November the following year, but both William and Judith would have benefitted a great deal from this marriage – William would have had a wife to look after the children while he worked, and Judith would have had an income and a respectable home. We cannot criticise them. A close look at the 1841 census form indicates that William was an ag lab, so that is what he would have been all his life. It is not possible to know what sort of work he did, and almost all the men on this page of the Totternhoe Rd were ag lab, but there are some occupations listed: Thomas Buckingham was on parish support and Thomas Gadsden was a plait dealer while Sarah Bunker, Mary Turney and Sarah Corkett were all straw plaiters. You can see clearly how farming life completely dominated the village of Stanbridge until the railways arrived and people began to take advantage of them from the 1850s.

It is difficult to know any more about William than this; he probably did not own his cottage, and he probably had to move several times during his working life; possibly on the basis of different farmer, different cottage, and possibly also moving to a larger cottage to cater for a larger family. There is constant movement from one little cottage to another in and around Stanbridge, thrown sharply into focus every ten years. We cannot know what William did as an ag lab and we cannot know where he worked, or even if he had work on one or many farms. William died in 1846. We know a little about his parents. Here is William’s baptism in Stanbridge Church:

Ann the daughter of John and Martha Tearle was baptised on 5 February 1769

William the son of Joseph and Phoebe Tearle was baptised on 10 December 1769

These two baptisms in 1769 are for children (Ann, and William) of two separate families – John Tearle and Martha nee Archer, and Joseph Tearle and Phoebe nee Capp. The two men are brothers, and Joseph is the eldest son of his family. By checking for other Joseph-Phoebe births, it is possible to find the entire family. There is a very short note about each family that resulted:

William’s family

Parents: Joseph Tearle and Phoebe nee Capp (married 1765, twelve children)

Joseph 1766      married Mary Pointer, one child
Mary 1768         married Joseph Wright, 6 children
William 1769               (as noted above) married Sarah Clarke, 8 children
Phebe 1771 (sic) died 1771, Thomas 1771, died 1771
Thomas 1774    died 1776
Ann 1775            married James Sharp, 6 children
Richard 1778    married Mary Pestel, 8 children
Thomas 1780   married Sarah Gregory in Chalgrave (no children) then Mary (surname, and maiden surname, unknown) who already had two children in Luton, 3 children
Pheby 1782 (sic) no record beyond this
George 1785     married Elizabeth Willison, 6 children
John 1787          married Elizabeth Flint, 3 children. Died 1818

With a family such as this and so numerous in grandchildren, it is no wonder that Joseph’s branch is very influential amongst the Tearles. You can see clearly the children who have died because there is another with the same name, later. Joseph and Phoebe were determined to have a Thomas, named after Joseph’s father, and a Phoebe to ensure her name carried forward, too. In the case of the twins Phoebe and Thomas Tearle, there is a single burial record for them in 1771 but no baptism, so I am assuming that they died very soon after birth. There was another Thomas baptised 02 January 1774, for whom there is no burial record, but since there is a later Thomas (1780) there is, completely contrived, a death date of 1776. Thomas Tearle, baptised 1780, did survive and married Sarah Gregory in the beautiful little church of Chalgrave, across the A5 to the north-east of Stanbridge, in 1802. Just before leaving Joseph’s Tree, it is well to look at the memorial under the trees in Stanbridge Church to John Tearle (of this family, immediately above) born 1787, who died in 1818. His daughter, Hannah Tearle born 1816, married Henry Fleet, a fellow Methodist in the village, and the two of them went to Sierra Leone on a great Methodist mission and adventure. The two of them fell violently ill on the ship and died within weeks of each other, shortly after arriving in Africa. Their sacrifice for their faith and their idealism is memorialised on a tablet which hung on the wall of the Methodist chapel. It was rescued when the chapel was demolished and it is secured on the wall of Stanbridge Church itself.

We have now arrived at one of the roots of the Tearle Tree. Joseph Tearle and Phoebe are William’s parents, so John Tearle 1916, Lt Commander RN, descends from Joseph Tearle of Stanbridge.

Joseph’s family

Parents: Thomas Tearle and Mary nee Sibley (married 1730, eight children)

Mary 1731, Elizabeth 1734, Joseph 1737, Thomas 1737, John 1741, Jabez 1745, William 1749, Richard 1754

Although these boys, Joseph and Thomas, were baptised at the same time, they may not have been born at the same time. However, Joseph, because he was the eldest son, inherited a farm which included a piece of Muggington Field, comprising strips of land between Stanbridge and Leighton Buzzard. Without the money to develop and expand his farm, Joseph and Phoebe were forced into ever more desperate circumstances until finally, on the 9th of July 1788, the last piece of land owned by the Tearle family in Stanbridge was sold. Joseph and Phoebe died paupers. A strip of Muggington Field that was bought from Joseph and Phoebe was purchased at the time by the family of Lawrence Cooper, the churchwarden who opened the church on the morning of TearleMeet Two in 2008. 220 years after that sale, Lawrence still owned the land.

This Thomas Tearle, the father of Joseph, was born in Stanbridge in 1709 and married Mary Sibley from Houghton Regis on 27 May 1730. They had eight children, of whom seven survived. Thomas died in Leighton Buzzard in 1755 and Mary probably lived with Joseph and Phoebe until her death in 1792. Joseph died in 1790 and Phoebe, who was undoubtedly the leading force for Methodism in the Tearles, died in 1817.

An examination of the list of John’s ancestors on page 2 will reveal that all the people on that list have had their stories told, beginning with John Tearle 1916 and Jean nee Searle, and ending with Thomas 1709 and Mary nee Sibley. It is time now to look in a little more detail at the stories of those in John’s family who accepted a role in the military.

 Military lives

From the brief view above of the story of Enoch’s military life; it would seem that much of it was spent in Ireland, although 9yrs were spent on service abroad. It has already been recounted that he joined the 2nd Battalion 4th Division, The King’s Own Royal Lancashire Regiment, and he was discharged after 21 years, still with the rank of private. His boys were to change all that; no mere private rank for them. From a glance at their birth dates, it can be seen that two, at least, were prime candidates for joining the armed forces in the First World War:

Jeffrey Jones Tearle     1871
John Herbert Tearle     1881
Samuel Hugh Tearle     1889

John Herbert Tearle, John’s father, might have been 33 in 1914, but that did not stop the armed forces from recruiting men of that age, especially if they already had military experience. Between John Herbert and Samuel Hugh was Katherine Mary, born in 1885. A long search attempting to find her in one of the many women’s auxiliary forces, or in a women’s group, was carried out, but there appears to be no documentation. Her contribution has been lost amongst the myriad grains of sand in the great hourglass of events that was the First World War (WW1). Millions of women spent huge amounts of time and energy – and their lives – helping in the war effort and there is no doubt that Katherine Mary joined in that work. Now, however, it is time to start at the top of the list of Enoch and Elizabeth’s children – with Jeffrey.

Jeffrey Jones Tearle was born in the Aldershot Camp hospital in 1871, and baptised later the same year. The camp had a hospital, and given that Jeffrey consistently gave his birth address as Aldershot, It is a reasonable assumption that he was born on site, in a vast camp that usually held in excess of 10,000 people. It is difficult to tell if there were married quarters, but Enoch was fully engaged in his army duties, and his family were born wherever he was at the time. The camp had a Methodist chapel, and a Primitive Methodist chapel, so it is very likely that Jeffrey was baptised in one of them, and it is equally likely he went to a school in the camp.

On 28 October, 1886, Jeffrey joined the army, and not just any regiment, either; the Royal Lancashire Regiment – in other words, the King’s Own. Since he is following his father in this, and he signed up in the Buttervant Barracks, North Cork, it is also likely that he took his father’s advice on the next decision; he signed up for 12 years. He was 15 years and 3 months old, and he was already an office boy, perhaps employed by one of the companies in Aldershot town, or perhaps somewhere in Ireland. He was 5ft 4in tall and weighed 100lb. He had hazel eyes, auburn hair, a mole on his left thigh and he was given the military serial number 1824. However, page three of his record, entitled his statement of services, is unhappily short. His service started on 29 Oct 1886 and ended on 28 July 1890:

Discharged, private, having been found medically unfit for further service.

His service had lasted 3 years and 243 days. On page four, there is a detailed breakdown of Jeffery’s service – he had been a drummer in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Lancashire Regiment. His next of kin was Enoch Tearle, residence 21 Victoria Park, Dover. For 216 days (9 September 1887 to 12 April 1888) Jeffrey was in India. This is the first documented sight of Enoch’s family (other than Enoch himself) being out of the country, anywhere other than in Ireland. The Actions, Movements and Quarters archive of the King’s Own Royal Regiment Museum in Lancaster showed where the 2nd Battalion was at any time, and where it went next:

January 1886 Quetta
March 1888 Karachi and Hyderabad

But there is more; on the sixth page of Jeffrey’s record there are two appearances before a medical board:

Quetta  18.2.88               Valvular disease. Recommended change to England. There is a stamp – Station Hospital Quetta

Curragh 9 June ’90 Valve disease of heart. For Discharge.

Also, it is clear the army approved of Jeffrey: habits regular, conduct good.

On the back of this form, there is a breakdown of where Jeffrey was, and what brought him to the medic’s attention. More importantly, it documents exactly where he was and when he was there.

Buttevant (Barracks, North Cork) 4.11.86    Ulcer     18 days in hospital
HMS Crocodile   9.9.87                  No reason given
Bombay   6.10.87                            No reason given
Narela (Delhi, India)    12.10.87       No reason given
Quetta  (India)    15.11.87              Rheumatism sub-acute      17 days in hospital
Quetta  (India)    12.2.88                Val. dis. of the heart     9 days in hospital
HMS Crocodile    17.3.88                No reason given
Netley  (Hants)    12.4.88                Disability. Climate        25 days in hospital
Dublin    9.2.89                 Itch          5 days in hospital
Dublin     7.9.89       S. C. Fever       13 days in hospital
Curragh    1.3.90      Anaemia           46 days in hospital

It transpires that the HMS Crocodile was a troopship designed to carry a full battalion of infantry, families and auxiliaries, a total of 1202. On 7 September 1887 she left Portsmouth with Jeffrey on board and on the 9th, Jeffrey was examined by the ship’s doctor. On 5 October 1887 HMS Crocodile arrived in Bombay and the 6th, Jeffrey was again examined by medical staff, this time in the Bombay military hospital. On 17 March 1888 HMS Crocodile left Bombay and on 12 April arrived in Portsmouth. Jeffrey was admitted to the Royal Victoria Military Hospital at Netley, near Southampton, where he stayed for 25 days. A man can get amazingly sick in India.

The beauty of this page is that it tells us that a 5ft 4in 18-yr old of only 100lbs is not really British Army fighting material, even if he is only a drummer. Secondly, it spells out in very clear terms where Jeffrey was and when. Thirdly it tells us that Jeffrey was there when the British Raj was at its height – Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in 1877.

The last sheet (dated 2.6.90) in Jeffrey’s army record details the process of leaving the King’s Own. He is now in the 1st Battalion (he started in the 2nd) and the first question on the form is:

What is the disability unfitting him for service?           Valve disease of the heart.

Its origin, date, progress?                                      Probably constitutional. Started with an attack of rheumatism.

Is it caused by his service as a soldier?              Has not been caused or aggravated by military service

Is the disability permanent?                                  Permanent, but he will be able to contribute a little towards ensuring a livelihood.

On 7 August 1897, still only 26yrs old, in spite of all his adventures, Jeffrey married Sarah Quarterman in St Ann’s Church, Lambeth, London. He describes himself as a clerk, and his father, Enoch Tearle, as a butler. His sister, Emily Tearle 1876 (the one born in Ireland) was a witness. The 1901 census reveals that Sarah was born in 1867 in Milton under Wychwood, a Cotswold village not far from Chipping Norton. The Gothic parish church of St Simon and St Jude dominates the countryside, which used to be mined for the yellow Milton Stone that was used for many local buildings. They are living at 47 Mayall Rd, Lambeth. It is close to the Brixton Tube station while the Railton Methodist Church is about 100 yards along and one street over. Jeffrey calls himself an O. C. shipping clerk. And they have a son, Reginald Herbert Henry Tearle, just 1yr old. The world has ticked over into the 20th Century, but the Victorians cling on; in this stretch of the road, there are many occupations: a general carman, a keeler groom, a dress wash, road labourer, railway guard, two greengrocers, railway labourer, laundry maid, bath attendant, milliner, shop attendant, and a traveling salesman. Most people here are Londoners, but only four houses are occupied by Brixton-born families. Jeffrey from Aldershot and the traveling salesman from Fyfield, Hants, are the only strangers from out of London. Little Reggie died in1904.

In 1911, Jeffrey and Sarah are living in 11 Kepler Rd, Clapham where he is a mercantile clerk for a provision merchant. Provisioning usually applies to the armed forces, in this case, probably the navy. They now have a second son, Edward Jeffrey Tearle aged 4, born in Lambeth. There is also a niece, Beatrice Soden, from Idbury in Oxfordshire. who is their housemaid along with a boarder, perhaps to augment the family income. Beatrice was born in 1882 in Chipping Norton to William Soden and Matilda nee Quarterman. They married in Chipping Norton in 1877. Matilda Quarterman 1856, of Chipping Norton, was Sarah’s sister. Their parents were Israel Quarterman 1822 of Denchworth, Berkshire (an ag lab all his life – the price you pay for living in the country) and Eliza nee Templer (probably Templar) 1822 of Curbridge, Oxfordshire.

The last document of Jeffrey’s life was the entry in the probate calendar of 1913. Jeffrey was living in 25 Kepler Road, Clapham. He died on 4 August 1913 at Guy’s Hospital, Surrey and had asked Benjamin Hewitt, a Prudential agent, to administer his estate of £249 14s 7d. Sarah died just over a year later, on 14 December 1914, asking Harriett Brewitt (the wife of Benjamin Brewitt) to administer her estate of £205 17s 4d.

There are two marriage records for an Edward J Tearle: one to Margaret Shelley in Essex 1935, and another to Leonora F Wedlake in Somerset in 1941. Until there is documentation to indicate exactly which Edward J is the son of Jeffrey and Sarah nee Quarterman, his story is suspended here.

John Herbert Tearle 1881

John Herbert Tearle, was born 1881 in Bisham, Berkshire, just too late for the census, but where, as noted earlier, his father was a butler. In 1891 he was 10yrs old, and a scholar, living with his mother, who was a dressmaker. Spittal Street in Gt Marlow had a Wesleyan chapel in 1891, and there was a Borlase school not far away, a free school for twenty-four boys. It is very likely that John H would have gone to the former, but he definitely went to the latter. The Slough, Eton and Windsor Observer of 8 January 1916 notes:

“The list of successful candidates in the qualifying examination for naval cadetships, to enter the Royal Naval College, Osborne, in January includes… Francis John Enoch Tearle (Borlase School) son of Mr J H Tearle, an old boy of Borlase, and grandson of Mr E Tearle, of New Town.”

In the not too distant future he would be an engineer and an accountant, so his education had to have been better than a plait school in Bedfordshire. There is no mention of the Wesleyan chapel being used as a school, but I am certain that you cannot rule it out.

After his very brief flirtation with army life, and some study and some experience in the intervening years, John Herbert married Mary Ward in 1900, in the Westminster district of St George Hanover Sq. in Central London. There are no further details. It is also difficult to find out very much about Mary, too, but it is likely she is the Mary 1881 who is in the 1881 Battersea, Surrey, census with her father William Ward 1835 born in Westminster, her mother Catherine, born in Buckinghamshire and three other children. Her father is a general merchant, described by the enumerator as living in a house at 12 Arthur St: “shop, dealership, rope, bottles, bones and old clothes.”

In 1901, John H and Mary Tearle are living in 107 Brook St, in the parish of St George the Martyr, Southwark. This is a darkly handsome church full of menace and foreboding, on a corner of Borough High Street. It is worth the train fare to London Bridge and a walk through Borough Market just to visit it. Mary is not given an occupation, but John H grandly calls himself accountant, and then reminds the enumerator (in brackets) that really he is only a clerk – oh, and an engineer. The enumerator dismissively encodes him as CC – commercial clerk.

