The Wages of Sin

Inscription In/loving memory/of/Charles Winter Garrett/who died the 6th Sep 1854/in his 38th year

And of/Catherine/widow of the above/who died the 23rd October 1880/in her 67th year

Also of/Henry John/grandson of the above/and son of W and M E Laker/who died the 22nd February 1880/aged 5 months

In my Father’s house are many mansions John XIV C2V

Charles Winter Garrett was born in Hythe and baptised there on 4 May 1817. He was the son of Thomas , a baker, and Mary Garrett. On 15 February 1842, in the same church, St Leonard’s, he married Catherine Wood. She was the daughter of Thomas Wood, a carpenter, and his wife Elizabeth and was also born in the town.

By the time of his marriage, Charles had become an Excise Officer, working for the Inland Revenue.  He was posted to Yorkshire, and the couple’s first two children were born in Pickering and another in Kirby. They then moved to Huddersfield, where they seem to have had a comfortable life, with a live-in servant, and another child was born.  Then it all unravelled.

The investigative branch of the Inland Revenue became suspicious of Charles, either through a tip-off or perhaps because his lifestyle was not congruent with his income. What they discovered was that Charles was swindling both them and the shop-keepers he dealt with, and had been doing so for years. His modus operandi   was to pretend to new traders that he could grant licences for the sale of beer, tobacco and tea, and that he was authorised to receive payment for them. He would call on the wife of applicants for such licences  while the man was at work, tell her that she must pay for the licence, take the money and tell her that everything was now legal and that nothing more needed to be done. He then pocketed the cash. He was dismissed  from his post and arrested. Out of fifty-odd cases uncovered, he was prosecuted for three, and appeared  before magistrates in August 1853. He said nothing in his defence, and although bail was offered, he did not apply for it. In the opinion of the court reporter, he was suffering from great mental anguish. He was committed for trial and in December he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to twelve months hard labour. He was imprisoned in York Castle.

York Castle Prison

This was a new prison on the existing Castle site, built to cope with increasing numbers of felons.  It took ten years to build, between 1825 and 1835.   There was a huge new wall in a dark millstone put up so that the whole Castle Site, including Clifford’s Tower, was enclosed and cut off from the city.  The most remarkable feature was the four prison blocks that radiated like the spokes of a wheel.  At the hub was the new governor’s residence.

Government inspectors reported at the time that Charles was there that the health of the prisoners and the cleanliness of the buildings were commendable, and the diet adequate. In other respects the prison was not a good one. The staff, which in 1835 had consisted of a keeper, underkeeper and porter, and matron had not been increased by 1851. There was therefore insufficient supervision, resulting in lax discipline and constant communication between the prisoners, which contravened the government’s rules that there should be no communication at all. No schoolmaster was ever appointed and the prisoners either taught one another  or received occasional lessons from the chaplain.  The hard labour that Charles was required to perform was either stone-breaking or chopping wood.

Perhaps the labour was too much for Charles. In the early hours of one September morning in 1854 , his cell-mate heard him moaning and called for a warder. By the time someone was found to unlock the cell door, Charles was dead. There was a post mortem examination and an inquest and it was ascertained that he had died from ‘an attack of spasms of the heart’. The coroner recorded that this was due to  ‘the Visitation of God’. The coroner noted that Charles had secured the respect of the officials through his good conduct, and that he left a widow and five children to lament his loss.

Catherine had already had over a year to lament her situation.  When Charles was arrested, she lost her home and any means of support. She was destitute, and could not even stay in Huddersfield to be near Charles because Victorian Poor Law dictated that she must be provided for by the parish of her birth – Hythe. So, back to Hythe she went, with her four children and heavily pregnant. It seems that there was no-one there willing or able to take her in, and she had no option but to apply to the Overseers of the Poor for relief. They sent her and her children to the workhouse.

Hythe fell into the catchment area for the Elham Union Workhouse, which was, in fact, in Etchinghill, a village four miles to the north of Hythe.  The family were admitted there on the morning of Saturday 3 September 1853. Catherine was given the number 121 to stitch on her workhouse clothes; the children were given their own numbers, and taken from her, to be kept in separate accommodation. They were aged from five to one.

Workhouses were intended to be as unpleasant as possible, so that only the truly desperate would throw themselves on the mercy of the parish. Children were generally allowed only minimal contact with their parents, perhaps only for an hour on Sundays. The diet was deliberately unpalatable and monotonous and bedding often only straw paillasses.

Workhouse children, heads shaved to prevent lice and nits

They were there for over a year. Catherine’s fifth child, Mary Elizabeth was born in the workhouse on November 17 1853. A few weeks after her husband’s death, Catherine applied to be discharged. She must have received funds or help from someone else to do so. In 1861 the family was living at Albion Cottages in Hythe and Catherine was working as a needlewoman. Her eldest son, Thomas, was already an apprentice tailor and the others were at school. By 1871, she was taking in laundry to make ends meet and the only child left at home, Mary Elizabeth, was working as a domestic servant. A hard life, but at least a self-sufficient one.

Three years later, on 24 November 1874, Mary Elizabeth married William Laker from nearby Postling. He worked for Mackeson’s brewery  in Hythe as an engine driver and the couple set up home in Trafalgar Cottage, Bank Street. By 1881 they had three children.  Henry John was their second son. Nine months after his death, another son was born to the couple, the last before William’s premature death. However, on Christmas Day 1901, in Hougham near Dover, Mary Elizabeth married George Richard Videan and the couple set up home back in Hythe, where they lived in the High Street until Mary Elizabeth’s death in 1931.

Charles Winter Garrett was not buried in the grave in Hythe with his wife and grandchild. There would have been no money to bring his body home, but he was not forgotten. His eldest son, Thomas, who was apprenticed to a tailor as a lad grew up to become a tailor in his own right, got married and raised a family in Folkestone. Thomas was probably the only one of the children to have had any memory of his father and the disaster that he brought upon the family, but he chose to call his own eldest son Charles Winter Garrett, in memory not of a swindler who died in prison but of a loved and much-missed father.

 

The Lady and The Bus Conductor

 

In memory/of/George William Wallace/D’Arcy Evans/who died on Sept 8th 1906/aged 46 year

A simple gravestone, no indication of family, or expressions of regret or piety, but it conceals a story which stretches from Ireland to England to South Africa and Canada.

