The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.
This is information gleaned from the 'Ampthill News' for the period of the war. Click to expand an item.
Several of our men have been on leave from France, among them Sergt. Sam Titmas, of the R.F.C., his brother Jesse, of the R.G.A., Sergt. Bert. Gibson, and Lance-corpl. Hubert Whittamore, of the Cheshire Regiment.
A hearty welcome was given to Pte. John Sheppard on Monday on his recovery from a very serious illness.
Several navy men are home on leave, among them petty Officer Lewis Bean, Artificer Trevor Mitchell, and Seamen Cecil Sharman and Sidney Peat.
All the Clophill soldiers who have experienced prison life in Germany have now returned home safely. The last two reached home during last week. Private Herbert Harris had been a prisoner for about two years, and Pte. George Bushby was captured in the German offensive last Spring. Both men are looking fairly fit, considering what they have gone through. Pte. Walter Shotbolt, Coldstream Guards, returned a fortnight ago. He had been working in a coal mine. All were delighted when the terms of the armistice made them free men once more. Pte. John Izzard, who is a native of the village, and who went with the Rev. H.R. Meyer, when he removed to Walton, has also been a prisoner. He reached home safely on Christmas Eve.
Several Clophill soldiers have been demobilised, and have returned home. Others have been applied for, and are expected home before long.
Excellent arrangements for a dance were organised by Mrs. Stewart and Miss Annie Stimson, on Friday evening, in the Infant Schoolroom. The company, numbering about fifty, had a most enjoyable evening. Valuable assistance was rendered by Mr. John Smith, of Sunnydale. The proceeds were for the Soldiers' Memorial Fund.
Mrs. Stewart and Miss Annie Stimson, in aid of the local Soldier's Memorial Fund, organised a dance on Friday evening. The services of Miss Walker, of Silsoe, and Mr. John Smith, of Sunnydale, were much appreciated.
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith, of Sunnydale, have received a letter from Corpl. W.J. Hunt, "D" Co, Essex Regiment, in reference to there dead son. He states, "I always found Cyril upright and true. He was most popular with his chums, and we all miss him very much. In our great attack on Ali-Muntar, in March 1917 he was wounded in the hand but he never waited to dress it until from loss of blood he was compelled to go to the hospital. He was always very cool, and showed the greatest devotion to duty, especially in taking back prisoners under heavy fire. At ??? he hung on as long as possible but through fatigue and illness dropped, and was conveyed to hospital where unfortunately two days later he died. He was buried with full military honours at Beyrout (sic) military cemetery, and his bereaved comrades made a lovely wreath of wild flowers and placed on his grave. His platoon commander being also badly wounded, was unable to write you, but joins with us all in tendering you our profound sympathy."
Lionel Cunnington, a wireless operator on one of H.M. Tugs has become a member of the cathedral Choir at Gibraltar, where his boat is at present stationed.
Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Webb, whose six sons have done their bit during the war, are happy in the knowledge that they have all come through safely.
Demobilised men have returned to their usual occupations including Sergt. L. Titmas, Corpl. B. Huckle, Corpl. H. Whittamore, Lieut. G. Whittamore, and Privates E. Willmore, F. Gudgin, F. Willison, H. Roberts, J. Titmus, F. Rutland, and H. Matthews.
Lieut. W. Gillett, Glebe Cottage, and Chief Artificer Trevor Mitchell are home on leave.
Pte. George White, Canadian Infantry, has been home on leave previous to proceeding to Canada for demobilisation. He joined up in the early days of the war, and has seen much active service in France. He was present at the taking of Mons on Armistice Day.
At the end of last week, Mr. Frederick Wilden received the sad news that his eldest son, Pte. George Wilden, had died in a Military hospital at Lincoln after a short illness. Much sympathy is felt for the bereaved parents as this death takes their only remaining son. The younger was killed in France during 1918.
A subscription list in aid of a memorial tablet to be placed in the Primitive Methodist Chapel for the late George Huckle, is meeting the most satisfactory response.
