Monday, February 22, 2021

The Army, the Navy, the Church, and the Stage ... and carpenters in my kitchen


Well, three out of four ...

Tuesday 23rd February. 8am, the first tradesman (electrician) arrived to do his bit towards the transformation of my kitchen. The carpenters and due any moment ...  outside the sky is white with several varieties of floating vegetable matter .. so I am being chef de chantier for the day while amusing myself with the past. Little bits of the past, because I don't want to get into something longwinded, only to have the proofs of the GILBERT AND SULLIVAN book land on my desk ...

Today's investigatees ...

Arthur Manley Hil and wife, Alice

Francis Knowles

A G Girdlestone

Two churchmen and one army ...

There's not a lot of story in Arthur Manley HILL (b Chapel Allerton 21 January 1843-d Roborough 14 November 1933). Son of a Devonshire military man (eventually a  General), John Thomas Hill (1811-1902), A M Hill was launched on the military by the purchase of a commission as an Ensign in the 5th Fusiliers in 1860. He purchased a lieutenant's rank in 1864, while stationed in Ireland, where, in 1866 (1 August) he married Alice Honoria [Laura] Browne, daughter of James Arthur Browne of Browne Hall, County Mayo,  In 1868, he got out of the army and moved eventually back to Devon, where he lived out his life as a 'gentlemen' at the family home of 'Good-a-meavy House'.
The handsome young couple pictured above were to have eight children, of whom five survived to adulthood:

(1) Reginald Charles James (b 26 June 1867; d 15 April 1942) of globetrotting propensities. He married Elizabeth Robertson Savage in Bloemfontein in 1899, fathered a son, John Adrian Aimé (1900), and moved to the plantations of Colombo where John ran the Remuna Estate in Horana. John died in 1930 and the elders returned to Britain.

(2) Arthur Lloyd St Leger (b 1869; d Roborough 23 August 1921) gent seems to have just been a gent. He didn't marry.

(3) Frederick Thomas Cecil (b 17 July 1874; d Gallipoli 7 August 1915). The disadvantage of being a career army man, is that you sometimes get killed in battle. Frederick, a major in the 6th Yorks and Lancs Regiment fell at Gallipoli. He was married to Marie Joséphine Elizabeth Léontine de Foresta.

(4) Gerald Ernest Montague (b 21 February 1876; d 2 October 1954) was awarded the DSO in his capacity as an officer in the 2nd East Lancashire Regiment. He retired with the rank of Lt-Col.

(5) Lillian Helen Gwendoline (1877-1955) married a somethingth son by the painful-sounding name of Ricketts by whom she had two children. When her husband succeeded to a baronetcy she acceded to Burke and Debrett, but without him. He promptly walked out. She finally and very publicly divorced him in 1936. Her son, [Sir] Robert Ricketts married a daughter of Stafford Cripps. 

Diving for cover from all those titles, I happend upon plain Francis KNOWLES (bapt 4 June 1848; d The Rectory, Gimingham, Norfolk 24 October 1931) son of grocer/draper William and Martha Knowles of Hoyland Nether, Yorks. Well, he became not just plain Francis. He was 'the reverend Francis Knowles MA (Cantab)'. Yes, a clergyman. St Catherine's College, Cambridge. Subsequent posts at Ely, Pererborough, curate of Christchurch, Leicester which he left in 1879, allowing us to date our photo, curate/vicar of Silsden, finally coming to rest at Gimingham, where he officiated for some 40 years.At 50, he married vicar's daughter Mary Tatlock (d 25 November 1922).

And so to my third gentleman. This one would surely be someone cute and curious ... but ... Arthur Gilbert GIRDLESTONE (b Alderley, Cheshire 1842; d Vicarage, Brixton Hill 13 December 1908) was another clergyman!  And not just a clergyman, but a clergyman son of a clergyman. Father Charles was rector of Kingswinton and Arthur, an only child, became curate there. He later became vicar of All Saint's, Brixton. He was a serious alpinist and wrote a book on 'The High Alps without Guides' in 1870.

My father, my grandfather and my great-grandfather, mountaineers all, would have loved this gent. I also, I feel ..

Well, there are carpenters all over the kitchen (I personally disposed of the mummified rat!) ... the whirr of battery-screwdrivers resounds in the air ... I guess its time to come back to the 21st century ...

The stage? Well, I researched a couple of Edwardian performers this morning for folks on the grand Family Treasures Reinstated ( site ...

The Navy? Well, maybe I'll do sailor lads tomorrow!