Treasures at The Keep: The Frewen, Ashburnham and Gage family archives

6 June 2016

By Emma Johnson

When searching the collections for last year’s food themed Open Day, I came across some beautifully detailed recipe books from the Frewen archive. This inspired a blog post on them, but it was also To make a cake my Lady Ashburnham's waythe first time that I had come across the archive of the Frewen family. I noticed that this was a rather large archive, dating from 1291. The archive provides a representative record of the history of this landed family from the 17th century until the death of Colonel Edward Frewen in 1919. – The strength of our online catalogue for researchers is that you can undertake key word searches to find the information that you require, but this often means that the position of the document within the rest of the collection- and the custodial history or provenance of the collection, is often missed.

The East Sussex Record Office holds a number of large family archives that span over many centuries and can tell us not only a lot about the family in question, but also how these families influenced key social and political changes. Many of these families owned large estates and had important positions within society. The Ashburnham family archive is a prime example; John Ashburnham (1603-1971) was an English courtier and served under Charles I- within this archive there is even a letter to him from the King, which I have explored ASH 3987-1in a previous post. The Gage family of Firle archive also has an impressive history that spans over 500 years. Sir Thomas Gage (1719-1787) was a British General and served as commander in chief of the British Forces in North America during the American Civil War. For more information on the family, the Firle Place website is very useful. Within this collection there are letters from Sir Peter Warren, Royal Naval Officer. In 1745 he had commanded the ships that had taken Louisburg and as was custom, the ‘prize system’ allowed officers to profit from this. One of the letters dated 2 June 1746, reveals the disputes between the officers: ‘Mr Knowles informs me Captain Herbert has not yet paid my Eight part of the Prize taken by him, when under my command and orders, in which Mr Knowles is to share by an agreement between us.’ So, as this demonstrates, archives of local prominent families from East Sussex can allow a researcher to go beyond local history; they can find out a lot more about national or even international events.

If you’re interested in the history and running of local large houses and estates, these family archives can also be of use. Within the Ashburnham archive, there are household accounts detailing tradesmen’s bills, servant’s wages, kitchen accounts and cellar books from the beginning to the late 1800s. The Gage family archive also holds a number of conveyances and purchases as the estate began to grow in the 1700s.

This is only a glimpse of what can be found in these local family archives, why not come and explore them yourself?


Treasures at The Keep: ‘Dear 16-year-old me…’

16 May 2016

By Emma Johnson

It’s that time of year again- exam season is here. For 16-year-olds, GCSE’s are often the first set of exams that will have a real impact on their future. This, combined with being a teenager in general, can often be a worrying and stressful time. This is an exciting, but also slightly nerve racking stage in their lives, as they start to work out who they are and what they want to be. Are there any words of wisdom you wish you could have given to your 16-year-old self? In the summer of 2015, the panel of writers from the Mass Observation Archive got to do just that.

The Mass Observation Archive sends out 3 questions a year to their panel of roughly 500 writers. Last summer, the team at Mass Observation chose the title ‘Dear 16-year-old me’. The respondents were a variety of ages from early 30s to late 80s, so this really showed how the life of a teenager was different, or had some similarities, across the decades. When looking through the responses, there were some common trends that really stood out; people wrote in detail about their attitude to school and education, their family and friends, and often first time relationships:

M4130: ‘I was 16 in May 1988, I took my GCSEs that summer and then went on to do A Levels. I loved school, my friends, and watching boys from afar!’

Some mentioned how care-free and naïve they were:

A1706: ‘Obviously I was at school. Obviously I knew everything. Dear 16-year-old- you know nothing!’

And some were still quite carefree about how life has turned out:

M4859: ‘We are closing in on 40 years old and I’ve got some bad news for you: we’re not an Astronaut. Neither are we a test pilot, a CIA assassin or Doctor Who’s assistant.’

But on the other hand, many of the respondents’ spoke of ‘worry’ and how they had worried about quite a lot of things at that age, but on hindsight everything would turn out ok:

A5375: ‘Try to let go of worrying about what others think of you- embrace your nerdy side, be proud of the bands you like and stop letting people tell you that you won’t suit short hair.’

F3409: ‘At 16 you really do have everything ahead of you. Some of what is to come is wonderful, some is not. Things that go badly may or may not be your fault; things that go well may be the result of chance, or well deserved. Remember the old saying ‘into each life a little rain must fall’; don’t beat yourself up when it does.’

