Monday, 6 June 2016

Elizabeth Gardner Of Balscott.

  The Proffitt-White family has been in the national news recently with the funeral in Berlin of William Proffitt-White which was attended by several members of that particular branch of the Whites of Shotteswell clan. In the Blog of 18 September 2012, "The Whites - Early To Mid-nineteenth Century", I mentioned that Thomas White, born 1810, son of Richard White and Kezia Curtis of Farnborough in Warwickshire, married a woman called Elizabeth who had been born in Balscott in Oxfordshire and presumed because of the family's later use of the name that her surname must have been "Proffitt" even though I wrote at the time that I could not identify a family called Proffitt in that village in the 1841 census.
  In the Blog of 3 October 2012, "From White To Proffitt-White", I mentioned that in the 1841 census, Thomas and Elizabeth had a young woman of "independent" means living with them called Sarah Gardner and I postulated that she might have been Elizabeth's sister and that Elizabeth's surname had not been "Proffitt" but "Gardner".
  The question is now answered without doubt. I have just found "The Index Of Oxford Marriage Banns And Affidavits 1661 - 1850" by Donnette Stringham Smith which records that Thomas White, age 28 of Shotteswell, Warwickshire, married Elizabeth Gardner of Balscott, daughter of John Gardner, on 16 October 1837 at Balscott. The given age for the groom is 28 which is consistent with him being born in 1810, a fact known to us.
  Hence the name Proffitt which Thomas and Elizabeth gave as a middle name to several of their younger children does not originate with Elizabeth's family name and we now know for sure that Elizabeth was a member of the Gardner family. 
  So just why did Thomas and Elizabeth begin to use the name Proffitt as a middle name for their younger children? In "From White To Proffitt-White" I have indulged in some speculation but unless someone reading this piece knows the answer then more detective work is necessary. 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The 1670 Hearth Tax.

  I have been concerned in the past about the question of my branch of the White family originating in Bloxham and moving at some stage to Shotteswell since apart from a family tree which can be found on the Internet and which I am informed was from an excellent source, I have not been able to definitively link by documentation the late 17th century Bloxham Whites and the mid-18th century Shotteswell Whites.
  Of course, geographically, the distance from Bloxham in North Oxfordshire to Shotteswell in South Warwickshire is very small indeed and anyone living in Bloxham would have to move only a very short distance to set up home in Shotteswell. But how can we be certain that the Whites of Shotteswell originated in or around Bloxham in the early 1700's rather than having lived in Shotteswell for very much longer? I suppose the non-appearance of anyone named White in pre-1680 Shotteswell records is a clue and this is mainly the case although the Shotteswell parish records note the marriage of a George Whithe to a Maria Hodges in June 1578. The next appearance of a White in the Shotteswell parish records does not occur until 1683 when Issabella White was buried at St.Laurence Church. This suggests that the Whites were not present in any great numbers in Shotteswell before this date or it may be that some lived there but missing or indecipherable records make it impossible to know that to be the case.
  Another piece of evidence that the Whites were not living in Shotteswell in 1670 is the records of the Hearth Tax of 1670 which are revealed in the book "Warwickshire Hearth Tax Records" edited by Arkell and Alcock. This book lists all the existent records of households which paid the Hearth Tax throughout Warwickshire in 1670 and as all households were to be recorded by it, even if they were not charged for the tax, it helps us to see if anyone called White was living in Shotteswell at that time. Indeed, there is NO record of any householder in Shotteswell who was recorded in the 1670 Hearth Tax list with the name of White so this is consistent with the belief that the Whites moved to the village from north Oxfordshire in the final year or two of the 17th century through to 1733.
   Interestingly, there is hardly a White mentioned in the 1670 Hearth Tax records for the whole of south Warwickshire - we find a Joseph White (1 hearth) and a William White (3 hearths) in Gaydon, a Widow White in Eadington (1 hearth), and 2 Whights (Humphrey [7 hearths] and William [1 hearth]) in the Brailes Division. It seems that the Whites were still Oxfordshire people in the main prior to the start of the 18th century.
  The 1670 Hearth Tax gives us interesting information about Shotteswell at that time - in 1670 there were 55 households recorded in the village (this compares with 37 in 1663, 50 in 1664, 51 in 1665, 45 in 1666, 55 in 1671, 55 in 1673 and 56 in 1774). Of the 55 households, 38 were charged for the tax and 17 uncharged. Thirty nine households were recorded as having 1 hearth, 8 had 2 hearths and 7 had 3 or more including 2 households which had between 5 and 9 hearths.
  The name of the village was actually recorded as Shatswell and among the heads of households named were the senior Vicar, Mr. Coleman (3 hearths), and Mr. Grivill (2 hearths), also recorded as Vicar. We find a Matthew Coleman (the Coleman family are among our ancestors) (1 hearth), William Coleman Jr (2 hearths) and William Coleman (1 hearth). I can find no other surnames in the list which appear in our family tree. From this list it appears that the Colemans are our earliest ancestors to have lived in Shotteswell. I wonder if the vicar was related to the rest of the Colemans. The largest house in the village (8 hearths) belonged to one Thomas Perkins at that time.
  In neighbouring villages we find one or two other interesting surnames - a William Bradford had 1 hearth in Over (Upper) Tysoe and a Robert Baylis had a single hearth in Butlers Marston. There were also Baylises recorded in Northem in a Burton Dassett Constabulary (William, Richard and John). There was a Widow Bradford in Oxhill.
  This record then seems to support the theory that the Whites were not present in Shotteswell before the end of the 1690's and is not inconsistent with them having moved there from nearby Bloxham.

Monday, 8 October 2012

The War Years.

The Whites and World War II

As war was breaking out, the White girls were leaving school and starting work at A. Hill & Company. Richard John was almost 17 years old and after the reintroduction of military conscription would have become eligible for conscription when he reached the age of 18 had his work with the production of spectacles not been regarded as a reserve occupation. With the increasing risk of air raids affecting Birmingham, Dick became an Air Raid Warden. The family had an air raid shelter dug into the garden at the back of 14, Ingleby Street.
  Leonard Knight was not old enough to join the Armed Forces until 1943 and when  he was 18 he joined The Royal Navy. He seems to have been in the Mediterranean area for several photographs exist of him in scenes which appear to be taken at Malta and possibly Egypt. He was involved in action off Italy since he was awarded The Italy Star after the end of the war. There is one large photograph which shows him among the entire crew of HMS Boxer with Valletta Harbour in the background. The ship had been launched on 12 December 1942 having been constructed at Harland And Woolf shipyard in Belfast. It certainly played a role in the invasion of Italy in 1943 and later, also in the Normandy Landings in 1944. The writer, Spike Milligan, recorded that he was carried on The Boxer from North Africa to Italy when he served with the 56th Heavy Regiment Royal Artillery but Leonard  never mentioned that he was aware of that fact although he was a great fan of The Goons, the comedy group of which Spike Milligan was to be a member.
  German air raids on Birmingham began in August 1940 and massive raids on the city took place during the nights of 19 to 22 November 1940. Minor raids followed but there was another major raid on 11 and 12 December 1940 and further massive raids on the city were launched by German aircraft from 9 to 11 April 1941 and from 27 to 30 July 1942. In all Birmingham experienced 27 raids in which more than 2000 people were killed and 3000 seriously injured. Many of the raids were aimed at the factories where supplies for the war were manufactured. The White family passed many nights in their air raid shelter while Dick carried out his warden work checking how people were in their air raid shelters, ensuring the blackout was being observed and administering first aid with the materials in his ARP first aid box containing as it did, a bottle of Dettol, bandages, splints, scissors, rubber adhesive plaster and safety pins. The ongoing terror continued until the last Birmingham air raid which rained down on the city on 23 April 1943. Family members' nerves were frayed; Pearl was unable to tolerate thunder storms for the rest of her life and when ever a flash of lightning occurred or a crack of thunder, she would hide herself under the stairs of the house and Ruby would often be close behind her.
  However life went on in the face of bombs and rationing. Hill's factory switched its production to war work. Pearl and Joan silver-soldered naval officers' silver cap badges. They soldered rings for applying to stirrup pumps which were used for putting out fires. Women were also conscripted and a number of the workers at the factory were called up, including Pearl but not Ruby, who was deemed not to be fit enough, nor Joan who was too young. Pearl sat an examination to enable her to work for the Royal Air Force and passed it but ultimately was allocated to work for the railway service which entailed carrying out heavy and exhausting work.
  Joan recalled that every day, Mr. Steier toured his factory to ensure that his "children" had not been killed or injured in the air raids. The factory was not damaged at any time but on one occasion, a bomb fell on and exploded in the shop facing the soldering department. Fortunately, because it was a night-time raid, no-one was injured.

