Tag Archives: west dean

Picture Postcard Parade: School Lane, West Dean

23 Nov

I did say last week that I didn’t have any more postcards of West Dean (near Chichester), Sussex, well it was true at the time but I acquired three more at the weekend, so here goes with another one.

This is a wonderful view of School Lane, West Dean but I have to be honest and say I am not certain where exactly School Lane is. I think it is the road that runs down past the burial ground, which would be up the top of the road in the picture on the left-hand side. I think I have located the cottages on an old map, but it looks like they are no longer there now so I probably won’t be able to verify if I have the right place. Nevertheless I will check next time I pay a visit, just in case some element of the scene remains, perhaps the railings on the right-hand side of the road.

The card itself is a little battered around the edges, but then it is over 100 years old, being posted on the 1st August 1907 at Chichester. There are no clues as to the publisher or photographer of the card. As you can see below there is quite an intriguing message on the back.

I wonder what was in the parcel and why it was so urgent? Was the sender at the races at nearby Goodwood (there was racing that week at Goodwood) and then off to Cowes on the Isle of Wight for a spot of yachting? In the 1911 census we find Ernest Albert and Ada Harriet Smoker living at 34 Birkhall Road, Catford, London, so it looks like Ernest was writing home to his wife for something, but what? I guess we shall probably never know.

Picture Postcard Parade: West Dean Church

16 Nov

This is probably going to be last of my West Dean postcards for the time being, I think I have exhausted my West Dean collection, but don’t worry I still have plenty of other cards to write about.

As the caption says this is West Dean Church (near Chichester, Sussex) seen from the west looking through the church gate to the ivy clad tower. There are no clues on the back of the card to suggest the date or publisher/photographer. I am guessing that it is probably before the fire in 1934.

According to the church guide book the tower “was built by the Woods family of Chilgrove (not Chilgrove Manor) in 1726, this date being on the sundial on the south side. It holds three bells, one of 1601, one of 1651 and one of uncertain date, all recast 1936. The Woods family would appear to have been very proud of this tower. The last Mr. John Woods, aided by some of his workmen, would be let over the top in a bosun’s chair in order that he might cut the ivy and point the stonework, a task that he always made his own.”

I don’t know who is responsible for the maintainance of the church tower now, but as you can see from the photo below (taken by me on the 16th June 2010) it looks in splendid ivy free condition.


Remembrance 2010: Walter BOXALL (1897-1917)

14 Nov

This year I am remembering the six members of the BOXALL family recorded on the war memorial in the parish church at West Dean (near Chichester), Sussex.

I have previously written about Walter BOXALL (actually Walter Henry BOXALL), most recently when I was looking at the story that James and Caroline BOXALL had 27 children. I am happy that he wasn’t one of their children, but he appears to have been treated as if he was one.

I have a copy of his birth certificate which shows that his mother was Alice Ruth BOXALL although his father’s identity is not known. He was born on the 27th May 1897 at 10 Arthur Street, Caerleon, Monmouthshire, Wales. I have no idea why his mother was in Wales at the time of his birth.

He was back in West Dean in the for the 1901 census, when he was living with his grandparents, but in 1911 he his still living with his grandparents but is described as their son. He attended school at West Dean between the 14th October 1901 and the 26th May 1911 and left school to work on a farm.

With regard to his military service I know very little, really only what is included in Soldiers Died in the Great War and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. Walter apparantly enlisted at Chichester, Sussex (which is not surprising) and served with the 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment (regimental number: G/11744).

Interestingly this was the same battalion as Sidney Charles BOXALL (his 1st cousin once removed), but this is probably just a coincidence. He was killed in action on the 10th July 1917, but that is about the limit of my knowledge.

As well as the West Dean war memorial, Walter Henry BOXALL is remembered on the Nieuport Memorial, Belgium.

Remembrance 2010: Sidney BOXALL (1896-1918)

13 Nov

This year I am remembering the six members of the BOXALL family recorded on the war memorial in the parish church at West Dean (near Chichester), Sussex.

Sidney BOXALL’s full name was Sidney Charles BOXALL (although some records have him as Sydney Charles BOXALL) and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website provides us with the valuable information that Sidney was the “Son of Arthur and Charlotte Boxall, of 84, The Warren, West Dean, Chichester” and he died aged 22 on the 18th April 1918.

Sidney Charles was baptised on the 5th April 1896 at St. Andrew’s Church, West Dean and was the second youngest of Arthur and Charlotte’s five children. His younger brother was Frederick Henry BOXALL who I wrote about on Wednesday. Sidney, in common with most of the BOXALLs in West Dean, worked as a farm labourer.

Although Sidney’s service record has survived it is very brief, only six pages in total, and two of those relate to the return of his personal effects to his father, so unfortunately it doesn’t give a lot of detail on his military service.

He appears to have enlisted on the 20th January 1916 at Chichester, Sussex with the 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment (regimental number: G/8597), although his medical examination took place a couple of months earlier on the 18th November 1915.

His service record provides no further details on his military service other than his entitlement to the British War Medal and Victory Medal, and the fact that he was killed in action in France on the 18th April 1918. If time permitted I could probably have checked the battalions war diary to find out exactly where they were and what they were doing at the time.

As well as West Dean war memorial Sidney Charles is also remembered at Woburn Abbey Cemetery, Cuinchy, France.