Brook St, Southwark (nowadays called Brook Drive) is a very interesting, and a very mixed, street. There are new families from Germany and Ireland, and out-of-towners from Essex, Buckinghamshire, Wheathampstead, Portsmouth and Boughton. There is also a selection of Londoners from all around the city – such as Westminster, Southwark, Lambeth and Newington. The collection of accents you would have heard as you walked in old Brook Street, may have come as quite a surprise, but it does show London growing and diversifying. The occupations are mixed, too, comprised mostly of working class people wanting to move up the aspiration ladder to a better, more stable life. There is a police constable, three teachers, a stone mason, a commercial clerk, a coppersmith’s apprentice, a tailoress, a police sergeant, a home health worker, a bookbinder, a journalist, a housekeeper and a carriage maker. Only one couple is older than 41yrs in the entire street, and that is the 63-yr old bookbinder and his housekeeper wife.

As early as 1897, John H was working for the Metropolitan-Vickers Company (M-V). There is a history of the Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company Ltd, written by John Dummelow in 1949, and in a chapter entitled BRITISH WESTINGHOUSE from 1899, the first decade: the author describes the events of the first ten years. In 1907, John H is credited with a job of some authority, as both an accountant and an engineer. In 1917, he was assistant secretary and treasurer, and in 1920 (he was called the comptroller) he resigned, after twenty-three years with Westinghouse companies. Westinghouse is an American company, still well known, which made a large range of mostly industrial electrical items – motors for trams and generators for hydro-electric power stations, for instance. The Metropolitan-Vickers Company made products under licence from Westinghouse, firstly (ie before 1910) in Old Broad St, London City.

In the 1911 census, the last comprehensive view of John H and his family, he is in Lancaster. His address is Clifton Bank, Church Rd, Urmston. These days, it is just another suburb of Manchester, but possibly, in 1911, it did seem a bit further away than an easy commute, perhaps even a little bit countrified. However, the main reason for living there was to be reasonably close to Trafford Industrial Park, where the M-V company had built a substantial manufacturing plant. John is 30 and Mary is 31, she has been married 10yrs and has had three children, of whom three are still alive. John is an accountant for an electrical manufacturer. They are living in a nine-roomed house – and they have a 13yr-old maid, Ada Mason.

In 1916, John Tearle was born in Barton upon Irwell, Lancashire, presumably while they were still living in Urmston, but certainly still close to Trafford Park. He is the man at the centre this narrative. For John H, though, the overall picture, with nine years of his career with Metropolitan-Vickers to go, is one of comparative wealth and some seniority. In 1917, he was listed amongst the senior officials of the company.

After 1920 there are only tantalising glimpses of John H’s life. Now that he is free from the constraints of the office, he takes up a challenge in South America, mostly Argentina, for which company there are no clues, but the voyage, and the ensuing adventure, do have consequences. The following is an entry in a ship’s passenger manifest:

Name:  John Herbert Tearle
Gender:              Male
Age:      42
Birth Date:        abt 1881
Departure Date:             20 Dec 1923
Port of Departure:         Southampton, England
Destination Port:           Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Ship Name:       Zeelandia
Shipping Line: Royal Holland Lloyd
Master:               A Dyker

This is three years after he left Metropolitan-Vickers, and there is a return journey:
Name:  John Herbert Tearle
Birth Date:        abt 1881
Age:      43
Port of Departure:         New York, New York, United States
Arrival Date:     2 Jul 1924
Port of Arrival: Southampton, England
Ship Name:       Almanzora

Although this transcript says the ship was returning from New York, the manifest itself says he was returning from Rio de Janeiro. John Herbert Tearle, 1881, engineer, is not to be confused with J Tearle 1892, engineer, who also traveled, this time on many noted journeys, to and from Buenos Aires and Liverpool. He was John Lawrence Tearle, the father of John L Tearle, scientist and author. The last, short, view we have of John Herbert is a mention in the National Probate Calendar of 1966. Address, 40 Villiers Ave, Surbiton. Died 25 October 1966, probate to Francis John Enoch Tearle, retired company director. £19023. We will see Francis later – we already know he is Uncle Frank – but there is so much more. The sum John Herbert left as his estate is handsome indeed.

Samuel Hugh Tearle 1889

The last child born to Enoch and Elizabeth Tearle was Samuel Hugh Tearle, born in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, in 1889. When recounting the results of her researches into this family, Mavis Endall of Melbourne, the grand-daughter of Minnie Tearle 1874 (the one born in Woolwich) called him Uncle Sam. The Australians will be part of this story later. Samuel has already appeared in the 1891 census as a baby and in the 1901 census as a schoolboy, where the enumerator’s handwriting made them look like the Harle family. In the 1911 census he is in the army, he is a 21-year old lance corporal from Marlow, Buckinghamshire, and he notes that his father was born in Stanbridge, Bedfordshire. He is on the island of Jersey. Samuel is in a list of soldiers on page 193 of the census, but flipping back one page reveals that he is in the Parish of St Peter’s, and for the name of the head of the family, there is: Officer Commanding 2nd The King’s Own, St Peter’s Barracks, Jersey. Samuel has joined the King’s Own Royal Lancashire Regiment, and he is in the 2nd Battalion, just like Jeffrey. His elder brother, Jeffrey joined the King’s Own in 1886 and here is Samuel, in 1911, already a lance corporal and beginning his career in an outpost. It is not particularly difficult to trace Samuel’s life and adventures in the army, particularly during the Great War.

Here, in an encapsulated form, is where the 2nd Battalion went and what they did there:

August 1914 Lebong, India
November 1914 Mobilised to be part of 83rd Infantry Brigade, 28th Division, at Winchester.
16 January 1915 Landed at Le Havre, France.
17 February 1915 Bayonet Charge at Zwartelen
21 February 1915 Repulse of Attack near Ypres
3 May 1915 Repulse of attack near Zonnebeke
8 – 13 May 1915 2nd Battle of Ypres: Battle of Frezenberg
8 May 1915 Repulse of attack at Frezenberg
25 Sept – 8 Oct 1915 The Battle of Loos
November 1915 Embarked for Egypt
January 1916 Landed in Macedonia (Salonika)
13 October 1916 Capture of Barakli Dzuma
March 1917 Battle of Doiran 1917
23 June 1917 Raid at Brest
25 February 1918 Raid on Bursuk
18 September 1918 Battle of Doiran 1918 and advance into Bulgaria.
10 November 1918 Moved to Chanak
December 1918 Turkey
13 March 1919 Reduced to Cadre
March 1919 Returned to Tidworth
July 1919 Disbanded and reformed


Those who have little knowledge of WW1 will still have heard of some of these battles, because they were the sites of vast bloodshed. Two in particular stand out: Ypres and Loos.

Ypres – you will have seen on television the recent excavations of battle trenches near this town in Belgium; English soldiers gave Ypres the name Wipers. Eeepr – can you imagine an Eastcheap cockney coping with that? The first battle of Wipers was a huge battle that lasted weeks, and then just died away. Hundreds of thousands of men (on both sides) were killed by machine guns and huge field guns that pounded the town and everything around it. Not a yard of ground was gained or lost. Then there was the second battle of Wipers. Same result. Then there was the third battle of Wipers, usually called Paschendale, being the name of a ridge that the armies fought over. There were half a million casualties. A huge memorial was built there, called the Menin Gate. It is the gateway into Ypres and has the names of 64,000 men whose bodies were never found. Those names filled the Gate, and the overflow of 8,373 men were written on tall tablets on the Tyne Cott memorial a few kilometres from Ypres

The battle of Loos is described in detail by the Western Front Association: www.westernfrontassociation.com  but suffice it to say that 75,000 British soldiers were involved, and that it marked the first time that the British army used poison gas. Samuel was involved in all its horrors from trenches on and near the front line. That is where the 2nd Battalion always was.

From January 1916, when Samuel landed in Macedonia, until he finally left Turkey, the 2nd Battalion King’s Own Regiment fought the battles that lead to the end of the Ottoman Empire. Chanak on 10 November 1918 refers to the surrender of Constantinople, and Turkey with it. The following day, 11 November 1918, the Germans surrendered. These days we call it Armistice Day. Samuel H and others of the 2nd Battalion, as members of the British Army, marched into Constantinople, to keep the newly-declared peace and to start the process of delivering the war-torn world back to the politicians.

It was necessary to outline these events to show that Samuel was there when WW1 started, and he was still standing when it ended. There is, in the King’s Own Regiment Museum, a photo of Lt Samuel Tearle taken with a group in Salonika. Samuel’s medal card is most interesting to study because it is, in a highly condensed form, the story of his life in WW1. Firstly, there is a big red stamp 1914-15. There is his name TEARLE, Samuel Hugh, then the Corps: Royal Lancashire Regiment. Rank – sergeant, and his regimental number – 10220. This means that in 1914, when the war started, Samuel was already a sergeant. There is no date given, but in blue there is recorded Lt and a red pen note saying comm’d, meaning commissioned. He had been made a full lieutenant, not just an acting one. The medal record goes on to say the THEATRE OF WAR was France. The official landing date of the 28th Division was 16 January 1915. Samuel was awarded the 1914-15 Star, for being in the war from that date, as well as the Victory Medal and the British Star. Interesting, also, is his address:

38 Cedar Terrace, Lancaster Gate, W.2.

Lancaster Gate is a handsome, stone-faced, multi-storey, 19th Century development in London, part of which borders Hyde Park.

It would be informative to see the Service Record for Samuel Hugh but it has never surfaced, and as a result, there is no record of how and when he left the army, but a note in the London Gazette of 10 February 1919 announces he was temporarily made a captain whilst he operated as an adjutant. That is a very good rank indeed, even more so because he rose to it from starting as a mere private.

Now, let’s go back to India. You will see in the Actions and Movements list above that Samuel was in Lebong with the 2nd Battalion in August 1914, then in London for the November merge with the 28th Division, then in France on 15 January 1915. I think it was Rosemary Tearle of Auckland who found this:

Marriage in India:
Groom’s Name: Samuel Hugh Tearle
Bride’s Name: Dorothy Kate Parkhurst
Marriage Date: 04 Dec 1913
Marriage Place: Colaba, Bombay, India
Groom’s Father’s Name: Enoch Tearle
Bride’s Father’s Name: William Parly Parkhurst
Groom’s Marital Status: Single
Bride’s Marital Status: Single

Now we know why he had a London address. Amongst the British expat community, he had found a London girl – and married her. Their first child, a son, was born in Lebong in 1914. They called him Jeffrey Parkhurst Tearle. The records for Samuel and Dorothy are very scarce from this date on, and there is no indication of when, or under what conditions, Samuel left the army. In the London Electoral Roll of 1936 they are in Acton W11, number 39, 2nd Avenue. In 1939, they are in 39 Eastvale, Acton. Both addresses are Acton – North East Ward.

On 18 October, 1949, there is a passenger list for the R.M.S ORANTES of the Orient Line for Mr S H Tearle and Mrs Tearle, both 60yrs old, from 15 Vale Court, Aston Vale, London W3. They are sailing to Melbourne, where they intend to stay permanently. In the electoral roll of the State of Victoria, there is a hand-written addition to the Batman, Victoria, roll of Samuel Hugh Tearle. In the 1958 electoral roll of Footscray North, Gellibrand, Victoria, Samuel Hugh is living at 10 Macedon St, W10 where he is a clerk. There are other men, each with their wife, on this page, so I do not know where Dorothy Kate is.

The last sight we have of Mavis’ Uncle Sam is the information given to us on his death certificate of 11 May 1961. He was living at 28 Hawson Avenue, Glenhuntly, Victoria, he was 72 years old. He was married in India when he was 24 years old, to Dorothy Kate Parkhurst, and at the time of his death he was still married. He had a son, Jeffrey, who was deceased, and a daughter Geraldine, who was 42 years old. The certificate was signed by D. L. Endall of 7 Wyalong St, Sunshine, Victoria. I do not know exactly who D L Endall was, but we do know the Endalls; Samuel’s elder sister, Minnie, married Joseph Endall in Islington in 1894 and emigrated to Melbourne in 1924. We can now see that Samuel went to Melbourne to live near her. Dorothy Kate was still alive when Samuel died so I am still no wiser as to how the voting rolls have separated them while they were living at the same address, but we do know they were living together. Dorothy Kate died in Murchison, Victoria in 1984.

Since Jeffrey Parkhurst Tearle 1914 is Samuel’s son, I will look at his story before moving on to the last of Enoch’s family to have a military career.

Jeffrey Parkhurst Tearle

There is a scarcity of documentation for Jeffrey P that is frankly disappointing. There is a document called Army Returns, Births 1911-1915 which is only an index of the location of the birth records for the babies listed. However, it does indicate that Jeffrey Parkhurst Tearle was born in Lebong in 1914.

I do not have any military records for Jeffrey P, but his death as recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is revealing:

Initials: J P
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Sergeant
Regiment/Service: King’s Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster)
Unit Text: 2nd Bn.
Date of Death: 21/11/1941
Service No: 3709500
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: 12. D. 23.

He, too, had followed Enoch into the 2nd Battalion, the King’s Own. He was 27yrs old and he had risen to the rank of sergeant when he died. It is likely that Jeffrey P volunteered to join the army otherwise, of all the units he could have joined, it is very unlikely he would have been conscripted into the 2nd Battalion The King’s Own. The assumption, then, is that he joined up when he turned 18 years old, and that in turn means he had been in the army since 1932.

If we have a look at the Actions and Movements section of the King’s Own, we can clearly see that for the first six years of his army life, he was in Britain. In 1938 the entire regiment was shipped to Haifa. This would appear to be in preparation for the Peel Commission plan to partition Palestine.

1920: The King’s Own Royal Regiment, Lancaster

March 1925 Rawalpindi, India
December 1929 Khartoum, Atbara and Gebeit
December 1930 Whittington Barracks, Lichfield
November 1934 Aldershot
September 1938 Haifa, Palestine

Then World War Two (WW2) broke out.

2nd Battalion King’s Own Royal Regiment, Lancaster

August 1940 Egypt
February 1941 Syria
September/October 1941 Tobruk
December 1941 Egypt
February 1943 Ceylon

Here is the story, as told by the Kings Own Museum, of what happened in Tobruk and it covers the events of 21 November 1941, the day Sgt Jeffrey Parkhurst Tearle was killed. Briefly, the town of Tobruk was under siege by General Rommel’s forces.

A break-out from Tobruk was planned to coincide with an advance from Egypt by the Eighth Army.  The attack was launched on 18th November after many days of planning, mine clearance and careful preparation.

The fighting was indecisive at first and was in full swing on 20th November when 2nd King’s Own was ordered to attempt to break out.  Each section of the battalion was armed with a Bren gun and thirteen Bren magazines; each rifleman carried a hundred rounds in bandoliers and three grenades; in addition each platoon had two Thompson sub-machine guns and one anti-tank rifle.

On 21st November as tanks moved forward and broke the silence of the night, A and D Companies were in the front line when a tremendous artillery barrage opened up but most shells fell behind the battalion.  As British guns opened fire and the tanks moved forward followed by the carriers so many tanks were disabled by mines that most were knocked out before the infantry were ordered to move.  Despite this, D Company moved forward and took their position, ‘Butch’.  A Company advanced with C Company in support and found themselves held up by a strong point called ‘Jill’.

Whilst D Company was able to hold their position, A and C Companies were forced to withdraw from ‘Jill’ during the afternoon and, with the help of B Company, formed a new defensive position on ‘The Crest’.  As a result of this action the battalion took about 300 German prisoners and were able to hold ‘Butch’ until 24th November when they were relieved by 2nd Battalion Leicester Regiment. 

