1. Student Showcase: Telling Your Family Story – The Tilliduffs


    This is the third in a series of blog post from students of Janet Few‘s Are You Sitting Comfortably?: writing and telling your family history (216) course.

    Janet says: “I have been tutoring the course for several years. Three years ago the option to submit an assessed piece for feedback was added. Since then, each time the course has run, several students have taken this opportunity and have sent in a section of their family histories. They are given about six weeks after the course finishes to do this. I have been in awe of what they have produced in a comparatively short space of time. It is a pleasure to be able to feature some of their stories on the Pharos blog“.

    This offering comes from student, Christine Searle, and tells the story of Tilliduff Family

    The Tilliduffs

    The first mention of the Tilliduff name was in 1317 when John de Tolidef was up before the baillies in Aberdeen requesting that lands he had inherited from his mother Alice be passed to him. His half-brother Adam de Ran was keeping them for himself and had been overheard saying that he had done so.(1) The name comes from the former barony of Tillydaff, about 16 miles to the north-west of Aberdeen and the name is Celtic for “hill of the oxen” (2). The area of Tillydaff still exists as an organic vegetable farm called “Vital Veg”.

    Photo courtesy of Vital Veg, North Tillydaff, Aberdeenshire

    Tillydaff Barony

    The barony consisted of the areas of Tillydaff, (due west of Aberdeen) Rothmaise (near Rothienorman), and Logierieve, Orchardtown and Raniston, all close to Pitmedden.

    Once the family reached Fife in 16th century the name changed to variations of Tullideph. The Fife family were covenanters, and in direct conflict with the few remaining Tilliduffs in Aberdeen, which was a staunchly Catholic area, with William Seton, the son of Marjory Tullidaff, (d. 1616) aligning himself with the Earl of Huntly and the Catholics.(3)

    I have records of 143 people born in Scotland with the name, the majority being in Aberdeenshire, and then Fife, with a handful in Edinburgh and Perth, while there are 58 births in England, with just a couple in Cambridgeshire recorded as Tullideph, the rest being exclusively London and Kent, all but one recorded as Tilliduff and similar spellings. There are just 4 Tullideph births in Antigua and one Tilliduff in South Africa (the only place where the name still exists). The name Tullideph has been carried down several lines as a middle name to the current day (and in one case, still living, as a first name).

    And so to London…..

    The first member of the Tullideph family to settle in London was my fifth great-grandfather, Robert, son of Thomas, who was born in Dron, Perthshire, in 1731(4). A few weeks after his birth the family moved to Markinch in Fife, and in 1734 his father Thomas was appointed to Principal at St Leonards College, St Andrews, where Robert probably remained until he joined the army in September 1756, recorded as lieutenant in George Howard’s Regiment of Foot (the Buffs). This was at a time when there was a recruitment drive in Scotland to strengthen the army for the Seven Years War.

    The Buffs, National Army Museum (out of Copyright)

    Three months later in January 1757 Robert married Lilias Lindsay in Edinburgh.(5) It appears that he abandoned Lilias, as in 1758 he left the army and in 1761 he was in London living with Eleanor and producing a son, Robert Pitman Tullideph.(6) It is assumed that Eleanor’s surname was Pitman, although no marriage has been found – Robert was, after all, already married.

    Their son was baptised at St Mary’s Church in Marylebone Road, London, The church where he was baptised was demolished shortly after the baptism, a larger church being needed. The space remains as an area of rest, with the new church, built about 10 years later, seen just behind.

    A number of things indicate that Robert was disowned by his father Thomas. Thomas’s brother David left a will which specifically excluded Robert, leaving a bequest to “John, the only son of my dearly beloved brother Thomas Tullideph of Kilmany”.(7) Thomas had been the Principal of the United Colleges of St Andrews since 1747 and he was described as “tyrant, proud, selfish, usurping and tyrannical, very far from being a popular Principal”(8). The marriage with Lilias was maybe an arranged one as was often the case in Georgian times, and Robert was not happy about it. His uncle Walter, Thomas’s brother, lived in Antigua and while there he kept a diary.(9) He kept notes from time to time of when he wrote to the family at home, and in 1755 he noted that he had written to Robert – “dear cousin Robin, re his love affair, he the 1st son. My father had 5 children, his Estate was such that he could not give more to your father, although the eldest son, than he gave us”. It appears that Robert wanted to marry but his father couldn’t afford to give Robert an allowance large enough to keep the young lady in a suitable manner. Robert was packed off to the army in September 1756 and three months later married to Lilias, perhaps reluctantly.(10) He left the army as soon as he could, in 1758, just as his regiment was posted to the West Indies, and went to London.

    How would Robert have maintained himself in Georgian London? He was almost certainly well-educated, if not to university level, and perhaps taught the sons of gentry, or possibly he was a servant assisting a well-to-do family with their business. Lilias remarried in 1781 using both her maiden and her married names.(11)

    Nothing is heard of Robert after the birth of his son in London until he is back in Scotland in 1799 and living at Scoonie in Fife, his father having died in 1777. According to records in the archives of the University of St Andrews he is caring for David Hutton, the son of his late sister Cecilia, who had been wounded in the head while on the “Defence” in the service of the Royal Navy and was now suffering from severe epilepsy.

    The Defence at the Battle of 1st June 1794 (public domain)

    The record stated that Robert is farming and describes him as being “in much reduced circumstances.”(12) No burial record has been found. David entered the Royal Hospital in Greenwich later in 1799 and died there in 1812, being buried in Shoreditch on March 7th.(13)

    Meanwhile his son Robert was still in London, living in the City, on the baptisms of his children being recorded as married to Lydia and working as a cordwainer. However, there is no record of him in the Freedom Registers of the City of London for 60 years prior to his death, therefore although living in the City, he would not have been able to work in the city. Did he travel outside the City for work? Cordwainers were makers of fine shoes, usually making a last to fit a particular customer and making shoes to order as required, although they would also often keep a stock of shoes ready-made for passers-by.

    Some research on the family was commissioned by my great-aunt, a descendant of Robert, probably in the 1950s – 1960s, which gives information that no longer exists. The work contains no sources. The London Metropolitan Archives has said that a relevant batch of records was stolen many years ago and the information is no longer available, and many of the records are from this period. Three children are recorded for Robert and Lydia in this research, Joseph born 9th November 1788, Ann born February 11th 1793, and Samuel born June 14th 1795. The record for Samuel is still available,(14) together with the records of two more children, Alice, born 14th September 1797(15) and James, born 31st October 1799(16) – neither of these two appear to have survived babyhood. According to the research Lydia died in 1801, and Robert in 1809. The record of Robert’s death says “Robert Tilliduff, father of the aforesaid children, departed this life on Friday December 29th 1809, buried January 3rd 1810 in St Thomas Burying Ground near the spot where Lydia his wife lay”. This record is no longer available, but I have verified that December 29th 1809 was indeed a Friday. The LMA are unable to say which St Thomas Burying Ground it might have been – there is more than one in the area, and again the records no longer exist.

    Possibly the parish took care of the younger children after Robert’s death, as records for Ann and Samuel from Cripplegate School were available to the researcher, Joseph being of an age to have been already working at the time of his father’s death. Ann was enrolled into Cripplegate School on 21st April 1801, and from 11th June 1811 to 18th April 1820 she went to work as a live-in servant to Mr Hallam the grocer at £8 per annum. Two weeks after leaving her employment she married John Steel at St Saviours, Borough.(17) Samuel also started school at Cripplegate in 1801, and on 1st February 1812 he went to live with Messrs Smith & Holding & Co Ribbon Manufacturers of 35 Newgate Lane earning £8 per annum, to be raised by £4 annually. Joseph married in 1810 at St. Botolphs, Aldersgate, to Elizabeth Surrey Maria Prudden.(18) The church had recently undergone a major refurbishment at the time and has a magnificent interior.

