Lichfield Mercury

Sunday’s Obituary – Charles Neville (1877-1955)

Charles Neville (often spelt as Nevill in official records) is the husband of my wife’s 2nd cousin 2x removed, Sarah Jane Espley.

Sarah’s parents are Henry Espley and Ellen Hannah Clewley. The link with Sarah is from my wife’s 3x great grandparents James Espley and Martha Silvester.

Charles was born on 1 June 1877 in Lichfield, Staffordshire. He married Sarah Jane sometime in the fourth quarter of 1897 in Lichfield.

Charles passed away on 17 September 1955. The Lichfield Mercury carried his obituary on Friday 23 September 1955 (image from http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).

Charles Neville - Lichfield Mercury 25 September 1955.png

Former Member of Bower Committee

LICHFIELD DEATH OF MR. C. NEVILLE

A native of the city Mr. Charles Neville (78), 137 Sandford Street, Lichfield died on Saturday.
Mr. Neville was born in Beacon Street, but at an early age his parents moved to Sandford Street where he had resided ever since. A painter and journeyman, Mr. Neville had been employed by Lichfield City Council and after retiring four years ago he obtained a situation on the maintenance staff of the Wiltell Works in St. John Street.
Mr. Neville was a keen supporter of local football and was trainer for the Lichfield Phoenix club when they played on a ground at Gaia Fields. He had also served in a similar capacity with Lichfield United, whose ground was at the Barn Field in St. John Street. His interest in the sport never waned and up to the time of his death he followed the St. Chad’s club going to most of the away matches. For many years he was a member of the Greenhill Bower committee and rendered good service particularly with the decoration of tableaux.
Mr. Neville is survived by his wife, four daughters and five sons. The funeral took place at Christ Church on Wednesday, the vicar (Rev. G. H. Maydew), officiating.

A Right Royal Occasion – Florence Neale (nee Neville)

Florence Neville is my wife’s 3rd cousin 1x removed. Her parents are Charles Neville and Sarah Jane Espley. Their common ancestors are James Espley and Martha Silvester – my wife’s 3x great grandparents.

Florence was born on 26 October 1905 in Lichfield, Staffordshire.

In the 1911 census Florence is living at 126 Sandford Street, Lichfield. She married Philip James Neale sometime in the September quarter of 1931.

When the 1939 Register was taken, at the outbreak of WW2, Florence and Philip are living at 165 Lower Sandford Street. About sixteen years later they took over running the Queens Head pub also on Sandford Street.

During all this time Florence was a true Royalist – and very proud of it. So much so that her devotion to the Royal Family was reported in the local newspapers a couple of times.

The Lichfield Mercury of Friday 20 August 1982 recalls the visit by the Queen Mother to Lichfield in July 1942 (images from http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).

Florence Neale (nee Neville) - Lichfield Mercury 20 August 1982.png

Forty years on – but Florence remembers

ROYALIST and proud of it – that’s Florence Neale, landlady of the Queen’s Head pub in Lichfield.
And Florence has proof of her devotion hanging in the lounge bar of the pub – a photograph of herself and her 15-month-old daughter Linda taken with the Queen Mother 40 years ago.
Florence, now 76, waited with the crowds outside Lichfield Cathedral during a Royal visit in 1942.
And now a grown-up Linda and her mum give the photograph pride of place beside other portraits of the Queen.

SPEAKING

‘I can remember leaving Linda’s pram near Stowe Pool and walking the rest of the way. We didn’t have to wait long to see her and the next thing I knew she was speaking to us!”

“She was beautiful,” Mrs. Neale added. “The photograph was taken by the Mercury, where I ordered my copy. But this framed picture was bequested to me in a friend’s will.”

Seven years later on Friday 21 April 1989 the Lichfield Mercury reported on the latest visit of the Queen Mother to the city – incidentally 21 April is the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II.

Florence Neale (nee Neville) - Licfield Mercury 21 April 1989.png

Family Favourite

A Lichfield family that first met the Queen Mother 47 years ago was given VIP treatment for the Royal visit.
Florence Neale, her daughter and son-in-law Linda and Richard MacCormack, other daughter Cynthia McDonald and sister Susan James were all allocated special tickets for the Cathedral service so that they could be presented to the Queen Mother.
The meeting was arranged after Mr. MacCormack wrote to Clarence House telling how his wife, then just 15 months old, and her family had been singled out from the crowd by the Queen Mother during her first visit to the city in 1942. Accompanying King George VI, the then Queen Elizabeth had approached Mrs. Neale outside the Cathedral to comment on her beautiful curly haired baby daughter.
The moment was captured by a Mercury photographer and Mr. MacCormack, landlord of the Queen’s Head pub, in Lichfield, enclosed the old press cuttings with his letter to London asking if the family could meet the Queen Mother again.
“We wondered if we would even get a reply and we never thought she would stop to speak to us.” said Mr. MacCormack afterwards.
But at the start of the Cathedral service, the family was ushered to one side to be presented to the Queen Mother. And Mr. MaCormack was able to show the Royal visitor the treasured framed photograph of the first meeting, which now hangs proudly in the lounge of the pub, pointing out the family.
“It was wonderful, I was filled with emotion.” said Mrs. Neale, who gave the Queen Mother a posy of roses and spring flowers. “She thanked me and said what lovely memories she had of Lichfield.”
After the meeting the Queen Mother’s Private Secretary Sir Martin Gilliat came over to the family to reveal that Her Majesty had recalled the wartime visit while looking at the Mercury cuttings during her helicopter flight to the city.

