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Thursday 30 September 2010

A matter of status at Barbon.

I have made the point in other postings that many memorials of the Great War and earlier were unequivocal statements of status. In the post war years the class divide in the shires of England was still pretty rigid. There was a degree of social mobility, through education, plain hard graft or through marriage but most people still lived and died as they were born. At Barbon there are three memorials that stand as examples of this social divide and the ways in which families bridged it. Each make very different statements about 'their man'.

St Bartholomew's church lies at the the western end of lonely Barbondale, which itself leads to Dentdale and on into The Yorkshire Dales. It is a beautiful church of 1893, the best of Paley & Austin and always closely associated with the Kay-Shuttleworth family who had a house close by.

Inside are a number of windows, all except one (by Powell) being the work of Shrigley & Hunt of Lancaster. One of these is a memorial to Claude Gifford Jeffery, Captain, 2nd Bn Princess of Wales Own Yorkshire Rgt, killed on 24 October 1914 aged 34.

Jeffery was a regular soldier, he had joined the army in 1901 and served throughout the South African War. His unit landed at Zeebrugge on the 6th October 1914 as part of the BEF, the contemptible little army that Britain put into the field at the outbreak of war.On the 22 October he was wounded in the groin leading an attack near Becelaire, Belgium and died in hospital two days later. See here for more details.

The window was provided by his wife Nellie, nee Anketell-Jones, of Coldingham, Winchfield, Hants  whom Claude had only married in the early months of 1914. It depicts two allegorical classical figures; of Fortitude with spear and shield surrounded by oak leaves, & Pax bearing a lamb beneath a canopy of laurel. Above are the figures of the crucified Christ and a Madonna and child, perhaps in reality Nellie holding her and Claude's baby daughter. Captain Jeffery was of a middle class professional family,  'the middling sorts', as academics describe them. His father, Herbert, was a Bradford solicitor and public notary. His wife's family were probably minor Irish gentry.

The window is unpretentious and, lacking armorial or Latin inscription, it does not exclude the commonality. It is a simple statement describing the virtue of the man and sentiments of loss. Its middling status is in its existence; such windows did not come cheap. Only those having some wealth could afford even a relatively small window such as this. I don't know why it is here at Barbon.

The second memorial is altogether different. In the churchyard, to the east of the church there is an enclosed garden/cemetery plot. This is the private burial ground of the Kay-Shuttleworth family. See here for their full story. The Kays were a family of no great note but in 1842 James Kay, a self made Rochdale man, married Lady Janet Shuttleworth of Gawthorpe, sole heiress of an ancient Lancashire family. James assumed his wife's name and arms. Through ambition, hard work and astute mating he was now an elite.

Within this patch of ground are a considerable number of memorials and gravestones commemorating members of the extended family. At its centre is a stone cross.

Around the side of the pedestal on which it stands are carved the names of Captain the Hon. Lawrence Ughtred Kay-Shuttleworth, 'D' Battery, 11 Brigade, RFA and Temp Captain the Hon. Edward James Kay-Shuttleworth, Rifle Brigade. Lawrence married Selina Adine Bridgeman, grandaughter of the 4th Earl of Bradford and was killed near Vimy on 30 March 1917. Edward - Eton & Balliol - married Sibell Eleanor Maud, daughter of  Chas RW Adeane of Babraham Hall, Cambs, a family related by marriage to many of the higher nobility. He died at home and was buried here at Barbon. Both men were Barristers.

The memorial is quite subdued but there was no requirement for ostentation. The family effectively owned the village, their status was taken for granted and well understood. Even so the cross has its Latin, speaking only to the educated, and its position in an extensive and private family plot proclaims the exclusivity of the named dead.

Third and last is an aspirational brass plaque erected in memory of Thomas Arthur Airey. A difficult memorial to photograph even with Rod's camera!

At the top, within a border of laurel, is the cap badge of 1/14 London Regiment, London Scottish. Beneath this is the inscription;

In Loving Memory Of
T. Arthur Airey, aged 21 Years
Exhibitioner of Christ's College, Cambridge
Serving with the 1st Batt London Scottish
Killed in Action at Gommecourt July 1st 1916
Only son of Thomas and Fanny Airey of Moorthwaite, Barbon

                                          Nothing but well and fair
          And what may comfort us in a death so noble

Mea Gloria Fides

Young Thomas Airey died in the mass slaughter of the 'diversionary attack' at Gommecourt on the First Day of The Somme. He has no known grave.

When I first discovered this memorial I read it, took notes and moved on thinking sad thoughts about this young Officer. Only later did it dawn on me that there is no mention of rank. Thomas Arthur was in fact a private soldier but the memorial with its quote from Milton, use of Latin - My glory assured - and description of scholastic achievement is that of an educated elite, an Officer. It excluded the uneducated commonality.