So, looking back on their years since being 16, most were happy with what their life has now become. Worries that they had as teenagers have now become a distant memory and life lessons very much learnt:

A4127: ‘Make your life full of good memories and experiences. Live and love. Be brave occasionally. You have one chance of this life. Make all of it you can.’

Letter from the Archive: King Charles I to John Ashburnham

3rd May 2016

By Emma Johnson

‘As for my escaping from hence, I shall not attempt it but by the Queens advice alone…’

It was a tumultuous time living in England during the 1640s. Like his father before him, King Charles I believed that he ruled by divine right and was not subjected to the same authority as ordinary men. At this time, Parliament was summoned only if requested by the King. Charles did have to rely upon his Lords to some extent; the gentry were an effective way to raise money for the country through securing taxes. However the relationship between King and Parliament was not an easy one and was exacerbated by a series of events. Many of Charles’ Lords were suspicious of his marriage to a Roman Catholic, the French Princess Henrietta Maria in 1625. Charles also decided to send an expeditionary force to relieve the French Huguenots who were fighting French royal troops in La Rochelle. Although this was looked on favourably by the Protestant lords, the fact that Charles allowed his unpopular favourite George Villiers to lead the expedition undermined this. Charles dissolved Parliament and did not call another for a decade.

To cut a long story short, the relationship between Charles and Parliament deteriorated rapidly. Sides began to be taken. Between 1642 and 1646, a civil war raged across England; those who supported Parliament were known as the Parliamentarians and those who favoured the King were known as Royalists or the ‘Cavaliers’.

One man who was a strong supporter of the King was John Ashburnham (1603-1671) a courtier, politician and attendant upon the King. Here at The Keep and held by the East Sussex Record Office is the Ashburnham Archive (1040-1984). This collection also includes a narrative published by John which recounts his time serving the King.

In January 1644, the King created his own Oxford Parliament, which placed Oxford at the centre of the Royalist cause and the city became the headquarters of the King’s forces. As a result, Oxford also became a target for the Parliamentarians to siege. Charles’ position here was vulnerable and he needed to escape.

Here is a letter from Charles to John from Oxford in 1642. Part of it is written in cipher, in case the content fell into enemy hands and Charles’ attempt to escape revealed:

‘Now for myself be confident of my Constancy to the Church, for which upon debate I am dayly more & more confirmed for now I see clearly that the Presbiterians dis… & contradicts bouldly the consent of Fathers & the customes of the Catholike Church: & they hould that the Supreme Power is originally in the People to whom all Magistrats ought to account: As for my escaping from hence, I shall not attempt it but by the Queen’s advice alone or such as she shall trust to manage that business, concerning which now that I have declared my Opinion and showen my reasons (as I have fully done in former letters) I have now no impatience, for I shall not loose by my own silence which was the cheefe care I had in this

Upon Saturday next I expect the London Propositions; for one of which I particularly desire advice they Demand not only the confirmation of their Counterfeit Great Seale, but also the making good of all the Acts which hath beene done by it: I know this is not to be granted (for you remember the great consequences that I tould you, in Oxford depended upon it) but how hansomly to evade it, there is the question: for this I desire the opinions of 351:385:386:387:389, if these thinke it expedient, of 357: with as much expedition as may be to

Give this enclosed to my Wyfe, & me a particular account of her healthe

Your most assured constant friend

Charles R

ASH 3987-1

As we know, it was the Parliamentarians who came out on top. Charles was eventually captured, put on trial and found guilty of treason for putting his personal interests above that for his country. He was executed on 30 January 1649.





Reaching for the stars: The Royal Observatory at Herstmonceux

By Emma Johnson

Watching the stars is now often considered an enjoyable pastime, but in 1675 when King Charles II established the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, its aim was to help reduce shipwrecks. Sailors found it very difficult to navigate when far from land. By the 1770s, sailors were able to find their longitude at sea by observing the stars. A sailor could use the position of the moon, in relation to nearby stars, as a clock. A detailed set of times and locations were kept at Greenwich- hence ‘Greenwich time’. The observatory kept measuring time and compiling tables every year in order to help sailors navigate. But the astronomers also began to use the observatory to explore the stars themselves.

By the early 1900s and with the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the air around Greenwich became heavily smoke filled, making it difficult for the astronomers to see the sky. In 1947, the observatory was transferred to Herstmonceux in East Sussex, where the skies were much clearer. It was completely installed by 1958.