George William Wallace D’Arcy Evans was born on 4 October 1860 at Knockaderry House, County Limerick. He was the second son of John D’Arcy Evans and Marion Evans nee Wallace, perhaps best described as minor Anglo-Irish landed gentry.

Knockaderry House

As befits a second son who had no great expectations, he joined the army as a young man, but it seems there was not even enough money to buy him a commission, as he joined as a trooper and served for three years in the ranks of the South Wales Borderers. He was finally commissioned as a lieutenant in the Royal Irish Rifles in 1886. He was promoted to Captain in 1894, and exchanged into the 20th Hussars in 1895 and the Bedfordshire Regiment in 1896. He then served for some years as Superintendent of Gymnasia in Colchester.

He had exchanged regiments, literally swapping with another officer of the same rank, because the regiments with which he was serving were being sent to India.  George was now a married man with a family and presumably wanted to stay with them in England, or perhaps his wife was reluctant to travel. He had married Harriette George Marion Gledstanes Richards on 18 July 1889 at Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin.  She came from a similar background to George and was the daughter of Captain George Gledstanes Richards of Macmine Castle, County Wexford. She was born on 11 August 1869.

Macmine Castle – not really a castle, but a country house

In the first five years of their marriage, four children were born, although one died in infancy. George seems to have found his niche in the army in writing textbooks. These included Field Training Made Easy in Accordance with the Revised Syllabus Contained in the New Infantry Drill and The Non-Commissioned Officer’s Guide to Promotion in the Infantry.  The Army & Navy Gazette praised them for their clarity and usefulness. Harriette also wrote a book, In Mermaidland, and Other Stories, which the Gazette dismissed as ‘a very slight production for children.’ The Liverpool Mercury, however said that they were four beautiful stories and that the humour pervading the book made it very enjoyable.

But in December 1897, Harriette admitted to her husband that she had been unfaithful to him. They separated, but in 1900, on learning that she had given birth to a child in 1898, George took her back. The child seems to have been accepted by George as his own, and given Evans family names: Hardress Waller Eyre D’Arcy Evans. George told Harriette that she had ‘a clear, fresh start’ and that he would protect her against anybody. The family lived for a while together at 34 St Leonard’s Avenue, Bedford.

However, the next year, Harriette started a new liaison with a man she met on a bus, Charles Abbott. He was, in fact, the conductor of the station omnibus, which ran from the George Hotel in Bedford. Charles was already married, a fact which, Harriette said later, he did not share with her immediately. He was also, at nineteen, very much younger than her, although he may not have told her that immediately either. He had lied about his age at his marriage to Edith Bainbridge only the year before, saying that he was twenty-one, whereas his Canadian death record shows his date of birth as 22 May 1882. Since by the time he died there was no need for subterfuge, this is likely to be correct. He was the son of William Abbott, a shepherd, and his wife Martha.

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The George Hotel, Bedford, on the left of the picture

The couple corresponded. He called her ‘my dearest darling’, she wrote him ‘hysterical’ letters. Harriette was confronted by Edith in the street, but refused to give up her lover. She wrote to Charles suggesting that they elope to Canada, where they could live on her small private income of £200 a year.

He agreed.  On 1 June 1901, while George was out riding, Harriette escaped from the house and met Charles at Bedford station. They took a train to Liverpool where they stayed at a hotel under the names Mr and Mrs Brown, and under those names they sailed for Canada.

George had run out of patience, and divorced Harriette the next year, though he was by then in South Africa, fighting the Boers. He was adjutant of the 36th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry during the Boer War.  Charles was divorced by Edith in 1905. She had heard nothing at all from him since his elopement.

George relinquished his South African post in 1903 and rejoined the Bedfordshire Regiment. It is unclear why he was in Hythe when he died, although he may have had business with the School of Musketry in the town.

Meanwhile, Charles and Harriette either married in Canada or cohabited under the name of Abbott-Brown, a good compromise. They had a son together, born in 1912 in Saskatchewan, and christened with the names Charles John Loftus Totenham Garner Abbott-Brown.    The names Loftus Totenham Garner were often used by another gentry family of Co. Wexford with whom Harriette presumably had some connection.

Charles and Harriette died in British Columbia within months of each other, he on 20 February 1960, she on 30 September that year. Their son, who had become a truck driver, predeceased them, having been killed in a house fire in 1955.

The grave marker for Harriette and Charles. Their son had died before them, but this stone is inscribed ‘Mother’ and ‘Dad’, so perhaps there were other children.

Harriette was air-brushed from her first family’s history. When her youngest son by George, Hardress Waller Eyre D’Arcy Evans, a Commander in the Royal Navy, announced his engagement in 1934, only his father was mentioned as a parent. Burke’s Peerage gives Harriette’s date of death, but no details of her second family. Did the Canadian truck driver ever meet the Anglo-Irish Commander? Probably not.

Cordite and Milk Stout – the Abel sisters

The story starts with two brothers, Frederick Augustus Abel, the elder of the two, and John Sangster Abel.

Frederick was born on 17 July 1827 in Woolwich, then in Kent.   At seventeen, he started to study  chemistry at the Royal Polytechnic Institution and in 1845 became one of the original twenty-six students of A.W. von Hofmann at the newly-founded Royal College of Chemistry. In 1852 he was appointed lecturer in chemistry at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich, succeeding Michael Faraday, who had held that post since 1829. From 1854 until 1888 Abel served as ordnance chemist at the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich, establishing himself as the leading British authority on explosives.

Together with Sir James Dewar, he invented cordite, later adopted as the standard explosive of the British army. Abel also made studies of dust explosions in coal mines, invented a device for testing the flash point of petroleum and found a way to prevent guncotton from exploding spontaneously.

He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1860, knighted in 1883, and created a baronet in 1893.

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Frederick Augustus Abel as a young man

His first wife was Sarah Selina Blanch who had been born in Bath in 1826, the daughter of James and Elizabeth Blanch of Bristol. They married on 16 December 1854. There were no children of the marriage, and Sarah did not live to see her husband’s most important invention. She developed cancer and on 29 May 1888, on returning from a trip to the Continent for her health, died in Hythe.

The grave of Sarah Selina Abel nee Blanch, which she shares with her adopted daughter. 

