Inherited Craziness
A place to share all the nuts found on my family tree

Showing posts with label Butler. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Butler. Show all posts

Monday 26 February 2024

Henry John Kingsbury and Elizabeth Lancey

St Mary's church, Pilton
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Mike Searle - geograph.org.uk/p/3513540

Henry John Kingsbury (bap. 17 May 1849 in Sutton Waldron, Dorset) son of John Kingsbury and Matilda Lawrence, married Elizabeth Lancey (bap. 31 Aug 1845 in Pilton, Devon) daughter of James Lancey and Mary Scamp, at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Pilton on 26 Feb 1879. At the time of their marriage, both were Servants and Henry was resident at "Exbury, in the County of Southampton". (Exbury House on the Solent, was rented by Conservative MP for Barnstaple, DevonColonel Sir George Stucley, to pursue his pastime of yacht-sailing. Kingsbury was his Butler.) One of the witnesses to the marriage was Eliza Lancey, Elizabeth's sister. Both fathers, John Kingsbury and James Lancey were listed as being Gardeners.

Henry and Elizabeth had five children:
  1. Flora May Kingsbury b. 1880 J Quarter in SHAFTESBURY Volume 05A Page 246, bap. 6 Jun 1880 in Sutton Waldron, Dorset.
  2. Matilda Mary Kingsbury b. 22 May 1881 J Quarter in SHAFTESBURY Volume 05A Page 239, bap. 26 Jun 1881 in Sutton Waldron, Dorset.
  3. Alice Mabel Kingsbury b. 1882 J Quarter in BIDEFORD Volume 05B Page 523. (No baptism found)
  4. Elizabeth Kingsbury b. 13 Dec 1884 (1885 M Quarter in BIDEFORD Volume 05B Page 498), bap. 1 Mar 1885 at St Mary, Bideford
  5. Henry John Kingsbury b. 1889 M Quarter in BIDEFORD Volume 05B Page 501, bap. 24 Feb 1889 in Bideford
In 1881, Henry John Kingsbury (32) was Butler to Sir George Stucley (68) at Moreton House, Bideford, Devon, where the then 'Deputy Lieutenant for the Counties of Devon & Cornwall, Baronet, Justice of the Peace', his wife and two youngest sons were waited upon by no less than thirteen servants. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Kingsbury (35) Butler's wife and Flora M Kingsbury (0) were living at Moreton Cottage, 4, Higher Meddon Street, Bideford, Devon.

In 1891, Henry John Kingsbury (42) was still Butler to Sir George Stucley (79) Magistrate, although the then three members of the family were having to 'make do' with the reduced circumstances of having merely 10 servants. Elizabeth Kingsbury (45) was living at 7 River View, Bideford with Matilda M Kingsbury (9), Alice M Kingsbury (8), Elizabeth Kingsbury (6), Henry J Kingsbury (2) and Charles F Lancey (17) Nephew, Apprentice Gardner. Eldest daughter, Flora (listed as Florence) (10) was at that time, a Visitor in the household of Mary E Sanders (65) Widow, in Regents Park, Heavitree, Exeter, in whose household also was Eliza Lansey (sic), who was her aunt.

In 1901, Henry J Kingsbury (52) Retired Butler - Sir George Stucley had died in 1900 and presumably left his 'Retainer' in a position to be able retire early - was living at Higher Gunstone, River View Terrace, Bideford with Elizabeth Kingsbury (55), Alice M Kingsbury (18), Elizabeth Kingsbury (16) and Henry J Kingsbury (12). F M Kingsbury [Flora May] (20) was a Schoolroom Maid in Holcombe Burnell, Devon. While Matilda Kingsbury (19) was a Lady's Maid in the household of Harriet Compton (57) Widow, in Andover, Hampshire. (Harriet Granville married Henry Compton, Esq. on 28 Dec 1870. She and Sir George Stucley's second wife, Louisa Granville, were daughters of Bernard Granville, Esq of Wellesbourne Hall, Wellesbourne, Warwickshire.)

In 1911, Henry John Kingsbury (62) Retired Butler, Elizabeth Kingsbury (65), Alice Mabel Kingsbury (28) and Elizabeth Kingsbury (26) were still living in Bideford. Flora May had married in 1903 and Matilda in 1908. Henry John Kingsbury (22) from Bideford, Devon was described as a WHOLESALE MANCHESTER WAREHOUSEMAN in Southwark, at 95 Southwark St and a curious note: (MilitaryDisposition) MESSRS. COOK'S EMPLOYEES, one assumes Thomas Cook & Son, who had transported the British Army up the Nile in 1884, so conceivable they were still undertaking military contracts. 

