The Not So Famous
Comprehensive paperback of letters written by famous people that gives a glimpse into their lives from a new perspective; not everyone finds these funny although some are no doubt humorous and a number of happy readers find them quite touching.
The Forgotten People
Every family has its black sheep, and if you dig deeply enough its heroes (often forgotten heroes). This article is about those who through their own personal achievements have left their mark on society in some small way.
People like Thomas Arthur VC who fought in the Crimean War and won the Victoria Cross and George Burgess who made his mark in society (but not in the history books) for his lifetime dedication to Phrenology. And in not forgetting the millions of forgotten heroes of war this lens also pays tribute to them.
Even Every place has its history, major towns and cities like Bristol are well known and well documented. But little places like Uley, a small village in the Cotswolds where Hetty Pegler's Tump can be found, are not so famous.
The image above is of Frederick Thomas Jenner and his company during world war one. Being in a reserved occupation he didn't have to join up but he volunteered anyway (to the displeasure of his wife) to do his bit for king and country.All photos in this article were either taken by me and are my own family photos or have been given to me by family members of their photos for publishing to the page.
Sydney Davis (c1895-1916)
WWI Forgotten Hero
Sydney Davies, Rifleman of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade in World War I (1914-1918), serial No. 26/761, died in France at the age of 21 from wounds on 23rd September 1916. Sydney (son of T Chambers and Minnie Davis, of Cambridge, New Zealand) native of Liverpool, England, was before the war a Shepherd.
A fellow genealogy researcher 'Adge' is interested in learning more about Sydney Davies so if you happen to have any information on him including his family and life please leave a message in the Comments box at the bottom of this page, or contact me directly.
WWI memorial stone of T.R. Bailey at Ypres, Belgium - Memorial Graves at Ypres, Belgium
A short video I made for a friend when we visited the War Graves in Ypres, Belgium.
Thomas Arthur VC (1835-1902)
Gunner Thomas Arthur of Abbotsham, VC of Bideford
In the summer of 1855 Gunner and Driver Thomas Arthur, aged 20 was with his artillery battery in an advanced position at Sebastopol. The British were attacking the Russians in an attempt to capture the 'Quarries', an advanced position held by the Russians. Thomas Arthur was responsible for the ammunition magazine. However, his deeds went well beyond his call of duty; in intensive fighting and realising that infantry of the 7th Fusiliers were short of much needed ammunition he crossed open ground, which was under intensive fire from the enemy, many times to supply much needed ammunition. Less than two weeks later he volunteered and led a party to spike the guns of a fortified position held by the Russian artillery at the Redan. And further to this, on numerous occasions he left the trenches to rescue wounded officers and men. For all these heroic actions he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Thomas Arthur, aka Thomas McArthur, was born of humble background in c1835 at Abbotsham. Follow this link to read the full life history of Thomas Arthur VC.
This entertaining book of humorous quotations from the famous and not so famous, reminiscing on their personal pessimisms of life, is a sure fire way to bring a smile to your face.
George Burgess (1829-1905)
Phrenologist in the Shopping Arcades, Bristol (1861 to 1901)
George Burgess born of a humble background in 1829, Staple Hill, travelled to America with his brother-in-law when they were teenagers to finish their apprenticeship as Stone Masons, but his brother-in-law died out there.
George returned to Bristol, England three times to see his ailing mother, the last time was to marry and not return to America. A decision he ever regretted because of the cruelty by his mother-in-law towards his ailing mother and the misery that caused, although he was happy enough to be with his wife.
While in America he learnt about Phrenology and on his final return to England he set up his own practice as a phrenologist in the shopping Arcades in Bristol from where he practiced his profession for forty years until his retirement in 1901.
