George Henry Walster 1856 - 1934 and his children

The Walster family lived in the village since about 1877 and the descendants of George Henry and Mary have lived in Coddington for many years. George Henry lived in Church Lane all the time he lived in the village (there is some confusion to the name of this road as it was always was known as Church Lane but we believe that the council put up a sign as Chapel Lane by mistake so that is what the road has been called since 19??). 

George was born in Caunton on the 8th April 1856; his parents were Thomas and Mary (nee Trickett) Walstowe. When his birth was registered, the Registrar spelt his surname Walster, instead of Walstowe. The mistake occurred because Thomas, like the majority of agricultural labourers in 1856, was unable to read or write, and so he signed the birth certificate with an X. 

George Henry was baptised at Caunton church on the 13th April 1856. George was the fifth child of seven children: -William b.1846; Elizabeth Anne 1849; Thomas 1853; Samuel 1854; George 1856; Mary 1857; and Herbert 1858.

Currently, I am unable to find him for certain on the 1861 and 1871 census. 

On the 17th November 1877, George married Mary Wood Roberts (born 1854 in Newbridge, Shropshire) who was a sewing mistress in Coddington village school, where her father John Roberts was headmaster. (Mary took the place of her mother as sewing mistress in 1877) 

On the 1881 census, George, aged 23, is listed as a joiner, living with his father-in-law, John Roberts, aged 51 (the village school master), and his mother-in-law, Sarah aged 57; also his wife, Mary Wood Walster, aged 27, and their children, John Thomas 2, James Robert 1 and George Roland (Rowland) 4 months in Coddington. 

In 1890, the new head master at Coddington School, Joseph Chauntry Hunt described Mary as "a most difficult person to work with" when trying to discipline her son George. In fact, Mary removed George and his brother from the school for a short period. The problem was that George had missed a lot of school, due to his delicate health in early 1890, so he was put back a class. However, during 1891 - 1892, George received a good performance award so these differences were resolved.

By the next census in 1891, George Snr. was living in Church Lane, Coddington, aged 32, a joiner, with his wife Mary 36, and their children:

Thomas (John) 12, James 11, Rowland (George) 10, Fred 8, Edith 6, Maggie 5, Sarah 4, Louisa 2, Arthur 4 months. 

George's family lived in a cottage opposite the west gates of the church in Church Lane, later they moved to Charity Farm in Church Lane; it was a farm in those days, complete with a herd of cows that grazed in summer in fields down Drove lane. 

Mary Walster must have been a very capable lady to bring up 13 children. It is worth remembering the family may have had only one tap for mains water (mains water did not arrive in Coddington until at the earliest 1898). Before that all water was collected from "Pumps" in the village; no electricity; no gas. All hot water for washing would have had to be boiled in the copper, and the kitchen stove would have been used for cooking and boiling the kettle. Did they eat in relays? The toilet would have been an outside "Privy". Mains sewerage did not arrive in Coddington until 19?? 

In the 1892 edition of Cooks directory, George's occupation is shown as joiner & Cottager (small farmer). By 1897 he is described as joiner, cottager, parish clerk & sexton. 

From the 1901 census, he is still listed as living in Church Lane, aged 43 - a joiner and carpenter, with his wife Mary, aged 47, and their children; John T. 22, a professional cricketer; James R. 21, a joiner; George R. 20, a joiner; Edith 17, a dressmaker; Louisa 12, a dressmaker; Arthur W. 11; Annie 6; Eleanor 5; and Harry 1. Interestingly it was not until his son Harry was christened on the 6th August 1899 did George Snr. state that his occupation was joiner and farmer. 

George Snr. and Mary were very lucky that all their children survived to adulthood. In this respect they were doing considerably better than the local 'squire', James Thorpe. (James and his second wife Annie had almost as many children as the Walsters, but had the misfortune to lose their firstborn son in infancy, a son and daughter to illness in their teens or early adulthood, and two more sons to war or accident in the Boer War or First World War.)

George Snr. and Mary must have been very worried when World War 1 broke out as four of their sons volunteered: - William aged 22, and Arthur W. aged 23, joined the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry; Fred aged 32 joined the Notts & Derby regiment; and John Thomas aged 36, joined the Royal Field Artillery. 

The children where all born in Coddington and christened at Coddington Parish church: - 

1) John Thomas, born 1878, was a professional cricketer in his younger days; he married Emily on the 24th March 1903, and they had four children:- Reginald born circa 1905 married Nellie (Kathleen) Simpson, whose sister Margaret married Harry Walster (Reginald?s uncle).Their children were Edward (Ted) born circa 1906; Herbert (Bert) circa 1907; and Edith (Edie) circa 1911. 

2) James Robert was born 1879. He emigrated to Australia, where he was a farmer and butcher. He eventually became Mayor of Gnowangerup, Western Australia. James was married and had three children Joyce, Jean and Rouallyn. 

3) George Rowland was born 1881 - a joiner by trade, having done his apprenticeship at 'Rose's' in Newark. As a young man George Rowland was a very keen athlete, and won many trophies. He married Ruth Annie Hough on the 23rd February 1905 - her father, George Henry Hough, was the proprietor of Threshing Sets (Threshing machines and balers pulled and driven by a Steam traction engine).

George Rowland lived at "One Ash", Newark Road where he ran his joiner and undertakers business. They had four children:- Phyllis in 1905, who married Harry Dean; Daisy in 1908, who married Edward (Ted) Blades in 1939; George H (Sonny) in 1911, who married Joan Rose; Donald James (Don) born 8th November 1921. Don joined the army in 1939, and was one of the founder members of the SAS. Don married Kathleen Burton in 1947. George, and his son Don, did all the joinery work on the "Coronation Hall" in the village, when it was built in 1953. 

4) Fred born 1882 married a lady called Nora and they had a son called Edward (Ted) 

5) Edith was born in 1884, and married Sam Simpson from Cotgrave in 1910. They had two children Fred and Reginald. Edith, and her husband Sam, ran the "Red Lion" public house in Main Street, Coddington. 

6) Margaret (Maggie) was born in 1886, and was married to John ? and they had four children.

7) Sarah was born in 1888, and sadly died in 1903.

8) Louisa born in 1889. She emigrated to Australia with her brother James; she married Felix Grocock and they had four children:- James, Horace, Felix and Anne. 

9) Arthur W. (Joe) was born in 1890, and in 1920 married Nellie. They had two daughters- Mavis and Gillian.

10) William (Billy) was born in 1892; he married Daisy Crampton; they lived in Newark and had two daughters - Edna and Brenda. Edna married a career RAF officer called Vivian Rees. After the Second World War, Brenda married Garvan Cable, an officer in the Royal Australian Navy, and went to live in Australia.

11) Annie was born in 1894, and she married Frank Dernie. They had two children - James and Shelia. Jim married Monica Pacey, a Coddington girl in 1949 and Sheila married Russ Ewens in 1945 and later, in 1975, Jim Robertson. 

12) Eleanor was born in 1896, and she married Cyril Ashton. They had a son - Frank who married Gwen Graves. 

13) Harry was the last child born in 1899, and he married Margaret Simpson. They had three children - John in 1938; Elizabeth in 1946; and Kay in 1954. Harry took over the tenancy of Charity Farm, Coddington, after his father, George Snr, died in Coddington on the 9th June 1934.

This article is written with the help of the Walster family, in particular Susan Kitchen, one of George Henry's great grandchildren.

If anyone has more information on the Walster's this would be greatly appreciated.
Please contact Fred Reed on 671955 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.