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The panel Picture is that of my Dad TED in about 1930/31 .In the background his brother Jim.
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Welcome to my personal web site, where I am proposing to  put down some family history and something about my quite ordinary life  


My late Wife Margaret with her two brothers Billy and      John  about 1980? ( Both now deceased)

These are my four daughters about 1951/52 

Carol  1944     Jenny 1946     Sheila 1948   Cynthia 1949




John Howells 1874/1958 and wife Lizzie 1872/1944  with son Tom 1894/ and his son John Howells , Daughter Doris Lizzie 1902/1980 (My Mother)  and me Eric T Jones 1926  taken about 1935


My parents  Edward Thomas Jones (TED) 1904/1934   Doris Lizzie Jones nee Howells 1902/1980 and me Eric T Jones b1926     about 1929


John Tod  b1809 atThe Glack in The Manor Valley Near Peebles, Scotland  was my                    G G Grandfather >    The Tod Family had lived

in the area for many generations most of them were farmers and farmworkers. But
john became a skilled carpenter joiner and wheelwright   In 1848 he along with his wife and  six Children   left Scotland for Chirk in Denbighshire >

Some of The descendants of John Tod b 1635
The Name “Tod” probably derived from a
North of England/Scottish Lowlands term for a measurement of wool.
One “Tod” was equal to 28pounds.
Also it was a name for a fox in the same
region which also gave its name to “Todhunter” 
a fox hunter
born in  The Manor valley Scotland about
1635  the name of his parents or wife are
not known.

They had at least three children (Maybe

8-11-1663- d.28-7-1746    Thomas b1669 and Robert?

                                    Thefamily lived at The Glack in the  “Manor
Valley ”  an area three miles south of  Peebles in the Scottish lowlands                              JAMESTOD1663      first wife was Agnes Alexander b1678. d16-2-1713 They                                                     were married on Dec. 12th 1701

                                    Children          (6) 

His second wife was  Jennet Walker 
b ?  d.20-12-1763. James andJennet were married on 09-12-1715

Children ( 9 ) 

James died 28-07-1746 His tombstone in Kirkton
Church reads
lyes James Tod , tennant in  Kirkton who
died July 28th 1746.aged 84 and Agnes Alexander his spouse who died
Februarie 16 1713  aged 35 and Janet
(Anderton) her daughter who died June 4th 1723 aged 17 years and
James Tod their son who died Feb 13th 1738. aged 28 and Thomas Tod
late tenant in Kirkton who died June 18th.1786
He had fathered 15 children                                                                                               One of the second group of 9 was Thomas b1716 d1830

Thomas 29-3-1760 d 4-11-1830 –married Jean Mitchell b 1764 d 17-2-1818 They            were married 0n 24 -5-1794 and had 9 children one of which was 

JAMES TOD1756 married Margaret Brown on 17-3 1799. Margaret was born                                               at Walston in Lanarkshire

They had nine children  the fifth one being 

JOHN  b.30.04.1809.  at Manor 
d.15.6.1883  at Llwyn y cil, Chirk

JOHN TODb 1809
married Margaret Wilson  born in Biggar
Lanarkshire on 29..6 1813 . Her parents were James Wilson /Helen Muir. John
& Margaret were probably married at Biggar even though no record is found.

They had eight children (6 born at Manor
and 2 at Chirk )


WILLIAM  TOD b. 1851 (youngest child of John1809 & Margaret)  at Nantyr Llangollen 

d 16-09-1883 of Tuberculosis at Lodge Which
is now called Weston Rhyn ,Shropshire,  Nr. Chirk                        

William married in 1876  Jane Price b.1854 at  Glyn Traen (Pontfadog) Denbighshire
They had five children all born at LODGE(Weston Rhyn)


1 -Margaret Elizabeth 1877 -1940.  -married Francis
Standing 1874-1953 in The Wirral Cheshire and she died in The Wirral in1940

1) Margaret 1905/1994. William 1908/1975- Francis 1914/1984

 2- Mary  Ellen (POLLY) b.1878.    Mary Ellen or Polly married Eddie(Edwin) Gordon 1885  at Pontfadog    on 25-9-1913           Edwin Gordon b.1885 at Baschurch  

             3-Thomas Tod 1880/1880 died maybe at childbirth or within a few weeks 

 4-)Sarah b 1880/1951  at Lodge. (Usually called Sally)
Sarah and Thomas were both born in the 3rd
quarter of 1880 and Thomas died in the same quarter  it is likely they were twins 

Sarah/Sally  married James McGoggy 1877/1918 in Manchester 
Sarah (Always known as Sally) died in Manchester in 1951

5) Ada Jane  1881-1958=Edward Thomas Jones 1880-1930

After William Tod Died Aged 32 Jane Tod nee Price, his widow Married Thomas Parry of Pontfadog     Tom Parry was a son of Morgan & Margaret Parry. 
He had a brother David and two sisters Margaret & Ann

Thomas & Jane had three girls –(stepsisters to the four Tod girls.) And one boy –
a stepbrother
Elizabeth Ann b.1889-----Annie & Thomas Twins b.1890 & Elsie b.1893- 
 Elsie married Hugh Stokes b.1895 at Chirk Green.  Hugh was a Railway man and his Father Edwin was a colliery official


Ada Jane Jones nee Tod and Edward Thomas Jones had 6 children
1) Edward Thomas Jones. (TED) 1904-1934==Doris Lizzie Howells1902-1980  child 1
2Amy Jones 1907-1986      =William Davies1906-1963   child 1daughter

3)William Tod Jones1911-2001    ==Ethel Swannick 1914-2002  child 3daughters

4) James Price Jones 1919-2001  ==Edna Lewis 1919-2012  2 daughters 1son

5) Mildred Jones 1922-1998   ==Sidney Langley 1918-1995  3 sons.