The following letter from the rector (who is still on service in the army) was read at the services on Sunday last:- "My dear people, - I am asking Mr. Preston to read this letter to tell you that I have accepted the living of Hungarton in Leicestershire, and that I shall be leaving you shortly. I have not taken this step without the most careful thought and serious consideration, lasting over several weeks. I have at last done so for two reasons. I know that very many of you have expressed the hope that I shall soon return to Clophill, and I am most grateful to you. Your kindness and loyalty to me since I have been away will always remain amongst the brightest memories in my life, and my chief regret in leaving you is that I shall not have the opportunity of returning that kindness as I hoped and intended to do. At the same time there are some - I am glad to believe that they are only a few who have made it clear that they would have no welcome for me, and I feel that it would be extremely difficult with the memory of what was done and said while I was at the front to work amongst them again in the spirit which is fitting in a parish priest towards his people. I am certain that it will be happier for all and better for the work at Clophill if the way was made clear far a new man, who had no such bitter memories to fight against. My second reason is this. You all know that, even before the war, some private means were necessary for a man to live at the Rectory. This is infinitely more the case now - owing to the increased cost of living, rise in wages, etc. Unfortunately financial losses we have recently suffered, the extent of which I am only now beginning to realise, makes it absolutely necessary for me to move to a less expensive place, where it will be possible to live on the income. In giving you these reasons I do hope that I have shown to you that I am acting for what I honestly believe to be the best, and I hope that you will not forget me and my work in your prayers, as I shall always remember you in mine. I have no idea when I shall get out of the Army but I hope to be able to see you all before we move. That god may guide the patrons in their choice of a new rector, and that His blessing may rest on you all is the prayer of your sincere friend, - Cecil L. Matthews." - The letter was received with deepest regret, but all his friends will wish him every blessing and success in his new sphere of labour.
A well attended meeting was held in the Parish Room on Monday in connection with the proposed War Memorial. Mr. A.H. Tanqueray, J.P., was in the chair, and proposed the election of a Committee representative of the parish, and this was appointed as follows:- Messrs. J. Maddams, A.H. Tanqueray, F.M. Robinson, J. Bone, W.E. Seabrook, Mrs.Tanqueray, Miss Seabrook, Messrs. G. Dunham. W. Dawson, J. Smith, H. Cunnington, J. Jobey, W. Ansell, and S. Burrows, with Mr. A.H. Tanqueray as treasurer, and Mr. H. Cunnington as secretary.
The Memorial Committee, under the chairmanship of Mr. A.H. Tanqueray, J.P., met in the Parish Room, on April 9th, new members being Miss Annie Stimson and Mr. Henry Willison. It was unanimously decided that the memorial should take the form of a monument bearing the names of the fallen to lie placed at the cross roads where now stands the ancient landmark known as the Old Cross Tree, if permission be obtained.
Interest has recently be revived with the game of "shove halfpenny," especially by the lads who have returned from the war. On Friday, the return match between teams representing the "Dog and Badger" and "New Inn" caused great enthusiasm at the former hostelry, who won by 5 games.
Sergt. Fredk. Roberts, youngest surviving son of Mr. and Mrs Leonard Roberts, of the "Lodge", who went to France with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1915, has visited his parents prior to his departure to Toronto for demobilisation.
Pte. William Sharman, Bedford Regiment, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Sharman, has re-enlisted for four years and is enjoying three months' furlough.
Pte. George Gudgin has returned home from Mesopotamia after convalescence at Bombay and other Indian hospitals.
We regret to record the death of Pte. Arthur William Gardiner, eldest son of Mr. T.W. Gardiner, of Beadlow. He served for 3 years at Salonica in the R.A.S.C., M.T., and has recently been in Serbia, where he died from an attack of dysentery whilst attached to the Royal Serbian Army. His wife has received a letter from the Rev. A. Milles, chaplain to the hospital where he died, saying that her husband passed away on April 10th, and was laid to rest with military honours in Vrange Cemetery. DR. Enslie, the Hospital C.O., the Matron, several Sisters, and officers and men of his Company were at the graveside, and had done everything possible for him.
Representatives of all denominations met at Ivy House , the residence of Mr. Tanqueray, J.P., on Tuesday, to discuss the forthcoming peace celebration, and a Committee was formed.
It is proposed to hold an open-air fete to celebrate victory and peace on the 5th August. A representative Committee, with Mr. Tanqueray, of Ivy House, as Chairman, has been appointed to make arrangements, and the Ampthill Town Band has been engaged for the occasion. It is hoped that a jumble sale will be held in June to supplement the funds.
To consider suggestions for a war memorial and to arrange for raising the necessary funds,the following committee have been chosen:- Mr. A.H. Tanqueray (chairman and treasurer), Mrs. Tanqueray, Miss Seabrook, the Misses Mossman, Miss Annie Stimson, and Messrs. John Maddams, F.H. Robinson, J. Bone, W.E. Seabrook, C.W. Dunham, W.H. Dawson, J.H. Smith, J. Gobey, D. Ansell, S. Burrows, and H. Cunnington (hon. secretary). At the meeting of the committee it was decided to recommend the erection of a monument near the "Old Cross Tree", commemorating the names of those who have made the great sacrifice.