Housed here at The Keep are a number of documents relating to the Royal Observatory at Herstmonceux, including leaflets, pamphlets and an information sheet for visitors.Royal Observatory

A Sussex pamphlet written in November 1958 observes that the move to Herstmonceux even attracted interest from the Duke of Edinburgh, who visited the new site: ‘His Royal Highness saw the Solar Dome, where he observed sun spots and solar flares through one of the large telescopes.’

The information sheet provided for visitors to Herstmonceux informs us that the Tercentenary dial, is located 100 metres north of the north wall of Hertsmonceux castle. ‘The time marks are at 5 minute intervals on a circle of radius 1610mm. Thus on this circle the shadow of the gnomon moves 7mm a minute.’

In 1990 the Royal Observatory moved again to Cambridge and closed its doors in 1998. You can visit the Royal Observatory and Planetarium at Greenwich – click here for details. For a local visit, the Observatory Science Centre is based at Herstmonceux.

Letters from the Archive: the love letters of Private Jack Leech

14th February 2016

By Emma Johnson

The collections that I always enjoy exploring are the personal ones- the ones that allow you to gain an intimate glimpse of someone’s life, their thoughts and feelings. When searching for material to Jack Leechwrite a Valentine’s Day themed blog, I came across the love letters of Jack Leech to his wife Amelia from his time as a Private in the 25 Battalion, Kings Liverpool Regiment during the First World War.

Jack’s letters are held here at The Keep by East Sussex Record Office, and are part of the ‘Letter in the Attic’ project which is a collection of letters, diaries and other personal papers related to Brighton and Hove, created through an appeal to the public during 2007-2008. Jack was born in Hastings on 20 August 1892 and first came to Brighton around 1910. He worked as a postman in Rottingdean from 1911. Jack joined the army in September 1915 and was sent to France in 1917. Jack was able to marry Amelia by special licence on 31 October 1917. In February 1919, he was demobbed from the army. After the war Jack went back to his job as postman. He died on 16th March 1978.

To read an exchange so intimate felt slightly intrusive- but from the letters written by Jack, it is clear to see that, despite their temporary separation, his and Amelia’s love for each other held strong. Even though these letters are nearly a hundred years old, the sentiments within them are timeless and are still identified with couples today.



Monday evening

My own darling

I do wish you were here with me. It would be so lovely even to know you were nearer to me. In a few weeks you will be with me. How I do long for the time. Yes sweetheart I often think of the time when I first saw you and how I longed to tell you how much I loved you. And isn’t it just glorious to know that now you love me so much and that you know how much I love you. Our love has had a good test sweetheart so that proves we shall go through life always loving each other and living for each other. We must always be the same and face everything together cheerfully. I do hope my darling is free from pain today. My first thought each day are wonder how my little girl is? Keep smiling my darling and remember your old boy is always thinking of and longing for his own little girl. Night night, heaps of love and kisses

Your own Jack




19th December 1917

My own darling little wife

I was so glad to get your loving letter Millie. Do you know that at the time you were writing that letter to me I was writing a postcard on his St to you. Yes darling it does seem hard that we had to part but sweetheart we are going to get through it all aren’t we?

Our thoughts will always be of each other and darling we must pray for the day when we shall be reunited never to part. How lovely that will be! I know darling you are always going to be the same good little girl as you always have been. Yes sweetheart I am sure you must here feel very down as I did. But you are going to be very brave aren’t you? God I know will take care of you and I hope he will spare me to do my duty to the dearest little wife in all the world. How I do hope darling that the zepps were not your way last night they were over London Bridge. Is your throat better. I do hope so. Well Millie today I have been through my gas tests again. Tomorrow I go through the gas chamber.

I went and saw Gray last evening. She is very sorry I have got to go. She does hope you will keep quite well. She received the packet alright and thanks you very much. I gave her your address. It did seem strange going to the house without you being there. It gave me such a longing feeling. Darling I will write to your Mum before long tonight if I have time. How I wish we was going there together for Christmas. I do hope Millie you are feeling better. Take great care of yourself won’t you? Bye Bye for today. Heaps of love and kisses

Your ever loving hubby




Science in the Archive: Algernon Sidney Bicknell

Here is our next science in the archive blog

By Emma Johnson

According to his obituary in the Sussex Express, Algernon Sidney Bicknell (1832-1911) who resided at Barcombe House, Lewes, had a wonderfully varied life. He served as a soldier during the Franco-Prussian war and travelled the world; he attempted to cross the Amazon and succeeded in climbing Mount Vesuvius ten times. The obituary notes that Algernon inherited two great passions Bicknell portrait ACC 8490.3from his parents; those of science and art. Indeed, it was believed that his father Elhanan, who was a great patron of art, was one of the first men to discover and encourage the great landscape artist, J.M.W. Turner. In his later years, Algernon turned his attention to science and astronomy. He was one of the oldest Fellows of the Royal Astronomical, Linnean and Geographical Societies.