6)Jack Jones 1925-1930


Edward Thomas Jones(Ted) and Doris Lizzie
Howells had one son Eric Thomas Jones 
(Reg Thomas Eric ) b 4/12/1926

In 1945 (Jan.) He married Margaret Olivia Miller and there were 4 daughters Carol M . Jennifer L.  Sheila V. and Cynthia B.
Much more detailed History is available inc. Jones-Howells-Lacon- Miller and Claybrook upon request


1848 John  Tod b1809, his wife Margaret
and 6 children embarked on a journey to Chirk in Denbighshire.   John had 
secured a post as a carpenter/ joiner/wheelwright at Chirk Castle and
The Nantyr estate.. Here is an account of the event. written by Ann Ankers,after considerable research.

Researched by Ann Ankers a direct descendent


In February of 1847 the tenant of Nantyr Farm on the Nantyr
Hall Estate which was owned by Chirk Castle, the home of the
Myddelton-Biddulphs, was a Mr James Alexander. He was one of the sons of John
Alexander, a farmer of Nether Heughbrae, which is situated in one of the
parishes of Peebles. The land agent at the Castle at this time was thirty one
year old John Girdwood also a native of the Peebles area but now living in
Chirk with his younger sister Jane and brother James. In the1851 census James
is described as a clerk (possibly at the Castle, as when John resigned in 1854,
James took over the post of agent). On the 19th of February John
Girdwood wrote a letter to Robert Alexander, a woollen merchant in Edinburgh
and the elder brother of James Alexander. This letter requested that Robert
should attend Peebles Hiring Fair to find “two strong young men who would be
able to be useful around a farm and to help with the harvest”. A house with
furniture and bedding would be provided and also their fare from Scotland to
Chirk. I was not able to find any more letters requesting labour so must
presume that John Tod may first have been contacted by Robert in this way. On
the same day, John Girdwood also wrote to a Mrs Scott of Bonnington Farm, near
Peebles regarding a gardener named George Brown. This gentleman was actually
related to John Tod as his wife was Agnes Tod before her marriage. He
eventually became the head gardener at the Castle. The letter was also asking
for an assistant gardener for whom a bothy in the grounds would be supplied. A
later letter asked a Mrs W Thomas from Oswestry to supply bolster and pillows
made from ticking and coarse sheeting for this bothy but “no feathers were required”.

The next letter sent to John Tod was on February 29th
1848 so over a year had elapsed since the original request. John Tod was unable
to read or write and I believe that all correspondence was being carried out
via a local landowner, Mr Robert Welsh who was a local JP and the Deputy
Lieutenant of the area. He lived at Mossfennan, which was a prosperous estate
of 180 acres of arable land and 700 acres of hill pasture. He employed 4 house
servants, a groom, a shepherd and 11 labourers. He had also been asked to give
a reference to John which he had done so in glowing terms, although John
Girdwood was a little disturbed that he had not mentioned whether he was
“active” by which I presume he was referring to his general health.

In this quite lengthy letter it is suggested that John and
his family proceed to North Wales by the new Caledonian Railway. The cost would
be greatly reduced and would cost around 20 or 21 shillings for an adult, 10
shillings for those under twelve years of age with free travel to those aged
three and under. The fares would be paid by the Castle and it was thought that
it would take three days to reach Chirk, with his wages paid for those days.
The letter goes on to describe the cottage and garden that would be given, rent
free, to the family but he would need to provide all his own tools. His hours
would be from 6.00 am until 6.00 pm with two hours for meals and he would be
required to take on an apprentice. Of course in later years this apprentice was
his son John, after his stint as post and garden boy. The cottage that they were
given was Gwyniger Cottage near to castle Mill and he was pleased to report
that the cottage was ready for them, containing “grates
and many other things, but no beds as these are not used in this county”. A
rather strange statement!  Mr Girdwood
had no objection to putting up of shelves etc as long as the house was not
injured and suggested that all wood for this purpose could be purchased from
the Castle sawmills at a very cheap rate. It was pointed out that this would be
better than bringing a lot of furniture with them. All this was relayed to John
Tod before it was known if he would actually accept the situation, which seems
to imply that the Castle was a bit desperate for good tradesmen.

The next letter written on March 16th gives the
information that the cottage contains a “kitchen
and room on the ground floor, two apartments above, with dairy” It
request him to give two weeks notice of his intended arrival to allow the
cottage to be made ready. However a letter written a week later threw a bit of
a spanner in the works as it relates that John Alexander, the father of James
and Robert who lived at the nearby Nether Heughbrae farm had found the
Caledonian Railway “exceedingly
troublesome, as it is not yet very well arranged.”
He thought that it would be much better if the family travelled to Annan, a
port not far from Gretna Green in Dumfries, by carrier, from there to Liverpool
by a steamboat which travelled once a week (the date to be got from the
carrier). They would then travel to Ruabon by train via Birkenhead and would be
met at Ruabon by a cart.

