Category Archives: Family History

1912 – Two September weddings but only one actually happened

On Wednesday 4th September 1912, at the Dartford Wesleyan Church, Miss Ellen May Squire of Tyneholme, Hawley, got married. Whilst Ellen (or Helen according to the 1911 census) was born in Erith, her father Thomas Firth Squire was born in Gateshead, and his wife Jane was born in Northumberland, The family had been living in Lewisham in 1901, so had not lived in the parish for very long.

In the same edition of the Dartford Express, on Friday 6th September, there was this item

The following week there appeared this letter in the Dartford Express

So village gossip could spread far and wide. It seems likely that the author of the letter is Fanny Taylor, who was 24 at the time, and was probably thought to be the intended bride.

A Sutton man in Chicago

George Haydon was born in 8th March, 1889 at 1 Ship Lane, Sutton at Hone, and was baptised at St John’s on 26th May 1899, and was the son of Ernest and his wife Elizabeth (nee House). The couple had moved to Sutton at Hone from Berkshire in 1880, and lived at 1 Ship Lane with their children, and Edward was described as working in the paper mill in 1881

George and his siblings would have attended Sutton at Hone school, and what he did after school is unclear. His passage to America has not been traced but seems to have been before the 1911 census. His sister Alice would follow him and arrived in Boston in August 1911.

George and his brother Cecil both served during World War 1 as they are listed on the Absent Voters list for Sutton at Hone. George was listed as being a Private in 8th (Res) Grenadiers, and Cecil was a Gunner in the Royal Horse Artillery.

In June 1919 after discharge from the army, George sailed back to Chicago, and on his papers he is described as being single and a chef. It seems he stayed in the US.

Edward lived in the village for the rest of his life, dying at 7 Ship Lane in 1941, and Elizabeth had died in 1924.

1916 – Hawley’s disabled soldier – Frank Wynn Chapman

The Dartford Express – November 10th 1916

This article appeared in the Dartford Express on 10th November 1916, but unfortunately I have not yet managed to work out the identity of the soldier.  The Myrtles, which is now 2 semi detached houses, seems to have had a number of lodgers, as John Tingle, who is commemorated on the Sutton at Hone War Memorial and in the Farningham Homes for Little Boys Roll of Honour, also lived at the Myrtles.

Rood Ashton House was the family home of the Long family, near West Ashton, Wiltshire.  During the Great War it was a convalescent home for wounded soldiers and sailors.

The Myrtles today


Thanks to Malcolm Scott looking further back in the census records than I had done, the Chapman family has been found in the 1891 census, living at the Myrtles.

Charles and his (blind) wife Ellen, were living at The Myrtles with their son William, but they had two other sons, Charles (who died in 1900), and Frank Winn, our disabled soldier.

Frank Winn was born on 10th August 1874, and joined the Welsh Fusiliers in January 1890, and served 21 years with the regiment, serving in Crete, Malta, Egypt, China and India, and finally left in April 1911.

On 29th August 1914, Frank having been working as a messenger, re-enlisted on 29th August 1914 in London, and served briefly on the Western Front before being taken prisoner, and then repatriated back to England in a prisoner exchange. Frank was discharged from the army as being unfit for military service on 28th June 1915. His wounds were described as being a gun shot wound to his right leg, and his right arm and his left hand had been amputated. In December 1916 he was awarded a Silver War Badge.

His bride was Ellen Elizabeth Braithwaite, and they married in late 1916. After spending time in Wiltshire, the couple moved to Birkbeck Avenue, Ealing, and Frank died there in 1949.

The brother who was working at Eynsford Paper Mill, was William Michael, who had married Ellen Sarah Gibson at St John’s in 1899. The couple had a daughter, Violet Kathleen, who married in 1930 to Cecil Roberts, and the couple were living in the High Street, Dartford, where Cecil ran a hairdresser’s salon.

A Sutton Scout Troop Wedding in 1920

Local papers would often feature the local weddings, giving lots of details about the happy couple, including career details, as well as detailed descriptions of the service, clothing and wedding presents, and can make fascinating reading as they are so different to weddings today.

On the 31st July 1920, a marriage took place at St John the Baptist Church of Mr Victor Thompson (of St John’s Terrace, Sutton-at-Hone) and  Miss Marian King (of The Bakery). Victor Thompson had been acting Scoutmaster for the Sutton Scout Troop whilst Mr Kadwill had served as an officer during the Great War.

The service was officiated by the Rev. A. E. Bourne, and it was described as a choral service (I am not sure this meant there were hymns sung or that the choir performed), and the Vicar spoke “with great appreciation” of the work the couple had done in the parish.

