Apr 252018

Our members are participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge for 2018 with the theme People of My Place. Today's entry is from Suzie Morley.

Vaughan Cornish was born on 22nd December 1862 in Debenham, Suffolk, England and was baptized on 30th January 1863 in St. Mary Magdalene in Debenham. He was the son of the Rev. Charles John Cornish M. A. and Anne Charlotte Western. His birth was registered in the Mar 1863 quarter in the Bosmere registration district.

At the time of the 1871 Census, Vaughan was living at home, in the Vicarage in Debenham, with his parents and his two older brothers Charles John Cornish and James George Cornish.

By the time of the 1881 Census, Vaughan was a Scholar, boarding in East Wickham in Kent, before going on to study Chemistry at University of Manchester.

At the time of the 1891 Census, Vaughan was in Stretford in Lancashire, visiting in the household of William Welsh. A few months later on 17th August 1891, he and his future wife, Ellen Agnes Provis, were granted a Marriage Licence. Vaughan gave his place of residence at that time as the Parish of St. Thomas in Winchester, in the County of Southampton. His bride’s address was in the Parish of St. Matthew Bayswater, which is where they married on 19th August 1891. Ellen Agnes Provis was the daughter of Alfred Provis and Ellen Andrews, who lived in Kingston Lisle in Berkshire. Witnesses to the marriage were Rev. Charles John Cornish M. A. (his father), a further witness was Agnes Dorothy Andrews. At this time Vaughan was Director of Technical Science at Hampshire County Council. After his marriage Vaughan continued his work, travelling and researching. The Royal Geographical Society gave him the Gill Memorial Award in 1900 for his work on surface waves (water, sand and snow). Earthquake waves were being studied in Jamaica when the earthquake truck in 1907, and both Vaughan and Ellen were injured. His experiences were later published in the Geographical Journal in 1912.

Ellen died on 24th March 1911, aged 53, in the Continental Hotel in Bournemouth, and was buried in the Churchyard in Salcombe Regis in Devon. Vaughan was the executor of his wife’s estate on 20th April 1911 in London, where her effects were valued at £5306 7s. 8d.

A couple of years later, Vaughan married the widow of his second cousin, the explorer, Ernest Ayscoghe Floyer. His marriage to Mary Louisa Floyer (nee Watson) was registered in the Mar 1913 quarter in the St. George Hanover Square registration district. They married on 27th March 1913 in Holy Trinity, Kensington Gore, London.

Vaughan Cornish died on 1 May 1948 in Willersley Nursing Home, Park Road, Camberley, Surrey, England, at age 85. He was buried on 2 May 1948 in the Churchyard, Salcombe Regis, Devon, England.

Obituary - Death of Dr. Vaughan Cornish (from The Times, 3rd May 1948)

We regret to record the death of Dr. Vaughan Cornish, which occurred at Camberley on Saturday at the age of 85 years. Dr. Cornish was a member of a well-known local family whose association with the district began in 1792. He was a great traveller and geographer and was particularly proud of his connection with Salcombe Regis. When the Sidmouth Council purchased the greater part of the land on the eastern side of Salcombe valley to prevent the establishment of a holiday camp there, Dr. Cornish gave a good deal of his land on the western side of the valley to the National Trust in order that its natural beauty should be preserved for all time.

He was a great lover of natural beauty and in spite of his wanderings it was always to Salcombe Regis he returned for refreshment and he never tired of singing its praises. With his first wife he was in Jamaica at the time of the great earthquake there and has broadcast about his experiences at the time.

During recent years Dr. Cornish has published many books, chief among them being "The Scenery of Sidmouth" which is a classic in the description of the local land- and seascape. His most recent book "Kestell, Clapp and Cornish," was lately reviewed in these columns, and as a great deal of it is autobiographical we commend it to our readers at this time.

Dr. Vaughan Cornish was buried at Salcombe Regis yesterday afternoon.

A second obituary was also published.

Obituary - Death of Dr. Vaughan Cornish (from The Sidmouth Observer, 5th May 1948)

One of Britain's best-known geographers, Dr. Vaughan Cornish, D.Sc., F.R.G.S, of "Inglewood," Gordon-road, Camberley, died on Saturday at the age of 85, in a Camberley nursing home. Dr. Cornish, who is survived by his widow, was famous among geographers for his studies of land and water waves. In later years he gave much of his time to the appreciation and preservation of the natural beauties of Britain. He had lived in Camberley since 1913.

He was a student of geography in all its aspects, and he was an author of ability who illustrated his works with his own sketches and photographs.