John Sangster Abel was one of Frederick’s younger brothers. He emigrated to Chile, to Copiapo Province, which is in a rich copper and silver mining district. Perhaps he was seeking his fortune there. He married a Chilean woman, Jenoveva Recabarren. their daughter Luisa Isabella Aspasia Abel was born there on 22 June 1866 and baptised at Rosario on 9 July that year. The next year, on 17 August 1867, another daughter, Carlota Jenoveva Abel was born. A brother for the girls, Juan Carlos Abel, followed in 1869.

Before 1875, the children’s parents were both dead, and they were sent to England to live with their Abel relations, being adopted by the childless Frederick and Sarah.

According to her obituary, Luisa, who did not marry, first visited Hythe in 1890, and was so impressed with the town she decided to make it her home.  She played a full part in the life of the parish church, St Leonard’s, being a member of the choir and the Parochial Church Council, and taking responsibility for decorating the altars with flowers each week. She was also involved with the local British Legion.  She died in 1932, and was given a splendid funeral attended by the great and good of the town. The next year, a stained glass window dedicated to St Dunstan was erected in the church in her memory, paid for by her sister.

 

The window (on the right) in the south transept of St Leonard’s Church in memory of Luisa Abel

Carlota Abel married George Laurie Mackeson, of the Hythe brewing family on 29 April 1893 at Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Street, Chelsea. The couple also lived in Hythe, at The Dene in Hillside Street. Their were no children of the marriage.

Carlota enrolled in the Women’s Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) in May 1912,  and worked as a nurse at the Bevan Military Hospital in nearby Seabrook right though the First World War, starting her service there on 8 October 1914. She finished the war as a Staff Nurse.  In the 1930s, she and George travelled twice to South America, perhaps to visit her birth family.

George Laurie Mackeson was born in Hythe on 19 November 1865, the second son of Henry Bean Mackeson, owner of the Hythe brewery, and Annie Adair Mackeson. He was educated at Uppingham School before joining the family business.  He was associated with it until it was taken over by Whitbread in 1929, and was working there when it introduced its Milk Stout in 1907.

He was a great supporter of both Kent County Cricket Club and of Hythe Cricket Club in particular  and became President of both. He owned the land on which the Hythe club played and left it to his nephews, asking them to ensure that the game would continue to be played on the site. His obituary described him as ‘an old English gentleman who seemed to have survived from the Victorian age.’

George died in 1950, and Carlota in 1960, aged 93.

The grave of George Laurie Mackeson and his wife Carlota

 

Five Generations of Soldiers and Seafarers

In St Leonard’s churchyard in Hythe are commemorated five generations of the same family, many of whom served their country on land or at sea.

Generation one

The dynasty started with James Nelson, who was born in Scotland in 1781 and who joined the British army as a young man. He served as a private, first with the 78th West Highlanders, a regiment set up specifically to fight the French, and later with the Royal Staff Corps, a short-lived set-up, founded in 1800 and disbanded in 1837. It was a combat engineer Corps during the Peninsular campaign, and James served with it at the battle of Corunna in January 1809.

It is likely that he travelled there from Hythe with Sir John Moore’s forces, who had been sent to Spain to assist in resistance to Napoleonic rule. The little town of Hythe, with a population of under two thousand, was swamped by the presence of ten thousand troops at the height of the Napoleonic wars. Weatherboard accommodation and a temporary military hospital were built at the western end of the town and William Cobbett wrote that ’the hills are covered in barracks’.   Moore himself was based at Shorncliffe barracks, just a couple of miles away. He did not return from Corunna with his men. He was buried wrapped in his military cloak in the town ramparts, dying after he heard that the French had lost the day. Hythe commemorates him with a road named for him, and another for the battle in which he died, and he has a memorial on the seafront at nearby Sandgate.

After the battle of Corunna, the returning troops were paraded at Hythe, but were in a sad state. Unceremoniously disembarked at Dover, they had been obliged to make their own way back to the town. The hospital was full of the dying and injured, and the presence of maimed soldiers in the town was a common sight.

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Sir John Moore is fatally wounded at the Battle of Corunna…

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…and his memorial in Sandgate, where he lodged.

In 1813, James was back on the Iberian Peninsula, this time with the Duke of Wellington, who led the British forces there. On 21 June of that year, he fought in the battle of Vitoria, which finally ended the Napoleonic domination there.

Between the two battles, James had married Jane Hills, and their first son, James, was born the next year in Hythe.  Another son William was born in 1813, and then another, Henry, in France in 1817. Presumably Jane had accompanied her husband there. The birth is recorded in military records. A daughter, Jane, was born in Chatham in 1820, the year her father took James took his army pension of a shilling a week. Finally, another son, John, was born in 1825 in Hythe.

James had taken his family back to the town where he had been stationed,  and turned his hand to buying and selling. He worked as beerseller, dealer and chapman (trader or peddler) and grazier with land on the Innings between the town of Hythe and the coast. He lived with his family in Shoemakers Bridge Place, at what was to become in the next generation of the family, the Nelson’s Head Public House.

His wife, Jane Nelson nee Hills was baptized on 3 April 1785 at Chiddingstone, Kent, the  daughter of  John Hills and his wife Elisabeth. She married James Nelson on 13 August  1811 at Newington-next- Hythe.

Generation Two

The son born to James and Jane in France was Henry Nelson. As a young man, he first tried his hand as a slipper maker in London, but was perhaps unsuccessful and returned to Hythe where he worked as a labourer before he took over the licence of the Nelson’s Head public house in Bank Street from his brother John.  He married Mary Anne Back in Cheriton on 28 September 1836

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The building in Hythe, now a restaurant, which used to be The Nelson’s Head public house

 

Generation Three

Their eldest  son was Henry James Nelson.  He worked as an errand boy before joining the Land Transport corps, a very short-lived organisation founded in 1855 to deal with transport in the Crimea, where Britain was fighting Russia, and disbanded in 1856. It had been set up as a quasi-military organisation and recruited both civilians and regular army officers. Henry James died when the corps was involved in the siege of Sevastopol. The town was the home of the Russian tsar’s fleet, and a prime target for the British and their allies. It was besieged for a year from September 1854 to September 1855, and saw fierce fighting. It was presumably during the unsuccessful bombardment which started in April 1855 that young Henry died. He can only have been in the Crimea a matter of weeks.