Francis John Enoch Tearle 1902 (Uncle Frank)

In the 1911 census, Francis was eight years old, and he had been born in the Regent’s Park district of London to John Herbert Tearle 1881 and Mary nee Ward. He was the elder brother of John 1916. This census demonstrates a growing trend in modern society; large numbers of people do not live in villages or communities any more, they live where their employment takes them, and they make what they can of the community they find themselves in when they get there. If they work for a large company, the company will send them wherever it is necessary for their workforce to be. If they do not wish to move, then their employment is terminated. It was noted earlier that Metropolitan-Vickers had an office, and probably a workshop, in Old Broad St, London, and they also had premises on the corner of Ludgate Hill and Farringdon Rd, in the very heart of London City, but since then they had built a huge manufacturing plant in the Trafford Park industrial zone, Manchester. This is where Francis first appears, living with his family in Church Rd, Urmston. Now, Urmston is only six miles from Manchester city, but Metropolitan-Vickers was still allowed to build a coal-fired manufacturing plant close by. The low-lying nature of the site meant they also had to build a water tower. Instead of it being an eye-sore, it is championed as a wonderful iron structure, of magnificent proportions. Its photograph adorns the wall of their head office. A modern, industrialised Britain cannot now blame the emerging nations for their pollution – it showed the way to modernisation, and that includes pollution on a vast scale, low working-class wages, and mass-migration. John Herbert’s life is a micro-dot of what is to come: born in Bisham, Berkshire, he takes a wife from Surrey, has two children in London and then has Kathleen May in Flixton, Manchester. He is no longer a Berkshire boy, he is an indigenous Englishman, and instead of living with the mores and customs of his boyhood locale, he has to learn what it means to be English, and to live his life within a much more open moral and social compass. In his case, he has his Methodist upbringing to guide him. Whether or not he has brought up his family as Methodists needs to be documented, but he has definitely brought them up with the highest standards of citizenship and morality. Francis John Enoch Tearle 1902 is an example of just how high an ordinary family can aspire, beginning with the illiterate but deeply moral and intensely hard-working Abel Tearle and Martha nee Emmerton.

A highly condensed biography was forwarded from Teresa of Brisbane, but the source document remains unknown:

“Tearle, Francis John Enoch, CBE (1965), s of late John Herbert Tearle; b 1902: educ RN Colls Osborne and Dartmouth and Manchester Univ; m 1926, Nettie Liddell, dau of late Matthew A McLean; served 1919-20, midshipman RN and in 1939-45 War as Lt RNVR in Middle East; chartered mechanical engr; gen man Metropolitan Vickers Electric Export Co 1949-54; man dir Associated Electrical Industries (Overseas) Ltd; dir Assocn E.L. Industries Ltd; pres Eutectric Co Ltd; master Worshipful Company of Broderers 1974-75; Travellers’ club and RAC; Shetland Park, Horsley, East Horsley, Surrey”.

Royal Navy cadets studied at the Royal Naval College Osborne, on the Isle of Wight, for two years, then went on to RN College Dartmouth. Osborne closed in 1921, but Dartmouth is still going strong. It is housed in a gloriously flamboyant Victorian building overlooking the harbour. It still trains naval officers with the aim:

To deliver courageous leaders with the spirit to fight and win.

After his two years study in Dartmouth, Francis went to sea and served a year as a midshipman, meaning an officer cadet. Osborne charged £75 a year to attend and some 30 cadets were subsidised to about £40. It is unlikely Francis was one of the latter, given the position his father had attained in Metropolitan-Vickers by 1919. Francis then went home to Manchester where he attended the College of Technology. It is now called the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, and since 1994 has been part of Manchester University. He applied to join the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on 26 April 1923, giving his address as C/- Mrs Clarke, “Hazeldene” Moss Lane, Bramhall, Stockport. He was required to seek a proposer who “from personal knowledge recommends him as a proper person to become a Graduate or Student”. His proposer was Professor Dempster Smith, MBE. A note about him from Manchester University says that during WW1

He was awarded the MBE for his work on the heat treatment of paravane blades. A paravane is made up of a strong steel cable and of two razor-edged blades. The cable is towed alongside a vessel such that the attached blades cut free the moorings of submerged mines.

An undated photograph of the mine-sweeping paravanes in production at Metropolitan-Vickers is reproduced on the same page as the photo of John Herbert, so it is possible to see how Professor Smith made Francis’ personal acquaintance, and this in turn tells us that Francis liked to explore the workshop at Trafford.

In 1926 he married Nettie Liddell McLean, but there is no trace of this marriage in England or in Scotland. In 1911, Nettie was a seven-year-old in Stretford, near Manchester. The registration district was Barton upon Irwell, the same district that would register the birth of Simon’s father in 1916. Her father, Matthew Adam McLean 1868 was a Scot from Mossend, Lanarkshire, near Motherwell. His occupation was described as Supervisor at an electrical Manufacturer, in other words, Metropolitan-Vickers. He was working at their brand-new plant in Trafford, and living not very far away from the site. At this time, a Ford Model T assembly plant was also built in the same park. Nettie’s mother was Janet Goodlet 1873 from Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, about 10 miles east of Glasgow. She and Matthew married in Glasgow in 1895. There is no indication so far as to who inspired the Liddell surname in Nettie’s name.

In 1941, Francis is aboard the CANADA, from Liverpool to Port Said. It is early in WW2 and Rommel has been very successful in battling Allied forces all over North Africa. He became very sick and flew back to Germany to be treated, and to meet with Hitler. The Allies have also found an Enigma machine, and the work in Bletchley Park is uncovering its secrets; Rommel is beginning to lose major battles. Francis says he is living at 95 Moss Lane, Sale, Cheshire, so he has not moved far from Trafford, and describes himself as a civil servant. In 1942, he is listed in the royal naval volunteer reserve as (SS) Francis John Enoch Tearle 13 Jan. It is safe to say that his voyage to Egypt in 1941 was on His Majesty’s Service, probably navy business. It can be seen from the very truncated biography above that he was a lieutenant in the RNVR in the Middle East, so it is no surprise to see him in Egypt.

There is nothing more about Francis until at the end of 1948 he was appointed managing director of the Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Export Company Ltd because he had long Russian experience. On page 239 of the M-V history book, there is a photo of Francis, along with a photo of the Johannesburg office, with which, no doubt, he was very familiar.

On 9 May 1952, Francis and Nettie are to be seen in a passenger list on the SS ARGENTINA STAR of the Blue Star Line, traveling back to London from Rio de Janeiro. They give their address as Goldrings Rd, Seven Oaks, Surrey. He is a director, Nettie is a housewife, and their country of last permanent residence was Turkey (OHMS). It looks as though Francis’ company has been asked to report on something in Turkey, it has taken more than a year, and now that the work is done, Francis and Nettie are going home.

A passenger list from the CHUSAN in 1960, shows Francis sailing from Hong Kong to Bombay. Which means he has business in India, too. That is not unexpected since he is working in an export business, but it is one more tie with India. This is reinforced with the last sight of Francis in the Tearle Tree archive; a bio written on him as a contributor to the Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society Volume 52 Issue 3-4 of 1965:

  1. J. F. E. TEARLE, C.B.E., is Managing Director of Associated Electrical Industries Overseas Ltd. In 1964 he led an F.B.I. Mission to Pakistan to study and report on its economic situation, since when A.I.E. have investigated and reported upon the feasibility of manufacturing heavy electrical equipment there. In 1955 Mr Tearle negotiated the Heavy Electrical Project Agreement with Government of India under which A.E.I. Ltd. were appointed Main Consultants.

Volume 52, 1965 contained an article written by Francis called “Industrial Development in Pakistan” in which he presented views about the relative merits of encouraging development of East Pakistan at 60% of national expenditure on industrial development and 40% for West Pakistan, mostly because of the “menacing growth of population in the East”. Since then the East has become Bangladesh.

John L Tearle wrote to Mavis in Dec 2002:

“It so happens that some years ago I got in touch with Frank Tearle, onetime managing director of Metropolitan Vickers, who was one of several engineers engaged in installing generators in the USSR in the 1930s who were arrested on charges of sabotage (I have his obituary somewhere) He telephoned me on the 12th December 1980 (according to my notes) with some information about his family history; his father was John Herbert and grandfather Enoch. He didn’t know the name of his great-grandfather, but mentioned a great-uncle Zepharian, so Zep (as he was known) and Enoch were brothers.”

It is not hard to get arrested in Russia, then or now, and a book by Gordon W Morrell goes into the affair in great detail. Even the title is somewhat ominous:

Britain confronts the Stalin Revolution: Anglo-Soviet Relations and the Metro-Vickers Crisis.

In 1920, Lenin was most enthusiastic for the Soviet Union to be electrified in all its major industries. Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Engineering Company (MVEEC) was very active and very successful in helping Lenin, and then Stalin, towards that aim. That part of the book released on-line does not tell me what actually happened, but at the end of it all Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart said:

On the whole intelligent opinion here holds: (1) that the sentences are lighter than expected; (2) that there was some foundation for the Bolshevist case; and (3) that we mishandled the case from the beginning.  19 Apr 1933

Where have we heard that before?

Francis spoke at the trial, but according to Morrell, he was not arrested and he was not imprisoned. He was, however, a very calming and level-headed influence during the entire crisis; the reason the Russians accepted that he was not involved in any sabotage of electrical equipment was because he was a mechanical engineer and not an electrical engineer. The whole affair was highly politically charged and motivated. After the trial, Britain threw up a trade embargo and the two engineers who had been jailed found their sentences commuted to expulsion from the USSR. Anglo-Soviet relations cooled back to whatever was considered normal in the 1930s.

We can also note that if Francis was going to Bombay (rather than via Bombay) in 1955, then it is quite likely that the Heavy Electrical Project Agreement signed with the India government was only one of many, and probably the one that he was most satisfied winning. The initials F.B.I. refer to the Federation of British Industry, a fore-runner of today’s CBI. His military background and his engineering skills have seen Francis move in very high circles. We now know that Francis was involved at a very high level with the authorities in Egypt, South Africa, Turkey, Russia, Pakistan and India. However, you can see from the tone of his article that he is a thinking man who expounds a humanist vision. He was also one of the early globe-trotters. He was awarded the CBE for services to export in the New Year’s Honours List, January 1965. He was described as Managing Director, Associated Electrical Industries (Overseas) Ltd.

In his conversation on the phone with John L Tearle, Francis made mention of a great-uncle Zepharian. Enoch’s sister, Sarah 1837, married Ephraim Gates who worked for the railways in Watford. It is most likely that this is the man whom Francis and John L were talking about, and he was actually Enoch’s brother-in-law.

In 2015, Barbara Tearle of Oxford found that Francis had an entry on the Roll of Honour at Bletchley Park:

Mr F J E Tearle
Service  FO Civilian
Summary of service:
Wavendon 1940. Probably Commercial Section.
Commemorated On The Codebreakers Wall: No

There is also his certificate of service:

Barbara thought the FO Civilian referred to the Foreign Office, and reinforces the conviction I have that FJE’s trip to Egypt in 1941 as  “public servant” was in fact part of his work for Bletchley.

Francis died in Macclesfield, Cheshire, in October 1988, so he did not move far from his boyhood haunts of Manchester, just 19 miles to the north. Nettie Liddell Tearle, with whom he seems to have shared many of his adventures, died in 1990, also in Macclesfield. We lost a highly intelligent, well-educated and influential man. In the one hundred years from 1841, when Enoch was born, to 1941, when Francis was involved in kitting out the developing world with heavy electrical equipment, and John Tearle was moving up the rankings in the navy, their family had more than kept pace with a furiously and chaotically accelerating world. The most likely person to be the impetus, and even the inspiration, for it all was Enoch, aided by a determined work ethic from Abel, Enoch’s father, early education from the Methodists, and self-discipline, courage and a circle of very good contacts, thanks to the military.

If the military men are listed, with the highest rank they achieved, who were all descendants of Abel Tearle 1810, this is what results:

Enoch 1841       (private)
Benjamin 1848               (gunner)
Jeffrey Jones Tearle 1871          (private)
John Herbert 1881        (private)
Samuel Hugh 1889       (lieutenant)
Francis John Enoch 1902 (captain)
Jeffrey Parkhurst Tearle 1914 (sergeant, killed 1941)
John Tearle 1916 (lieutenant commander)

Three generations of Abel’s family are listed here, and there is at least one man in the fourth generation who served in the armed forces, probably the navy. This is a very impressive muster from just one family. They can be proud of their contribution to the history of Britain.

Now that we have completed the stories of the military lives, we can take a look at how Enoch (and John Herbert Tearle, no doubt) affected the life of Francis’ extraordinary sister, Aunt Kitty.

Kathleen M Tearle (Aunt Kitty)

Whatever the actualities of the one voyage we have for John Herbert Tearle, and his work in Argentina, it is abundantly clear that South America, and Argentina in particular, completely changed the life of Kathleen May Tearle 1910.

Here she is on a voyage to Buenos Aires in 1937:

Name:  Kathleen M Tearle
Gender:              Female
Age:      27
Birth Date:        abt 1910
Departure Date:             27 Mar 1937
Port of Departure:         London, England
Destination Port:           Buenos Aires, Argentina
Ship Name:       Afric Star
Shipping Line: Blue Star Line
Official Number:            149755
Master:               C R Cooper

At this time, Kathleen is single, a stenographer, and along with another female passenger, also a stenographer, she is clearly going to join a company to work.

She is seen again, in 1939, on the AVELONA STAR, this time first class. The passenger manifest gives the names; Charles L Whitney aged 32, Fellmonger, of the Cumberland Hotel London W1, on his way to Buenos Aires, Argentina. With him is Kathleen M Tearle De Whitney, aged 28, no occupation, of the same address, going to the same destination. Their last permanent address was in Argentina.

The Fellmongers’ Company, a London City livery company, describe themselves in the following manner:

The Fellmongers’ Company was originally made up of skinners and glovers and was for long so described, but latterly it became known by its present title. A fellmonger is a dealer in fells or sheepskins, who separates the wool from the pelts.

It becomes very clear that they married abroad, and their children were born abroad, because the next sighting of Kathleen is when she and two daughters were recorded on a ship leaving Plymouth for Buenos Aires in 1947. Her address on the ship’s manifest was The Mill House, Denham Bridge nr Yelverton, S. Devon.

Name:  Kathleen Whitney
Gender:              Female
Age:      36
Birth Date:        abt 1911
Departure Date:             Jan 1947
Port of Departure:         London, England
Destination Port:           Buenos Aires, Argentina
Ship Name:       Columbia Star
Shipping Line: Blue Star Line
Official Number:            167259
Master:               C J W Jones

The most telling evidence is the manifest of the PARAQUAY STAR, arriving at London from Buenos Aires in October 1949:
Charles L Whitney 42 address c/- W. Weddel & Co, 14 West Smithfield, London EC1, Fellmonger
Kathleen Whitney, 39 (and three daughters.)
Dau Whitney 9,
Dau Whitney 5,
Dau Whitney 2

Since these children will still be alive today, their names are not given here. Three daughters appear to be the full extent of Charles’ and Kathleen’s family.

Weddel & Co of Smithfield were meat importers from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina in the pioneering days of frozen meat.

It was noted in the introduction to this book that Aunt Kitty’s husband was Uncle Bob, which does not preclude his nickname being different from his registered name. There is a birth for Charles Lawrence Whitney in Bradford in 1907 and this name and age certainly fits for the Charles L Whitney, Fellmonger, above. Who knows why and how Charles was called Bob? Perhaps it was a school nickname, perhaps he was always called Bob.

We can only conjecture how Kathleen fell for the magic of South America. John Herbert Tearle was in the Argentine in the 1920s. It is safe to say the voyage above was not his only trip to Argentina, so it is quite possible that his contacts enabled him to forward an offer of employment to Kathleen May. One possibility is that she met Charles in London or Buenos Aires, heard the stories of his adventures as a meat buyer for the Smithfield Market and couldn’t resist the romance of travel and adventure that her father John H, and even her grandfather, Enoch, had surely led her to believe. You can see above that she did not desert her family in England, and returned often to make sure her children knew their cousins, aunts and uncles, and their grandparents. The trip to and from Buenos Aires is neither hazard free nor short, so she is braving a huge ocean adventure with every voyage she undertakes.

We shall also take a quick look at Violet Elizabeth 1901 and the enigmatic “Uncle Angus”.

Violet Elizabeth Tearle (Aunt Betsy) and Uncle Angus

Violet Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of John Herbert Tearle and Mary nee Ward was born in 1901 in central London, somewhere in the Kensington area, according to the 1911 census. She remains in the shadows, even after she marries Arthur Lancelot Hunking, known universally as Angus. In the 1911 census he is 7yrs old, born in Cam, Gloucestershire, and his father, Arthur Herbert Hunking is 33. He married Eliza Emma Phillips in Dursley, Gloucestershire (Eliza’s home town) in 1901. He says he is a commercial manager, and the company he works for are agricultural implement engineers. Violet married Angus in 1947, somewhere in Paddington, London, but I can find no children for this couple. Also, I was not able to find Angus’ business in Bishop Auckland. There was an industrialist from Up North called Angus Hunking who liked to invest in bands, and once advanced £7000 to King Crimson, but I do not think that he is this Angus. Violet Elizabeth died in Kingston upon Thames in 1965 and Arthur Lancelot Hunking died in Bournemouth in 1976. So unfortunately, this thread has come to an end, but at least we have been able to find the man behind the name; Arthur Lancelot is definitely Uncle Angus.

