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HORNE, Lionel Edward (1880-1955) – from passive resistance to pillar of the community

In November 2020, Christopher Horne contacted the Badsey Society after having read about Francis Horne who lived in Badsey in the 17th century.  He pointed out that there had been Hornes living in Badsey in the early 20th century, and indeed, he had only recently discovered that his father, Frederic Thomas Horne, had been born in Badsey in 1917.  Christopher has kindly donated a letter to the Badsey Society Archive which was sent to his father in 1936 on Badsey Rangers’ headed notepaper.  Whilst Frederic was only two when he left Badsey, an investigation into the life of his father, Lionel Edward Horne, reveals a fascinating story.

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Early life

Lionel Edward Horne was born at Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, on 14th November 1880, the twelfth of 13 children of Frederic Horne, a grocer, and his wife, Mary (née Nicholson).  The family home was at The Steps in the High Street, which is now a listed building.  He was educated privately at Weston-super-Mare.

Lionel was still living at The Steps with his widowed mother at the time of the 1901 census.  Whilst his older brothers, John and Edgar, were both carrying on the family grocery business, Lionel was working as a market gardener.

The move to Badsey and Aldington and his passive resistance stance

It is thought that Lionel Horne moved to Badsey and Aldington in the summer of 1903.  Lionel Horne’s obituary, written in 1955, stated that he was apprenticed to market gardening in the Vale and worked his own holding at Badsey.  For the first few years that he lived in the Vale, he was described as of Aldington, but it’s not known exactly where he lived.
Newspaper reports reveal that he was playing cricket for Moreton in May 1903.  By September 1903 and May 1904 he was playing for Badsey, and from 1905 he played for Evesham.

Lionel Horne had been brought up as a Congregationalist.  He was a man of strong principles and, when the controversial Education Act of 1902 was passed (which offended Nonconformists who did not wish to contribute to the upkeep of Anglican schools), he joined many others throughout the country in taking a stance by offering passive resistance.  This took the form of refusing to pay the education portion of the poor rate.  For over six years, he was summoned twice-yearly for non-payment and also had to suffer having goods seized and publicly auctioned in order to pay for the portion.  When his named first started appearing in this context in The Evesham Standard from November 1903, he was described as a market gardener of Aldington.  

Lionel continued his resistance until May 1910.  Similar notices for his brothers in Moreton indicate that they, too, offered passive resistance.

Lionel Horne continued to take an interest in politics.  He was a member of the Liberal party and there are various references in the local press to him attending meetings or the annual Liberal fete at Evesham.  In 1910, there was an attempt to revive the Moreton branch of the East Gloucestershire Liberal Association under his presidency.  An article in The Evesham Standard of 1st November 1913 describes a meeting at which the Conservative MP, Mr Eyres Monsell, was present:  “He found a splendid meeting awaiting him in the Council School, which was crowded.  A good sprinkling of Liberals were present, and there were some interruptions and questions from a little group, in which Mr Wright (the Liberal Agent), Mr L E Horne and Mr Churchill were prominent …..”

A Pillar of the Community

As a newcomer to the village in 1903, Lionel Horne was probably viewed with suspicion for his outspoken views.  However, in time, he became actively involved in village life, proving to be a pillar of the community and a lifelong friend of Charles Binyon.

As a Congregationalist, he was a member of the Evesham and District Citizens’ Temperance League, being Secretary from at least 1909.  In February 1912 at Cowl Street, Evesham, “Mr L E Horne of Badsey gave a short address on the temperance question.”  Throughout 1912, his name appeared regularly in the local press as presiding over entertainments in the Town Hall, Evesham.

Lionel was also very much involved with Badsey Adult School.  A newspaper article of 6th February 1915 refers to the annual meeting of the Badsey Adult School at the Friends’ Meeting House.  Lionel Horne was one of the people mentioned as giving much help to the school’s educational work during the year.  In his diary of 29th November 1917, Charles Binyon records meeting Lionel Horne to arrange auditing of the Adult School Club accounts.

From 1913, Lionel Horne was a member of Badsey Parish Council.  At the December 1916 Parish Council meeting he spoke in favour of employing conscientious objectors on the land, but he was in a minority of one.

From at least 1909 Lionel was a member of the Evesham and District Market Gardeners and Fruit Growers Association.

Personal and Working Life

Whilst Lionel Horne had made his home in Aldington in 1903, it seems that he returned to live in the family home at Moreton for a time in 1910-1911.  He was living in Moreton at the time of the 1911 census and played cricket for Moreton that summer.

On 15th June 1911 at Victoria Street Congregational Church, Derby, Lionel married Hilda Marsh Vaughan.  It is thought that, soon after marriage, they made their home in Badsey, but where is not known.  Lionel and Hilda had three sons, all born at Badsey:  Bernard Lionel (1912-1995), Sidney Vernon Vaughan (1915-1987) and Frederic Thomas (1917-2010).  The youngest son was named after his brother, Frederic Thomas Horne, who died in France in September 1916; young Frederic was born six months later.  Frederic Horne Senior was a pacifist but had decided he wanted to play his part whilst refusing to bear arms.  He joined the Sportsman's Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers and went to look after the horses; he was killed by a stray bullet.

Lionel Horne was listed in Smith’s Almanack as resident in Badsey in 1909 and from 1912-1918.  Kelly’s Directory of 1912 lists him in the commercial section as a market gardener.  The Lloyd George Valuation Survey reveals that Lionel Horne rented two areas of land at Badsey and Aldington:  4½ acres at Aldington from Thomas Byrd and 3¾ acres at Claybrook from Mrs F M Field.

During the First World War, Lionel Horne appeared before a military tribunal on 11th July 1916, claiming exemption from military service.  He stated that he was a market gardener aged 35, married with two children.  He appealed on conscientious and business grounds saying that he could not take either combatant or non-combatant service under the military. He regarded the conscientious objection as the most important, but as he had a wife and family he had to consider them. He had 11½ acres of market garden land and 6½ acres of pasture. He employed a lad who had been granted exemption till he was 19.  Lionel was granted exemption, conditional upon working as a market gardener.  In January 1917, Lionel again appeared before the military tribunal, but this was in support of the lad mentioned in his own tribunal hearing.  This was 19-year-old George Barnard who was granted exemption from military service.

Leaving Badsey

Lionel Horne left Badsey in the first quarter of 1919 in order to go and farm at Dunstall, Moreton-in-Marsh.  The family was living in Moreton by March 1919, as an entry in Charles Binyon’s diary of 5th March 1919 refers to meeting him there, and again in July.  

In Moreton, according to his obituary, Lionel Horne continued his involvement with local politics, almost immediately being elected to Moreton Parish Council (later becoming Chairman).  He served on Campden Rural District Council, North Cotswold Rural District Council, was a Justice of the Peace and a Governor of Chipping Campden Grammar School.  He served briefly on Gloucestershire County Council as a Labour representative and was Secretary of the North Cotswold Labour Party for 30 years.  He was also a member of the County Agricultural Executive Committee.  He was a member all his life of the Congregational Church at Moreton, and was a Past President of the North Cotswold Free Church Federal Council.  He continued playing cricket for Moreton until 1939.  As captain of the Moreton cricket team, he supervised the building of the new pavilion.

Lionel Horne died in Moreton-in-Marsh District Hospital on 24th January 1955, aged 74.  In his obituary in The Evesham Standard, it was stated that “his concern for the less fortunate individual and a habit of plain speaking gained him a reputation in later years, and his name often figured prominently in the Press”.  From his early days of passive resistance in Badsey, he remained a man of liberal views and strong principles throughout his life.

Maureen Spinks, November 2020

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