Here at The Keep in the care of the East Sussex Record Office are some beautiful handwritten autobiographical notes of Algernon’s life. They also include local newspaper cuttings and publications written by Bicknell and his family members.

As well as astronomy, Algernon was also interested in fungilogical botany and issued a pamphlet on the value of certain fungi. Here is an extract from his ‘Notes on the edible fungi of Italy’:

‘I think there may yet be corners of the fungological domain where greater light may fall and one of these I hope to show. In every science there is a department strictly scientific, usually abstruse, and there is generally another in which all with average observant faculties may, as it were, stroll and render services. In fungology it has certainly always been so. For years the popular statements concerning fungi, with their terrors and their superstitions, were almost all we had to read, and as fungological studies assumed their proper botanical position through our better knowledge of structure and classification, fascinated by scientific discoveries, we somewhat neglected to rectify the popular beliefs of our forefathers; the wondrous stories of hecatombs of poisoned families still circulated, ill contradicted, in the autumn papers, and the credulous public still today believe that a couple of grammes of any toadstool for breakfast, will be followed by delirium, coma and death, which no injection of stramonium or of atropine can avert… It struck me then that it would not be wholly waste of time if I were to revise the hallowed statements concerning the sale and commercial value of fungi in Italy, and correct to modern date the antique and omnivorous assertions of the enthusiastic Badham. I propose to tell you what species are at present authorised by law to be sold in the public markets of the great cities of the peninsula; what species I have seen in them; and inasmuch as what has been said concerning these edible Italian fungi rests almost exclusively on the text of Vittadini…’

Notes on the edible fungi of Italy

Bicknell’s writing oozes enthusiasm- it is very clear that he was fascinated by fungological botany and that he was intent on refuting the misconceptions about fungi. We came across these wonderful books detailing Algernon Bicknell’s incredible life on the off chance. That is the beauty of archives; sometimes you find the most interesting things when you are not directly looking for them.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2016: The Arnold Daghani collection

27th January 2016

By Emma Johnson

‘Don’t stand by’ is the message for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016. 71 years after the end of the holocaust against the Jewish population of Europe, these words are as relevant today as they were then- there is still a need to stand against racism, violence and discrimination of all kinds. As holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said: ‘Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.’

Being educated and informed about past atrocities is so important to prevent them from happening again. Sometimes it is very easy to become distanced from the hurt and suffering being experienced by others, because it is not something that we are experiencing. Here at The Keep, in the care of the University of Sussex Special Collections, is an archive that seeks to humanise the experience of the holocaust: the Arnold Daghani collection. Within his work, Daghani used a mixed medium of art and the written word to document his experience of the holocaust.

'Fragments of Memoirs'

‘Fragments of Memoirs’

Arnold Daghani (1909 – 1985) came from a German-speaking Jewish family in Suczawa, on the eastern borders of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which is now  Suceava in Romania. He attended art school in Munich before returning to Romania to work at a publishing house. In June 1942 Daghani and his wife Anisoara were deported to the slave labour camp of Mikhailowka in the Ukraine. They managed to escape in July 1943, only a few months before the camp was liquidated. Daghani’s collection includes around 6,000 works, including albums of drawings, paintings and writings. His later years living in Hove are also represented, particularly by many spiral-bound sketchbooks filled with ink drawings.

One of the most prominent pieces of Daghani’s work that documents his experience of Mikhailowka is his ‘What a nice world’ folio (1943-1977). Every aspect of this

Passage from 'What a Nice World'

Passage from ‘What a Nice World’

work emanates symbolism- from the physical structure of the work- bound in wire- to the dark, dramatic colours and sporadic use of text, reflecting Daghani’s emotional trauma and his use of art and writing to provide an emotional release from this horrific experience. This passage is recalled in the third person:

‘Quickly they were pushed across the street, where a group of people were already under guard. What was going to happen to them? Their clothes to be thrown into the boiler? Their hair to be cut? Or perhaps, something worse? The touch of the soldier had already recalled unpleasant things in Arnold’s memory, but he did not allow his mind to work itself into a panic.’