The Siege of Sevastopol

The eldest daughter of Henry Nelson and Mary Anne Back was Jane Frances Nelson. She did not marry, but spent many years keeping house for her father’s brother, John Nelson. In her old age, she lived with her widowed younger sister Annie in Rosebery House, Parkfields, Hythe (now in Albert Road). Jemima Elizabeth Nelson was the sixth child of Henry and Mary Ann Nelson. She became a school teacher, and after a period teaching in Buckinghamshire, she returned to Hythe where she taught and lived with her parents until their deaths. In later life she lived in Corunna Cottage in Parkfields next door to her sisters Annie and Jane Frances. She did not marry.

Another sister, Alice Mary Nelson, who died as an infant is also buried in the churchyard.

The fourth child of Henry Nelson and Mary Ann was Charles Rice Nelson, born in Hythe in 1844 and baptised there on 1 December 1844.  He was apprenticed to a carpenter as a young man and carried on his trade after his marriage to Catherine Godfrey in on 12 November 1866. The couple lived in Theatre Street Hythe. For a few years, Charles also took on the licence of the Bell Inn in East Street, Hythe, but later returned to carpentry living in Nelson Villa in Albion Street.  After his retirement, he took employment as a collector for the gas company and secretary to a friendly society. Catherine died in 1915. The couple had ten children.

Image result for the bell inn hytheThe The Bell Inn, Hythe

Generation Four

John Henry Charles Nelson was the eldest child of Charles Rice Nelson and his wife Catherine. His first job was as an office errand boy, but he went on to become a builder and house decorator, and lived at 2 Bank Street Hythe.  He married Mildred Stoakes who was born in Stanford, not far from Hythe, the sixth child of John Stoakes, a master carpenter, and his wife Thomasina Dora. Before her marriage, she was in service with Dr Arthur Randall Davies in the High Street. She married John Henry Charles Nelson in 1893 in London, and they had six children.

The second son of Charles Rice Nelson and Catherine,   Edward James Nelson was baptised in Hythe on 13 September 1868 and died in London just after his eighteenth birthday.

The third son, Charles Rice Nelson jnr was baptised in Hythe on 14 June 1874.   As a young man he worked as a book stall assistant before joining the merchant navy as a general servant. He was among the 334 lost when his ship the ss Persia, on her way to India, was torpedoed seventy miles off Crete by a German submarine on 30 December 1915. SS Persia was attacked at 1.10 pm on a rising sea. She was struck on the port side and within five minutes the port side boiler exploded. She sank quickly. Passengers had collected their lifebelts and made their way to the lifeboats, but the incline of the ship hindered their launching and passengers slipped on the steeply canted deck and were washed overboard. It was reported two of the life boats floundered and went down. Four life boats made their way to safety and many of the remaining survivors were picked up by a trawler some 30 hours after the sinking, but Charles was not among them.

His name is recorded on the Tower Hill memorial in London

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The SS Persia

Henry Nelson was the fourth son of Charles Rice Nelson and Catherine. He started his working life as a servant with the Blyth family of Saltwood near Hythe, but very soon joined the Merchant Navy where he worked as a steward. His ship, the P&O -owned SS Kaisar-i-hind was launched in 1914 as luxury passenger ship sailing to India and Australia. She was requisitioned by the Royal Navy for transporting troops to the Middle East and India, and survived several attempts to torpedo her. Henry’s death, officially recorded as pleuro-pneumonia, appears to have been from natural causes, and may have stemmed from an infection or underlying condition.

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The SS Kaiser-I-hind

His sister Flora, the second daughter of Charles Rice Nelson and Catherine, married Henry Beckwith, a merchant navy officer, and moved to Gravesend, where the marital home was called ‘Nelson Villa.’

Generation Five

Charles Edward Beckwith, the second son of Henry and Flora Beckwith, born on 26 October 1910, also went to sea, but chose the Royal Navy. He attended Dartmouth College, and saw action in both World War II and the Korean War. He later served in North Africa, Hong Kong, Malta and Gibraltar as Paymaster, and on leaving the navy took employment with the shipping line Niarchos. He then lived in Hampstead, but on retirement moved to Hythe, where he was a generous benefactor of St Leonard’s Church and an instigator and great supporter of musical performance there.

THE GRAVES

 

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Inscription In/loving memory/of/Edward James Nelson/the beloved son of/ Charles Rice and Catherine Nelson/who died 21st October 1886/aged 18 years

Also/Charles Rice Nelson/Late of P&O. SS Persia/who was drowned at sea/30th December 1915/aged 41 years

Also/Henry Nelson/late of P&O SS Kaisar I-Hind/who died of pneumonia 31st May 1918/in hospital at Alexandria/aged 41 years

And of/Charles Rice Nelson/who died 5th November 1925/aged 81 years

Commander/Charles Edward Beckwith/son of/Henry and Flora Beckwith/nee Nelson/died 27th July 2002/aged 91 years

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Inscription  In memory of/James Nelson/born 16th June illegible/died 16th Novr illegible

And he said unto me my illegible/ for the illegible/..this made perf.. illegible

Also of John Henry Charles/Nelson/died 23rd March 1942/aged 75 years

And of/Mildred Nelson/died 12th Novr 1943/aged 76 years

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Inscription Illegible/Henry Nelson/born 8th March 1817/died 26th August 1881

Illegible died 20th January 1898

And/Jane Frances/daughter of the above/born 2nd May 1842/died7th January 1922

Jemima Elizabeth Nelson/born 6th October 1849/died28th October 1926

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Inscription In memory of/James Nelson, formerly of the 78th West Highlanders,/and the Royal Staff Corps who after/serving his King and Country in Holland, Spain and France from 1800/ to 1821  settled at Hythe and died/April 29th 1849 aged 68 years

Also of Jane his wife/died April 13th 1848 aged 65 years

Also of Henry Nelson/grandson of the above/Sub Superintendant Land Transport/Corps who died before Sebastapol/ June 4th 1855 at the early age of 17 years.