In 1921, Henry John Kingsbury (72) and Elizabeth Kingsbury (75) were living at 4, Lansdowne [Terrace], Bideford, Devon with their daughter, Elizabeth Kingsbury (36) School Teacher for Devon County Council at Church Infants' School, Bideford and Eliza Lancy (77) Visitor (Elizabeth's sister).

Elizabeth Kingsbury died at 78 in 1923 in BIDEFORD Vol 05B Page 456. 

Henry John Kingsbury died, also aged 78, on 27 Oct 1927 D Qtr in BIDEFORD Vol 05B Page 520, leaving his estate to daughter, Elizabeth Kingsbury. The notice in the Hartland and West Country Chronicle read, KINGSBURY - Oct 27th, at Lansdowne, Bideford HENRY JOHN KINGSBURY, formerly Stucley's butler, aged 78.

In 1939, Elizabeth Kingsbury, Elementary School Teacher, was living at 7 The Strand, Bideford with her sister, Matilda M Lancey, Widow.

Elizabeth never married and died, at 80, in Bideford, in 1965.

  • Matilda Mary Kingsbury married Gerald Slayter on 20 Apr 1908. In 1911, Gerald Slayter (37) Butler and Mary Matilda Slayter (30) Cook-Housekeeper, were employed in the household of Francis Nicholas Blundell (30) Landowner and Farmer in Little Crosby, Lancashire. (Crosby Hall was the manorial home of the Blundell family, lords of the manor of Crosby since the Middle Ages.) Gerald Slayter died, at 48, in 1922, in Liverpool. Matilda Mary Slayter, Widow, married Charles Frederick Lancey, Widower, Gardner, who was her first cousin, at St Mary's Church, Grassendale, on 9 May 1927. Charles Frederick Lancey died, at 61, in 1935, in Liverpool South. Matilda Mary Lancey died in 1954, in Bideford, Devon.
  • Alice Mabel Kingsbury married Clement Arthur Page (b. 29 Sep 1884) on 5 Aug 1912, in Bideford. They had one son, Ernest John Page, born in Frome, Somerset in 1913. In 1921, Clement A Page, Alice M Page and Ernest J Page were living in Portsmouth, Hampshire. Ernest John Page died, at 17, in Portsmouth, in 1931. Clement Arthur Page died, at 48, in Portsmouth, in 1933. Alice Mabel Page died, at 69, in 1951, in Bideford, Devon.

Tuesday 12 January 2021

Karl Kritzer and Lilian Emily Jones

Cathedral Road, Cardiff
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Robin Drayton - geograph.org.uk/p/1496808

Karl Kritzer (b. 3 Nov 1875), son of Wilhelm Kritzer and Flora Gleichauf, in 1901, was butler to John P Ingledew, Solicitor, at 9 Cathederal Road, St John, Cardiff. There, in the 1st quarter of 1905, an Anglicized, Charles Kritzer married Lilian Emily Jones, daughter of Samuel and Fanny Theresa Jones. 

Karl and Lilian's daughter, Flora Theresa Lillian Kritzer was born at the end of 1905 and, in 1911, was living with her grandparents in Gloucester, while her father was employed as butler to Henry Webb (Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Henry Webb, 1st Baronet), Liberal MP for the Forest of Dean, at 2 Seymour Street, St Marylebone, London, while her mother, Lady's Maid to Lady Webb, was at the Webb's country house at Llwynarthan, Castleton, Monmouthshire.

When I saw who Karl was working for in the run up to WWI, I knew there was going to be a story. By accident of his birth and the position of his employer, Karl found himself under scrutiny. Hardly surprising, but quite shocking. 

The Great Spy Peril: Enemy Aliens in Great Britain

For context, it's important also to understand that Sunday newspaper, John Bull, was at that time a platform for Horatio Bottomley's "trenchant populist views" (read gammon: clearly reactionary and given to melodrama by the style of his writing), but it had estimated sales by August 1914 in excess of three quarters of a million copies a week. Bottomley was described as an English financier, journalist, editor, newspaper proprietor, swindler, and Member of Parliament. (When exposed, he was convicted, imprisoned and expelled from parliament.) Evidently, he judged others based on his own standards. 

