Getting up and running

Just as the COVID pandemic was developing, I had this idea that there were a number of people who had an interest in the history of Fulwood and maybe interested in joining a group focused on this history . But it is only now that I think it sensible to see whether my idea is correct!

I am inviting you to share your thoughts on how the Group might become established. To prompt you I’ve developed an on-line questionnaire which I would like you to complete.

The questionnaire is here

If you have thoughts and ideas that don’t fit into this questionnaire, please share them with me via eMail (admin@fulwoodhistory.uk)
Please also consider sharing this questionnaire with people you know who may be interested.

With thanks and best wishes

Keith Pitchforth

Heritage Open Days

A guided walk around Fulwood looking at the way it grew from a village to a suburb

In 1880, Fulwood was a small collection of houses and outlying farms. Over the next 50 years it was transformed into a prosperous suburb.
The walk will illustrate significant steps in this transformation.
This 1.5 mile walk will be on

Saturday 17 September: 1400-1600
Sunday 18 September: 1400-1600

We will meet outside 545 Fulwood Road at the Junction of Fulwood Road and Stumperlowe Lane. View map

The walk leader is Keith Pitchforth (contact: editor@fulwoodhistory.uk)

Forge Dam Café

This is an excerpt from my History of Fulwood – a book in the making!

Forge Dam Café

An alternative source of amusement  and refreshment was the café established by the Maxfield family at the Old Forge which offered boating on a large lake, swings, boats and in December 1890 readers of the Telegraph learnt that there was splendid skating to be enjoyed at Forge House which was 10 minutes from the Ranmoor Bus! One would have had to sprint from the bus but fortunately there was accommodation for tea. A further advertisement in January 1891 informed readers that Illumination of the ice by torchlight was in place.

Herbert Maxfield had been a file cutter for much of his adult life but around 1886 he and his family had moved from Brightside to Forge House. In 1891 he was described as a farmer, so it is likely that Mary was running the café. Maxfield’s farming activities were located at Redmires rather than near the old Forge. In 1888 he was advertising ‘Good Pasturing’ there. In 1890 he was able to offer Grouse Shooting at Fair Thorne Farm and indeed on the census night a year later, three of the Maxfield children were at the farm.

The café was proving popular, Mrs Maxfield advertised in 1886 that ‘School parties and visitors [would be] supplied with hot water for tea’ and in yje same year Maxfield applied for a licence to sell beer. In September when the application was considered by the magistrates, amongst whom was Alderman Gainsford of Whiteley Wood Hall, he said that he estimated the value of the property was £20. This proved fatal to his application as the opposing solicitors pointed out that the minimum requirement was property valued at £30. A few days later a letter from James Wing, the solicitor acting for Maxfield, appeared in the Telegraph that stated the rateable value of the property to be £22 and so the value for licencing was £50. A year passed before the application was made again and the question of value was the main contention. The overseers had set the rateable value at just under £35 for the property but this included the dam which covered half the land. The magistrates again refused the licence. Maxfield was certainly tenacious. In 1906 and 1907 he applied for a billiard licence which was refused on both occasions.

An article in the Independent in 1933 about the Sharrow Wesleyan Church noted that the original ‘Tin Cathedral’ was sold in 1900and became the tea room at Forge Dam.

In 1915 Maxfield was accused of poisoning a hen in a field on Brookhouse Hill. The case was that two men who were working on 181 Brookhouse Hill which is at the junction with Whiteley Lane saw Maxfield drop a parcel over a wall into the field. When examined by the public analyst, the parcel was found to have a sufficient quantity of arsenic to kill 50 people. Some of the parcel’s contents were eaten by the hen belonging to Mrs Fox. Maxfield denied the charge and Mrs Fox said she had been on friendly terms with Maxfield for many years and could not offer any reason as to why he should wish act in this way. The defence solicitor pointed out that there was no motive and suggested that the parcel had been on the wall and Maxfield had flicked the parcel with his walking stick. The magistrates said it was serious case and fined him £10. This must have been felt grievously by Maxfield who had an ‘unblemished character.’

Maxfield had tried to sell the business in 1913 without success but was successful in 1917. The advertisement for the sale described a successful venture covering six acres. There was extensive catering facilities and the dam had 13 boats including a motor launch along with fishing. There were also gardens with 1500 rose trees. This sale, caused by Maxfield’s ill health was successful and he and his wife moved to Eastwood Road. His retirement was short-lived as he died a year later ‘in his 80th year’. He was buried in Fulwood graveyard

William Knight was the proprietor in 1919. The café has continued to prosper down to the present time.