A view of the soldering shop at the old factory in Frederick Street where
Ruby, Pearl and Joan worked for many years. Joan is at the window.

 Len Knight meanwhile changed his service from the Navy to the British Army and joined The Royal Leicestershire Regiment, his number being 14991414. The Second Battalion of The Leicestershire Regiment was fighting in the jungles of Burma in 1944 and it was in this terrible theatre of war that Leonard found himself fighting the Japanese. He rarely spoke about the awfulness of it but he lost a lot of weight in the intensely humid, tropical jungle atmosphere and contracted malaria, bouts of which he continued to experience even when he was back at home after the war. He certainly experienced nightmares about it years later. He used to tell stories of the horribleness of having to burn leeches off his skin with lighted cigarettes. This must surely have been an awful experience for a young man of nineteen.
  In Shotteswell, the Proffitt-Whites experienced two tragedies as a result of the war. Lionel Tom White, the second son of Tom W. and Mary Proffitt White, became a trooper in the Royal Armoured Corps, 32nd Tank Brigade and found himself fighting in the North Africa campaign in Libya. He was killed in action at the Battle of Gazala on 29 May 1942 and was buried in the Knightsbridge War Cemetery in Acroma in Libya. The third son of the family, William Proffitt-White, joined the Royal Air Force and was a pilot officer in 77 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. On the night of 29 January 1944 his bomber airplane took off from RAF Elvington en route to action over Berlin but the aircraft crashed with the loss of all seven crew members. William is commemorated on The Runnymede Memorial in Surrey while the two brothers are commemorated on a marble plaque bearing the names of the Shotteswell men killed during the two World Wars which is placed at the entrance to St. Laurence Church. At the foot of their father's grave in St. Laurence churchyard, an additional stone was placed commemorating the names of the two brothers.
Memorial at the entrance of St. Laurence Church in Shotteswell honouring Lionel White
and William Proffitt White and others. The brothers are the only members of the White family
whom I know to have died in war.                                           

  Back in Birmingham, life for the family was not all doom and gloom. They supplemented their rations with food grown in the garden and with the poultry that they kept. Dick would come up with an occasional wheeze such as when he decided to hold a raffle where the prize was a pig. The raffle winner was not too pleased to find that the pig in question was a "sugar pig", a small pink-coloured, porcine-shaped piece of confectionary! Needless to say this prize did not go down too well with the winner who had expected something rather more substantial but Dick refunded everyone's money and the joke was generally appreciated.
  About 1943, Joan recalled, Mr. Hill and Mr. Steier held a dance for their workers at the jewellery factory in a hall in Harborne and gave bonuses to the five people who had worked longest for them. Ruby, Pearl and Joan took their mother, Josie, with them to the dance, as a guest and Joan recalled that there was a generous buffet meal which contributed to making it a thoroughly enjoyable evening for them all. Joan said that they had never been to an occasion like it before.
 The White girls did not let the war spoil their social lives and made friends with various young soldiers home on leave and in particular, a young black American soldier who would often visit the home where he was well regarded. In the summers, the girls would go to work on the land and usually visited the area around Grantham in Lincolnshire where they formed a special friendship with a local young woman who remained a great friend of the family for 60 years after the war. Later she worked as a manageress in a bakery where particularly fine pork pies were made and every Christmas time the Whites would receive a parcel sent by her, containing several of the delicious pies to increase the family's Christmas cheer.
 And so the war approached its end and on 8 May 1945 the Germans unconditionally surrendered to The Allies and victory in Europe was declared. The British began a massive celebration. The three White girls turned up to Hill's factory for work as usual but Theodore Steier told them to go home and take the day off so that they could participate in and enjoy the Victory celebrations. Joan recalled that they certainly did so, mixing with the happy crowds in the centre of Birmingham and perhaps drinking a little bit more than they should have done. In fact, Mr. Steier was so happy about the victory that he gave his employees a whole week's holiday with pay instead of just a single day of leave. The Birmingham branch of the White family and the factory that employed three of its members, had made it through the long war years, safe and sound.

Dick White sitting on the air raid shelter
at 14 Ingleby Street, late 1940's.

  Some sadness was to follow soon afterwards, however: Annie Maria, "Granny White", died the following month from, as Joan recalled, "old age". She was buried in the grave in Quinton Cemetery where the bodies of John Henry and Tom already lay, the funeral taking place on 13 June 1945. In recent years, she had continued to have problems with her leg ulceration and had slipped on a banana skin and fractured her leg. Her younger sister, Laura - "Aunt Laura" - lived another nine years until dying on 17 July 1954, a life-long spinster. She died at 89 Crockett's Road, Handsworth and Dick was the executor of her will which was granted probate on 17 September 1954 at Birmingham. The will provided £50 for her sister, Connie,  £30 for her sister, Marjorie, £30 for her long-time friend and companion, Elizabeth Matilda Taylor, and the rest of the estate, totaling £1099 5s 9d was left to her brother, Dick, which was a good boost for the family's finances.
  One person who was not sharing in the celebrations of VE Day was Len Knight for he was still in Burma fighting against the Japanese who did not surrender to The Allies until 14 August 1945 (British-time, in Japan it was already 15 August). Even then, it was a while before he was demobilised for, on returning to Europe, he was deployed in Allied-Occupied Germany. After the war he was awarded The Italy Star, as mentioned above, The 1939 - 45 Star, The Burma Star, The War Medal and The Defence Medal.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Between Wars.

Dick and Josie Get Married

  Dick and Josie were married on 7 October 1922 at St. Paul's Church in St. Paul's Square in Hockley, in what is now known as The Jewellery Quarter. They were still living in Pope Street which is a short distance from the church. Josie was expecting their first child. The wedding was witnessed by an Albert Brown and Josie's sister, Kathy Winney and the service was conducted by the Rev. William Henry Smith who was the Vicar of St. Paul's. As the newly married couple were leaving the church, Josie noticed a silver threepence coin which someone had dropped on the step of the church and she picked it up and this was generally viewed as being a good omen for the marriage, which it may well have been since they remained together for almost 61 years until Josie died in 1983.

St. Paul's Church, Hockley where Dick and Josie were married in 1922.

  Their first child, their only boy - Richard John White - was born on 18 December 1922 and in the following years they had a pair of twins, Ruby Josephine and Pearl May (born 15 May 1925 and named at the suggestion of the midwife when Josie had been at a loss at what to call them) and another daughter, Constance Joan (always known as Joan), born 7 November 1927. Around the time of Joan's birth, the family moved to a large house at 14 Ingleby Street, which linked Summer Hill and Monument Road, in Ladywood. This apparently was an old pawnbroker's shop and in consequence had an enormous window at the front of the house. I believe the house had six bedrooms and at some stage, Jack Winney came to live with the family although he later moved to another house in Ingleby Street. There was a large cellar and hall way but only an outside toilet and no bathroom. In the garden the family often kept poultry, including chicken and a large aggressive cockerill and ducks. At one time Richard John had a pigeon loft and kept a number of the birds. The family always kept dogs and sometimes had a cat as well - they had a dark brown dog who was known by a name that would now be politically incorrect although it was not offensive at that time and afterwards an English bull terrier called "Paddy", who was a very fine dog and much loved, although deaf. The house was so big that the family would sometimes take in lodgers to supplement the family's income.

Richard John White c.1925.

Pearl, Joan and Ruby White c.1930.

