Category Archives: Croydon Minster

Stone panel with many names ordered by year and then alphabetically

Cecil Herbert Schooling (18 October 1884 – 21 June 1917†)

The Revd Cecil Herbert Schooling (see also Lives profile) does not actually appear on the original Surrey Association roll, but he is listed on the Central Council roll as a member of the Cambridge University Guild, and from 1910 had been senior curate at Croydon Parish Church. He was the youngest of four children of Frederick Schooling and Lily Alphonsine Maria (nee Symondson).

Frederick and Lily married at St Stephen’s, Shepherd’s Bush, on 6 September 1879. Frederick was a 28-year-old clerk, the son of Charles Schooling a (commercial?) traveller, and living at 12 Eardley Crescent (close to West Brompton station). Lily was 23, the daughter of Francis Symondson (clerk), living at 33 Devonport Road, Shepherd’s Bush (very close to the church). From Frederick’s obituary we know he had been working for Prudential Insurance since 1867 (when he was 16).

Their first child, Margaret Lily, was born on 9 June 1880 and baptised at St Mark’s, Battersea Rise, on 4 July. Frederick’s occupation is again recorded as clerk and the family were living at 15 Paris Villas, Wakehurst Road. The family of three were recorded at the same address in the 1881 census, Frederick now recorded as a Life Assurance Clerk. They also had one servant, Charlotte Langridge (14). Margaret was followed by Lionel Frederick Schooling, born 3 February 1882, baptised 5 March 1882 at St Mark’s. Frederick was now recorded as an assurance clerk and the family were living at 45 Wakehurst Road. Next was Eric Charles Schooling, born 27 June 1883, baptised 5 August 1883 at St Mark’s. Frederick was again recorded as a life assurance clerk and the family were still living at 45 Wakehurst Road.

Cecil Herbert born 18 October 1884 and baptised on 21 November 1884 at St Michael’s, Battersea. Frederick was now an actuary and the family were still living at 45 Wakehurst Road, so it’s not clear why they had changed church.

By the 1891 Census the family had moved to 257 Lavender Hill, Battersea. Frederick was now listed as an actuary, holding the Fellowship of the Society of Actuaries (he held this from 1886). Lionel and Eric were both at home, while Margaret was at a girl’s school in Shaftesbury Road, Hammersmith (the present Ravenscourt Park Station opened as Shaftesbury Road, so the school was presumably somewhere nearby). The family now employed two servants, Sarah Wyatt (29) a general servant, and Mary A T Fay (18) a nurse domestic.

In 1892 Frederick Schooling was appointed Prudential’s Company Actuary, a highly responsible post ensuring that premiums were set at the correct level to enable the company to meet all its likely liabilities.

Cecil made his way to Tonbridge School in September 1897, following Lionel who had gone there from 1895. Both were in Judde House. Cecil was still there by the time of the 1901 Census, by which time Eric was at Sandhurst where he was a Gentleman Cadet, training to be a regular army officer. The family home was now at Inversnaid, Bromley. The only family members there in 1901 were Fredrick and Lionel (now a stockbroker’s clerk), Lily and Margaret do not seem to appear at all so may have been out of the country. The family now had three servants: cook Annie McDonough (42, from Ireland), parlourmaid Ruth Nye (19, from Sussex) and house maid Ellen M Westley (26, from Chackmore, Berkshire).

Cecil left Tonbridge School aged 17 at Christmas 1901. He then spent almost two years in Germany, unfortunately it’s not clear what he did there, or exactly where he was. He went up to Pembroke College, Cambridge in October 1903 to read theology. In July 1904 he headed to Norway for Spitsbergen, the North Cape and the Fjords on the Ophir, travelling with his parents and sister. He graduated with his BA in 1906 and proceeded to Wells Theological College to study for ordination.  It was presumably while at Cambridge that he learned to ring and joined the University Guild. He was ordained deacon in Wakefield Cathedral by the Bishop of Wakefield on 21 December 1907 and became a curate at the cathedral, living at 16, St John’s Square. He was priested on 20 December 1908, again in Wakefield Cathedral.

