Posts Tagged ‘wedding’

Grandparents’ wedding

February 24, 2016

Granny and Grandad married at St Stephen’s Church in Tonbridge which must have been home parish for Grandad. It was 5th June 1920. Grandad, Reg Ware, had signed up for war service under age and had promptly been captured and became a prisoner of war. I do not know when he was repatriated. Granny was Jessie Jones and I know so little about her for she died in 1932 with four young children. Grandad remarried, perhaps too hastily, and there was an uneasy relationship between step mother and step children. First wi9fe, Jessie, became a taboo topic which was, no doubt, tough for the children.

What we do know is that Jessie was born in Ashton on Mersey in Cheshire and for some reason her gardener father brought his family south to the Tonbridge area. In 1911 the family lived in Hildenborough.

Unless lucky, one doesn’t know much about the earlier years of grandparents. I certainly don’t know how or when the two met. I don’t know if they had been childhood sweethearts or if they met after Grandad was returned home from the war. These days we’d call them childhood sweethearts anyway for they were both still teenagers when they got married. I almost feel it is a surprise that their first child came slightly over a year after the marriage.

We do have a couple of marriage photos and here is one of the bride and groom.


By this time Jessie lived in Leigh and this is thought to be at her family home.

It looks as though Reg has grown since he bought that suit!

This is by far the best photo I have of Jessie so let’s zoom in on the couple.


Shame they weren’t smiling but I still find this a charming and moving photo.

A highlight of 2015

December 31, 2015

Back in August we attended a wedding. It was absolutely lovely. The bride and groom were friends who lived in our village. These were friends who are about the age of our children. They chose the church as their wedding venue which couldn’t have been more convenient as their house is just outside the churchyard. The service was lovely and fitted the lifestyle of the couple. There was folk singing and the floral decorations had all been picked at a wild flower nursery. They were just great.

I was able to do a bit of bell ringing at the end before joining in the outside goings on as photos were taken. I could leave the ringing to my friends and colleagues.

image002 I’m avoiding images of the wedding people. They may not want them on a blog. But here are some of the flowers in the church.



The reception was at our wonderful Community Hall. In August weather we were able to enjoy some outside games – boules, quoits etc. as the first meal was prepared. This was a cream tea and, again, avoiding people entirely, here is what was set out in the hall.


Nothing was new. The couple and their friends and relations had been purchasing cheap pretty cups and saucers from charity shops. I believe the bride might have made the cake stands from some of these purchases.

Floral decorations – from the wild flower nursery were enhanced with cut out butterfly shapes.


Again, charity shop maps were used for them. It really was delightful.

In the evening there was a ceilidh band to dance to and a buffet. I have always enjoyed that kind of dancing and that kind of music. If you didn’t dance it wasn’t so loud that chatting was impossible. In fact, like the rest of the day it was lovely.

It felt like a real community event.


Grandparents get married

December 5, 2014

I have always been a little shy about identifying myself too much on this blog. Maybe today I will let a little bit more information go by talking about the wedding of Grandparents.

My grandfather, Obed was his forename, was born and lived in the Buxted area of Sussex.  Granny was Ethel and she hailed from the area around Isfield in Sussex. The distance between them would have been about 5 miles but it might as well have been 5000 for all the likelihood of them happening to meet.

But Ethel got a job in service at a house in Buxted and meet they did, presumably in their teenage years – about 1909.

Eventually, they married in 1916 by which time both had jobs in Bexhill. I regard this photo as the wedding photo.


Obed is in military uniform and is about to head off for France. It has to be said that in the photo Ethel does not look all that happy but she has clearly posed her hand so the wedding ring is visible.

The back of the card says this.


The date given is March 1916 but they actually married in January.

Obed did return from the war. My dad was born in September 1919.

In January 1966 my grandparents celebrated their Golden Wedding.

They were a lovely couple – kind and caring. I used to enjoy staying with them down in Bexhill.

They are long gone, of course, but definitely not forgotten.


September 6, 2014

Just occasionally you can strike it lucky with names. One branch of my family, basically in Sussex, were keen on the somewhat Italian sounding name of Lorenzo. The name passed through several generations and I have certainly checked out 19th century people from the right area of Sussex if they have Lorenzo as a name. It could just indicate they are related.

My Lorenzo search started when I realised that Lorenzo John Stevens,  born 1866 in Isfield in Sussex, was a brother of my great grandfather, George Stevens (We have met him on this blog).

Lorenzo proved to be a bit more mobile than some of the family – Great grandfather George moved house very frequently, but always within a mile or so of an area of woodland known as Plashetts.

When Lorenzo married, in 1893, it was in far-away Leicestershire. I was lucky enough to be sent a wedding photo.


The label says Wedding of Lorenzo John Stevens to Miss Emma Harrison. 1893 Newton Linford, Leicestershire.

It’s a bit faded so, ignoring the label let’s try improving it a bit.


The groom, my great great uncle is the tall man at the front. Obviously, Emma, his bride, is in the dark outfit next to him. She was the local girl from Newton Linford, so probably many of the other folks in the photo are her family. But two of the men bear a striking similarity to my great grandfather.



And here, for comparison, is G grandfather.


I’d love to know if any of those wedding guests had made the journey up from Sussex. I reckon that if they had it would have been the trip of a lifetime for them.

Lorenzo lived to a ripe old age and didn’t die until 1957. In theory, I could have met him and known him. But of course, I never heard of him until the late 1990 so his stories were never passed to me and of course, at about age 8, I would never have been interested in them anyway.

A Wedding in 1807

April 7, 2014

Before 1837 we had no national registration for births, marriages and deaths here in the UK. Baptisms may have taken place at a church and marriages and burials did too. It is often a matter of luck as to whether documents can be found. But in the case of my three great grandparents I have a copy of the document that was filled out when they married.


