The Tragedies of a Hythe Cricketing Family

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

 

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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

 

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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. He later took employment with Mr Pinto, a Hythe electrician, but then became a professional cricketer. In 1914 he had moved to Lincolnshire and was described when playing at Woodhall Spa as having hopes of joining the Lincolnshire county side. He joined up in 1915, and was awarded the Military Medal and bar for bravery in the field. His Captain wrote to his grandparents that a shell burst over his position, and struck him in the chest. He died the next day without regaining consciousness.

He is buried at Ecoivres military cemetery in Mont-Saint-Eloi.

Bass WEE

 

Edward, now retired as a publican, 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.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.

 

 

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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.

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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:

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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.

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

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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

               

The Wilks Family of Hythe

The next two plots in St Leonard’s Churchyard are dedicated to four generations of the Wilks family of Hythe.

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The first was George Wilks who was born in Ospringe, Kent, and baptised there on 18 January 1836. He was one of the fourteen children of Edward Frederick Wilks, a farmer, and his wife Maria. By the age of twenty-five he was a qualified solicitor and had married Fanny Stringer. She was the daughter of William Stringer, an Attorney of New Romney, and his wife Mary. After their marriage, in 1861, the couple lived in Mount Street in Hythe, later moving to a house in the High Street next to George’s office, where eleven children were born to them. George was Town Clerk for over thirty years and also Treasurer and Manager of the Hythe Church of England Girls’ School.  His other interests were wide-raging: among them, membership of the Kent Archaeological Society, secretary of the Hythe branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, treasurer and manager of the National Schools and churchwarden at St Leonard’s  Church. He had been largely responsible for persuading the South Eastern Railway to bring a branch line to Hythe. At his funeral, the coffin was carried by members of the Coast Guard and the Lifeboat crew.

After his death, Fanny moved back to New Romney to live with her sister Laura, and died there

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This stone commemorates George Stringer Wilks and his cousin Charles Edward Wilkes

Their eldest son was George Stringer Wilks, baptised at St Leonard’s Church on 14 March 1862. By the age of nine he had been sent away to school at Rocky Hill House in Maidstone. After school, he followed in his father’s footsteps and at nineteen was an articled solicitor’s clerk.

In 1886, newly qualified as a solicitor, he married Florence Gertruda Lovegrove and took a house in Church Avenue, Hythe.  Two daughters were born: Sibyl in 1887 and Katherine in 1889 .   George practised law together with his father from their offices at 54 (now 114) High Street, Hythe, and he joined the volunteer battalion of the Buffs East Kent Regiment, something which seems to have been expected of local gentlemen. Obviously a good shot, in 1889 he was appointed an Instructor at the Hythe School of Musketry. Originally established in the mid-19th Century, the school taught skills in firearms and marksmanship to Army officers.  Always a busy man, George also served as Town Clerk, a post he had inherited from his father,  and Clerk to the Magistrates of Hythe.  In 1889 published ‘The Early History of Hythe’. In 1908 was appointed joint solicitor to the Cinque Ports Courts of Brotherhood and Guestling. His death at forty-eight was sudden: he complained of feeling unwell, was operated on for appendicitis that day, but died within thirty-six hours.

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114 High Street, Hythe, where George Wilks and his son George Stringer Wilks practised law and raised their families. Now a Red Cross charity shop, it is decorated for the biennial Hythe Festival.

His sister, Mildred Stringer Wilks also rests here. She was the sixth child of George and Fanny Wilks and lived at home until her late twenties, when she took up a post as matron of a girls’ boarding school in Lancashire. She returned home later in life and died in the Folkestone area.

The first George Wilks had a much younger brother, Charles, a farmer at Chislett, who married and had a son, Charles Edward  Wilks. Charles senior died young, and his wife sold the farm, of 754 acres, and took her children to live in South Shields, where she had been born. Charles junior became a chartering clerk with a shipping broker there.  However, in 1917, he returned to Kent, and married Sibyl, the daughter of George Stringer Wilks, and his own second cousin, in Hythe.  They are buried here together.

The son of Charles Edward  and Sibyl Wilks was John Wilks, born in  London in 1918. He was a member of the Friends Ambulance Unit which, during WWII transported medical supplies into China for civilians and worked alongside the Chinese Red Cross in tending casualties. He later became a surgeon at Bolton Hospital. He married Wu Shih Tsen, ‘Doris’, who was born in China and was a fellow member of the Friends Ambulance Unit . They had two children. Both John and Doris Wilks are commemorated on this plot.

Sibyl’s sister Katherine is also named here. She married Charles F.H.Baines in Kensington in 1924.  They later lived in Fulham where Katherine worked as a beautician. Charles died in 1958, and in 1967 Katherine married the artist Mordaunt  Mauleverer  Parker who died three years later.