Monday, 8 September 2014

George Simmonds and Sarah Jane Stringer

Beccles man, George Simmonds, assaulted his wife Sarah Jane and a police constable in 1895. In 1903 he tried to kill his wife and then he committed suicide by slitting his own throat with a razor.

In July 1895 George Simmonds was brought before the Mayor of Beccles, charged with unlawfully assaulting a police constable. Finding the headline in the Ipswich Journal newspaper took me by surprise because the headline read BECCLES POLICEMAN ATTACKED WITH A BILL-HOOK, not BECCLES WOMAN ATTACKED BY HUSBAND.

The story goes that police-constable Leftley was called to the house of George Simmonds, a lodging house keeper, in consequence of a violent attack made by Simmonds on his wife. When Leftley entered the house, George Simmonds rushed at him with a bill-hook. These were traditionally used in agriculture as a small wood cutting tool. The blow cut through the rim of his helmet and knocked it from the constable's head. Simmonds was reported as being "mad with drink". After attempting to strangle the constable, Simmonds was eventually overpowered by several men and subsequently walked quietly to the Police Station. He was later sent to Norwich Prison.

The Lincolnshire Echo newspaper of 12 March 1903 reported a more tragic story, one which shocked me to the core. George Simmonds went to the house of his wife Sarah Jane, who was living apart from him, and after an exchange of angry words, stabbed her in the chest with a butcher's knife. She managed to escape from him where he subsequently committed suicide by cutting his own throat. Sarah Jane recovered. George did not.

George Simmonds was born in 1853, the son of James Simmonds, ag lab, and Mary Turner (The Simmonds name was also transcribed as Simmons, Summons and Summonds). In 1861 the Simmonds family were living in Ingate Street. James, aged 42, was a labourer by trade. James and Mary had nine known children.

George married Sarah Jane Stringer on 20 January 1876 at St Michael's Church in Beccles. Sarah Jane was born in 1853 in Lowestoft, the daughter of Robert Stringer, blacksmith, and Mary Ann Jarvis. What may or may not be telling is the fact that Sarah Jane signed her name on the marriage certificate, George signed with an "X".

George and Sarah Jane had eight children, three of whom died. In 1881, George and Sarah Jane were living in Smallgate Street with their two young children, Robert and Fanny. By 1891 their family had grown from two to six children and they were living in Newgate Street. George's occupation had changed from general labourer to pork butcher. The 1891-2 White's Directory also listed George Simmons [sic] as Pork Butcher of Newgate St, Beccles. However, in 1901 George and Sarah are living separately but close by - he was Titshall Alley (off Northgate Street), living alone, and she was in Ravensmere with four of their children. I cannot yet find any evidence of George Simmonds being a lodging house keeper between 1891 and 1901.

Northgate, Beccles

Now that I have read the two newspaper reports, I understand why they were living apart and why Sarah Jane was recorded as a widow on the 1911 census return.

In 1911 Sarah Jane was living in Rosemary Lane (off Northgate Street) with four of her children, Edward; Herbert, Frederick and Rosa (known as Hilda). Edward, aged 24, was working as a carter for the Co-Op Stores Society. Sarah Jane's daughter Fanny (born 1879) married Ernest George Turner on Christmas Day 1899 at St Michael's Church. He was a Printer Pressman, aged 27 and she was aged 18. Her brother Robert and sister Elizabeth were witnesses. They were married by Rev. John Rowsell. In 1911 they were living at 10 Hungate Street and they worked together at Burton's Stores. They adopted a daughter, Cicely Vera Pruse [sic] who was aged 7 in 1911, after having had two children that both died in infancy.

Sarah Jane's father Robert Stringer died in Edgefield, county Norfolk in 1919, aged 91. Amazingly he outlived each of his three wives (Mary Ann Jarvis, Amelia Thompson and Sarah Ann Barrett).

Sarah Jane Simmonds died in 1927, aged 73.


Monday, 4 August 2014

Centenary of World War One : Beccles Men in the Great War

4 August 2014 marks the 100th year since Great Britain declared war on Germany. The 1914-1918 campaign would become known as The Great War. This blog post honours those Beccles men who served and died "for King and Country".

The first Beccles man to fall was Pte. Frederick William Seago on August 26, 1914; the last before the signing of the Armistice was Sgnr. Harold Herbert Hadingham, who died of wounds on November 10, 1918. My great grand-uncle William Burgione Waters is also among the names listed below.

"Some twenty of our heroes lie buried in Beccles, and their names are specially marked with an asterisk (*). Yearly their graves will be decorated, and their memories thus kept green. And to those who fell on the many far-off battle-fields, parents and friends and townsmen alike may feel confident that kindly and grateful hands will long tend those few feet of foreign soil that will now be for ever England. Heroes all, we owe them a debt we can never repay; for they died that we might live; and though sad hearts in Beccles to-day mourn their loss, they feel it was a sacrifice well worth the making."

Those last words, written in 1920, don't particularly sit well with me. Well worth the making? I'm not convinced of that; for those loved ones and family who lost their sons, their brothers, their uncles, their cousins, their friends, their lovers, it would certainly not have been worth it. For the good of our country as a whole, dying so we might live? I am forever grateful to each and every one of these boys, and they are commemorated in this special blog post.

Becces War Memorial, c. 1921

 ALDEN, Ernest, 1, Bridge-street, 7th Suffolks, L/Cpl. Killed April 10, 1917.
ALEXANDER, William F., St. Anne's-rd, H.M.D. Ocean Star, 2nd Hd. R. N. R. T. Blown up Sept. 26, 1917.
ALLEN, Herbert T., Ingate House, 9th Seaforth Highldrs., Capt. M.D. Killed Sept. 25, 1915.
AMIS, Ernest N., 20, Old Mill-terrace, 11th Royal Fusiliers, Pte. Killed Mar. 23, 1918.
ANDREWS, John, 5, Fen-lane, 7th Suffolks, Pte. Died of W.. July 22, 1915.
ASHLEY, Albert E., 33, Caxton-road, 7th East Yorks, L/Sergt. M.M. Killed July 10, 1916.