  Dick's sister, Elsie, married George Frederick Fisher in the first quarter of 1915. They had two children:- Gwendoline - "Gwen" or  "Gwennie" - born in the second quarter of 1915 and Brenda, born in the first quarter of 1923, both in Quinton.  Sadly, Elsie died at the age of 34 in the final quarter of 1926 from throat cancer, a diagnosis, which the family concluded, was due to a blow she had previously sustained to the throat. Dick was very upset by the death of his beloved sister, so much so that he had a small tattoo applied to his left forearm in memory of her.
Elsie, Dick White's sister 1892 - 1926.

  John Henry White died at the age of 60 at home in Drayton Road on 28 March 1929. The death certificate describes him still as having been a maltster and gives the cause of death as "gastric ulcer (no post mortem)". The informant of the death is identified as Annie Maria, who, the certificate records, was present at the death. The death was registered at Edgbaston sub-district on 23 March 1929. John Henry's funeral took place at Quinton Cemetery on 27 March 1929. The bill for the funeral shows that the original cost of the grave was 3s 6d and that the minister's fee for the funeral was 5/-. The grave, no. 7012, section 6, does not have a headstone but there is a large vase at the centre of the grave which was clearly put there by Annie Maria and bears the inscription, "In memory of my dear husband John Henry White".
  In the third quarter of 1924, Tom White, Dick's elder brother, married Ethel Woodward (born in early 1899) and the couple had three children:- Arthur James White, born 1 December 1924 in West Bromwich, Marjorie W., birth registered in West Bromwich in the third quarter of 1926 and Doreen, birth registered in the third quarter of 1929, also in West Bromwich. However, tragedy hit the family when Tom died on the 13 September 1931 and Ethel was left to bring up three young children by herself. Tom was buried in his father's grave in Quinton Cemetery and the vase on the grave was additionally inscribed on one of its four faces with a commemoration of Tom.
  Dick and Josie's children seemed to have led the sort of life you might have expected them to have done in the 1920's and 30's. They seem to have had the same little squabbles that siblings have always had and attended local schools where Richard seems to have been the most successful of the four children. Pearl had a talent for art and Ruby, plagued by the school teachers because of their determination to "cure" her left-handedness, seemed to have a talent for music. The family sadly were not well off and it was not possible for the children to go on to any form of higher education. Dick worked in a factory at (the now totally modernised and fashionable) Gas Street Basin where he carried out skilled work in the production of glass although later he was to change his employment and to work as a storekeeper at the great Birmingham firm, then based in Ladywood, of Guest, Keen and Nettlefold's.

Ruby and Pearl White c.1935.

  Richard John recalled that he was particularly close to his grandfather, Jack Winney, who gave him a half crown every week. Dick and Josie did their best to ensure that the children had a happy childhood - they would be kept smartly dressed often in clothes that Josie had made for them and at Christmas they had splendid toys that were mostly made by Dick - he made prams for the girls in which to push their dolls around and little items for a doll's house he had constructed for them. Josie would make clothes for the girl's dolls to be dressed in and it appears that although not rich, the family got by satisfactorily due to the hard work and devotion of Dick and Josie. 
  Nor were the older members of the family neglected. As we have seen, Jack Winney either lived with or lived in the same street as Dick and Josie. In the third quarter of 1938, at the age of 64, Jack remarried, this time to a woman called Elizabeth Wood, whom the family knew as "Lizzie". He remained rather flash and smartly dressed and liked to splash his money around. He lived till the age of 81 when he appears to have died from a stroke in his house in Ingleby Street, the death taking several hours and attended by Josie and Joan with Richard John just arriving at his beloved grandfather's bedside around the time of death. His body was laid out by a neighbour from across the road while, as Joan recalled, Lizzie and one of her cronies were downstairs drinking.
  Dick paid a lot of attention to his mother, Annie Maria, after John Henry died and she was much loved by the family. For many years, Annie Maria had problems with leg ulceration following an injury to her leg and this was a problem for her. Her granddaughter, Joan, particularly remembered that "Granny White", as she was known, always made the family kneel down to say grace before starting to eat any meal. After her husband's death she continued to live at 19 Drayton Road. Dick's Aunt Laura, Annie Maria's sister, was also included in the family circle and Dick would frequently visit her and do jobs for her if necessary, at her home in Quinton. The children would also be taken to visit her and on one occasion, as recalled by Ruby, Laura had been taken ill and took to her bed and Dick had gone to her house to look after her. She had requested a glass of "medicinal" brandy and Ruby remembered being present in the bedroom while her father was pouring the drink for Laura whilst his aunt lay seemingly asleep but with one eye half open to ensure that Dick did not help himself to any of the drink!
Annie Maria White with her niece Brenda.

  The Gathering Storm

  Dick and Josie's family also remained in regular contact with Ethel, Tom's widow. Joan recalled that although Ethel had little money to spare because she had no husband to help to support her family (the benefits system did not exist then), she always had a welcome for anyone visiting her, giving them a cup of tea with the more affordable Carnation milk to add to it. The Ingleby Street children were in regular contact with their cousins. 
  Richard John seems to have found life difficult faced, as he was, with three younger sisters although the favouritism shown to him by his grandfather, Jack Winney, may have been a comfort to him. Perhaps Jack Winney was not the best role model for the boy. Richard would often have tantrums and could be unpleasantly selfish, Joan recalled how, once, when his grandfather had given him a half crown, Josie had been so short of money to buy bread for the family that she asked him to lend her sixpence but he moodily refused to do so. After leaving school, he became an apprentice in the making of spectacles and the work included using a substance which caused his overalls to become filthy. On the Christmas Day that followed his sixteenth birthday, he demanded that his mother wash his overalls despite the need to prepare the Christmas lunch which the extended family usually attended. He behaved so badly during lunch that the occasion was ruined and Richard found himself expelled from the family home and subsequently needing to find a bed in his grandfather's home. Everyone agreed that it had been the worst Christmas the family had ever experienced. Richard started to go to night school to study to be an optician and was successful in passing the necessary examinations to enable him to join that profession.
  During her teenage years, Ruby became fond of a boy, Leonard Knight - known as "Len" - who had been born in Birmingham on 12 June 1925 - he was about one month younger than Ruby. Leonard was the son of Harry Arthur Knight, born in London on 3 May 1886 and his wife, Evelyn Dorothy Trinder, born in the pretty village of Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire in 1890. Harry's father, Harry William Knight had been born William Henry Knights on 30 October 1862 in the tiny village of Debach  in Suffolk ("Knights" as opposed to "Knight" is an East Anglian name), the son of James Knights (1820-1864) and his wife Lydia Crane (1824-1873), the family having lived in the area for many generations. The orphaned William Henry moved to London whilst still a teenager after his mother's death and probably in pursuit of work between 1871 and 1881, accompanied by his older sister, Sarah Angelina. When they arrived in London they altered their names, Sarah simply calling herself "Angelina" and William Henry becoming "Harry William" and both of them dropping the "s" from the end of their surname. Harry took up work as a glass beveller and in the third quarter of 1884 married Eleanor Annie Mulcay (born in Westminster in the second quarter of 1864) in the third quarter of 1884. The couple had six more children after Harry Arthur - Eleanor (born 1890) and Ethel Emma (born 1893) and four unknown children who died as infants. Eleanor Senior died from tuberculosis on 28 April 1896 aged just 32 at 11, Tufton Street, St. John in Westminster and Harry was left to bring up the children with the help of his mother-in-law, Jane Dunn, born in 1833 in Kelso. For some unknown reason, Harry Arthur moved to Birmingham some time between 1901 and 1911 which is probably when he met Evelyn Trinder who had moved from Tenbury and was working at The Bell Inn in Northfield at the time of the 1911 census. They had 2 children, Harry Albert Sydney (born 19 November 1912 in Selly Oak) and Arthur Thomas (born 4 October 1914 in Birmingham) before they were married on 22 December 1916 at Birmingham Registry Office, probably while Harry was on leave from army service during the First World War (like Dick White, Harry served in The Royal Warwickshire Regiment). Their subsequent children were:- George (born 1917 in Birmingham, died aged 16 in 1933 from tuberculosis), Dorothy (born 1922), Len, Eleanor (born in 1928 in Birmingham) and Evelyn (born in 1933 in Birmingham). The Knights lived reasonably near the Whites, firstly in Sandpits in Ladywood, and later on, at no. 6 Wellington Road in Handsworth. Harry worked as an engineer and the family did not have a lot of money, particularly as he enjoyed regular visits to the local public houses where much of the family income was spent. Through his attachment to Ruby, Len became a regular visitor to the house in Ingleby Street and Ruby's parents became very fond of him with his kindly, gentle nature.  We shall return to a more detailed telling of the Knight's story in future blogs.
  The three girls, as they left school, went to work in the nearby Jewellery Quarter in the factory of A. Hill and Co., owned by Alan Hill and a Sudetenland Jew, who had escaped from the territory when the German Nazis seized it, called Theodore Steier. The company had only recently been established and Ruby was one of its earliest employees. The factory produced costume jewellery and Ruby was employed as a finisher of the pieces of jewellery and job which involved putting the stones into the jewellery, fixing pins and clips to it and so on. She worked there from 1938 and was followed by Pearl who worked there as a solderer. Joan joined the work force on 2 February 1941 also as a solderer but she recalled that being the most junior staff member, much of her work at the beginning involved sweeping up rubbish including the papers from the fish and chips which the women working there usually consumed for lunch. She remembered that her first week's pay amounted to £1- 5 shillings for 40 hours work, rising to 27s 6d in the second week and after three or four weeks, being paid piece-work, her pay consequently increasing as she grew more experienced. The workers also received bonuses two or three times per year. Ruby was so delighted when she received her first bonus that she threw all the notes into the air like large pieces of confetti and when she took it home to her mother, Josie told her she had never seen so much money in her life and in fact, when the girls were paid their bonuses, they actually earned more than their father was bringing home. Although she did not take the job, Josie was offered the job of tea lady at the factory.
  After the seizure of The Sudetenland from which Mr. Steier escaped, the Germans attacked the remainder of Czechoslovakia in March 1939 and subsequently Britain and France guaranteed the independence of Poland which The Germans invaded on 1 September 1939. As a result, Britain and France declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939. Everyone in England was to be profoundly affected by what was to follow. The Whites were no exception.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Enter Jack Winney.