Enter not into judgement with Thy /servant O Lord

 

Inscription

Headstone: Illegible memory/Alice Mary/the beloved daughter of/Henry & Mary-Ann/Nelson/who departed this life/January 26th 1866/aged illegible years and 10 months

Remainder illegible

Footstone: A M N 1866

Nearly a centenarian – Edward Palmer

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Inscription In/loving memory/of/Edward Palmer

Remainder illegible except for the name Harriet Palmer

Edward Palmer was born in Coningsby in Lincolnshire in 1812 and baptised there on 1 January 1813. He was the son of Robert and Jane Palmer. He became a teacher and worked in the National Schools, at first in Yorkshire, where he met and married Harriet Sharp of Lincoln. The couple’s first two children were born in Guisborough, before they moved to Tamworth in Staffordshire, where a third child was born.

National Schools were religious educational establishments run by The National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church throughout England and Wales – usually, for obvious reasons, abbreviated to The National Society.  They had started setting up schools in 1811, in response to a similar initiative by the non-conformist British and Foreign School Society.

Edward and Harriet settled in Hythe in 1849, and he became headmaster of the town’s National School, then situated in Stade Street in a ramshackle old building.  He soon proposed and then oversaw the building of new school premises next to the town Green, which was used as a school playing field for games and recreation.

 

20170120_125311Hythe National School, viewed from the Green. The buildings are now private houses.

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And Hythe Green, which has provided a recreation area for the town for hundreds of years.

Edward also served as schoolmaster at the School of Musketry in the town, and became the local Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths.  Meanwhile, Harriet gave birth to another seven children.

After Edward’s retirement in 1875, when he and Harriet were presented with a marble clock, he was appointed School Attendance Officer for Hythe, at a salary of £20 per annum. Harriet died in 1886, aged sixty-three.

Edward was a supporter of the Liberal Party, and was agent for the town’s MP, Baron Meyer Amschel de Rothschild from his election, unopposed, in 1859 until his death in 1874 (until 1950, Hythe formed a separate parliamentary constituency). Rothschild was a scion of the banking family, and appears to have left no mark on British politics: his main interest in life was hunting. However, the electors of Hythe seemed to like him, and the town’s lifeboat was named ‘Meyer de Rothschild’ in his memory.

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Baron de Rothschild

Aged eighty-five, Edward retired to Farnham to live with his daughter Jane, also a school teacher, but they had returned to Hythe by 1905, when he was reported to be ‘in the best of bodily health with mental faculties unimpaired’. He lived in Oak Walk, near St Leonard’s Church in the town,  where he died in 1912 aged 99.

 

A Soldier of the Crimea

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(illegible) memory/Osmond John Macmillan

Illegible

Barbara Ann MacMillan/widow of the above/who died January 4th 1900/in her 77th year

Although William MacMillan’s name has now faded, we know that he is buried in this plot, since his widow’s epitaph refers to him, and a photograph of his grave (then in better condition) appears in the edited version of his diaries.

William MacMillan was born a long way from Hythe, in Dumfries in April 1825.  His father was a farmer, and William himself went to work for another farmer at nearby Ellisland. Remarkably, we know exactly what it looked like, as it has been very much sketched and photographed and is now a museum, kept as it was two hundred years ago. It was the home of Robert Burns for a couple of years during his most creative period and where he wrote Auld Lang Syne

 

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Ellisland as it was during the lifetime of Robert Burns

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Ellisland as it is today

 

By the time William MacMillan got there it was owned by a Mr Taylor, who thought very highly of him. When William left him in 1844, he wrote:

He kept good company, was sober, honest and of good character. He attended church regularly. I hope he will not depart from the path of virtue’.

William went off to become, of all things, a tea dealer and somehow made his way to Taunton, in Somerset. Perhaps he was not a very successful tea dealer, because in another abrupt change of direction, he joined the Coldstream Guards in 1848, when he was twenty three years old.

For the next ten years he served as a private, and just before the outbreak of the Crimean War he was sent down to Hythe, to the School of Musketry. It seems likely that it was then that he met the Hythe woman he was to marry, Barbara Ann Elgar, although that would be a few years later.

After the School of Musketry, he was promoted to corporal and was sent to the Crimea, where war had broken out the previous year, 1853

What is remarkable about William is that during his time there he kept a diary, which he brought home with him and which was given after his death to the Coldstream Guards who put it in their archives. There it was discovered in the 1980s, by Keith Hingle, who wrote this book:

SHOW BOOK

He has transcribed most of the entries, and filled in the background to Sgt. McMillans’s life with the help of the late Jack Barker, a Hythe historian.

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A page of William’s Crimea diary

William travelled to Crimea via Malta, where he was very impressed with the cheapness of the rum and brandy and of the cigars, and very daringly for a time when sea bathing was not yet fashionable, he had a dip in the sea. He liked the island very much, but on Sunday 2nd of April 1854 he writes:

Most beautiful morning, sea so calm there is not even a ripple upon it. Not a breath of air stirring. Oh how I should like to be at Hythe with Barbara.

At the end of April he sailed for Constantinople, now Istanbul. He thought it ‘the most wretched place I was ever in’. It was crowded and dirty and there were snakes and lizards and he didn’t like the Turks and disapproved of the way the women covered their faces. It is in Istanbul that he starts to write the diary as if he is addressing someone, and I think that the diary forms a long letter to Barbara in Hythe.

 

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After Istanbul, he was sent to Varna, which is in modern day Bulgaria. He didn’t like it there either. There were more snakes and lizards , and clouds of locusts, and the locals kept black people as slaves which he disapproved of.  There were continual outbreaks of cholera.

It got worse.

In September 1854, just I time for winter, he sailed to the Crimea and started the march to Balaclava and on to the siege of Sebastopol. Someone stole his socks and he had to spend that bitterly cold winter without any, as apparently the army did not provide spare pairs, He describes one night sleeping outside without a tent.

 ‘I was wet through, my blanket was wet and I lay shivering on the cold ground. I could not sleep. It blew a hurricane and the rain descended in most drenching showers all night.’ 

Later, the rain stopped and it started to snow. The men got lice, there was no wood to light fires and they lived on half-rations of biscuit and salt meat. Unsurprisingly, dysentery and frostbite were rife.

 

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Eventually, in spring, William was sent back to Balaclava. There he saw, for the first time ever, a western woman wearing trousers. She was French, of course.

Then it was back to the front. It got hot again and there was another epidemic of cholera, but he survived the war and saw the fall of Sevastopol.