BAKER, George W., Stepping-hill, H.M.D. George V., Deck Hand. Blown up June 3, 1917.
BALLS, Frederick L., 4, Grove Cottages, 7th Buffs, Pte. Died of W.. July 3, 1916.
BALLS, William A., 4, Grove Cottages, 8th East Surreys, Pte. Killed July 1, 1916.
BALLS, James, 51, Ingate, 8th East Surreys, L/Cpl. Killed May 3, 1917.
BALLS, Oscar J., 4, Knights'-yard, Ravensmeer, 8th Suffolks, Pte. Killed Sept. 20, 1916.
BARBER, Alfred J., 72, Denmark-road, R.E., Spr. Killed April 26, 1918.
BARBER, George J., 21, Pound-road, 2nd Royal West Surreys, Pte. W. Killed Oct. 4, 1917.
BARNARD, Stanley W., 46, Fair Close-road, 1/5 Suffolks, L/Cpl. Killed Nov. 2, 1917.
BARNES, Albert G., 72, Blyburgate, 1st Londons, C.Q.M.S. Died of W.. June 1, 1918.
BARNES, John H., 49, Station-road, 12th Rifle Brigade, Rflmn. W. Killed Feb. 12, 1916.
BARTON, Frank H., 7, Queen's-road, 1st Royal Fusiliers, 2nd Lt. Killed (acc.) Nov. 5, 1918.
BATES, Charles C., 8, New-road, 7th Norfolks, L/Cpl. Killed Oct. 13, 1915.
BEANE, Arthur J., 53, Denmark-road, H.M.S. Vanguard, Stkr. Blown up July 9, 1917.
*BETTS, Edmund C., 2, Ingate, 8th Suffolks, Sergt. W. Died of W.. Aug. 2, 1916.
BICKERS, George, 31, Smallgate, R.F.A., Bomb. Died of W.. May 20, 1918.
BLOOMFIELD, Harry, Under Archway, Ingate, 1/5 Gloucesters, Pte. Killed Aug. 16, 1917.
BOLINGBROKE, Reginald O., 64, Northgate, Q. O. Oxf Hus., Cpl. M.D. Died of W.. Jan. 27, 1916.
BOREHAM, John, 4, Bullocks-lane, 24th Royal Fusiliers, Pte. Killed April 30, 1917.
BRADNUM, George, 5, Newgate, 8th East Surreys, L/Cpl. Pris. Died Nov. 15, 1916.
BRANFORD, Ernest R., 12, Blyburgate, 1st Royal Fusiliers, Pte. Killed July 31, 1917.
BROWN, Fred A., 18, Denmark-road, Royal Berks, L,/Cpl. Killed Aug. 22, 1917.
BROWN, Frederick A., 26, Fair Close-road, Ox. and Bucks. Lt. Inf., Pte. Killed Aug. 22, 1917.
BROWN, Martin W., 26, Fair Close-road, 8th Suffolks, Pte. Killed July 20, 1916.
BURGESS, Thomas G., 30, Bullocks-lane, 7th Norfolks, L/Cpl. Died of W.. May 15, 1918.
BYFORD, Ernest J., 15, Queen's-road, R.F.A., Gnr. Killed Aug., 1917.

*CALLOW, Herbert A., 20, Ingate-road, H.M.D. George V., Engmn. Blown up June 3, 1917.
CAREY, Charles, 39, Caxton-road, R.F.A., Cpl. Died Dec. 2, 1918.
CASTON, Stephen, 21, Ingate, Labour Corps, Pte. Died Oct. 26, 1918.
CHAMBERS, Charles T., 95, Ingate, 2nd Border Regt., Pte. 1914 Star. Killed March 13, 1916.
CHANDLER, Arthur R., 62, Ingate-road, 1st Bedfords, Cpl. 1914 Star. Killed March 16, 1915.
CHATTERS, Percy J., 13, St. George's road, 7th Northamptons, Pte. Killed Jan. 24, 1917.
CHILVERS, Henry, 15, Old Market, 1/5 Suffolks, Pte. Killed Sept. 19, 1918.
CHRISTIE, John, 8, Frederick's-road, 21st Londons, Rflmn. 1914 Star. Killed Sept. 15, 1916.
CLARK, David A., 8, Station-road, 7th Suffolks, Sergt. Killed April 28, 1917.
CLARKE, Frank L., 81, Denmark-road, R.E., Spr. Killed Aug. 4, 1916.
CLARKE, William H., 44, Gosford-road, Dorsets, Pte. Died of W.. Sept. 28, 1915.
COE, Bertram, "Butcher's Arms", London-rd, 8th East Surreys, Cpl. Died of W.. Oct. 12, 1916.
*COOPER, Albion, 4, Stepping-hill, H.M.S. Vigorous, 2nd Hand. Died Mar. 24, 1919.
COPEMAN, John A., 7, Gresham-road, 8th Suffolks, L/Cpl. Killed July 31, 1917.
COPEMAN, Leonard F., 7, Gresham-road, East Yorkshires, Pte. Killed Nov. 13, 1916.
COWLES, Albert E., 1, Gresham-road, 7th Suffolks, L/Cpl. W. Killed Mar. 26, 1918.
CRISP, Arthur F., 34, Ingate-road, 2nd Last Lanes., L/Cpl. Killed Oct. 23, 1916.
CRISP, Frederick W., 30, Peddars-lane, 8th Battalion King's Liverpools, Pte. Killed Sept. 11, 1918.
CROFT, William C., 8, Dacre-place, R.F.A., Cpl. Fitter. Killed Aug. 12, 1917.
CUSHION, Alick, 17, Alexandra- road, I/5 Suffolks, Pte. Killed Oct. 17, 1917.
CUTTING, Arthur, 24, Fair Close-road, Roy. Canadian Dragoons, Sergt. Killed March 23, 1918.

DAY, Ernest R., 1A, Queen's-road, 1/5 Suffolks, Pte. Died of W.. Aug. 14, 1915.
DREWELL, Samuel J., Swines-green, Royal West Kents, Pte. Killed Aug. 9, 1918.
DREWELL, William, House-on-the-Marsh, 1/5 Suffolks, L/Cpl. Killed Nov. 2, 1917.
*DUDLEY-SCOTT, Henries K., Montagu House, R.A.F., 2nd Lt. Killed (acc.) Sept. 22, 1918.

