Friday 4 October 2013

Where oh Where did the War Memorials Go - from St George's and St John's churches, Barnsley?

Yesterday was my usual weekly visit to Barnsley Archives with my friend GB.  I have been going twice a week, but things caught up with me on Tuesday and I had to spend the day in bed after a busy weekend, so no pub inventories this week.  I'm still a bit groggy and didn't wake up until 11am today (the cat went out at 7am) but overall I feel "not too bad", so that's better than unconscious!

We now have a regular booking on the digitised Barnsley Chronicle, an hour each from 10am (opening time).  GB and I are fairly flexible within this - one idea for this week was that she took the first slot as sometimes the Cudworth Non-Conformist baptism register she is transcribing takes a little while to come up from the storeroom in the Town Hall basement whereas I'm currently working from the fiche of Worsborough Common United Free Church baptisms so I could get started on that straight away.  As it turned out I got to the Archives first so I grabbed the seat! Sorry G!
"St John's Parish War Memorial Will the Relatives or Friends of Men Fallen in the War who were resident in the Parish or members of the Congregation please forward their Names and Regiments to the Rev G O Tibbits, 38 Cope Street, Barnsley as it is intented to Erect an Inscribed Tablet in the Church to their Memory"
Barnsley Chronicle 15 February 1919 (Barnsley Archives)
I've been looking into the process of setting up memorials to the First World War in Barnsley and District.  I had previously searched through the first six months of 1920 but I had realised as I read the Chronicle that discussions about memorials had started much earlier so this week I jumped back to the beginning of 1919. 

I found the above advertisement in the 15 February issue, it reads:

"St John's Parish
War Memorial
Will the Relatives or Friends of Men Fallen in the War who were resident in the Parish or members of the Congregation please forward their Names and Regiments to the Rev G O Tibbits, 38 Cope Street, Barnsley as it is intended to
Erect an Inscribed Tablet in the Church to their Memory."

St John's Church was in the centre of the Bare Bones or Wilson's Piece area of Barnsley, on the southern edge of the town centre and where some of the housing dated back to the end of the 18th century. In the early 20th century the area was densely packed and overcrowded.  St John's records in Barnsley Archives go back to 1845 for baptisms and to 1858 for marriages.  Prior to that the Church of England residents would have gone to St George's, which opened a little earlier or St Mary's in the town centre.  There were no burials from the church, probably due to the proximity of Barnsley Cemetery. 

Even in Yococo - Barnsley Council and the Barnsley Archives' own online image collection there are not very many pictures of St John's church.
St John's Church, Barnsley about 1960 (from Yococo)

The building work in front of the church is one of the small blocks of flats on Union Street/Duke Crescent.  The church was closed in 1968 and demolished soon afterwards.  An old peoples home stands on the site now. 

So where did the "Inscribed Tablet" go?  To which local church did the congregation move?  Maybe St Peter's on Doncaster Road?  Have they got the tablet?

The plans at St George's church, another parish on the edge of the town centre in Barnsley, were obviously even more advanced than those of St John's.  In the 12 April 1919 edition of the Chronicle I found a large newspaper report about the "Impressive Dedication Service at St George's Church"; the Bishop of Wakefield attended and dedicated a chapel and two memorial windows, one to the memory of the men in the parish who fell in the war.
List of names - in text below.
The list of names read out at the dedication at St George's Church
(from the Barnsley Chronicle 12 Apr 1919 - Barnsley Archives)

The article states that "chapel of oak panelling and the stained glass windows are distinct ornaments to the sacred edifice and will prove lasting memorials of those in whose honour they have been placed". 

These are the names read out by the vicar C E Dixon in the course of the service:

Bernard Harry Alderson
Bertram Allsop
Ernest Henry Allsop
Wm Bates
Jack Russel Benson
Frank Bridge
Herbert Birkenshaw
Fred Brettoner
John Burns
John Francis Burbury
Henry Carter
Thomas Edgar Carrick
Clarence Capindale
Walter Cross
Harry Collier
John Wm Cooper
Carl Penrose Dixon
Alfred Edon
Arthur Edon
James William Edon
Herbert Harry England
George Ekin
Harold Feasby
Frank Ferreday
Harry Firth
Frederick Flude
Wm Henry Falloon
Walter France
Cyril Robert Fleetwood
Ivan Grindell
Noah Green
Rupert Gilbert
Fred Harrison
Harold Hodgson
Charles Edward Hall
Percy Hague
Herbert Hobson
George Hudson
Tom Jaques
Arthur Jepson
Wm Henry Kidd
Cecil Robert Lawson
Edgar Starmer Metcalf
Wm Merrill
Thomas Merrill
Ernest Merrill
Ernest Pilley
Geo Wm Pickering
Ernest Poole
Josiah Peace
James Pendlebury
Robert Prosser
Arthur Redhall
Frances Edgar Ridley
Alfred Rist
Robert Mark Richardson
Harry Sergeant
Harry Scargill
James Christopher Speight
Frank Steeples
Ben Sutcliffe
Harry Sugden
Charles Stewart
Geo Sykes
Geo Smith
James Stuart Swift
Alonzo Wilson Swallow
Norman Theaker
Arthur Utley
John Thomas Vowles
Harry Wilson
Fred Walker
Charles Whittam
Thomas Waddington

I find it particularly moving that several of the surnames crop up more than once; there are two Allsops, three Edons, and three Merrills in the list.  Also some names familiar to me appear - Tom Jaques, Fred Brettoner and Alonzo Wilson Swallow - all three men connected to the OH's family tree.  I have written Alonzo's story in a previous blog post.
St George's Church, Barnsley in about 1910 (from Yococo)
St George's church was older than St John's, but not by much.  The first records in Barnsley Archives are baptisms in 1832 and marriages in 1837.  It was demolished in 1993 after being closed for some years.  I understand that the building was unsafe.  The congregation moved to a modern building not far away and the churchyard is still there surrounded by the railings you can see in the picture above (from the Yococo website again) with a surprisingly small empty space in the middle where the church once stood.

Are there any records in the new St George's about the men who whose names were read out in 1919?  Was a plaque erected in the church with their names and did it get moved to the new church?

I will continue my search in future weeks and in the meantime if anyone knows the whereabouts of the memorials from these two churches could you please get in touch?



sad1111 said...

Dear Barnsley Historian. I'm doing some research on My Great Grandma and Granddad. SHe was Mary Ellen Hassall, born c 1888. She married Richard Lovatt (In the war as Joseph Lovatt) at barnsley registry office on 1st December 1909. My mum says she was in service to a minister. Her address on the marriage certificate is 3 court 3 copper street, barnsley. which was tenanted by a char woman in 1911 census.
Could you shed any light on which minister she might have been in service with. - She wasn't working when she got married, due to being 8 months pregnant.
Also, do you know what a Baylie stoker trier did at Beevor Bleach works?


BarnsleyHistorian said...

Hi Teresa,

As your great grandparents married in the Register Office that might suggest she was a Non-Conformist, a Methodist or Baptist of some kind. I would imagine that if she had worked for a C of E minister he would have wanted her to marry in his church, even at her advanced state of pregnancy.

There were a number of non-conformist churches in the Copper Street, Sheffield Road area, so I couldn't hazard a guess any further.

As for the occupation you best bet is to Google the term or to call into your local Archives (do you live in Barnsley?) and enquire. They may have records and books to help you find out what your ancestor did for a living.

Thanks for reading my blog, and for getting in touch,