The little book belonging to Bartholomew Glasscock

One of the most exciting finds connected to my family history was a tiny book wrapped in brown paper.  It was hidden in a bookcase which I was going through after my mother died.

When first researching my grandmother’s ancestry I had hit a brick wall with her grandmother Elizabeth Palmer.  In 1842 Elizabeth Palmer married William Hopkins, part of a well-established family of Thames Lightermen in Lambeth and Southwark, but Elizabeth came from the small village of Sheering in Essex and I had problems discovering more about her family.

Gradually over many years I traced her father Thomas Palmer son of George Palmer and Mary Glascock also from Sheering and I was intrigued by Mary’s father Bartholomew Glasscock who although also born and married in Sheering appeared as a witness to many marriages at St Mary’s church in the nearby village of Matching.

Opening the little brown book revealed that all my research had been correct.  There were four handwritten names, three of which followed the family tree I had researched. The second name was Bartholomew Glasscock my 5th great grandfather, the third name was Elizabeth Palmer, my 3rd great grandmother and the last name Constance Talbot was my grandmother.

So what is this little book?  It is “The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper explained to the Meanest Capacity in a Familiar Dialogue between a Minister and one of his Parishioners” printed in 1766.  On the next page was written William Hopkins, husband of Elizabeth Palmer and the Granddad who had passed the book on to Constance Talbot.

I was able to discover William Dearing by Googling.  He was Vicar of St Mary the Virgin in the village of Matching in Essex from 1761 until 1785.  This was the time when Bartholomew Glasscock was witnessing marriage ceremonies in that church.

St Mary the Virgin, Matching, Essex

I have now visited the charming church in Matching down a narrow country lane and continue to explore the Glasscock family in Essex. I do like it when all the pieces of a jigsaw fit together especially with a primary source!

In December 2015 I was contacted by a Glascocke descendent in Virginia.  We are now investigating the unlikely possibility that our shared ancestor was one of the first 17th century residents of Jamestown, Virginia.

A Policeman's Lot

One spring day in 1976 my parents took me to the Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned in Main Street, Gibraltar.  There we were ushered into the vestry where a large old book lay open.  On its pages we read of the baptism of Jorge Weir, son of Juan Weir and his wife Rosa Smith in 1841.  This was the baptism of my great grandfather George Ware, the son of an army corporal, whose Irish wife insisted that their son was baptised in a Catholic church rather than by the Anglican chaplain in the garrison.  George already had an older sister and two years later another sister was baptised at the Cathedral.  Perhaps because of the crowded conditions in which army families lived in Gibraltar, this little girl did not live long. 

 In 1844 the 7th Royal Fusiliers, with whom John Ware was serving, embarked for Barbados.  There, Rose Ware gave birth to another daughter, Margaret and both she and George thrived in the warm climate.  Their mother, however, was seriously ill with Scarlet Fever during the voyage home, but thankfully she recovered and in 1848 the family set sail for Halifax, Nova Scotia, where a year later James Ware was born.  After just over two years the Wares returned to England, first to Winchester where another son, William, was born in 1850 and after a short time in Portsmouth to Devonport where the last sibling Louisa appeared in 1853.

John Ware had been born in York but on his discharge in 1854 he chose to live in Hull where he had found employment with the Coastguard.  Sadly Rose died within a year and 14 year old George found himself work on a whaling ship.  At the age of 16, George married 17 year old Elizabeth and they had a young son John George.  Seeking a better life for his family George set out for London to join the Metropolitan Police force.  Working in Limehouse, he was known for his toughness.

 George only stayed in London for 2 years but this valuable experience was put to good use when he moved to the police force in Leeds.  There, according to the writer of his obituary, “His intelligence and smartness were quickly recognised, and he was entrusted with much detective work, in which he particularly distinguished himself.”  He quickly gained his sergeant’s stripes, and it was not long before he was promoted to be an inspector, and further to be Deputy Chief Constable- and all this within the space of 5 years.

