Sunday, 23 April 2017


John Carfrae Clark (Gunner No. 630936) - C Battery 255th Brigade Royal Field Artillery

John was not a local lad; he had been born in Aberdeen around 1898, spent much of his life in Montgomery Street, Edinburgh and returned to Aberdeen to enlist. We know very little of his life before he joined the army, except that The Windsor and Eton Express dated 22.5.17 stated he was the second son of Mr & Mrs W.G. Clark of 2, Ada Cottages, Eton Wick, and after two years service in France he was killed in action on the 23rd April 1917 at the age of 19 years. Allowing a period of training, and two years in France, he was probably 16 years old when he falsified his age for acceptance into the army.
Until 1913 Ada Cottages were occupied by T. Lovell, where he ran a successful bakery, general stores and the village Post Office. It was about this time, perhaps one or two years later, that the premises may have been let to Mr Clark. There were several families named Clark in Eton Wick at the time, but no apparent relationship between them. It seems very likely Mr & Mrs W.G. Clark moved to Eton Wick and Ada Cottages during the first year of the war.
A former Eton Wick resident, whos e maiden name was Clark, has declared no knowledge whatsoever of John Carfrae Clark, though her own father's name was Albert Shiel Clark. He lived in London, but because of Zeppelin raids on the capital, he moved to Eton Wick around 1916, to live at Ada Cottages. Their address in Eton Wick and the fact that both men had, for second names, Scottish place names (Shiel and Carfrae) points to a family relationship. Nevertheless, in later years, Albert Shiel never made mention to his daughter of his own dead brother, or cousin.
A few years later there were plans to use part of Ada Cottages as a shop again. Mr & Mrs W.G. Clark moved to 28, The Walk, Eton Wick, and A.S. Clark moved to 5, Albert Place, Eton Wick.
John was in the Royal Field Artillery, 255th Brigade as part of the 51st (Highland) Division, originally the 1st Highland Field Brigade from Aberdeen. An artillery Brigade was numerically very different to a Brigade of infantry but was not dissimilar to an infantry Battalion.
By 1917 the R.F.A. batteries of guns on the Western Front, were either of 6 field guns or 6 x 45 Howitzers. There were 4 batteries to each Brigade and 2 Brigades to each Division. On the 23/24th April 1917 the 255th Brigade R.F.A. (John's) were in support of the 51st Highland Division (Artillery), taking part in the Battle of the Scarpe. Specifically their attack was aimed on the village of Roeux, with its chemical works. The official history (1917) states:
"a great deal had already been asked of the 51st Division"
 and in Roeux they undoubtedly met with fierce opposition.
It was on April 23rd John Carfrae Clark was killed. He is buried in the nearby cemetery of Anzin-St-Aubin. The cemetery was first used in July, 1917 by John's Division, the 51st. It records a total of 358 graves: 291 being from the United Kingdom, 63 from Canada and four others. The cemetery is situated three miles north west of Arras. The local paper of May 22nd 1917 reported:
Clark, John Carfrae, second son of Mr and Mrs W.G. Clark of 2 Ada Cottages, Eton Wick and formerly of Montgomery Street, Edinburgh, and of Aberdeen. Gunner Killed in Action 23.4.1917 after 2 years service in France.
John was a single man.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission have his records showing "No Next Of Kin". This is not an uncommon entry and several village men are likewise recorded. After the war, letters were sent to the homes of the fallen. This would state place of burial etc., and invite the next of kin to submit a text to be included on the headstone. To many, the form filling and the pain, was more than they wanted, so they declined to answer.
When no reply was sent, the records were marked as "N.N.K." Sometimes men may have declared no next of kin at the time of enlisting, in the same way that others chose to serve under an assumed name.
John C. Clark is commemorated on the Eton Wick Memorial and on the Eton Church Memorial Gates and he was possibly Eton Wick's youngest fatality.

This is an extract from Their Names Shall Be Carved in Stone  
and published here with grateful thanks to the author Frank Bond.

Gunner Clark is not recorded on the Lives of the First World War website at this time.

Registration Records CWGC

Headstone Records CWGC

War Diary page

Further information found about John C. Clark. 

We have discovered very limited further details about John Clark by way of online search. The family tree records by Nicholas Ferrar indicate that John was born on 27th January 1898 in Edinburgh to William Glen and Charlotte Clark. Why the family was living in Eton Wick when he joined the Army has not yet been discovered, but his father, William is recorded as a pupil at Eton College in the 1881 Census living in a House in Keats Lane. 