This must have been an incredible journey for an illiterate
family from a tiny hamlet in rural Scotland. The journey by carrier would have
been down old drovers roads and the Annan valley and could have taken around
two days. The steamboat would probably have taken about three days to
Liverpool, where they would then have had to have crossed the Mersey before
boarding the train to Ruabon, this last part of the journey taking three hours.
What an experience for 39 year old John, his 35 year old wife, Margaret,
Robert, Alexander, Margaret, James and Helen aged 14, 12, 10, 8 and 5
respectively and also 3 year old John who became my great grandfather.(says
Anne Ankers) An entry for October 19th 1848 in the House accounts  stated Paid
John Tod, wheelwright travelling expenses of himself and his family from
Scotland to Chirk - £6.12.6d . So it is possible that the
negotiations for travel had taken a great deal longer than had been originally





Edward Jones
was Born in Hordley Shropshire.1789   DIED 1855    He
had a son Thomas 1810.-1868  Maybe other Children 
Thomas1810 was married to Mary ? b Melverly       
In 1841 they had three children and were living in Kynaston (Kinton)in
the parish of Kinnerly           
--Sarah1834--Edward 1837--Hannah 1839        ( 

 In 1851                   Edward1789 was head of house living in Hopton with
his son Thomas b1810 in Ruyton X1 Towns and Thomas’s  Wife Mary b1811 in
Thomas and Mary had a son at home Edward b1837 and a daughter Hannah b1839  both born in Kinnerley:: (Sarah b1834 was not at home -probably working as a servant somewhere but there are a number of possibilities. Edward1789 was a Ag Labourer
and Thomas his son  was a stone mason ( Often called then, a Rock Man or Quarry Worker)

In 1861 Edward Jones1837 is head of house  at Lower Hopton  with his wife Anne  (Davies)b1837 in Great Ness and  John Davies -Wifes son age 5(1856) 

Thomas 1810 -1868and wife Mary 1811 were at a different house in Lower Hopton(Next
Door or near) and they had another child born in 1851 Benjamin

 IN 1871           no records

 In 1881 Edward b 1837and Anne have two children william 1875 and Thomas
Edward 1880
Edward 1837 and Anne were described as
Market Carriers  A long standing business probably started by Thomas 1810 and Mary 1811. 
working from the family home at GIBRALTER  lower Hopton          However  Thomas Edward Jones 1880 was an agricultural worker  

By  1891 Mary1811  had died Prob 1883  and Edward and Anne were both described as  carriers.
Resident  in the same house at Lower Hopton.
Son William now 17 was not at home.  Edward Thomas Jones1880
now 11 was.  along with another son  George 1883. 

 In 1901 Edward Thomas  Jones1800  was living in   (a waggoner) at a farm in Kinton run by two sisters Mary and Jane Sockett   Nearby at The Wolfshead farm living in as a servant was Ada Jane Tod .  They married in 1902 and went to live at nearby Gibraltar the Jones family home.

Their first child of 6 Edward Thomas (Ted
)Jones was born at Gibralter in 1904.d1934

Ted married Doris Lizzie Howells of Ruyton
X1 Towns in 1926. They had one son Eric. b1926 

Ted died as a result of a motor cycle
accident in 1934



William Howells 1730 Married Esther Montford1734     IN 1751 AT ALBERBURY

A son William 1755  Married Elizabeth Griffiths 1761  ON JUNE 26 1778
There were numerous children including yet another William 1781 who married Elizabeth ? 1780

child of that marriage Thomas 1809Married Sarah Jones 1809 ON 12
Jun 1831 at Alberbury
All  the above took place in Alberbury  Ten miles or so West of Shrewsbury Shropshire

 IN 1841 Thomas Howells1809and his wife Sarah nee Jones were living at Bicton 
Nr Shrewsbury

1841census records them as being born in 1809 with daughters Jane1832,
Elizabeth 1833 Mary 1838 and son  George 1840.       
Thomas is described as a bricklayer.
In 1851 Thomas1810--1887  and family are living at Stanwardine near
Ruyton X1 Towns with three more children, Thomas1844-   William
1846- Eliza1849(Probably Elizabeth) (The second Elizabeth-a common practice if
the first one had died.)

Thomas 1810 is still a bricklayer

In 1861 another daughter had been born Anne 1853.
Thomas Howells 1844-1898  A bricklayer  married Elizabeth Kilvert b1849-1905
There were 12 children of this marriage  The second child was John b1874 d1958
John1874-1958 married Lizzie Lacon 1872.-1944 They had three children the second of which was Doris Lizzie 1902-1980 John was a bricklayer/builder and market carrier

Doris Lizzie Howells1902-1980
married Edward Thomas Jones1904-1934

One son Eric 1926.




John Lacon1776 -1853 and his wife Jane 1774-1853 were the parents of  William 1812-1895//Samuel 1816-1889// John 1808-? //Margaret ?-?
William1812 maried Mary Davies1821-1909. Mary was a daughter of William and Ann Davies
At the time of the 1841 census William Lacon 1814(There is varying evidence re Williams birthbetween 1812 and 1816 ) and his wife Mary nee Davies 1821-1909 were resident in
the township of Eardiston one of the eleven towns of  Ruyton X1 Towns.
William and Mary had 8 children all born in Ruyton X1 Towns , the second of which was John 1845-1932
John Lacon 1845 married Mary Meredith1849 -1908 of Wrenbury in Cheshire.