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The ‘official’ version of the Coldstream Guards after Crimea

 

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 Another view of the Guards after the war, recovering at their barracks in London

After the Crimea, William came home, was promoted to sergeant, signed on for another 11 years in the army and came to Hythe to marry his Barbara. She was the daughter of Henry Elgar, a Hythe smith, and his wife Eliza. The family lived in Chapel Street in Hythe. She married William Macmillan in London in 1858 and stayed with him when he was posted in the London area for some time after that. Their four children were born there.

However, in 1868 William was discharged as unfit for service, suffering from paralysis in his left leg.  The authorities decided that this must have been brought on by his experiences in the Crimea and awarded him a pension of two shillings a day. William and Barbra went back to live in Hythe, where Barbara had family, and set uo home in Park Road,

A doctor friend, however, tells me that it sounds as though he was suffering from motor neurone disease. He lived for another twenty five years, but the paralysis grew worse, and for some years before his death he was immobile, though unaffected in his mind.  He died in 1893.

It must have been hard for him. He had seen his younger son, Osmond (who is buried with him) die young, and had to apply to a local charity, Weller’s Gift, to get his older son tools for an apprenticeship.  Although money was tight, the one thing he never sold were his Crimea medals, with four clasps, for Alma, Sevastopol, Inkerman and Balaclava.

Sources: Keith Hingle: The Diary of Sgt W.Macmillan: The Coldstream Guards (undated)

The Hole Family

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Sacred/to the memory of/James Hole/who died/1 April 1860/aged 74 Years

Also Elizabeth, his wife/who died illegible May 1869/aged 85  Years

Remainder illegible

James Hole, born in Hythe, was baptised in St Leonard’s Church there on 4 March 1787. He was the son of John and Elizabeth Hole. He married a Lydd woman, Elizabeth, and they went on to have five children, Thomas, William, Elizabeth, Mary and John. James was a fishmonger with premises in Hythe High Street.

Thomas, the eldest son, born in 1817, married Susan Dowle in Hythe in 1840 and went with her to live in Ashford where, like his father, he set up as a fishmonger and became the father of many children. He died there in 1872.

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Inscription William Walker Hole/of illegible/who died illegible July 1882/ aged 59 years

Also of/ Olive

Remainder illegible

William, born 1822,  married Olive Tickner from Charing and took over his father’s fishmonger’s shop in Hythe High Street, while his father James, perhaps sick of fish, opened a beer shop instead. William and Olive lived in Stade Street, where Olive took in lodgers. She also assisted William in his business, and ran a fruit stall on the same premises.    William and Olive did not have children.

The couple must have prospered in their business, as by 1866 their house in Stade Street had in the yard a new brick building with a slate roof, which housed a stable and had a herring-hang attached and a large wooden shed built against it. William woke one night to find the lot in flames. He ran into town to summon the fire brigade.

Hythe fire Brigade had been founded in 1802, the first in Kent. It had just acquired a magnificent new  Paxton fire engine at a cost of £173. 3s. 0d raised by public subscription. This was capable of discharging a hundred gallons of water a minute to a height of a hundred and twenty feet – depending, of course on there being a suitable water supply at the premises.

Eight volunteer firemen and the new engine, drawn by a horse, attended the blaze, and forty-odd men from the School of Musketry which had been based in the town for the last thirteen years, also arrived. Unfortunately, the water main in Stade Street was only two inches in diameter and useless for a major fire. The fireman had to take water from the sea and four nearby wells. They stopped the fire spreading and saved the houses in Stade Street, but had to let the fire in William’s outbuildings burn itself out.

William lost everything – his van, cart, sets of harness and fishing nets and his black mare. The total cost was between five and six hundred pounds, a huge sum, and William was not fully insured.  It must have been a terrible blow, but William had other sources of income as a property owner who rented out houses, so he was not left entirely bankrupt.

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In loving memory/of/Frances/wife of John Rann Hole/who died(illegible) November/1886/aged 78 years

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord

Also of John Rann Hole/died 3rd November 1897/aged72 years

I have fought a good fight I have finished the course I have kept the faith

The youngest son, John, born 1826, started his working life as a footman and at the age of thirty-two married Frances Smith, who had also been in service, working as a servant to the Fagge family of Hythe. She was fifteen years John’s senior.  After their marriage, they went to live in Sheerness, where John worked as a labourer in the royal dockyard. By 1871 he was back in in East Kent, in Folkestone, working as a lay missionary at the new Church of England Mission in Sidney Street. The Mission was set up for the poorest people in the town, the railway workers. Its first premises were in a former baker’s shop in Sidney Street and housed a Mission Chapel, Sunday School and Cocoa Tavern – a teetotal alternative to the public house. John and Frances lived just around the corner in the Mission Room in Canterbury Road. After his wife’s death, John returned to Hythe where he lived in Stade Street until his death.

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In/loving memory/of/Elizabeth Back/who died 3rd March 1890/aged 75 years

Afflictions sore long time she bore/physicians were in vain/til death did cease and God did please/to ease her of her pain

Also of Mary Hole/sister of the above/who died11th December 1900/in her 82nd year

Well done good and faithful servant/enter thou into the joy of thy Lord

Elizabeth Hole, the eldest child of James and Elizabeth, born in 1815, married Daniel Back in Marylebone, London in 1837.  I have no further information as to this union, or whether she had children, but Daniel was evidently sufficiently well-off to leave Elizabeth with an annuity when he died. She then moved back to Stade Street in Hythe where she died, after suffering some years of an unnamed but painful affliction.

Mary Hole, the second daughter, born in 1818 alone of the siblings did not marry.  She went to Ashford to live with her brother Thomas, and later with one of his daughters. Eventually she, too, returned to Hythe and lived in St Bartholomew’s almshouse in the town.

'The Hythe birthplace of Hamo de Hethe, Bishop of Rochester
Now a private house, this was for many years St Bartholomew’s Alms-house in Hythe

 

A Good Life

A simple stone cross in St Leonard’s churchyard, Hythe, marks the resting place of one of Hythe’s greatest benefactors and his family.