The Tearles of India

The story of the family of Enoch Tearle 1841 and Elizabeth nee Jones is now finished. We have examined their military connections at some length, and their startling engineering ability, with its connotation of advanced mental and mathematics skills attached, have been examined, as well as their managerial skill, developing ever more with each generation, until Francis John Enoch showed us all how much can be achieved. What is now very plain is that there is no other family in the Tearle Tree with more exposure to, and more experience of India, than Enoch’s. What Enoch’s family has achieved is remarkable, in any family. Here is a synopsis:

Jeffrey Jones Tearle 1871 was there in 1886, and became very sick. This author can attest to how that feels.

Samuel Hugh Tearle 1889 was there in Lebong in 1914 and even married there. He was shipped back to England to be part of Britain’s military efforts in WW1.

Samuel Hugh’s son, Jeffrey Parkhurst Tearle was born in Lebong in 1914. He was killed in the defence of Tobruk, Egypt in 1941.

Francis John Enoch Tearle 1902 was in and about India for at least five years around 1955, working for the India government on industrial improvements.

John Tearle 1916 was an engineer in Hyderabad.

Several of John’s children were born in India, and spent much of their formative years there.

What has been outlined is a presence in India (although not continuously) of this Tearle family from 1886 until 1988, if the last of John’s children left permanently when they were, say, about 20. That is a snapshot of life to and from India for one hundred years. They have an immense and unparalleled accumulation of experience, unique in the Tearle Tree.


Tearle, John L Tearle A Bedfordshire Surname Lillydown House 1996 ISBN 0 9528131 0 6

The Duties of Servants: A Practical Guide to the Routine of Domestic Service Copper Beach Publishing Ltd 1993. Guide originally published 1894. No author attributed.  ISBN 0 9516295 9 X

Robson, Graham and Ware, Michael Classic British Cars Abbeyvale Press 2000

Morrell, Gordon W Britain Confronts the Stalin Revolution: Anglo-Soviet Relations and the Metro-Vickers Crisis. Wilfred Laurier University Press 1995.

Website URLs in order of appearance:

https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/search/                                          p1

http://www.lan-opc.org.uk/Liverpool/Liverpool-Central/stpaul/       p6

http://ukga.org/england/Hampshire/towns/Aldershot.html               p12

http://www.kingsownmuseum.plus.com/moves03.htm                         p13

http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8957 p13

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=42531             p15

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jim.lawton1/html/frontcover.htm    p15

http://www.kingsownmuseum.plus.com/moves04.htm                         p17

http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/great-war-on-land/61-battlefields/1318-the-battle-of-loos-1915.html                                                                                                   p18

http://www.kingsownmuseum.plus.com/tobruk.htm                              p20

http://www.dreadnoughtproject.org/tfs/index.php/Royal_Naval_College,_Osborne            p21

http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/The-Fleet/Shore-Establishments/BRNC-Dartmouth                            p21

http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/our-research/hall-of-fame/mechanical-engineering/dempster-smith/  (Notes on Prof Dempster Smith, MBE)                                         p22

http://tractors.wikia.com/wiki/Ford_Trafford_Park_Factory             p22

http://www.fellmongers.org.uk/history_heritage.html                           p25


Websites consulted:


www.bedfordshire.gov.uk  – for detailed information on Stanbridge and the Methodist chapels refer to:


http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=MI-f8mrJg8AC&pg=PA174&lpg=PA174&dq=Tearle+ussr&source=bl&ots=mDndmY9x_Y&sig=Hd_32RNpnymrBkezrPIiSsBAlBA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Do29UquXMMithQfLv4GABw&ved=0CDwQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=Tearle&f=false (Britain Confronts the Stalin Revolution…. Is available as a printed book from this URL)


http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jim.lawton1/html/frontcover.htm  (History of Metropolitan-Vickers)

Tearle, J. H. 2, 16, 49, 52, 68, 88 (John Herbert)

Tearle, F. J. E. 191, 193, 239     (Francis John Enoch)

Photograph of John Herbert Tearle, and Prof Dempster’s mine-sweeping paravanes


Photograph of Francis John Enoch 1948

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03068376508731910?journalCode=raaf19#.Urv7EPRdV8E (Francis John Enoch Tearle, CBE, Bio for journal article dated 1965)

http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw016096 (Trafford Park in 1919)

http://www.stantonyscentre.org.uk/heritage/ford-centenary-19112011.php (Ford at Trafford)











Tearle, Frederick John, 1884 (8/Beds Regt) and the last Tearles in Stanbridge

At the end of WW1, a private initiative began that tried to tell the stories of the soldiers of WW1. It was called National Roll of the Great War and while volumes were written, the work could hardly be called comprehensive. However, of the seventeen Tearle men whose stories are in the Roll, one volume does include the stories of two Stanbridge men, who were lucky enough to survive the war. The first is Frederick, and the second is Frederick’s younger brother, Edgar Tearle 1890.

Here is Frederick’s entry in National Roll:

Tearle, F J, Private, 8th Bedfordshire Regiment, who gave his address as Tilsworth Rd, Stanbridge. Below is his entry in National Roll:

Tearle Frederick John National Roll

This man was Frederick John Tearle, 1884 of Stanbridge, regimental number 27560 Bedfordshire Regiment and 59749 Suffolk Regiment.

It is a little odd that National Roll says that Frederick earned the 1914-15 Star, because his service medal record leaves this off.

Frederick J 27560, 59749 WW1 army medal rolls

Frederick J Tearle 27560, 59749 WW1 army medal record.

Mind you, they do not mention which Theatre of War Frederick joined (France) and when, so perhaps the card is incomplete.

Frederick was a son of John Tearle 1862 of Stanbridge and Annie nee Walker. John’s parents were James Tearle 1823 and Hannah nee Philips. James’ parents were Richard and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth, and that means that Frederick was on the branch of John 1741.

In the 1901 census Frederick was 17, Edgar was 10yrs old and at school and there were Alice Agnes, 6yr, and Mabel Edith only 1yr. John was a carter on a farm and Frederick was a cowman. The 1911 census, as usual, is a little telling. The form is filled out by Annie, and that reminded me that on their wedding certificate in 1884, John made his mark, but Annie signed her name. It tells us that although in their late 40s, the marriage  had already run for 28yrs, that they had 7 live births, but that two had since died. John is a roadman for the County Council, and I think that would be a good step up, and would pay better, and more reliably, than carting farm produce. Frederick (27yrs) was still a farm labourer, and younger brother Edgar, now 20yrs old, was working at a plant nursery. Alice Agnes is 15yrs and still at home.

In 1914 the entire land mass of Europe shook with the oncoming rush of war. Britain’s treaties caused her to take sides, and she dived headlong into a disaster on a global scale. Edgar signed up first (it was going to be over by Christmas, remember) in September 1914, and Frederick, who was but a grain of sand on a beach pounded by mighty waves, signed up too. It was March 1915.

Three of the battles mentioned in National Roll were vast slaughterhouses over months of war. The gently rolling lands of southern Belgium and Pas-de-Calais in northern France, where the River Somme winds lazily to the sea, were battlefields carved deeply with dugouts, underground headquarters and trenches. Disease was rife supplies ran out, and often the enemy trenches were as close as 100m. In this terrain, men fought for days for no gain, and in that endeavour they died in their tens of thousands. Frederick was unbelievably lucky to survive. It looks as though his injury in the Battle of the Somme was sufficiently serious for him not to be sent back to the battlefield. He was also, I think mostly for administrative reasons, transferred to the 8th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, which reviewed his documentation and approved the awarding of his service medals. This also explains how he was given two army numbers. He was finally free to go home.

Frederick John Tearle 59749 record of service medals

But in what condition did he return home? The noise, the carnage, the friends he lost, all of these would have taken an enormous toll on him. In the battle of Cambrai, it was noted that large rats ate the bodies of dead soldiers. That the daily toll of men was about 300, even when the artillery was not firing. And Cambrai, remember, was when tanks were first used on a large scale. The battle of Cambrai was also where Charles Tearle 1894 of Preston was killed, and Ernest John Tearle 1898 (on the same page, above) was gassed.

I mention this, because Richard Inns, a Stanbridge villager, told me that Frederick returned to his parents’ house, closed the curtains, and was seldom seen outside the house for the rest of his life.

Over time, this house saw sad events:

John 1862 died in 1927

Annie nee Walker, John’s wife, died in 1931

Alice Agnes died in April 1956

Frederick died in September 1956.

So far as I know, Frederick was the last person living in the house; I suspect that the loss of his sister would have hastened his death.

Four houses from the intersection of Pedders Lane and Tilsworth Road is the house where the last Tearles in Stanbridge lived. It has been added to, but it still exists:

Pedders Lane - the last Tearle house in Stanbridge

Pedders Lane – the last Tearle house in Stanbridge

When you read the service that Frederick did for his country, and the horrific battles he fought in, there can be no wonder that he could not (or would not) marry on returning to Stanbridge. It is also little wonder that his entire world was reduced to the interior of the last place where he had felt affection and security.

Edgar died in Churchill Hospital in Oxford in 1950, but he had been living in Leighton Buzzard until then; I am not certain where Eric was living at the time, but when he died in September 1968, he was the last person born in Stanbridge to carry the Tearle name. A name which had lived in this village since at least 1580, was gone.


Stanbridge Tearle Memorials

The parents of almost all the Tearles alive today are a Stanbridge man called Thomas b1710 and his wife, Mary nee Sibley. They had five sons who carried the Tearle name – Joseph b1737, Thomas b1737, John b1741, William b1749 and Richard b1754. There was a Jabez b1745, but he never married and had no children. In order to positively identify any Tearle, I trace them back to one of these men. So where you see the statement, for instance, that John, below is on the branch of John 1741, you will know they are a descendant of John 1741 above. The Tearle Tree is built on this basis and we can trace almost any person who enquires to one of these branches.

In line with the south entrance of St John the Baptist Church, is a carved stone with a very old cross on it. Although it does not signify occupation in and around it, this stone does server to remind us that Stanbridge has been place of significance since before Roman times.

Stanbridge Church rock

Stanbridge Church rock

The clock on the church was donated by the villagers who raised money for it to celebrate the end of WW1. It was unveiled by the daughter of Lily Robinson nee Cox.

Stanbridge Church clock

Stanbridge Church clock

The memorial below is for John Tearle b16 Jan 1840 in Stanbridge; “For sixty years sexton of this parish.” Also on the memorial are other members of John’s family: Maria nee Bliss b1844 in Totternhoe, Frederick b1871 in Stanbridge and Sabina b1875 in Stanbridge. John Tearle was sexton while the Rev Thomas Green was making major upgrades to the fabric of St John’s during the 1890s.

He is on the branch of John 1741.

John Tearle 60 years sexton of this parish

John Tearle 60 years sexton of this parish

The site below is for Eliza Tearle b1873 and Kate Tearle b1873, who died within months of each other in 1954 and are in this grave by the footpath.

Kate and Eliza Tearle, Stanbridge.

Kate and Eliza Tearle, Stanbridge.

They are the twin daughters of John the  sexton (mentioned above.)

Very close to the foot of the grave above, is the memorial to Phoebe Tearle b 1877 Stanbridge. She married George Horne, also of Stanbridge, and they left to seek their fortune in Leeds.  Phoebe is one of the daughters of John 1840, the sexton, and Maria. Note how close her memorial is to that of her sisters, Eliza and Kate. I am not certain that she is buried here.

Phoebe Horne nee Tearle and George

Phoebe Horne nee Tearle and George

Annie Rose is the sister of Kate and Eliza and thus a daughter of John the sexton. She died in 1950.

Headstone Annie Rose d1950 and Charles Rose d1951

Headstone for Annie Rose d1950 and Charles Rose d1951

This little cluster of graves is interesting because others close by may be similarly related. You can see below that the graves of Eliza, Kate, Phoebe and Annie are a close little grouping. Research is continuing to see if other sites nearby are also Tearle graves by another name.

Foreground, Kate and Eliza, with Phoebe Horne and Annie Rose

Foreground, Kate and Eliza, with Phoebe Horne and Annie Rose

This headstone below is for James Tearle b15 Apr 1827 in Toddington and Mary nee Andrews, b1830 in Eggington. They were married in Stanbridge 26 July 1846.

James and John the sexton are brothers. James is my gg-grandfather. While his son Levi went on to become a skilled blacksmith, running a successful business in Wing, James always described himself simply as an agricultural labourer. After his father died, Levi travelled from Wing to see his mother, Mary Tearle nee Andrews, in Stanbridge almost every weekend.

James Tearle d1887 and Mary d1914.

James Tearle d1887 and Mary Tearle d1914.

James, too, is on the branch of John 1741.

The memorials to John and James are close together. It seems likely that the church paid for John’s headstone, while Levi Tearle of Wing, their son, would have paid for James and Mary’s headstone.

The memorials to John 1840 and James 1827 are close together.

The memorials to John 1840 and James 1827 are close together.

In an odd sort of way, this headstone below for Caroline Shillingworth and Charles is also a Tearle memorial, since in 1888, he married Mary Tearle, the widow of James Tearle, above. When he died in 1891, Mary went to his funeral as Mary Shillingford, widow of Charles and it was as Mary Shillingford that she married William  Tearle in the registry office in Watford. This William Tearle was the brother of both James and John above. His first wife was Catharine Fountain, universally known as Kate. Mary died in her son Levi’s house in Wing in 1914 and William died in 1 Grovebury Rd, Leighton Buzzard in 1920. I have never found his burial, but it is in the Stanbridge churchyard.

Charles and Caroline Shillingford, Stanbridge

Charles and Caroline Shillingford, Stanbridge

Under the trees, to the south of the church, are the Methodist graves, and some of these are highly significant for us.

 John Tearle d1818 and Elizabeth Rickard Stanbridge

John Tearle d1818 and Elizabeth Rickard Stanbridge

John Tearle d1818 and Elizabeth.

John, b1787 in Stanbridge, married Elizabeth Flint of Stanbridge on 4 May 1813. They had three children before he died in 1818, and they certainly made their mark.

Elizabeth remarried, to William Rickard, but you will notice his headstone nearby has his name only on it, whilst Elizabeth is written on John’s headstone, but as Elizabeth Rickard. You will see John on the branch of Joseph 1737, because he is a son of Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp. This is one of the Methodist graves.

The headstone of William Rickard

The headstone of William Rickard.

John and Deborah Olney  – notice the wonderful age they lived to. He owned and worked a 154 acre farm near Stanbridge, employing 6 labourers. They probably did not live on the farm since their house is in the village near the church. Deborah is a daughter of John 1787 and Elizabeth nee Flint, above. Also on this headstone is their son, James Olney b1837 Stanbridge.

John Olney and Deborah

Deborah often gives her children the name Tearle as a middle name eg Hannah Tearle Olney – who may have died of cancer. She is named after Deborah’s younger sister.

Hannah Tearle Olney

Hannah Tearle Olney.

This small headstone is to their four children who died – Thomas and William can be seen written there, but the other two cannot.

John and Deborah Olney's four children.

John and Deborah Olney’s four children.

Close to the headstone of John and Deborah Olney is this dark headstone to Catherine Conder who died in 1892. There is also Ethel Mary Conder who died just eight months old in 1891. And tragically recorded is the death of their son Thomas Olney Conder who died in Wega, W Africa, in 1897, in a scene mirroring that of Hannah and Henry Fleet, below, because he, too, was a Methodist missionary. Catherine Conder is Deborah’s fourth child, born 1840 in Stanbridge.

Catherine Conder and Thomas Olney Conder, the Methodist missionary.

Catherine Conder and Thomas Olney Conder, the Methodist missionary.

Hannah Tearle b 30 June 1816 and Henry Fleet b1817. They were married in St Johns, Stanbridge in 1838.