As a Phrenologist he published at least two books on the subject. He also wrote his own poems and near his retirement started to write his diary including his immediate family tree going back to John Willis (his grandfather). He also kept a scrapbook of newspaper articles covering most of his working life from the 1850s to 1900s. His scrapbook gives insight into his life as a person, because he selected (as anyone would) articles of interest to him. The Articles reflecting his views and topics of interest included Family, Health and Education, Humour, Poetry, Politics and History, Religion, Science and Nature, Temperance (Drink) and Victorian Culture.
Is a theory which claims to be able to determine character, personality traits and criminality on the basis of the shape of the head e.g. by reading "bumps" and "fissures". Developed by German physician Franz Joseph Gall around 1800, the discipline was very popular in the Victorian era.
Phrenology is based on the concept that the brain is the organ of the mind, and that certain brain areas have localized, specific functions or modules. ‘Modularity of Mind’ being where phrenologists believed that the mind has a set of different mental faculties, where each particular faculty represented in a different portion (or organ) of the brain. These areas were said to be proportional to a given individual's propensities and the importance of a given mental faculty, as well as the overall conformation of the cranial bone to reflect differences among individuals.
Phrenology, which focuses on personality and character, should be distinguished from craniometry, which is the study of skull size, weight and shape, and physiognomy, the study of facial features. However, these disciplines have claimed the ability to predict personality traits or intelligence in fields such as anthropology and ethnology.
A short and concise paperback book on famous people in the Middle Ages; makes for an ideal quick reference guide.
The Infamous Sarah Bradbeare of Pitminster (1664-1719)
Sarah is first recorded in the year 1686 in Pitminster, Somerset. The record is not an auspicious one being the entry in the accounts of the overseers of the poor: "Laid out for a guard upon Sarah BRADBEARE and for a horse to carry her to the justice. 3 shillings". The Quarter Sessions record has not been found, but it is known from the parish register of St. Mary and St. Andrew that her "baseborn" son William Bradbeare was baptised on 3rd April 1687 so it was obviously a "bastardly" hearing. The father is not known....
Published on Nathanville genealogy website with the kind permission of Tony Milward, "Bradbeer One-name Study" - firstname.lastname@example.org
Lillian Maud England (1879-1958)
For dedication to the poor and needy children
Lillian from a prominent Quaker family, the daughter of William George England, married Frederick Thomas Jenner (a Quaker wedding) on the 1st January 1901. One wedding guest was Priscilla G Fry (part of the Fry family who owned the Bristol Fry's Chocolate factory). After their wedding Lillian adopted and religiously followed her newly wed husband's faith; the Salvation Army.
In life, Lillian was the pillar of society; a local Liberal candidate, and maybe supportive of the suffragette movement (her oldest daughter, Florence, certainly was). All of Lillian's active adult life she consistently worked in the local community and for the community doing whatever she could to help the poor and needy; especially the children.
Lillian had eight children and brought them up in the Salvation Army, she also took in waifs and strays (children in need) and brought them up as part of her own family. Lillian was very prim and proper and very particular on how her children were brought up.
Unfortunately she suffered from a lot of illness and was frequently in and out of hospital. On such occasions her oldest daughter (Florence Eveline Jenner) had to stay home from school; and later in life give up work to run the home and look after her younger brothers and sisters, and any other children (one being Rose Maggs) that Lillian had taken in under her care.
Frederick C England (1876)
Almost blind yet loved painting
Frederick England born 1876 is the son of William George England, the brother to Lillian Maud England and the Uncle to Florence Eveline Jenner. Frederick was an artist of little fame. Late in life he did several oil paintings, with the Salvation Army as the theme, using the smooth side of hardboard as canvas. It was all the more remarkable as he was almost blind at the time. One such painting was of his niece Edith Louisa Jenner and her husband Norman Davis in their Salvation Army uniforms.
Frederick and his wife (Isabella) son, Frederick England, who owned a caravan Park at Woodland's lane, Almondsbury, Bristol. A local newspaper headline of the Caraban Park read "Caravans can be marriage savers".