Dr. Cornish was born at Debenham Vicarage, Suffolk and was educated at St. Paul's School and at Victoria University, Manchester. He graduated with honours in chemistry in 1888 and later took the degree of D.Sc. He became Director of Technical Education to the Hampshire County Council, but after his marriage he entered the field of geographical scientific research. In 1900 the Royal Geographical Society presented him with the Gill Memorial for his research work into all types of waves, both on land and sea, on snow and sand and natural materials.

A world tour by Mr. and Mrs. Cornish in 1903 was the occasion for a great deal of important scientific work, and was followed by visits to many parts of the world. They were injured at Kingston, Jamaica, in January, 1907, when an earthquake wrecked the city and killed many of its inhabitants. A few months later they returned to Kingston to study earthquake effects. During the first world war Dr. Cornish lectured to naval and military officers on strategic geography and subsequently published a number of books. He remained an active author until recently.

The funeral took place on Tuesday at Salcombe, Devon.

Apr 242018

Our members are participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge for 2018 with the theme People of My Place. Today's entry is from Ann Preston.

U is for the surname Underwood. The Underwood family has a brief residence at my One Place Study village of Little Coxwell.

The Underwoods arrived in Little Coxwell in the autumn of 1893; that is Adam Underwood with his wife Mary Ann and their children. Adam Underwood is typical of the era when many labourers changed their place of work every few years or so, typically in the autumn at Michaelmas, coinciding with the old hiring or ‘mop’ fairs.

Adam was a gardener; it is likely that he was employed at one of the three ‘gentry’ houses that the village boasted, all of which had extensive gardens and would have employed a number of gardeners. Adam was born in 1847 in Brixton, London. However his mother, Ann, had been born at Watchfield, a village only a few miles away from Little Coxwell; widowed, Adam’s mother had returned to her native village with her children, so that Adam had had grown up in Watchfield and had attended the village school. In his early career as a gardener he had combined that occupation with that of a groom, quite a common combination of roles in our area. He did however have a spell as a farm bailiff and as an inn-keeper. Adam Underwood married Mary Ann Wyatt, a girl who was also from Watchfield, at the parish church in Fernham in 1875. Adam and Mary Ann Underwood lived at Fernham for about ten years, they moved with their family of children to Lechlade in Gloucestershire for a couple of years then to Shrivenham for a few years. Their next move was to Little Coxwell, where they stayed for about six years from 1893.

While Adam and Mary Ann Underwood were living at Little Coxwell, they had two more children. Their son Frederick Ernest was born at Little Coxwell on the 14th December 1893 just after his parents and siblings came to live here. However he was baptised at St. Andrew’s Church at Shrivenham on the 4th March 1894. The Shrivenham register recorded his birth date and that his parents Adam and Maryann Underwood were living at Little Coxwell. The information that Frederick Ernest was born at Little Coxwell comes from the census forms for 1901 and 1911. Their second son born at Little Coxwell was named Cecil Frank; he was born on the 22nd June 1896 and baptised at St Mary's Church in Little Coxwell on the 26th July later that year.

St. Mary’s Church at Little Coxwell photographed in 1964 by Ann Preston

St. Mary’s Church at Little Coxwell photographed in 1964 by Ann Preston

Naturally whilst living at Little Coxwell some of Adam and Mary Ann Underwood’s children attended the school in the village:

Little Coxwell School built in 1846 and photographed in 1963, a year before it closed, by Ann Preston.

Little Coxwell School built in 1846 and photographed in 1963, a year before it closed, by Ann Preston.

Albert Edward Bertram Underwood became a pupil at Little Coxwell school on the 23rd November 1893, his brother George Adam started the following day and two of his sisters, Violet and May Caroline became scholars there later that year in December; all four children had previously attended Shrivenham school. Frederick Ernest who had been born at Little Coxwell became a pupil at Little Coxwell school, on the 24th November 1897, just a few weeks before his 4th birthday.

The three boys Frederick, Cecil and Albert are representative of those associated with Little Coxwell who served in the Great War:

Frederick Ernest Underwood enlisted with the Coldstream Guards on the 20th September 1913; he was discharged on the 23rd October 1918 due to a gunshot wound to the left leg. He was awarded the Silver War Badge and the usual three WW1 medals which included the 1914 Star.

Cecil Frank Underwood enlisted in August 1916 and served until 1919. He served with the Worcestershire Regiment and the Machine Gun Corps.

Albert Edward Bertram Underwood served with the Hampshire Regiment attached to the 4th Bedford Regiment, Royal Naval Division i.e. part of the 190th Brigade of the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division. It would appear that Albert Underwood enlisted on the 28th December 1914, and was discharged, due to wounds, on the 17th January 1919 aged 33. He was granted a Silver War Badge and the usual three WW1 medals which included the 1915 Star.