John Gordon Byrne

Early Years

John Gordon Byrne, the third of four children, was born in the summer of 1920 into a family of butchers. His father Armel and his Uncle Frederick were both the sons of a master butcher. Armel had served in the first world war, joining the Royal Fleet Auxillary in 1917. Armel married Annie Boardman in 1914 at Thirwell Road Methodist Chapel in Heeley.

By 1924, The Byrne family had moved from Heeley into 100 Brookhouse Hill. one of the many new houses that were springing up in Fulwood, John attended King Edward VII school (KES) between 1932 and 1937.

He was working as an Insurance Clerk at the outbreak of war in 1939

War Service

John Byrne outside the church, possibly St Peter’s Abbeydale, where he married Beryl.

Byrne joined the RAF soon after. He was rapidly promoted through the ranks before gaining his first officer ring as a pilot officer in November 1941 and a second on eleven months later. He was a Flying Instructor, having been on numerous military operations.

At the end of 1942, Byrne was stationed at RAF Atherstone-on-Stour and flying Wellington bombers. On the 28th December he was the pilot of a Wellington with five others crew, none of them older than 26 years. The flight should have been routine and short; its purpose, recorded as an ‘Air Test (Medical)’, was to check that Byrne who had been ill was well enough to fly. There was no wireless operator on board, perhaps because the planned flight was short, Byrne would not have had the navigation support provided by wireless operator who would receive and understand transmissions by radio beacons that were used to locate the aircraft’s position.

Last Flight

Byrne and the crew left RAF Atherstone-on-Stour, which is 30 miles north west of Banbury, about 11.30 am. For reasons which will never be fully understood, the bomber hit an elm tree and crashed into a valley to the west of Bodicote, a village just south of Banbury. Just before midday a boy and his mother in Bodicote saw the aircraft flying very low from the south-east, with one engine smoking. When they got down to the crash site, they saw wreckage which was still on fire and the bodies of several airmen.

The official accident record stated that the aircraft had flown into cloud and had then crashed attempting to land in bad weather. A more recent report by a group of amateur investigators has suggested the aircraft was flying horizontally and at high speed prior to the crash. The group cited the lack of buried wreckage and the fact that the aircraft continued for around 400m after hitting the tree. It is possible that Byrne was flying low due to bad weather, in order to get his bearings. However, the aircraft was on a direct course to the air station suggesting that he already knew his location. The eye-witness saw one engine smoking but this could have been an exhaust trail caused by the aircraft travelling at full throttle. The recent report suggests one possibility was that Byrne was flying fast and low in order to demonstrate his fitness, a manoeuvre that, as an experienced pilot, he would have completed many times.

Obituary

KES School magazine carried an obituary which noted that “previous to his
appointment as Flying Instructor at a station in England, he had had a successful and eventful career in the R.A.F. Having taken part in many night bombing raids on Germany and the Channel ports, he was transferred to Malta and did much good work over Italy, Sicily and North Africa. He had the honour and good fortune to represent the R.A.F. in an exchange of messages with his family in the Christmas Day broadcast of 1941. At School he was a popular member of Welbeck House and second runner in the team which won the Cross Country in 1936.”

Memorials

CWGC Gravestone in Fulwood Churchyard

Byrne’s body was brought back to Fulwood and was buried on the south side of the church. The grave also received the bodies of his wife’s parents., whilst his parents are burid elsewhere in the graveyard.Byrne’s grave has a CWGC headstone which has the inscription

I Thank My God Upon Every Remembrance Of Thee

In 2012 the residents of Bodicote unveiled a memorial at the point the aircraft hit the ground. Byrne’s widow, Beryl, and brother Armel Philip attended and the local paper reported ceremony. Beryl was the daughter of Hiram and Adeline Herdman and they lived on Whirlowdale Road. Beryl recalled that she had met John when they were both 18 at a college dance when she was taken by his ”absolutely gorgeous smile.” They married in Sheffield in September 1942 just 13 weeks before he was killed. The picture of John Byrne may well have been taken outside St Peter’s Church, Abbeydale, where they were married.