Florence Eveline Jenner (1901-1994)
Dedication to the elderly and needy in society
Florence Eveline Jenner aka Eva Baglin was the daughter of Lillian Maud England and Frederick Thomas Jenner, a family of some prominence and wealth. She had an ordinary childhood and led an ordinary life. Her father volunteered to fight in the First World War although he didn't have to because he was in a reserved occupation and her mother worked in the local community supporting the poor and needy, especially the children.
However, because Eva was the oldest of eight she was destined to care for others from childhood. She had to look after her seven siblings (and sometimes other children) on the occasions when her mother was in hospital. And in adulthood she ended-up looking after both mother and mother-in-law in their old age; and an uncle (Arthur Edward England) who visited for a weekend and stayed until he died.
She also dedicated her life to the Salvation Army (Staple Hill, Bristol, Corp) where over many years she did her own sermons in the Home League; was the Songster Leader; became responsible for catering; involved herself in the forget-me-not club, and as a dedicated Salvationist worked within the community and for the community visiting the elderly and sick in hospitals.
On several occasions she became 'Lady of the Year' in the local Corp in recognition of her works and dedication to the Salvation Army and local community.
Florence Jenner (1901-1994) on tape
A short video I put together in honour of Eva Baglin (Florence Jenner), a photo slide show of her while she speaks a little welsh and then plays the accordion.
Grace Enid Baglin (1933-2006)
An inspiration to her family for her flair for writing her everyday life experiences
Grace was the daughter of Florence Eveline Jenner and Edward William Burgess Baglin (Florence being the daughter of Lillian Maud England and Edward the grandson of George Burgess).
Although born into a respectable family she was a square peg in a round hole! She found life at home too prim and proper (a rebel at heart) and married young as a means of escape and although her marriage was a reasonably happy one it didn't last!
Like her father she was a socialist supporting Labour most of her life but switching to the Liberal party when Labour became New Labour. She suffered illness most of her life due to diabetes and having split from her husband survived on a meagre income.
However, she was a happy-go-lucky person looking on the bright side of life (most of the time), and with a great sense of humour and a vivid imagination she had a flair for writing, no doubt inherited from her great-grandfather (George Burgess).
Transcripts of many of her letters and poems are published on my genealogy website, Nathanville.
Arthur Allan Bang (1922-2004)
Rang the Bells of St Andrew's Church of England, Lutwyche, Brisbane, Australia for over 50 years
It's 1951 in Brisbane, Australia and Arthur Allan Bang (the son of Hans Bang and Clara Anna Bertha Andersen) marries Patricia Helen Stickler (the daughter of Donald Arthur Stickler and Olive Emily Black).
Arthur is to be remembered by his family and the local community for his dedication to the local church. Notably, For over half a century Arthur rang the Bells at St. Andrews. The Bells being the largest in the Southern Hemisphere until Queen Elizabeth put a slightly larger one into service in a Canberra church in 1970
The Forgotten Heroes
Kenneth Jenner died of TB in hospital, but he also died a war hero!
At the top of this article we have the story of Thomas Arthur VC who fought in The Crimean War (1853-1856) and mention of Frederick Thomas Jenner who volunteered to fight in the First World War (1914-1918) even though he was in a reserved occupation, both survived. And below, the brief service of HMS Empress during World War Two and the sad story of Reginald Shaw.
This article is about Kenneth Jenner (1924-1944) who fought in the Second World War (1939-1945) and is dedicated to the millions who didn't survive; the ordinary people who were the casualties of war.
Kenneth Jenner died of TB in hospital, but he also died a war hero. He was discharged from the Royal Marines on the 26th November 1943 on the grounds that he was "Physically unfit for Royal Marine Service". According to his sister (Eva Baglin) and his niece (Grace Russ) he was hit in the shoulder by a sniper while on active duty and was sent back to England to recover in hospital. While in hospital recovering from his war wound he contracted TB and a year later (on the 26th October 1944) he died of TB.