Two Children --LIzzie 1872 born at Whittington and  Mary Jane 1880 Born at Ruyton X1
Towns  Lizzie Lacon1872-1944  married
John Howells 1874-1958   Three children  Tom 1894- Doris 1902-Gladys 1905

Doris Howells1901-1980  married
Edward Thomas Jones(TED)1904-=1934

One son Eric 1926






In 1841 and
1851 Donnington Farm was owned by William Boycott b IN LILLESHALL 1811-1855 and
his wife Mary b IN ECCLESHALL 1807- 1887 
There were seven employees resident in the farmhouse inc Williams elder
brother Joseph b1802.

One may
think therefore that the present building (The White House Hotel ) was built
before 1841 or at least a fairly large structure was on the site.

in 1861
after her husband’s death Mary   continued to work the farm . In addition to
her family there were three servants and the farm bailiff living in the house

Mary Boycott


Joseph Banks Sladen


Elizabeth Sladen


Mary Emma Sladen


Ada Addison Key


Ann Bevan


Maria Johnson


Martha Steadman


Thos Shelly






 in 1871 the farm was being run by her son in
law .Joseph B Sladen

( Elizabeth  a 
daughter of Mary  b1834 in
Donnington (so Boycotts were at the farm in 1834)  had married Joseph B Sladen in1857   )

1871 census at
Donnington Farm There was only the Sladen Family>  Mary was living in Chetwnd Aston with one
servant.  Thomas Shelley the farm bailiff
was in Claverly with his large family

Farm 1871

Joseph Banks Sladen


Elizabeth Sladen


Mary Emma Sladen


Ramsey St Barbe Sladen






Joseph Sladen was born in India in
1833. His father Dr. Ramsay Sladen was employed by The East India Company


Bank Sladen  elder Brother was                  Sir Edward Bosc Sladen
Knight                    Life and career

Son of East India Company employee, Dr. Ramsey Sladen and his second
wife Emma (the daughter of Colonel Paul Bosc) Edward was born in Madras. He attended Oswestry School in Shropsire and joined the East India Company on 14 April
1849. He was posted in the 1st Madras fusiliers as a second
lieutenant in September 1850. After seeing action in the second Burmese war at
Pegu in December 1852 and again in January 1853, he became an assistant
commissioner in Tenasserim (now known as the Tanintharyi Region) and was severely wounded in 1856-57 while
fighting insurgent Karens and Shans in the Yunzalin District. He then moved
back to mainland India and joined in the recapture of Lucknow from Indian soldiers
in March 1858. He also took part in the Oudh campaign with Sir James Hope Grant and Sir Alfred Hastings

to China

He then joined the Indian staff corps after the Madras fusiliers became
a queen's regiment. In 1866 he was made chief commissioner in Mandalay. In one
incident he saved the Europeans in the region from insurgents. In 1868 he
headed a political mission to the Chinese frontier. This expedition started on
13 January from Mandalay through Bhamo to Moulmein and then to Yunnan and
returned only in September. The mission collected a lot of information on the
route. This was published as the Official
Narrative of the Expedition to China via Bhamo. He also wrote on the
geography of the region in the Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society
(Volume 15).[1] In 1868, during a visit to Tengyue (known as
Momien in the Shan language) in modern-day Yunnan Province, China, Sladen procured a woodblock printed edition of the Chinese
history of the town, which was brought back to England and deposited at
the British Museum, along with a number of artefacts from SW China
and Burma.[2][3]


He was knighted on 26 November 1886 and
retired on 14 April 1887, dying in London three years later.[1] In 1861, Sladen married Sophia Catherine,
daughter of Richard Pryce Harrison, a Bengal civil servant. She died in 1865
and he married Kate, daughter of Robert Russell Carew of Hertfordshire in 1880.[1]


In 1881 The
Sladens had moved from Donnington farm to Crickhowell in Wales . Mary Boycott
was with them having left Chetwynd Aston  and the two Sladen children Mary 1859 and
Ramsay 1863..   Joseph B Sladen was
listed as a Retired Army Major

Joseph B Sladen
died in1897 in Florida although his home was at Crickhowell in Breconshire

Mary Boycott
died in 1887 age 80 at Crickhowell the home of her daughter Elizabeth and son
in law Joseph B Sladen.  Mary left an
estate of £6065 (720000 today---                                                                                                                                           

By 1881
Donnington Farm was in the hands of The James Family

James was born in High Offley Staffs. in 1808. 
     In about 1840 He married Jane
?.1816 -1885 They were farming people at Stockton In the parish of Longford Nr
Newport Shopshire.

Humphrey and
Jane  had nine children at Stockton.

George James


Jane James


Humphrey James


Mary Ann James


Catherine James


Henry James


Edward James


Benjamin James


John Thos James



iN 1877
Edward James1852 -1913 married Mary Louisa Icke 1852- 1934

Mary Louisa
was third child of three of John Icke 1799-1859 and Louisa Jane  Hilditch .  Mary  was born in Cheswell in the Parish of

John Icke had been married previously
to Elizabeth Challinor with whom he had eight children.

John Icke 1799-1859 was a son  of John Icke 1780-1838 and Ann Scott ?