Last year marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the message promoted by the Holocaust Memorial Trust was reflective; commemorating and remembering the stories of the victims of holocausts that have happened across the world, such as those in Second World War Europe and in more recent times, Rwanda and Bosnia. For 2016, while it is still so important to remember these stories, it is also about looking forward, so that we ‘don’t stand by’ if we witness discrimination of any kind. It is the victims’ voices, such as that of Arnold Daghani, preserved in our archives, which seeks to educate us, humanising their experiences so that they are not merely a statistic in history.


You can follow the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust on twitter and facebook. They also have a number of videos of survivors testimonies on their Youtube channel.



Letter from the Archive: The Great Plague of 1665-1666

18th January 2016

By Emma Johnson

‘Ring-a-ring a roses, a pocketful of posies, attischo, attischo, we all fall down.’ Most of us can recall this well-versed nursery rhyme from our childhood; dancing round in circles, hands clasped, spinning faster and faster before falling down in a heap of giggles. But in 1665-1666, this rhyme represented a very deadly threat to the people of England: the plague. This year and last marks the 350th anniversary.

Imagine it is the year 1665. In Stuart England, towns and cities have grown as craftsmen and tradespeople flock to these areas to make their living. London has become a metropolis. The rich and poor co-exist together- from large affluent houses in the Covent Garden area, to tenements and garrets with multiple families occupying them. Sanitation is a major problem- open drains mean that animal dung, human waste and rubbish litter the cobbled streets. The sewage is cleared away in carts, dumped outside the city walls and left to decompose. The summer of 1665 is also very warm, which only makes these conditions worse. This environment is a haven for vermin and in particular -rats. (There is a great image on The National Archives website of London at the time of the Plague)

The Plague had been an issue in England ever since the Black Death of 1347. The Bills of Mortality began to be published regularly in 1603, and showed that the Plague took thousands of lives each year. The epidemic of 1665-1666 saw these numbers rise exponentially. The first areas to be hit were the docks of London. As the weather grew warmer, the number of cases rose. By September, there were roughly 7000 deaths a week. By the late autumn, the number of cases began to decrease until February 1666 when it was considered safe enough for King Charles II to return to London.

People believed that the plague was caused by evil spirits, religious nonconformity or an astronomical occurrence such as a comet appearing in the sky. It is still often believed that the plague was caused by rats, but in actual fact it was the infected fleas that lived on the rats that caused the disease to spread. After being bitten or exposed to the disease, victims would experience flu like symptoms such as a fever, headache and chills. Swellings called buboes would then appear in the lymph nodes found in the armpits, groin and neck. Most would not survive these awful symptoms.

Here at The Keep, the East Sussex Record Office holds some documents relating to the Great Plague in the Frewen Family Archive. Below is an extract from a letter from Reverend John Allin to Dr Philip Frith of Rye dated 30 September 1665:

Dear friend,

…I thank you for what you have done in reference to my things at your house or maudlins; in giving Mr Jeake an inventory of them for my children, I intend god willing to second it next week to you or him with the like in general terms… I hope the lord will spare you to be useful to such as may want you in the land of the living. But we had need all be awakened to be ready, for we know not the day nor the hour when our lord will come, truly I think since the last bill the sickness is again encroaching and very much about us. I have hired my chamber again for another quarter of a year: if the lord grant life so long: I will if the lord please speedily collect my thoughts and finish this discourse of his sickness and send you, but I hinted in my last what a care and hurry I have been in…

Your loving friend

John Allin

There is also a manuscript book of remedies, recipes and cures (1558-1666):

A Reciept against the plague and a preservative:

Aloes hepatica pure cinnamon mirth of each; 3 cloves mace wood of aloes called ligum [or possibly liguin] aloes masticke Bolarmoniack of each mix altogether and make thereof very fine po[tion?]: whereof take early in the morning with white wine mixed with a little water wikerus [or wikeras].


Ivy berries and dry them in the shadow those that grow on the north side of the tree is best keep them in a box of wood till you need beat these to po[tion]: and take as much at once as you can take upon a groat and let the patient dunk it in white wine or plantains water half an ounce of the po[tion?]: with 2 ounces of water. Cover him and let him sweat well. This done change his sheets warm if it be possible all his bedding for this is most excellent.