    St Botolph without Aldersgate, Interior (geograph.org.uk)

    The presiding minister at the marriage was Arthur William Trollope, believed to be uncle to the author Anthony Trollope. Joseph worked as a merchant’s clerk throughout his life, although spending time in the workhouse due to illness on occasions. They had six children, Joseph Samuel 1811 – 1845,(19) Ann Lydia 1813 – 1876,(20) Elizabeth Surry 1815 – 1871,(21) Emily in about 1816 who probably died soon after birth, John Robert 1820 – 1887,(22) and Thomas Prudden 1824 – 1909.(23) The family moved around quite frequently, being recorded at a different address for each birth, around the Blackfriars to St Katherine’s Way area to the east of the Tower of London. Thomas was born in King Henry Yard, two blocks to the east of the Tower of London.

    John Rocque Map 1746 (public domain)

    Soon afterwards the area was cleared for the construction of St Katherine Docks, although the layout is still similar. The area was quite wealthy at the start of the 19th century, with wealthy merchants drawn to the district. However the arrival of the docks brought unskilled labourers and poverty. Elizabeth died in St George in the East(24) workhouse in 1861 aged 71, recorded as dying from “Climacteric decay”, which is defined in A Dictionary of Practical Medicine (Vol. 1) by James COPLAND, published in 1858, as “General decline of the vital powers, at the age of senesence, without any evident cause”. Joseph followed in 1863(25) aged 76, also in the workhouse, recorded as still working as a clerk at the Gas Works, and dying from senile decay. The workhouse was usually the only help available to ordinary working people at that time, whether they were sick or out of work, as medical fees were out of reach for most.

    Joseph and Elizabeth’s son Joseph Samuel became a compositor. A compositor would prepare the trays of letters ready for the printing press. Some of the terms they used are still in use today in computer language, such as “upper case” and “lower case”, which relate to where the trays of letters were to be found stored ready for use on the printing press. It was a time when printing was developing rapidly, with the art of printing illustrations improving, and the ability to bind books with a sewing machine developed. In addition a method of gluing with rubber called “perfect binding” was invented. But Joseph died of phthisis (pulmonary TB) in Bethnal Green in 1845 aged just 34.(26) He left a very detailed will,(27) leaving his bookcase and contents to his father, as well as a Scotch pebble, a gold mounted seal and a beaver hat. To his mother Elizabeth he left a tea-tray with tea service, two beds with bedsteads, and many other pieces of houseware, as well as his Waverley novels and his Johnson’s dictionary. Elizabeth must have been literate, and able to do considerably more than write her name. Joseph was careful to ensure in his will that if his mother were to remarry the items would remain hers and could not be used financially or sold by any future husband. He left a sum of money to both his brother John and sister Elizabeth, and all the remainder of his possessions to his sister Ann, who married two weeks later. Joseph had evidently been very well-off for a young man of 34 in the Bethnal Green area.

    Newgate Prison (public domain)

    At the time of Joseph’s death Ann had just been released from prison at the end of a one-year sentence in Newgate.

    In 1844 she had been found guilty at the Old Bailey of stealing three half-sovereigns and two watch seals from her employer.(28) She was lucky. Transportation would have been the usual punishment for theft of that magnitude, but the prosecutor recommended her to mercy, possibly because of her father’s situation, as he seemed to suffer from ill-health and was in the workhouse quite frequently. Ann was released from prison in 1845, and shortly afterwards married William Vaughan in Bethnal Green.(29) William and Ann had six children, Lydia (1846 – 1942),(30) Peter (1848 – 1922),(31) Ellen (1850 – 1916),(32) William John (1853 – 1855),(33) John (Sept.1856 – Dec 1856)(34), and William Francis (1858 – 1879) who died from accidental drowning in Otora Creek, Mangakahia, New Zealand, on 6th June 1879,(35) where he had been working as a logger, and slipped off the logs as he was freeing them to float down-river, a not uncommon cause of death. New Zealand was short of labour at the time, and the London newspapers had many advertisements for passages to New Zealand where there was plenty of work to be had.

    None of the Vaughan children had offspring so the line ended with them.

    The youngest child of Joseph Tilliduff and Elizabeth was my great-great-grandfather Thomas Prudden Tilliduff, born in 1824 in King Henry Yard, East Smithfield. In 1841 he was living with his family in Philip Street, St George in the East, recorded as an apprentice aged 17. In fact he was an apprentice blacksmith, and in 1851 he is living with his mother in Prevots Row, Stratford-le-Bow. His father Joseph was in the workhouse due to ill health. According to an old newsletter from 1987 by the East London History Society Prevots Row was a row of cottages in Old Ford Road, which still has some houses from around the right era. In 1852 he married Honor Clark in Bethnal Green.(36) and in 1853 their daughter Honor was born (1853 – 1879)(37) but in 1854 the mother died of cholera,(38) being recorded as living in Providence Street, one of the areas that was very badly hit by the outbreak for which the work of John Snow became well-known, instigating the construction of a new sewage system for London and making it one of the most advanced in the world at the time. The source of the outbreak had been traced to a pump in Broad Street, and John Snow removed the handle so that the pump could no longer be used.

    Thomas remarried in 1858, to a widow, Ann Wheal, nee Enever(39) and by 1861 they were living in Plumstead, Kent, where Thomas was working at the Woolwich Arsenal. The Arsenal had had a recruitment drive when ammunitions were needed for the Crimean War, and Thomas was no doubt very glad to move out of disease-ridden London and move his family to the countryside of developing Plumstead, which would remain the home of the Brown/Tilliduff family for the next hundred years and more. In 1861 they were living in St James Place, which would have been in the area of Burrage Road where St. James Church was built in 1855. Thomas and Ann had three children with them born in London, Honor, Eliza Ann (1858 – 1932)(40), and Elizabeth Surrey (1861 – 1946)(41). Four more children were born in Plumstead, Thomas Joseph (1863 – 1924)(42), Emily Mary (1865 – 1866)(43) who died of convulsions caused by whooping cough aged 8 months, Charles Prudden (1863 – 1953)(44), and William John, (1870 – 1928)(45) both of whom went to Australia with their families, but the name died out there with only daughters being born. Thomas Joseph Tilliduff’s son Frederick (1905 – 1981)(46) emigrated to South Africa after the Second World War, where his grandson is now the only person remaining with the name Tilliduff. As he has never married the name worldwide will die with him.

    Thomas’s daughter Honor died in 1879 while in service in Plumstead as a cook to a solicitor, Mr Marwood Kelly Braund. Her dress caught fire while she was cleaning the stove, and she and her fellow servant were so panicked they could do nothing. The flames were put out by Mrs Braund but Honor was “dreadfully burnt” and died from her injuries.(47) Women’s clothing of the time was not compatible with safe working conditions – according to the report Honor’s dress touched the hot iron bar around the hearth and that was enough to set her dress alight.

    Thomas retired in 1883 on a pension from the Woolwich Arsenal, and died in 1909 from carcinoma of the stomach(48). Thomas and Ann’s eldest daughter Eliza married John Henry Brown in 1881 in Rectory Place Chapel, Woolwich.(49) They had eight children, only one of whom failed to reach adulthood – Lilian, 1886 – 1900,(50) died of rheumatic fever in 1900, one day after her fourteenth birthday. My grandfather’s earliest memory was being called in from playing in the street to say goodbye to her. In addition there was Henry, (1882 – 1951)(51), Charles, (1884 – 1922)(52), Sydney (1889 – 1972)(53) Ethel, (1890 – 1972)(54), Agnes, (1892 – 1985)(55), John, my grandfather (1895 – 1990)(56), and Albert, (1897 – 1977)(57).