Meanwhile Eric had been commissioned in to the Warwickshire Regiment, and in 1910 Eric married Edith McTaggart Gordon Paton at Radford Semele, Warwickshire. Cecil assisted the local vicar at the service on 7 April. On 27 November (Advent Sunday) Cecil took up a new role as senior curate in Croydon. He took charge of the mission church of St Edmund’s (originally known as Pitlake Mission) on Cornwall Road, though no doubt would also have taken services at the parish church (now Croydon Minster). At the 1911 census Cecil was living at 118 Waddon New Road, Croydon.

Eric was mobilised with his regiment on the outbreak of war in 1914, and was killed at Gheluvelt on 31 October 1914. Although clergy were exempt from conscription, many young clergy felt they had to serve in some way (and Cecil had been a member of the OTC at Tonbridge), and on 16 November 1916 Cecil was interviewed by the Chaplain General with a view to becoming an army chaplain. By this time he was living at 2 Courtney Road, Croydon. His interview was successful with the Chaplain General noting (among other things), that Cecil preached extempore (without notes). Cecil was commissioned on 5 December 1916. Lionel (who had previously served in a volunteer battalion) was also commissioned as a recruiting officer in Kent.

Initially he was attached to a casualty clearing station, I haven’t been able to establish which. In about April 1917 he was attached to 122 Infantry Brigade, this brigade included battalions of The Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) and East Surrey Regiments, with several men from Bromley and Croydon. On 20 June he was with elements of the brigade in Dickesbusch (Dikkebus) when shells started to fall. He left his billet to warn the men to take cover, but was caught by shell fragments. Reportedly he gave no hint that he had been wounded, simply stopping a passing lorry, and being taken to a field ambulance a couple of miles away. He died of his wounds on 21 June, at 10 Casualty Clearing Station, Remy Siding, and was buried in Lijssenthoek Cemetery, the second largest CWGC cemetery in Belgium, used by several medical units situated nearby. He was posthumously mentioned in despatched in December 1917. His death went unmentioned in the Brigade HQ war diary, and only one of the infantry battalions, 15 Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, mentions it in passing.

After the war his parents were instrumental in paying for a war memorial chapel in Bromley Parish Church. Sadly this was destroyed by German bombing in the Second World War. He is also commemorated on the main Bromely war memorial, a roll of honour at Croydon Minster, the war memorials at Pembroke College and Tonbridge School and the ringers’ roll of honour.

Schooling is a very hard name to search for, as you often find articles about schooling, rather than the particular individual. The only mentions of the surname in the Ringing World are Prudential adverts including the name of Frederick Schooling, and one mention when the roll of honour was being compiled trying to establish a particular tower for him. It appears no-one responded as, like most of the Cambridge University Guild men, no tower is listed on the roll as it exists today.

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Soldiers’ Effects Registers

Another new First World War source has recently been released on Ancestry. These are the Soldiers’ Effects Registers held by the National Army Museum, Chelsea. Until this digitisation partnership, the registers could only be accessed via a paid search through the museum.

They detail amounts paid out by the War Office following a soldier’s death. The registers show the soldier’s name, the unit with which they were serving at time of death, place of death, amounts paid out, and to whom. They can be very useful when the CWGC details are scant as the relationship to the payee is also shown. They also complement the probate records released previously, as they show the actual size of the estate. A recent free weekend on Ancestry gave a good chance to get to grips with these records (though I couldn’t get through all the records for association members killed in the war).

Looking through those on the roll who were killed we find the following additional or confirmatory details. For Sydney Reddick, his death is recorded as being at 136 Field Ambulance, using war diaries it should be possible to find a more exact location for this on the date of his death, it also shows that as indicated on his will, his mother was his sole legatee. John Webb’s entry offers nothing new, but confirms that all monies were paid out to his wife. For Sidney Frank Rayner we get the additional detail that he died in Preston Hall Hospital, Aylesford, Kent. This hospital specialised in men who had been gassed, or who were suffering with TB or other lung complaints. For Albert Arthur Stoner of Burstow there is no new detail, just confirmation that the payments were made to his father, Arthur. Similarly for Walter Eric Markey, the only new detail is of the payments to his father and mother. For Frank Pickering of Carshalton again we learn that all payments went to his parents as joint legatees (though no will has been traced). C H Schooling of St John’s, Croydon is the first officer to appear in the registers, the payees here are less clear, it seems they may be passed through his agents rather than directly to next-of-kin.