Capt. D.T.B. Tanqueray, K.R.R, who has been serving since September last with the North Russian Expeditionary force, attached to the Staff in the forward Area about a hundred miles south of Archangel, returned home on June 19th. He embarked from Archangel on June 11th, on H.M.T. Tsaritsa and is now on leave pending demobilisation.
Private Harold Doggett, who has been on leave returned to Germany on Friday. Private Frederick Simpson E.H.A., visited his father on Wednesday. He is in billets a few miles east of Cologne and still acts as regimental tailor. Private Ernest Titmas of the Royal marines, son of Mr. F.W. Titmas of Wood View is enjoying a well earned rest until the middle of August.
Sergt.-Major Horace Wootton, grandson of The Postmaster, is to be highly congratulated on having recently receiving an important military overseas appointment.
Lionel Cunnington, a wireless operator in the R.N.V.R., who has been out in the Mediterranean for nearly two years, was seized with malaria whilst on a voyage from Port Said to Aden, and is at present in the Government Hospital at Suez.
Mrs. Tanqueray, of Ivy House, ans a Committee of local ladies have for several weeks worked strenuously for funds for peace celebrations, and on Wednesday a jumble sale was conducted in the parish room. The stallholders included Mrs. Tanqueray, Mrs. Hargreve-Smith, Mrs. Dawson, Mrs. Cunnington, Mrs. Case, Mrs. Peat, Miss Goodall, Miss Seabrook, Miss Mossman, and Miss Webb. Assistance was also rendered by P.c. Gibson, and Messrs. J.H. Smith, H. Case, and W.G. Appleby, and over £30 was realised. Stylish hats supplied by Mrs. Manning, of "St Ivel House," augmented the fund by over £3.
Throughout the village on Saturday evening, parishioners and visitors were in a most enthusiastic mood. Banners and flags were hoisted on the Church tower, and on chimney stacks at the principle residences. Rockets and other fireworks made things very lively, and the bells of St. Mary's Church rang out merrily. The report of guns was incessant, and the residents of the main street got little rest until the early hours of the morning. At the morning and evening services at St. Mary's on Sunday, the National Anthem and special hymns of thanksgiving were sung. (Treaty of Versailles signed)
The peace Celebrations Committee is working assiduously, and it is proposed to give the juveniles and residents over 60 years of age a free tea, special arrangements being made for ex-soldiers. The Ampthill Brass Band has been engaged, and the sports Committee are arranging an excellent program.
Special thanksgiving services were held in the Parish Church on Sunday, sermons being preached by the Rev. W. Preston, of Bedford.
The whole village was in a state of excitement on Saturday, and every vehicle from motor car to perambulator was utilised. Bedford being the centre of attraction. In the afternoon several ex-soldiers and woodsman from High Town gaily decorated a market gardener's cart, and the stalwarts drew their weaker ones round the village singing the National Anthem and Auld Lang Syne to Mr. Daniel Eddy's cornet accompaniment. The real local festivities have been deferred until the Tuesday after Bank Holiday.
Mr. Lionel Cunnington, wireless operator in the R.N.V.R., has arrived home after two years' service in the Mediterranean. Only one more Clophill boy remains to be demobilised, Pte. Percy Garner, who is still in Egypt.