Edward and
Mary Louisa were both born locally but were married in Manchester Cathedral: No
idea why? :  In 1881 they were at
Donnington Farm with two children. One of the children, Gertrude Alice , was
born at the farm in 1879.  So sometime
between 1871 and 1879 ownership of the farm had passed from The Boycott family
to The James Family.

Edward and
Mary had at least 5  children   Gertrude Alice 1879-1936, Charles Edward
1880 d 1-6-1962 in Durban South Africa, Frederick 1883, Edgar 1888 and Edward W
James 1892-1939



In 1901 Edgar H was at boarding school
in Stone Staffordshire>>>  his
life and death remains unknown to me

 Frederick H James ??  probably H for Humphrey died in The Argentine
in 1906









In 1906 Gertrude A James  married 
Richard Pedley Ward (At Upton Nr.Northampton) and  established a connection between the Ward
Family and The James Family. Both eminent farmers in the locality  Richard was a son of Thomas Henshall Ward who
farmed at Sambrook Hall and later at Lubstree park (At Lubstree in 1901)   The death of Thomas Henshall Ward was
registered in Shrewsbury in October 1920—Effects £76961  17s  

value  £3,240,721.79


Another  son Of T H ward was Thomas Charles Ward . TC
Ward farmed at Chetwwynd, Sambrook, Honnington Grange, Donnington Wood
Farm  and 
at Lubstree Park

1901 T C Ward was at Sambrook Hall  with
his sister and Brother

Thomas Charles Ward


Heth Christiana Ward


Lawrence Henshall Ward










By 1911 He was still at Sambrook with  wife Minnie (Married at Atcham in 1902) and a
son Rowland Walley Ward b1908

Richard Pedley Ward and his wife Gertrude
A Ward nee James farmed at Church Eaton in Staffordshire .

Their son Benjamin Ward1908 (A nephew
of Edward W James 1892and of T C Ward)   later farmed at Donnington Wood Farm. The farm
house was situated at The Four ways  in
the corner bounded by Queens Road and Farm Lane(Wrekin Drive) All of the land
farmed by Ben Ward was taken for houses stretching from Jubilee Avenue to
Furnace lane and southwards to Queens Road and what is now called Oakengates
road   Ben Ward moved to a farm Nr. Shifnal about

The result of all this was a large
amount of land being farmed by either The Wards or James in the first 35 or 40
years of the 20th. century. 
They were farming about 1200 acres stretching from Cheswell drive off
the A518  at Lilleshall to Furnace lane,
both North and South of the A518


At Donnington Farm The census of 1891 gives the address of the farm as
37wellington Road Donnington and the address of the Donnington Wood  Vicarage which shared an access with the farm is
39 wellington road Donnington

1911 Census                            





Edward James                                    58



Mary Louisa James                59



Edward William James             19
In 1916 Edward William James1892-1939 
married Gladys Mona Cottrell 1895 
She was the youngest daughter of William and Sarah Cottrell’s   nee Poppit    five children.  William Cottrell was born in Derby in
1854-d 1924 and was Company Secretary at C & W Walker . Sarah Poppit was
born in Lilleshall in 1854-d1939  They
married in Aston Warwickshire in 1875     
The eldest child was born in Lilleshall in 1880 so  William and Sarah were in Lilleshall
before  that date       In 1911 the family lived at Muxton
House and Gladys Mona was said to have been born in Donnington, whereas the
other children were born in Lilleshall . ( Same parish)  
Edward James Father also Edward had died in 1913 so the assumption is
that Edward 1892 then took over the farm. Edward and Gladys Mona farmed
successfully until his untimely death in 1939
Whilst he was on holiday in Ireland he was subjected to
Peritonitis   He was brought home but
died in Chester Infirmary .   
Mr James left in his will 61230. 4s   11d 
the eqivalent   0f 3,770,593.59 today.
2017  Probate was granted to Frank
Reginald Cottrell,  Bank Manager )  and Benjamin Ward, Farmer (Nephew)
After his death in 1939 Gladys M Married   Edward  Parton . They were married in Bilston in
 Mr Parton was The Father in
law  of The Reverend Sydney Snell , the
vicar of Donnington Wood Church at the time  and who lived in the vicarage next door to
Donnington Farm’
Gladys Mona Parton previously James nee Cottrell died at Hove in
Sussex in 1990 aged 97
Edward W James 1892 and Gladys Mona 
Cottrell had  two children—Edward
L James 1918  and Betty James1921

Name  Edward L James

Edward L James

Mother's Maiden Surname:


Date of Registration:

Jul-Aug-Sep 1918

Registration district:

Newport Sh

Inferred County:


Volume Number:


Page Number:



Betty James

Mother's Maiden Surname:


Date of Registration:

Apr-May-Jun 1921

Registration district:

Newport Sh

Inferred County:


Volume Number:


Page Number:



View Record


Apr-May-Jun 1940


Shropshire, Somerset

George D JAMES

In 1927 Edward W  James along
with other farmers formed a company to build and operate a sugar beet factory
at Allscott in The Parish Of Wrockwardine . Mr James was appointed Managing
Director  of “The Shropshire Beet Sugar
Co. Ltd’   see Supplement


























was chosen in 1936 as the site of a depot to replace the Royal Arsenal,
Woolwich. (fn. 262) The site was not ideal, considered
strategically, but was designed to provide employment in a depressed
area. (fn. 263) In addition to a loss of mining and
iron-making jobs since the 19th century, the parish had suffered heavy redundancies
in 1931 when the New Yard works at St. George's closed. (fn. 264) Construction of the depot, adjoining the
north side of the railway, began in 1938. The first stores were brought from
Woolwich in 1939, (fn. 265)six hundred civilians were transferred thence
in 1940, and the depot was completed in 1943. By 1962, with its associated
units, it was the biggest employer of civilian labour in the parish. (fn. 266) In 1976 nearly 4,000 civilians worked


decision to build the ordinance depot at Donnington impacted severely on  two Farms particularly . Donnington Farm owned
by Mr E W James lost a little over half of his land from Station road to Farm
lane, and Northwards to The Humbers.   
Donnington Wood farm owned by Mr Ben Ward lost all of his land. It was
taken for housing. The land  stretched
South of Wellington road from Furnace lane to Jubilee Avenue , School Road to
The Bell Corner. Queens Road, across to the top of Furnace Lane  This whole area was compulsory purchased for
housing  and is now totally covered by
the same. Previouly C1936-1937 large tract of land belonging to Donnington Wood
farm had been taken to accommodate Jubilee Avenue. . The estate was built
primarily to house those who then lived in The Barrack type housing along t The
School road                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
Ben was forced out . He moved to Grindle Nr. Shifnal. Benjamin James
Ward died in Wolverhampton  November 1988

¶Part of Donnington Wood Farm was converted into a fire
station in 1941 and remained so for the war duration. (fn. 19) In 1945 Wellington rural district council opened its
ambulance station there; (fn. 20) it was run by a joint committee of the R.D.C. and
Dawley and Oakengates urban district councils from 1946 (fn. 21) to 1948, when it passed to the county council. (fn. 22) In 1980 the site was occupied by a recently built
health centre and new ambulance station. (fn. 23)

After the death of Mr James in 1939 The
much reduced Donnington Farm (Now less than 200 acres was taken over by Roland
Wally Ward . Roland continued to farm at Sambrook Hall where he died in 1982 .  Roland W Ward 
1907-1982 was a son of T C Ward and his second Wife Minnie.. Roland was
related to The James . His Uncle Richard Pedley Ward had married Gertrude James1879   an
older sister of Edward W James 1892

In 1936  Roland Ward and Edward
James  had co-operated to purchase a very
modern piece of Machinery called a Gyrotiller. It was essentially a caterpillar
tractor with power driven tools attached to the rear. The machine was hired out
throughout Shropshire and beyond for cultivation and perhaps more important for
land reclamation.  It may well be that
more land coming into use could be used to grow more sugar beet  to feed Mr James Sugar Beet factory at
Allscott. The tractor towed a caravan to provide living accommodation for a
three man crew who operated 24 hours a day .whenever possible   The crew consisted of George Eaton , his
brother in Law Jack Claybrook  and George

 Mr E W James died in 1939 and then Roland Ward1907-1982
 ran Donnington Farm and The Gyrotiller
was given up

Donnington Farm House -maybe 1920                                                                                      
and 1910.




      The Whitehouse
Hotel  present day                                                                                     
Lilleshall memorial Hall                                                                                                                                                 
                          The old
vicarage present day

Farm house was an imposing residence set in a high walled garden and was  the place of work for a number of Servants .
In 1936/37 Edward W James built two semi-detached houses  alongside The Wellington road and a couple of
hundred yards in the Newport direction. The one was lived in by Lucy Eaton and
her Husband George . Lucy was a cook in the farm house and George at that time
was one of the crew of The Gyrotiller . In the other House was Mr Arthur
Newbrook and his family . Arthur was the gardener at the farm house. A gardener
of some repute. The North side of the high wall ,so facing South, housed a
large greenhouse enabling the cultivation of many exotic plants and fruits. The
main garden which also had a tennis court was a sight to behold. The high wall
which made the garden much more efficient, sadly made it impossible for the
passer by to see . (You can just see a small part of the high wall in Pic 1 )
The entrance to the farm buildings and to the house was from a drive on the
Eastern side. The drive also afforded access to Donnington Wood Vicarage which
was opposite to the gateway to the farm house.

In C1937
Edward  W James b 1892 built Lilleshall
Memorial hall (Pic4) at the bottom  of
Lilleshall  Hill. It was built in memory
of his father Edward W James b1853-1913 and his Mother Mary Louisa.  nee Icke 1852-1934  for community use and is still used for that
purpose today eighty years on.




In 1940
Donnington Farm House was taken over by The Military and became an Officers
mess. It remained so for the duration of the war.


After WW2 it was purchased by Ansells Brewery and turned into
a Pub/Hotel   The business has much
expanded over the past 65 years and the house has been extended to provide
Hotel accommodation.


Pre 1940
there was no mechanization on Donnington Farm. Everything was done manually
with the aid of teams of shire horse.