  The Winneys and The Asburys

  When Dick returned to Birmingham after the end of his military service, he took up work as a painter. This work may have brought him into contact with John Arthur Winney (known as Jack Winney), a plasterer and through him, he got to know Jack's daughter, Phoebe Josephine, who was usually known as Jose or Josie. Dick moved into Jack's home at 2/112 Pope Street in Hockley, presumably as a lodger. Dick and Josie formed a relationship so that were they thought of as a couple by Josie's relations by early 1920 when one of Josie's cousins, Dolly Staight, sent her a postcard postmarked 29 March 1920 from The Plough Inn in Kidderminster which  was owned by her father, Edgar William Staight, and which read "Dear Jose, Will you try and come over for Easter as we shall be pleased to see you and Dick and Uncle (presumably Jack Winney). Their (sic) will be something doing down at Stourport this tine They are opening the caves as (word indecipherable) With best love Doll."
  We can trace Jack Winney's origins as far back as 1750 when his great great grandfather, Thomas Winney, was born in Gloucester. He and his wife, Mary (born in Gloucester in 1750), had at least one son, Thomas, who was also born in Gloucester in 1784 and he married Anne Fords, born in 1785 in Gloucester. Again, they had at least one son, Samuel Winney, who, when adult, took up the trade of a plasterer (with the Georgian fashion for heavily plastered internal decorations, this was a promising career for a young man). Samuel married Susannah Vessey, born in Gloucester in 1814, and among their children was Henry Winney. Clearly Samuel and Susannah had moved home by then, Samuel probably attracted by the potential vast amount of work in the booming industrial area around Birmingham, for Henry was born in West Bromwich in 1846. Henry followed in his father's footsteps by taking up the plastering trade and married Mary Grice (born in West Bromwich in 1848) on 3 July 1870. They had six children:- Joseph H (born 1873 in West Bromwich), John Arthur (birth registered 3rd quarter of 1874), Edith M. (born 1879 in West Bromwich), Harry F. (1881 in West Bromwich), Selina (1884 in Smethwick) and Elsie (1890 in Smethwick). Henry's father, Samuel died in West Bromwich in the final quarter of 1889.
  Jack Winney took up the trade of plastering like his father and grandfather. As his career progressed Jack liked to emphasise that he was not just a plasterer but was a Master plasterer. Indeed later in his life, he worked on some prestigious buildings including the interior of The Hall of Memory in Broad Street in Birmingham where his work can still be seen. The 1891 census finds him living with his parents in Harborne, now in Birmingham, at the age of 17, but on 14 August 1898 he married Phoebe Elizabeth Asbury at Smethwick Old Church where the marriage was witnessed by Jack's elder brother, Joseph, and Annie Winney.  Phoebe, usually known as Elizabeth, had been born on 18 January 1880 at Back 51, Icknield Square in Ladywood, the daughter of Alfred Asbury (Elizabeth's birth certificate names him as James Alfred which was not his birth name and identifies him as a house painter) and his wife Elizabeth nee Taylor who was born around 1848). Phoebe Elizabeth's parents seem to have separated since Alfred Asbury is to be found as a lodger of two different families in the 1891 and 1901 census records and her mother is probably the Elizabeth Asbury whose death was registered at Kings Norton in the first quarter of 1897. Alfred was the son of Charles Asbury, who had been born in Birmingham in 1820 and his wife Sarah nee Horton who had also been born in Birmingham on 11 February 1818. She was the daughter of John Horton, born 1792 and his wife, Catherine nee Thompkins. Charles Asbury worked as a wood turner for the whole of his life; he is first found in the 1841 census at the age of 21 living with a couple called William and Caroline Skelding in "The Hamlet of Duddeston and Nechells". Skelding was a brush maker and so one imagines that Charles probably worked for him. Charles and Sarah Horton were married on 23 September 1842 and, apart from Alfred, they had nine other children:- Sarah (born 1843), Elizabeth (1845), Abraham (1847 - 1939), Emily (born 1849), Charles (1852 - 1924), Catherine (born 1860), Laura C. (1861), John Horton (1863) and Miriam, born in 1865. By the 1861 census the family had moved to back-to-back housing in Darwin Street in Deritend in Aston where they are also to be found in the 1871 census. In the 1881 census, the family is found to have moved around the corner to another back-to-back house in Chandos Street in Deritend and they were still living there in 1901 but by then the core family consisted just of Charles, then aged 81, and his two unmarried daughters, Sarah and Laura. Incredibly, the house seems to have been shared with 7 other families. Charles died in Aston in 1905 at the grand age of 85 having outlived his wife, Sarah, who had died five years earlier in 1900. Their son, Alfred, our direct ancestor, probably died in 1929.
   The first child of Jack and Elizabeth Winney, Phoebe Josephine - Josie - was born on 1 September 1899. They subsequently had two more children - twins - born on 24 February 1906 who were called John Arthur and Kathleen. I can not find the family in the 1901 census, nor for that matter, in the 1911 census. Jack's father, Henry, lived until the final quarter of 1926 when his death was registered in Birmingham North. At the age of 17, Jack's sister, Edith married Edgar Staight who had been born in Elderfield in Worcestershire in the second quarter of 1875. They had three children:- Gilbert (born 1900 in Smethwick), Lilian, (born 1902 in Smethwick) and Hilda (born 1903, also in Smethwick). I do not know which of the two girls was known as "Dolly" who is mentioned above when she invited Josie and Dick to stay with them at Edgar's public house in Kidderminster in 1920.