VICTORY AND PEACE FETE
On Tuesday Clophill was all astir, for the day of the long anticipated Peace fete arrived. Never in the remembrance of the oldest parishioners has anything equalled the event. The organisation and arrangements of the Committee under the presidency of Mr. A.H. Tanqueray, J.P., were excellent, and it was fortunate that the weather was favourable. A shower in the afternoon failed to damp the spirits of the large concourse gathered from Clophill and surrounding villages, and the assembly emphasised its presence by its general air of happy expectancy and enjoyment. A thanksgiving service was held at 9.30 a.m. In the field opposite Ivy House, preceded by a merry peal from the belfry, and was well attended. Three special hymns were sung and prayer offered by Mr. rose, superintendent of the Wesleyan Chapel, the lesson from Isaiah xxv, read by Mr. James Bone, superintendent of the Primitive Methodist chapel, and the address by the newly-appointed Rector of Clophill, the Rev. H. Wilcox, M.A., Hon. C.F., the service terminating with the National Anthem. A well-contested cricket match, Married v. Single, was then played in the Rectory field, kindly lent by Mr. W. Taylor, and the former proved victorious. At noon, the judging of the decorated cycles, prams and horse turnouts took place near the Causeway. Precisely at 1 o'clock the procession, marshalled by Capt. Tanqueray, K.R.R., and Messrs. Manning Robinson, and Attwood, and headed by the Ampthill band, marched from the Mill, via Back-street, Bedford-road, and High-street to the rectory field. Throughout the whole route there was a most effective display of flags, bunting and floral decorations ever seen in the village and fancy walking costumes made a very pretty show, reflecting very great credit on Mr. Manning, of St. Ivel House, and on all the competitors. The procession marched in the following order:- P.c. Gibson, "John Bull" (Mr. George Young) mounted, the Band, veterans (Col-Sergt. Bonness, Sergt. Ashley, Sergt. Shotbolt, and Corpl. Sharman, their scarlet uniforms and decorations glittering in the glorious sunshine, sailors and soldiers (the majority in regimental attire, and commanded by Sergt. Major H. Wootton), Land Girls, Forestry Corps, perambulators, school children Peace Car (extremely beautiful), fancy costumes, Empire Car (Miss Maddams finely representing "Britannia"), decorated cycles, Spanish ???? (loudly applauded), horses and vehicles, "U-Boat". All the arrangements were carefully made, and the organisers worked together with that enthusiasm and goodwill that have long marked the public enterprises of picturesque Clophill. The baby show caused the judges considerable anxiety, but eventually the awards were made as follows:- Under 1 year, 1st Myrtle Tiffin, 2nd Kathleen Gibson, 3rd Claud Gobey. Over 1 and under 2 years: 1 John Stewart, 2 Mollie Clark, 3 Doris Odell. At 3.30 a free tea was provided for children attending Clophill Schools, followed at 5 o'clock by a substantial repast for adults. The tables were tastefully decorated by the ladies of the committee, and presented a beautiful appearance on the spacious Rectory lawn. Clophill sailors and soldiers and parishioners over 70 were provided with free tokens. The Ampthill band was a great attraction, of course, and rendered a a choice selection of good music throughout the day, as well as playing for two hours dancing in the evening, under Mr. Walker, the bandmaster. At 6 o'clock a very pleasant function took place, when upwards of 100 sailors and soldiers of the parish were the recipients of silver mementoes (medals beautifully inscribed), provided by the parishioners. The presentation was made by Mr. Max Townley, M.P., who came down from London at the invitation of the Committee. Brief and appropriate speeches were made by the Chairman (Mr. A.H. Tanqueray), Mr. Townley, and the Rev. H. Wilcox, the latter stating that he had chosen a most opportune moment to make his first public appearance as their Rector. He was proud to be Rector of a village which had taken so great a part in the war, and was pleased so many had returned to their homes and loved ones. The names of those who had nobly fought and died for King and country would never be forgotten. The village was highly favoured in having a gentleman like Mr. A.H. Tanqueray residing in their midst, one who took so great an interest in their welfare. In proposing a a vote of thanks to the Members of Parliament, he said that he felt sure that Mr. Townley would never forget the people living in a little corner of his Division, namely Clophill. The proposition was suitably seconded by Mr. J. Wootton, followed by three hearty cheers. Cheers were given with enthusiasm for Mr. Tanqueray, the soldiers and assembly heartily singing, "For he's a jolly good fellow."