Their memorial is inside the church and tells the story of their sad and early deaths. Hannah is the second daughter of John 1787 and Elizabeth, above, and was Deborah’s younger sister.

The graves under the trees and this memorial to Hannah are of Methodists. There were two Methodist chapels in Stanbridge: the Wesleyan Chapel in Leighton Rd, from which this memorial was transferred to St Johns, and the Primitive Methodist chapel, which was next door to the school on Tilsworth Rd.

The memorial reads:
Hannah, the beloved wife of Henry Fleet and daughter of John and Elizabeth Tearle of this parish, who while on a voyage with her husband to Africa, was called to her eternal reward. Jan 1, 1839, aged 22 years.
Also of the above Henry Fleet, Wesleyan Missionary, who died at Sierra Leone, Western Africa, May 30 1839, aged 22 years.

Hannah Tearle and Henry Fleet memorial

Hannah Tearle and Henry Fleet memorial.

An English custom worthy of note to the family historian; in England, it is the venue that is licensed to perform marriages. Since neither of the Methodist chapel had such a licence, marriages were performed in the Parish Church, in this case, St Johns. Likewise, burials could take place only in the St Johns churchyard; hence the Methodist marriages and the Methodist graves in a Church of England venue. It is sad to note that Methodist sites, until very recently, were on “unconsecrated ground” and the Parish Church did not have the the responsibility of their maintenance.

Another interesting thing about the Methodists is that according to “The Citizen”of Leighton Buzzard, 26 Feb 2004, “The village’s first school was opened in June 1876 at the Primitive (Methodist) chapel. It catered for 80 children but was soon full and so a new school was built next door in 1881.” I have often noticed in my wanderings around England that Methodist schools attached to, or run inside Methodist chapels often precede parish schools. The Methodists believed in reading the Bible, so of course you had to be able to read. Look up the story of the Tolepuddle martyrs. Methodism was for the poor, and the modern trade unions are the direct descendants of the early Methodists. The Tearles were at the very centre of that activity in Stanbridge.

Methodist graves under the trees

Methodist graves under the trees.

At the end of WW1, a private initiative began that tried to tell the stories of the soldiers of WW1. It was called National Roll of the Great War and while volumes were written, the work could hardly be called comprehensive. However, it does include the stories of two Stanbridge men, who were lucky enough to survive the war.

Tearle, F J, Private, 8th Bedfordshire Regiment, who gave as his address Tilsworth Rd, Stanbridge. National Roll says:

He volunteered in March 1915, and in the same year was sent to France. During his service on the Western Front he was engaged in the fighting on the Somme, at Arras, Bullecourt and Cambrai, and was wounded on the Somme during the retreat of 1918. He was demobilised in November 1919, and holds the 1914-15 Star, the General Service and Victory Medals.

Tearle, E, Private, 7th Bedfordshire Regiment, also of Tilsworth Rd, Stanbridge. National Roll says of him:

He volunteered in September 1914 and in the following January proceeded overseas. He served on the Western Front and fought at Loos and the Somme, where he was wounded. On recovery he rejoined his Battalion, and was engaged in the fighting at Passchendale, Cambrai and in the Retreat and Advance of 1918. He was demobilised in March 1919, and holds the 1914-15 Star, and the General Service and Victory Medals.

The house on the corner of Peddars Lane. Occupied by John and Annie Tearle and then by Frederick, Alice Annie and Eric until 1968, when Eric, the last Tearle in Stanbridge, died here

The house on the corner of Peddars Lane. Occupied by John and Annie Tearle and then by Frederick, Alice Annie and Eric until 1968, when Eric, the last Tearle in Stanbridge, died here

These two boys, not surprisingly, were brothers, sons of John 1862 Stbg and Annie nee Walker. The first was Frederick John Tearle, 1884 Stbg regimental number 27560 Bedfordshire Regiment and 59749 Suffolk Regiment, and the other was Edgar Tearle, 1890 Stbg number 14397, Bedfordshire Regiment and 590090 Labour Corps. Edgar married Louisa Jane Abraham in 1922. They had a son Alan Richard T in 1926 and Edgar died on 1 Nov 1950 in the Churchill Hospital, Headington, Oxford, having lived in 12 Lamas Walk, Leighton Buzzard until his transfer to Churchill Hospital.

Alice died in April 1956, Frederick died in Sep 1956, and Eric, John and Annie’s youngest son, died in July 1968.

John 1862 Stbg, was a son of James and Hannah nee Phillips. Here are John, Annie and family in the 1901 Stanbridge census:

1901 = John 1862 Annie 35 Frederick J 17 Edgar 10 Alice Agnes 6 Mabel Edith 1 in Stbg

As the enumerator walked down Tilsworth Rd, John and Annie were in the 59th house, just inside Pedars Lane.

When you read the service these two boys did for their country, and the horrific battles they fought in, there can be no wonder that Frederick could not (or would not) marry on returning to Stanbridge.

When Eric died in 1968 he was the last person in Stanbridge to carry the Tearle name. A name which had lived in this village since at least the late 1300s was gone.

James Tearle and Mary headstone Stanbridge Church

Tearle burials in Stanbridge 1813-1968

Stanbridge burials 1813 to 1968

Collated and annotated by Pat Field, from the Stanbridge parish records.

Considering the paucity of Tearle headstones in the Stanbridge burial ground that surrounds St John the Baptist Church, there have been a large number of Tearle burials in the parish. Pat Field has compiled the list below to illuminate the families and their associations and you will notice that the earliest in the list include Phoebe nee Capp, as well as John 1741 and Martha nee Archer, who are at the head of two of the main branches of the Tearle family tree. As this list opens, we can see the people who would have been familiar, as children, and grand-children, with the heads of the Tearle tree.

Year Name Abode Date Age
Dau of Richard 1773 and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth.
Martha nee Archer wife of John 1741.
John 1741, hus of Marther nee Archer.
Phoebe nee Capp, wif of Joseph 1737.
John 1787, son of Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp.
Hus of Elizabeth nee Flint; see Methodist graves.
Son of Thomas 1807 and Mary nee Garner.
Dau of John 1799 and Elizabeth nee Mead.
Son of John 1770 and and Mary nee Janes.
Dau of Thomas 1807 and Mary nee Garner.
Son of Richard 1773 and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth.
Judith nee Knight 2nd wife of William 1769.
William 1769, son of Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp.
Hus of Sarah nee Clarke.
John 1770, hus of Mary nee James.
Richard 1773, son of John 1741 and Martha nee Archer.
Hus of Mary nee Bodsworth.
Elizabeth nee Mead, wife of John 1779.
Son of Joseph 1823 and Mary nee Turney.
Unknown parents.
John 1799, hus of Elizabeth nee Mead.
Eliza nee Irons, wife of John 1823.
Thomas 1807, hus of Mary nee Garner.
Son of John 1799 and Elizabeth nee Irons.
Elizabeth nee Bodsworth, wife of Richard 1773.
Mary nee Janes, wife of John 1771.
Dau William 1832 and Catherine nee Fountain.
Dau John 1823 and Eliza nee Irons.
Dau of Abel 1810 and Martha nee Emmerton.
Dau Jane 1843, dau Thomas 1816 and Ann nee Jones.
Dau William 1832 and Catherine nee Fountain.
1872 MARY TEARLE STANBRIDGE Dec-20 1yr 10m
Dau Sarah Tearle, dau James 1823 and Mary nee Andrews.
Sarah married George Blake in Dec 1877.
Mary 1803, dau John 1770 and Mary nee Janes.
Son of William 1832 and Catherine nee Fountain.
Mary Ann nee Turpin, wife of Richard 1816.
Nathaniel’s mother.
John 1823, hus of Eliza nee Irons.
Son of John 1840 and Maria nee Bliss.
Son of James 1823 and Hannah nee Philips.
Unknown parents. Birth cert: 1881, Q2, Leighton Buzzard,
Bedfordshire, Vol 3b, Page 430.
Abel 1810, hus of Martha nee Emmerton.
1882 JEFFRERY TEARLE Dec-08 10
Son of William 1832 and Catherine nee Fountain. UPPER HOUGHTON REGIS
Dau Abel 1810 and Martha nee Emmerton.
Unbaptised burial, authorised by bishop. Unknown parents.
Birth cert: 1883, Q3, LB, Beds, 3b, 391
Maria nee Bliss, wife of John 1840.
Joseph 1823, hus of Mary nee Turney.
Died in Hemel Hempstead Hospital.
James 1827, hus of Mary nee Andrews.
Parents unknown. May be Arthur Henry Tearle 1887.
Birth cert: 1887, Q3, LB, Beds, 3b, 393.
1892 SIDNEY TEARLE WING Jan-03 19m
Son of Amos 1861 and Martha nee Timms.
Hannah nee Philips wife of James 1823.
Catherine nee Fountain, wife of William 1832.
Dau of Jane 1844, dau of John 1823 and Eliza nee Irons.
Son of John 1840, the sexton, and Maria nee Bliss.
Son of John 1861 and Annie nee Walker.
Son of James 1823 and Hannah nee Philips.
James 1823, hus of Hannah nee Philips.
Son of Abel 1810 and Martha nee Emmerton.
Elizabeth nee Chapman, wife of Joseph 1823.
Dau of John 1823 and Eliza nee Irons.
1914 MARY TEARLE WING Jun-04 83
Mary nee Andrews, wife of James 1827.
Dau of John 1823 and Eliza nee Irons.
Dau of John 1840, the sexton, and Maria nee Bliss.
William 1832, hus of Catherine nee Fountain.
Died at 1 Grovebury Rd, Leighton Buzzard.
John 1840 “sexton of this parish for 60 years.”
Hus of Maria nee Bliss.
John 1861, of Back Lane, Stanbridge.
Hus of Annie nee Walker.
Annie nee Walker, wife of John 1861.
Thomas 1870 son of James 1823 and Hannah nee Philips.
Died at 11a Dunstable Rd, Luton.
Dau John 1840 and Maria nee Bliss.
Living at 7 Tilsworth Rd, Stanbridge, died in Kempston.
Dau John 1840 and Maria nee Bliss.
Living at 7 Tilsworth Rd, Stanbridge, died in Kempston.
Son of John 1862 and Annie nee Walker.
10 Peddars Lane, Stanbridge. WW1 soldier.
Dau of John 1862 and Annie nee Walker.
10 Peddars Lane, Stanbridge.
Son of John 1861 and Annie nee Walker.
10 Peddars Lane, Stanbridge. WW1 soldier.




Mary Andrews 1830, Eggington, UK

I have decided to have a long look at my gg grandmother, Mary nee Andrews of Eggington, a village that is only a short walk from Stanbridge. Cousin Thelma called her “Much Married Mary” although she never told me what that meant. In Mary’s case it is a story of three marriage certificates.

Here she is in the 1841 census, aged 11 (b1830) and still at home in the hamlet of Eggington:

1841 = Mary Andrew p1 11 at home in Eggington

1841 = Mary Andrew p2 Thomas 6 Amos 4m in Eggington

Her father is James, aged 40 (b1801) and her mother is Sarah, also aged 40. I have on record that her maiden name was Moore, and I have given 1801 as her birth date given the census return. Mary, then, has a sister, Dinah, 15 (b1826), a brother Abel, 14 (b1827) then Mary, then Sarah, 8 (1833), a brother Thomas 6 (b1835) and little Amos 4m.

I have added these children into the Tree.

John Andrews sent me the following information in Dec 05 and you’ll notice that some of the names below are not in the census return, so I guess not at home that night:

JAMES ANDREWS was born June 2, 1799 in Eggington, Beds, and died 1851 in Eggington, Beds.  He married SARAH MOORE, daughter of William Moore and Elizabeth Bishop.Children of James Andrews and Sarah Moore are:

ABEL ANDREWS, b. 1827; d. June 12, 1864.

AMOS ANDREWS, b. December 28, 1823, Eggington, Beds; d. January 1, 1837.


MARY ANDREWS, b. 1830, Eggington, Beds.

SARAH ANDREWS, b. 1833, Eggington, Beds; d. March 13, 1861.

THOMAS ANDREWS, b. April 16, 1835.

WILLIAM ANDREWS, b. June 6, 1820, Eggington, Beds; d. February 17, 1907, Hooper – Weber – Utah.

HANNAH ANDREWS, b. 1826, Eggington, Beds.

AMOS ANDREWS, b. February 3, 1841, Eggington, Beds.

JOHN ANDREWS, b. March 30, 1851; d. April 2, 1851.

You’ll also notice that one of this family, William 1820, went off to Utah, after marrying one of the Pantling girls. There were several Pantling families in Eggington.

Dinah married David Scrivner, and she was a witness to the marriage of Amos Tearle, my great-grandfather Levi’s brother. Also there was George Blake, who was married to Amos and Levi’s sister, Sarah 1853 Stbg. Both men (Amos and Levi) are Mary’s sons. Just a snapshot of village life, really.

So here is the first marriage certificate: James 1826 Stbg, my gg-grandfather and Mary Andrews of Eggington, married at a very young age, by banns, in Stanbridge Church on July 26, 1847. You can see their entry in the banns register, which, in spite of its age, is still being added to in the “marriage season” even in the 21st Century.

However, I have the marriage certificate:

James 1827 my gg-grandfather marries Mary Andrews in 1847

James 1827, my gg-grandfather, marries Mary Andrews in 1847

In the 1851 census we can see Mary and James Tearle in Stanbridge with their first child, Levi, just 8m old.

1851 = James 1828 Stbg p1 Mary 23 in Stbg

1851 = James 1828 Stbg p2 Levi 8m in Stbg

They are living right next door to Joseph 1798 Stbg and Maria nee Millings of Soulbury.

One day, I must track the spread of Methodism amongst the Tearles. We know from the Dunstable Methodist circuit records that Joseph and Maria were Methodists and we know that Phoebe nee Capp was also a staunch Methodist; how much did this influence James and Mary and therefore Levi? Levi is my great-grandfather who moved to Wing, set up a successful smithy there and was the superintendant of the Sunday School in the Primitive Methodist Chapel in Church St, now a private residence.

Joseph and Maria are much older than James and Mary. Joseph 1798 Stbg is one of the grandsons of Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp. These are two parallel families living side by side in Stanbridge; Joseph 1798 grandson of Joseph 1737 and James g-grandson of John 1741, the brother of Joseph 1737. I know from living for 10yrs in a village of 100 houses, that these two families would have known exactly what their relationship was.

In 1861, Mary and James are living in Tilsworth Rd, Stanbridge and have their children:

1861 = James 1827 Todd Mary 31 Levi 11 Sarah 8 Elizabeth 5 Isabella 3 in Stbg.

Amos was b July 1861, so he missed the April census day.

In 1871 all the family is there, living in Leighton Rd, Stanbridge, with an addition – James and Mary have just become grand-parents:

1871 = James 1828 Tod Mary 40 Eggnt Sarah 18 Elizabeth 15 Isabella 13 Amos 9 Mary gd 2m Mary Ann Andrews niece 3 in Stbg

The grand-daughter belongs to Sarah, who goes on to marry George Blake 1857 of Stanbridge.

In 1881 they are living in Totternhoe Rd and only Amos is living with them:

1881 = James 1827 Tod Mary 50 Amos 19 in Stbg.jpg

This is where it starts getting complicated. James died in April 1887.

I first knew of the existence of a second marriage certificate because I found a Mary 1830 of Eggington in the 1891 Stanbridge census; she had to be my gg-grandmother. She was married to Charles Shillingford 1825 Stbg, a “Retired plate layer on the railway.”

1891 = Mary 1830 Egtn Charles Shillingford 66

And eventually I found it:

Mary nee Andrews 1830 Eggington marriage to Charles Shillingford 1888

Mary nee Andrews 1830 Eggington marriage to Charles Shillingford 1888

I also have a wonderful photograph of the two of them, but it’s in New Zealand and I will have to wait until I visit there again before I can see it.

In 1891, they are living in Tilsworth End, not far from the Hockliffe Bridleway, now called Kings Way. In the Hockliffe Bridleway are James 1819 Stbg and Hannah nee Phillips of Fleet Marston, Bucks. This James 1819 is the uncle of our James 1827 Tod, being the much younger brother of James’ father Thomas 1807 Stb. Both men are among the sons of Richard 1773 Stbg and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth. Mary would have known James’ uncle.