Josie Winney c.1906

  Jack Winney seems to have had a peculiar attitude towards his twin children. He said that he believed that one man could not be the father of two children born at the same time, implying that he had suspicions about Elizabeth's fidelity. He may have separated from Elizabeth and this may be an explanation for the family's absence from the 1911 census but, in all events, in 1912 Jack Winney sailed fro North America, leaving his wife and three children behind in Birmingham. He sailed aboard the S.S. Haverford from Liverpool to Philadelphia on 23 May 1912, He appears to have been unaccompanied and appears on the manifest of passengers described as being aged 37, a plasterer and giving the contact address of his nearest relative as that of Mr. Winney of Smethwick, Birmingham - notably not naming his wife, Elizabeth. Jack later claimed that during his voyage to The USA, his ship passed the doomed ship, the S.S. Titanic on its maiden voyage. Unfortunately, the Titanic actually sank on 15 April 1912, more than a month before his own ship set sail from Liverpool, so he certainly did not pass the ship itself although he may have passed the wreck of the ship. After a few months in The United States, Jack crossed the USA-Canada border at Niagara Falls on 18 October 1912. He was accompanied by a woman calling herself Ida Winney, aged 33,  and travelling as Jack's wife. They gave their destination as being Toronto.
  The pair returned to Britain the following year aboard the Donaldson Steam Ship Line vessel, The Letitia, which arrived in Glasgow from Montreal on 24 August 1913. On this occasion, Jack's companion was listed as "Ada Winney", still aged 33 and describing herself as a "housewife". The couple travelled in the 3rd class passengers' section. The story goes that after the couple arrived back in Britain, "Ada" stole all Jack's valuables and disappeared. Some may think that Jack had received his just desserts for the way he had treated his real wife and family. He returned to Birmingham but probably not back to Elizabeth and his children although he clearly kept in touch with them as we have seen, above, his eldest daughter, Josie, was living with him in 1920.

Phoebe Elizabeth Winney nee Asbury
  Elizabeth, at some stage, apparently abandoned by Jack Winney, formed a relationship with another unnamed man and had two children by him. The older of the two, Albert Winney, as he was registered, was born in the second quarter of 1919 and the younger, Frederick E. Winney, was born in the first quarter of 1923, both in Birmingham. Sadly, Elizabeth died at the premature age of 45 on 30 December 1925 and was buried at Warstone Lane Cemetery in Hockley, "In Private Grave", as the burial card produced by the undertaker, W.J. Gane of Summerhill and Cape Hill, announced. Elizabeth's tragedy does not end here however. The graveyard authorities disinterred her body, much to her daughter, Josie's distress, because the family could not afford to pay for a gravestone at the required time, and her body was placed in a communal grave. Worse still, the two illegitimate boys, Albert and Frederick, were placed in orphanages and although Josie wished to take on their care, despite resistance from her siblings, Kathy and John Arthur (known as Sonny, presumably to distinguish him from Jack, who of course was also named John Arthur), the authorities sent the two boys abroad and Josie was never able to discover the place to which they had been sent. Throughout her life, she always wished to discover the whereabouts of the boys but was never able to - sadly access to information was not as good then as it is now. I, too, have not yet been able to locate the place(s) to which they were sent.
  As regards Josie's siblings, they, extraordinarily, married a brother and a sister. In the final quarter of 1926, Kathy married Augustine Taroni, born in 1902 in Birmingham and employed as a coal merchant, while Sonny married Violet D. Taroni, born in 1911, in the third quarter of 1931. Kathy and Augustine had seven sons, the final two being twins, thus continuing the Asbury/Winney women's propensity to deliver twins as Kathy's elder sister and mother had also done. Their boys were:- Augustine (born 1927), Sidney (1930), Edward (1932), Albert (1935), John (1937) and Peter and Paul (1941). Sonny and Violet had a son, John Arthur Winney (III) (born in Birmingham in 1932) and known as "Young Sonny".

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Whites In Birmingham.

The Family in Birmingham

  Let us now leave Shotteswell behind us, although we will return one more time to see the effect of the Second World War on the family there. We return to Birmingham to see how Harriet and her two sons are faring after the death of Richard. Soon after Richard's death, Harriet had moved to a pleasant terraced house in Bearwood, close to the park, and in the 1891 census she is recorded. then aged 60, as living at no. 6 Ethel Street, off Wyndham Road with John Henry, her younger son, aged 22, who was working as a groom, probably for one of the large houses in Edgbaston. Living next door, at no. 5, was her elder son, Oliver, aged 27, who was still a gardener and his wife, Mary, and their two children, Henry Albert, whose birth had been registered in Kings Norton in the fourth quarter of 1887 and Ethel Mary, then 1 year old and born in Smethwick. Mary Ann Bennett, Oliver's wife, had been born in Milton, Adderbury in Banbury in the third quarter of 1855. The place of Mary's birth is of great interest since it shows that Richard White had remained in contact with his family in the Banbury area for long enough so that his grown-up son met and married a woman from the area about 25 to 30 years after Richard White had left Shotteswell and moved to Birmingham. Indeed their wedding had been registered at Banbury in the first quarter of 1886.
  Harriet died on 6 March 1894, the death certificate recording that the cause of death was "Cirrhosis of liver some years, jaundice - 7 days, acute bronchitis - 3 days Certified by Hedley Tomlinson M.R.C.P." The death was registered by Oliver who recorded his address then as 365 Hagley Road, Edgbaston and the registration took place on 7 March 1895. Harriet had died in the Kings Norton Union Workhouse which would become known as Selly Oak Hospital and with which many of Harriet's descendants would have dealings in the future. The Workhouse had been opened in 1870 and offered hospital facilities for the poor of Kings Norton Parish; a dedicated infirmary was built there in 1897. Clearly Harriet had become too ill to be nursed at home and admission to the Workhouse for medical care was the only option open to Oliver and John. Harriet's diagnosis - that of cirrhosis - could, of course, have been attributable to chronic excessive alcohol consumption or possibly chronic liver disease following infective hepatitis some years before, but the doctor's emphasis on jaundice and Harriet's age make me wonder if she was suffering from a condition called primary biliary cirrhosis, an autoimmune condition particularly affecting women in her age group, and the mention of "acute bronchitis" suggests to me that she had suffered a rapidly developing liver failure with pneumonia proving to be the terminal event.
  Later in the census year of 1891, in the final quarter, John had married Anne Maria Langford, the marriage being registered at West Bromwich. Anne Maria had been born in Worcester, her birth being registered in the first quarter of 1867. We can trace the Langford family back to the 1841 census where Anne Maria's grandfather, John Langford (born in Ludbury in Shropshire in 1803) and his wife Maria (born in 1811 in Oswestry), are to be found living in Ludbury where John was working as a coal merchant. In 1841, the couple had one son, Thomas, then 8 years old, and they later had two more boys. George, born 1844, and William, who was born in 1846. Thomas had actually been born in Welshpool in Montgomeryshire but the two younger boys were born in Staffordshire. Thomas and William became boiler makers and George is recorded as being a "pearl button maker. Thomas moved to Birmingham and married Ann Leech who had been born in Handsworth in 1838.  In addition to Anne Maria, they had three children:- Harriet, born in West Bromwich in 1868 and twins born in Handsworth in 1875 - Thomas and Laura.

Laura and Anne Maria Langford as children.

