Why was Harry CRISP called “BOOTS”?

Whilst researching the old Framlingham Weekly News newspapers online I came across an interesting article from 110 years ago, in the Saturday 12th January 1907 edition:


 Nearly eighteen years ago Harry Crisp came to Framlingham to take up the impossible position of “Boots” at the Crown Hotel combined with which appointment is the delivery of passenger goods from the Railway Station. The choice made by Mr W G L Sewell, the highly respected landlord of that time, was a wise one, as time has justified, and Crisp, by his wonderful geniality at all times, and obliging manner, soon became one of the best known and most liked men in his station in the town.


 Crisp has now strengthened, as it were, his time with the locality by taking unto himself a wife, entering the holy state at Bramford on Wednesday last, and he is now enjoying the best and perhaps the longest holiday he has had since his schooldays. He has been the recipient of many useful presents from unexpected quarters – a fitting appreciation of devotion to duty and kindness and courtesy to all.

 Travellers to Framlingham who make the Crown Hotel their stopping place , have always found in “Boots” a trustworthy servant and recognise in him a man of the “right kidney.” Such persons in whatever station of life are a valuable asset to any locality, and it is hoped that he will remain amongst us for many more years.

 I am now going to research Harry Crisp in more detail, but if anyone has any information about “Boots” or a family connection it would be great to hear from you, to discover more about his life and work in Framlingham.

I will keep you updated!

Simon Last

charnwoodresearch@virginmedia.com    www.charnwood-genealogy.com

Posted in BOOTS, CRISP, Crown Hotel, Suffolk | 1 Comment

The BROWNING Bank book mystery!

As you know I love to investigate and research old photographs and postcards to discover more about the family connections and sometimes to try and locate a living descendant to reunite the item.

Well recently my friend Rachel from Framlingham has passed on to me three old Royal Bank of Scotland Western Branch Bank books that were discovered in a box of ephemera purchased at the Campsea Ashe Auction in Suffolk.


Loving a  mystery as I do, I wanted to see if I could discover more about these three old Bank books and possibly see how they ended up at a country auction in Suffolk!

The first clues were the names Mrs L E BROWNING on the back of one book and the name Henry Evelyn Gonne BROWNING Esq. on the other two books.

img_4272    img_4273

I quickly discovered that Henry Evelyn Gonne BROWNING was born in the January quarter of 1901 and the 1901 census record shows him aged one month living with his parents Henry G and Lucy E BROWNING – confirming that the owner of the other Bank book was Henry’s mother.

This 1901 census record also showed that Henry had two sisters Eileen E G BROWNING aged 4 and Christabel L G BROWNING aged 3 – the family were living at 21 Albert Gate in Knightsbridge in London. Henry’s father Henry’s occupation is shown as a Sprit and Wine Merchant an Employer.


Source: Ancestry.com. 1901 England Census Source Citation: Class: RG13; Piece: 83; Folio: 44; Page: 7

Further research showed that Henry Gonne BROWNING had married Lucy Evelyn STEVENSON in the April quarter of 1893 in the St George Hanover Square Registration District. This also confirmed that the Evelyn name had been passed down to Henry as a middle name and the GONNE name was also a family connected name.

The 1911 census record shows the BROWNING family living at 29 Hans Mansions in Kensington with Head of house Henry Gonne BROWNING aged 52 married to Lucy Evelyn for 17 full years with a total of three children Eileen Elizabeth Gonne aged 14, Christabel Lucy Gonne aged 13 and Henry Evelyn Gonne aged 10.


Source: Ancestry.com. 1911 England Census Source Citation: Class: RG14; Piece: 111

My research also uncovered a document dated 1st June 1922, the London Freedom of the City papers, which admitted Henry Evelyn Gonne BROWNING born on the 26th February 1901 son of Henry Gonne BROWNING of 21 Albert Gate Knightsbridge to be admitted as a Citizen and Grocer into the Freedom of the City by Patrimony, in the said Company of Grocers.


Source: Ancestry.com. London, England, Freedom of the City Admission Papers, 1681-1925 Source Citation: London Metropolitan Archive; Reference Number: COL/CHD/FR/02/2684-2686

I can find no marriage for Henry Evelyn Gonne BROWNING, but have found that he died on the 29th January 1976 aged 75 and his final address is shown on his Probate record as The Old House, Holland Street in London W8.

