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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

"Stumps" Titheridge's Diary

  Cottage at the bottom of Hampton Hill Swanmore. 
  Postcard picture taken in 1899.
  Believe this cottage is the home of George "Stumps" Titheridge
The nice thing about having a website (or blog) dedicated to a one name study of an unusual surname is that sometimes out of the blue you get an email with some interesting information about the family name. 

Such was the case twelve years ago when we got an email from a resident of Swanmore, Hampshire asking us if we had heard of the Swanmore diarist “Stumps Titheridge”.  We hadn’t.  Courtesy of the Swanmore Village Archivist, we received a copy of this diary. This week we received an email from the current village archivist in Swanmore telling us that the original George “Stumps” Titheridge diary had been deposited with the Hampshire Record Office for safe keeping in December.  If you ever find yourself near the Hampshire Record Office I would recommend you go in and have a read.

Those of you who have browsed our website will already have heard of this diary, but for those who aren’t familiar with the diary it was written by George Titheridge, better known as “Stumps”.  It consists of approximately 100 A4 pages all written in a neat hand. The first entry was in April 1860 when George was 7, the second 10 years later and after that there are entries at regular intervals up until February 1937.  This is no great piece of literature but to me it is the most amazing diary recording social history from the point of view of ordinary folk, recorded by a poor village resident.  In his diary entries George lists confinements (births) marriages and deaths of his relatives, friends and neighbours, records the weather, notes local dramatic incidents, and this is all quietly mixed with records of great events in history.  George never passes a comment, never expresses an emotion - just records the facts.  Here are some entries taken from his diary for this week in January 90, 100, 110, 120 and 130 years ago.  They illustrate his very matter of fact entries about village life peppered with important historic events. 

25 January 1925:  Nelly Terry married Swanmore.  Mrs Noles and G Knight married Bishops Waltham

20 January 1915:  Harry Long buried Swanmore. Brought from Alton. Broke his neck

19 January 1905:  Midlington House rebuilt. The second Mrs Selfe died Swanmore

25 January 1895:  Wm Stone and Alfred Stone sailed for Australia

24 January 1885:  Dustman Titheridge’s horse dropped dead.   Explosion in London at the Tower and House of Commons

Visitors to our website can read some of the entries in his diary in relation to either his Titheridge family or the First World War.!/content/membersofinterest/georgestumps.php!/content/miscellaneous/lifeinwar.php
So who was George and why was he called “Stumps”? 

George was the youngest of nine children born to Richard Titheridge and Mary Ann Lasham.   He was born on 5 April 1853 at Swanmore and died at Swanmore in 1938 aged 84.  George had no children and did not marry.  However the rest of his siblings had large families.  George was uncle to no less than 34 nieces and nephews with the Titheridge surname.  The Titheridges were very prolific around Swanmore, Droxford and Bishops Waltham at this time and the family name was swelled by George’s 16 Titheridge cousins plus great nieces,  nephews and second cousins too numerous to count.  George was disabled and walked with the aid of crutches.  On the census he is described as “crippled from birth” but other reports say he fell off a gate when he was young. He was never shown as working on the census but shown as being in receipt of parish poor relief.

I cannot be sure where the nick name “Stumps” came from, it could be from his love of cricket  and several pictures exist of George with the local cricket team.  

I am sure George would never have believed that his diary would achieve such fame 77 years after his death, and we must say thank you to his relatives for preserving it and thank you to the village archivist for sharing it.

Do you have a historic Titheridge/Titheradge etc. family diary that you would like to share? If so please contact me.

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