The article concerning the Top Ten Names in Badsey and Wickhamford in each century from the 1500s to the 1900s gives the name ‘Halford’ as the most common in Wickhamford in the 1900s.
At the 1911 census there were two households in the village with Halford members. At the present-day 54 Manor Road lived Alfred and Amelia Emily Halford, who had been married for 5 years, but were childless. A much larger Halford family lived on Pitchers Hill at the present-day number 44. In this house, with only four main rooms (including a kitchen), lived eleven members of Samuel Halford’s family. He was a market gardener, aged 61, who had been born in Buckland, Gloucestershire and his wife was Rebecca, aged 59. Rebecca had been born in Offenham and their eldest children still living with them had also been born there.
Samuel Halford had been baptised in Buckland, Gloucestershire, on 22nd August 1846, a son of Charles and Mary Halford. Rebecca’s maiden name was also Halford and her parents were Alfred and Ann Halford. She had been born in Offenham and married Samuel Halford in 1872. Whether they were distant cousins or the surnames were a coincidence is not known.
The Children of Samuel and Rebecca Halford
The 1911 census form for the Halford household shows that Samuel and Rebecca had had eleven children, one of whom had died prior to the census. They spent the early years of their marriage in Offenham, before moving to Badsey and finally to Wickhamford. The dates of these moves can be partly found in the census, but more details appear in the Badsey school attendance registers.
The Halford children were as follows (in most cases two Christian names are known from different sources and sometimes the second name was more commonly used):
- Ralph Halford was born in Offenham in late 1873.
- Alfred James Halford was born in Offenham in the Spring of 1876.
- Ann Halford seems to have been the child who died. A girl of this name was born in the Evesham District in the Summer of 1877 and died before the end of that year. Rebecca’s mother’s name was Ann and the timing of this birth would indicate she was the child who had died.
- Frank Halford was born, in Offenham, on 1st December 1878. (The 1939 Register gives the year as ‘1880’, but this is an error).
- Charles William Halford was born, in Offenham, on 10th August 1880.
- Allen Ernest Halford was born, in Offenham on 2nd October 1883, the date appearing in the school register.
- Hilda May Halford, the eldest surviving daughter, was born in Offenham, on 10th December 1885.
- Horace Albert Halford was born, in Offenham, on 11th March 1887.
- Walter Owen Halford was born, in Offenham, on 23rd October 1889.
- Francis Harry Halford was born, in Offenham, on 16th October 1892.
- Beatrice Rose Halford was born, in Badsey, on 27th May 1895, although not baptised there.
The Badsey School registers reveal that the Halford family moved from Offenham to Badsey in 1894. Hilda Halford is recorded as starting school in Badsey on 6th November 1894, having previously attended Offenham School. When Harry Halford started at Badsey School in 1900, his family were living in Wickhamford, so they had moved there in the late 1890s.
Wickhamford censuses of 1901 and 1911
The 1901 census records Samuel Halford’s family as living on Pitchers Hill, at the present-day number 95. Samuel was aged 56 and an agricultural labourer, as were four of his sons, Frank, Charles, Allen and Horace, the latter only aged 13. His other children, Walter, Harry and Rose, were of school age.
By the time of the 1911 census, the family had moved along the road to the present-day number 44. Samuel was now working as a market gardener’s labourer and was aged 61. Of his sons, Frank was aged 29 and single, but strangely, no occupation was recorded for him. Charles and Allen were market gardeners on their own account. Allen was unmarried but Charles was a widower. His wife, Elizabeth Maud (nee Winnett), had died in April 1909 at only 25 years of age. They had a son, ‘Sam’ (Charles Samuel), who was living in the Halford household and aged 4. He was baptised in Wickhamford and had been born on 17th February 1907.
Walter and Harry Halford were both market gardener’s labourers and Hilda and Rose were both recorded as “Mother’s Help”. The last member of the household was one year old, Melvia Halford. She was Hilda’s illegitimate daughter, who had been baptised in Wickhamford on 12th December 1909, with no father’s name given in the register.
Valuation Survey in 1913
The details of the Halford’s house, where this large family were living, was given in the Valuation Survey, the house being inspected on 19th February 1913. The combined plot size of the two semi-detached properties was 16 perches (483 Sq. yards) and the house details for the present-day 44 and 46 Pitchers Hill were:
Pair brick and tile cottages: 3 bedrooms, one over back kitchen, front room, back kitchen, pantry, wash-house, coalhouse and privy.