    My grandfather John Percival Brown gained a scholarship to Haberdashers Aske school in Lewisham, where upon graduation he started to study for a science degree, but an opportunity came up in 1912 when Heinz visited the school looking for candidates for a post as an industrial chemist and John was glad to accept. In 1915 his father John Henry was sent to the United States as Inspector of Armaments destined for the United Kingdom, and in order that he had a home to go to when on leave from the war my grandfather and grandmother, Lilian Henwood, were allowed to marry (58), although still young. His wife Eliza and Agnes, as their only unmarried daughter, went with John Henry to the US, and they appear to have enjoyed themselves, having the opportunity to travel around the US sightseeing during their stay.

    1917 John Brown and Eliza in USA


    1) The Miscellany of the Spalding Club Vol. V
    2) Celtic Place Names in Aberdeenshire – John Milne MA LLD
    3) http:// History of the family of Seton during eight centuries Volume 2 (George Seton)
    4) Scotlands People O.P.R. Births 345/00 0010 0244 DRON
    5) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XYM1-RLD
    6) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JQY7-8YV
    7) National Archives Reference PROB 11/975/230
    8) Academic Patronage in the Scottish Enlightenment – Roger Emerson
    9) The History of the Island of Antigua Vol. 3 by Vere Langford Oliver
    10) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XYM1-RLD
    11) Scotlands People O.P.R. Marriages 706/00 0050 0063 DUNBAR
    12) https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/library/special-collections/archives/
    13) David Hutton Age: 45 Birth Date: 1767 Burial Date: 7 Mar 1812 Burial Place: Shoreditch, Middlesex, England FHL Film Number: 405140 Reference ID: Vol. 12
    14) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JW7G-KJL
    15) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JQLN-KQ1
    16) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NLP3-D74
    17) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QGLZ-NDJZ
    18) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NVK1-DMV
    19) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NP35-343
    20) Film Number: 0374416, 0374417 Ancestry.co.uk
    21) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JWQ5-QKM
    22) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JS1P-TZ1
    23) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NLQL-6ZK
    24) GRO Reference: 1860 M Quarter in SAINT GEORGE IN THE EAST Volume 01C Page 390
    25) GRO Reference: 1863 D Quarter in SAINT GEORGE IN THE EAST Volume 01C Page 347
    26) GRO Reference: 1845 D Quarter in BETHNAL GREEN Volume 02 Page 16
    27) TNA ref IR27/283 Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records Record collection Wills & probate
    28) https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/
    29) Marriage – Dec 1845 TILLIDUFF Ann Lydia – VAUGHAN William Francis Bethnal Gn 2 27
    30) Birth – VAUGHAN, LYDIA EMMA (Mother TILLYDUFF) GRO Reference: 1846 D Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 02 Page 458
    31) Birth – VAUGHAN, PETER WILLIAM (Mother TALLIDORF) GRO Reference: 1848 S Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 02 Page 446
    32) Birth – VAUGHAN, ELLEN JANE (Mother FILLIDUFF ) GRO Reference: 1850 S Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 02 Page 475
    33) Birth – VAUGHAN, WILLIAM JOHN (Mother TILLIDUFF ) GRO Reference: 1853 D Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 516
    34) Birth – VAUGHAN, JOHN (Mother TILLIDUFF ) GRO Reference: 1856 S Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 534
    35) Birth – VAUGHAN, WILLIAM (mother TILLIDUFF) GRO Reference: 1858 J Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 479 Death – https://www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz/ Reg No. 1879/632
    36) Marriage – Jun 1852 Clark Honor Margaret – Tilliduff Thomas Prudden Bethnal G 1c 545
    37) Birth – TILLIDUFF, HONOR SARAH (mother CLARK) GRO Reference: 1853 J Quarter in WHITECHAPEL Volume 01C Page 370 – Death – Mar 1879 Tilliduff Honor Sarah 26 Woolwich 1d 808
    38) Death – TILLIDUFF, HONOR MARGARET Age 28 GRO Reference: 1854 S Quarter in SAINT GEORGE (IN THE EAST) Volume 01C Page 380
    39) Marriage – Sept 1858 Tilliduff Thomas Rudden Bethnal Gn. 1c 601 Wheal Ann Bethnal Gn 1c 601
    40) Birth – TILLIDUFF, ELIZA ANN (Mother ENEVER) GRO Reference: 1859 M Quarter in LEWISHAM UNION Volume 01D Page 680 – Death – Mar 1932 Brown Eliza A Age 73 Woolwich 1d 1528
    41) Birth – TILLIDUFF, ELIZABETH SURREY (Mother ENOVER) GRO Reference: 1861 M Quarter in LEWISHAM UNION Volume 01D Page 702 – Death Mar 1946 Applebee Elizabeth S Age 86 Woolwich 1d 1081
    42) Birth – Jun 1863 TILLIDUFF Thomas Joseph Lewisham 1d 726 Death – Name: Thomas J Tilliduff: Sep 1924 Age 62 Woolwich Volume: 1d Page: 888
    43) Birth – TILLIDUFF, EMILY MARY (Mother ENEVER) GRO Reference: 1865 S Quarter in LEWISHAM UNION Volume 01D Page 768 – Death – TILLIDUFF, EMILY MARY Age 0 GRO Reference: 1866 J Quarter in LEWISHAM UNION Volume 01D Page 522
    GRO Reference: 1867 M Quarter in LEWISHAM UNION Volume 01D Page 866
    – Death – Date: 05 Jan 1953 Death Place: South Australia Page Number: 143 Volume Number: 792
    45) Birth – TILLIDUFF, WILLIAM JOHN (Mother WHEAL) GRO Reference: 1870 M Quarter in WOOLWICH Volume 01D Page 961 – Death – 1928 – The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954) Wednesday 16 May 1928
    46) Birth – TILLIDUFF, FREDERICK CHARLES (Mother ELLICOTT) GRO Reference: 1905 Mar DARTFORD 02A Page 627 – Death – https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/48621/page/7292/data.pdf
    47) The Worcestershire Chronicle dated Saturday 22nd March 1879
    48) Death – Dec 1909 TILLIDUFF Thomas P 85 Woolwich 1d 647
    49) Marriage – Jun 1881 TILLIDUFF Eliza Ann – BROWN John Henry Woolwich 1d 1536
    50) Birth – BROWN, LILIAN ADA (Mother TILLIDUFF) GRO Reference: 1886 J Quarter in WOOLWICH Volume 01D Page 1230 – Death – Jun 1900 Brown Lilian Ada 14 Woolwich 1d
    51) Birth – Mar 1882 Brown Henry George T Woolwich 1d 1249 – Death – BROWN, HENRY GEORGE THOMAS 69 GRO Reference: 1951 J Quarter in GREENWICH Volume 05C Page 515
    52) Birth – Jun 1884 Brown Charles Frederick W Woolwich 1d 1225 – Death – Dec 1922 Brown Charles F W 38 Woolwich 1d 1116
    53) Birth – BROWN, SYDNEY CURTIS (Mother FILLIDUFF) GRO Reference: 1888 D Quarter in WOOLWICH Volume 01D Page 1247 – Death – Sydney Curtis Brown Death Age: 84 Birth Date: 21 Sep 1888 Registration Date: Dec 1972 Registration district: Lambeth Volume: 5d Page: 459
    54) Birth – Sep 1890 Brown Ethel Maude Woolwich 1d 1233 – Death – Ethel Maude Burrows Age: 82 Birth Date: 10 Jun 1890 Reg Date: Jun 1972 Reg district: Greenwich Volume: 5b Page: 1019
    55) Birth – BROWN, AGNES HONOR (Mother TILLIDUFF ) GRO Reference: 1892 D Quarter in WOOLWICH Volume 01D Page 1234 – Death – Agnes Honor Brown Birth Date: 7 Oct 1892 Date of Registration: Feb 1985 Age at Death: 92 Registration district: Greenwich Volume: 12 Page: 1439
    56) Birth – BROWN, JOHN PERCIVAL (Mother TILLIDUFF ) GRO Reference: 1895 M Quarter in WOOLWICH Volume 01D Page 1345 – Death – John Percival Brown Birth Date: 14 Jan 1895 Date of Registration: Apr 1990 Age at Death: 95 Registration district: Darlington Volume: 1Page: 792
    57) Birth – BROWN, ALBERT LESLIE (Mother TILLIDUFF ) GRO Reference: 1897 J Quarter in WOOLWICH Volume 01D Page 1254 – Death – Name: Albert Leslie Brown Birth Date: 29 Mar 1897 Date of Registration: Jun 1977 Age at Death: 80 Registration district: Hastings and Rother Volume: 18 Page: 0948
    58) Marriage – Sep 1915 Brown John P (Henwood) Woolwich 1d 3599 Henwood Lily E (Brown) Woolwich 1d 3599

  2. Student Showcase: Telling Your Family Story

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    This is the second in a series of blog post from students of Janet Few‘s Are You Sitting Comfortably?: writing and telling your family history (216) course.