Memorial to the Wellington crew at Bodicote in Oxfordshire

Sources:

http://www.sjbradley.com/memorial/aircrash.htm

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/113114922/john-gordon-byrne

https://sheffieldwarmemorials.weebly.com/king-edward-vii.html#

George Eric TAYLOR

George Eric TAYLOR was born in 1919 into a family that was living at Netherthorpe. His father, Frederick, was a successful Pork Butcher. With branches at Upperthorpe, Hillsborough, Firth Park and London Road, the family business which included pig breeding was, by 1939, jointly owned between Frederick and Edith and their two elder sons. Frederick, Jnr worked in the business, the second son, Jack Andrew was a doctor based at the Royal Hospital and whilst George, the third and youngest child, would have been too young to be a company director.

George was a pupil at King Edward VII school between 1929 and 1936. He had been in the reserves as a volunteer with the 123rd Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery for a few years and by 1940 had been promoted to Lance Bombardier.

George died at home, so his death in April 1940 was more likely to have been illness than injury. George is buried in Fulwood Graveyard in the family plot which has a Commonwealth War Grave headstone.

Why Hopes Are Crushed and Castles Fall

This is a quote from a late 19th century hymn that expresses the hope that ‘in the coming years … we’ll read the meaning of our tears.” Chosen by his parents these words expressed for them their anguish at the death of their youngest son.

Samuel Danks – School master

Samuel Danks – a man who was integral part of the community for nearly 70 years, knowing everybody and known by everybody.

Origins

Born in Dudley in September 1841, Danks was the son of Joseph and Harriet who took the infant Samuel to the town church a week before Christmas to be baptised. Life was tough for the family as around the time of Samuel’s birth, his elder brother had died, aged three. By the time Samuel was nine his mother was involved with education in some way as she is recorded on the census of 1851 as a School Mistress. She may well have been keeping a ’dame school’ in the family house and as Samuel grew up, he began to help his mother.  By 1861, Samuel was an assistant School master at Kingswinford, five miles from Dudley. Joseph died in 1856, so Samuel was supporting his mother and two sisters. Their accommodation in Kingswinford was not salubrious as it was sandwiched between two inns and there was a couple living in the same house.

Fulwood School

In 1865, Samuel moved to Fulwood, probably in the summer ready for the autumn term. As the master of the National School, he would be expected to attend the church regularly. He was evidently homesick as he described to reporter when he retired some 45 years later sending a letter back to his friends saying that he would be back within a month. Having travelled from his home to Sheffield by railway, he got a horse omnibus to Brooomhill, then another to Ranmoor and then walked to Fulwood. To post that letter, he would have needed to get to Broomhill.

Family

When he first moved to Fulwood, Danks may well have lodged with the family of George and Harriet Mills who were living at Stumperlowe, a term that includes the area either side of Fulwood Road, just east of the church. Henry was a table blade forger and father of four children, the two eldest being Eliza, a dress maker, and Joseph who was working alongside his father also a table blade forger. Now Eliza was the same age as Samuel so it was no surprise to the Mills that Samuel proposed to her and they were married on New Year’s Eve in 1867. Their child, George Arthur was born in June 1869 but tragically Eliza died two months later. Samuel was able to afford a plot in the churchyard for Eliza that became the final resting place for his family and descendants.

Samuel and George were living next door to the Mills family on Goole Green. On visits to his family back in Staffordshire, Samuel met Anna Hughes whom he married in the summer of 1871 and they returned to the Fulwood. Over the next years, five children were born to Samuel and Anna.

A Community Man

Samuel became well-known figure in the local community with much of his involvement being centred on the parish church. He was also in the background of local politics. In 1876 Samuel Danks and Alfred Dearman were appointed as Pinders at the Court Leet of the Duke of Norfolk. There is something incongruous about the local school master and a banker (as Dearman was described in the marriage register for 1865) being responsible for dealing with stray animals. But this time, Courts Leet originally a medieval court were waning so perhaps these posts were mainly nominal.

In the summer of 1881, Danks won first prize for his cottage flower garden at the Hallamshire Floral and Horticultural Society. He was at the annual dinner early in September alongside his neighbour Daniel Coupe who occupied the chair and Captain J W Dixon of the Hallamshire Rifles.

Danks was a regular attendee at meetings of the Upper Hallam Conservative Association and his name is amongst the landowners and industrialists who lived in the area. He was at the committee dinner in September 1883 when John Bingham, later Colonel Sir John occupied the chair along with the recently promoted Major J W Dixon and Daniel Coupe.