The sports were witnessed with keen interest and handsome prizes were awarded as follows:- Decorated cycles: 1 Miss M. Izzard, 2 Mrs. Stewart, 3 Mrs. B. Tuffnell, - Decorated pram: 1 Mrs. Stewart, 2 Mrs. Gibson, 3 Mrs. Shotbolt. - Horse turnout: 1 A. Middleton, 2 H. Odell, 3 W. Matthews. - Fancy Dress: 1 Miss B. Cole. 2. Miss Juffs, 3 Mrs. Warwick. - Fancy dress (children) 1 F. Durston and L. Edward, 2 O. Heathfield, 3 E. Briggs. - 50 yards flat race (boys): 1 R. Izzard, 2 E. Roberts, 3 J. Harris; girls, 1 J. Cooper, 2 P. Brown, 3 C. Izzard. - 100 yards (boys): 1 C. Abbott, 2 A. Heathfield, 3 G. Brown; girls, 1 F. Norris, 2 P. Abbott, 3 N. Statton. - 50 yards egg and spoon race (boys): 1 F. Young, 2 N. Cole, 3 H. Glover; girls, 1 E. Lincoln, 2 A. Harris, 3 K. Garner. - 100 yards sack race: 1 R. Burgoine, 2 F. Kelly, 3 W. Nichols. -100 yards flat race (girls) 1 C. Sharman, 2 D. Sharman, 3 O. Heathfield. - Boot race (boys): 1 E. Perkins, 2 W. Nicholls, 3 H. Peat. - Three-legged race (girls): 1 C. Sharman and F. Durston, 2 L. Collis and D. Sharman, 3 E. Lincoln and O. Heathfield. - potato race (men): 1 B. Tuffnell, 2 A. Gobey, 3 G. Daniels. - 50 yards wheelbarrow race: 1 W. Gobey and B. Sharp, 2 R. Jenkins and A. Roberts, 3 C. Roberts and B. Tuffnell.- 150 yards flat race: 1 A. Roberts, 2 C. Roberts, 3 T. Sharman. - 100 yards flat race (girls):1 M. Roberts, 2 L. Wilkin, 3 K. Lewis. Quarter mile flat race (men): 1 B. Tuffnell, 2 W. Gobey, 3 A. Roberts. - 100 yards egg and spoon (girls): 1 B. Gudgin, 2 E. West, 3 N. Sharp. - 100 yards sack race (men): 1 C. Jenkins, 2 A. Roberts, 3 W. Gobey. - Tortoise cycle race: 1 R. Cole, 2 B. Sharp, 3 A. Roberts. - 50 yards flat race (men and women from 60 to 65 years): 1 women Mrs. W. Sharman, and 1 men L. Maudlin, 2 H. Ashley. -Obstacle race (open): 1 T. Bottoms, 2 B. Tuffnell, 3 W. Gobey. - Tug of war: 1 Mr. E Harries's team, 2 Mr. T. Burgoine's team. - High jump: 1 J. Faddon, 2 B. Tuffnell. - Throwing cricket ball: 1 E.Cole.
The happy proceedings terminated with a huge bonfire and fireworks on an eminence in Mr. E.W. Appleby's field , when the soldiers and assembly cheered most vociferously for Mr. and Mrs, Tanqueray, Mr and Mrs. Manning, and the committee. In addition to the handsome sum taken by the Spanish gypsy (Mrs. Tuffnell) for fortune telling, over £32 was taken at the gate for admission to outsiders and we are pleased to add that a satisfactory balance has been handed over to the hon. treasurer.
The several Committees in connection with the Victory Fete met at the Parish Room on Thursday, Mr. A.H. Tanqueray, J.P., presiding, to pass the accounts, audited by the Rector. The balance of £27 12s. 10d. has, on the proposition of Mr. Burrows, seconded by Mr. James Bone, been deposited in the bank. An oil painting unsold at the jumble sale, and presented by Mr. Phillips, is for sale at St Ivel House, the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Manning. The Chairman heartily thanked the Committees for their effort, and special thanks were accorded to Me. W. E. Seabrook for his donation of £5 towards the soldiers' mementoes.
Lieut. Col. Skipwith owing to the accident to Mrs. Skipwith, has been in residence at the Gables for a few days, but has now returned to Germany.
At a meeting of the War Memorial Committee on Sept. 11th, it was decided to erect an obelisk in polished red granite. The question of the site is to be decided at a general meeting of the parish on October 2nd.
Pte. Harold Doggett, 4th Royal Suffolk Regiment, arrived home from Cologne on Thursday for demobilisation.
At a parish meeting on Friday last, it was decided that the memorial to be erected to our fallen soldiers and sailors should be placed in the centre of the approach to the Church. The work is to be done by Mr. Peacock of Shefford.
Pte. W. Sharman, 2nd Batt. Beds Regiment, stationed at Colchester visited Clacton Sept. 21st, and whilst walking on the pier heard a cry for help. Looking over into the sea he saw a boy in difficulties. Having divested himself of his cap, belt and tunic, he dived into the water and brought the boy safely to shore. A collection was made, and Sharman was the recipient of £4 10s. He was formerly a member of the Clophill Troop of Boy Scouts, and joined the Beds Regiment during the war before reaching the age of 18.
On Friday, at a parish meeting, it was finally decided to place the War Memorial obelisk in the churchyard, on the left-hand side of the path leading to the Church.