ESTOLL, Frederick J., 4, Meacham's-yard, 1st Norfolks, Pte. Killed Sept. 16, 1914.
EVERSON, Arthur G., 109, Denmark-road, 1/4 Suffolks, Serge. M.M. Killed April 23, 1917.

FAIRHEAD, Sidney, 12, Shaw's-yard, 7th Norfolks, Pte. 1914 Star. Killed Oct., 1917.
FAIRWEATHER, Edward, 25, Smallgate, R.F.A., Q.M.S. Died of W.. July 31, 1916.
*FENN, James W., 25, Ingate, Royal Fusiliers, Pte. Died Oct. 28, 1918.
FIELD, William J., 80, Denmark-road, 1st Royal Fusiliers, 2nd Lt. M.C. Killed July 31, 1917.
FILBY, Thomas A., 2, Ballygate, South African Infantry, Pte. W. Killed March 23, 1918.
FINCH, John R., 3, Ravensmeer, 7th Suffolks, Pte. Killed March 26, 1918.
FORDER, Charles H., 9, Dacre-place, 1/5 Suffolks, Pte. Killed June 29, 1917.
FOSTER, Leonard J., 38, Ingate-road, 1st Northumberland Fusiliers, Pte. Killed Oct., 1914.
FREEMAN, Bertie W., 6, Saltgate, Devons, Pte. Died Sept. 4, 1917.
FREEMAN, Douglas A., 6, Saltgate, Suffolk Yeomanry, Tpr. Died of W.. Oct. 5, 1917.
FULLER, John S., 3, Ravensmeer East, 1st Essex, Pte. Blown up on Royal Edward, Aug. 14, 1915.

GARNHAM, Percival, Upper Grange-rd, 6th Gloucesters, 2nd Lt. W. Died Oct. 25, 1918.
GEORGE, Arthur S., 2, Thurlow's-yard, H.M. Minesweeper Begonia, A.B. Blown up Oct. 14, 1917.
GEORGE, Charles B., 2, Pleasant-place, 1st Norfolk, Pte. Killed April 23, 1917.
GEORGE, William A., 28, Ingate-rd, H.M.D. George V., Deck Hand. Blown up June 3, 1917.
GILL, Hubert H., 40, Ingate-road, R.A.S.C., Pte. (Butcher). Died of W.. Nov. 6, 1915.
GOFFIN, George, 23, Ingate, 7th Suffolks, Pte. Died of W.. April 17, 1916.
GOODERHAM, James T., 1, St. Anne's-road, 1/6 Liverpools, Sergt. Killed April 9, 1918.
*GOWER, Kenneth C., 26, Blyburgate, H.M.S. General Crauford, A.B. Died Jan. 23, 1918.
*GRIMMER, Charles E., 26, Northgate, R.A.S.C., Sergt. Died Aug. 20, 1917.
GROOM, Walter, 4, Ravensmeer,16th Yorks. & Lanes., Pte. Died Nov. 30, 1918.

*HADINGHAM, George H., 8, Fair Close-road, 2nd Norfolks, Pte. G. Died Jan. 26, 1918.
HADINGHAM, Harold Herbert, Peddars-lane, R.F.A., Sgnr. G. Died Nov. 10, 1918.
HALL, Herbert F., 118, Denmark-road, 135th Mach. Gun Corps, Sergt. Killed April 2, 1917.
HARLEY, Omar E., 40, St. Benedict's-road, R.F.A., B.S.M. W. Died Dec. 13, 1916.
HARPER, Francis T., 60, Ingate, 2nd Suffolks, Pte. Killed April 12, 1918.
HARPER, Jonathan D., 60, Ingate, 1/5 Suffolks, Pte. Killed Nov. 2, 1917.
HARPER, Harry, 29, Northgate,1st Suffolks, Pte. Killed (date not recorded).
HARMER, Major, 52, Northgate, 2nd Norfolks, Pioneer Sergt. Pris. Died Feb. 22, 1917.
HARVEY, Miles, 9, Gresham-road, Labour Corps, Pte. Died May 29, 1919.
HEMBLING, Arthur W., 30, Newgate, 1st Suffolks, Pte. W. Pris. Died of W.. May 8, 1915.
HOLLAND, Francis J., 131, Denmark-road, 1/4 Northants, Pte. Died of W.. Nov. 2, 1917.
HONEYWOOD, Leonard, l9;Ravensmeer, 2nd Suff., Pte. 1914 Star. W. Killed Jan. 22, 1916.
HOOK, George H., 2, Stone-yard, 1st Suffolks, Pte. Killed May 8, 1915.
HOWARD, Charles J., 1, Near New Market,1st Manchesters, Pte. Killed Dec. 23, 1914.
HUGHES, William G., 4, St. Anne's-road, 6th Cameron Highlanders, L/Cpl. Killed July 23, 1918.
HUTLEY, Frederick, 14, Kilbrack-road, 12th Royal Sussex, Pte. W. Killed June 3, 1916.

INGATE, Harry, 17, Blyburgate, Australian Imperial Force, Pte. Died April, 1916.

JACKSON, Hamilton R., Thatched house, R. A.S.C., 2nd Lt. Killed July 26, 1917.
JEFFERY, John A., 8, New Market, 23rd Londons, Pte. Died of W.. April 19, 1915.
JOHNSON, Thomas Pelham, Stratford Cott., R.A.S.C., Lt.-Col. M.D.4, D.S.O., Le Mer.Agric. Died June 12, 1918.
JONES, Walter T., 41, Alexandra-road, 9th Essex, L/Cpl Killed April 5, 1918.
JORDAN, Ernest W., 80. Northgate, 26th Australian Imperial Force, Pte. Died of W.. Aug. 3, 1916.
JUDGE, Alexander W., 6, Denmark-road, 1/6 Suffolks (Cyclists), Cpl. Died Feb. 25, 1915.