In the 1890s the perceived threat to National Schools which were run by the Church of England from the newly created School Boards exercised the minds of Danks and his fellow conservatives. They held meetings to support sympathetic candidates to the Board, one of which took place in November 1894. Chaired by Col John Bingham, those at the meeting bemoaned the potential cost if Board schools took on the pupils of National Schools but more significantly the secular nature of these schools. Henry Ashington, a Fulwood resident and one of the candidates, pointed to ‘the absurdity of talking about teaching religion without doctrine’ commenting that ‘they might as well try to make apple dumplings without apples.’ These views have echoed down the years and are still raised regularly today.

Danks was elected a churchwarden, a position from which he retired in 1899 when he was appointed a sidesman.

Retirement

Samuel Danks on his Retirement

When Danks retired as headmaster in 1909, the Telegraph printed a ‘Special’ article This began by stating that during 44 years at the school he had taught the young how to shoot! Danks, wrote the journalist, had seen mischievous boys and angelic girls grow to be men and women and had taught their children the same lessons. He had also taught ‘less useful lessons imposed by the whim of educational authorities and fads of inspectors.’ One example of the latter type was ‘lectures given by peripatetic scientists to a mixed class on their insides and how to feed and dress a baby’ which had the boys grinning up their sleeves and afterwards laughing and talking about it to the girls. Danks dismissed such teaching as ‘a shear waste of time’ and would be, no doubt, be turning in his grave if he heard about sex and relationship education of today. He bemoaned the change in examinations from individual to collective which he claimed destroyed the competitive rivalry among children and made a teacher’s life more difficult.

The Special ended by Danks was compared to Goldsmith’s Schoolmaster – the man who is an integral part of the community who knows everybody and who is known by everybody. His retirement home would be that which he and Mrs Danks had occupied since their marriage where he tended his numerous roses when not traversing the Derbyshire Hills.

He was, thought the reporter, ‘good for a century’ a thought that was not far off the mark as he celebrated his 90th birthday, still living at Goole Green Cottage.

Reading the article prompted Urban Swift to write to the paper. Swift was an old pupil, along with William Parnell, W Brightmore and William Wall.

Thomas Wilson of the snuff mill family and son in Law of Henry Dixon of Stumperlowe Hall, alerted readers of the Telegraph to the desire of the school managers to mark Dank’s retirement with a testimonial. Was this the result of Sift’s letter? Wilson invited people to attend a meeting to appoint a committee to carry out the idea. However the event was organised, it was a great success. A ‘great many old scholars, some past the prime of life’ were present along with the ‘leading members of the community’ (my emphasis) such as Laycock, Dixon, Wynn and Wilson. The speakers took a ‘pop’ at the unreasonableness of requiring a man of 67 years to retire and Danks himself expressed again his views on the state of education.

Danks was clearly held in great esteem. He was presented with a cheque for a substantial amount which had been collected by the committee. The evening concluded with a concert programme.

After retiring, perhaps not surprisingly, Samuel Danks almost disappears from the records. He maintained a connection with education through his role a trustee of the Fulwood Education Endowment. He represented the ratepayers of the district, a role he relinquished in 1930.

The final two mentions in the Telegraph were on his diamond wedding anniversary 1931 and on his death just under a year later. Both articles rely heavily on the one published back in 1909. Towards the end of the article in 1932, there is mention of Samuel’s children and a brief survey of the records shows their history.

The Next Generation

George Arthur, whose mother was Elizabeth, was a blade forger in 1891 but 20 years later he was an engine driver with the Grand Central railway. He married Clara Fletcher in 1909 and there were four children of the marriage. All the other children were the offspring of Samuel’s second marriage. Charles Edward was a cutlery works manager when he married Edith Clarke at Woodhouse in 1908 and there were three children. Their home was in Nethergreen Road. Laura married Arthur Schofield, a ‘car conductor,’ of Crookes in August 1906 and there were five boys, two being born before the first world war and two afterwards.

The other children were all married at Fulwood in 1920. Helena was 36 when she married Ernest Horatio Jones, a widower, on 5th April, followed three days later by her brother John Ashton who married Annie Mason of South Grove Farm. Then, in early September, Thomas Reginald (born 1883) married Hilda Lee who was 15 years his junior. Thomas was the only child of Samuel to stay in Fulwood. In 1939, he and Hilda were living in ‘White Cottage’ on Brookhouse Hill.