At this point George Ware heard of an opening in Kings Lynn, Norfolk.  Lieut. Cornelius Reeve was retiring as Superintendent of Police.  George applied for the position and despite being only 25 he was selected from a large number of candidates.  As a young man of the lower classes and an experienced policeman he was an unusual choice.  It was normal to choose a retired army officer of greater age, but the Lynn Watch committee had asked Lieut. Reeves to resign for being drunk on duty and they were impressed with George Ware’s record in Leeds.  His family was given rent free accommodation adjoining the Guildhall, next door to the Police Station in the Saturday Market and Mrs Ware was appointed Hall Keeper at £15 per year.

But all was not plain sailing for Superintendent Ware.  Six months after taking command George prepared his men for an inspection by Major-General Cartwright.  On 24th June 1867 the Watch Committee looked on proudly as Supt. Ware drilled his men.  The Major-General congratulated him on the efficiency of the establishment and was impressed by the arrangements for interim custody of prisoners.  He was, however, less satisfied with their relief to vagrants and directed that, “strict attention should be given to the searching of all suspected applicants, so as to distinguish as far as practicable the destitute wayfarer from the professional beggar and vagabond.”  Supt. Ware was personal charged with relief of casual paupers which he found most distasteful.

Two weeks later, the Mayor of Kings Lynn instructed Supt. Ware that his men should use every means at their disposal to prevent public begging in the streets.  But George resisted; he knew the hardships which people would suffer to keep their families out of the Workhouse and he feared the bad reputation his officers would receive if they constantly chased ragged urchins around the streets.  An angry interchange, between the brash young police Superintendent and the middle aged solicitor who was Mayor, meant that the Watch Committee had to deal with the fall out.  At a meeting of the committee next day the Mayor complained about Supt. Ware’s improper and insulting behaviour and George was told to move out with his family by Michaelmas.  Thankfully at the Town Council meeting 5 days later, the call for George’s resignation was considered to be out of all proportion to the offence.  The Mayor agreed to ask the Watch Committee to rescind their decision since Supt Ware had offered him a full and satisfactory apology.

On the personal front, George also suffered during his early years in Kings Lynn.  Within a month of their arrival, his daughter Elizabeth died and daughter Lillie born the following year died at 12 months.  Soon his wife, Elizabeth was also dead, leaving him to bring up his two sons John and Leon.  Things improved when he met and married Rebecca Linferd in 1870.  She was a farmer’s daughter from the nearby village of Walpole St Peter and as the years went by, she and George had six children.

Although George’s job was unchanged, the Watch Committee thought it appropriate to change his job title in 1889 when he became Chief Constable of the Borough Force.  Throughout his tenure George Ware was a, “hands on,” policeman who solved many crimes of national proportions.  Living close to Sandringham, he frequently had to arrange Royal protection and accompany parades.  Coming from a musical family he had established a police band which became very popular.

In 1898, suffering from chronic gout and attacks of bronchitis George Ware tendered his resignation after 40 years in the police force.  He was presented with a gold watch, a testimonial signed by 142 subscribers and a cheque for £133.  He retired to Bournemouth where he died in 1911 nursed by his third wife, Jane.

"A Movable Rambling Police" An official History of Policing in Norfolk by Brian David Butcher
"Glimpses of Fiddaman's Lynn" by Rosemary & Stan Rodliffe
Lynn Advertiser 28 April 1911

You can read about one of Superintendent Ware's investigations here

Dying of flu – Another tragic consequence of World War One

The flu pandemic of 1918, which killed more people than the First World War, was wrongly named Spanish Flu.  Research by a team from St Bartholomew's Hospital and the Royal London Hospital suggested the troops and hospital camp at Etaples were the centre of the virus.  Records revealed last year suggest that influenza may have arrived with the 96 000 Chinese labourers who were brought in to work behind the lines on the Western Front.  But it was the movement of troops travelling bome at the end of World War One which ensured its spread around the world.

Many of the victims were women, particularly those who were nurses. These were three of them.