    Janet says: “I have been tutoring the course for several years. Three years ago the option to submit an assessed piece for feedback was added. Since then, each time the course has run, several students have taken this opportunity and have sent in a section of their family histories. They are given about six weeks after the course finishes to do this. I have been in awe of what they have produced in a comparatively short space of time. It is a pleasure to be able to feature some of their stories on the Pharos blog“.

    This offering comes from student, Samantha Taylor, and tells the story of Farrington Family


    Our Farrington Family of Brightlingsea

    The town of Brightlingsea is almost an island, bounded by muddy creeks, with a single road connecting it to the county of Essex.  Brightlingsea Creek joins the river Colne just before it empties into the North Sea.  On its way from Colchester the Colne flows past Rowhedge, Wyvenhoe and Brightlingsea, and meets the Blackwater which has travelled from Maldon, past Tollesbury and around Mersea Island.  All these places were famed for their boatbuilding.  This enclave of the Essex coast was steeped in the traditions of seafaring since before the time of Henry VIII.  As a limb of the Cinque Port of Sandwich the townspeople were exempted from serving on juries and in the armed forces, safe from the press gangs, underlining the national importance of their occupations and skills.

    At the beginning of the nineteenth century the creek and hard would have been full of fishing vessels of every size, cutters, smacks and yawls (200 by 1861).  The livelihood of the town came largely from the oyster beds of the Colne and Blackwater estuaries, and fishing as far as the Dutch coast and the Channel Islands.  As an interest in yachting for sport and pleasure began around 1825, wealthy owners looked to the men of the Colne to not only build, but crew, their race winning yachts.  These hardy men, brought up on the sea, knew well the ways of wind and tide and the most treacherous network of sandbanks.  By the end of the century it was as well known for beach huts and boating.

    Well inland from the hard is the centre of the town.  The outline of Hurst Green and Chapel Road is strikingly recognisable, even on the earliest maps, and along with High Street and Church Road forms the very skeleton of the ancient settlement dating back to the Romans.  The grassy triangular Hearst Green looks likely to have been the scene of sports and fairs, and its surrounding dwellings were home to two of our families in 1841.  Joseph Farrington had married Susanna Kerridge in July 1840 and their first child, Joseph Thomas was born in the spring of 1841.  Susanna’s father, James Kerridge, a widower, had married Joseph’s eldest sister, Ann Maria Farrington in October 1840, and they were living with James’s son George, then 13.  Both Joseph and James were fishermen as were more than half of their neighbours.

    Certainly in the early part of the nineteenth century the majority of properties were leased from the Lord of the Manor.  As fishermen, I am sure they would have lived in the simplest houses, two up, two down, however large their family became.  James, Ann Maria and their three children continued to live in Hearst Green.   Joseph and Susanna settled in Chapel Road with their nine children.  After Ann Maria’s death in 1867, James lived with his son Robert’s family in Hearst Green and their neighbours in 1871 were Joseph’s son Thomas Joseph Farrington and his wife Jane (Wright).  Another of their neighbours was Jane’s father, Henry Wright, a widower, and her sister Charlotte.  By 1891 Thomas Joseph, Jane and their four boys had moved to 59 Chapel Road, a four room house, probably with a garden.  Thomas Joseph’s brother, George Farrington, his wife Maria Ann (Farrington) and their four children were their neighbours.

    As widows, Susanna (Kerridge) and Jane (Wright) both lived on the High Street, albeit 20 years apart.  In 1891 Susanna was living in a single room but there is no mention of employment, while in 1911 Jane lived as servant/nurse with the Harris family.

    The railway appeared in 1866 running along the river from Colchester and crossing Alresford Creek. This branch of the Great Eastern Railway must have made a tremendous difference to a town which until then could only be reached by one road, or by sea.  The town’s population had grown four fold in less than 100 years, from 1,020 in 1811 to 4,501 in 1901, and by 1874 had a gas works company and a water company.  More houses were built on the north and south of High Street, and later in the century our families could be found in Nelson Street, John Street, and Sidney Street where my grandmother, Marion, was born.

    Brightlingsea lies quite flat along the creek but gradually ascends towards the farmland behind.  On this gentle hill to the north and slightly west, a mile and a half from the town, stands All Saints Church.  Now a grade one listed building it dates back to the 12th century and is built on the site of an earlier Saxon church of which a small arch remains.  The churchyard extends to six acres and the tower, built of local flint in the late 15th century stands 97 feet high, an important marker to those at sea.  Inside the church runs a frieze of tiles commemorating every Brightlingsea native lost at sea, since its inception in 1872 by the Rev Arthur Pertwee, in response to the 36 local seamen lost that year in severe storms on the North Sea.  Each tile is inscribed with the name of the deceased and his ship.  Many members of the family were baptised, married and buried here including Marion, who was baptised on 23rd October 1902.   This little pen and ink drawing of the church was made by Joseph William Farrington in 1938 and given to his niece, my grandmother, Marion.

    Chapel Road, then and now, is the site of the Wesleyan Chapel, records of which go back to 1805, although the building you see today was probably constructed at the end of the 19th century.  Wesleyan Methodism began in the second half of the 18th century but grew in popularity most rapidly in the first half of the 19th century.  The simplicity of their creed appealed particularly to the working class communities like that of our fishermen.  Between 1841 and 1855 at least eight of Joseph and Susanna’s nine children were baptised at the Wesleyan Chapel along with James and Ann Maria’s three children.  The deaths of Joseph’s sister Eliza (21), Susanna’s brother George (22), Joseph and Susanna’s son Isaac (2), and James and Ann Maria’s son James (3) were recorded in 1849.  They would have been buried elsewhere, possibly at All Saints, as there was no burial ground at the chapel.  George, Isaac and James died within a month of each other and I wonder if this is evidence of the cholera epidemic of that year.  A note in the burial record says that George’s body was brought home from the Channel Islands in the ship in which he sailed, but he may have been ill before he left.

    “Brightlingsea men have never been afraid of going to sea.  Their smacks earned a wonderful reputation for daring (and sometimes for piratical practices) in the last century” wrote Hervey Benham in the ‘Last Stronghold of Sail’ (George G Harrap and Co Ltd 1948).

    It is hard for me to imagine the world of these fishermen as they slip between the pages of census return and parish register, just out of reach, but I have been able to give some substance to them through Hervey Benham and Garboard Streyke who wrote most evocatively of this way of life before engines and mechanisation changed it forever.

    In February or March many smacks would sail to Falmouth and the Channel Islands to dredge deep sea oysters and would be away for two or three months.  Others would travel to the Terschelling Light on the Dutch coast, more than 200 miles away, for as long as four months.  In the sprat season from the mid-August to mid-February the smacks would work in groups of six or seven pooling their catch.  Whether dredging or netting fish, their muscles would have strained with the effort of throwing and hauling the gear, and all while under sail.  The storms could be savage and the sea often bitterly cold.  The creek could freeze in the depths of winter.  On top of that they would need to negotiate the most treacherous network of shoals, the Gunfleet Sand, the Long Sand, and the Sunk.