KEABLE, Joseph, 57, Northgate, H.M.S. Aboukir, 1st Class Stoker. Killed Sept. 22, 1914.
*KEARNS, Peter, Avondale,Waveney-rd, H.M. Hosp. Ship Garth Castle, Stew. W. Died July 3, 1918.
KING, Albert E., Blyburgate, R.A.M.C., Pte. Died of W.. March 21, 1918.
KIRBY, Walter E., 43, Ingate, Leinsters, Pte. Died April 9, 1918.
KNIGHTS, Jack K., 18, Puddingmoor, 1/5 Suffolks, Pte. Died of W.. April 22, 1917.
KNIGHTS, William M., 18, Puddingmoor, 2/1 Oxford and Bucks L.L, Pte. Killed July 19, 1916.

LARK, Frederick W., 13, Puddingmoor, Royal West Kents, Cpl. Killed July 18, 1917.
LARKE, Leslie T., 7, Puddingmoor, 7th Suffolks, Pte. Killed Oct. 12, 1917.
LAWS, Frank A., 2, St. George's-road, 11th Australian Imp. Force, Pte. Killed May 15, 1915.
LAWS, Frederick W., 2, St. George's-road, 2nd Suffolks, Pte. Killed April 11, 1917.
LAWS, George B., 73, Denmark-road, 22nd Northumb. Fusiliers, Pte. Killed March 21, 1918.
LAWS, William G., 3, Blyburgate, R.G.A., Gnr. Died Aug. 29, 1918.
LAWSON, Alfred G., 12, Waveney Valley Cottages, R.G.A., Gnr. Killed April 24, 1918.
LEON, Ernest, 54, Denmark-road, East Yorks, Pte. Killed Nov. 13, 1916.
LEON, Harry, 1, Queen's-road, 9th Essex, Pte. W. Killed April 7, 1918.
LEWELL, Leslie E., Ivy House, Old Mill-terrace, 15th Suffolks, Sergt. Killed March 9, 1918.
LIST, Charles H., 37, Alexandra-road, 4th Bedfords, Sergt. Killed Feb. 11, 1917.

*MARTIN, Edwin S., 22, Fair Close, R.F.A., Shoeing Smith. 1918.
MAYES, Frederick, 62, Ingate, Londons, Pte. W. Killed April 23, 1918.
MILLS, Herbert E., 10, Ballygate, Manchesters, Pte. Died of W.. Nov. 10, 1918.
MOBBS, Herbert A., 5, St. Mary's-road, l.3th Essex, Pte. Killed Nov. 30, 1917.
MOBBS, John C., 5, St. Mary's-road, 8th Suffolks, L/Cpl. Killed May 14, 1917.
MOBBS, Sidney, 93, Denmark-road, R.F.A., Gnr. Died Nov. 6, 1918.

NORMAN, Reginald W., 13, Ingate, 1/4 Welsh, Pte. Died of W.. Jan. 3, 1918.

OXBOROUGH, Frank S., 64, Blyburgate, 7th Suffolks, Cpl. Died of W.. Sept. 14, 1917.
OXBOROUGH, James E., 22, Old Mill-terrace, 9th Roy. Scots, L/Cpl. W. Killed April 12, 1918.

PALMER, Thomas N., Gosford-road, R.F.C., Pte, M.D, 2. Pris, Died ---
PARNELL, Albert J., Newgate, 1/4 Suffolks, Pte. Killed 1916.
PARR, Reginald W. H., 82, Denmark-road, K.R.R.C., Rifleman. Died of W.. Nov. 19, 1917.
PARR, William G., 5, Cliff Cottages, 12th East Surreys, Pte. Died of W.. Oct. 15, 1918.
PAYNE, Edward L., 1, Hungate-lane, 2nd Norfolks, Pte. Died of W.. Nov. 28, 1915.
PAYNE, Henry E., 1, Hungate-lane, R.F.A., Bomb. Killed Sept. 25, 1915.
PEACHEY, Frederick W., 20, London-road, R.F.A., Sergt. M.D. 1914 Star. Killed Sept. 9, 1917.
PEARL, Sidney R., 9, Swines green, 19th Middlesex, Pte. Killed Sept. 6, 1918.
PELLS, C. Elimore, Rookwood, 2nd Devons, 2nd Lt. Killed May 25, 1918.
PENMAN, Arnold, 65, Denmark-road, 9th Suffolks, Pte. Died of W.. Feb. 26, 1916.
PIPE, Edwin G., 9, Queen's-road, 2/4 Ox. and Bucks L.I., L/Cpl. Killed Sept. 10, 1917.
PIPE, Percy D., 9, Queen's-road, 2/4 Ox. and Bucks L.I., Pte. Killed March 29, 1918.
PIPE, Robert H., 9, Queen's-road, 2/4 Ox. and Bucks L.I., Sergt. Died of W.. Mar. 29, 1918.
PIPE, William J., 9, Queen's-road, Hon. A.C., Inf. Batt., Pte. Killed May 3, 1917.
PIPE, Samuel J., 3, Fen-lane, 19th Middlesex, Pte. Killed Oct. 25, 1917.
PIPE, William, Brickyard, Ingate, 21st Manchesters, Pte. Killed June, 1916.
PLEASANTS, Charles A., 54, Puddingmoor, 14th Hants, Pte. Killed Oct. 5, 1916.
PLEASANTS, Henry A., 54, Puddingmoor, City of London, Pte. Killed Oct. 30, 1917.
PLEASANTS, Thomas, 54, Puddingmoor, Lab. Corps, Pte. Killed (acc.) March 28, 1918.
PLEASANTS, William, 54, Puddingmoor, 8th Suffolks, Pte. Killed May 5, 1917.
POLL, Arthur S., 17, Douglas-place, 15th Suffolk, Pte. Killed Sept. 23, 1918.
PRIME, Walter, 9, Knights'-yard, Ravensmeer, 1/4 Suffolks, Pte. Killed April 25, 1918.
PURLAND, Alfred S., 3, Dacre-place, 1/5 Suffolks, Pte. Killed Nov. 2, 1917.