Remedy against the Plague

This second remedy for the plague seems logical to a 21st century reader- to try and sweat out the sickness and restore the sufferer to health. But, as John Allin’s letter suggests, people were aware that little could be done to stop the disease and no-one could predict when death would befall them. Returning to those ill-fated words of the nursery rhyme, it was only a matter of time before the majority of sufferers would ‘all fall down.’





Meet the staff: A day in the life of an Archivist

28th November 2015

Christopher Whittick, Senior Archivist (Document Services) is interviewed by Emma Johnson

Christopher has worked at the East Sussex Record Office for 38 years, since 1977. Becoming an archivist wasn’t always his plan- he read law at University with the intention of becoming a barrister, but instead became fascinated with legal history and the prospect of working with these intriguing documents that are stored in our archives.

When I asked Christopher what his role as an archivist involves, he replied ‘how long have you got?’ An archivist’s role can include many different things- from bringing in new documents, Christopher Whittick in the reading roomcataloguing them so that they can be used by researchers, to improving existing records and giving talks and presentations. As Senior Archivist for document services, Christopher spends a lot of time locating documents for the Record Office, encouraging them to be donated or deposited, and then ensuring that they are appropriately catalogued and stored.

A project that Christopher has spent a lot of time on is cataloguing the Battle Abbey Archive. In 1923 the archive was sold to an American collector, Henry Edwards Huntington, and is housed in the library which Huntington founded in San Marino, California. Beginning in 1991 and with external funding, Christopher has been visiting the library and cataloguing the documents; he finished the job a month ago, and the descriptions will appear on The Keep online catalogue as well as on the Huntington’s. On the 8th December, Christopher is giving a free talk about the history of the Battle Abbey Archive here at The Keep- please feel free to come along.

And finally, what is Christopher’s favourite part of the job? “Acquiring new medieval deeds and manorial records, cataloguing them and bringing them to the attention of people I know will be interested in them.”



Letter from the Archive: The Letters of Private William Harold Corbin

8th November 2015

‘You are the only one I love and always will be as long as I live’

As a two minute silence falls at the eleventh hour, we remember. We remember the brave soldiers who have served their country and the many who have given their lives in war. We remember their

'He died for freedom and honor'

‘He died for freedom and honor’

stories and commemorate them every year, so that their courage and bravery-and their ultimate sacrifice- is not lost to the past. Many of their stories live on through their own voices, those who have been preserved in archives.

One such man was Private William Harold Corbin of Brighton (1895-1917). The 1901 census reveals that aged 22, he was a stableman, living at 5 Dorset Buildings in Brighton. He married his wife Emily Elizabeth in about 1902 and as his early letters to Emily suggest, started working for E Robins and Son, brewers of Waterloo Street, Hove in about 1903. Corbin enlisted on 25 March 1916 for the 1st Battalion Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment and his service record shows that he arrived in France on 19 October 1916. Sadly, he was killed on 4 October 1917 during the Battle of Passchendaele.

Here is a letter written to Emily from Harold:

Monday 9th October 1916

My own darling wife

I hope you are getting over me going away, if you don’t try and buck up you will be bad, it is very trying for you, I know I am trying my best to buck up, you and the children are always in my mind, you are the only one I love and always will be as long as I live, I know darling you will keep the old fire burning and look after the darling little children till I come home again, if God spares me to you all.

Well darling I hope you got the parcel alright and also Florries letter very good of her, I hope she will be good to you darling.

Well darling I must tell you that 30 of our men have got to go overseas this week, just got out of that, so it will not be long before the other boys come back, if you see Mr Brampton tell him that some of the boys will be gone by the time he comes back, it will make him look.

I hope darling that you were not upset when you opened the parcel, it was not safe for me to keep the dear old ring you gave me, bless your heart I cannot help thinking of you to know we are parted like this, do cheer up my darling I will do my best to get home safe to be with you all once more, darling if you answer this letter I shall get it alright and then wait to hear more from me again, don’t get upset darling god be with you till we meet again, no more this time darling.

Good night and God bless you

From your Loving Husband


We are so fortunate to be able to glimpse part of their life together as this couple faced the most difficult of times, their lives disrupted by war. Their story will survive for the next 100 years and long after.