Thomas senior was a farmer and grain merchant. Moorthwaite is a comfortable but modestly unpretentious Edwardian family house on the edge of the village. His grandfather, however, was simply a hill farmer. The family had, through hard work, risen in the world, they had become middling sorts. Young Thomas attended Kirby Lonsdale Grammar School, where his name is on the War Memorial, and there obtained a scholarship to Cambridge. Had he survived he may have joined the Shuttleworths as a Barrister, married into the gentry or lesser nobility and have thus achieved elite status. His memorial, clearly thought thro' by proud and devastated parents, retrospectively looked forward to this.

For the rest of Barbon there is also a marble plaque in the church but I lack a decent photo of it. In the centre of the village a cross, designed by Paley, has a wonderful and uncompromising dedication!

The cross was unveiled on October 1, 1921.

Sunday 19 September 2010

Quaker War Memorial from Wigton!

I guess the idea of a Quaker war memorial seems a bit odd - but two have turned up and one, a chair, has come to a temporary rest at Swarthmoor Hall while a permanent home is found.

The memorials were at Brookfield School, Wigton, a Quaker school founded in 1815. The premises were originally at Highmoor and moved to Brookfield in 1827. The school closed in 1984 and passed out of Quaker hands. It was presumably at this time that the memorials were removed, I believe, to Wigton Meeting House.

The chair bears a plaque naming the old boys of Brookfield School who died between 1939 - 45.

The men named:

Rowland S Armstrong is named on the CWGC website as Roland Scott Armstrong, son of George Lee & Margaret of Carlisle. He was posted 'missing believed killed' aged 22 as an Acting Sub Lt RNVR, 854 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, flying Avenger IIs on January 29, 1945 while serving aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious. The carrier was part of Force 63 making a raid on Soengi Gerong oil refineries near Palembang. Casualties were incurred by stray anti aircraft shells fired by HMS Euryalus which was engaging Japanese Kamikaze attacks. 11 were killed and 22 wounded. Was Rowland one of these or was he killed while flying?

Edward Coward is probably Edward Mason Coward, First Radio Officer, Merchant Marine. The only man of this name on the CWGC Register died serving aboard the SS Traveller of Liverpool on January 26, 1942 aged 20. She was torpedoed by U106 in the North Atlantic with the loss of 50 lives.

113798 Selby Greenop, Flight Lt, RAFVR, son of Harold & Janet Greenop of Carlisle. Selby was killed on November 7, 1944 in one of the many forgotten tragedies of the war when Landing Ship Tank 420 carrying No 1 Base Signals & Radar Unit to France hit a mine off Oostende. 14 Officers & 224 other ranks were lost; just 31 men survived. The unit was wiped out. Selby is buried at Oostende New War Cemetery. LST 427 is seen below, they carried huge amounts but sank like stones.

Leutenant Stanley Learmouth Haydock, RN, died aboard the Portsmouth destroyer HMS Acasta on June 8, 1940 aged 25. He was the son of Hugh & Isabel Haydock of Upminster. The Acasta was lost off Norway while sailing with HMS Glorious, see here for a posting about the terrible events of that day.

23 year old Flying Officer Gordon Noble Leach, RAFVR, was piloting Stirling LK 502 on a night photo training mission from RAF Wigsley on May 27, 1944. The plane developed Engine trouble and crashed at Cliffe Park, Rudyard, Leek, Staffs. Four crew were killed, four survived. Gordon was the son of James and Janet Noble Leach of Newcastle on Tyne. He was cremated at Newcastle Crematorium. This is the crash site.

927407 John Watson Leathes, aged 31, served in India as a Serjeant with 51 Battery, 69 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. He died of unknown cause on November 1, 1944 and is now buried at Kirkee War Cemetery, nr Poona.

George Robertson & David Smith must, for the present, remain anonymous. Their names are too common to be easily identified.

Many Quakers struggled with their consciences at the outbreak of WW2. Though committed to pacifism Hitler was sufficiently bad news for some to put this principal to one side. Others did not. There is no way that I can easily ascertain how many of the men were Friends and how many simply attended the school as non Quakers.

I have just had the following email:

The chair was made by Stanley W Davies (see Wikipedia) for the Old Scholars Association of the Friends' School Wigton shortly after the war. I was a younger pupil at the same time as some of  people commemorated.George S Robertson was a pupil from 7/1934 to 12/1939 and served in the RAF. He was the elder son of  Robertsons who were the foremost bakery firm in Carlisle. David Smith is recorded in the School history as coming from Low Fell.  He was a pupil from 5/1933 to 7/1937. Unfortunately I do not have any information about which service he was in. I hope this may be of some use in identifying them.

There is a WW1 memorial in the form of an oak plaque presently in the Meeting House at Wigton. The building is shortly to be sold and the plaque will be removed to Ackworth School.

As a consequence of receiving this email Robertson can now be identified as 1821069 Sergeant (Air Gunner) George Smith Robertson RAF Volunteer Reserve, 106 Squadron. A Lancaster in the Squadron's markings is seen here.

Robertson was killed on 31st March 1944 in the great raid on Nuremberg.

... This would normally have been the moon stand-down period for the Main Force, but a raid to the distant target of Nuremberg was planned on the basis of an early forecast that there would be protective high cloud on the outward route, when the moon would be up, but that the target area would be clear for ground-marked bombing. A Meteorological Flight Mosquito carried out a reconnaissance and reported that the protective cloud was unlikely to be present and that there could be cloud over the target, but the raid was not cancelled.