Next, Arthur Frederick Roberts of Godstone, the register shows payments to his mother as sole legatee of £10 19s 1d. For George Basil Edser of Hersham payments of £7 6s to his widow, Edna. Similarly for Joseph Abbott of Merstham entry shows payments to his widow, Lizzie, of £10 1s 10d, while that for fellow Merstham ringer, Ernest Morley shows £25 17s to his father, Henry.

For the Mitcham trio, starting with Douglas Walter Drewett, for whom there were payments of £20 15s 5d to his widow, Margaret. Then for Benjamin Arthur Morris, £28 5s 7d to his father Arthur. Finally, Stanley Smith, £5 5s 1d to his father William S Smith.

This was all I had time to look at. In the majority of cases so far, there was not a huge amount new, but the very first record for Sydney Reddick gave additional information on where he died which can be followed up in the war diaries.

Thomas Arthur Talbot (1880-1947), Beddington

Though this post is appearing on 1 July, the anniversary of the opening of the Battle of the Somme, that is purely coincidental. There is no evidence that Thomas Arthur Talbot’s service even took him outside the United Kingdom.

He is listed as one of the Beddington ringers on the roll, but had also rung at both Croydon towers. He appears to have been the ninth of nine children of Joseph Talbot and Emily (nee Dann). They married at Paddington Parish Church (St James’s Paddington) on 16 February 1859. Joseph was a coachman living at Hyde Park Garden Mews and Emily a needlewoman living at Hyde Park Square. Both were the children of domestic servants themselves. As they lived in a mews houses when in London, I’ve not been able to establish which family they worked for, the births of their children are split between Hyde Park Garden Mews (they are in either 46 or 47 at successive censuses) and Hertfordshire, predominantly Great Berkhamsted, but one child was born in Chorleywood. The first of Thomas’s siblings, Emily Mary was born in London on 23 January 1860. She was followed by Catharine Anne in early 1862 (Chorleywood), Hannah in mid 1863 (London), Joseph David in mid 1865 (Great Berkhamsted), Louisa in late 1867 (Great Berkhamsted), Alice in late 1870 (Great Berkhamsted), Ellen Ada in late 1872 (Great Berkhamsted), Amy Elizabeth in mid 1875 (Great Berkhamsted), and the baby of the family, Thomas himself in early 1880 (Great Berkhamsted). He was baptised in Great Berkhamsted on 8 February 1880. It is possible there were other, short-lived, children who do not appear in any of the censuses.

By 1891 his father had retired and the family were living at 54 Borough Hill, Croydon. The household at the 1891 census comprised Joseph (59), Emily (56), Emily Mary (31), Catharine Anne (29), Joseph David (26), a warehouseman, Amy Elizabeth (15), Thomas himself (11), at school, and also a lodger, recorded as Henry J Rumble. It seems he may have been normally known by his middle name as James, and that it was he who introduced Joseph David and Thomas to bellringing. Certainly James Rumble and Joseph Talbot are recorded ringing together from 1892.

The first mention of Thomas Talbot ringing is from 1895, at St John’s Croydon, where he helped out on the tenor for a peal of Oxford Bob Triples. Though it is the peal of Grandsire Triples (again at St John’s) that is marked as his first peal on 22 March 1898. This also marked his election to the Surrey Association of Church Bell Ringers. In 1900 he rang a peal at St Peter’s, South Croydon.

At the 1901 census the family were still at 54 Borough Hill, the household now comprising Joseph (68), Emily (65), Emily Mary (41), a dressmaker, Alice (30), a nurse domestic, and Thomas (21), now a carpenter. Also present were Louisa Crawley (33, nee Talbot), already widowed and with children Louisa E (4) and Arthur J (2 months). Henry J Rumble was still lodging with the family too.