 I remember that at peak times there would be a
dozen or so. The Shires were a major asset on the farm, Consequently they
received the best treatment. Warm and dry stabling in the winter with lots to
eat so as to maintain energy. In the summer they would graze in grassland . Donnington
Farm had its own Blacksmiths shop and we would spend much time watching the
farrier work not only on the farm horses but on others brought in by other
farmers or private owners.. He was also adept at making tools and repairing
farm implements  

Grandfather was until his death a wagoner and it was his responsibility to make
sure that the horses were well cared for He would finish work about 5-30p or
6pm: go home for what we called Tea and then about 9oclock he would walk over
to the stables and “bed them down” for the night. They would hear him coming
and you could hear them moving about, whinnying and snorting well before you
arrived there. They all had names such as Prince. Major, Captain , Duke and
similar.  They knew their names and would
respond as he spoke to them and called them by name.   He would be up again about 6am and would be
over at the stables before 7 to prepare them for a days hard work, be it
ploughing, cultivating, harrowing, drilling(Seeding) Rolling , Pulling the
grass cutter, turning the hay, pulling the dray into the field and back to the
hay barns when loaded.  With the corn
harvest they would pull the binder to cut the wheat , barley or oats then later
on that would be loaded on to flat drays and drawn into the stackyard where it
would be put in Dutch barns to await threshing. The drays were four wheelers
and were stacked high. Often they would have to be drawn along old rutted
tracks and four horses would be required . 
 Pre 1938 the farm was about 400
acres, probably 75% arable and the remainder grass land  where Cows were kept for their milk and
cattle were fattened for the meat chain. 
There were about a dozen full time employees and more were taken on
temporarily at special times like harvesting , beet hoeing and pulling all done
by hands and horses were kept busy. As you would expect there was
considerable acreage  taken for the Sugar
beet. The beet hoeing and Beet pulling was always done on a piece work basis
and would afford the diligent worker to earn quite a bit of extra money by
working until darkness fell.  The hoeing
was done in The Spring of course. It was a skilful, but back breaking job to
leave a single plant about every 6 inches whilst destroying all the others. If
you left too many gaps your pay may well be docked. Pulling the beet and
harvesting it was done from October onwards often in extreme cold and wet
weather, sometime the ground would be frozen and the beet could not be pulled.
The worker would straddle two rows , pull a beet from each row, bang them
together to remove the soil and lay them down in a position most suited to him
when it came to topping. After having done this for a row or two  he would come back down with his beet hook
with which you could have shaved and removed the leaves, This operation was a
particular art. One could easily slice a finger and or remove too much beet by
cutting too far down and thus decreasing the yield.  I recall that competitions were often held to
judge who was best man in this art.. Beet hoeing was a back breaking toil but
the harvesting thereof was much worse. 
The beet puller would throw the beet into heaps about two foot high then
along came another couple to throw the beet into a cart where it was taken
generally to a  spot near the field
gate,( Another job for the horse) where it could be  loaded onto a lorry for transport to the

Another hard
task for Man and horse was Muck spreading. 
Muck was collected from the midden where it had lain for about a year
and was well decomposed.  It was carted
off to the field and dumped in heaps about every 30 yards or so and in rows
about 30yards apart. Then by hand and with the aid of a fork it was spread
evenly over the land before being ploughed in. My late wife joined The Women’s
land Army in 1942 and her first job on the farm at Shifnal was muck
spreading.  She probably began to wonder
if she had done the right thing but “There was a War on” , She carried on.  As a youth I also had to wheelbarrow a few
loads of Muck for the garden .                                                  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          One of the
first mechanised  implements pulled by a
tractor , to be used on the farm was a muck spreader. It was welcomed by all .
I suppose the development of so called artificial fertilizers brought all this
to an end., although initially there was some distrust of these fertilizers;
Nothing can replace a good load of muck

I think that
previous to the building of the sugar beet factory, Donnington Farm had grown a
large crop of potatoes. This was a labour intensive operation until the early
thirties when a potato digger came on to the market. It was an improvement but
the potatoes were thrown out onto open ground and had to picked up and bagged
by hand. Potato pickers, mainly women travelled far and wide to pick potatoes often
by bus laid on by the farmer.

Farm in the thirties and early forties (Pobably before this time also) had a
large dairy herd for milk Production, Most of the milk was collected by a local
specialist transporter, Clarke and Smith by name based at Hadley. They
collected milk in churns all over Shropshire and beyond, carrying it to the
nearest Dairy run by people such as Cadbury and Kraft . However Donnington Farm
 had its own purpose built dairy adjoining   the farm buildings and also close to the
house. Here some of the milk was processed and sold to local people. Employees
received their milk free of charge. After School  It was a job for me and other boys to fetch
the milk in a can.

The first
tractor I remember on the farm was a Fordson something like this

although this
is not Fordson and is probably older,  but it had Iron wheels with big teeth for grip
on the back wheels, but with a steel band which could be fitted for travelling
on a hard surface . It had a small tank for petrol which was used to start but
then it ran on paraffin that was the main fuel. 
I recall that it was used early on for driving the threshing machine
because it had a drive pulley (See Picture) 
It needed a shorter drive  belt
than those used on the steam engines, but even though it was placed much nearer
to the harvest the risk of fire was much less than with a fire and chimney
required to drive a steam engine . It was far from new because I believe that
this Fordson  Model with iron Wheels
ceased after 1928 . It seems strange that a man who invested in the gyrotiller
in 1935 should be reluctant to modernise. By 1940 however a new tractor was
purchased. It was  a Ferguson/.Brown  ” three wheeler  model


 David Brown limited formed an alliance with
Harry Ferguson in the 1930’s

Quite soon
the tractor was doing much of the work that horses and men had done previously
, ploughing, cultivating , harvesting etcetera.