  In the 1881 census, Anne Maria was living at 73 Finch Road in Handsworth in what was then a rather upmarket area of Birmingham to judge by the occupations of the other residents of the street (draughtsmen, managers and so on) and she was working as a "nurse girl", at the age of fourteen, for the family of Anthony Cassera, a cabinet maker. The Cassera family had a newly born daughter at the time, Gertrude. By the 1891 census Thomas Senior was widowed and was still working as a boiler maker. Harriet, Thomas and Laura were still living at home (no. 40 Brewery Street, Handsworth) with their father. Harriet was working as a dressmaker, Laura as a domestic servant and Thomas as a clerk. Thomas Senior's death was registered in West Bromwich in the second quarter of 1894. By the 1901 census, Laura was working as a house maid for Jane Parker, a 72 year old widow, who was recorded as "living on her own means" at 77 Holyhead Road in Handsworth. Mrs. Parker also employed a 70 year old cook named Elizabeth Ray. In the 1911 census, Laura was the senior servant of Mrs. Parker, then 82 years old, and was described as a "parlour maid". She was assisted by a younger woman, 28 year old Charlotte Smith, described simply as a "servant". Mrs. Parker died on 1 September 1916 leaving the main part of her estate, which totaled £3241 9s 4d, to friends and family but she bequeathed Laura a comfortable amount which meant that Laura did not have to work again.
  The birth of the first child of John Henry and Anne Maria, Elsie, was registered in the second quarter of 1892 in Birmingham and their subsequent children were:- Thomas Harold, birth registered in the third quarter of 1896 in Kings Norton, Richard, born 4 December 1897 in Smethwick, Constance Langford, birth registered in the second quarter of 1904 and Marjorie, birth registered in 1908 in Birmingham. The 1911 census reveals that the couple had had a further four children but tragically they had all died at an early age and we do not know their names. In the 1901 census the family is recorded as living in a comfortable terraced house at 84 Gladys Road in Bearwood and John was employed as a coachman at a livery stable. His brother, Oliver, was living with his family in another terraced house in the area, at 138 Milcote Road in Smethwick, close to the park and was still employed as a gardener. He and Mary had had a third child, Walter George, who was 8 years old by then. They had some interesting neighbours in Milcote Road including a police inspector, a journalist and author, two grooms and an orchestral clarinetist. 
  The 1911 census records that Oliver and Mary had then moved to 5 Anderson Road in Smethwick and they still had Ethel and Walter living with them. Ethel was a clerk typist and Walter worked as a weighing machinist. Henry, employed as a milkman, was living as a boarder at 73 Church Hill in Northfield, next to the railway bridge at Northfield Station (the house is now a hairdresser's shop) with William and Clara Pheasie and two other boarders, Leonard Harding and Charles Dudley. Meanwhile, John and Anne Maria had moved to a very quiet and pleasant street in Bearwood, Drayton Road, where they lived at no. 19 which was still to be their home when both of them died many years later. John had given up his work with horses, perhaps because automobile transport was taking over from horse-drawn vehicles, and was working as a maltster at Mitchell and Butler's Brewery, a job which involved preparing grain to produce malt as part of the process of making beer. It seems that if the Whites were not selling ale, they were busy making it! Fourteen year old Tom was employed at the brewery as a bottle labeller and Elsie was working at The Midland Rubber Works carrying out "mechanical work". Richard, age 13, and still at school is also recorded as a "news boy", no doubt making his own contribution to the family finances and Constance, then aged 6, had started her education at George Street West School. Constance was disabled with a palsied left arm as well as being educationally subnormal (these problems sound as though they occurred as the result of birth trauma) and the school provided special education for children in her situation.

No. 19 Drayton Road, Bearwood in 2011 (the Whites did not have a satellite dish).

  The family of George Henry White

  John Henry's uncle, George Henry White, may well have accompanied, or followed shortly after, his older brother Richard and his wife, Harrieta, to Birmingham since he features in the 1861 census probably as the George White, born in Banbury and of the correct age, who was living in Ladywood as his brother and sister-in-law were doing. In 1870, he married Jane Peplow, born in 1839 in West Bromwich, in the second quarter of 1870 in her home town. The 1871 census finds them living in back-to-back housing at no. 6, 2 Court in Sherborne Street in Ladywood. George's occupation is described as "daily labourer" and living with the couple are their sons, Samuel, whose age is recorded as 5 years and Thomas, age 3, both of whom appearing to have been born illegitimately, and 5 month old William Henry. The birth place of all the children is recorded as Birmingham. Subsequently, the couple had three more children who are recorded in the 1881 census:- Elizabeth, then aged 7, Joseph, aged 4 and John, aged 14 months. They continue to live at the same address in Sherborne Street and, as well as their six children, they also have three boarders living with them:- John Dolphin, aged 29, a bedstead maker, and his wife, Amelia, aged 31 and their 2 month old child, Francis. George's occupation in that census is recorded as a "hawker". Jane died in the final quarter of 1898 and in the 1901 census George is to be found recorded as a "retired grocer", living with his son, William, then aged 30 who appears to have taken over the family business and is employed as a "grocer and shopkeeper". 
  In the final quarter of 1896 William had married Rosina Elizabeth King, who had born in Birmingham in the first quarter of 1877, who appears to have had an illegitimate child, George William, probably born in the first quarter of 1896. The fact that the child was given both William's own as well his father's Christian names suggests that William believed young George to be his child and the boy is recorded in the 1901 census as "George White", "son" of William White. However, in the 1911 census, George, then aged 15, is recorded as "George King", stepson of William White, and the form also records that Rosina had had four live-born children but that all 4 had died. The form, which had been completed by William himself, clearly ignored that George was still a living offspring and chose to identify the four  children of the marriage - that is - his own children, as being of relevance to the census and to exclude young George from the officially recognised family circle. Clearly between the 1901 and 1911 censuses an event had occurred which made William doubt his paternity as regards young George and he had become harshly determined not to identify the boy as his own son. Thus William himself had no living children from the marriage.
  Old George Henry White died in the third quarter of 1905 in Birmingham. In the 1911 census, William was described as a "hawker of greengrocery" while Rosina was working from home as a "sweet shopkeeper". William' s brother, Samuel, is to be found in the 1901 census, then aged 35 and working as a brass founder, still living at Sherborne Road, at the same address as the Dolphins, then numbering nine individuals and, boarding with them, a further eight individuals including William H. Durious, a 28 year old carpenter born in Birmingham, and his wife Elizabeth, who was in fact George Henry's daughter. At that time, they had two daughters, Elizabeth, aged 5, and Ada, age 1. They later had two other children:- Harry (1906 - 1985) and Elsie (born 1908). We must also note that included in the Dolphin household then was George White, nephew, aged 16, a tube drawer born in Birmingham. The Dolphin family came from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire and there was also a family of Whites living there at the time but there appears to be no connection between the Whites of Bromsgrove and our own family and so the fact that the Dolphins boarded at the home of George Henry and also had relatives called White would appear to be pure coincidence.

  Richard White Goes To War

  Great Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914. A wave of patriotic fervour swept over England and very soon, young men along the length of the country were volunteering to fight against the Germans. Richard White, the son of John Henry and Anne Maria White, volunteered to join the army with a group of his friends, although his falsified his age, pretending he was older than he was, to do so. When young he seems to have always been somewhat headstrong and bold, it appears that when he was a young boy moving up to a senior school he decided that George Dixon School was the best place for him to go but he was placed at another school, so he went to George Dixon School and presented himself to the authorities and convinced them to admit him to the school of his choice - an impressive piece of persuasion from an 11 year old.
  Richard (we shall call him Dick, as that was the name that he preferred to be known by and usually was) was sent to France in early 1915, at the age of 17, and first served there on 1 April 1915 with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. His regimental number was 1518 and he, of course, initially served at the rank of private. The Royal Warwickshire Regiment was involved in the Second Battle of Ypres which began with the engagement at Gravenstafel on 22 April 1915 and it was there that the Germans first used gas as a weapon of war against the Allied forces. I certainly remember as a boy, my grandfather mentioning Ypres although he did not talk about his war experiences to any great extent. Rather, he would enjoy singing me songs from the period - I particularly recall "Madamoiselle D'Armentieres, Parlez vous?...." (it sounds as though it should have been rather risque and probably was when sung by the troops!). Other battles followed and he was in France, in the front  line for much of it, until he was discharged on 26 November 1917 due to injuries caused by severe frost bite which affected his feet after exposure to the cold while in the trenches. He had served about two and half years of active service although, following his injuries he had been transferred to The Labour Corps where his Regimental number was 287181 and this body provided labour to support the combat troops often under fire. Such work would include transport duties, grave digging, depot work, trench building and so on.

Dick White in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment uniform, 1915.

  While Dick was in France, so my grandmother told me, through an act of bravery, he saved the life of one of his comrades but the credit for this act was claimed by a superior officer and Dick received no official recognition which went to the officer. However, he was awarded the following medals after the war was over:- the 1914/15 Star, awarded to those individuals who saw service in France and Flanders from 23 November 1914 to 31 December 1915, the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and The Silver War Badge which bore the legend "For King and Empire - Services Rendered" surrounding the cypher of King George V, which was awarded to all those military personnel who were discharged as a result of sickness or wounds contracted or received during the war. Also. during the course of his service he had achieved promotion to the rank of corporal. 