Up to 1904 Thomas appears annually, so slightly more, in ringing reports, with his first connection with Beddington from 1901. On 9 February 1907 he married Agnes Annie Kenyon at Holy Trinity, Selhurst. Their first child, Marjorie Annie, followed later the same year. In 1908 he makes his first appearance as a ringer for some time, returning to St John’s, Croydon, to ring a quarter peal with his brother which was a farewell to the conductor, E Bray, who was about to move to Eastbourne.

His mother, Emily, died around the same time, aged 73. A second child, a son, Edward George, arrived late in 1908, followed by Dora Lilian in early 1911. By the 1911 census, Thomas Arthur (31) and Agnes Annie (25) were living at Broadmoor Cottages, Wotton, Dorking with their three children. Dora had been born in Wotton. Thomas is shown to be a self-employed carpenter, so they may just have been living there temporarily while he worked on a job.

The outbreak of war doesn’t initially seem to have made much difference. It was only 11 December 1916 that Thomas attested, probably under the Derby Scheme. He joined the Royal Engineers where his civilian carpentry skills could be put to good use. He attested at Woolwich, and the entry in the recruitment register shows that he was 35 years, 11 months old, 5’8.25″ tall, weighed 129 lbs and had a 34.5″ chest. The family were then living at 6 Ravensworth Road. No other trace of his military service has been definitely traced. There is no medal index card for Thomas A Talbot in the Royal Engineers (he does not appear to have given his middle name at enlistment), though there is only one Thomas Talbot with no middle initial who served with them: however his rank is given as sapper, and the roll shows Thomas as a corporal. Given his age it is quite possible that he served only at home however.

Following the war, the family seem to have settled in Beddington, and Thomas begins to appear regularly in peal and quarter peal reports once again. From Remembrance Day 1923 his son, Edward George, also begins to appear regularly and became quite a well-known ringer.

Thomas died on 21 October 1947 in Wallington. He had been living at 4 Camden House, Guy Road. Administration of his estate was granted to Edward George and Marjorie Annie (now de Freitas), it’s not clear why Dora is not named. His estate was valued at £1679 11s 11d.

Croydon, St John the Baptist (Croydon Minster)

Just two ringers are listed on the original roll for St John’s, Croydon (Croydon Minster). E Elliott has so far resisted identification – there are around 70 possible candidates in the 1911 census. Rather easier to resolve was the identity of C F Johnston. Cyril Frederick Johnston was one of the great personalities of ringing in the first half of the twentieth century. The family firm of Gillett & Johnston whose bell foundry and clock factory was in Croydon had started off making church clocks, and this led naturally into first clock bells and then church bells more generally. It was Cyril who was fascinated by the idea of harmonic tuning of the bells, suggested by Canon Simpson and first put into practice by Taylor’s of Loughborough. After rather complicated war service with one of the Public Schools’ Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers, and then the Grenadier Guards, Cyril was released from the army following the death of his father in 1917 to work under the Ministry of Munitions at the family firm. Peacetime clock manufacture had turned to wartime production of fuzes for shells. After the war he proved to be a flamboyant salesman, and won many prestigious contracts, expanding into the manufacture of bells for carillons, particularly in the US. He was perhaps a little too relaxed about the fundamentals of business and the firm eventually ran into financial problems and he lost control after having to get external investment. On one of his various trips to the US he fathered a child by an American nurse. She was Jill Johnston, who became a radical lesbian feminist, but also wrote an interesting account of Cyril’s life, and how she came to terms with his abandonment of her mother. The book is well worth a read, England’s Child: The Carrillon and the Casting of Big Bells.

Not listed on the original Surrey roll, but to be found on the Central Council roll of honour, listed as a member of the Cambridge University Guild, is the Reverend Cecil Herbert Schooling. He became curate at St John’s in 1910 and joined up as a chaplain. He is recorded on the church war memorial, but it is not clear if he ever did ring there. However, it seems right his name should also be connected with the ringers of Croydon.