Fulwood Guildhall

Origins

Where Fulwood Road broadens out before it ends at the junction with Canterbury Avenue is a large rectangular building with a forbidding façade. This substantial building had begun life in 1824 as a barn for Goole Green Farm so entrances and windows faced away from the road.

Date stone on south wall

On the track at the east of the Guildhall there are some kerbstones and it is possible to detect a curving path into the yard at the front of the building.

The Guildhall from the south (1950s)

None of the lower windows were part of the original building and it is likely that the round apertures were originally unglazed. There are ventilation slits in the upper parts of the wall. The original entrance is to the left of the down pipe.

The barn was part of Goole Green Farm which had been in existence when the barn was built. Neville Flavell in his book “From Goole Green to Nether Green” (2005) says that “in 1756, Sarah Woodhouse a farmer’s wife heard a Methodist preacher at Ranmoor and issued an open invitation to him to make Goole Green Farm the home of an emergent Society. The farm which was also an alehouse remained the Society’s home for nearly 30 years.

Flavell tells us that Sarah Moore, a young woman who was living in Fargate at the time, was tasked with establishing the Society. Moore and John Wesley corresponded and in 1791 he wrote of his intention to visit Sheffield, staying with the Moores, and that ‘probably I may see Hallam too’ but there is no record of his visiting Hallam.

When the 1851 census was taken, Thomas Andrew(s), a widower aged 60, was recorded as being a farmer of 11 acres at Gold Green (the name was spelt in many ways over the years) whilst most of his neighbours were cutlers. Thomas was still farming at Gool Green ten years later, sharing his house with 22 year old Horatio Lyden. Lyden was a monumental engraver probably working for the Hancocks, a family who for many generations were the local sextons and suppliers of gravestones, as well as builders. Thomas Andrew died in March 1871 a month before the census was taken so we don’t know when he stopped farming but we do know from the census that the farm was in the hands of Cornelius Hudson and his family.

Location

Cornelius probably wasn’t cut out for farming as by 1881 he had been replaced by William Watson, a ‘Cowkeeper, grazing 12 Acres emp a boy’ as recorded in the census. Watson was in turn replaced by Charles Spittlehouse 10 years later. Spittlehouse was the last person to be described as farmer on a census as in 1901 Joseph Westby and his extended family were living there. Westby, a cutlery manufacturer, had moved to the farm in 1905 and remained there until his death in 1929, his wife, Charlotte, continued living there until her death in 1936.

Ownership

From the Land Tax Assessments completed in the early C20th we know that the land (9088) was owned by Thomas Kingsford Wilson who was the son-in-law of Henry Dixon of Stumperlowe Hall. Wilson also owned the field below (9089). Henry Isaac Dixon owned much of the land in Fulwood and had sold the two fields to Wilson in 1907. As we shall see, Wilson was a key player in the conversion of the Guildhall. The Assessment also tells us that Westby leased both fields 9088 and 9089 and he may well have sub-let the field for grazing.

Land Tax Assessment 1912. The numbers in red show the reference in the LTA Field Book

Conversion to a Guild Hall.

The majority of the rest of this article is based on newspaper ‘snippets’ which may well have been provided by the Guild. The other source is Tom Dakin’s account of the Fulwood Sports Club written for its centenary in 2010. Dakin (born about 1930) is clearly speaking from personal knowledge and experience, although he is not always correct.

The barn was transformed into the home of the Fulwood Social Guild early in the C20th. The local newspapers first printed reports of the Guild in 1908 – an evening of song, sketches and a cinematograph show. Dakin says the Guild was a ‘farmer’s guild’ but from its first report the Telegraph refers to it as the Fulwood Social Guild’. A year later the Fulwood Musical Society was inaugurated with C D Leng (owner of the Sheffield Telegraph) as one of the vice presidents. Meanwhile, work to transform the building from a barn to a suitable venue was underway, funded, according to Dakin, by Wilson. This was to be more than a simple room and there is still evidence of the transformation the final layout.

