Martha Espley

Sunday’s Obituary – Horatio Andrew Louis Smith (1869-1941)

Horatio Andrew Louis Smith is the husband of my wife’s 1st cousin 2x removed, Bertha Espley.

Bertha was born on 4 April 1872 in Congleton, Cheshire. Her parents are Richard Booth Espley and Sarah Jones. Bertha and my wife share ancestry with Martha Espley – my wife’s 2x great grandmother.

Horatio was born on 2 April 1869 in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. By the time of the 1871 census Horatio had moved to Nottingham with his family.

On 26 December 1896 Horatio and Bertha married at All Saints Church, Nottingham.

Over the next 40 or so years Horatio worked as a commercial traveller. He died on 10 November 1941 at Basford Hospital, Nottingham. The Nottingham Journal of Friday 14 November 1941 published an obituary (image from http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

Horatio Andrew Louis Smith - Nottingham Journal 14 November 1941.png

REDHILL FUNERAL

The funeral took place yesterday at Redhill Cemetery, of Mr. Horatio Andrew Smith, of 5 Greys Road, Woodthorpe, who died on Monday at the age of 72.
In his young days Mr. Smith was a playing member of the Nottingham Forest Football Club. He was also a member of the Notts. Amateur Boxing and Notts. Swimming Clubs, and well-known in amateur billiards circles.
In his later years he took a keen interest in the Nottingham Institutes movement, being associated with the Mapperley Institute.
Mr. Smith was an old Nottingham High School boy.
He leaves a widow, three sons and one daughter.

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 – Gordon Fitzgerald (1928-1938)

Gordon Fitzgerald is my wife’s 3rd cousin. His parents are William Edward Fitzgerald and Emily Wilkinson. Their common ancestor is Martha Espley – my wife’s 2x great grandmother.

Gordon was born in Burnley, Lancashire. His birth is registered in the June quarter of 1928. At some point in the mid to late 1930’s the family moved to Warwickshire. In the 1939 Register they are living at Perrywood Road, Birmingham.

Gordon does not appear in the 1939 Register – he died in a tragic accident the previous year. The following article is from the Midland Daily Telegraph of 7 December 1938 (image taken from http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).

Gordon Fitzgerald - Midland Daily Telegraph 7 December 1938.png

BOY’S BATHROOM PRANK

Hanged After Reading Strip Cartoon

At an inquest, in Birmingham, today, on a ten-years-old boy, who was found hanging in the bathroom, the theory that he was experimenting after seeing a strip cartoon in a boys’ periodical was put forward. The boy was Gordon Fitzgerald, of Perry Wood Road, Great Barr, Birmingham.
A magazine, which the father said his boy read occasionally, was produced in court. It contained a strip cartoon showing one of the characters with a lasso drawn tightly round his neck.
An illustration of how the string was fastened round the boy’s neck proved that it could not have got there by accident.
Mr Fitzgerald said that the boy must have put his head into the loop, deliberately leaving a very narrow margin of safety, and, when he tried to draw his head out of it, pulled the loop tight and increased the pressure around his neck.
Returning a verdict of “Death from misadventure,” the Coroner (Dr W H Davison) said that there was nothing suspicious about the case. The boy’s death was the result of a childish prank, probably stimulated by something he had read.

Perhaps this is a 1930’s example of what we regularly refer to today as the negative and dangerous influence of social media on young children.

Wedding Wednesday – Alban Arthur Birch and Connie Jackson

Alban Arthur Birch is my wife’s 3rd cousin. His parents are Arthur Birch and Sarah Fitzgerald. Their common ancestor is Martha Espley, my wife’s 2x great grandmother.

Alban was born in Burnley, Lancashire on 5 August 1916. He was the only child of Arthur and Sarah Birch.

On Alban’s 23rd birthday he married Connie Jackson at St James Church, Briercliffe, Lancashire.

The wedding was reported in the Burnley Express on 12 August 1939.

