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Military Monday - Percival Richardson. Royal Engineers Part I

I've recently added my 2x Great Uncle Percival Richardson to Lives of the First World War . I've already posted a few posts abo...

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Monday, 16 December 2013


St Mary's church in Clifton, Nottingham has a lovely setting.  Tucked away at the back of the old village it stands in front of Clifton Hall which itself overlooks the River Trent and Clifton Grove.

Whilst I was studying History at the Nottingham Trent University campus next door to the village, we had a class visit to the church to see the building and consider its development over the years, but I hadn't realised back then that I had ancestors buried in the church yard.




Spending time in the Nottinghamshire Archives this summer I had traced my Oldham family back to Clifton, so a couple of weeks ago I revisited the church to see if there were any family grave stones.  To my delight I found my 7x Great Grandparents Gervas & Mary Oldham just in front of the church door.

Gervas was born in Clifton, the son of John and Elizabeth, and had been baptised at St. Mary's on the 24 Oct 1731.  He married Mary Clarke in the same church on the 24 Dec 1751.

Going through the parish records in the archives I had found seven of their children; their second son William being my 6x Great Grandfather.  I also knew their eldest son Thomas had died in 1767.






Mary died in June 1793; Gervas died in October 1811 aged 82.

"Sacred to the memory of Jarvis Oldham who departed this life Oct 4th 1811 Aged 82 years.
Also
Mary his wife who died June 11th 1793 aged 61 years."



                                                   

But I was shocked when I read the inscription at the very bottom of the gravestone:

"Likewise Nine of their Children who died Early in Life."


The records in the archives had given me no idea that Gervas and Mary had had to bury so many of their children.  They can't have had an easy life.  My next step might be to find out a bit more about the social conditions of Clifton in this time, to see how they lived then.
Friday, 13 December 2013


My first cousin 5x removed, Thomas Robinson Shaw was baptised at Skelton in North Yorkshire, the son of David Shaw and Ann Robinson.

In August 1866 he married Mary Davies who was originally from Bilton in Staffordshire.  They had thirteen children - seven girls and six boys - between 1867 and 1890.  The family lived on a farm of sixty-two acres in Moorsholm, North Yorkshire.





Thomas died in 1893 and was buried in Moorsholm church yard.



"In Loving Memory of Thomas Robinson Shaw of Moorsholm
Who Died May 8th 1893 aged 59 years"








Also born on this day:
1906 - Sir Laurens van der Post, South African author (d. 1996)
1925 - Dick Van Dyke, American actor and comedian
1948 - Ted Nugent, American guitarist
1949 - Robert Lindsay, English actor
1957 - Steve Buscemi, American actor
1974 - Sara Cox, English TV and radio presenter
1975 - Tom DeLonge, American guitarist (blink-182, Angels & Airwaves)
1981 - Amy Lee, American singer/songwriter (Evanescence)
Monday, 9 December 2013


At the church where I got married, in Shirland, Derbyshire, there is a World War One memorial plaque.


I thought I'd have a look on Ancestry to see if I could find out any background to the men on the memorial and ended up discovering quite an interesting tale about William Palmer.

William Palmer, the son of George and Elizabeth  was born in Shirland in 1879, one of eight children.  In January 1894 he married Margaret Allen from Ambergate and they settled in Shirland; William was working as a miner.

The 1911 census recorded William & Margaret living in Chapel Houses, Shirland with six children; Frances, George William, Louisa, Samuel, Alwinne and Herbert.  They also had an older daughter, Elizabeth born in 1894 and a daughter Margaret, born in 1898 and who died aged eleven months.

Despite being aged 37 and with dependant children, William Palmer enlisted in the Sherwood Foresters on the 3rd February 1915 and became Private 22945.  But he was discharged from the army on the 10th March as he was: "not likely to become an efficient soldier."

A re-enlistment letter dated 2nd August 1915 states that he may re-enlist for Home Service only, his medical examination had revealed: "valvular heart disease & bronchitis, on the slightest exertion this man becomes distressed in his breathing.  His breathing is harsh & there are patches of tubular breathing over both lungs."

Undeterred, William re-enlisted in Chesterfield later in August 1915 and was posted to the Durham Light Infantry No 33630.  Sadly, on the 15th August 1916, William was accidentally drowned at South Shields and was buried at Harton Cemetery there.

His widow Margaret was initially denied a widow's pension as William was, "not engaged in military duty when he met with the accident which caused his death," but following an appeal she was granted 15 shillings a week for a year from April 1917.

I think it is fitting that William Palmer is mentioned on his village war memorial -  despite his ill health he still managed to serve his country.