At the western end a stage was erected with steps up from the floor. Below the stage was a space for storing scenery and props and behind the stage were dressing rooms on an upper floor. At the eastern end a balcony was erected with tiered seating. The door at the eastern end of the north wall and the one on the eastern wall gave access to the balcony and both opened outwards. The present owners told me that the lifting gear for the flats and scenery were still present when they bought the place in the 1970s. It was possibly at this time that the small rectangular extension at the eastern end was built. This had a simple urinal consisting of a cemented wall and gulley and was open to the sky. This basic provision was still in evidence when the present owners moved in but evidence of further provision was not. The conversion included catering facilities behind the stage at ground level.

The Guildhall was opened in November 1909 (Dakin gave 1912). Finance for the conversion had come from Thomas Kingsford Wilson. Dakin says Wilson gave the barn to the Social Guild but this is not corroborated by the newspapers, so it is likely that the Guild came to an arrangement with Wilson, possibly a rent of £20 per year. The newspaper report said Wilson presented the Guild with £20 which paid the first year’s rent. The conversion was not complete as there was still about £200 of furnishings but there was only £78 in the bank. Thereafter concerts were a regular feature along with children’s parties at Christmas and dancing classes. Occasionally the Guildhall was the venue for a wedding reception.

At some point (Dakin suggests the start of WW1) it was upgraded to act as a cinema. The projectionist accessed the projectors via a door at the eastern end of the southern wall. Unfortunately, the newspapers do not have any references to a Fulwood Cinema but Dakin says there were film shows during the winter months. The development of sound films in the late 1920s led to the demise of the cinema in Fulwood.

World War 1

When the first World War broke out, the Guildhall became the location for a massive effort to supply comforts to the troops and funds to support the Belgium refugees who had arrived in the City. The Army and Navy Aid Society was able to send nearly 100 garments to the Sheffield organisation by April of the following year. The members knitted, altered existing garments and created new ones from scratch. To fund this activity, they held jumble sales and concerts and at their first general meeting for ‘subscribers and workers’ they could report that over 2,500 garments had been made and £195 raised. The range of garments made were for the wounded who probably did not pack pyjamas, dressing gowns or slippers when embarking for France. The Annual meeting in 1915 heard that the Society had despatched 4700 garments since it began work, a feat that allowed them to top the chart for the number of garments produced by a Society in Sheffield.

After the war, the Guildhall returned to its usual function of being a venue for social activities. Dakin says the Guild itself seemed to lose its impetus after 1930 which may have been a result of easier access to transport from Fulwood where the trams now terminated and bus routes to the city were being planned. Car ownership was increasing and of course there were alternatives such as the Fulwood Sports Club.

World War 2

During WW2 the Guildhall was used as a Civil Defence First Aid post until the building was damaged by fire; fortunately the ARP wardens had a fire engine stationed on the land where the Scout Group has its HQ. After the War the Guild does not feature in the papers which supports Dakin’s comments about the lack of impetus.

After the War

The Guildhall became the base for many social activities based on the church. It was used by the Mothers’ Union and newly re-established Scout Group in 1949 and many will recall cub and scout meetings held there. In 1968 the Scout Group was able to build its present meeting place on land leased from the Church.

The Guild Hall as a private home

I haven’t established whether the church acquired the title to the Guildhall, though this has been suggested by others. A lady who joined the History Walk in September 2011 said that she was a member of the Church when the Guidlhall was sold in 1974 and confirmed that the Church was indeed the vendor.

In 1958 the Medical Officer for Sheffield surveyed the farm and other buildings in the area. The farm was condemned as unfit for habitation and demolished 10 years later.

Nethergreen Infant School was built and the school attached to church closed which enabled the church to consolidate its activities on one site. The Guildhall and the land where the farmhouse had stood were sold to the present owners in 1974. Since the they moved in, they have created a fascinating and unique home, retaining many of the features they found such as the tiered balcony and the stage.

The Guildhall was listed as a Grade II building in 1976.

The Hoyland Brothers and the Royal Flying Corps

Leonard Barlow Hoyland and his brother Henry get a place on this website because Leonard is buried in the graveyard and his story is unusual. His brother’s story is included as a contrast.

There is also a moral for historians.

Family

Leonard Hoyland. Unknown date

Leonard Hoyland (Leo) was born in 1897 to George Henry and Rosa Hoyland who lived on Infirmary Road. He was the youngest of six children born to the family, although his two oldest siblings had died before 1888.  George Hoyland was a hairdresser and worked from the family home. By 1911 the family had moved to 233 Crookesmoor Road and George was reported to be a hairdresser and employer in the census, with all four of the children living at home.