Secondly, as to the actual level of threat from Espionage in 1914, it was shown to be predominantly paranoia and put down to Journalistic fantasy:
"An unprecedented 'spy mania' gripped Britain. Although 21 real German spies were arrested on 4 August, thousands of imaginary acts of espionage were reported to credulous police and military authorities." 
In an article published in John Bull on October 24th, 1914, Bottomley starts off by referring to German people as "Teutons", a word that has been used - and it feels this is the intent - as a derogatory term. Mentioning Karl Kritzer by name, Bottomley tries to make something out of the observations - of him merely going about his duties - and imaginings of a cook, the so-called Mrs Stacey (having researched, I find she is single and strongly suspect that 'elevating' her status to that of a married woman was an attempt to make her seem a more reliable witness), who opines that "Kritzer was always an objectionable person." (Probably nowhere near as objectionable to someone less bigoted.) Bottomley calls her "loyal and patriotic", while referring to Karl Kritzer as "a traitor to her King and country" and "one of the Kaiser's blood". He offers no evidence for these accusations (there won't be any). 

It's not every day one's relatives are mentioned in the same breath as then Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith; Home Secretary, Reginald McKennaPrince Louis of BattenbergWilhelm II, German Emperor and the House of Hohenzollern, though for all the wrong reasons. 


They have no evidence, of course, but also attempt to make an issue of Karl returning to Germany shortly before the war. The records show that Karl's father was born in 1844, which would make him 70 in 1914. An entirely plausible age then for the man to be ill or dying. It's a particularly low blow.

Another article in The Strathearn Herald, published on the very same date, October 24, 1914 - which frankly reads like Bottomley wrote it himself - praises the John Bull and Bottomley for doing "a national service in calling attention to the spy peril in our midst" and goes further, saying "Karl Kritzer, in the employment of Mr Webb, a member of His Majesty's Government, may not be a spy; neither may the humblest German barber: but there is just this - they are both alien enemies, and as such a danger to the country ..." Evidence?

We learn quite a bit about Karl Kritzer from an article in the Western Mail, on Friday October 30, 1914, where Harry Webb, MP, is given the opportunity of responding. Karl had been in his employ since 1908 and it confirms many of the details that I have also been able to research, such as Karl's naturalisation, Certificate A21115 issued 18 October 1911, which was signed by then Home Secretary, W. S. Churchill (I have a copy). Webb's manner of defending Karl Kritizer, does indeed seem to me to be the behaviour that a "decent, honourable man ought to pursue towards his servant."

Despite all this, we know Karl kept his job long after the end of the hostilities, because the following appeared in the Western Mail of 8 January 1921:
LLWYNARTHAN STAFF DANCE
After a lapse of six years, occasioned by the war, the annual staff dance at Llwynarthan, Castleton, Cardiff, the residence of Col. Sir Henry and Lady Webb, was revived on Thursday evening. The ball-room and smoke-rooms, originally a part of the old farmhouse, were converted into hospital wards during the war, and since being vacated by the patients, several alterations have been carried out. A happy party, numbering between 60 and 70, were entertained. Sir Henry and Lady Webb, and the members of the house party, did everything in their power to ensure the success of the function. Supper was laid in the dining-room, and after mutual expressions of esteem and goodwill, Sir Henry and Lady Webb left the staff and their friends at about midnight to their own devices. Thanks to the very admirable arrangements made by Mrs. Wynn and Mr. Charles Kritzer, a thoroughly happy and enjoyable time was spent.

Now who's the loyal servant, eh?  

In 1921, Charles Kritzer (36) Butler, still in the employ of Sir Henry Webb, was at Llwynarthan, St Mellons, Monmouthshire, Wales, while Lilian Kritzer (35) Lady's Maid was a boarder at the Beaufort Hotel, Monmouth, with Sir Henry Webb himself and other servants and the second Lady Webb, formerly Helena Kate de Paula. Their daughter, Flora Kritzer (15), was an Inmate at St Edwards Residential College, Totteridge, Middlesex (St Edward's School for Roman Catholic Girls), along with her cousin, Molly Kritzer (15).

Flora T L Kritzer married a William B Connors, in Cardiff, in 1929. It appears they had one child, in 1939. Karl Kritzer had died in 1933, in Faversham, Kent, aged 57 and on 6 Feb 1935, Lillian Emily Kritzer departed Southampton for New York, aboard the RMS Berengaria (formerly SS Imperator) The first Cunard "Queen". The trip appears just to have been a holiday / visit. Lillian, then employed as a barmaid, was living at 20 Effingham Street, Belgravia in 1939. Retired, Lilian Emily Kritzer of 2 Cross Roads, Holywell, Wales, died, aged 75, and was buried on 13 Mar 1962 in Bagillt, Flintshire, Wales.