Monday, 17 April 2017

Farmhouses and Cottages part 2

How much the village had grown has not been possible to find out, but probably, in spite of the rebuilding, not a great deal. As yet there was no real heart to the village. The ten houses and   cottages already described lay dispersed along the edges of the commons and not far way from the brook or one of its tributaries. In the eighteenth century this changed and the area now thought of as the old village became the centre of the community for the first time. A parish map of 1797 (itself a copy of an older one of 1742) shows about ten cottages in the short stretch of common from Wheatbutts to Sheepcote, while in the rest of Eton Wick, to the east, north and west there were only about another dozen, and most of these were the older timber-framed houses.

Two of these houses can be dated with reasonable certainty as having been built within the first quarter of the eighteenth century - Wheatbutts and Hope Cottage (now part of nos. 37 and 39 Common Road). Wheatbutts was built for William Lyford, a butcher from Eton, between 1704, when the land was described as 'all that close of arable land called Wheatbutts', and 1716; by which time the house had been built in the corner of the close and the rest converted into an orchard. Whether William Lyford ever lived there is not clear, but by 1716 he was living at Old Windsor and the property sold to the Eton Poor Estate. Hope Cottage was built a few years later in about 1725. At that date a small close of just over an acre was bought from William Lyford by Anthony Warwick, a yeoman of Eton. It seems unlikely that he ever lived there, for he owned several cottages including five in Dorney, and when he sold his cottage in Eton Wick in 1732 to Elizabeth Griffin, a widow, she was already living there. She and her married son, William, converted it to an alehouse known as the Bull's Head. Probably about this time the cottage was divided into two. William bought the property from his mother in 1745 and continued to be the victualler there for the next eleven years. It takes little imagination to conjure up the convivial and perhaps drunken scenes spreading out on to the common.   Three years, however, before the sign of the Bull's Head was finally removed for ever, William sold the property to a husbandman of the Wick, John Fennel.

John's widow, Elizabeth, continued to live there until her death in 1785, and from her will we learn a little more about the property.  She left one of the cottages to her niece, Anne Hope, from whom it seems the cottages  took  the  name  by  which they were known until recently. At the time of Elizabeth's death this cottage was the home of Robert Tarrant. The other cottage, in which Elizabeth herself had been living, she left to her kinsman, Robert Wilkins, and his wife and son, for their lives. To Anne Hope she also left a green iron bedstead and her furniture: to Anne Hope and Mary Wilkins together she left the rest of her goods and chattels.

Even before the Bull's Head had closed its doors another alehouse had opened in the village. This was the Three Horseshoes.  Exactly when it received its first licence is unknown but, like the Bull's Head, it is recorded in the Victuallers' Recognizances of 1753. The house itself was built sometime   before 1705 when it was purchased by Joseph Johnson, yeoman of Eton Wick, from John and Mary Bell. It is intriguing to speculate which of these two inns was the first in the village, though it is possible that neither was as is suggested by an isolated reference in the parish registers to 'The Small Fox' at Eton Wick. Perhaps the village simply could not support two inns.
Entries from the Vituallers’ Recognizances, 1753

In spite of being built within a short time of each other, these three houses were very different. The Three Horseshoes still retains its original L-shape though much alteration has taken place and only a very small area of the pleasant red and blue brickwork that was so popular in this part of the country can still be seen. Its first-floor windows are probably original. Wheatbutts was built as a substantial small cottage with two rooms on each floor and the dormer windows made it possible for the roof space to be used as an attic.  The front of the house is of brick with a symmetrical arrangement of door and windows which was then fashionable, but the back displayed a timber-frame. The closely spaced, vertical studs until recently could still be seen within the house though countless layers of whitewash and plaster had disguised their thickness. Hope Cottage was rather larger with four rooms on each floor but with no attic. It had a central chimney, and during alterations the huge beam above the fireplace in no. 37 and a bread oven to one side were revealed.  Originally there was also probably a symmetrical arrangement of door and windows and a centrally placed staircase, but when the cottage was divided the window which had lighted the stairs was blocked and new doorways must have been made. Sadly none of the eighteenth century brickwork can now be seen on the exterior of these cottages, for they and the adjoining nineteenth century ones have been encased in a twentieth century brick shell. Inside much of the original construction still remains   including a low doorway in one of the bedrooms of no. 37 which is thought to have once led from William Griffith's own cottage to the room above the alehouse.