RACKHAM, Albert J., 40, Denmark-road, 7th Suffolks, L/Sergt. Killed Oct. 13, 1915.
*RACKHAM, Herbert J., 75, Denmark-road, 6th R. W. Surreys, Pte. W. Died Oct. 31, 1918.
READ, Archie, Gresham House, Smallgate, R.A.M.C., Pte. Died of W.. April 7, 1918.
READ, William, St. George's-road, 1st East Kents, Pte. Killed July 1, 1918.
REEDER, Thomas C., 64, Denmark-road, 7th Norfolks, C.S.M. Killed Oct. 12, 1916.
RICHARDSON, Herbert A., 32, Upper Grange-rd., 1st Tynsde. Sc. North'd. Fus., Pte. Died of W.. Oct. 20, 1917.
*RICHES, Arthur C., 29, Blyburgate, R.F.A., Dr. Died Oct. 6, 1915.
ROBINSON, Lionel W., 37, Ballygate, 6th Bedfords, Sergt. Killed July 15, 1916.
ROE, Archibald G., 53, Caxton-road, 1/6 Suffolks (Cyclists), Sergt. Died Oct. 23, 1915.
ROE, Harold A., 22, Ballygate, 1/5 Suffolks, Pte. Died April 30, 1915. ROE, James, 14, Old Mill-terrace, 9th Suffolks, Pte. Killed Sept. 16, 1916.
ROGERS, Frederick, 1, Harbourage, 1st Dorsets, Sergt. 1914 Star. W. 5. Died of W.. July 12, 1917.
ROOFE, Matthew, 1, Wash-lane, Cambridge Regt., Pte. Killed April 14, 1917.
ROWSELL, Herbert G., The Rectory, 14th Hants, Capt. Killed Sept. 3, 1916.
RUSH, Frederick, Ravensmeer Cottage, 9th Norfolks, L/Cpl. Killed Sept. 15, 1916.

*SAKER, Charles R., 54, Ingate, H.M.D. Canopus, Deck Hand. Died Feb. 25, 1919.
SALTER, Harry E., Swines-green, 9th Suffolks, Pte. Killed April 22, 1917.
SAMPSON, Frederick J., 3, Gosford-road, H.M.S. Pathfinder, 1st Cl. Stkr. Blown up Sept. 5, 1914.
SAMPSON, James, 22, Old Mill-terrace, 2nd Norfolks, Pte. Died of W.. Sept., 1915.
SAMPSON, Robert, 2, Shelton-place, Royal West Kents, Pte. Died of W.. July 26, 1916.
SANDY, Ernest. Ellough-road, East Surreys, Pte. W. 3 and G. Killed May 20, 1918.
SARBUTT, Albert, 5, Old hill-terrace, 1/4 Suffolks, L/Cpl. Killed May 14, 1916.
SAUNDERS, Charles, 3. St. George's-road, West Yorks, 2nd Lt. Killed July 1, 1916.
*SCREATON, John R., 70, Northgate, Royal Irish Fusiliers, Pte. Died Feb. 13, 1919.
SEAGO, Frederick William, 5, Pleasant-place, 5th Northumb. Fus., Pte. Killed Aug. 26, 1914.

SELF, Johnson T., Ellough-road Farm, 2nd Suffolks, Pte. W. Killed Sept. 27, 1917.
SELF, Reginald, Rigbone-hill, Australian Imp. Force, Pte. Died Aug. 5, 1916.
SHIPLEE, Alfred, New Market,  K.R.R.C., Rflmn. Killed June 6, 1917.
SHIPLEE, James D., New Market, 2nd Royal Berks, Pte. Died of W.. Dec. 6, 1917.
*SIMMONDS, Edward, 37, Queen's-road, 1916, R.G.A., Gnr. Died of W.. June 29, 1918.
SIMMONS, Francis W., 10, St. George's-road, 1/5 Suffolks, Pte. Killed Oct. 2, 1917.
SMITH, Arthur St. C., 4, St. Anne's-road, 2nd City of Londons, Pte. Died of W.. Sept. 16, 1916.
SMITH, Ernest W. F., 17, Puddingmoor, 1/5 Suffolks, Pte. W. Killed Nov. 2, 1917.
SMITH, Sydney E. D., Cameron House, London Irish Rifles, Cpl. Killed May 22, 1916.
SMITH, William, 7, Ingate, 3rd Canadians, Pte. Killed Oct. 8, 1916.
SNELL, Edward W., 15, St. George's-road, 1/5 Suffolks, L/Cpl. Killed Aug. 21, 1915.
SOANES, Frederick, Common Farm, 7th Royal Fusiliers, Pte. Killed Nov. 13, 1916.
SOANES, George W., 2, Peddars-lane, 7th Northants, Pte. Killed Sept. 21, 1918.
SOANES, William, Ingate-place, 1915, South African Inf., Pte. Died of W.. April 15, 1917.
SPALDING, Charles, 2, Kemp's-lane, 8th Suffolks, Pte. W. Killed Oct. 12, 1917.
SPEARE, William S., 30, Gosford-road, Royal West Surreys, Pte. Killed Nov. 21, 1916.
SPORNE, Walter, 30, Newgate,    , 75th Canadians, L/Cpl. Killed Sept. 30, 1918.
STIMPSON, Edwin R., 41, Ingate-road, 7th Suffolks, Cpl. Died of W.. Feb. 29, 1916.
STONE, George W., 7, Hungate-lane, 7th Suffolks, Pte. Killed July 3, 1916.
SUTTON, Walter, 145, Denmark-road, R.A.M.C. (F.A.), Pte. Blown up, Aug. 14, 1918.

TAYLOR, Arthur, " Black Boy," Blyburgate, R.A.S.C., Dr. Died July 20, 1916.
TAYLOR, Percy D., 8, Queen's-road, Grenadier Guards, Pte. W. Killed May 27, 1918.
THORLEY, John, 32, Ravensmeer East, R.F.A., Gnr. Died Sept. 7, 1917.
THORPE, Frederick P., 16, Lady's-meadow, R.E., R.O.D., Spr. Died May 8, 1919.

*THORPE, William H., 16, Lady's-meadow, R.F.A., Cpl. Died March 1, 1917.
THURLING, Ralph W., 2, New Market, 1st Norfolks, Pte. Killed Sept. 4, 1916.
*TOOK, Cyril A., Fairholme, Waveney-rd, 12th Suffolks, 2nd Lt. 1915 Star. W.2. Died Aug. 14, 1919.
TORBELL, Stanley E., 23, Alexandra-road, Rifle Brigade, Rflmn. Died of W.. May 4, 1918.
TOWNSEND, George J., 4, Caxton-road, 7th Suffolks, Cpl. Died of W.. April, 1918.
TURNER, George F., 11, Old Mill-terrace, 22nd Londons, Pte. Killed March 31, 1918.