A leaner and older Dick White from later in the war.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

From White To Proffitt White.

 (Continued from previous blog):-We presume that Elizabeth's surname was Profitt since, as described in the next paragraph, many of Thomas and Elizabeth's children were given the added name of Profitt (with spelling variants, usually Proffitt) and later the name was double-barelled with White.

  The Family of Thomas and Elizabeth (Proffitt) White

  Thomas and Elizabeth (Proffitt) White had a large number of children in keeping with the rest of the White family at that time:- Mary (born 1838), Hannah (born 1842), Thomas (1843), William Proffitt White (born 1845), Betsy Proffitt White (baptised at St. Laurence Church on 7 April 1846), Henry John Proffitt White (baptised in Shotteswell on 3 April 1849), Francis Proffitt White (baptised 23 May 1851), Fred Proffitt White (baptised 18 July 1852), Laura Proffitt White (baptised 3 July 1854), Ben John Proffitt White (baptised 22 May 1857) and Septimus Proffitt White (baptised 14 October 1860). The 1841 census finds Thomas and Elizabeth living in Shotteswell and Thomas working as a farmer. In their household they had four servants and a woman called Sarah Gardner, age 19 and "independent", living with them. The 1851 census finds them still living in Shotteswell and Thomas is recorded as a farmer of a magnificent total of 540 acres employing 11 men and 7 boys in the fields. I suspect that they were the grandest people in the village at that time, short of the lord of the manor. I have not been able to locate an "Elizabeth Profitt" living in the general area before the marriage of Thomas and Elizabeth and it may be that her surname was not Profitt. Perhaps Sarah Gardner's presence in the 1841 census is significant and that she was Elizabeth's sister meaning that Elizabeth's maiden name was Gardner. In the 1841 census we find that there are numerous members of the Gardner family living in Hornton, Sarah was almost certainly visiting from her home there though whether as a friend or a relative I can not yet say. But, as mentioned below, "Gardner" was to be used in a later generation as a middle name which may imply that the Gardners were related by marriage to the Whites although there is an item in the London Gazette of 1 April 1864 which details a petition submitted to Chancery by William Proffitt White, "gentleman",  together with a number of Gardners - of Balscott - which may suggest a more recent connection between the Profitt-Whites and the Gardners but the fact that the connection is with the village of Balscott, William P-W's mother's birth place, may suggest that the connection goes back further and that Elizabeth was Elizabeth Gardner rather than Elizabeth Profitt.. 
 Although Profitt is a name that can be found in censuses in this period in Oxfordshire, it is found a distance away around Woodstock rather than in northern Oxfordshire around Banbury. However a single Profitt  - William - is found in the 1841 census living at nearby Hornton. He was then aged 70 and described as "independent". Hornton is about 3 miles north of Balscott/Balscote, where the censuses record that Elizabeth was born and Hornton is only a couple of miles east of Shotteswell, so there is no reason to doubt that the Whites would have known William Profitt and given their ability to marry into money, if Elizabeth were William Profitt's daughter - she would have been a highly suitable heiress for one of them to marry. William Profitt probably died in Warwick in 1862 but for some reason Thomas and Elizabeth White began to use "Profitt" as a middle name for their children from 1845, perhaps to honour her father whose wealth enriched the family. It may be that William was related in some other way to Elizabeth, perhaps an uncle or cousin, or perhaps he was a close friend of the family who was expected to leave his wealth to the Whites, not having heirs from his own family, and the Whites wanted to honour him by giving his name to all the children born from 1845 as a way of binding him closer to them and ensuring a tighter grip on a future bequeathment.
  1861 provides us with an interesting entry. Thomas' land was then recorded as just 200 acres, perhaps the economic climate was biting at his farming business as well as poor old William White who seemed to have lost everything, but he was still employing 12 men and 4 boys. Among the long list of his children's names in the household are those of their servants including Jane White, then aged 17 and born in Shotteswell. The only person who fits that description is Judith Jane White, daughter of "Gentleman" Richard and his wife Jane, and the fact that his daughter was working in his cousin's household as a servant backs up the impression that he had lost his fortune (although still a gentleman) and must have been rather demeaning to him. The "Proffitt" Whites did not even have the good grace to describe Jane as a cousin, she is firmly listed as a servant. Perhaps the "Proffitt" Whites were rather pleased at the bringing down of a preening, if poorer, relative - a case of schaudenfreude
  Thomas White died on 15 March 1866 and was buried at St. Laurence Churchyard on 21 March 1866 in a large tomb very close to the church itself. The tomb reflected his wealth in death as in life and the following year his son, Thomas, was also buried in it having died at the age of 24 on 19 June 1867 and been buried a day later. This tomb is now a listed "building" as are a number of other monuments in the graveyard. Thomas' will, with two codicils, was proved on 26 December 1866 at The Principal Registry by three executors: his sons Thomas and William Proffit White and Thomas Robert Page of Adderbury, his son-in-law, who had married his eldest daughter, Mary, at St. Laurence Church in 1857. The effects were valued at "under  £8,000", (the modern equivalent being about £700,000).
  Elizabeth took over as the head of the family and in the 1871 census she is recorded as a 48 year old widow who is "retired". Living with her are Henry (recorded as "Harry", aged 22 - "farmer's son"), Laura (15), Benjohn (13) and Septimus (10). They have just one servant in the household and in 1881 she retains her title as "head" of the family, now described as "independent",  and the household has shrunk to include Benjohn (farmer of 269 acres employing 2 men and 3 boys) and Septimus (farmer of 196 acres employing 3 men and 1 boy) as well as Laura and one male servant. 
 Elizabeth White died on 30 December 1887 and was buried at St. Laurence Church on 6 January 1888. I suspect that she was quite a matriarch having reached the age of 69 and that her passing was probably a notable event in the history of Shotteswell village. Her son, Francis Proffitt White, died the following year and was buried on 6 January in St. Laurence Churchyard (bizarrely 6 January seems to have been the date for burying Whites since William White was also buried on that date in 1872). Another of Elizabeth's sons, Henry John had also died at a young age, 26 - on 3 January 1876 but his burial was on 10 January 1876.
  Benjohn Proffitt White and Septimus Proffitt White were the only two sons who were left alive to inherit the wealth of the "Proffitt" Whites and as we saw in the 1881 census, it appears to have been divided between them so that each had a considerable amount of land to farm. Benjohn's appearance in the 1891 census is therefore surprising as he was then living in the hamlet of Williamscote in the parish of Wardington where he was living with his wife and family and was employed as a "Cattle Dealer". Benjohn's marriage took place at Foleshill in Warwickshire and is registered in the final quarter of 1881. He had married Caroline Clarke Hazlewood who was born In Cloudsley in 1854 and on 23 August 1882, their first child, Thomas Henry Proffitt White, was baptised at St. Laurence Church in Shotteswell. Subsequent children were:- Mary Hazlewood Proffitt White (baptised 26 October 1883), Ben John Proffitt White (9 May 1886) and Elizabeth Gardner Proffitt White (10 May 1887) - the name of Gardner is interesting and harks back to the presence of Sarah Gardner in the 1841 census. (see above). By the 1901 census, the family had left the vicinity of Shotteswell and was living in Holly Lane in Sutton Coldfield where Benjohn was employed as a "foreman on farm". The census calls him "Benjamin J.P. White" and Caroline is misrecorded as Catherine C. White while Ben John Junior is "Benjamin J.P. White" and Elizabeth is "Elizabeth J. P." Clearly accurate records were not a priority in Sutton Coldfield in 1901.