Ken's name, with many others who died fighting for their country, is on the war memorial in Page Park, Staple Hill, Bristol, England.
The cub (far left on the photo below) is Nathan, the great Nephew of Ken.
War Memorial, Staple Hill, Bristol
The war memorial featured in this article, in Page Park, Staple Hill (a suburb of Bristol).
Leading Aircraftman Reginald Shaw 1030209
Contribution with thanks from JOHN RICHARDS, dedicated to his wife's uncle, Reginald Shaw
Reginald Shaw was born in 1916 in the small coalmining town of Coalville, Leicestershire. He was the second son of Mr. and Mrs William Shaw and though of only small stature, he followed his elder brother in taking part in all local activities, including a love for football. He took a great interest in his personal appearance and always appeared immaculately dressed.
In 1940 he answered the call of duty and leaving his fiancé, Vera and his mum and dad, he set off for Blackpool where he enlisted with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. The following year Reg was posted to the Far East where he was captured by the Japanese at Tasik Malaja, Java, now part of Indonesia.
Sometime later he was transferred to the notorious Sandakan Camp on the island of Borneo where the prisoners were put to building an airstrip. However, when the Japanese feared that the war was turning against them and that the Australians may invade the island, they moved the prisoners deeper into the jungle- on orders that none were to survive.
The more able-bodied were used to transport food and equipment to the new camp and those that fell by the wayside were either shot or bayoneted to death.
The prisoners incapable of being moved were left in a hut at the main site, without provisions.
Official records state that on June 21, 1945, Reginald Shaw died of Beri Beri, however it is impossible to know whether he died at the camp, or on one of the marches or whether he was put to death.
Only six out of 2500 Australian and British prisoners of Sandakan survived, they managed to escape into the jungle where the local inhabitants looked after them, bravely risking their own lives in doing so.
Reg was originally buried on the island of Borneo, but the area was subjected to flooding and so it was decided to remove the bodies to the cemetery in Singapore. However by this time it was impossible to identify the bodies. Even in death Reg was unable to find the lasting peace he so richly deserved.
Reg Shaw is commemorated on the Coalville War Memorial and the Commomwealth War Graves Commission web site, the Far Eastern Prisoners of War web site and the Krangi Singapore Memorial.
HMS Empress WWII
John Richard Browne and Les Catchpole were two of the crew who served in the engine room on the Empress during World War II. The Captain was J.R.S. Brown.
The HMS Empress built by the USA in 1942 was transferred to the Royal Navy on 8 June 1943 and commissioned on the 9 August 1943. The HMS Empress an assault carrier and fighter carrier saw war service in the Atlantic and East Indies. She supported Eastern Fleet operations against Burma and Malaya in 1945. She was returned to the USA in 1946 and scrapped.
An insignificant blip in history and time, although I'm sure for the crew serving on her the experience would have been anything but insignificant or brief!
Visit Nathanville's photo albums on Nathanville Genealogy to view photos and newspaper articles on the HMS Empress, link below.
Thomas Oaten (Family Ambassador)
Contribution with thanks from Gordon Oaten
A Transcript from The Bristol Evening Post of 1963:
"Thomas will be ambassador from Bristol's exiles' Down Under. The Oaten family in Australia. Left to right, Darrel, Joan, Mr. and Mrs Fred Oaten, Thomas and Rosalind.
When Thomas Oaten arrives in Bristol on Wednesday (1963), he will be an ambassador from the many Bristolians now living in Mayfield, Newcastle, Australia.
The Bristol colony began when John Lysaght, Ltd., opened a factory in Newcastle, New South Wales, in 1920. Many families from Bristol and Newport emigrated.
Thomas's mother, Rose Claridge, was taken out as a little girl from her home in Barton Hill; his father, Fred Oaten, went out in 1925 from St. Philip's March, known in the old days as "Monkeytown."
His uncle, Mr. George Oaten, who also married a Bristol girl in Australia, is now a magistrate in Mayfields.
