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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Alfred George Titheridge (1864 – 1916) The Unfortunate Gamekeeper

Grave of Alfred George Titheridge
Swanmore Churchyard
Under a tree in the graveyard at Swanmore church there is an imposing grave, which is a large cross.  This is the resting place of Alfred George Titheridge who died in 1916 aged 51.  This is a grave which is far more ornate than most Titheridge graves we have found.  So what is the story of Alfred George Titheridge?

Alfred George Titheridge was one of twelve children born to William Titheridge and Eliza Merrit.  He was born in Swanmore, Hampshire in 1864 and christened on 28 August 1864 at Swanmore. He was known by the nick name “Breasor”.  If anyone knows why he had this nickname please let us know. 

On 19 February 1887 he married Lydia Scammels in Swanmore.  They had 5 children all born at Swanmore

George Edward John Titheridge born 1888
Lydia Elizabeth Titheridge born 1890
Alfred Charles Titheridge born 1893
Isabel May Titheridge born 1897
Florence Rosina Titheridge born 1904

Alfred's life can be followed on the censuses.  On the 1871 census Alfred is living in the Hill area of Swanmore with his parents and siblings.  By 1881 census he is boarding at a farm in Netley and working as a shepherd.  On the 1891 census he is living at Clay Pits in Swanmore with his wife Lydia and the eldest two children and was an assistant gamekeeper.  By the 1901 census he was living in Spring Lane in Swanmore with his wife and four eldest children and is listed as a domestic gardener.  In the 1911 census he is living in Swanmore with Lydia and four of his children and he is working as a gamekeeper.

During the First World War, in 1916, Alfred was working at the Holywell Estate as gamekeeper.  His father-in-law, John Scammels, had been gamekeeper there before him and had trained him.  At this time Holywell was a large estate of 1908 acres.  One day early in 1916 Alfred had the afternoon off and he went out with the head gardener ferretting.  The gardener missed a rabbit bolting from its hole and accidently shot Alfred in the eye.  He was taken to hospital but died later of complications.  Alfred died on Wednesday 8th March 1916.  He left a wife and five children with the youngest daughter 12 years old.  The gardener was sacked by the owner of Holywell, a Major Genral Minchin.

An inquest was held into the death and it was reported in the Western Gazette on 17 March 1916

“A gamekeeper’s death.  A gamekeeper named Titheridge of Swanmore Hants, whilst out rabbit shooting with a friend was himself shot in the eye and killed.  A verdict of accidental death has been returned”

Alfred is buried in Swanmore churchyard with his wife, daughter, son in law and sister-in-law. Alfred’s wife, Lydia, lived for another 30 years dying in July 1946.

Inscription on front of grave


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