    “Many persons who, whether on business or pleasure, have paid a visit to Wyvenhoe, Rowhedge, or Brightlingsea, must have looked with some curiosity on the black, rough-looking vessels known as smacks, with their crews of bearded and bronzed men, clad in canvas jackets and pilot-cloth trousers” wrote Garboard Streyke as the opening to ‘The Sea, The River, And The Creek’ (Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington 1884).

    Beneath their jackets a traditional, tight fitting knitted gansey and a waistcoat, and over their trousers, thigh length greased leather boots with wooden pegged soles, would have been worn, topped off with a hat, and oilskins if it was rough.  They must have looked much like the men in the photographs by Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, and I expect their wives also dressed similarly to the herring girls.

    The crews of four to six men would have started their day as early as four o’clock, before dawn.  Their meals would have been simple but nourishing, cooked on a small stove in the cabin.  Bread and cheese would do for breakfast and a bit of salt beef stew and dumplings, cooked in an iron pot, for dinner, and always washed down with tea brewed in the kettle with sugar, but no milk.  Although they may have frequented the many public houses in the town, when they were at sea not a drop passed their lips.

    It wasn’t just the harsh weather and inhospitable terrain the fishermen had to deal with.  On 21st December 1833 the Essex Standard reported that on Monday 16th December, the Magistrates in Colchester Castle heard depositions from the masters and crews of several vessels which had been molested in dredging for oysters off the coast of France.  One of the depositions was given by Shadrach Martin, master of the fishing smack Globe, describing how the vessel had been boarded by Frenchmen and taken to Granville.  Similar accounts were given by other masters who felt aggrieved by their treatment by the French when they were miles away from their coast, and considering that the French fishermen were not similarly violated when fishing off the British coast.  A letter was sent by the fishermen to the bench of magistrates, and one of the signatories was Isaac Farrington.  Born in Brightlingsea, he moved to Harwich with his young family and in 1884 his granddaughter Maria Ann Farrington would marry Joseph and Susanna’s son George.  As a result of the letter and the depositions the Magistrates sent a letter to Lord Viscount Melbourne requesting protection for the fishermen.  It was less than 20 years since the end of the Napoleonic wars.  William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne was a Member of Parliament for the Whig party and at the time Home Secretary, but would later become Prime Minister and a favourite of Queen Victoria.  Sadly I have not been able to find out if he acted in response to the letter from Colchester.

    UK, Apprentices Indentured in Merchant Navy, 1824-1910, TNA

    A life at sea started early and Joseph Thomas Farrington (14) and Thomas Joseph Farrington (13) were indentured to their father Joseph Farrington on 15th August 1855, as apprentices on the vessel  Rose, of Colchester.  I wonder if this infers that Joseph was at least the master of this vessel, if not the owner.

    Both brothers, Joseph and Thomas worked aboard the fishing cutter Globe,  which was registered in 1844 at Colchester but likely built at Wivenhoe around 1805.  Benham describes her as a ‘powerful cutter smack’.  At the time of the census in 1871 she was recorded at Dover with Thomas, aged 28, serving as Mate.  Joseph, aged 19, had been serving as A B Seaman in 1861 when she was recorded at Guernsey, Channel Islands.  The Globe’s Master, Hazel Polley was a neighbour of the Farringtons in Chapel Road.  Joseph Thomas was recorded aboard Tartar in 1871 at Swansea, and the following year he married and settled there.  In 1881 Thomas Joseph was recorded aboard the steam ship Castalia, built as a cross channel ferry but soon abandoned, as A B Seaman off Erith, Dartford, Kent.  George, the youngest of Joseph and Susanna’s sons, appeared in Newhaven, Sussex in 1881 aboard the fishing smack Queen Victoria as A B Seaman.

    Jane was born in St Osyth in 1849 to Henry Whybrough Wright, a farm labourer and Susan (Southgate).  By 1861, when Jane was 12, they had moved to Brightlingsea.  Jane married Thomas Joseph Farrington in 1869.  They had four sons: George Thomas, born 1871; Frederick Joseph (my great grandfather), born 1873; Thomas, born 1875; and Joseph William, born 1882.

    Jane was illiterate and my great grandfather’s birth certificate bears her ‘mark’, a simple and unsteady cross.  It is impossible to know what opportunities if any she had for an education or whether or not her family supported it.  A select committee report on Education of the Poor, 1818 said of Brightlingsea:  ‘The poor have the means of education, but appear very indifferent in taking advantage of them.’
    According to a House of Commons paper on education, by 1833 the town, with a population of 1,784, had four infant schools, six day schools and three Sunday Schools .  However the greatest change to the provision of education must have come with the 1870 Education Act which provided schools for everyone, known as Board Schools, although education did not become compulsory to the age of 12 until 1899.

    I like to think that Jane decided she wanted more for her boys, that the life of a fisherman was too hard and unrewarding.  Probably the combination of freely provided education and a declining fishing industry played their part, but I imagine she took the initiative while Thomas was away at sea.

    Their eldest son George was apprenticed to shipbuilding by the age of 19, and eventually joined HM Dockyard at Sheerness, Kent.  In the summer of 1895 he married Sarah Emily Underwood who was born in Tollesbury.  They had two children and continued to live in Kent until they died.  Before she married, Sarah was a draper’s assistant in Brightlingsea and in 1911 was living in Brightlingsea and running Farrington’s Drapers at 77 High Street, while George was living in Sheerness with his mother-in-law.  In 1939 they lived in Strood, Kent, and were listed as retired drapers.

    Frederick was apprenticed to shoemaking by the time he was 17, and by 1902, when my grandmother Marion was born, had his own boot making business in Brightlingsea’s High Street.  He had married Nettie Heaver in the autumn of 1899.  Their second child, Muriel was born in Chobham, Surrey in 1910, and in 1911 they were living in Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire.  At some point he visited the United States, perhaps to visit his younger brother, and was so enthusiastic he contacted Nettie and told her to sell all their furniture and pack ready to emigrate with their two girls.  However by the time he returned he had changed his mind.  Certainly by 1915 they had returned to Brightlingsea where Marion was at school, second from the left in the second row down in the photograph above.

    Thomas Farrington’s Master’s Certificate 1903

    Thomas did become a mariner and had achieved his Master’s Certificate in 1903 when he was 28.  Otherwise he is something of an enigma but it has been suggested that he died at sea on a yacht that sank off the coast of Carolina.

    Their youngest son Joseph William had become a mariner by the time he was 18, and living in Bightlingsea with his widowed mother.  However on 7th June 1905 he left England from the port of Liverpool and sailed to Philadelphia on the Friesland.  He didn’t return until 1927 when he sailed from Boston on the Aurania, arriving in Liverpool on 6th June.   An account of his adventures in North America, prospecting in the silver mines of Canada, was recorded in a US local newspaper.  Soon after his return he married Lily Martha Death on the 4th July in Chadwell St Mary, near to the home of his brother.  He and Lily settled in John Street, Brightlingsea where he worked as a bus conductor.

    Isaac Kerridge Farrington, born in 1891, was one of the four cousins living next door to my great grandfather, Frederick and his brothers, that year.  I was kindly sent some ‘Farrington’ related information by Margaret Stone, curator of Brightlingsea Museum and at the time had not worked out the relationship to my own family.  It was cheering to find the connection and satisfying to see the names Kerridge and Farrington come together.  His story, though, is as sad as it is familiar.  He was a corporal in the Rifle Brigade and was killed at Ypres on 10th July 1916.  He carried a small bible in his tunic which contained a request, written inside, that in case of accident it be returned to Miss Lillian Finch of 77 Nelson Street, to whom he was engaged.  The Brightlingsea Times included his photograph and a poem he had written while at the front, when they reported his death.