After the family’s departure from Little Coxwell it would appear that Adam and Mary Ann returned to Shrivenham where they settled for the remainder of their lives. Adam died in 1928. A brief report regarding Adam was published in the local press in 1922:

Shrivenham: A Good Record
It is worthy of note that Mr Adam Underwood, an old and respected inhabitant of this village, has sung in the Parish Church Choir for the long period of 63 years, and is still a member of it. As caretaker of the Churchyard, a post he is now relinquishing, he has served the Vicar and Churchwardens for 29 years, and has been responsible for the well-kept condition for which the Shrivenham Churchyard has always been noted. For the last five years he has been sexton of the parish, a position he still holds. Mr Underwood was a 72 years of age in June last year. [Extract from The Faringdon Advertiser dated Saturday 19th August 1922]

There looks to be a discrepancy in Adam’s age as reported here, I would have expected 75. One wonders if the 63 years of singing in the choir was not interrupted by his residence away from the village; however he probably did start singing in the church choir as a boy about twelve years old and continued to do so when he was living in Shrivenham. It’s good to find a brief biography in the newspaper of an ordinary working man acknowledging his dedication and local involvement.

N.B. All the villages referred to here, Little Coxwell, Fernham, Shrivenham and Watchfield, cluster in the north-west corner of the traditional county of Berkshire; it was in 1974 that our part of Berkshire was re-christened Oxfordshire.

Apr 232018

Our members are participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge for 2018 with the theme People of My Place. Today's entry is from Pam Smith.

Tindall Bowman was born in Ganton, Yorkshire in 1850, the son of Francis Bowman and Mary Tindall. He married Mary Wilkinson from Lastingham at Scarborough St.Mary on Christmas Day in 1874. Although they didn’t have any children of their own, they brought up their niece, Gertrude Elizabeth Wilkinson, from at least the age of 14.

Mr Bowman worked for the North Eastern Railway (NER) for all of his life at Scarborough, Fylingdales and Staveley before he became the Station Master at Rillington where he served for 18 years. He retired in 1920 before the merger of the London and North Eastern Railways into the LNER. Doesn’t he look smart in his NER Livery?

Tindall Bowman of the NER

The station stands one mile NW of the village of Rillington at the junction of the York to Scarborough line with the branch line to Whitby across the North York Moors. The line was opened in 1845 and closed to passengers in 1930. In the day Mr Bowman would have been at the hub of the comings and goings of daily passenger and trade traffic coming in and out of Rillington.

The map shows the close proximity of his birthplace, Ganton, plus the location of the NER.

Mr Bowman experienced great personal sorrow. His wife Mary and niece Gertrude were out cycling on a summer evening in June 1923 and incurred severe injuries when a car collided into them on Scampston Bridge on the Malton to Scarborough road which is now the A64. The car somersaulted and landed on top of a hedge. Mrs Bowman suffered a compound fracture of the right thigh and a smashed wrist and Miss Wilkinson received a fracture of the right arm and right thigh. They were both treated at the Malton Cottage hospital where one of the occupants of the car died. Unfortunately, Mrs Bowman also died and was buried on 12 May 1924. The inquest was carried out in the schoolroom at Rillington.

A person is more than just his occupation and oral history recalls that the Bowman family had musical talents with niece Gertrude having a piano in her tiny cottage on Westgate, Rillington. Mr and Mrs Bowman were among a small band of organisers who formed the Rillington Musical Society in approximately 1912 which provided a programme of music, games and dance. In testament to the Bowmans during their adversity, the Society made a collection of £16 in recognition of Mrs Bowman’s “devoted and benevolent work” as a member and a parishioner. Mr. Bowman thanked them from the bottom of his heart and the host of friends who had come to their aid in the past months saying that evidence of their kindness was “almost beyond expression”. He also took a great interest in the Wesley Guild so Mr Bowman was clearly a well-known and highly thought of member of the village.

Mr Bowman died at home on Railway Street on 29 Jan 1936 aged 85. He left £208.8s in his will to his niece Gertrude.

Apr 212018

Our members are participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge for 2018 with the theme People of My Place. Today's entry is from Kevin Poile.

Muriel was born on 10 June 1902 in Chalgrove, Oxfordshire, the eldest daughter of the Reverend John Howard Swinstead and Hannah Sclater (nee Humphrey), she was baptised in the local church (St Mary’s ) on 6 July 1902. Her sister Joan was born on 31 May 1903 in Chalgrove. In the 1911 census the family are living in the Vicarage, Chalgrove.

