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Saturday, 13 June 2015

Motoring Offence – Edwardian Style

A view of Bishops Waltham
(A village 2 miles from Waltham Chase)
I loved this short article from the Portsmouth Evening News, illustrating life in bygone age.  It was published on 16 November 1903

Fareham Police:  A Satisfactory Explanation
Noah Titheridge of Waltham Chase was summoned for driving a cart to which no lighted lamp was attached on the 7th inst.  He explained that his candle had burned out and he was waiting for the lamp to cool before inserting another.  The explanation was accepted and the summons dismissed.

I cannot say with certainty who Noah was, as in 1903 there were two Noah Titheridges in the Bishops Waltham / Swanmore area, a father and son aged 45 and 17 at the time of the offence.  They were descendants of the Titheridges from Cheriton and part of the large family of Titheridges who lived in the Droxford area.  Noah John senior was born in 1858 one of 12 children born to William Titheridge and Eliza Merrit.  He married Amelia Gardener and they had 14 children between 1884 and 1902, one of the sons also being Noah John born in 1886.  The families lived in the areas of Hampshire around Swanmore, Shedfield and Bishops Waltham.
Local newspapers show that Noah senior had a few minor brushes with the law.  On 20 August 1892 it was reported that a case of assault had been brought by Thomas Knight of Waltham Chase against Noah Titheridge, landlord of The Black Dog at Shedfield.  The case was dismissed with each party having to pay  their own costs.  On two other occasions, June 1897 and November 1899, Noah was fined 5s for failing to send his children to school.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

In Memory of James Henry Titheridge 1892 – 1915 who died 100 years ago today

Today, 2 June 2015, let us remember James Henry Titheridge, Private in the 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment who died 100 years ago today in the First World War.

I found the record of James’ death among the Commonwealth War Grave Commission records showing he died at Ypres on 2nd June 1915.  There were very little details and no indication of who his family were or where he was from.  So a month ago I started searching all the records I could find to identify James.  This is what I have discovered.

James John Titheridge and Jane Hyde were married in the Alresford area of Hampshire in September 1881.  They had six children, the youngest of which was James Henry Titheridge

Their children were
Minnie Titheridge, born 1880 in Bishops Sutton (Minnie was James’ step daughter, originally called Minnie Hyde)
Carrie Mary Titheridge, born 1881 in New Alresford
Clara Lydia Titheridge, born 1883 in Itchen Stoke
William Charles Titheridge, born 1887, in Itchen Stoke
Constance Kate Titheridge, born 1890 in New Alresford (called Kate)
Henry James Titheridge, born September 1892 in Abbotstone (called James, and referred to as James Henry by the army)

The family lived at 12 Pound Hill, New Alresford in the 1881 census and 92 The Dean, New Alresford in the 1891 census.  In December 1898 James senior died leaving Jane with six children to look after, the youngest James being just six years old.  In September 1899 Jane remarried to Isaac Bunce in the Alresford area.

The 1901 census shows James at home in Abbotsone with his mother Jane Bunce, Step father Isaac Bunce and siblings William 14 and Kate 11.

The 1911 census shows James boarding with Frank and Kate Cole in Lane End, Longwood, Winchester.  Kate is James’ sister as under the name Kathleen Constance Titheridge she married Frank Cole in December 1909 at Winchester. James’ occupation on this census is listed as farm labourer.  In 1911 James’ mother, Jane, was living in Ovington Down Cottages, Alresford and by 1914 she had moved to Ranscombe Farm, Ropley.

James’ service record no longer exists but other military records show James as born in Alresford Hampshire, living in Bighton, Hampshire on joining up and enlisting in Winchester.  His army service number is 9466, which indicates he joined the army after 1 January 1913 but before 7 August 1914, his will shows he had joined up by 5 August 1914.  World War was declared on 4th August 1914.  James’ medal card shows James disembarked in France on 16 March 1915 and joined the 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment.  His medals, awarded posthumously, were 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

James died on 2nd June 1915 and is remembered on the Menin Gate, Panel 35, in Ypres, West Vlaanderen, Belgium.  The Menin Gate is a memorial to those soldiers missing in Belgium Flanders, which covers the area known as the Ypres Salient, stretching from Langemarck in the north to Ploegstreert Wood in the south.  The Menin Gate is inscribed with the names of 54,000 men whose graves are not known.

In recent days I have been reading the war diaries of James’ battalion and the terrible conditions they endured during his time in Belgium.  The 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment were fighting in an area known as the Ypres Salient (a salient is an outward bulge in a military line).  The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914, when a small British Expeditionary Force succeeded in securing the town of Ypres before winter pushing the Germans back to the Passchendaele Ridge.  The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines north of Ypres, this was the first use of poisonous gas and the violence of the attack forced the allied withdrawal.  During James’ period of service the 1st Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment were involved in three major battles which were engagements within the Second Battle of Ypres:  The Battle of St. Julien, 24 April -5 May 1915, The Battle of Frezenberg. 8-13 May 1915 and Battle of Bellewaarde. 24-25 May 1915.

The following extracts taken from an account in the War diaries written by Lieut-Colonel F R Hicks, referring to the battle of St Julian illustrates the awful conditions James and the 1st Battalion endured in France.

“26th April 15: With the lifting of the mist the German guns opened.  It is hopeless to attempt to describe it. Owing to our being at the extreme point of the salient we had guns almost all round us and owing to the shape of the ground, the Germans holding ridges north and east, which commanded every yard of the Ypres enclave, these guns could be laid with deadly accuracy.  For 8 days and nights their guns never ceased.  At times shells were falling on our trenches at the rate of about 50 per minute.  We had three batteries of howitzers playing on us at once from different directions sending in bouquets of 12 H.E. shells at once.  The marvel was that anyone was left alive, or any trench existing.  All there is to be said is that we hung on from daylight on 26th till darkness on the 3rd and not only did we not give way a yard, but we pushed our trenches forward on the right towards the Royal Fusiliers and extended them on the left until we eventually joined on to the Rifle Brigade.”

“No words can describe the passage of those 8 days, for sixteen hours of daylight we crouched in the bottom of the trenches listening to the bursting and shrieking of the shells.  For eight hours of darkness we toiled at repairing and extending our lines.”

During this period 6 officers and 92 men were killed and 5 officers and 227 men were wounded.

This is the extract from the war diary for the start of June when James died.

1st June: Few shells round headquarters – much warmer day.  Officers of 16th Bde came up and reconnoitred our line.
Casualties: 26 wounded

2nd June: Lieut Burge was hit in the back at dawn whilst on patrol.  Quiet day – a good deal of shelling heard on the right.  News came through of Zeppelin attack on London.  Relieved in evening by 1st Leicesters.  Battalion marched across to La Brique by companies and got into dry outs round about the village, except A company which was in the support line near English Farm.
Casualties: 26 men killed, Lieut Burge and 36 men wounded.”

Records indicate that on 2 June 1915 James died in the field, killed in action.