  3. Student Showcase: Telling Your Family Story


    This is the first in a series of blog post from students of Janet Few‘s Are You Sitting Comfortably?: writing and telling your family history (216) course.

    Janet says: “I have been tutoring the course for several years. Three years ago the option to submit an assessed piece for feedback was added. Since then, each time the course has run, several students have taken this opportunity and have sent in a section of their family histories. They are given about six weeks after the course finishes to do this. I have been in awe of what they have produced in a comparatively short space of time. It is a pleasure to be able to feature some of their stories on the Pharos blog“.

    Our first offering comes from student, Gemma Ward, and tells the story of Ernest Leon Loveday

    RAF Air Gunner Herbert Leon Loveday (1915-1941) went missing on the night of 30 November/1 December 1941. Herbert Loveday was married to Peggy Marshall (1917-2009). After Herbert’s death, Peggy remarried and had a second family. Peggy was my husband’s grandmother. Whilst researching Herbert Loveday, I discovered the story of Ernest Leon Loveday (1889-1916), Herbert’s father. This is the story of Ernest Loveday. 

    Ernest Loveday

    In 1906, trawler captain Henry Lilley encountered rough weather around the Penland Firth, Orkney Islands. He “was thrown against a rail violently.” Henry’s injury – a deep cut to his hand – became infected. Henry was brought back to his hometown in Hull and died of blood poisoning [1].

    The Lovedays moved into Henry Lilley’s former home – a narrow, two-bedroom terrace at 13 Beech Grove, Wellsted Street. Here they are in the 1911 census return [2]:

    Ernest Loveday – the focus of this report – is highlighted.

    The 1911 census gives another statistic – two children died in infancy. The Lovedays’ eldest child died at the age of two from “peritonitis complications” – an abdominal inflammation usually caused by infection [3]. A few months later, the Lovedays’ second child died aged eight months from “teething” [4]. It seems likely that both Loveday deaths were caused by poor sanitation. The Impact of Social Housing on Public Health in Hull reports on “the dreadful living conditions and the increased problems with night soil removal” in late 19th century Hull [5].

    Figure 1: England (1948). The Albert and William Wright Docks, Hessle Road and environs. The aerial view was taken in 1948, so shows some bomb damage can be seen. However, the photograph also illustrates the layout of the Hessle Road district.

    The Lovedays lived in the Hessle Road district. In the aerial view, Hessle Road is the long road (marked in yellow) in the aerial view (Figure 1). Wellsted Street is marked in red. The Albert Dock and the Humber Estuary is to the right of Hessle Road. Unsurprisingly, Hessle Road is known as the home of fishermen and dockworkers. One of the most famous residents of Hessle Road district is the aviator Amy Johnson, the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia. Amy’s father was a trawler owner and fish merchant, although (according to author and biographer Alec Gill), Amy Johnson was ashamed of her Hessle Road roots [6].

    Figure 2: Hessle Road in the early 1900’s.

    Hessle Road was also a busy shopping street. The artist’s impression (Figure 2) shows the wide street, tram lines and numerous shop awnings. The 1899 Kelly’s Directory lists over 250 shops or enterprises on Hessle Road, selling predominately foodstuffs (e.g. butchers, tripe dressers, grocers, fishmongers, confectioners), as well as representatives of other 19th century professions – tobacconists, boot makers, pawn brokers, chemists, watch makers and drapers [7]. Wellsted Street was on the opposite side of Hessle Road (from the docks), so there were fewer fishermen on the street. My own brief survey (based on the 1901 and 1911 censuses) of the Wellsted Street residents shows a mix of workers in Hessle Street’s different shops and industries. There is also a large proportion of railwaymen (brass finishers, iron moulders, guards, clerks) [8]. According to the Hull Daily Mail, “The city was awash with platforms and stations helping Hullensians get around, let alone the vast quantity in the East Riding [of Yorkshire].” [9] As well as numerous passenger trains, there was also a network of local goods trains connecting the docks and warehouses to central termini and on to the rest of the country.

    In the 1911 census, Ernest Loveday was a railway goods porter i.e. he was responsible for loading goods onto the railway carts [10]. He may have worked at the goods yard or railway line next to the Albert Docks. Perhaps he worked alongside his father William, a goods guard.

    Figure 3: Original Hull Paragon entrance hall and ticket office. Note the NER mosaic on the floor.

    In 1913, Ernest had a slightly different job. He was working as a North Eastern Railways (NER) platform porter at Hull Paragon, the town’s main railway terminus. Ernest would have handled passenger luggage, assist on ticket barriers and in the booking office [11, 12]. The job of platform porter may have been slightly more prestigious than goods porter. There was also the opportunity for tips. Ernest’s job as platform porter could have led on to other platform jobs – as a station master, guard or ticket collector.  

    Kate Jarvis

    Ernest would marry his next-door neighbour Kate Jarvis. The Jarvis family lived at 64 Wellsted Street on the corner of Beech Grove. The Jarvis family is shown in the 1911 census below [13]:

    (Ernest’s future wife Kate Jarvis is highlighted.)

    Both the Jarvis and the Loveday families have several adult children working, so they were probably have felt relatively prosperous. Kate is a dressmaker. It is possible she could be working at (or apprenticed to) one of the dressmaking shops along Hessle Road. However, I can find no other evidence of Kate’s occupation. She may (alongside her sister Helen) have been taking in mending and adjustments on a piecework basis.

    The First World War

    The First World War started on 4 August 1914. Four days later, the NER (North Eastern Railway) issued a circular calling on volunteers to form a Pals battalion. This battalion – the 17th Northumberland Fusiliers – would become known as the Railway Pals. This battalion was housed and trained in Hull [14].

    Ernest did not initially join the battalion formed by his employers at the NER. He married Kate Jarvis married on 8 August 1914, and the newly married couple moved to Sculcoates in the north of Hull [15]. Ernest and Kate’s son Herbert Leon was born on 17 May 1915.

    At the end of 1915, Ernest attested for army service under the Derby Scheme or Group System. The scheme was first designed to put pressure on men to enlist – each man received a letter from the Director-General of Recruiting and had several visits from experienced canvassers. In Ernest’s case, this seems to be his employers at the NER. Ernest attested on the last possible date – 11 December 1915. Attestation simply meant a promise to serve when called. Many men – perhaps Ernest included – hoped the war would be over before the call-up [16].


    Figure 4: While waiting for the call-up, Ernest would have worn an armlet like this one from the Imperial War Museum collection.

    Ernest was called up around 7 April 1916. After basic training, he embarked for France on 28 June 1916. He had joined the 32nd Northumberland Fusiliers, the reserve battalion for the 17th Northumberland Fusiliers (Railway Pals) raised by the NER. He probably expected to join the 17/NF (Railway Pals). By 1916, the demands of war meant men were posted where needed. Ernest was posted to another Pals battalion – the 16th Northumberland Fusiliers (Newcastle Commercials).

    The Battle of the Somme started on 1 July 1916. Ernest arrived too late to “go over the top” with his new battalion. In any case, on 1 July Ernest was admitted to Camiers General Hospital with scabies. According to Medical Services: Diseases of the War, the condition was often caused by infected blankets or clothing. The treatment consists of warm baths, application of sulphur ointment and provision of clean clothing and bedding.

    Ernest left hospital around 10 July 1916. The heavy losses of the Battle of the Somme led to further army reorganisation, so Ernest was first attached, then formally transferred to the 12th Durham Light Infantry (12/DLI).

    Figure 5: The Albert-Baupane road. The 12/DLI would have taken this road to the battlefront.