His mother Lucy Evelyn BROWNING died on the 29th July 1951 aged 51 and Henry her son was named as her Executor.

The mystery now is how these three old BROWNING Bank books turned up for sale at an auction earlier this year in Suffolk, 40 years after Henry died – did they get passed down to another member of the family who has now since also passed away?

If anyone has any information or a connection to the BROWNING family and can confirm a valid link, it would be great if these old Bank books could be reunited with the family archive – If you can help I would be delighted to hear from you.

Many thanks

Simon Last

http://www.charnwood-genealogy.com           charnwoodresearch@virginmedia.com



Posted in London | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Intriguing WW1 photograph – George WALTERS & family Wellisford Cottages Wellington Somerset

Regular readers of this blog will know that when visiting car boot sales and antique fairs I try to find old postcards and photographs with a WW1 connection that I can research and possibly reunite with a family member.

On my travels during the summer I have recently found the photograph below taken at a Photographers in Wellington in Somerset, which had some fascinating detail on the back:




Geo. WALTERS and family taken July 1916 – Wellisford Cottage, Wellisford Manor, Nr Wellington, Somerset.

I therefore wondered if the young man in uniform was George WALTERS photographed with his family before he set off for WW1.


Can anyone identify this cap badge?

However in the same box of old photographs I found another photograph, as below, with the name Geo. WALTERS also written on the front taken at a Photographers in Harpurhey.


Looking at this young man he bared more resemblance to the older man sitting in the photograph above – is this the same man?

I have therefore tried to find a George WALTERS in Somerset, possibly on the 1911 census, and although I can find several men with that name in the County I can not tie down a record as yet, that would fit with the possible ages of the children also shown in the photograph – also I think it is his wife also seated and possibly her mother standing behind, as again they look very similar.

If the second photograph is the same man Harpurhey is an inner-city area of  Manchester in North West England, approximately three miles north east of the city centre.

Did George WALTERS grow up and marry there and move to Somerset at a later date?

I can find various mentions of Wellisford Manor in old newspapers online and of the various families that have lived there over the years, but no mention of the WALTERS family at this stage – did George possibly work on the estate and live in a tied cottage?

I am therefore hoping that any readers of this blog who are located in Somerset or know of Wellisford Manor and / or Wellisford Cottage, may be able to provide me with some additional information – are there WALTERS graves in the churchyard for example.

Any help will be gratefully received, as it is a lovely old photograph and it would be great if it could be reunited with a  family member or descendant of the George WALTERS!

Simon Last

http://www.charnwood-genealogy.com             charnwoodresearch@virginmedia.com

Posted in Battle of the Somme, Harpurhey, Postcard, Somerset, WALTERS, Wellington, Wellisford Manor, World War 1, WW1 Photograph | 5 Comments

Who will I be thinking of as I walk the WW1 Frontline 5th to 9th October 2016?

Following my Framlingham War Memorial World War 1 book launch in November 2011, an article appeared in the East Anglian Daily Times about the launch and I was contacted by a lady in Chelmsford, whose 96 year old mother Ruby was the daughter of Reuben Meadows who was featured in the book.



East Anglian Daily Times newspaper 3rd March 2012

Ruby Meadows was born on 16th September 1916, 12 days before her father was killed during the Battle of the Somme on 28th September 1916, so she never knew him and she was given her Christian name in memory of him.

I always wonder if Reuben had heard that his daughter Ruby had been born before he died?

Reuben was the son of Reuben and Elizabeth Meadows (nee Banthorpe) and had four siblings Ernest , Ellen, Ethel and William. The 1901 census shows the family living at Vyces Road in Framlingham with Reuben aged 16 working as a Gardener’s Assistant. His father’s occupation is shown as Miller’s Carter.

Service Details: Private G/21183 – 7th Battalion The Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment

Place of Death: France & Flanders

Place of Burial: No Known Grave

Commemorated: Thiepval Memorial – France


Thiepval Memorial France

Sadly Reuben’s brother Ernest and his brother in law Walter Thompson (married to his sister Ellen Meadows) were also killed, so Ruby’s Grandmother lost three members of her family in World War 1.