Various deeds show clearly that both Wheatbutts and Hope Cottages were built on land that had once been part of Wick Farm. This farm can almost certainly be identified with Dairy Farm in Common Road. How old the present farmhouse is, or whether it is the first on this site, has not been established but since it is entirely brick-built it is likely to b6 after 1650. The oldest deed known is dated 1704, but refers back to previous owners so that the house is likely to be seventeenth century.   In 1704 the farm consisted of five closes of arable and pasture land and sixteen strips dispersed in North Field, the Hyde and Waterslades, making forty acres in all. Within a few decades, however, it had been reduced to a mere seventeen acres.  The greater part of the land had been lost to other farms. In 1776 the remaining acres were bought by Mary Woolhouse and added to Bell Farm.  The Woolhouse family in fact acquired several properties including Long Close house, other cottages by Little Common and the house built on part of Nut Close, now demolished, but replaced by Eton Cottage. 

Of the other houses shown on the 1797 map nothing is known at all about those that stood  between Harding's Cottage and Sheepcote.  On the other hand Ye Olde Cottage, which stood next to Hope Cottage, was not demolished until 1951 and the description and photograph of it suggest it was also built in the eighteenth century. Like Wheatbutts it had a large projecting chimney and stood with its back to the common. This is curious, for the gardens all stretched as far as the Eton Wick Road, though at this date it was still within the South Field and perhaps not yet the main road of the village.  The only other house built at this date was Manor Farmhouse.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017


James John Newell (Trooper No. 1232) - Household Battalion - 10th Brigade 4th Division (Formerly Trooper No. 3831 - The Life Guards)

James (Jim) Newell was most probably born in the village, and continued to live there until he joined the Army during the Great War. He was born on May 21st 1896 and would have attended the Eton Wick Infant school until, at the age of seven years, he went to Eton Porny school, starting there in September 1903. He left school one month before his 14th birthday, at Easter, 1910, and the reason he gave for leaving is recorded in the register as "intention to work in a garden".

Jim had at least two brothers, Arthur and William, and a sister Nancy. Arthur was two years older than Jim. William became well known in later years when he and his wife "Lil" became landlords of The Greyhound public house. Nancy married a Dorney man, and as Mrs Jacobs lived out her long life in Alma Road. The Newell family home was 2, Bell Cottages, Alma Road in Boveney Newtown and the father, William John, was a local farm worker. It is believed there was a fourth son named George and he was four years younger than Jim.
Jim enlisted in Windsor, but we don't know when. The local paper regularly printed the names of service volunteers, but this depended entirely on families notifying the editor and sometimes they didn't. There were three families of Newells living in the village in 1914 and certainly five Newell men serving by 1916, but Jim was not in the listing. His family was not related to the other two. He may first have joined the Life Guards and later been drafted into the Household Battalion. This was formed at Knightsbridge Barracks on September 1st 1916 as an infantry Battalion, drawing personnel from reserves of the Household Cavalry (which included the Life Guards).

On November 11th 1916 the Battalions landed in France, as part of the 10th Brigade, 4th
Athies Communal Cemetery Extension 
Division. By this time the family home was at No. 1, Beaconsfield Place, Alma Road. On Easter Monday, April 9th 1917, British forces began an intensive attack in the Arras sector of the front with particular success by Canadian forces assaulting Vimy Ridge. The Household Battalion, as part of the 4th Division, took part here in the Battle of the Scarpe. 

Two days later Jim was dead. The circumstances of his death have not been established, although undoubtedly attributable to the very fierce fighting at that time.

Jim was killed in action on April 11th 1917 just three weeks before his 21st birthday. Six weeks later on May 26th The Windsor & Eton Express reported:

Newell, Jim, son of Mr & Mrs Newell of 1, Beaconsfield Place, Boveney Newtown, Eton Wick. Trooper with the Household Battalion. Killed in action, April 11th 1917.

Two years later the same paper printed in memoriam:

James John Newell. To the killed in action April 11th 1917. From his devoted brother Bill: Though lost from sight, to memory - ever dear.

Jim Newell was not married, and was 20 years old. He is buried in the Athies Communal Cemetery Extension in France. The cemetery is situated approximately three miles east of Arras. His grave is number 29 in Row F. There are 310 recorded burials there from the Great War: 287 soldiers from the U.K., 21 South African, one Australian and one German. Jim is commemorated on the Eton Wick Memorial and on the Eton Church Memorial Gates.

This is an extract from Their Names Shall Be Carved in Stone 
and published here with grateful thanks to the author Frank Bond.

Record of Soldiers Effects
Graves Registration
Report Form dated 30/6/1921

IWGC Report of Headstone
Page from Graves Register

Additional information: The 1901 and 1911 census records show that James Newell was born in Boveney.