By 1911 Leo Hoyland was a Junior Clerk; by 1915 he was a law student

Henry George (Harry) who was Leo’s elder brother by 2 years, was an artist. He clearly showed artistic ability from an early age, winning prizes in all the drawing categories at the Children’s Flower Show of 1908. The following year he entered the Sheffield School of Art on an Exhibition. Once at the Art school, he was awarded scholarships each year between 1911 and 1913 and in 1914 received a book prize in a national exhibition held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Another pupil at the school was Stanley Royle who became a well-known landscape artist.

At just on six feet, both Harry and Leonard were tall for the time.

At the start of the war and with income from three sons as well as their father, the family was able to live on Western Bank.

War Service

Harry

Harry enlisted in January 1916 but only served 8 days before he was discharged. The reason is not known – the service record is ‘Not being likely to become an efficient soldier.’ 18 months later, perhaps encouraged by tales from his younger brother, Harry enlisted again this time hoping to join the Royal Flying Corps. But this was not to be. He was assessed as being ‘unfit as FO in any capacity’ and transferred to the 10th Battalion of the London Rifle Brigade.

Harry was in France for about two months early in 1918 with the rifle brigade before being sent back to the UK. He was discharged as being ‘no longer physically fit for war service’ in October 1918.

Leonard

Leonard Hoyland

Age 19 and standing six feet tall, Leo enlisted in September 1915 at Farnborough into the Royal Flying Corps. (The RFC existed from 1912-1918 before merging into the newly formed Royal Air Force). Within a month he was in France within a year he had gained his sergeant’s stripes and was a Qualified Balloon Observer. By October 1917 he gained a commission as a temporary second lieutenant in No. 41 Kite Balloon Section which was stationed at Heudecourt.

In January 1918 Leonard Hoyland was wounded in France.

A Typical Kite Balloon

He and another man had ascended in a balloon to observe the German positions. They were seen by German pilots who attacked the balloon from a high altitude. However, British gunners spotted the Germans and fired at them as they swooped down on the balloon. Within minutes the gas bag of the balloon was on fire and the crew leapt from the wicker basket that hung underneath it.  Hoyland and his crew member parachuted to safety but Hoyland was severely wounded.

He spent over six months in hospital being treated for his injuries before being declared fit for ground duties September 1918.

After the war

Leonard, still serving, although not fully recovered, insisted on taking part in the victory parade in November 1918 when he contracted pneumonia or perhaps influenza (a victory parade was going to cause the infection to spread) and later died in Purfleet Military Hospital in England on 25th November 1918.

The Grave in Fulwood Churhyard

He is commemorated on the family grave Fulwood. the inscription reads:

“To the eternal memory of Leo Leonard Barlow Hoyland Lieut. RAF. The youngest and dearly loved son of G. H. and R. Hoyland. His death which took place November 25th 1918 was directly responsible to wounds which he received from the enemy in France on January 13th 1918 whilst parachuting from a burning balloon. Age 21 years and 9 months. He gave his heart to his home and his life to his country, his soul to God.”

His name also appears on the World War One memorial plaque at St Mark’s Church, Broomhill.

The Artist

Having been deischarged from the army, Harry resumed his trainig to be an artist. At some point he made a decision to use his birth name of Henry, rather than the more familial Harry. Henry went on to study art in London and Paris. He taught at the Sheffield School of Art from 1921-29 and for at least part of this time lived on Oakbrook road with his mother. In 1928, Henry married Sarah M. Mitchell-Withers and their daughter, Rosemary, was born in 1929 when the family was living on Psalter Lane and Henry had a studio on Surrey Street. He moved to London with his family to continue his career as a painter in 1930. At the outbreak of the second world war the family was living in Camberwell although the daughters, Karen had been born in 1936, were not recorded there, perhaps because they had been evacuated. Henry described himself as a Portrait and Landscape artist. He died in London in 1947.

The Moral?

Never take an grave inscription at face value – this one does not reflect what happened to Leonard.

Sources

Leonard & the balloon: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/7849-lt-leonard-barlow-hoyland-raf-died-25-11-18/

Henry Hoyland, Artist:

WIkipedia.org

Art UK

The Angel in the Graveyard

Quote

The Mystery of the Angel in the Graveyard

There is an angel memorial in Fulwood Graveyard to the north of the church. Not unusual you may think, but this angel is not from a monumental mason’s pattern book. The face of the angel is said to be that of the woman buried in the grave. And the mystery does not end there. Elizabeth Skelley, the only person in the grave, seemed to have no connection with Fulwood at all, so why was she buried here?