I met up with Ruby in February 2012, in Martlesham in Suffolk, to talk about my research and she said that the book had brought back many memories to her of her early life in Framlingham and she had really enjoyed seeing all the old photographs. Following my visit Ruby took a trip back to Framlingham with her daughter to see all the familiar landmarks.


Ruby Meadows talking to me about my book

It was a real honour and a privilege to meet Ruby, who was so closely linked to Reuben, and whom I had come to know during the research for my book and as I walk the 100kms of the World War 1 Frontline through France and Belgium between the 5th to 9th October 2016, I will be remembering Reuben who died on 28th September 1916 and thinking of my visit to his daughter Ruby in 2012.

 We Will Remember Them

My walk will be raising funds for ABF The Soldiers Charity and if anyone would like to make a donation or find out more information about my 2016 challenge the link is www.justgiving.com/simonlast

Many thanks

Simon Last

www.charnwood-genealogy.com           charnwoodresearch@virginmedia.com



Posted in BANTHORPE, Battle of the Somme, Dennington, Framlingham, MEADOWS, Suffolk, World War 1 | Leave a comment

Remembering a Somme Soldier 100 years on…

In June I was contacted by Allan Sedger who had seen my Framlingham War Memorial research on the internet – Allan is the great nephew of David Alfred Barker, who was killed, aged 21, on 20th July 1916 during the Battle of the Somme.

Allan was planning to be in Framlingham on the 20th July to visit the War Memorial to pay his respects, exactly 100 years to the day since his Great Uncle was killed.

Framlingham War Memorial (2)

His Great Uncle David Alfred Barker was the son of Harry and Clara Barker (nee Ashford) and he had ten siblings George, Sheppard, Charlotte, Harry, Freeman, Hannah, Alma, Clara, Herbert and Ella. On the 1901 census the family were living at Edwards Farm in Coles Green and David was aged 5 and his father’s occupation was shown as a Farm Steward. In 1911 the family were still living at Edwards Farm and David was aged 15 working as a Stockboy on a Farm and his father’s  occupation was Steward on Farm.

David was Private 200758 of the 4th Battalion Suffolk Regiment and he enlisted in Framlingham and left for France on 13th January 1915. He died on 20th July 1916 and has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France. As you will see from the newspaper extract below it took over a year for the family to receive official confirmation that David had been killed in     action the previous year.

 Framlingham Weekly News – 25th August 1917

 Mr and Mrs Barker of Coles Green have now been notified that their son, Bomber David Barker, who was reported as missing on July 20th last year, is now officially reported to have met his death on that date.

I was in Framlingham on Wednesday 20th July 2016 and it was a real privilege for me to be able to meet Allan, who is descended from David’s sister Clara, and to spend time with him on such a poignant anniversary.

 Allen Sedger 20 July 2016

 Simon Last

charnwoodresearch@virginmedia.com     www.charnwood-genealogy.com

Posted in BARKER, Battle of the Somme, Framlingham, World War 1 | Leave a comment

Another WW1 postcard reunited – Miss K Overton

One of my most recent finds has been a World War 1 postcard sent from France on 26th August 1915 as below:

Miss K OVERTON postcard August 1915 front

Miss K OVERTON postcard August 1915 reverse

It was sent to a Miss K OVERTON who lived at 105 Tooley Street, London Bridge in London and the message reads:

Dear K

No need to ask how you enjoyed the holidays I NO. Mr Geo W.. has now left the works near you, should have liked to have seen the meeting between Mum and him and to have been a little bird and heard!

Love Ernest

It would be great to know more about what this cryptic message meant and who Mr Geo W was!

Miss K OVERTON postcard August 1915 reverse 1

I have found the OVERTON family on the 1911 census living at 105 Tooley Street in London and the head of the household was Charles York OVERTON aged 57 with his wife Emily Florence aged 53 and children Helen Lucy aged 25, Elsie Kate aged 16, Wilfred Durrant aged 10 – could the Elsie Kate be our Miss K OVERTON?

Elsie’s occupation is shown as a Commercial Clerk and her father was a Tailor who  was born in Kenilworth in Warwickshire and her mother was born in Cambridge.