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Inscription In affectionate/remembrance of/Frederick Davis/eldest son of the late/Maurice Davis of Langport/died June 2nd 1896/aged 53 years

Arthur Randall Davis/son of the above Maurice Davis/and Clara Maria Davis/died February 4th 1932 Aged 76

Edward T. Taylor/born 8th Feb. 1847/died 25th Sep. 1916

Edith Mary/wife of Arthur Randall Davis/born 4th Novr. 1848  /died 15th Sep. 1928

Frederick and Arthur Randall Davis were born in Langport, the third and seventh children respectively of Maurice Davis and his wife Clara Maria nee Randall.  Although Frederick is described on his tombstone as the eldest son, he was, in fact, the second, his older brother Maurice having died at the age of two years.

Their father variously described himself as an architect, builder and surveyor. In 1836 he won the contract to build Wincanton Union workhouse, and now established, he married in 1838, settling in Langport, Somerset, where he was responsible for carrying out the restoration of the parish church.

Frederick was born in 1842 and joined the Merchant Navy as a young man, gaining his second and first mate’s certificates in Liverpool in his twenties, but rarely surfaces in records of the times, because presumably he was often abroad.  In 1872 he gained his master’s ticket and later served as captain, before coming to Hythe. Perhaps he was already ill when he arrived.

Arthur Randall Davis was born on 21 August 1855.   He qualified as a medical doctor after study at the London Society of Apothecaries, which had, since 1815, been able to grant licences to study medicine. He took the post of assistant to Dr John Hackney at 97 High Street, Hythe (now demolished), later becoming  a partner.  He married Edith Mary Taylor in London in 1880 and the couple lived at 115 (now 99) High Street, before moving to ‘Oaklands’ in Stade Street, Hythe in 1901.  He was an active member of a huge number of local societies: The Orchestral Society, The Parochial Church Council, the local branch of the League of Nations, the Conservative Association, the bowls club, the cricket club and various archaeological societies. He was also a philanthropist, being president of the town dispensary, which provided free medical care to the poor, giving First Aid lectures in the town and serving as a governor of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Folkestone. During the First World War he worked at the Bevan Hospital for injured servicemen in Sandgate, despite the fact that both his partners had joined the R.A.M.C and left him to deal with the whole Hythe practice. In 1918 he gave land which he owned to the town council to be used as allotments for the poor. His compassion extended to all living creatures. In 1899 he wrote to the Evening Standard to protest against lions being used in circus performances. He was an early advocate of banning all animal acts as both cruel and demeaning.

He was also an early owner of a motor car, and when he died owned a Morris Oxford 14.9 tourer, though it seems he could not drive, as he employed a chauffeur at least until the outbreak of the First World War.

He was remembered in Hythe for his kindnesses, his great height, and his dislike of modern music and jazz.  Reports of his death seem to carry a real sense of loss.  A plaque on the wall of ‘Oaklands’ remembers his ‘gentle and kindly’ nature, and his obituary notes his ‘outstanding character’.  He bequeathed ‘Oaklands’, a substantial house of fifteen rooms, and most of its grounds, to the Borough of Hythe. In 1934, a public library was opened there followed the next year by a museum. Hythe Town Council now occupy the building, and the library is still in an adjoining annexe.

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‘Oaklands’, the home of Arthur Randall Davies and his wife Edith

 

Arthur married Edith Mary Taylor, the second daughter of John and Harriet Taylor, nee Holloway, of Sene Farm, Newington.  She lived with her parents at their farm, and later at Marine Parade, Hythe, until her marriage to Arthur Randall Davis. The year after their marriage Edith gave birth to a son, named Maurice John after his grandfathers, but the baby lived for only six weeks. There were no other children.

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Now barely visible, the initial ‘MJD’ (Maurice John Davies) who is buried with his grandparents John and Harriet Taylor 

Inscription John Taylor/born 26th Jany 1800/died 21st Sept. 1874

Harriet Taylor/wife of the above/born 29th January 1810/died 8th April 1880

M.J.D./born July 13th 1881/died August 29th 1881

Like her husband, Edith cared about animal welfare and was on the local committee of the RSPCA for eighteen years before her death, being involved in the provision of painless euthanasia for cats and dogs.  She and Arthur made Oaklands available to all the organisations to which they belonged, and to others, for fund-raising events, at which she usually acted as hostess.

She had a brother, Edward Tapsell Taylor, two years older than her, her parents’ only son. He was sent to Sevenoaks School, and later became a member of the Stock Exchange, but seems not to have settled to a regular way of life. Never married, he lived throughout his life in various lodgings in Kent and London. He died in Ashford, where he had been boarding with a blacksmith.

 

 

 

 

The Tragedies of a Hythe Cricketing Family

This one gravestone commemorates five members and three generations of the same family.

 

Munds and Bass2

Inscription In/loving memory/of a dear one/Edgar Munds/who was drowned while/skating on the canal/Dec 3rd 1890 in his 15th year/loved by all who knew him

Jesus wept

A light from our household is gone/a voice we loved is still/a place is vacant in our home/which never will be filled

Also/Percy Charles Munds/died Sep 28th 1886/Aged 6 months and 3 weeks/who was interred at Lydd

In/memory of/Cpl. W.E.E. Bass R.G.A./the dearly loved grandson of Edward and Susan Munds/who died of wounds April 3rd 1917/aged 23 years/interred in military cemetery/Arras France

And of/Susan Hewitt/the beloved wife of/Edward Munds/who died October 5th 1920/in her 76th year

Also of/Edward/the devoted husband of the above/who died April 15th 1929/aged 82 years

 

Munds and Bass 1

To start at the beginning:  Susan Baker, a young woman from Lydd, Kent, who was in service with the local schoolmaster, got married to Edward Munds in 1869, when she was about 24 years old. Edward was also born in Lydd, the eldest son of James Munds, a tailor, and Ann, his wife. By the age of fourteen he was working as an agricultural labourer.  A year after their marriage, the Munds had a son, and thereafter babies appeared every two years or so. There were eight eventually.  Percy Charles, who is mentioned here but buried in Lydd, was the first to die at only six months old.

In the late 1880s, Edward moved his family to Hythe, about thirteen miles away and took on the license of the Sportsman public house at 111 High Street, where he remained until about 1903 (the inn burnt down in 1907).