Thomas will stay in Bristol with his aunt, Mrs. Thomas Linton, of 23, London Road, St. Paul's. "This is a marvellous chance to repay a debt of gratitude," said Mrs. Linton. Thomas's mother sent the family food parcels right through the war. I don't know what we would have done without them."
Thomas (21) is a plumber. He intends to stay at least two years working in Bristol and visiting his relations.
"Perhaps Thomas will marry a Bristol girl and take her to Australia, just like the rest of the family," said Mrs. Linton."
To learn more about the Oaten family visit the main document page for the Oaten’s on Nathanville Genealogy, link below.
ULEY, Gloucestershire, England
The Home to Hetty Peglers Tump
Uley, a not so well known small village, in the Cotswolds, Glos, has its own share of history.
Hetty Pegler's Tump, (an ancient burial ground dating to about 4000BC) is named after the Pegler family, Thomas Pegler being one of 13 local Uley men who bought land from Sir Richard Berkeley in the late 16th century. Thomas Pegler's son and other members of his family for the next three centuries become prominent in the cloth trade. In 1723 Mary Peglar (daughter of John Pegler) married John Baglin (born about 1698).
From Richard Baglin (born about 1640) and for the next six generations the Baglin's lived in the Uley area and by the 19th Century (if not before) were farming their own land.
The Robins family (who married into the Baglin family) were carpenters probably working for the Manor house. Apart from Grist Mill, which ground flour, all the mills in the area were connected with the cloth industry.
However, in the mid-19th Century with the economic crash of the cotton industry the Mills closed putting many local Uley residents out of work. The local Council responded by raising money to support the unemployed through charging very high rates to the land owners. This in turn forced many land owners to cut their losses by selling up and moving on (source - The Story of Uley, by M. Lloyd Baker). The Baglin's being one such family to uproot and move on. One branch settled in London while another branch of the family moved from Uley to North Common, Bristol and shortly thereafter set-up a 111 acre farm in Staple Hill, Bristol. Daniel Baglin worked 90 of the acres and his elder son (James Boulton Baglin) worked the other 21 acres. They named their farm `Baglyn Farm'.
In the 1960s the land where Baglyn farm stood was developed for residential housing with one of the Roads in this new development being named `Baglyn Avenue' after the farm.
Hetty Pegler’s tump, a Neolithic burial mound, at the top end of the village, just pass Uley Bury.
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Challans, France 1910
Stepping Back In Time
While on holiday in southern France we happened across Challans on the day when they closed all roads to traffic and dressing up in period costume the local residents gave a taste of what life was like in Challans, France a hundred years earlier.
This video is what I filmed of the day’s event, and to keep in the theme of the event in Post Production I made the video in the style of the old movies.
Beamish, Durham, North England 1913
A Peek into the Past
While on holiday in northern England we made a day visit to Beamish; a theme park with a small town setting, farmstead, a mining village and other settings that authentically recreates periods in time from late Georgian in the 18th century to early Edwardian in the beginning part of the 20th century.
Beamish which gives you a chance to experience first-hand what life was like in Northern England during these historic times, is an excellent place to visit.
Our day trip to Beamish is very memorable, and keeping in the style I made this video in Post Production to represent old film footage befitting of times gone by.
For more information on articles portrayed on this page visit my genealogy website
- Nathanville Genealogy Website
Genealogy and Victorian Culture. Family Research, mostly in South West England, with 10,000 family names in a free online comprehensive interactive family history tree database. Also wealth of information on the Victorian Culture with Victorian publi
More in this Series
Fanny Fern (1811-1872) famous 19th century American Woman newspaper columnist who wrote thought provoking articles on social issues; later became an author of children’s books; real name, Sarah Willis
An insight into Victorian Culture through the scrapbook and writings of George Burgess 1829-1905, a prolific writer and phrenologist who lived in Britain and America during the whole Victorian era.