WALPOLE, Olley, 3, Stepping-hi11, Canad. Cycle Corps, Cpl. M.M., 1914 Star. Killed Oct. 11, 1918.
WARD, James W., 32, Gosford-road, R.E., Spr. Died Aug., 1915.
WARD, John M, 34, Fair Close-road, 2nd Suffolks, L/Cpl. Died Jan. 10, 1917.
WARD, Percy, 47, Caxton-road, R.E., Spr. W. Drowned (at Arras) May 21, 1917.
WARNES, Ambrose J., 1, Nelson-yard, 7th Norfolks, Pte. Killed Oct. 14, 1917.
*WATERS, William Burgoine, 17, Douglas-place, 1st Norfolks, Sergt. W. and G. Died of W.. May 21, 1917.
WIGGETT, William H., 14, Queen's-road, R.E., Spr. W. Died of W.. March 22, 1918.
WILKINSON, Eric F., Ashman's-road, Mach. Gun Corps, Pte. Died (whilst Pris.) June 9, 1918.
*WILSON, Herbert, 19, Pound-road, R.F.A., Gnr. Died Nov. 27, 1915.
WINTER, Albert J., 2, Shaw's-yard, 1/5 Suffolks, Pte. Killed Oct. 3, 1915.
WRIGHT, Reginald G., Council School-yard, 7th Suffolks, Pte. Killed July 3, 1916.

YOUNGS, Robert W., 28, Denmark-road, 1st Northd. Fus., L/Cpl. 1914 Star. Died of W.. Sept. 29, 1918.




For more information, please see David Lindley's website here.



Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Harriet Miall & Henry Barnard : Partners in Crime

I love reading all about the colourful characters in Beccles past. They seem so much less seedy and roguish with the passing of time, and become part of the lovable tapestry of our history.

Beccles has had many colourful characters in its Victorian and Edwardian past, including lovable partners in crime, Harriet Miall (alias, Swop or Swap) and her "paramour", Henry Barnard.

In April 1858, Harriet and Henry were charged with stealing from a William Clarke of Willingham. The way they went about the crime was rather cunning but, in those times, all too common. William Clarke met with Harriet at the Falcon Inn in New Market, Beccles on 10 April 1858. They began talking and Clarke offered to buy her a beer. When he brought her the beer, Harriet pocketed the 9d change. Shortly afterwards, Clarke left the Falcon to collect a parcel that was being held for him by a local ostler at the Cross Keys in Hungate, and then started off home.

Suddenly William Clarke was flanked on both sides by Harriet Miall and her partner Henry Barnard, walking alongside Clarke and talking to him animatedly about the 'stolen' change. Laughing and talking, Harriet proceeded to touch Clarke, putting her arms around him and jostling him merrily as she laughed and joked. After they left Clarke, he finally noticed that certain items on his person were missing. His silver watch, a silk pocket-handkerchief and the parcel (which contained a pair of trousers)!

William Clarke would have walked along
this alley from The Falcon In to get
to the Cross Keys in 1858

On the following morning William Clarke did not go to the police, as would have been wise, but confronted the pair and accused them outright of stealing from him. Harriet became verbally abusive and allegedly threw the silk handkerchief at Clarke, stating "that was all she had got." Sergeant Taylor was then informed by Clarke of the crime against him and he (Taylor) searched Harriet's house and apprehended both her and Henry Barnard.

Henry Barnard was discharged but Harriet Miall, admitting to having stolen the goods from William Clarke, pleaded not guilty to the charges. The handkerchief was produced in court but the watch and trousers had not been found. Harriet Miall denied stealing but then withdrew that plea and pleaded not guilty. She was accordingly committed for trial.

On 14 January 1861, Harriet Miall and Henry Barnard were married at St Michael's Church in Beccles. Henry was born in Beccles and was the son of Thomas Barnard and Sarah, nee Brooks of Beccles. In 1841 the Barnard family resided in Puddingmoor. In 1851, Henry's widowed mother Sarah was described as a "Pauper" living in Smallgate Street. Harriet Myall (note surname variant) was born on 16 July 1828 in Mettingham and was the daughter of James Myall and Judith, nee Homes. In 1841 the Myall family lived in Mettingham. In 1851, Harriet's widowed mother Judith was described as a "Pauper" living in High Road, Shipmeadow with her son, Philip Myall.

Harriet and Henry lived in Newgate Street in 1861. Henry was described as an Agricultural Labourer and Harriet as a Silk Weaver. In March 1867 Henry Barnard and another man were found walking from Haddingham's Mill, one of them carrying a sack. When Police-Constable Adams followed them on foot, Barnard broke into a run and dropped the sack which was filled with potatoes (valued at 4 shillings). Henry was sentenced to three weeks imprisonment with hard labour.

By 1871 Henry and Harriet were living in Marske, county Yorkshire where Henry worked as a Ironstone Miner. Henry died in Marske in 1878, aged 43. In 1881, Harriet is a widower, living in Jackson Street, Brotton (Yorkshire), with James Smith, who was also a Ironstone Miner. Harriet was living in Skelton by 1891 and is described as widowed, aged 63, born in Suffolk. Harriet died in 1893, aged 66. It would appear that Harriet and Henry never had any children.

Ironstone Mine at Upleatham, New Marske
possibly the workplace of Henry Barnard

Image 1: The Story of a Beccles Inn by Dorothy Smith, 1999 (Beccles Museum Books).
Image 2: www.communigate.co.uk/york/newmarske
Newspapers: Ipswich Journal/Norfolk Chronicle.
Harriet Miall - surname also spelt Myall; Nyall.
Henry Barnard - surname also spelt Bernard.



Sunday, 20 April 2014

Canon Rowsell : Rector of Beccles 1882 - 1910

Last week I purchased two historical Beccles postcards. Both were in relation to the late Canon Rowsell. My first thought was, "Great, I can write a blog post about him". When the postcards arrived in the post on Thursday I thought how timely it was as I could use the images as part of a special Easter blog post. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Canon Rowsell's first sermon at St Michael's Church, Beccles was on an Easter Sunday!