During these years, Edward and his sons developed their keen interest in cricket. Edward, as well as keeping the pub, worked as grounsdman for Hythe Cricket Club.  Two of his sons, Arthur and Raymond, were good enough to play for Kent, and the newspaper obituary for their brother Edgar described him as a promising cricketer, too. However, in the winter of 1890, when he was fourteen, Edgar was drowned in the Royal Military Canal at Hythe. It was not unusual for the canal to freeze solid in winter and to be used as a temporary skating rink, and on the day he died there were a lot of people, young and old skating.  Edgar had gone there with a group of his friends, including one of his older brothers, who told him to avoid the area under Scanlon’s Bridge (a road bridge), as the ice was thin there. Edgar disregarded his advice, the ice was indeed thin and gave way under his weight. He tried to save himself, but was unable to get a grip on the ice and sank. The water here was about fifteen feet deep, and it took nearly half-an-hour before he could be rescued.

Dr Arthur Randall Davies, a local physician (who is also buried in St Leonard’s churchyard) had  been skating himself and was called to the scene. He waited for Edgar to be brought ashore and took the boy to the School of Musketry, just across the road. He tried everything he could to save him, but it was too late.

Edgar’s sister, the eldest daughter of Edward and Susan Munds, was Georgiana. In 1894 she married Walter Bass, a soldier, and their son Walter Edward Edgar Bass was born in January the next year. Georgiana followed her husband to his posting in Ireland, but died there in April.  Walter Bass senior had no option but to send his infant son back to Hythe to his grandparents, while he was sent off to fight in the Boer war. Edward and Susan brought up the boy, whom they called simply ‘Edgar.’ He, too, became a keen cricketer.

By the age of sixteen, the lad was working as a Telegraph boy in Hythe, and Edward, having lost his pub, had moved to Theatre Street and devoted himself to his groundsman’s duties, with a horse stabled at the eastern edge of the field to pull the mower and roller and rake up the grass. When he retired in 1919, his son Raymond followed him into the job.

Walter junior/Edgar joined up in 1915, and served with a Royal Garrison Artillery Heavy Trench Mortar Battery, until he was injured and died of wounds.  He was awarded the Military Medal. He is buried at Ecoivres military cemetery in Mont-Saint-Eloi.

Bass WEE

Susan Munds, having lost three of her children and the grandson she had raised, died in 1920. Edward devoted himself to Hythe Cricket Club until his death, never missing a match.

 

 

The Gardner-Waterman family

The family has three graves in St Leonard’s Churchyard. The first is for Jane Gardner-Waterman, her grandson Alan and Alan’s wife, Maud.

grave1

Inscription: To the glory of God/and in/loving memory of/Jane Clark Gardner-Waterman/who died on the 11th April 1891/aged 71 years

Also of her grandson/Lt. Col. Alan Gardner-Waterman/who died 12th October 1953 aged 71

Also of his wife Maud/at rest 17th January 1978

The second is for Jane’s daughter-in-law, Mary Gardner-Waterman  and her parents:

grave2

In/loving memory of/Henry Cobb Wildash/died 20th April 1890/aged 70 years

And of his wife/Rosa Neame Wildash/died 22nd Oct. 1898 aged76 years

Also of their daughter/Mary Elizabeth Gardner-Waterman/ died illegible 1947 aged 86 years

 The third, pictured next to Mary’s grave is for two others of Jane’s grandchildren who died as children:

Inscription In loving memory/Brian, aged 5 months, / died 24th October 1889/ Marjorie, aged 2 years, /died 3rd January 1890/children of William & Mary Gardner-Waterman

 Jane Clark Gardner-Waterman nee Waterman was born at Willesborough near Ashford in Kent and was baptised there on 17 August 1817. She was the daughter of John Waterman, a Royal Navy Commander, and his wife Jane. She married Sladden Gardner, ten years her junior, in 1851, but he died two years later, leaving her with two sons, one born posthumously. The first was named Waterman, the second William. Some years later she began to add her maiden name, to which she seems to have been very attached,  to her married name to produce ‘Gardner-Waterman.’ This conferred on her  elder son the name Waterman Gardner-Waterman. He went to Cambridge, then took holy orders and became the Rector of Bicknow with Hucking in the Romney Marsh and later Vicar of Loose. He and his wife had a daughter, Hilda.

William was articled to a solicitor and on qualifying married Mary Elizabeth, ‘May’  Wildash, daughter of a Hythe doctor on 2 June 1881 at St Leonard’s church, Hythe. She was the only child of Henry Cobb Wildash and Rosa Neame Wildash, and had been born in Hythe and baptised there on 20 September 1858.  The couple lived at Luton House in Hythe.

The year after her marriage May gave birth to her first child, Alan. He was followed by two more children, Marjorie, who was baptised on 24 February 1884 and died in January 1889, and Brian who was baptised on 18 June 1885 and died aged five months. William  died at Davos Platz, Switzerland on 22 June 1889.  It was a favoured destination for the sick and ailing and recommended by doctors to patients with lung disease, as its air was especially pure. It is likely that William suffered from TB.  He is commemorated in a mosaic vignette on the pulpit of St Leonard’s Church.  As a widow, May moved back into her parents’ house with Alan, and her mother-in-law also moved to Hythe, living at Bank House at what is now 93 High Street.  May is commemorated by a stained glass window in St Edmund’s Chapel in the Church.

William plaque

The mosaic vignette in memory of William Gardner-Waterman on the pulpit of St Leonard’s Church

?????
The window on the left is in memory of Mary Gardner-Waterman

William had left his family well provided for, to the tune of over £7000, and Alan  attended the  Sutherland House School in Folkestone as a boarder from the age of eight and was then educated at Uppingham School, from 1896-1899, and at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. In 1900 he received a commission in the Royal Field Artillery. He served in India as subaltern and captain, and while there married Elsie Lue Dowling on 22 March 1915.She died in London in 1917. Alan served in France in the First World War, during which he was wounded twice. He volunteered to return to India for the Afghan War and remained there until 1925, being promoted to Major and Lieutenant-Colonel. During this time, probably about 1920, when their engagement was announced in Hythe,  he was married to Maud. He retired in 1933, but was appointed Regional Commander of the Local Defence Volunteers for the North Riding of Yorkshire, where he was living, in 1940.  . His Kashmiri Diaries are held by Cambridge University. He died at Fleet, in Hampshire.

Maud Gardner-Waterman nee Evangeline Maud Manderville was born on 13 July 1882, the daughter of Henry Ambrose Mandeville of Anner Castle Clonmel Ireland. and died in Hythe 1978