1911 Census summary

  • Church, CW

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  • Claridge, HC

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  • Claridge, GW

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  • Cox, WA

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  • Green, H

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  • Hoare, AR

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  • Orpwood, F

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  • Penson family

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    The Penson Family

    The Penson family had their roots in Idbury. Robert Penson married Esther Annie Cox in 1884 and they had five children:-

    • Lionel Robert – 1885 – 1917
    • Victor Hubert – 1887 - 1974
    • Mabel Nancy (Nan) – 1889 - 1974
    • Harold Guy (Jack) – 1891 - 1918
    • Claude – 1893 - 1960
    In 1891 Robert was recorded as an employer, a farmer, at Idbury. By 1901 Robert had died and the family were living at Mount Pleasant, Stow-on-the-Wold. Robert’s wife Esther was recorded as “living on own means”. Also with the family was Alice Mary Cox, Esther’s single sister.
    In 1911 Harold and his younger brother Claude were recorded at The Albuhera Barracks, Stanhope Lines, Aldershot, with The Royal Army Medical Corps.

    Lionel was recorded as a Bank Clerk, lodging in Theale, Reading.

    Their mother Esther was recorded as a "Housekeeper at Station Farm, South Leigh". On her retirement she was given the tenancy of Stow Cottage and lived there until her death in 1945.
    Victor emigrated to Canada in 1906, married Florence I. Craig in 1912 and died in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada in 1974.

    Mabel Nancy (Nan) never married and died in South Leigh in 1974.

    Claude Penson survived the war, married Elsie Weller in London in 1924 and had two daughters, Joan in 1924 and Moreen in 1928. He died in 1960 in Portslade by Sea, Sussex.
    Recollections by Karen Freimanis (née Forster), grand-daughter of Claude Penson.
    When Harold and Lionel were killed in WW1, their mother was asked if she wanted the wooden crosses which had marked their graves, before proper headstones were erected by the War Graves Commission. She placed the wooden crosses in the porch of the South Leigh church, where my mother remembered seeing them for many years. I doubt if they are still there, and have no idea what happened to them. I wonder if anyone in the village has any information about the wooden crosses? 
    There are no memorials in the churchyard for Harold or Lionel, and no headstones for Esther or Nancy (although both were buried there) as the family did not believe in headstones (or perhaps could not afford them).
    The daughter of Mr. Gunn, the Station Master, was a close friend of my aunt Nancy. Miss Gunn slept at my aunt's house every night for years until my aunt died, because both were spinsters and frightened to be alone at night. Miss Gunn lived at Gunn Cottage. I called at the cottage this summer, and met the present owner who had an old photo showing the cottage as it was in 1970 as I remembered it (old, damp, in the middle of a field with no driveway, and with no proper bathroom).
    My mother, Moreen, is Claude's daughter. She used to spend her school holidays in South Leigh, arriving by train, and has very happy memories of South Leigh.
    Grandfather Claude Penson is the youngest child and he survived the war. He was at Passchendaele, but never talked about the war to his family. He was wounded in the leg (a shell casing recoiled into his knee towards the end of the war), and he spent 18 months in hospital. After the war he moved to London, married and had two daughters, working as a civil servant until his retirement. He then moved to Worthing and died in 1960.
    Great Aunt Nan (Mabel Nancy) lived in South Leigh (Station Farm and then Stow Cottage) for nearly all her life. She worked in London as a dance teacher at the studio of a cousin Kitty (Kathleen), who had married Jack Oliveri who was a band leader and club owner. My aunt had her 21st birthday party in his club in London in 1945.

    Jack Penson married a French girl, Andrea Jeanne, during WW1. She moved to Oxford and remained there after Jack's death. She remarried Christopher Carter but always stayed in contact with our family, and she gave me some of these photos. She died in Bournemouth in 1996 at the age of 100. The photo of Jack and his colleagues at Christmas 1914 has the words, 'Ma chère Andrea, with love, Jack' on the reverse.
    Karen Freimanis, December 2013. Email:

    Click on a thumbnail below to reveal the full-size image.

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    Lionel Robert Penson

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    Lionel Robert Penson's headstone

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    Esther Penson, née Cox. His mother at Lionel Robert Penson's grave in 1925.

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    Harol Guy Penson, known as 'Jack'.
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    Harold Guy Penson's headstone

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    Le Havre, Christmas, 1914.
    Harold Guy Penson is indicated by the red arrow.

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    Mabel Nancy Penson

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    Claude Penson
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    Esther Annie Penson, née Cox

  • Radbone, C

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    Army Service Record (from the 'Burnt Series' at the National Archives)

  • Smith, FE

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  • Smith, JH

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  • Snoshill, AW

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  • Wallace, AM

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  • Wallace, CW

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  • Wilkins, FA

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