John Rowsell was born in Kennington, county Surrey on 4 January 1853, the second known son of Nicholas Henry Rowsell (solicitor) and Mary Ann, nee Bishop. John was baptised one week later at St Mark's Church in Kennington. The Rowsell family resided in Foxley Road, North Brixton up until 1860 when Nicholas Henry Rowsell died, aged just 33. His solicitor's firm was situated at the Verulam Buildings of Gray's Inn Road, in London.

From the 'Cambridge University Alumni, 1261 - 1900'

ROWSELL, John: Adm. pens. at TRINITY, July 8, 1871. S. of Nicholas Henry,
solicitor, of 7, The Croft, Hastings. B. [Jan. 4], 1853, in Kennington, London. School,
Hastings (private). Matric. Michs. 1871; B.A. 1875; M.A. 1878. Ord. deacon
(Chichester) 1876; priest, 1877; C. of St Mary-in-the-Castle, Hastings,
1876-8. C. of St Clement's, Halton, Hastings, 1878-9. Asst. P.C. of Beverley
Minster, 1879-82. R. of Beccles, Suffolk, 1882-1910. Hon. Canon of Norwich,
1895-1910. Married, July 2, 1879, Alice Lucy, youngest dau. of the Rev.
Richard Wilson Greaves, deceased, formerly R. of Tooting. Died June 7, 1910.
(Crockford; The Times, June 9, 1910.)

John Rowsell married Alice Lucy Greaves in the English Church of Bruges. They had seven children:

Alice Myra Rowsell        b. 1880 Beverley, Yorkshire
Irene May Rowsell         b. 1881 Beverley, Yorkshire
Ruth Margaret Rowsell        b. 1883 Beccles, Suffolk
Monica Bishop Rowsell        b. 1884 Beccles, Suffolk
John Bishop Rowsell        b. 1886 Beccles, Suffolk
Herbert Greaves Rowsell        b. 1888 Beccles, Suffolk
Keith Alfred Rowsell        b. 1890 Beccles, Suffolk

The 1881 census returns show John Rowsell with his wife and their daughter Alice Myra residing in Beverley, county Yorkshire. John's occupation reads thus: "MA Camb. Perpetual Curate in Beverley Minster". The Rowsell family moved to Beccles the following year, in 1882. The Beccles Paper of 14 February 1882 states: "NEW RECTOR: Rev. John Rowsell, minister of St John, Beverley, Yorkshire accepted after resignation of Rev. F.F. Tracy." On 28 March 1882 the Beccles Paper reported that Rev. John Rowsell had preached his farewell service in Beverley Minster, where for three years he had been Perpetual Curate.

The Reverend John Rowsell

On Sunday 9 April 1882, Rev. John Rowsell preached for the first time at St Michael's, Beccles and was warmly recieved. So much so that newspapers and documents of the day consistently reported Rowsell to be "a kindly and sympathetic clergy-man of liberal views." In 1887, Rowsell was appointed Surrogate of Norwich Diocese. The 1891 & 1901 census returns show the Rowsell family residing in Ballygate, Beccles. As he was the Rector of Beccles, Rowsell and his family would have been living in The Old Rectory (now a Grade II listed property). In February 1895, John Rowsell was appointed as Honorary Canon in Norwich Cathedral.

John Rowsell and his family were all productive members of the Beccles community, participating in many societies such as the Temperance Society of Beccles and were staunch advocates for good education for all children. In 1899, four of Canon Rowsell's children took part in a Juvenile Fancy Dress Ball. One of these children in particular, Monica Rowsell, went on to taking part in Church fundraising concerts where newspaper reports claimed she sang "in a pleasing and most splendid manner."
Before Canon John Rowsell died on 7 June 1910 (King Edward VII had died just one month previous), he had presided over many meetings for the community at large including the Public Library, Agricultural and Horticultural Societies, Church of England Society as well as presenting prizes at Caxton Annual Sports, Regattas, and Schools. The East Suffolk Gazette of 14 June 1910 reported that Rowsell: "Introduced parish magazines, also kneelers; Organ renovated & decorated, erection of brass tablets encouraged. Reredos [altar-piece] 1884; East Window, Memorial to Queen Victoria's Jubilee 1887 (£500 public subscription); Trained surpliced Choir." He was indeed a very altruistic and industrious man, who was no doubt sorely missed by the people of Beccles when he passed away, aged 57.


In November 1909, a Dedication Service was held for
the Church Bells of St Michael's Church,
which had been re-tuned and re-cast.

It is interesting to note for posterity that the above photograph shows a total of eight men. In all of my Beccles local history books there are similar images but they all show only five of the eight men. The five given names, which correspond to the large bell shown above on the right, indicate the men standing third in from the left: 
The Rev. John Rowsell (Rector)
A.R. Clatworthy (Augustine Richard) (Churchwarden)
Womack Brooks (Churchwarden)
Henry Hopson (Bell Ringing Captain)
W.J. Money (William James) (Mayor of Beccles)
(The two men standing on the left, and the last man on the right, are currently unknown.)

Caxton Sports was postponed in June 1909 due
to a very wet summer. Instead it was held
in July 1909, presentations seen above.


East Suffolk Gazette January 1911: Death of Canon Rowsell, the Rector. “Universally beloved” died on 7 June 1910. He took his share in the Church Services on the Sunday, two days before his death, and preached. He attended the business meeting of the Hospital committee, and was seized by fatal illness while he was on his way to the house of a sick parishioner. Struck down by paralysis of the brain, he died the next day. He had been Rector of the Parish for 28 years, identifying himself with the life and varied interests of the town. “His wide sympathies, his broad mindedness, his readiness to spend and be spent for all those needing his ministrations, endeared him to all his fellow townsmen, and no religious or social or class distinctions were ever allowed to interfere in any way with his efforts for the moral and spiritual good of his people.”