As young
boys we had much freedom on the farm but we knew the limitations and the
dangers. We abided by a sort of code of practice and did no harm;  we would report on anything that appeared not
to be right may be with an animal or the land  and we did know pretty well what was going on
at any particular time. We were allowed to help with feeding of cattle and Horses
and with the harvest. We knew every corner of every field and our knowledge of
the wild life was unsurpassed. We could recognise all the species of birds
and  we knew their habits and where
they  nested.  During school holidays we would explore every

In the
1940’s when invasion was feared the area around the Ordinance depot was
littered with defences, Concrete Pill boxes at strategic points ,  sandbagged emplacements on bridges in
particular. Some of the larger fields 
where it was thought a glider could land, had large poles (Like
telegraph poles)erected at intervals across the field to exclude this
possibility.  This made things difficult
at harvesting time but “there was a war on”

I am pretty
sure there were no raids on the depot but I do recall one Saturday afternoon
when a battery of Bofor anti aircraft guns placed  in a field just below Donnington Station,
opened up on an unidentified aircraft flying at a high altitude. The guns fired
tracer shells so one could see them going up pretty rapidly.. As I remember the
firing went on for some time but they didn’t get close. 

The nearest
bomb was dropped on to the golf course near Sheriffhales much earlier
1940/41   and a raid was carried out on
the Sugar Beet factory at Allscott on October 26th 1940

In September
1944 I left home to join the Royal Navy and left the farm life behind never to






Sydney Snell marriage to Ethel M Parton            Jan/feb march 1936  Wolverehampton





View Record

Rachel M Snell

Apr-May-Jun 1938


Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Herefordshire















View Record

Michael J Snell

Jul-Aug-Sep 1940


Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Herefordshire

View Record

Elizabeth M Snell

Jan-Feb-Mar 1943


Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Herefordshire




Gladys MJames

Jan-Feb-Mar 1942


West Midlands


Marriage to
Edward Parton





Marriage of
Edward L James

Edward LJames

Apr-May-Jun 1943



Sheila F Jordan



Elizabeth S James

Mother's Maiden Surname:


Date of Registration:

Jul-Aug-Sep 1944

Registration district:


Inferred County:


Volume Number:


Page Number:



D C Challis    Isle of White   October 1984       Elizabeth S James














The history
of beet cultivation in Shropshire was closely connected with the growth of the
Allscott sugar factory built near Wellington by the Shropshire Beet Sugar Co.
Ltd. in time to deal with the 1927 crop, which had increased to 10,007 a. The
Allscott factory served as a nucleus for beet growing in the lower Tern valley,
on the arable land immediately west and north of Newport, and in the High
ErcallShawbury district. In addition beet growers in the arable region around
Claverley, Worfield, Shifnal, and Albrighton sent their crop to a factory
opened in 1925 just over the border at Kidderminster (Worcs.). (fn. 41) In
1934, when the beet acreage in Shropshire was 16,017, 55 per cent of that total
was grown within 15 miles of the Allscott factory and 26 per cent 25 miles
away. (fn. 42) A feature further emphasizing the importance of proximity to the
factory was that some farms in the dairy district contained a considerable
arable acreage with a large area of sugar beet. (fn. 43) In the mid 1930s the
crop was grown in about half of the 270 agricultural parishes in the county,
though in many the acreage was trifling. In 1935 only five had more than 300
a.: Worfield (857), Ercall Magna (766), Claverley (696), Shifnal (632), and
Chetwynd (381 ). (fn. 44)The most notable decline in the acreage was in 1932,
following the halving of subsidy from 13s. to 6s. 6d. a cwt.; the area under
beet slumped to 9,441 a. The three major determinants of production costs for
the crop were labour, manure, and carriage to the factory. During the 1920s
farmers experienced some difficulty in growing their first crops but their
problems were eased by research done at the Harper Adams Agricultural College,
which demonstrated the value of the correct spacing of plants during singling
and the accurate deposition of fertilizers along with the seed. In 1934 the
Allscott factory was supplied with 177,592 tons by 1,689 growers. (fn. 45) In
1965 it received 249,225 tons. (fn. 46) The introduction of sugar beet was an
important agricultural stimulus. Shropshire was the only county in the western
half of England to develop a substantial beet industry. (fn. 47) It came at a
time when agricultural morale was low and it encouraged farmers to pay greater
attention to peculiarities of soil fertility and to their profit and loss
accounts. It also involved new marketing arrangements, though it did not
entirely alter existing farming patterns even among those most heavily reliant
on the crop.



P.R.O., MAF 68/143, no. 14; /1340, no. 11; /3880, Salop. nos. 232, 239–40;
/4945, nos. 232, 239–40. century farmers moved from cereals to livestock,
though sheep farming declined. From 1927 they were helped by the fodder
by-products of Allscott sugar factory, (fn. 142) and turnips and swedes gave
way to sugar beet as the main root crop. In the mid 20th century, although pig
production increased, livestock farming was widely superseded by barley


production from Beet  was extremely important
in World war 2 so as to supplement meagre supplies from imported cane grown

 In October 26th 1940 a day light  Bombing raid by the lutwaffe  caused considerable damage   The season of production did not start until
October but it was delayed 

Light Loss
of life -Saturday afternoon few people about.. Much of The machinery had been
installed by German engineers. They knew exactly the location and the
importance of the factory


The Allscott
Sugar Beet Plant was built in 1927 and processed sugar at the site for 80 years
until its closure in 2007. At its peak, the plant processed 6,000 tonnes of
sugar beet each day.