This marriage took place at Wadhurst Church in East Sussex. The records were clearly well kept and that is just great for genealogy. But with apologies to the good folks of Wadhurst, I am a bit sorry it was there for I think that church, topped off with a spire, is a bit ugly. It doesn’t have that four square solid look which I like.


Others will disagree with me – and I’d like to disagree with myself, for I was born in the parish of Wadhurst. I don’t remember living there for I was less than a year old when we moved. The church, of course, is full of interest.

But back to that wedding, back in 1807, when James Clark married Sarah Palmer. Sarah had been born in Wadhurst in 1787 and having to marry in the Church of England probably went against the grain with her for she was very much a Baptist. The Clarke (more recent relatives had the ‘e’ on the end) family remained strongly of the Baptist persuasion well into the 20th and even the 21st century.

James, however, I know little about. He committed the mistake, for we present day family history students, of passing away before any censuses had recorded him. And his other error was to have a very common name. I can’t be certain where he came from or when he died. Presumably he had a relation called Priscilla for she was a witness to the marriage, but I can’t be in any way certain about her.

What is clear is that James was not a writer. He made a cross whereas Sarah could write. She lived until 1870. The 1841, 51 and 61 censuses certainly helped to piece her family together.

The Row Candle

March 30, 2014

When we got married, back in 1971 some family friends from Germany were in England so naturally, they came to our wedding. A gift they gave us they called a row candle. Apparently, the idea was that if a married couple started to row, one of them would light the candle and blow it out when the row subsided. If the candle burnt right out then the marriage was over. So here, in 2014 after nearly 43 years of marriage is our row candle.


It has never been lit.

I think it fair to say we very seldom row but even if we did, I suspect the last thing on your mind would be to find candle, matches and start burning the candle.

Of course we have differences of opinion. At the moment we are decorating and that’s a sure fire way of getting us into minor conflict. I love colour but it doesn’t stay in the memory and doesn’t impinge, particularly on flat surfaces. I like to see a variety of colours and I just can’t accept that there are rules of what goes together. People have opinions, of course but we are all allowed to have different opinions. When it comes to paint, carpets, wallpaper and soft furnishings, I really don’t mind. But I am forced to express an opinion. My wife has improved. My opinions always used to be greeted with, ‘oh no! That just wouldn’t do.’ It was often at that moment that I thought of the row candle but it was at home and we were elsewhere. These days my opinions are tolerated rather than rubbished but it seems impossible to get it across that I really don’t mind.

Anyway, all decisions about present redecorations have been made. The row candle is safe. And I do rather like the reminder of our wedding, the 1970s and the German friends who gave it.

Meet the Ancestor – Reg Ware, my grandfather

March 15, 2013

Reg Ware was born in Tonbridge in Kent on November 5th 1899. His father and grandfather before him had been railwaymen. At some point his mother took or set up a corner shop on a residential street in Tonbridge.

I have no photos of Grandad as a youngster, but he seems to have been a conscientious scholar. He won at least two certificates which suggest this.


Grandad had not ‘reached man’s estate’ when war broke out. I do not know if he found his home life unhappy, but he joined up well before the age of 18.


He certainly looks like a young lad.

I know nothing of his war service except that he became a prisoner of war of the Germans.  He had a lifelong hatred of all things German from then on.

But at least he came home and was able to marry Jessie Jones at St Stephens in Tonbridge in 1920.


There’s a wedding photo from June 5th. By this time Grandad had joined the family firm (The South Eastern Railway). The marriage certificate gives his occupation as a carriage cleaner.

Over the next dozen years, 4 children were born to Reg and Jessie. Unfortunately Jessie died of cancer soon after the last child was born.

Reg now had a real struggle to keep his family together. The  oldest child stayed with her grandparents at the shop in Tonbridge but they couldn’t manage the younger ones. The middle two stayed, for a while, with an aunt in Leigh and the youngest child lived, permanently with another aunt in Tonbridge.

Grandad tried to ease his difficulties with a re-marriage. Let’s just say it wasn’t a complete success for anybody.

Grandad had progressed to being a guard on railway trains. He always had a preference for freight train work, partly because it was a more skilled occupation for on these trains the guard was part of the driving team. He had to know when to apply the brake in his van. But goods trains tended to run at night and just possibly this meant he spent less time with wife number 2.

Grandad was avidly keen on first aid and was a blood donor at a time when there was no blood bank. Your blood was given to a specific patient. There are certificates that told what happened to the patient.


Not all of the recipients of Grandad’s blood survived.

Like many men of his time, Grandad was a heavy smoker and suffered some of the illnesses associated with it. He became short of breath as he got older. But it was self-inflicted (accidental) gangrene that caused a leg to be amputated just below the knee.

Grandad soldiered on.

But he was not old when he died in 1968. I am sure his life was shortened by smoking and the death certificate indicates probable smoking related causes.

I was very fond of my Grandad and as a kid I wanted to follow him by being a railway guard. I was also fond enough of his second wife who I called Granny.

A Very Lucky and Lovely Day

February 25, 2013

I don’t think this blog entry is really nerd like at all. It is certainly very happy.

A year ago today it was one of the best days ever. It was my daughter’s wedding day. It was wonderful to be surrounded by our families and friends – truly enjoyable and memorable.

But I’ll avoid any detail on people and show you the luck.


This was close by the wedding venue. Can you see those sharp shadows as the herdwick sheep paid us a visit?


What a glorious scene it was. And what a fantastic day for weather. It was simply glorious.


Some guests take a walk in the absolutely fantastic sunshine.


As night fell there was the moon and Venus.

The day was perfection from beginning to end.