In July 1911, after a committee meeting earlier in the year in which it was agreed that a three-light window on the south-side of the church should be filled with a stained glass design in his memory, a Memorial Window dedicated to Canon John Rowsell was erected in St Michael's Church.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Murder in Beccles Wartime

In 1944 a murder took place in Ellough, just outside of Beccles. Leading Aircraftman Arthur Heys of Colne, county Lancashire was executed for the murder of Winifred Mary Evans which took place at the Beccles R.A.F Base.

"Built for the USAAF and completed in 1943, Ellough airfield had three concrete runways and a perimeter track, typical of many bomber airfields in East Anglia. Until its closure in 1945, the airfield was used by various RAF and FAA squadrons. One of Ellough’s few claims to fame is that in 1944 it was used by Mosquitoes of 618 Squadron to practice dropping spinning bombs called 'Highball' which were prototypes of the bombs used by 617 ‘Dambuster’ Squadron to breach the dams of the Rheur." (My grandmother Freda often told me stories about the "terrible racket" caused whilst they practised).

R.A.F Control Tower at Ellough
now derelict

L.A.C Arthur Heys, aged 37, was charged with the murder at Ellough between 8 November and 9 November 1944, of Miss Winifred Mary Evans, aged 27. She was a London member of the W.A.A.F employed as a Radio Operator. Heys, who was married with three children, pleaded "not guilty" but the increasing amount of evidence, although circumstantial, was heavily stacked up against him and he was executed in March 1945 at Norwich Prison.

On the night of 8 November 1944 Winifred Evans had attended a dance given at an American aerodrome outside Norwich. She had returned by 11.30pm and changed into her work uniform to report for duty. She was last seen walking down the laneway unescorted to where her duty post was based nearly a mile away. Shortly afterwards a W.A.A.F corporal, who had said goodbye to Evans, saw Arthur Heys in a hut nearby, under the influence of drink, and saw him set out on the same road the girl [Evans] had taken.

On the morning of 9 November 1944 the body of Winifred Evans was found lying face down in a muddy ditch by local man, Wilfred Payne. Evans was found with a black tie (in a sailor's knot) around her neck and there was undenial evidence that she had been subjected to tremendous violence, including strangulation, suffocation and outrage (today, known as rape).

The Beccles police immediately called in Scotland Yard as there were too many groups of men, including Italian Prisoners of War, as well as Royal Air Force men from various countries (American, British and Australian) in the area. The list of suspects was however quickly narrowed down to one after somebody came forward with damning evidence against Arthur Heys (who was also stationed at Beccles R.A.F Base). The witness claimed he saw Heys brushing his clothing and shoes which were dirty. He also claimed Heys was attempting to light a fire against orders, as if he wanted to burn something. Heys and Evans's shoes were both covered in the exact same brick fragments and mud which corresponded to the ditch where the body was found. Also, Hey's clothing bore signs of having been recently sponged and there was a tear in his greatcoat.

At the three days hearing in March 1945 in Bury St. Edmonds, Arthur Heys was brought down further with reports of his "Jekyll and Hyde" behaviour, being a model husband and father when sober but becoming violent when under the influence of alcohol. Mounting evidence against him convinced the court to sentence Heys to execution. Nobody had been hanged at Norwich Prison since 1938. When Heys was asked why sentence of death should not be passed to him, Heys replied: "God knows I am innocent of this foul crime." As he turned to leave the courtroom he looked around the gallery at his wife, who sat in tears.

Winifred Mary Evans (known as Winnie to her friends) was born in 1917 in Willesden, county Middlesex. She was the first-born child of William Henry Evans and Eliza Winifred, nee Chilvers. William and Eliza were married at St Stephens Church in Battersea on 7 April 1912.

Marriage of William Evans & Eliza Chilvers
(click image to enlarge)

Arthur Heys was born on 1 November 1907 in Colne, county Lancashire. He was the son of Edward Heys and Mary, nee Laycock. Edward Heys was a Cotton Weaver by trade. Edward and Mary had four sons, Arthur being the youngest. Tragedy struck the Heys family for the first time in July 1913 when Edward Heys committed suicide after a twelve-month history of being "unwell" and under medical supervision for depression. Arthur would have been five years old at the time.

Arthur Heys was executed on 13 March 1945 and buried in the Norwich Prison Yard on 17 March 1945. A little over thirty years apart, father (Edward Heys) and son (Arthur Heys) both died as a result of hanging. Both were 38 years of age. It is believed that Arthur's surviving wife married twice more in her lifetime. She died in 1990, aged 79.


Further reading: RAF Beccles At War, 1943 - 1945 by Malcolm R. Holmes


Monday, 23 December 2013

Merry Christmas Becclesians

I have been very neglectful of this blog and for that I am truly sorry to all four of my avid followers! It has been a very busy yet fruitful past three or four months, which has drawn to a nice, neat and tidy close and now I can finally exhale and look forward to Christmas.

I have written a novella, which has been a total of five years in the making from start to finish. The seed planted itself firmly in my head back in 2008 when I had the visualisation of a young girl moving to a new town where she meets her new neighbours, including one who has a mysterious secret. Over the course of the following two years, she discovers that the link between her neighbour and the ghost that she encounters at her mother's work-place have more in common than anyone thought possible.

This initial idea was took root when I loosely based it upon my own childhood experiences, set it in my beloved Beccles, and researched in depth the history of the Kings Head Hotel in New Market, Beccles. From there a fictional story grew and took a journey of its own and, over the course of the following five years, became my biggest writing achievement to date. 

Symphony of War is about my love of Beccles history, as well as the history of World War Two and the child evacuees, and it is a story about family and the secrets they hold. It also has a light paranormal theme attached to it, which is one of my favourite genres in fiction.

E-book cover

I have had to overcome a lot of self-inflicted stress and anxiety, and almost insurmountable self-confidence issues to get my ebook novella "out there" but now that I have taken the plunge I am immensely proud to share it with those who love Beccles as much as I do.

The year 2014 will hopefully have be back to regular blogs on this site and a new novel which is currently in its infancy but is also set in Beccles, and is centred around one of the female character's who features in Symphony of War. 

If you are interested, you can find it here: 

A very Merry Christmas to one and all, and see you in 2014 with more stories and histories of Beccles.


http://www.beccleschristmaslights.co.uk/