1891 = James 1819 Stbg Hannah 61 Fleet Marston Elizabeth 22 Thomas 20 Sarah 16 in Stbg

I can sketch a little bit of Charles Shillingford:

1841 Charles Shillingford 15 in Stbg, hence b1825.

He was a worker on the farm of James and Sophia Frambleton (?) in Backlane, Stanbridge. This must have been renamed, because I am not familiar with the road. He is one of seven such workers and the next door farm is the one belonging to Daniel Ellingham 1776 Stbg.

1881 Charles Shillingford 1825 Stbg Catherine 64 in Stbg.

Charles is living with his wife Catherine in Tilsworth Rd and he is a railway labourer.

I know that Mary died in 1914 and I know that Levi visited her almost every weekend, travelling there by horse from Wing. It’s not too far, but the roads were a bit rough. It was probably incorporated into Levi’s weekly trip to Leighton Buzzard for supplies. I have walked from LB to Wing and it’s not very far at all. One nice sunny day soon, I’ll walk from LB to Stanbridge.

So that brings me to 1901.

This is the most intriguing entry of all:

1901 = William 1832 Stbg Mary 1831 Egtn in Stbg

Mary nee Andrews has married William 1832, her first husband's brother.

Mary nee Andrews has married William 1832, her first husband’s brother.

This is a portion of the 1901 census report for Stanbridge. The record clearly states that he is Married, 69, Retired Railway platelayer, and the word Pension is written in bold. The record also clearly states that Mary is Wife, 70, and has Superannuated alongside her name.

This, without doubt is William 1832, of William and Catherine nee Fountain 1834 Eaton Bray. He is the brother of James 1827 Stbg, of whom Mary is the widow; he is also the brother of John 1829 Stbg “For 60 years the sexton of this parish.” The headstones of James and John stand side by side near the church, but there is no sign of William’s.

There was a third marriage certificate to find, and when eventually I did, it was quite unusual.

Mary Shillingford nee Andrews 1830 marriage to William Tearle in 1893

Mary Shillingford nee Andrews 1830 marriage to William Tearle in 1893

When I found this certificate, and it took a while, I wondered why they got married in Watford, and I speculated that there might be a bit of subterfuge involved. Mary was, after all, marrying her late husband’s brother; and if it wasn’t actually illegal, then it was frowned upon. However, if you consider the nature of William’s family – that they founded two Willesden families and at least one Watford family, then perhaps it wasn’t so difficult to comprehend. I noticed the witness: Henry Walker Simmonds. He married Ann Tearle in Stanbridge in 1864 and you can see that in the banns register.

Ann was the sister of James 1827, and John the sexton – and William 1832. She was already Mary’s sister-in-law.

In the 1891 Watford census, Ann has a “Nephew,” William aged 16 (b1875) a sawyer, living with her family. This is probably William and Catharine’s boy.

1891 = Ann Simmonds nee Tearle 1834 Stbg Henry W Simmonds 46 Thomas 19 William 18 Frederick 15 Kate 14 William Tearle 16 neph in Watford

I can’t find the address Mary says she was living at when she married; Ann and Henry were living at 44 Frarnley St, Watford, when the 1891 census was taken, but that didn’t mean they were still there when Mary was staying in Watford prior to her wedding. However, whatever the circumstances under which Mary and William were married, it was conducted in dignity with family and friends in attendance.

 The last sighting I have of Mary is a sad one, but tinged with relief. On her death certificate you can see that she has died at Levi’s home in Wing, with Levi at her side.

Mary nee Andrews 1830 Eggington death cert Wing 1914

Mary nee Andrews 1830 Eggington death cert Wing 1914

Levis house Wing

Levi’s house, Wing.

The house in the middle is called the Ebenezer Cottage (you can see the name carved into the window sill) and Levi Tearle, my g-grandfather, lived here with his family while he built The Big House, as the family called it, which is the attached house on the left of the two cottages.

I think the two headstones in Stanbridge Church cemetery tell their own story. Mary is buried with James:

James Tearle and Mary headstone Stanbridge Church

Headstone for James Tearle 1827 and Mary nee Andrews in Stanbridge Church graveyard.

and Charles Shillingford is buried with Caroline.

Headstone of Caroline and Charles Shillingford in Stanbridge Church.

Headstone of Caroline and Charles Shillingford in Stanbridge Church.

It’s easy for us to criticise Mary, but without someone to look after her, she had a very dismal future, stricken with poverty. Charles’ pension from the railways would have helped, and so would the railways pension that William would have provided. As couples, they would have kept each company as well. We know that Levi certainly did not hold it against his mother, because he gave her care with a room (at least) in the Ebenezeer cottage, and he was at her side when she died. I also have no doubt that he paid for the headstone for his parents.


William Tearle 1832, Stanbridge, UK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They were married by banns in Stanbridge Church in 1856

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1901 = William 1832 Stbg Mary 1831 Egtn in Stbg.

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

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

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

Sarah 1857

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

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

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

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

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

George 1870

Alfred 1871 – 1874

Jeffrey 1872

William 1874

Ezra 1876

John Tearle 60 years sexton of this parish

Stanbridge Banns Register

During the very first TearleMeet in 2006, Enid Horton and her daughter Lorinda took on the task of compiling a Tearle-only Stanbridge Banns Register. The result is below, and all of us are grateful for the legacy Enid and Lorinda have left us. It took a long time before I had a database comprehensive enough to fully annotate everyone in the register. It eventually happened in January 2009, and Rosemary Tearle of Auckland, NZ, worked out who the Elizabeth Tearle was who married George Tearle in 1831.

You can see that the first entry is 1825 and the last entry was in 1923; almost a hundred years of documentation. The wonderful thing is, this book is still in use, in the Stanbridge Parish Church, 191 years after the register opened.

Compiled by Ewart Tearle, July 2006 – thanks to Enid Horton and Lorinda.

 The Cat number, in the column on the left, refers to the number of the page on which the banns appears. Hence the banns of John Tearle and Elizabeth Mead are on page 3 of the Banns Register.

Annotated by Ewart Tearle, Jan 2009






09 Sep 1825

John T

Elizabeth Mead


John 1799, son of William 1769 and Sarah nee Clarke. Joseph 1737

09 Oct 1825

Thomas T

Mary Garner


Thomas 1807, son of Richard 1773 and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth. John 1741

18 May 1831

George T

Elizabeth T


George 1809, son of Richard 1778 and Mary nee Pestel. G-son of Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp. Elizabeth Tearle, 1810, of Stanbridge, dau of John Tearle 1770 and Mary nee Janes. G-dau of John 1741 and Martha nee Archer. George and Elizabeth were cousins.

09 Jul 1833

Abel T

Martha Emmerson


Abel 1810, son of William 1769 and Sarah nee Clarke. Joseph 1737.

18 Sep 1841

Joseph T

Mary Turney


Joseph 1823, son of Richard 1778 and Mary nee Pestel. Joseph 1737. This has been entered on the wrong page by the vicar.

26 Jul 1846

James T

Mary Andrew


James 1827, son of Thomas 1807 and Mary nee Garner. John 1741. Mary’s family is usually spelt Andrews, and they are from the neighbouring village of Eggington.

26 Nov 1848

Joseph T

Mary Turney


Joseph 1823, son of Richard 1773 and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth. John 1741. Marriage cert date 25 Jan 1849. This is the correct record.

02 Nov 1851

James T

Hannah Philips


James 1823, son of Richard 1773 and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth. Banns in Stanbridge, but registered in Aylesbury. John 1741

15 Apr 1857

William T

Catharine Fountain


William 1832 son of Thomas 1807 and Mary nee Garner. My gg-grandmother Mary nee Andrews married him, too. John 1741

06 Sep 1857

Geo Pratt

Emma T


Emma 1837, dau Thomas 1807 and Mary nee Garner. John 1741

01 Oct 1857

James Birch

Jane T


Jane 1838, dau Joseph 1798 and Maria nee Millings. Joseph 1737

04 Oct 1857

Ephraim Gates

Sarah T


Sarah 1837, dau Abel 1810 and Martha nee Emmerton. Joseph 1737

03 Nov 1863

Jason Field

Phoebe T


Phoebe 1843, dau Abel 1810 and Martha nee Emmerton. Joseph 1737

07 Jun 1864

Henry Simmons

Ann T


Ann 1842 dau Thomas 1807 and Mary nee Garner. John 1741

11 May 1868

John T

Harriet Bliss


John 1840, son of Thomas 1807 and Mary nee Garner. John 1741. This was Maria Bliss, not Harriet.

27 Feb 1869

George T

Lavinia George


George 1844, son of Thomas 1807 and Mary nee Garner. John 1741. There is also a 1780 Q1 marriage in Hendon.

12 Nov 1871

William T

Rebecca Sinfield


William 1848, son of John 1823 and Eliza nee Irons, g-gson of John 1770 and Mary nee Janes. John 1741

23 Mar 1874

Levi T

Sarah Blake


Levi 1850, son of James 1827 and Mary nee Andrews. My g-grandfather. John 1741.

31 May 1874

David Thomkins

Ruth T Gates


Ruth Tearle Gates 1850, dau of Ruth Tearle 1813 and George Gates. G-dau of John 1770 and Mary nee Janes. John 1741

27 Jul 1874

Samuel Chapman

Isabella T


Isabella 1858, dau James 1827 and Mary nee Andrews. G-dau Thomas 1807 and Mary nee Garner. John 1741

06 Oct 1874

James Thomson

Mary Ann T


Mary Ann 1857, dau James 1823 and Hannah nee Philips, G-dau Richard 1773 and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth. He was usually called Thompson, rather than James. John 1741

03 Jun 1877

Joseph T

Elizabeth Chapman


Joseph 1823, son of Richard 1773 and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth. His second marriage. John 1741

06 Dec 1877

George Blake

Sarah T


Sarah 1853, dau James 1827 and Mary nee Andrews. Sister of Levi, above, who was married 1874. John 1741.

18 Jul 1881

Amos T

Martha Timms


Amos 1861, son of James 1827 and Mary nee Andrews. G-son Thomas 1807 and Mary nee Garner. Brother of Levi m 1874 above. John 1741

16 Feb 1884

John T

Annie Walker


John 1861, son of James 1823 and Hannah nee Philips, g-son of Richard 1773 and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth. John 1741

06 Oct 1889

Emmanuel Hogston

Emily T


Emily 1851, dau James 1823 and Hannah nee Phillips, g-dau Richard 1773 and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth. John 1741

18 Apr 1892

Charles Rose

Annie T


Annie 1868, dau John 1840 and Maria nee Bliss, g-dau Thomas 1807 and Mary nee Garner. John 1741

13 Jul 1896

William Wilson

Sarah T


Sarah 1874, dau James 1823 and Hannah nee Philips. G-dau Richard 1773 and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth. John 1741

07 Aug 1900

George Horne

Phoebe T


Phoebe 1877, dau John 1840 and Maria nee Bliss, g-dau Thomas 1807 and Mary nee Garner. John 1741

20 Apr 1908

Albert Jeffs

Amy T


Amy 1880, dau Catherine 1853, g-dau James 1823 and Hannah nee Phillips. John 1741

02 Apr 1923

Ernest F Webb

Mabel Edith T


Mabel 1899, dau John 1861 and Annie nee Walker, g-gdau Richard 1773 and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth. John 1741

From the vestry to the pulpit - the branch of John 1741

Tearle Meet 2014


Can I please thank Pat Field for all her help with assisting visitors to find their connection to the Tearle Tree, and to John Field with his cups of tea and other refreshments. Thanks also to Barbara for manning the reception desk and taking the names of everyone who attended. We must also thank the 5 Bells for their delicious and perfectly timed lunch. They were very attentive and we were grateful for the respect we received when it was time for the speeches. Thanks in abundance must surely go to Richard Tearle for his enthusiasm and counsel in the continuing story of the Tearle Meets. And I must also thank Elaine Tearle for her support for the Meets, looking after everyone on the day, cooking her famous shortbread, afghan biscuits and brandy balls and her generous energy in helping paste up the Tree. She has also accompanied me on lots of visits to Tearle sites. Without her, a great deal of this study would not have been possible.

We would also like to record our thanks to the Vicar of St John the Baptist, Stanbridge, for allowing us to use her beautiful and historic little church for our Meet. Revd Helen Gardner was unhesitating in giving her permission, and we are deeply grateful.


TearleMeet5 was held in the Stanbridge Church on 12 June 2014. It was focused on the World Wars because 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the most momentous event of the 20th Century – the Great War. It changed the world as it was known then – forever.

Elaine and I had spent a weekend printing and pasting up the descendant trees of the common ancestors of most Tearles alive today. Joseph 1737 (340 pages) Thomas 1737 (591 pages) John 1741 (521 pages), William 1749 (340 pages) and Richard 1754 (340 pages) Nathaniel’s tree, which started with John 1620 (18 pages) and finally Ebenezer 1819 (8 pages). There was also the printing and pasting of the top of the Tearle tree from John 1560 to Thomas 1709 (4 pages) who was the father of Joseph, Thomas, John, William and Richard above. There are 16 generations of the Tearle Tree from John 1560 to my grandson.

Richard Tearle, the leader of the Yahoo Tearle Group, and inspiration for the TearleMeets, had suggested the World Wars theme, so Elaine made up three huge posters – WW1, WW2 and the early 20th Century marriage of William Palmer (Bill) and Joan Orlo Todd in Wing. The two World War posters were divided into “Casualties” on the left of the poster and “Those who served” on the right. In the picture on the left, below, Elaine is examining the text of a caption prior to pasting it on the WW2 poster. On the floor to her left, you can see the tin of ANZAC biscuits that Elaine bought in New Zealand, to take to the TearleMeet.

Elaine studies the stories of the people as she makes up the poster.

Elaine studies the stories of the people as she makes up the poster.

The finished WW2 poster.

The finished WW2 poster.










First impressions:

At the Meet, we had two large boards on which to display the posters, as well as the portrait of the wedding in Wing which we attached to the message board in the church entrance.

Bryan Inns studies the WW1 poster.

Bryan Inns studies the WW1 poster.

The Palmer wedding in Wing. Jennie Pugh and Joyce Palmer feature.

The Palmer wedding in Wing. Jennie Pugh and Joyce Palmer feature.










In the picture above right, you will see standing behind Ruth Palmer in a jaunty little hat, is our beloved Jennie Pugh, whom we have taken to two TearleMeets. Ruth Palmer was the daughter of Levi Tearle and Sarah nee Blake, and mother of the groom, William (Bill) Palmer, who is Levi’s grandson. On the right of the picture, standing behind two seated young women, is Jennie’s sister, Joyce Palmer, whom Elaine and I knew well, and have visited in London.

From the vestry to the pulpit - the branch of John 1741

From the vestry to the pulpit – the branch of John 1741

The shorter branches were draped over the pews.

The shorter branches were draped over the pews.










Once we had set up the registration centre, and the computer to access the family records, we rolled out all our printed branches. The branch of John 1741 (the one I am on) is the longest of them all. The branch of Joseph 1737 was next longest, and it did not fit anywhere because it, too, was very long. We laid it down in the next-longest isle, but we had to step over it to get to the kitchen. That’s the beauty of a small church – you fit it because you love it, and it will always accommodate you. The secret of the scrolls is that they are not very deep, only six generations, mostly stopping in the early 20th Century. They are long because the family has many members, so you have to read the scrolls from between the pews, and scan along the length of the scroll looking for the person in the family from whom you know you are descended. The computer helps there; I look up the person of interest on the family tree mapped out in great detail, and I can tell the person who initiated the enquiry, which scroll to study and approximately where to start.

The reception desk with the registration book

The reception desk with the registration book.

Pat Field assists with enquiries.

Pat Field assists with enquiries.







The reception desk allowed us to register each attendee, and to discover their Tearle roots. We took this opportunity to identify their ancestor, and to show them where, on any particular chart, they could start their research on how, and exactly where, their Tearle story started. We also displayed the pictures and story of family members who had died in the past year.

And off to work!

Ewart, Catherine Brunton-Green and Barbara Tearle

Ewart, Catherine Brunton-Green and Barbara Tearle study Norman Tearle of Soulbury.

The story of Norman Tearle, and his medals.

The story of Norman Tearle, and his medals.