Burnley Express 12 Aug 1939.png

Briercliffe St. James’s Church was the scene of a pretty wedding last Saturday morning between Mr Alban Arthur Birch, son of Mr and Mrs A Birch, of 200, Burnley Road, Accrington, and Miss Connie Jackson, only daughter of Mr and Mrs T S Jackson, of 12, Burnley Road, Briercliffe. The bride, who was given away by her father, was charmingly attired in a gown of white satin with veil of embroidered net held in place by orange blossom. She carried a bouquet of pink roses and lillies of the valley. She was attended by a matron of honour, Mrs M Jones, of London, friend of the bride, and a bridesmaid, Miss Gwen Dewhurst, cousin of the bride, who wore dresses of lavender taffeta with head-dresses and shoes to tone, and carried bouquets of pink carnations. The best man was Mr James Hargreaves, friend of the bridegroom, while Mr Eliot Andrews and Mr B Spencer (friends of the bridegroom) were groomsmen. Mr G Dewhurst was the usher. The ceremony was performed by the Rev A B Dex, MA, who also rendered appropriate organ music. A reception luncheon was held at Storey’s Cafe, and afterwards the newly-wedded pair left for a honeymoon in Scotland, the bride travelling in a moss green coat with black accessories. Among numerous presents received were some from the staff of W H Dean and Son, where the bride and bridegroom are employed. Mr and Mrs Birch will reside at 1, Bedfordshire Avenue, Burnley.

Sports Centre Saturday – Barbara Dale Snape (1919-2001)

Sports centre Saturday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites, talk about family members’ love of sports or athletic endeavours.

Barbara Dale Snape is my wife’s 3rd cousin 1x removed. Their common ancestor is Martha Espley, my wife’s 2x great grandmother.

Barbra was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire on 24 December 1919 to parents Frank Snape and Susan Dale.

I recently found the following article from the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer of 2 March 1942.

Barbara D Snape - 2 March 1942

Inter-University Women’s Boat Race

Cambridge beat Oxford by three lengths in the inter-University women’s boat race at Oxford on Saturday. A Leeds student and former head girl of the Allerton High School, Barbara D Snape, was a member of the winning eight. It was the second time she had shared in the success against Oxford, for she stroked the London University women’s crew which defeated Oxford last year. She graduated at Westfield College (evacuated to Oxford) and is now training for the Diploma of education at Cambridge.

There will be another post about Barbara in a few days.

Black Sheep Sunday – Martha Espley (1839-1908)

Black Sheep Sunday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

To participate in Black Sheep Sunday simply create a post with the main focus being an ancestor with a “shaded past.”

Martha Espley is my wife’s 1st cousin 3x removed. She was born about 1839 to parents John Espley and Sarah Johnson. Martha’s grandparents, James Espley and Martha Silvester, are my wife’s 3x great grandparents.

As far as I can tell Martha had three children “out of wedlock”:-

John Espley – born 12 December 1859
Charles Espley – born 15 March 1862
Samuel Espley – born about June 1870

Shortly after Charles was born Martha found herself in court on a charge of “attempted child murder”.

Below are two extracts from the Chester Chronicle of 9 August 1862.

The first is part of the address to the grand jury at Chester Crown Court on Monday 4 August by Mr Justice Channell.

Chester Chronicle - 9 August 1862 [1].png

There was another case upon the calendar in which a woman was charged with attempting to murder her child, of about three weeks old; the case was a very short one; it appeared that the mother had been delivered at the Workhouse, and left of her own accord, taking the child with her, and on the day in question she must have tied up the child’s mouth with a bandage in a way which the prosecution suggested was intended to produce death by suffocation. The woman’s account was that she was in distress, and she proposed to go to the adjoining village to get some refreshment either by begging or some way or another, intending to return to the child, but she denied the charge of attempting to murder it. It might be that the woman bound the bandage round the child’s mouth for the purpose of preventing it from crying, and not to produce the effect which the prosecution attributed to it. A necessary ingredient in the case was whether the intention existed of murdering the child, and if they found that this did not exist, they should ignore the bill. He did not invite them to do so, but merely mentioned it for their consideration. His Lordship referred to an Act of Parliament which made it a misdemeanour to expose any child under two years of age.

This second extract reports on the verdict of the jury.