Erected by James W. SKELLEY, Surgeon,
in affectionate remembrance
of his beloved wife
Elizabeth Ellen (Tib)
dearly loved and only daughter
of Mr & Mrs A. D. CRESWICK, Ecclesfield
who died from influenzal septicaemia on the 26th October 1918
aged 33 years.
Loved in life, lamented in death

To answer that question we will have to travel back four generations by way of her father Albert, his father Benjamin to Elizabeth’s great grandfather Thomas Creswick.

Marriage and Divorce

Elizabeth was born in 1885 to Arthur and CharlotteCreswick and brought up in Ecclesfield. She married and divorced a Ecclesfield man, William Unwin, and went on to marry James Williamson Skelley, a Scottish doctor. At different times Elizabeth Ellen lived in Ecclesfield, South Wales, Scotland and Walthamstow, but never in Fulwood. Yet she was buried there in October 1918.

Elizabeth’s Family

Before Fulwood church was consecrated in 1837 people in the then sparsely populated Fulwood village area would quite likely have been buried in All Saints’ Ecclesall Churchyard. On checking the Ecclesall burial register I found that there were around 50 Creswick buried before 1900. I knew too, that there were over 50 Creswicks buried in the Fulwood graveyard so I thought that it was worth finding ancestors of Elizabeth’s father, Arthur.

Her Father

According to the censuses, her father Arthur grew up in Ecclesfield where he had been born and baptised in 1858. He married a local girl, Charlotte Widdison, in 1884. Arthur’s parents were Benjamin and Ellen Creswick of Ecclesfield Common. Benjamin was a farmer – probably on the same farm where Elizabeth Ellen grew up. Perhaps the link was Elizabeth’s grandfather Benjamin?

Her Grandfather

In both the 1841 and 1851 censuses, Benjamin was living with his first wife’s family at Birley Carr Edge, but there was no mention of his wife living with them. This suggested that his wife had probably died – and indeed she had. Benjamin and Eliza Moore had married in June 1840. On November 1st 1840 at Ecclesfield Church, their daughter Eliza Ann was baptised on the same day as her mother was buried, aged 20.

It is a sad fact that in the 19th century, many babies did not survive long if their mothers died shortly after childbirth. However, in this instance young Eliza Ann survived. So Benjamin, a young widowed father, had to find a way of providing a home for his infant daughter and he turned to his brother George.

Two brides for two brothers

According to the 1861 census, Benjamin Creswick was born in Hallam and he was living in Ecclesfield with his second wife Ellen and their family including young Arthur.  Benjamin married Ellen Moore in November 1851 and the marriage certificate shows he was a widower and his father was Thomas Creswick.

This was a family where two brothers, George and Benjamin Creswick, married two sisters, Ann and Eliza Moore. George’s wife Ann died in May 1871 and was buried in Fulwood; George died six years later and he too was buried in Fulwood.

Eliza Ann grew up with her aunt Ann (her mother’s sister) and uncle, George Creswick (her father’s brother) who lived in Crookes.  George was a witness at Eliza Ann’s marriage in 1865.

So we now know that Benjamin, the woman in the grave’s grandfather, had links to Fulwood.

Her Great Grandfather

Two last pieces of evidence to help solve the mystery of the angel in the graveyard relate to her great grandfather Thomas. When his wife died in 1820, the parish clerk at Ecclesall record in the burial register that she was” the wife of Thomas Creswick, farmer of Hallam.”  By the time Thomas died in 1847 his abode was given as Sheffield North, and this provided the link to Ecclesfield and course, Elizabeth’s grandfather, Benjamin.

The Answer

So why was Elizabeth buried in Fulwood? The most likely answer is that Ecclesfield was probably out of the question because of her divorce from William Unwin, who was the church sexton. Elizabeth and her second husband, James Skelley, were living in Walthamstowe when she died, but they had no direct links there. Perhaps James wanted her to be buried nearer to her family, so that there would be someone to tend her grave. The Creswick family’s historic links with the Fulwood area went back into history and Elizabeth’s great-uncle and aunt, George and Ann were buried in Fulwood. So although not very close to Ecclesfield, Fulwood was nearer than Walthamstowe!