Norman was killed in World War 2. He was on one of the Little Ships picking up soldiers from the beaches of Dunirk. He was killed on 31 May 1940, and the Little Ships rescue started on 24 May, so he might have sailed on a couple of rescue missions before his boat was destroyed. I cannot find any details of the boat or its story. He would have been Catherine’s uncle. Look at how young he was. Catherine has made a dossier for his photograph, his medals, his letters and official correspondence about his death. She has kept his memory alive, that people may thank him for the contribution he made to a world he would never see.

Ewart checks the paperwork with Alan Gibb.

Ewart checks the paperwork with Alan Gibb.

Minnie and Edith Tearle of Wing.

Minnie and Edith Tearle of Wing.







Alan Gibb is an expert on the Wing Tearles. Levi Tearle, born 1850 in Stanbridge, left the village with his wife, Sarah, to set up a smithy of his own in Wing, about three miles distant. He also took his brother, Amos, who worked in the business until Levi’s second son, Mahlon, was old enough to become a blacksmith himself. This lovely photograph of two of Levi’s daughters (the third one, Ruth, is in the wedding photo, above) is an illustration of Levi’s love of mechanical things. Alan, above, brought documents and photographs to the Meet, to ensure that Amos’ family was well documented. We thank him sincerely. He gave us a photo of Jeffrey Tearle and Maud nee Cutler, his wife, and their children. Jeffrey and Maud’s grave in the Wing churchyard is within a few metres of the grave and headstone of Levi Tearle and many of his family.

We have written a booklet on the Tearle graves that surround the church, and the relationships that even some non-Tearle headstones have with Tearle history in Stanbridge. This is a village that has existed since at least Roman times, and its story since the Normans is largely, although in a fragmented way, documented. The church itself is a Norman church, built on the site of an existing chapel. Outside the door of the church is a stone which has been deeply carved with what would appear to be a Celtic cross, which hints that this has been a holy place for very long time. The Tearle graves are an important part of the documentation of that story. Village lives are complicated by time and by changing relationships. The Tearles were mostly tenant farmers and farm labourers; their marriages were amongst the other tenant farming families, and those of neighbouring villages. They also followed the religious streams of their times, so there is a strong Methodist following in Stanbridge, and the booklet documents those lives as well.

Karen Davies explores the Methodist graves.

Karen Davies explores the Methodist graves.

Rod Teale reads some of the Methodist headstones.

Rod Teale reads some of the Methodist headstones.










Karen and Rod, above are descended from Methodist families of Stanbridge.  The booklet documents the relationships between the names on the headstones, often revealing the complex relationships that village life developed over time. Karen for instance, is the great-great-grandaughter of Phoebe Tearle, born 1843, who married Jason Field. It can be a salutory experience to come from London or Lincolnshire and see the tiny village, the lovely church, the powerful headstones and note the lives of children who died tragically young, to become aware of a past that we have inherited, if only we knew its story. Karen added to our knowledge by gifting us a photo of Phoebe Field, her daughter Mary Sharrod (she married Michael Sharrod in London) and Edith Mary Sharrod (Mary Sharrod’s sister-in law) who had married William Henry Bocock in Nueaton, 1909. She also gave us two pages of her family register one of which recorded the children, and another the deaths, of Mary and Michael Sharrod, who, interestingly, became Baptists. I did say village life was complicated.

Enid Horton studies some of the documents.

Enid Horton studies some of the documents.

Ewart with Sheila Mould and Geni.

Ewart with Sheila Mould and Geni.










Enid Horton is a TearleMeet regular and brings a wealth of knowledge of her Tearle roots. Enid and her daughter Lorinda, in the very first TearleMeet, transcribed all the Tearle marriages from the Church’s banns register since 1823.  I should point out, too, that Enid Horton is descended from Annie Tearle 1868 and Charles Rose. Annie was a daughter of John Tearle and Maria nee Bliss. His is the headstone, that records he was the church sexton for 60 years, is alongside the headstone of my own great-great-grandparents, James Tearle 1827 and Mary nee Andrews. John and Maria’s youngest son, and therefore Annie’s brother, Arthur Tearle 1881, emigrated to America. His modern descendants are the Chancellor boys, Bob and Sam, of Missouri. They still have contacts with the descendants of Charles Rose, in Stanbridge.

Sheila Mould, above, came to give us some depth into the story of her family. She is descended from George Tearle b1818, the first Tearle to move from Stanbridge to settle and work in Watford. On the railways, of course, one of the cornerstone forces of social change in Britain in the 19th Century. Sheila is also a cousin of many Australian Tearles, also descended from Watford Tearle families.

Sheila Leng, a Bedfordshire local.

Sheila Leng, a Bedfordshire local.

Steve and Alison Wheeler.

Steve and Alison Wheeler.










There are more Tearles in the phone books of Leighton Buzzard, Dunstable and Luton than anywhere else in the world. Sheila comes from that select group. She has been to every TearleMeet, and she is a close cousin. Steve and Alison Wheeler dropped in to wish us all the best and to drop off a few stories of their family history. Steve is descended from Emma Tearle 1837, who married George Pratt in 1857. Theirs is one of the marriages Enid Horton and Lorinda found in the banns register. Emma is a sister to James 1827 and John Tearle above, and therefore Steve is related to Enid Horton, to me, to Sheila Leng, and to the Chancellor brothers.

Deborah Meanley examines the Soulbury Tearle exhibit.

Deborah Meanley examines the Soulbury Tearle exhibit.

A visitor arrives to tell her story, and to explore the scrolls.

A visitor arrives to tell her story, and to explore the scrolls.










The visitor above, paperwork in hand, came to see how her Tearle connections fitted into Tearle history. Deborah, above right, is descended from the Soulbury Tearles. Norman Tearle was one of those, but also Edward Kefford Tearle, who was killed on the same day as Norman. Whilst Norman was rescuing soldiers from the surf of Dunkirk, Edward was fighting a rearguard action to keep the Germans at bay on the inland side of the coast.

Barbara Tearle, Samantha, and Richard Tearle.

Barbara Tearle, Samantha, and Richard Tearle.

Stephanie Teale.

Stephanie Teale.







Barbara Tearle is possibly the most knowledgeable person around on early Tearle history, and a truly nice person. We are fortunate, and privileged, to have her as a TearleMeet regular, and our mentor. She is the sister of our Tearle Group leader, Richard Tearle, and they are standing with Richard’s daughter, Samantha. Stephanie and Rod Teale came to our last TearleMeet and for them it was a revelation. They were not Teales at all; Rod Teale was a dyed-in-the-wool Bedfordshire Tearle. It was a delight to see them return.

For those who could no longer come:

We noted with great sadness the passing of three Tearle family members: here are the obituaries I prepared and read to the TearleMeet.

Joyce Palmer

Joyce Palmer at 90yrs.

Joyce Palmer at 90yrs.

As you walked into the Stanbridge Church today, you will have seen the sepia print of the wedding of William (Bill) Palmer and Joan Todd, which forms the backdrop to the welcome poster for this Meet. I know both Bill’s children, and their families.

The seated woman in glasses is Bill’s mother, Ruth Palmer, nee Tearle, the sister of my grandfather, Arthur Tearle, of Wing. Their brother was Mahlon Tearle, the grandfather of Rachel Smith nee Tearle, also of Wing. Ruth, Arthur and Mahlon were some of the children known locally as the Tribe of Levi.

To the right and behind Ruth Palmer is Jennie Palmer, whom almost everyone here will have met at the two Meets she attended. You will have known her as Jennie Pugh. If you now look all the way to your right of the photo, you will see standing Joyce Palmer, with the happy smile and the perky hat. She, Jennie and Bill were sisters and brother. When Elaine and I came to England in 1999, there were six people of her generation still alive, including my father. It is most sad that all the accumulated knowledge, wisdom and experience of that generation is now gone. When she died in September 2013, Joyce was the last.

What was she like? She was perfectly straight, honest, kind, forthright to a fault, and she loved her family and was highly knowledgeable in family matters. She was also very deaf, although she could hold a conversation, and could certainly hold her own. She lived in Du Cane Court in Balham, a towering and handsome Art Deco building, said to be the largest brick building in Europe. She was extremely well looked after there, and the porters and maids all knew her by name, and cared for her closely. The photo I have supplied I took of her on her 90th birthday, and she said it was the first time anyone had bought her champagne.

She travelled by train all the way from Balham to Leagrave at least a dozen times to meet me there and to visit Jennie Pugh while she was in the care home. Joyce was determined, city-savvy and courageous. She would walk through four lanes of traffic (she was deaf, remember) to cross the Balham High Street when she wanted to catch a bus, or take the Underground; and she never used the lights.

I admired her. She was stalwart, kind, thoughtful and a singular woman of immense fortitude.

Ray Reece

Ray Reece and Denice at the Brisbane Meet.

Ray Reece and Denice at the Brisbane Meet.

It is with much sadness that we have to inform the Meet of the death of Ray Reese. Many will remember his huge goodwill and his depth of kindness and humanity. He was always ready with a quiet and considered word, as well as a prayer, full of generosity and gentle supplication.

He was a quintessential Australian, perhaps even the quintessential Australian, who was witty and full of life as well as immensely proud of his Australian origins, and his Australian lifestyle. When Elaine and I went to Queensland to meet many of the Tearles who live there, he showed us his neighbourhood, and the kind of houses they build there, called Queenslanders and designed, he said, more by the environment than by human will; and then he and Denice took us on a memorable tour of the Gold Coast.

He was a member of the Tearle family due to his marriage to Denice nee Tearle, who is the daughter of Harry Leslie Vernon Tearle, a WW2 survivor, who enlisted in Brisbane and served in the Australian Army as number 76049. Her grandparents were James Henry Tearle of Tebworth and Edith Lydia Morgan who were members of a family of straw hat manufacturers in Dunstable. They left for Melbourne in the very early 1900s but James still signed up for the Australian army to fight in WW1 as number 2464. He, too, was a survivor.

Denice was delighted when Elaine and I took her, and Ray, through Tebworth, past the Methodist Chapel, and then to Chalgrave Church. She was so deeply moved to be in the home of her grandfather, she was close to tears. In that beautiful little church, the timbre of Ray’s voice and the humility of his gentle, quiet prayer developed into a moment of deep contemplation. He was a man you couldn’t help but admire.

Denice’s great-grandparents were George 1851 of Hockliffe, and Louisa nee Finch, so you can see, Ray and Denice’s connections to Tearle Valley are strong and their commitment to meeting their family in this valley can be seen by the fact that they have travelled here twice to join us, and each time their warmth and inclusiveness have been a highlight.

I am delighted to say that I have met Ray and Denice in England and in Australia, and on all occasions they have enriched our lives.

We mourn the death of Ray Reese, and we wish only the very best for his dear Denice.

Rachel Smith, nee Tearle

Rachel Smith nee Tearle who was Thelmas sister.

Rachel Smith nee Tearle, who was Thelma’s sister.

We have to record the sad loss of Rachel in March this year after a very long, gallant fight with cancer. I saw her last in 2009 when we took a trip on the Leighton Buzzard light railway, the train being driven by Martin Shepherd, her nephew, on the occasion of his 40th birthday.

Rachel told us of her impending operations, and the entire process was very serious.

She was a sparkling, intelligent lady who once lived in one of the cottages owned by Levi Tearle in Wing, close by the Handpost, which these days is a small roundabout rather than an intersection.

She was the daughter of Harry Mahlon Tearle and Millie nee Green, who was most famous for being a very long-serving AVON lady, and a beauty in her own right. You have already heard of her sister Thelma, but she was also brought up with her brothers Alec and Dennis, in one of the tiny Ebenezer Cottages abutting the Big House (as they called it) which my great-grandfather Levi Tearle built in Wing. Her grandparents were Mahlon Tearle of Wing, the brother of my own grandfather, and Mary nee Paxton. And, of course, as I have hinted, our common great-grandparents were Levi Tearle 1850 of Stanbridge and Sarah nee Blake.

For many years Rachel lived for six months in England and six months in Majorca, where she worked as an estate agent.

We never knew her well, because we met her only seldom; but we know we are fortunate because we knew her at all.

We are very sad to see her go.


Since finishing this account, Barbara Tearle has emailed to ask me to add the following:

‘A big vote of thanks are due to Ewart and Elaine.  Without their hard work and enthusiasm, these meetings and the coordination of Tearle research would not be so successful.  Thank you, both!’


John Tearle, 1856, Stanbridge, UK

I saw John first in the 1901 London census, where he was a Foreman Platelayer on the railway. His eldest son, John 22, is a Stoker. Another son, George is said to have been born in Stonebridge, Mdx. Here is a transcript of the census return:

1901 John 1856 Stbg Elizabeth 45 John 22 Louisa 18 George 12 Horace 5 Freda 4 Herbert C 1 in Willesden Mdx.

I dug back into John’s past.

In 1891, John and Elizabeth are living in 5 Melville Rd, Willesden and he calls himself a General Labourer.

1891 John 1856 Stbg Elizabeth 35 John 12 Laura 8 Arthur 4 George 2 Ethel 4m in Willisden Mdx

Now, this is the interesting bit:

In 1881, John and his new wife are in Northall, but they have with them their new son, John 1879, who was born in Middlesex. I found their marriage:

Name: John Tearle

Year of Registration: 1877  

Quarter of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec  

District: Leighton Buzzard  

County: Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire  

Volume: 3b  

Page: 895

and she is Elizabeth Tompkins of Eaton Bray. The certificate says John’s residence at the time of marriage was Northall and his father was John Tearle, Labourer. Also interestingly, they are living in a house immediately next door to John and Charlotte Irons.


1881 John 1857 Stbg Elizabeth 24 Northall John 2 Mdx in Northall

In 1871, John is 15ys and living with John and Charlotte Irons – he is John’s nephew.

1871 John 1856 Stbg neph John Irons 56 Charlotte 53 in Northall

In 1861, John is 5yrs old, living in the household of his uncle John and Charlotte Irons. He is their nephew.

1861 John 1856 Stbg nephew of John Irons 41 Charlotte 1818 Edels in Northall

I could not find the link that made John Tearle 1856 a nephew of John Irons, so I concentrated on his parents; who were they? One of them was John, not surprisingly, a labourer and in the village was a John Tearle who in 1840 had married a Northall girl called Eliza Irons. I sent off for their marriage certificate, too.


Eliza Iron’s father was Edward Irons and a search though the IGI gave me the marriage of Edward Irons and Hannah Tarman in Northchurch, Herts, on 12 Aug 1803. They had 10 children, and two of them were Eliza, born 1818, and John Irons, born 1814, one of Eliza’s elder brothers. Another brother was Thomas Irons born 1812, and Ann Irons, born 1821, they were here making their marks as witnesses to this wedding. There was no question I had the right family. As we can see from the marriage certificate, John was born to an unmarried Mary Tearle, almost certainly of Stanbridge. I went looking for her. In the 1841 census, a John Tearle aged 20 with a wife Eliza 20, a daughter Sarah aged 2 and a daughter Mary aged 4m, are living in Stanbridge only a few houses from Abel Tearle and Martha nee Emerton. Abel has his children living with him as well as his 65yr old father-in-law, Joseph Emerton. In villages, families combine and re-combine to give support to each other. And to a certain extent, in a village as small as Stanbridge, everyone is also a neighbour. If our John is 20, then he was born about 1820. Barbara reminded us that there was a Mary Tearle who baptised a  “John son of Mary Tearle a bastard” in 1823. Mary was the daughter of John 1770 and Mary nee Janes. The Stanbridge PRs record her baptism in 1803.

We have to be careful not to get too tied up over accurate dates, here, because John is a bit woolly either on his maths or his birth date, or both, because in 1841 he is 20, in 1851 he is 32, in 1861 he is 40 and in 1871 he is 54. He died on 1 Oct 1877.

There is the fascinating picture of John in the 1871 Stanbridge census with an unmarried daughter Mary Ann (29) and her daughter Annie, as well as another unmarried daughter, Jane (26) with her son Zephaniah.

So the last son of John and Eliza, John 1856, did not live with his family, although admittedly not very far away from them, but lived with his uncle and aunt, John and Charlotte Irons. Why? I think the answer lies in the fact that his mother Eliza died in Dec 1856, probably of childbirth or one of its many complications. Unusually, John did not remarry, probably because he had daughters who were old enough to look after him so he didn’t need to marry again quickly, as many of the village men had to do. John 1856, therefore, was given to his childless uncle and no doubt into a very grateful and caring little family, no matter how poor they were.