  The 1911 census finds Ben John (there are varying versions of his name in official documents throughout his life), then aged 51, still living in Sutton Coldfield, this time at Brook Farm in Lindridge Road. He is described as a farm bailiff in this census and still living with him are Caroline, Ben John Junior (aged 24, employed as a "milkman on farm") and Elizabeth (23, a "book keeper" both children being still unmarried). Ben John died on 4 April 1917 at Brook Farm. Administration of his will took place in London on 18 May 1917 to "Caroline Proffitt-White" (note that the family had by then begun to fully "double-barrel" their name so that appeared in this form in official documents, perhaps it was to compensate for the reduction in their financial status since, considering Benjohn had once been a farmer of about 300 acres, his effects amounted to a rather modest sum of £68 19s 10d). Caroline died some years later on 31 January 1930, her home then being Berryfields, Hollyfield Road in Sutton Coldfield. Probate of her will was completed on 15 September 1930 in Birmingham, her effects totaling a rather larger sum of £780 19s 5d which was left to her son Thomas Henry Proffitt-White, then an auctioneer (died in the second quarter of 1949 in Lewes in Sussex) and "Mary Haslewood Proffitt White Spinster" (she remained a spinster throughout her life and died in Sutton Coldfield at the age of 76 in the last quarter of 1960). Ben John Junior married Mary Hipkiss in Tamworth in Staffordshire in the last quarter of December 1912 and eventually died in Sutton Coldfield at the age of 76 in the last quarter of 1962.
  Unlike Benjohn Senior, his younger brother, Septimus, seems to have held on to a considerable wealth until his death. The reason for calling him Septimus is something of a puzzle for he was his parents' eleventh, and not seventh, child. We have seen above how he was described in the 1881 census as a "farmer of 196 acres" and the 1888 Warwickshire Directory he was described along with James Hawtin White as a farmer in Shotteswell. In the second quarter of 1890 he had married Victoria Annie Edwards (born 1864 in Ramsden in Oxfordshire) in Witney and they had moved to live in the Manor House at Bourton in Oxfordshire where they are found to be in the 1891 census and Septimus is described as a farmer. On the night of the census they are recorded as having two visitors - Ellen Edwards, age 20, a teacher of painting - apparently Victoria's sister - and Lily Wyatt, 21, a teacher of music. They also had two servants in their household, Annie Bosberry, a domestic servant from Hook Norton, and the intriguingly named Hawtin Washbook, the 34 year old groom, whose birthplace, even if it were not recorded, would clearly have originated in Shotteswell with a name like that.
  The couple soon moved on to Steane in Northamptonshire where their only child, Tom W. Proffitt White, was born in the following year, 1892. The 1901 census records that they were living in the Steane Grounds at Steane and with them was 22 year old J. Evelyn Mackarness, described as a "pupil to farming". In the 1907 Kelly's Directory for Warwickshire, Septimus is listed twice as a farmer in Bloxham and also Sydenham, Adderbury East, Banbury. Septimus seems to have had his finger in more than one pie. By the 1911 census, his address is recorded as being 41 to 43 Landsdowne Crescent, Willes Road in Leamington. Apart from Victoria, who is now described as boarding house keeper, the household includes three domestic servants whose employment is related to the boarding house (a cook and two housemaids). Apparently Victoria had found herself something to occupy herself while Septimus was involved with his farming. This boarding house may have been "La Plaisance First Class Hotel" where Septimus' sister, Laura, lived until her death in 1909 (see below).
  Septimus died on 8 May 1936 at The Tracey Nursing Home, West Bar in Banbury and was buried in St. Laurence churchyard on 12 May 1936. Probate was granted on his will on 12 August 1936 and gave his address as 57 Bath Road in Banbury. Probate was granted to "Victoria Ann White widow" and "Charles Norman Bradshaw farmer", the total effects being £3958 1s 10d. Victoria herself died on 8 October 1952 and was buried with her husband in St. Laurence graveyard on 11 October 1952.
  Laura Proffitt White, the sister of Septimus and Benjohn, became involved in a mild scandal at the age of 21 when she lent £200 (modern day equivalent being £10000) in 1876 and 1877 to a Joseph Malings to enable him to purchase Deddington Mission Hall. This act may imply that Laura was a Methodist or perhaps she had developed a personal attachment to Malings but in all events, Malings failed to repay the debt and together with her solicitor, Harry Kilby, who had also made a loan, though smaller, to Malings and with other creditors, Laura forced the sale of the Mission Hall and eventually Malings was declared bankrupt. A sum of £147 was restored to Laura but the rest was lost. Perhaps Laura's trust in men was destroyed as a result of her dealings with Joseph Malings - she may have felt that if any took an interest in her they were really only interested in her money, but she never married and became a resident at "La Plaisance" and indeed a contemporary postcard depicting the hotel shows three ladies standing outside with one identified in an inscription "Lady Resident, Miss Profitt White". Laura remained a spinster throughout her life till she died on 29 January 1909 at the age of 54. One imagines she had become a formidable figure in the society of "La Plaisance" and when probate of her will was passed in London on 27 April 1909 to her brother Septimus, her effects totaled the not inconsiderable sum of £1928 11s.
  As mentioned above, the 1911 census recorded only two people with the surname "White" to still be living in Shotteswell - Tom and Florence White who were both recorded as being farmers. They were the children of William Proffitt (son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Proffitt/Gardner) White) and Hannah Eliza White. Hannah was born in the village of Shenington in Oxfordshire in 1831 and the couple had four children:- Elizabeth Marian, baptised 5 January 1870 at St. Laurence Church, Louisa Proffitt, baptised 8 January 1871, Tom, born 1873 and Florence, born 1875 posthumously as her father had died, aged 30, on 29 August 1874 and been buried at St Laurence Churchyard on 3 September 1874. The 1901 census records Hannah as being a farmer and with her are her three children apart from Elizabeth Marian who had married her cousin, John Ledbrook White (James Hawtin and Annie White's son), who was a farmer in Wigginton (their marriage was registered at Banbury in the fourth quarter of 1893). Hannah died on 27 February 1909 in Shotteswell and probate was granted to Elizabeth and Louisa at Birmingham on 12 June 1909 with effects totaling £1100 2s 6d and on reswearing, the sum of £1334 16s 3d. Louisa apparently experienced some mental illness subsequently and died in Hatton Asylum in Warwickshire on 3 October 1918, the administration of her will taking place in Birmingham on 28 April 1919 to her brother, Tom, and effects totaled £293 10s 11d.
  Elizabeth Marian & John Ledbrook White had a number of children whose baptisms are recorded in the Shotteswell parish records:- Cyril John, born 15 June 1895, baptised 2 September 1894, Norman Oliver, born 5 January 1897 and baptised 21 February 1897, Arthur William, baptised 3 July 1897 and Lilian Kate, baptised 3 November 1907. In the 1901 census, two other children are recorded who do not appear in the Shotteswell baptism records:- James Arthur, age 5, and Gladys, 1. John Ledbrook is described as a farmer in the census record of 1901 as is also the case in the 1911 census, By then, he and Elizabeth Marian had had more children:- Eric Ledbrook White (born 1901), Constance Alice (1902) and George (1903). Also in their household was a general domestic servant and Cyril and James, then aged 16 and 15 respectively, were described as "farmer son working on farm". A seventh child's birth, aptly named Septimus Thomas, was registered at Banbury in 1912. John Ledbrook White remained in Wigginton until his death on 16 January 1941 and probate was granted to Norman, George, Cyril and Septimus on 7 July 1941 when the total effects amounted to £4847 16s 7d. Elizabeth had previously died on 26 October 1931 at Wigginton, probate of her will being granted to Gladys Broughton, her daughter then married, and a farmer called Albert Tustian, the total effects being £211 2s 3d.
  Tom W. Proffitt White, by then a farmer, son of Septimus and Victoria Proffitt White, and his wife Mary Elizabeth were living at The Mount in Shotteswell when their first child, Tom Proffitt, was born on 2 November 1915 and he was baptised at St. Laurence Church on 17 November 1915. Subsequently the couple had Lionel Tom, born 23 February 1917 and baptised 8 April 1917 and William Proffitt (baptised 2 January 1921). Of the brother and sister couple who were the only Whites recorded in Shotteswell in the 1911 census, Florence Emily, still a spinster and a farmer at Church Farm in Shotteswell, died at Horton General Hospital in Banbury on 11 April 1939 and probate was granted on 16 June 1939, once more, to Gladys Broughton and Albert Tustian, the total effects amounting to £529 5s 10d. Presumably, her brother, Tom had died by then but I have not identified when that occured.