    The battles Ernest was involved in were all part of the wider Battle of the Somme (July-November 1916). Ernest’s first experience of battle was probably on the night of 17 July. The battalion attempted an assault south of the village of Pozieres. A Stokes mortar barrage was designed to eliminate the German defences, followed by an infantry advance. The Stokes mortar barrage fell short leaving the German machine guns free to fire at the advancing soldiers. The survivors were forced to hide in shell holes for up to 50 minutes. This experience must surely have been terrifying for Ernest and the other soldiers involved.

    After a period of rest in billets, the battalion returned to Pozières. This time they were in a support role. The battalion was tasked with carrying bombs to the front, and then digging and wiring the trenches, all under continuous shelling. A military historian calls this battle “small-scale, disjointed attacks…launched on little more than the next trench, the next strongpoint, the next machine gun. Men struggled towards ill-defined objectives on a moonscape battlefield under an interminable hail of artillery shells and machine gun fire.” [17]

    After Pozières, the 12/DLI were gradually moved out of the line. Ernest would have billeted with the battalion in farms away from the Somme Front.


    In Hull, Kate (and presumably baby Herbert) moved back to the familiarity of Wellsted Street. Kate’s parents had moved out by this point, so she moved to 98 Wellsted Street. Makeshift street shrines were erected to commemorate men serving in each street. A local newspaper describes one shrine as “of Gothic design, richly upholstered and enclosed in an outer case.” [18] Another local shrine is described below:
    …quite a showplace, for the residents put out in a line down the centre, tables containing photos adorned with glasses of flowers and coloured cloth, and there was a homely and pathetic touch furnished by memorial cards of relatives who have lost their lives. A cigar box stood on a table in this terrace, and the hundreds of visitors on Saturday evening [23 September 1916] and again yesterday [24 September 1916] were invited to contribute a copper for our sailors’ and soldiers’ tobacco.”

    According to the article above, the Wellsted Street shrine was unveiled on 24 September 1916 by the local vicar. The Church Lads Brigade and a local Boy Scout troop attended, “and the band played the general salute when the vicar drew the curtain.” Ernest Loveday was one of 235 serving men listed on the Wellsted Street memorial [19]. (The Wellsted Street shrine – like most other street shrines – did not survive. According to Kingston upon Hull War Memorial 1914-1918, most shrines were not designed to be permanent. Many were destroyed in the post-war slum clearances or Second World War Blitz. [20])

    Figure 6: Street shrine (artist’s impression)


    Ernest’s Death

    On 7 October 1916, 12/DLI took part in the capture of the village of Le Sars. The plan was for 12/DLI to seize a maze of trenches (The Tangle) and a sunken road east of the village of Le Sars. 12/DLI attacked in four waves behind a tank armed with machine guns. The tank cleared the Tangle of German defenders before being disabled or destroyed by a shell. Ernest’s company continued under heavy machine-gun fire. The battle – and the tank! – was graphically reported by the Aberdeen Evening Express (10 October 1916):
    “Machine guns swept the field with bullets as the men lay on their faces in the mud…Another muddy thing came on the way to the “Tangle”, more like a primeval river hog than in the early days of its debut, because of the mountains of slush churned up by its flanks. The Tank turned its snout towards the “Tangle”, and struggled over the choppy ground – wave upon wave of craters with high rims – until it reached a bit of the deep cutting which makes a hole in the side of Le Sars. This sunken road or old quarry track was filled with German soldiers, alive and dead…After that, something having happened to its internal organs, it committed hara-kari [suicide] but it seems to have been useful before going up in a blaze of glory.”  [21]

    The defenders were shelled by German artillery throughout the night of 7 October. Ernest suffered a gunshot wound to his head, and was excused duty on 8 October (the day after the battle). He was taken via the Casualty Clearing Station to the General Hospital at Rouen. Ernest died at 5.35am on 12/13 October. He is buried at St Sever Cemetery on the outskirts of the hospital. (Different sources give Ernest’s death as 12 or 13 October. Most likely he died in the early morning of 13 October.)

    The photograph (Figure 7) is captioned “Sleighs, normally used for the conveyance of wounded are dragged by horses over muddy ground, a result of bad weather, at Le Sars, Pas de Calais on the Somme front, October 1916.” [22] The photograph shows the conditions at Le Sars at the time of Ernest’s death. Perhaps Ernest was transported in a similar sleigh.


    Figure 7: Sleighs, normally used for the conveyance of wounded are dragged by horses over muddy ground, a result of bad weather, at Le Sars, Pas de Calais on the Somme front, October 1916

    Ernest Loveday’s death and photograph was reported in the Hull Daily Mail (left): “Official information has been received by Mrs Loveday, 98, Wellsted Street, of the death of her husband, Private E. L. Loveday, late of the Northumberland Fusiliers, but who was transferred to the Durham Light Infantry, who died of wounds received in action, on October 12th. He was 25 years old, the only son of Mrs and the late Wm. [William] Loveday, goods guard, and leaves a widow and baby to mourn their loss.” [23]

    Ernest was also remembered in the December 1916 NER staff magazine. [24]

    On 18 November – a few weeks after Ernest’s death – his sister Laura Gambetta Halliday (nee Loveday, 1888-1965) gave birth to a baby boy whom she named Ernest Leon in memory of her brother. [25]

    By early 1917, Kate was dealing with the administration following her husband’s death. British Widows of the First World War: The Forgotten Legion describes the lengthy process of applying for a pension: “A wife did not automatically receive a pension, but had to make an application and fill in the relevant forms…A form had to be completed with the full details of the marriage and the birth of any eligible children, then taken to a Justice of the Peace or a police officer above the rank of sergeant who was prepared to that the information therein was correct. The form then had to be sent to the War Office along with copies of the marriage certificates and any birth certificates. The declaration to be signed by the relevant authority figure also stated that the widow was ‘in every respect deserving of the grant of Pension.’” [26] In May 1917 Kate was awarded a weekly pension of 18/9.

    Figure 9: Record of Ernest’s effects.

    In January 1918 Kate Loveday received her husband’s effects. The form (reproduced left) records Ernest’s possessions – letters, photos, a silver wrist watch, a strap Bible, a piece of heather (traditional symbol of good luck), razor and case and two cap badges. Perhaps Kate herself gave Ernest some of these items when he left.

    On 14 May 1919, there was a memorial service for railwaymen at churches throughout the country. Kate may have been one of the 800 bereaved relatives to attend the local service in Holy Trinity Parish Church (now Hull Minster).

    After the war, Ernest’s final resting place – St Sever cemetery next to Rouen Hospital – came under the jurisdiction of the Imperial (later Commonwealth) War Graves Commission. Kate was asked to confirm Ernest’s details and to supply a personal inscription. The form was sent to the wrong address, returned and retained in Ernest’s military file. It may be for this reason that there is no personal inscription on Ernest’s gravestone. [27] In any case, an inscription – quoted at 3d per letter on the form) would be too expensive for someone surviving on a widow’s pension. (The charge later became a voluntary payment).

    After the War

    Kate Loveday

    After Ernest’s death, his widow Kate moved in with her mother and father. [28] (Kate’s father died in 1924 [29]). Presumably baby Herbert is also living with his mother and grandparents. (My information comes from electoral registers which only show eligible voters).

    Kate remarried on 12 November 1932. Her new husband was waterworks jointer and war veteran Walter Stanley Quelch (1897-1965). [30] It was a second marriage for both Walter Quelch and Kate Loveday.

    Walter Quelch

    Walter Quelch had a very different army career from Ernest Loveday. In February 1915, Walter enlisted in the Royal Berkshire Regiment. He was not yet old enough to go overseas, so he spent his first year at Victoria Barracks in Portsmouth. It is likely that Walter used the opportunity to gain additional training. In February 1916, Walter joined the Machine Gun Corps (MGC). After war service on the Western Front, Walter re-enlisted on 9 May 1919. He would remain with the corps until 16 July 1921. (Walter received several minor injuries throughout his war service. One injury was described on the Casualty Clearing Form as: “Coy [Company] being buried by shell explosion.” It was classified as shell shock.)