In the early 1920s Muriel leaves Chalgrove to train at the Royal College of Music, and around this time she changes her name to Oriel Ross. She made her stage debut in 1923 in Karal Capak’s The Insect Play. In 1928 she appeared on Broadway and in revenue and cabaret, she returned to London in 1931 and continued to work in the theatre throughout the 1930s and 1940s, she made a few appearances in film and on the fledgling BBC.

She was an amateur artist and would spend her time back stage sketching her fellow performers and doing self-portraits (often nudes), some of which are in the National Portrait Gallery's collection. She spent time living in Jacob Epstein's bohemian household, which included his wife, mistress, children, models and assorted admirers. During her time with Epstein he made at least 3 busts of her. She was also the model of his depiction of Rima on the monument to the author W H Hudson, this sculpture can still be seen in Hyde Park.

Jacob Epsteins's Hyde Park memorial to naturalist writer W.H. Hudson

Jacob Epsteins's Hyde Park memorial to naturalist writer W.H. Hudson

In 1935 amongst great secrecy, a marriage licence was obtained just a hour before the ceremony, and the actual ceremony lasted 16 minutes - she married Lord George Amais Fitzwarrie Poullett (8th Earl of Poullett) and became Countess Poullett. In the 1939 Register of England and Wales she is listed as Countess Poullett in the household of her widowed sister Joan and gives her occupation as Actress, her husband is not with her. By 1941 the couple had divorced and Lord Poullett went on to re-marry.

Oriel died on 20 October 1994 in Hoxne, Suffolk and according to her probate entry left an estate worth £15660.

Apr 202018

Our members are participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge for 2018 with the theme People of My Place. Today's entry is from Anne Jolley.

In 1868, Upper Swell estate comprised almost the whole parish and allowed presentation to the Bishop of a chosen candidate for rector. When Reverend Rees Davies arrived in 1898 with his new wife, he had the patronage of Alfred Sartorius of Abbotswood House. In 1901, the estate would be sold to Mark Fenwick.

Upper Swell parish is very broad, with most still living around the Norman church, C16th manor, mill, Abbotswood House and cottages. Youngest Fenwick daughter, Constantia, remembered the red bearded Reverend cycling in all weathers to outlying farms and neighbouring Condicote church, also his responsibility.

Rees Davies was born in Brecon, where his father farmed. A Cambridge graduate, he was ordained in 1889, followed by curate positions in Pembrokeshire and two years as vicar of St Michael’s Pembroke. In Upper Swell, this energetic rector cared for approaching 250 parishioners, including the acutely poor.

By 1901, Reverend Davies agreed to prepare boys for entrance examinations to tertiary education. He soon became a member of the Stow Board of Guardians, known for his regular attendance. Costs challenged because of old, infirm or temporarily sick residents and numerous travelling vagrants. Reports describe bonus payments to Master or Matron, donation of rectory garden apples and addition of milk puddings during 1916 meat scarcity. The Rector wished that people knew how thoroughly well the inmates were cared for. He also served on the District Council.

He collected for charities, gave sermons for local organisations and made efforts to light lamps and fires before services. Further benefice duties included poor fund coal, presenting attendance certificates at Condicote school and marking the retirement of the Lower Swell headmaster and wife. Reverend Davies gave thanks from Upper Swell mothers, “because of your great kindness in looking after children, especially on wet and snowy days and seeing to the drying of their clothes after their long journey.” Later, for Mark Fenwick, Reverend Davies served on the committee of the Swell horticultural society.

WW1 traumatised the tiny community. Too old for active service, Reverend Davies was a constant. In August 1914, horses were brought for war purposes and Abbotswood prepared as a Red Cross Hospital. By September, 14 men were called up or recruited from the benefice. Belgian refugees arrived in Stow, food prices rose and there was involvement with local military tribunals, discussing temporary exemptions. Perhaps thinking of its losses, Rees Davies donated brass candlesticks to Condicote church, blessed on a Bishop’s visit. Four Upper Swell soldiers died, with Condicote suffering even more. The Rector conducted memorial services for many of these men, bringing comfort to their families.

After hostilities, Reverend Davies was at the centre of peace celebrations and services of praise and thanksgiving for victory, but still collected for Prisoners of War. He celebrated returning demobbed local soldiers, and was on the Upper Swell war memorial committee.

Rees Davies unexpectedly died in post, aged 72. Tributes included:

  • “His genial presence and kindly manner endeared the Reverend gentleman to all”
  • “Here he ministered with diligence and faithfulness that won the goodwill and respect of all….. He was beloved”

His grave was lined with Upper Swell garden flowers.