A very modest house for eleven people to be living in in 1911.
The Great War
By the time of the outbreak of the First World War, in August 1914, Samuel Halford had died. He was buried in Wickhamford, aged 67, on 7th March 1914. On 4th December 1915, The Evesham Journal reported that the late Samuel and Rebecca Halford of Wickhamford had five sons in the Army: Private Alfred James Halford (known as Fred), Private Allen Ernest Halford, Private Horace Albert Halford, Corporal Walter Owen Halford and Private Francis Harry Halford (known as Harry). Rebecca Halford died in 1915, aged 67, and was buried on 27th December, in a grave next to her husband’s, to the right of the churchyard path. Neither grave is now marked.
- During the War, Cpl Horace Halford was reported missing in 1917. His body was never found and, as he had moved to Bowers Hill, Badsey, before he enlisted, he is commemorated on the War Memorial in Badsey Church.
- Pte Alfred Halford had married Sarah Staite in Wickhamford in 1904, but she died in 1913. He remarried, to Elizabeth Austin, in 1918, and died in 1958.
- Pte Allen Halford was wounded in France but survived the War, dying in 1962.
- Pte Francis Harry Halford served with a Territorial Battalion in France and married Ethel Mildred Winfield in Wickhamford in 1919. He died in 1965.
- Cpl Walter Owen Halford’s life after the War are not known, nor is his date of death.
Brief details of the other Halford children
- Ralph Halford died, in the Evesham area, in 1938.
- Alfred James Halford married Sarah Staite in 1904 and died, in the Evesham area, in 1958.
- Charles William Halford remarried, in 1913, to Beatrice Moulbery and died, in the Evesham area, in 1958.
- Hilda May Halford’s later life details are not known.
- Beatrice Rose Halford married Gilbert Charles Franklin, in Wickhamford, in 1918. He was still serving in the Machine Gun Corps. She died in 1971.
Halfords in Wickhamford in 1939 and 1941
When the National Register was compiled in the Autumn of 1939, there were four households in Wickhamford where Halford family members were resident. The 1941 National Farm Survey also gave details of the Halford’s market gardening.
- Allen Halford was living at 9 Pitchers Hill (now No 91) with his wife, Leah Rachel, and son, James. (Allen had married Leah Harris in Wickhamford on 8th July 1911). Allen was a market gardener and Special Constable. In 1941 he had 6¼ acres, growing fruit and vegetables. He also had 150 poultry and three pigs.
- Frank Halford was living at 8 Council Houses (now 19 Pitchers Hill) together with three members of the Field family. There are no forms giving details of his market gardening in 1941.
- Charles William Halford was at 6 Pitchers Hill (the present-day no. 75) with his wife, Edith, and three children. He had a market garden of under 5 acres, growing vegetables and some tree fruit.
- Francis ‘Henry’ Halford (Harry) was at the long-time family home at 17 Pitchers Hill (now no. 44), with his wife, Mildred, and his nephew, Charles’ son ‘Sam’, who was now 31 but still unmarried. His market garden was 6½ acres, producing strawberries, vegetables and tree fruit. He also had six pigs.
Apart from Allen, the other three brothers were market gardeners on their ‘own account’ and Harry’s son, Samuel Halford, was a market gardener’s labourer.
Hilda Stanley’s daughter, Melvia, had married James William Stanley in Wickhamford in 1935. She was living at 1 Council Cottages (now 5 Pitchers Hill) in 1939 and her husband was in the Grenadier Guards. Melvia was a ‘land worker’ on a market garden.
The last Halford Market Gardener in Wickhamford
The last of the Halford family to be a market gardener in Wickhamford was Charles Halford’s son, George. He lived on Pitchers Hill and worked the land surrounding his house together with a piece of land opposite his house, next to what is now 75 Pitchers Hill. (The house he had built and lived in has since been demolished and a new property built on the site). His brother, Sidney, also continued the market gardening tradition, in Blackminster, where he lived.
Allen and Leah Halford moved to Cheltenham after the Second World War and celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary there in 1961.
Tom Locke and Valerie Harman – January 2022