What a smashing story and lovely memories for the family.

Sunday’s Obituary – Philip James Neale (1904-1969)

Philip James Neale is the husband of my wife’s 3rd cousin 1x removed, Florence Neville. My wife and Florence share common ancestors in James Espley and Martha Silvester (my wife’s 3x great grandparents).

Philip was born on 4 August 1904 in Lichfield, Staffordshire. He married Florence in 1931 – the marriage is registered in the September quarter.

When the 1939 Register was taken, at the outbreak of WW2, Philip and Florence are living at 165 Lower Sandford Street, Lichfield. Philip’s occupation is given as “builders labourer” and Florence’s occupation is described as “unpaid domestic duties”.

Some time around 1955 Philip took over running the Queens Head in Lichfield.

The Lichfield Mercury of Friday 17 January 1969 carried Philip’s obituary (image from http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).

Philip James Neale - Lichfield Mercury 17 January 1969.png

Death of licensee

Mr. P. Neale

Mr. Philip James Neale, licensee of the Queen’s Head, Lichfield, died on Sunday morning at the age of 64.
Mr. Neale, who had been ill for some time, was licensee of the Queen’s Head, in Sandford Street, for nearly 14 years.
He was born in the same street and educated at the old Frog Lane School, after which he became a maintenance worker for the South Staffs Water Works, where he was employed for over 37 years.
Before taking over the “Queen’s,” Mr. Neale was a keen gardener, and his later hobbies included darts and dominoes.
He leaves a widow and two daughters, and is also survived by one brother and a sister.
The funeral will take place today (Friday) at Christ Church at 2.30p.m.

Arthur Edward Espley & Emma Esther Espley – Census Mystery

Arthur Edward Espley is my wife’s 2nd cousin 2x removed. He was born on 22 Jul 1877 to parents Henry Espley and Ellen Hannah Clewley.

Arthur married Emma Esther Bowker on 3 January 1899 in Chorlton, Lancashire.

As far as I can tell Arthur and Emma had three children:-

Arthur Edward Espley – about March 1899
James Henry Espley – 2 February 1900
William Ernest Espley – 6 October 1901

It seems that things went badly for Arthur and Emma fairly quickly and there is a newspaper article in the Lichfield Mercury on 6 April 1900.

Lichfield Mercury

Lichfield Mercury

DOMESTIC DIFFERENCES

Arthur Edward Espley, Old Barracks, Birmingham Road, Lichfield, who did not appear, was summoned by his wife, Emma Espley, who complained of his cruel treatment and applied for a separation order. The complainant, whose face was discoloured, stated that her life with the defendant had been an unhappy one. He had frequently struck her, and on some occasions she had struck back. About a fortnight ago her husband struck her between the eyes, bumped her on the ground, and called her very bad names. She said that if she was what he called her he had better have the child, and she put the baby in his arms. Her husband went away a fortnight ago. She had no money and was afraid to live with her husband. P.C. Slack, who lives near the parties, also gave evidence, and the Bench made an order that the wife should have the custody of the two children, and that the defendant should pay her 8s a week.

I have not been able to trace any of the family on the 1901 census. Neither can I find Arthur Edward Espley (the husband) on the 1911 census.

However Emma is on the 1911 census under the name of Emma Minshall. She is living with William Minshall as his wife of 12 years. There are also five children:-

Arthur Minshall – age 12
William Minshall – age 10
James Minshall – age 8
Florrie Minshall – age 4
Emma Minshall – age 2

1911 Census

1911 Census

I believe the three boys are the children from Emma’s marriage to Arthur Edward Espley – although the ages of James and William are the opposite way around.

The only marriage for Emma to William Minshall took place in 1923 and is registered in Q3 in Stockport, Cheshire.

So it seems that if the 1911 census is to be believed then Emma and William started living together not long after Emma separated from Arthur Edward Espley.

At the moment I am still unable to find a death record for Arthur Edward Espley nor can I find an emigration or military record.

Emma E Minshall died in 1953 – registered in Q1 in Stockport, Cheshire – her age is given as 78.

If anyone can provide any information about this family please let me know!!!