    In November 1930, Walter enlisted for four years’ service with the Territorial Army Royal Tank Corps. He was slightly too old to enlist in the Second World War. In the 1939 Register, he is listed as Waterworks Inspector. [31] He also trained as an anti-gas instructor. [32]

    Kate and son Herbert moved in with Walter at 104 St John’s Grove, part of the new Preston Road estate built in the east of Hull after the war.

    Kate died of breast cancer on 22 September 1958. [33] She was buried in the local cemetery at Preston Road. The grave is shared with Walter Quelch (died 1965) and Walter’s third wife Clarice Bayston (1905-1987).

    Herbert Loveday

    Ernest’s son Herbert Leon Loveday trained as a grocer. After a spell at a local grocers, he became a commercial traveller or travelling salesman. He worked for the canned goods firm Libby, McNeil and Libby. In the 1930’s, the firm sold a wide range of tinned products – meat, evaporated milk, fruit, vegetables and fish. Herbert would probably be responsible for selling these products to grocery stores.

    On 25 May 1940 Herbert married confectionery manager Marjorie Rose (Peggy) Marshall (1917-2009). [34] Their daughter was born on 27 August 1940.

    The Second World War begin in September 1939. According to his widow, Herbert was a strong swimmer so wanted to join the navy. The navy quotas were full, so he was instead directed to the RAF. Herbert was part of a six-man Vickers Wellington bomber crew. (The crews were self-selecting – made up of friendship groups formed in training.) Herbert was an air gunner. It is likely he was a he was a rear gunner or “tail end Charlie” i.e. he sat in a gun turret at the rear of the plane.

    On the night of 30 November/1 December 1941, a bombing mission to Hamburg – Herbert’s fourth mission – failed to return. A search party the next day was unsuccessful, and bad weather prevented any further searches. [35]

    On 3 January 1942, one of the crew members washed ashore at Texel (an island off the coast of the Netherlands). The other crew members were never found. [36] The image on the left shows Herbert in a newspaper notice posted by his wife.


    Figure 11: Board 13, Hull Paragon Station.

    As part of Hull’s First World War centenary celebrations (held in 2014), Hull Prison inmates created twenty wooden plaques inscribed with the names of men who passed through the Hull Paragon Station on their way to war. Ernest is at the top of board 13 (third from top).

    It seems particularly poignant that Ernest’s name stands on a board in his former workplace.

    Ernest’s son Herbert Loveday is commemorated alongside the rest of his crew on the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede.


    Ernest’s war service was compiled from British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 [database online]: Ernest Loveday at www.ancestry.co.uk. Original at The National Archives.
    Battalion operations compiled from Sheen, John (2013) With Bayonets Fixed: The 12th & 13th Battalions of the Durham Light Infantry in the Great War and UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920: Durham Light Infantry 12th Battalion 15Aug-1917Oct accessed at www.ancestry.co.uk. Original at The National Archives.)

    Walter’s war service was compiled from British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 [database online]: Walter Stanley Quelch at www.ancestry.co.uk. Original at The National Archives.

    [1] British Newspaper Archive, Hull Daily Mail, 8 March 1906. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

    [2] 1911 Census for England and Wales: William Leon Gambetta Loveday. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

    [3] Certificate of Death: Florence Gambetta Loveday 1885.General Records Office

    [4] Certificate of Death: Rosa Gambetta Loveday 1885.General Records Office.

    [5] Jessop, Shaun (2015). The Impact of Social Housing on Public Health in Hull.

    [6] Gill, Alec (2015, 2nd ed). AMY JOHNSON: Hessle Road Tomboy – Born and Bred, Dread and Fled

    [7] Kelly’s Directory of Hull, 1899. Accessed at the University of Leicester Special Collections Online.

    [8] 1901 England, Wales and Scotland Census and 1911 Census for England and Wales. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

    [9] Kemp, Dan (2020), “The Lost and Forgotten Railway Stations of Hull and East Yorkshire” Hull Daily Mail 1 March 2020

    [10]  Britain, Trade Union Membership Registers: Ernest Loveday. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk Original at the Modern Records Centre.

    [11] National Railway Museum: EL Loveday

    [12] Wood, James (2018), “The Jobs that Time Forgot” Mail Online, 27 August 2018.

    [13] 1911 Census for England and Wales: James Bullin Jarvis. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

    [14] Shakespear, J RECORD of the 17th and 32nd BATTALIONS NORTHUMBERLAND FUSILIERS (N.E.R. Pioneers). 1914-1919 Kindle Edition

    [15] Certificate of Marriage, Ernest Leon Loveday and Kate Jarvis, 8 August 1914, General Records Office

    [16] The Derby Scheme: Voluntary Conscription from Great War London.

    [17] Hampton, Meleah (2016). “The Battle of Pozieres Ridge”.

    [18] British Newspaper Archive, Hull Daily Mail, 10 October 1916. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

    [19] British Newspaper Archive, Hull Daily Mail, 25 September 1916. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

    [20] Kingston Upon Hull War Memorial 1914-1918

    [21] British Newspaper Archive, Aberdeen Express, 10 October 1916. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

    [22] The Imperial War Museum, The Battle of the Somme, July-November 1916. Catalogue number Q1495.

    [23] British Newspaper Archive, Hull Daily Mail, 20 October 1916. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

    [24] National Railway Museum: EL Loveday

    [25] Certificate of Birth, Ernest Leon Halliday, 18 November 1916,, General Records Office

    [26] Hetherington, Amanda (2018). British Widows of the First World War: The Forgotten Legion

    [27] Loveday, Ernest from The War Graves Photographic Project

    [28] England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1920-1932, accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.Original at The British Library.

    [29] England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007: James B Jarvis, accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk

    [30] Certificate of Marriage, Walter Stanley Quelch and Kate Loveday, 12 November 1932, General Records Office

    [31] 1939 Register:Quelch household. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

    [32] British Newspaper Archive, Hull Daily Mail, 3 September 1938. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk

    [33] Certificate of Death: Kate Quelch 22 September 1958.General Records Office

    [34] Certificate of Marriage, Herbert Leon Loveday to Marjorie Rose Marshall, 25 May 1940, General Records Office

    [35] The National Archives Website: Discovery: AIR 27/1320 No 214 Squadron: Operations Record Book 1941 Jan-Dec

    [36] 30/01.12.1941 No. 214 Squadron Wellington Ic Z85953 Sgt. Michael Fitzgerald Air Crew Remembered


    Figure 1: England (1948). The Albert and William Wright Docks, Hessle Road and environs, Kingston upon Hull, 1948. This image has been produced from a print.
    Figure 2: Hessle Road by Jonathan Ward. Commissioned by author.
    Figure 3: Hull Paragon Station Entrance Hall and Booking Office by Bernard Sharp. Accessed at Wikipedia. Creative Commons License.
    Figure 4: The Battle of the Somme, July-November 1916 by Ernest Brooks, catalogue number Q770. Accessed at the Imperial War Museum [online]. IWM Non-Commercial License.
    Figure 5: Brassard, British, Derby Scheme, Army, catalogue number INS 7764. Accessed at the Imperial War Museum [online]. IWM Non-Commercial License.
    Figure 6: Street shrine by Jonathan Ward. Commissioned by author.
    Figure 7: The Battle of the Somme, July-November 1916 by Ernest Brooks, catalogue number Q1495. Accessed at the Imperial War Museum [online]. IWM Non-Commercial License.
    Figure 8: British Newspaper Archive, Hull Daily Mail, 20 October 1916. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.
    Figure 9: Extracted from British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 [database online]: Ernest Loveday at www.ancestry.co.uk. Original at The National Archives.
    Figure 10: British Newspaper Archive, Hull Daily Mail, 17 December 1941. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.
    Figure 11: Hull Paragon Station Memorial.Own.