795 aircraft were dispatched - 572 Lancasters, 214 Halifaxes and 9 Mosquitos. The German controller ignored all the diversions and assembled his fighters at 2 radio beacons which happened to be astride the route to Nuremberg. The first fighters appeared just before the bombers reached the Belgian border and a fierce battle in the moonlight lasted for the next hour. 82 bombers were lost on the outward route and near the target. The action was much reduced on the return flight, when most of the German fighters had to land, but 95 bombers were lost in all - 64 Lancasters and 31 Halifaxes, 11.9 per cent of the force dispatched. It was the biggest Bomber Command loss of the war.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

A death in the Battle of the Atlantic

It's ridiculous how memorials keep turning up! Recently the church at Lindal in Furness has been opening every Wednesday morning where an excellent exhibition of local history has been displayed, mostly about the many mines that were established around the village in the nineteenth century to win the haematite ore that lay in the local limestone. I took Tez and the Big fella round a couple of weeks ago and another small memorial emerged. We also got an excellent photo of the church's Great War memorial, very difficult to photograph.

This rather heavily gothic lacquered brass plaque lists 20 village men by the year in which they died. It is unsigned.

Below the pulpit there is a further memorial in the shape of a small oak table.

In the centre of the table is a dedicatory plaque ... 

In Memory Of
Herbert Harrison
Aged 21
Who Lost His Life In The
Battle Of The Atlantic
8th June 1941

Herbert was the son of Wilfred James & Gertrude Harrison of Lindal. He was serving as Fourth Engineer on the MV (Motor Vessel) Adda, 7186 tons, when the ship was torpedoed at 04.42 hrs about 100 miles SSW of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Adda was dispersed to West Africa from convoy OB 323 en route from Liverpool to the USA.

Seven crew and three passengers were lost, 414 souls saved by HMS Cyclamen. 

Adda was the seventeenth of twenty one vessels sunk by the type IX B U 107 sailing out of Lorient while under the command of Gunther Hessler, the son in law of Grand Admiral Doenitz. The patrol in which Adda was lost was the most successful of all U Boat patrols of the war. Hessler was awarded The Knight's Cross.

U107 was eventually sunk in the Bay of Biscay west of La Rochelle on 18 August 1944 by a Sunderland aircraft of 201 Squadron.

Howard Martin has emailed with details of a Cartmel man who was also lost to the U107 - here

Saturday 11 September 2010

East Window, Temple Sowerby, St James

No postings for weeks!

I have just treated myself to a book - like I really need more books? However, with little effort I persuaded myself that this one was indispensable! The Stained Glass in the Churches of The Anglican Diocese of Carlisle, published in 1994 by CWAAS and written by Leslie N S Smith. I get frustrated when going around churches only to find that there is no information on windows, let alone war memorials. Some are superb examples of the glaziers art, others not quite so good.

Thus when I found myself in Temple Sowerby I was forearmed with the knowledge that the great East Window, a memorial to the men who died in the Great War, was designed GP Hutchinson and made by Powell of Whitefriars, London. It bears their signature, a small representation of a cowled monk.

Gerald P Hutchinson (b1866) was the son of a clergyman, who was also a master at Rugby School. Gerald joined J Powell & son in 1889 on the manufacturing side. Although he described himself as 'an artist in Stained Glass' on the 1901 census and did indeed design windows he also took on a managerial role and by 1920 was a director. Most of his designs for the firm date from the earlier part of his career and into the 1930s. They are not highly rated by those who make such judgments.

This one seems reasonable. Reminds me of the William Morris window at Allithwaite of which I have no digital pic!

Wednesday 1 September 2010

A mystery of the Sequoiadendron giganteums or Wellingtonia trees of Temple Sowerby

I was watching TV a few weeks ago, one of the many second rate reality shows that wastes hours, time & energy. This one featured a young dentist with a lot of dosh looking for a house somewhere round the Lakes. He finally put an offer on an impressive Victorian mansion at Temple Sowerby, a delightful village at the west end of the Stainmore road approaching Penrith. I was reminded of a trip out a few weeks earlier when I had traced most of the memorials in the same village. During this trip I was lucky enough to meet a local farmer and his wife who were happy to fill in some details. At one point we stood by her front gate and she pointed to a house by the main road, the same that appeared on the TV programme, and pointed out a huge tree in its garden, soaring above all the others around it.

Apparently this tree, a Wellingtonia or more properly the North American Giant Redwood - Sequoiadendron giganteum - is one of four that were planted in a long line running north-south across the village. The best seen is that which stands at the entrance to Acorn Bank, a National Trust property standing some way north of the village. 

A War memorial? Don't know, but the lady I spoke to said that the trees were planted to celebrate the Battle of Waterloo. The tree's seeds were first cultivated in Britain in 1853, Waterloo was in 1815. Maybe they were planted to commemorate Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington after whom the tree was named in Britain and who died in 1852. 

Maybe somebody out there knows the full story.