Remembrance 2010: Leonard BOXALL (1884-1916)

12 Nov

This year I am remembering the six members of the BOXALL family recorded on the war memorial in the parish church at West Dean (near Chichester), Sussex.

Leonard BOXALL is probably the best documented of all the BOXALLs on the West Dean war memorial. Not only are there entries on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and in Soldiers Died in the Great War but his service record has also survived (albeit in burnt condition) and is available on Ancestry.co.uk along with his medal index card.

Leonard, or rather Leonard Arthur BOXALL, is also the closest relation of the six BOXALLs on the war memorial. He was my 2x great-uncle, the son of my 2x great-grandparents James and Caroline Emily BOXALL (the parents of 27 children) and brother of my great-grandmother Lilian Mary BOXALL.

He was born in 1884 in West Dean, Sussex and baptised at St. Andrew’s Church in West Dean on the 7th September 1884. He appears to have had various jobs on the farm, and when he enlisted at Croydon, Surrey on the 8th September 1914 he gave his occupation as a farm labourer.

Leonard was only 5 foot 4 inches tall and weighed 119 lbs, had blue eyes, brown hair and a fresh complexion when he passed his medical examination. He served as a Private in the 8th (Service) Battalion The Buffs (East Kent Regiment), although he may have served briefly with the Royal Sussex Regiment. According to his medal index card he arrived in France on the 31st August 1915, which meant he was entitled to the 1914-15 Star as well as the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

I haven’t followed his battalion through their war diaries, so I don’t know the details of where they fought, but Leonard’s story comes to an end on the 28th March 1916 at No. 17 Casualty Clearing Station when he died of gun shot wounds to his chest and right leg, which he had received on the 19th March.

Within Leonard’s service record is a poignant letter written by his mother, after she had received Leonard’s personal effects:

Colworth Cottages
Westdean
Nr Chichester
Sussex

Dear Sir,
I have received the things that you
[have] sent of my Darling Boy L. A Boxall
[and] I return you many thanks he was
[the] best Boy a mother [ever] had he has gone
to a Higher Service I hope and may my
other dear Boys be brought back safely to me
yours respectfully
C. E. Boxall

As well as West Dean war memorial Leonard Arthur BOXALL is remembered at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Remembrance 2010: Frederick BOXALL (1899-1918)

11 Nov

This year I am remembering the six members of the BOXALL family recorded on the war memorial in the parish church at West Dean (near Chichester), Sussex.

Fortunately some biographical has survived for Frederick BOXALL, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website records that Frederick was in fact Frederick Henry BOXALL and that he was the “son of Arthur and Charlotte Boxall, of 84, The Warren, West Dean, Chichester, Sussex.”

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website Frederick Henry was just 19 years old when he died on the 12th August 1918, whilst serving with the 1/4th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (his regimental number was 75430).

His medal index card shows that he had previously served with the Royal Sussex Regiment (regimental number: 257336) and his entry in Soldiers Died in the Great War shows that he was a member of the training reserve (number: TR/5/53157), presumably training with the Royal Sussex Regiment and then being transferred to the Northumberland Fusiliers when he arrived overseas.

There is a discrepancy on his entry in Soldiers Died in the Great War, which gives his place of birth as Southwark, Middlesex. Whilst this is of course possible, I have found no evidence that Arthur and Charlotte BOXALL were ever away from Sussex and the area around West Dean.

Frederick Henry BOXALL was born on the 10 March 1899 and his birth was registered in the Westbourne Registration District (which contained the parish of West Dean). His baptism was at St. Andrew’s Church, West Dean on the 30th April 1899.

As well as West Dean war memorial Frederick Henry BOXALL is remembered at Sissonne British Cemetery, Aisne, France.

Remembrance 2010: Arthur BOXALL (1892-1916)

10 Nov

This year I am remembering the six members of the BOXALL family recorded on the war memorial in the parish church at West Dean (near Chichester), Sussex.

The identity of Arthur BOXALL on the West Dean war memorial is not absolutely clear. This is largely due to a lack of evidence, neither the Commonwealth War Grave Commission website or Soldiers Died in the Great War provide any information on his parentage or his age.

What is clear is from both of those sources is that Arthur was a private in the 1/4th Battalion Hampshire Regiment, his regimental number was 280201, and he died on the 23rd August 1916 in Mesoptamia. Soldiers Died in the Great War gives his full name as Arthur Thomas BOXALL, his place of birth as Stedham, Sussex (about seven miles north of West Dean), his residence as Chichester, Sussex and that he enlisted at Petersfield, Hampshire. Petersfield is not that many miles as the crow flies from West Dean or Chichester.

It seems likely, but is by no means certain, that Arthur was the son of George and Rosa BOXALL of West Dean, making him the brother of Alfred BOXALL that I wrote about yesterday. As there is no age or date of birth recorded I cannot be certain, Arthur Thomas BOXALL was the youngest of George and Rosa’s eight children, being baptised the 6th March 1892 at West Dean.

Of course Stedham is not far away from West Dean, but it does introduce an element of doubt, as does the fact that he enlisted at Petersfield, rather than Chichester where he was living. I obviously need to spend some more time trawling through newspapers trying to find some mention of his death.

As well as West Dean war memorial Alfred BOXALL is remembered at Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery, Iraq.

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