grandmother "Gran", Edith Elizabeth Worsfold, was born on 30th March 1884 at Mayes in
the parish of Warnham in Sussex as the daughter of James Worsfold
(1852-1926) and his wife Mary Baker (1851-1929). They had married on
24th August 1874 in the church of St Nicholas in town of Guildford,
Surrey. James was a domestic servant all of his life, progressing
from footboy in 1871 to groom at his marriage and culminating in
being a coachman by 1881. His career resulted in him moving about in
the south of England wherever he could find employment. After
working at Winchester, Guildford and Tunbridge Wells, by 1880 he was
at Elmswell in Suffolk. Moving on to Warnham with his wife and three
sons, his fourth and fifth children, both daughters, were born there
in 1882 and 1884. Gran was baptised in the parish church on 27th
When Gran was only two, her brother Horace Reginald died at the age of just 8 as the result of a tragic, and what must have been a very traumatic, scrumping expedition to gather apples. It took him two days to die from choking on a core! Fortunately, Edith would have been too young to remember it. He is buried in Warnham churchyard and his broken gravestone is still there to commemorate his very short life. Edith's son, my father Reg Swinfield can still recall taking two buses each way every year, and being entertained with the purchase of new crayons for the long journey from Camberley in Surrey to Warnham, to visit his uncle's grave.
|Warnham National School admission register 1887/8|
In 1901, her father James Worsfold, now a fly driver with a livery stable, his wife Mary and only their youngest son George were living at The Staff Hotel, York Town. Three of the older four surviving children had been found positions in service in large houses in London. Ernest was a married man of 25, who worked as a coachman groom and lived at 2 Gordon Street, St John's Westminster, and Minnie was the 19 year-old nursemaid to the children of William E.M. Tomlinson, M.P., J.P. and barrister, at 3 Richmond Terrace, St Margaret's Westminster.
Amazingly, Edith was also in the Westminster area of London at the time of that census. Aged only 17, she was second housemaid to Henry R. Madocks, retired judge of the Bengal Civil Service, in a grand house at 32 Eaton Place, St Georges Hanover Square. Looking at the house today, one wonders if her bedroom was behind one of those windows in the attic. I can picture her day of lighting fires very early in the morning, carrying water around the house, followed by many hours of cleaning and drudgery. She must have had days off when she could meet or visit with her siblings in the same part of town or perhaps catch the train back home to Camberley.
|1901 census of 32 Eaton Place, Westminster|
By 1911, Harry, Edith and George were back at home with their parents at 29 London Road, Camberley. James Worsfold was a jobbing gardener whilst Mary ran a boarding house of eight rooms. Her sister Minnie also left service in Westminster by 1907 when she married George Collins, a chauffeur, at St Michael's church. Her father James was one of the witnesses. By 1911, they had settled at Portsmouth, Hampshire where she remained the rest of her life, dying in 1970.
Edith already knew her future husband by Christmas 1906 as Arthur Swinfield was a witness at the wedding of her brother Harry Worsfold to Louisa Boyce at nearby Bagshot church in Surrey. They did not marry for another seven years until their wedding was solemnised at St Michael's, York Town, on 4th August 1913. She recorded that they became "betrothed" on 20th July 1912. He was then a waiter of Camberley. Gran's father and two of her siblings, Minnie and Harry, were witnesses. It is known that in late 1901, Arthur had joined the Leicestershire Regiment and my father believes that he was in India at some point during his service. Certainly, by 1911, he had left the regiment and was working as a footman in the household of Charles Matthew Griffith, a retired Major General, who was born at Poona, Bombay. He was then an Army reservist.
Arthur Swinfield worked as a butler at the Royal Military College, located in Camberley, from 1912 to 1946 whilst he and Edith Elizabeth lived at 9 St Mary's Road, which was her parents home. He re-enlisted for the First World War serving with the Lincolnshire Regiment where he saw action at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle from 10th to 13th March 1915 where there were 7,000 British and 4,200 Indian casualties. Arthur was listed as one of the casualties in a list of 21st March.
|Camberley News |
17 December 1926
In January 1925, at the age of 40, Gran gave birth to her only child at Bagshot Nursing Home. Reginald Ernest Swinfield was to become my father.
Her father, James Worsfold, then aged 74, fell in the bathroom of 9 St Mary's Road on the evening of 28th November 1926 whilst his wife Mary was trying to get him ready for bed. James was practically a cripple, according to the evidence given to the inquest held in the house, suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and chronic bronchitis. He struck his head on the bath causing a wound and concussion. Sadly, he lingered for a further seven days before he succumbed and died on 5th December. He was buried with great ceremony at St Michael's, York Town, where he had been a member of the choir for more than 21 years.
|Edith & Arthur Swinfield with other Worsfolds|
|Edith Swinfield (front row right) &|
Arthur Swinfield (4th from left at back)
about 1950 at "Sunnymeade",
Frimley Green, with members
of the Bird family
|Arthur, Evelyn & Edith Swinfield|
with young Geoff about 1955
at 33 Park Road, Camberley
|Reg & Evelyn Swinfield (back row)|
Edith & Arthur Swinfield (front row)
& Geoff Swinfield in 1952
at 9 St Mary's Road, Camberley
|Evelyn, Gran & Reg Swinfield|
with Fred Bird at "Sunnymeade"
|Gran's 90th birthday |
at Ballard Court, Camberley
For the final few years of her very long life, she moved into sheltered accommodation at Flat B1, Ballard Court, in Camberley. The Mayor visited to mark her 90th Birthday in 1974 and she died there on 24th August 1976. She and Arthur are remembered on a simple stone in St Michael's churchyard, York Town.