In the War Plot of Old Stoke cemetery in Guildford can be found the grave of 29 year old Staff nurse Elizabeth Annie Challinor, who after training at Manchester Royal Infirmary, had joined Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service.  She was sent to work at the Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldershot where in 1918 she contracted influenza which lead to pneumonia and death.  Her father, a widower, had moved down to Guildford from their home in Lancashire and so he arranged for to be buried in the town rather than at Aldershot.  The will she had written when joining the service left everything to her sister Edith.  This amounted to three pounds nine shillings and sixpence after her board and washing had been deducted.  No funds were provided for her funeral as she was considered to be a civilian dying at home.

In the same month, also at the Cambridge Hospital, Aldershot, two young VAD nurses died.  Dorothy Jeanette Squire had been born in Bedfordshire in 1888, the daughter of a farmer.  By 1911 she was living in Ramsgate, Kent with her widowed mother.  Her fellow VAD Muriel Edith Elizabeth Forde Tichbo(u)rne came from Ireland where she was born in 1893.  Muriel's father was a Canon in the Church of Ireland and after she died, he arranged for a memorial stained glass window to be erected in the church of St Marks in Armagh.  Both Muriel and Dorothy were buried in the military cemetery in Aldershot.

Commonwealth War Graves

Matron of a War Hospital. Agnes Withers 1875-1952

When Guildford War Hospital was established in the Workhouse at Warren Road, Guildford in 1916, its first Matron was Agnes Harriett Withers.  Miss Withers who was 40 at this time, had been born in Somerset, the daughter of a dairyman, and trained as a nurse at the General Infirmary and Gloucester Eye Institute.  On completing her training she continued to work in Gloucester as a Staff Nurse before moving to Brighton Hospital for Women as a Sister Midwife from 1901 until 1904.  After a year in charge of a private medical and surgical Home in Ipswich, Agnes was interviewed to join Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service.  She was recommended for a position at Louise Margaret Hospital in Aldershot and a year later she moved to the Military Family Hospital in Curragh.  In 1911 her breadth of experience was rewarded by appointment as matron at Shorncliffe Military Families Hospital in Folkestone.

Towards the end of 1913, the QAIMNS Reserve was prepared, ready for the event of war.  Agnes Withers was one of only 300 trained nurses in the Reserve, although by 1919 it was made up of 10,404 fully trained staff.  In September 1914, Miss Withers was told to prepare herself for travel to Malta but this was cancelled and she remained at Shorncliffe Hospital until her appointment as matron in Guildford on June 10th 1916.  Agnes worked at Guildford war Hospital for 13 months before being posted to Salonika via France on July 26th 1917.  Her duties establishing the Military Hospital at Guildford were recognised by the Royal Red Cross Second Class awarded to her by the King in April 1917 and she retained a link with Guildford, having her post sent to the Williamson sisters who lived in Epsom Road, Guildford.

Agnes continued as Matron in Salonika until the end of the war, receiving the Greek medal for Military Merit before being posted to Malta as Sister-in-Charge.  When she left Salonika in 1919 she was given a glowing report by Lieut-Col. Gates, the Officer in Charge.  He said that Miss Withers was, “of even and cheerful disposition and displayed great energy and zeal for the welfare and nursing of the sick and wounded.  Her tact and high standard of conduct have made her respected and liked by the whole staff of the hospital.”  He added that she was, “A good organiser and manager who obtains the best work from her staff with the minimum of friction.  Her determination and personality make her thoroughly capable of managing a large staff.”

In 1922 Agnes was finally allowed to return to England for a long leave which she spent with the Williamson sisters in Guildford before starting work at Chatham Military Families Hospital.  She was probably relieved to return to Louise Margaret Hospital in Aldershot in 1924, where she worked until her retirement in 1926.  She obviously continued to enjoy travelling as during her retirement Miss Withers can be found on the passenger list of ships to Gibraltar and Port Said and she also visited Switzerland.  Her residence from 1922 until at least 1945 was in Guildford and when she died in 1952 her funeral service was at Woking Crematorium.