The bride was dressed in a soft blue gown, with matching hat, and carried a sheaf of lilies (very fashionable in the 1920s).  The two bridesmaids, Miss Thompson and Miss Coulson, wore champagne colienne (I think it is a type of silk) dresses and black hats, and carried bouquets of pale pink carnations.

There was a large congregation, including many Girls Friendly Society friends and members of the local Scout Troop.  When the couple left the church  the 1st Sutton-at-Hone Troop of Boy Scouts formed a guard of honour. After a reception, the couple motored to Hastings for their honeymoon.

There was a list of wedding presents was shown in the local paper, and here is a selection:
Bride to Bridegroom – gold watch
Bridegroom to Bride – gold chain and pendant
Bride’s father and mother – cheque
Bridegroom’s mother – oak biscuit barrel and house linen
Bridegroom’s father – china cabinet
Bridegroom’s sister – cruet
Bridegroom’s grandmother – silver cream jug
Members of the G.F.S. – silver cake stand
Fellow workers at Messrs J. & E. Hall, Ltd – 8 day clock
Members of Sutton-at-Hone Tennis Club – glass and silver inkstand

The 1939 Civil Registration register, taken in September 1939, shows that the happy couple were living at Alexandra Cottages, Ship Lane, and Victor is described as being “Charge Hand, Engine Machine Shop”, and both Victor and Marion are both described as being First Aid Service Vol.

1915 – Death of Hawley resident Thomas Webster

The importance of the local paper has declined in our digital world. It was in the 19th century the main source for all news unless you bought a national daily paper, and as they were expensive, most people did not buy them.  In the 20th century, cheaper daily papers were being published (the Daily Mail had started in 1896, the Daily Express in 1900 and the Daily Mirror in 1903) but the local paper was still the main source of local news, and so family notices for weddings and funerals could be very detailed.  Wedding announcements usually gave details of employment, and for some there are even lists of presents.  For funerals, there is often some autobiographical detail, as well as a list of those who attended (and their relationship to the deceased) and who sent flowers.  These can be useful if you are tracing your family tree.

During the Great War, there did not seem to be that many local notices, probably because there were restrictions on paper, but on 15th February 1915 the Dartford Chronicle noted the death and funeral of Thomas Webster, which gives the date of the formation of two local organisations.

Thomas Webster, of 5 Hawley Terrace, had died the previous Thursday (4th February) after a very painful illness that lasted five months.  Mr Webster was 56 years old and had worked for the past 19 years at the local paper mills of Messrs T.H. Saunders & Co. For over fifteen years he had held the secretaryship of the Sutton at Hone Friendly Society and was a most energetic member of the local football and carnival committees since the year of their formation, 1906.

Hawley Terrace is the row of houses to the right on this picture

The funeral took place on Monday 7th February at St. John the Baptist, Sutton at Hone, and the service was taken by the Vicar, Rev A. E. Bourne, the chief mourners were the widow, Mrs Eliza Webster, his daughter Mary (Mrs C. Carpenter) and sons William Webster and Albert Webster, Mrs P Ward (niece), Miss L. Hollands (sister-in-law), Miss M. Webster (sister), Mr & Mrs B. Hollands (brother and sister-in-law), Mr & Mrs F. Hollands (brother and sister-in-law), and Mrs T. Williams (cousin).

Thomas Webster was born in Wrotham in 1858, the son of Thomas and Mary Webster (nee West), and was by 1881 working in a paper mill as a paper maker cutter.  He married Eliza Hollands in 1884, and by 1896 the family had moved to Hawley, and in 1901 they were living at 8 Mill Road, and by 1911, they were living at 5 Hawley Terrace.

1917 – Local boy wins a scholarship to Dartford Grammar School

In July 1917, the local paper, the Dartford Chronicle, shows that Edwin Francis Hughes, a pupil at Sutton at Hone Church School had been awarded a Kent Education Committee scholarship, and would be starting in the Autumn term.  This is also noted in the school log on 23rd July 1917.

In the 1911 census, Edwin is living with his parents Edwin and Flora, and his older sister Dorothy, at 7 Barfield Terrace.  His father’s occupation was described as an ironmonger’s fitter.  It is possible that that his father was working for Garrett’s.

The 1939 Civil Registration Registration shows that Edwin was still living at Barfield Terracce (no.3) with his wife Doris (nee Shuter) who he had married in 1933.  He is shown as being a carpenter and joiner as well as “First Aid Section Works” as war work.