So why did he go to Willesden?

Richard Tearle has pointed out the following:

“As I’m sure you’re aware, Willesden, Harlesden and Stonebridge are very close together in London and, all of these places tie in with Watford and Leighton Buzzard as being important places on the (then) fairly new LNWR line from Euston to Scotland (via Preston!!)”

There was work – and there was family.

We know John and Elizabeth were in London between 1881 and 1891, because in the 1891 census, John is recorded as having been born in 1879 in Alperton, then Louisa was born in Willesden in 1882.  In 1881, Jonathon 1862 (son of William 1832 and Catharine nee Fountain) was in Willesden, George 1844 of Stanbridge and Lavinia nee George were in Kentish Town, George 1855 of Slapton and Elizabeth were in Mile End, Old Town (a railway town) John 1831 from Toddington and William were in Acton, Joseph 1834 of Dagnall and Elizabeth nee Naylor were in Hammersmith, William North Tearle and Emily were in Camberwell. It’s noo far a stretch to point out that there are family ties throughout all of this, but the strongest ones are to George 1844 and William North and Emily. George is a Stanbridge man, so ties to the village are very strong, and a railway voyage was an adventure. William North T and Emily must have gone back to Leighton Buzzard to have their last child, because Monta Monica 1876 died in Leighton Buzzard in 1877.

So we have now uncovered the story of John 1823 and his son John 1856. Interestingly, we have also visited the stories of John’s mother, Mary 1803, and even of his grandparents, John 1770 and Mary nee Janes. In two sons, we have traversed from 1770 to 1901.


A Standbridge Well Operating Manual

When we left our 13-acre farmlet in New Zealand and went to a new life in England, we let our land to a local farmer, and the house and its 1/2-acre grounds to be tenanted. Before we departed, we wrote the following guide.

We call our farm Stanbridge Well because we dug a deep well near the entrance gate, and called the farm after that. This well has a 1950s wellhead operated by a 1/2-hp motor. The water is pumped into a pressure tank and from there pushed up the hill to a 500 gallon tank at the top of a hill behind the house from where the water is gravity-fed to the house and the rest of the farm. The water is perfectly clear, clean and without impurity. Good enough to be exported.

Stanbridge Well

Operating Manual 1999

Stanbridge Well Tenancy Agreement

  1. Unless you have our written consent:
  2. No removal or shifting of trees, shrubs or roses
  3. No renovations or alterations to house or buildings
  4. No pets or any animals except one cat
  5. Lease or use of the farm outside the area defined by the fence around the house and driveway is not part of this agreement
  6. Re-direct mail intended for the Tearles to:  PO Box 137 Te Kuiti
  7. In May each year, please contact Robinson’s Water Services of Otorohanga to maintain the water pump.  They will send us the bill.
  8. In June 2002 and again in 2004, please contact King Country Liquid Waste to service the septic tank.  They will send us the bill.
  9. To avoid a chimney fire, in June each year, Kent fireplace in the family room must be serviced by a qualified fireplace servicing company.
  10. Keep house, buildings and grounds in neat and tidy condition
  11. Must allow lessee of farm prompt and reasonable access in order that s/he may carry out the normal business of farming the property.  Includes use of water and access to all water and electrical services.
  12. The pool has a certificate of compliance with regard to the relevant swimming pool safety legislation (issued by Otorohanga District Council).  The Tenant agrees to fully supervise the pool and bear all responsibility for behaviour of people around the pool and for pool maintenance (see separate section below).  The landowners do not accept any responsibility for pool safety.  This responsibility rests with the tenant.  The tenant must keep the pool and surrounds maintained to the required pool safety standards adhered to by the landlord to achieve the certificate.
  13. All glass breakages and replacement are the responsibility of the tenant.
  14. Subletting of the property is not to occur.  
  15. Must allow the landlord’s agent access to the house and grounds when given due notice.

Chattels Left in House

  • Velvet drapes in 3 bedrooms, lounge, dining room
  • Blue/pink multi-colour lined drapes in family room.
  • Net curtains in all rooms including bathroom, toilet, ensuite
  • Curtain rods, tracks and pull ties with all heavy drapes
  • Fancy light fitting in all rooms except, bathroom, toilet, kitchen & lounge
  • Cream wall to wall carpet throughout house
  • Wall bookcase (family room)
  • Dusky pink bathroom carpet in bathroom, toilet & ensuite
  • 2 cream telephones
  • 9 phone jackpoints
  • Kitchen air extractor
  • Window fans in bathroom & ensuite
  • Kelvinator clothes drier & hose connection
  • Fisher & Paykel dishwasher and stainless steel drip tray
  • Kelvinator refrigerator
  • Caprice wall oven
  • Champion four ring cooktop
  • Wall kitchen scales (in pantry)
  • Tile Fire
  • Electric hedge trimmer
  • Sledge hammer
  • Back pack spray unit
  • 2 garage bench tables
  • Concrete mixer & spare motor
  • Pool vacuum hose & head
  • Pool filter unit & motor
  • Fish pond circulating motor

Electric fence unit

Any goods stored under the house and the pool deck belong to the landlord and must not be removed.

The Farmlet

This lease covers the land at the drive entrance, up the driveway and house section only.  The farm itself is covered by separate lease to Jim & Dos Mark.  They must be allowed access for their farming activities at all times, this includes access to water and electricity.


The following sections are for your guidance.  We realise that an executive country house with its own water supply and a pool is a little bit different from an average town house, so we have prepared this manual so that the most common questions may be answered quite simply.

Water supply

  • The well.  Any of the neighbours, or Jimmy Mark, can show you how to bleed the pressure tank, the following is the way I do it:

The water from our well is as nearly perfect as water can be.  It is wonderfully clean, fresh and cold and comes from a depth of about 150ft.  It is the same water that Puketawai Lodge is exporting and its supply has never failed us.

The well pump pressure tank needs bleeding about every quarter.  The water from the well is forced up the hill into the large black water tank (reservoir) at the top of the hill, above the house, by pressure on a cushion of air in the tall blue pressure tank in the pump house.  After a time, the air bubble becomes smaller because the air is absorbed into the water in the tank (as into a coke bottle).  If the bubble becomes too small, the pump just keeps pumping because there’s not enough air pressure to force the close valve to shut off the pump, or for water to be pushed up the hill.  It’s best to avoid the pump motor being thrashed like this because it may burn out.  If you hear the pump just going and going, or stopping for only a minute or two and then restarting, but no-one is using the water, then bleed the pressure tank anyway.  If the water has been used extensively eg to fill the pool or to water gardens over night then bleed the pressure tank.  It doesn’t take very long.


  1. Open pump house door and turn off the power switch.  Don’t forget that this also turns off the electric fences.  It’s ok for a short length of time – say a couple of hours or so – but not longer.  Leave the pump house door open until the entire process is finished and this will remind you that the electric fences are off.
  2. There are two valves on the outside of the pump house that you can see from the driveway.  Turn off upper valve – parallel to the driveway is off.  This stops water from up the hill backfilling into the pressure tank while you are trying to empty it.
  3. Stand to one side and open the lower valve.  Water at considerable pressure will fire out onto the driveway.  Wait a few minutes until the pressure has eased.
  4. Near the top of the pressure tank inside the pump house you’ll see the pressure gauge.  At the bottom of this is a red valve.  Turn this vertical and it will allow air to displace the outgoing water.
  5. Wait until the outgoing water stops completely.
  6. Turn on the pump for a minute and watch until the outgoing water runs clear.
  7. Turn the pump off, turn the outside lower valve off, turn the air valve below the pressure gauge to horizontal (off).
  8. Turn the pump ON.
  9. The pressure tank will now fill.  It takes about half an hour.  WAIT until the pump turns off by itself.  The pressure tank will now be fully charged.
  10. Turn ON the outside upper valve.  Water will now be flowing uphill to fill up the reservoir on top of the hill.
  11. Close and secure the pump house door.

We put the reservoir on top of the hill so we weren’t reliant on fickle power supplies for water.  It holds about two days water supply at normal usage (showers, washing, dishes etc) so you have plenty of time if you need to turn the pump off for any reason.

  1. Reservoir

There is a ball valve in the reservoir that turns the incoming water supply to the reservoir on and off, like the ball valve in the paddock stock troughs.

There is an off/on valve near the ground on the incoming water conduit.

If you need to take off the lid to see, or work, inside the reservoir, it screws off.  PLEASE REPLACE IT.  Having the water in darkness is one of the best ways to keep it clean.  Screw the lid only a bit over half way down – to allow the air to come and go as the water level in the reservoir rises and falls.

3. Control valves

There is an off/on valve where the water main to the house from the reservoir breaks through the retaining wall.  By the robinia tree, behind the pool.  

The house main breaks into two in a box in the rose garden below the toilet window.  There are two valves there; one is cold water cut-off to the house and the other is hot water cut-off.  If you need to work done on the hot water cylinder or to change tap washers (eg) these are the valves to use.

There is an on/off valve in the conduit from the reservoir main to the door in the south end of the pool deck.  You’ll see a tap just inside the door.  This tap, and the little valves with it, control the water supply to various garden sprinklers.

The Pool

The following is a guide to using the pool.

  1. General

When you turn the motor off, make sure it stays off for about 10 seconds before turning it back on.  If you turn it off and on too quickly, or turn the filter valves too soon after turning off the motor, you’ll burn out the motor or blow out the impeller inside the motor.  NEVER turn the filter valves while the motor is on.  Whoever blows up the motor, replaces it.

It is the responsibility of the house occupants to keep the pool clean all year round, purchase pool supplies and to supervise children.  We have built the pool and surrounds to Otorohanga District Council compliance requirements.  It is the responsibility of the tenant to maintain safety standards for the pool at all times.

Check and clean the skimmer filter every week, all year round.  It is in the bowl at the south end of the pool where the water flows out.  An amazing amount of stuff gets into that filter.

You’ll see a brass bolt halfway up either side of the skimmer walls inside the pool.  Keep the water level on or slightly above these bolts (ie halfway up the skimmer mouth).  Don’t let the water level drift below half way.  When there’s lots of rain filling up the pool, use the backwash cycle to lower the water level.  The top water level needs to be kept below the top of the mouth of the skimmer otherwise surface debris won’t be able to be skimmed off.

The pool filter and pump on/off switch is behind the door that faces the house.  There’s a timer.  The instructions for setting the timer are printed on it.  Leave the pool filter pump on its present timer settings (about six hours a day) and let it run every day.

Throughout the winter, a single cup of chlorine poured into the skimmer once a week will keep the pool clear and blue.  In the summer, use a test kit and keep the pool to recommended safe levels of chlorine and associated pool chemicals.

Backwash the filter weekly in summer, monthly in winter.  Vacuum clean the pool when necessary.

We get the chlorine, test kits and other supplies from Anchormart in Otorohanga, but it seems to be pretty much the same price wherever you try.

In summer, you’ll need to use the vacuum hose to clean the bottom of the pool

  1. Attach the hose to the vacuum brush, drop it into the water and push the free end of the hose into the hole in the skimmer lid.  You’ll hear the filter fill with air.
  2. Turn off the pool motor and wait for the bubbling to subside.
  3. Turn on the motor and again you’ll hear the filter fill with air.
  4. Turn off the motor.  Do this two or three times until the water runs continuously in the hose.
  5. Now you can vacuum the floor of the pool.
  6. If you see the water flow slow a lot, it means the filter is full.  Backwash the filter and start again.

The pool filter (the fat black plastic drum)

You clean the pool filter by backwashing it – thus:

  1. Turn the motor off
  2. Turn the filter control valve to BACKWASH.  Turn on the motor.
  3. If you go into the paddock outside the main bedroom, you’ll see lots of scummy water gushing out of a white pipe into the paddock.  Wait until the water goes clean.
  4. Turn the motor off.
  5. Turn the filter control valve to RINSE. Turn on the motor for about 30 seconds.   This cleans any dirty water out of the pipes.
  6. Turn the motor off.
  7. Turn the valve to FILTER and turn the motor on.
  8. Done.

Looking After the House

General:  We have built a lovely executive home here in Lockwood timber and it has some very good quality surfaces.  The following is a guide we use to keep the surfaces in good condition.

If something goes wrong and needs fixing, you have our permission to spend up to $100.00 on fixing it without having to contact us first, for instance blown wall fittings, stove elements and other simple things. We will accept the bill, or we will reimburse you, whichever is easiest.  If it looks expensive, please contact us first.

  1. Kitchen

The kitchen is supplied with wall oven, dishwasher, hob and refrigerator.

It is the tenant’s responsibility to maintain these appliances in a clean & operational condition.  Unexpected maintenance will be provided by the landlord. All care should be taken to keep the appliances in good and safe working order.   Maintenance caused by ill treatment will be the responsibility of the tenant.

Hob Cooktop

Clean hob by wiping down after cooking while cook top is still warm. About once a week clean with Mica Ceramic Cooktop Cleaner.

Wall Oven

Wall oven – clean regularly with oven cleaner.

Bench Tops

Please do not chop onto benches or stainless steel bench top.  Please use a chopping board.  Clean regularly with Jif or Spray & Wipe.

Kitchen Units

Wipe down kitchen cupboards with warm water and detergent.  Do not use chemical cleaners such as “Spray and Wipe”, they will ruin the timber.

Other Rooms


Clean regularly.


These have been shampooed ready for your occupation.  Tenants vacating the house shall have the carpets commercially cleaned by A1 Carpet Cleaners in Te Kuiti at the tenant’s own cost ready for the next tenant.

Please vacuum carpets regularly and clean away any spills immediately they occur.  If in doubt about how to remove a stain, please ask an expert.

Carpets have been kept in good condition by leaving boots etc at the door.  No dogs or other animals other than one cat shall be admitted into the house.


Clean with disinfectant only (Pine O Clean works well).  Do not use cleaners such as Spray & Wipe or Jif as these damage the surface of the vanity.

Clean shower and bath units with Spray & Wipe or Jif or like product.  

Keep toilets clean and fresh.

We place Draino down the shower and bath plugs about every six months to keep drains clear.  We also use a bottle brush.

Bathroom carpets are loose laid and can be washed, dried and relaid.  If they need cleaning, wash with washing detergent then hose down on clothes line.  Leave on line to dry.


This is easily cleaned by wiping with Spray & Wipe.

Fireplace – Tile Fire

This is a wood burner only.  Please do not use coal or any other fuel.

The Garden

The following is a guide to the care of the garden.  If you want to see it looking its best, it is not too difficult to maintain.

  1. Lawns

Mow around the house section, under the birch trees at the entry to the house section, the shrubbery nob as required, down the drive and the road frontage at the letterbox.  It usually takes me about an hour and a half.  Spray weeds at edges, under trees etc with Roundup as required.  Please take care with trees, shrubs etc.

2. Roses

Prune in June/July once the cold weather sets in.  Early spring place rose fertiliser around each plant.  If magamp is also placed at this time the roses give magnificent flowers.  Refertilise December/January.  Each rose garden has a watering system which can be used when gardens get dry. When in flower dead head roses about once a week.  This keeps the plants flowering for as long as possible.

3.   Weed all garden patches, including bark gardens.  Most gardens are planted with plants that will come up out of the ground at various seasons.  You are able to add additional flowers if you wish.  Please do not remove miniature roses.  They are memorial gifts to us.

4.  Please take care not to damage specimen trees.  Many of these are memorial trees (especially dogwood, robinia, camellias, silk trees and the ghinko.)  It is vital that native bush area is retained.  This provides much needed shelter to the property.  Please do not cut down or cut back any trees without our written consent.

5. Shrubs may be lightly pruned as required.

6.  Please spray metalled areas from time to time to keep free from weed growth.

The House Exterior


We spray the following with Roundup about every six weeks or so depending on the season:  It just helps to keep things tidy.

  1. Around the water pump shed
  2. Under the trees by the driveway
  3. Around garden edges
  4. At lawn edges at outside of section and driveway
  5. Up fencelines by the driveway from the gate to the house
  6. The rock garden around plants
  7. The house driveway
  8. Paths outside the family room

To date no other types of spray have been used on this property.