Chester Chronicle - 9 August 1862.png

CHARGE OF ATTEMPTED CHILD MURDER

Martha Espley, 22, was charged with attempting to murder a male child of the age of three weeks, of which she was the mother, by fastening a bandage round its mouth and nose, and throwing it into a field and deserting it, at Buglawton, on the 3rd April.

Counsel for the prosecution, Mr Swetenham; for the prisoner, Mr Brandt.

The jury, after a brief consultation, returned a verdict of Not Guilty.

The image below is from the Criminal Register showing that Martha was acquitted.

Criminal Registers 1791-1892.png

Martha subsequently married Samuel Hazeldine sometime in the September quarter of 1875. They had at least five children together over the next ten years.

Martha died, at the age of about 69 in the last months of 1908.

Military Monday – Richard Espley (1875-1915)

Richard is my wife’s 1st cousin 2x removed. His parents are Joseph Booth Espley and Christina Boyle. The common ancestor of my wife and Richard is Martha Espley, my wife’s 2x great grandmother.

Richard was born on 13 June 1875 in Macclesfield, Cheshire. He married Edith Elizabeth Wardle sometime in the December quarter of 1895.

Between getting married and the 1911 census Richard and Edith had nine children. Sadly three of their children died young and there were six living and shown on the census:-

Winifred May – born 3 April 1897
Annie – born c June 1900
Edith – born c September 1901
Frederick – born c September 1905
Horace – born c March 1909
Gertrude – born 15 October 1910

I haven’t been able to find any remaining military records on http://www.ancestry.co.uk or Find My Past. However I can piece together information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website – http://www.cwgc.org and from http://www.forces-war-records.co.uk

Richard was a Private in the Cheshire Regiment and served in the 2nd Battalion. His service number was 11961.

I know that Richard was killed in action on 15 August 1915 and died from wounds.

Richard is buried at Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension in Nord, France. He is also commemorated on the Congleton War Memorial in Cheshire.

Congleton War Memorial

Congleton War Memorial

The information below is taken from the CWGC website.

Bailleul is a large town in France, near the Belgian border, 14.5 Kms south-west of Ieper and on the main road from St. Omer to Lille.



Bailleul was occupied on 14 October 1914 by the 19th Brigade and the 4th Division. It became an important railhead, air depot and hospital centre, with the 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 11th, 53rd, 1st Canadian and 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Stations quartered in it for considerable periods. It was a Corps headquarters until July 1917, when it was severely bombed and shelled, and after the Battle of Bailleul (13-15 April 1918), it fell into German hands and was not retaken until 30 August 1918.



The earliest Commonwealth burials at Bailleul were made at the east end of the communal cemetery and in April 1915, when the space available had been filled, the extension was opened on the east side of the cemetery. The extension was used until April 1918, and again in September, and after the Armistice graves were brought in from the neighbouring battlefields and the following burial grounds:-



PONT-DE-NIEPPE GERMAN CEMETERY, on the South side of the hamlet of Pont-de-Nieppe, made in the summer of 1918. It contained German graves (now removed) and those of a soldier and an airman from the United Kingdom.



RENINGHELST CHINESE CEMETERY, in a field a little South of the Poperinghe-Brandhoek road, where 30 men of the Chinese Labour Corps were buried in November 1917-March 1918.



BAILLEUL COMMUNAL CEMETERY contains 610 Commonwealth burials of the First World War; 17 of the graves were destroyed by shell fire and are represented by special memorials.



BAILLEUL COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION contains 4,403 Commonwealth burials of the First World War; 11 of the graves made in April 1918 were destroyed by shell fire and are represented by special memorials. There are also 17 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War and 154 German burials from both wars.



In the centre of the town is a stone obelisk erected by the 25th Division as their Memorial on the Western front, recalling particularly the beginning of their war service at Bailleul and their part in the Battle of Messines. The town War Memorial, a copy of the ruined tower and belfry of the Church of St. Vaast, was unveiled in 1925 by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, the City which had “adopted” Bailleul.

Bailleul Communal Cemetery

Bailleul Communal Cemetery