1911 census OVERTON familySource: Ancestry.com. 1911 England Census -Source Citation: Class: RG14; Piece: 1857

I have found a marriage for Elsie Kate OVERTON on the 23rd April 1916 to a William Leslie WARNER at St Saviour in Southwark – on the marriage record both Elsie’s and William’s occupations are shown as Insurance Clerks.

OVERTON MarriageSource Citation: London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Saviour, Southwark, Register of marriages, P92/SAV, Item 3068

Trying to see if I could discover who Ernest was I have gone back to both the 1901 and 1891 census records and although I can find other siblings there is no Ernest.

1901 census OVERTON familySource: Ancestry.com. 1901 England Census – Source Citation: Class: RG13; Piece: 386; Folio: 6; Page: 4

However on the 1891 census record there is an Ernest H OVERTON aged 20 whose relationship to heard of house Charles York OVERTON is shown as Brother-in-law – could this possibly be our Ernest who sent the postcard from France in 1915?

1891 census OVERTON familySource: Ancestry.com. 1891 England Census – Source Citation: Class: RG12; Piece: 370; Folio: 34; Page: 27; GSU roll: 6095480

I now need to do some more investigating to see if this Ernest was the one who sent the postcard in 1915 or if he possibly had a son called Ernest who fought in WW1.

I have found the death of an Ernest Henry OVERTON on the 3rd December 1917 aged 21 (so obviously not the Ernest from the 1891 census) – he was Private 265902 in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, which fits with where Elsie’s father Charles was born and although I have also found a WW1 Medal Card for him, more investigations are needed to confirm a family link.

Ernest H OVERTON WW1Source Information: Ancestry.com. British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920

I have also found Elsie Kate OVERTON and her family in several online family trees and have sent messages attaching the postcard images and I have already received two replies, including one from Chris in California, who is thrilled to see the postcard and message and who is going to investigate his family tree further.

I will keep you updated on progress in due course!

Simon Last

http://www.charnwood-genealogy.com       charnwoodresearch@virginmedia.com



Posted in OVERTON, Postcard, World War 1, WW1 postcard | Leave a comment

Remembering Herbert Philip BONNEY – 1st July 1916

With the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme this July we know that thousands of men lost their lives during this horrific battle on the Western Front – many Framlingham families were affected, including the Bonney family whose son Herbert, aged 25, was killed in action on 1st July 1916 the first day of the British Offensive.

Framlingham War Memorial (2)              DSCN0391

Lance Sergeant Herbert Philip Bonney 9765 of the 2nd Battalion Essex Regiment was the son of Arthur and Ellen Bonney (nee Last) who for many years ran Bonney’s Bakery in Wells Close Square in Framlingham.

Herbert had eleven siblings Ellen, Florence, Ernest, Stanley, Arthur, Mabel, Elsie, Frederick, Thomas, Reginald and Sidney and the 1901 census records the family living at the bakery at Fern Bank in Albert Place Framlingham with Herbert aged 10BONNEY Family photoReport from Framlingham Weekly News – 29th July 1916:

We also record this week with much regret the death of Lce-Sergt. H. P. Bonney, which took place on July 1st – the first day of the British offensive, in which his Regiment was engaged. Bertie (as his birthplace best knew him) was in the Regular forces when war began and accompanied one of the first drafts of the Expeditionary Force to France. He had consequently seen considerable fighting and experienced many hairbreadth escapes and it was hoped that the good luck with which he seemed to have been endowed would accompany him to the end. But relentless fate decreed otherwise. On behalf of our readers we beg to express sincere sympathy with the parents and relatives of the above mentioned.

Herbert was a regular bell ringer at Framlingham and is commemorated on the Roll of Honour of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, which is held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. The Ringing World newspaper of 4th September 1914 records that he was already serving with 2nd Essex, and that his two brothers Lance-Corporal Ernest Bonney and Private Reginald Bonney were both serving with the 4th Suffolk’s.

One year later the family placed the following notice:

 Framlingham Weekly News - Saturday 30th June 1917

Framlingham Weekly News – Saturday 30th June 1917

Herbert is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial in France and the Framlingham War Memorial.

Framlingham War Memorial


Simon Last

www.charnwood-genealogy.com        charnwoodresearch@virginmedia.com

Posted in Battle of the Somme, BONNEY, Framlingham, Suffolk, World War 1 | 2 Comments