Poppy

First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Francis John JEFFREYS (1894–1917)

(Francis Jeffreys is also listed on the St Andrew’s Church Roll of Honour and thus appears twice in the “tour”)

Frank Jeffries
Surname misspelt as Jeffries

Francis John Jeffreys or Jeffrey (known as Frank) was born in Headington Quarry on 26 August 1894, the son of John William Jeffreys or Jeffrey (born in Headington in 1874 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 7 June) and Edith Mary Pratt (born in Headington Quarry in 1875 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 25 April).

Frank’s father John was the son of a butcher of New High Street and had been apprenticed to Peter Fisher, a chimney sweep in Lime Walk, At the time of the 1891 census Frank’s father was aged 18 and living in his employer’s household.

His parents were married at St Andrew’s Church on 11 November 1893 and had three children:

  • Francis John Jeffreys (born on 26 August 1894 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 21 October)
  • Cicely Alice Maria Jeffreys (born on 15 February 1896 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 12 April)
  • Edith Margery Winifred Jeffreys (born in New High Street on 14 March 1898 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 17 April).

At the time of the 1901 census Frank (6) was living in New High Street with his father John (28), who working as a chimney sweep on his own account, his mother Edith (26), his sisters Cicely (5) and Edith (3), and his grandmother Lucy Pratt (56).

Frank’s father suffered from asthma and had to give up sweeping chimneys, and so his wife Edith (who was the daughter of a Quarry basket-maker) became the main breadwinner. She did sewing, ironing, and cooking for undergraduates in Merton College so that she could save up and buy a plot of land to build a shop, and she achieved this by early 1911. The shop (below left) was at 58 Windmill Road, and had a long back garden (now occupied by new houses on the north side of Bateman Street).

Jeffreys as a boy
Frank Jeffreys with his mother and two younger sisters, c.1899

Jeffreys shop at 58 Windmill Road
Mrs Jeffreys’ shop at 58 Windmill Road

The 1911 census shows the family living over the shop. Frank (16) was working as a gardener; his mother is described as a shopkeeper; and his father had not yet given up his job as a chimney sweep. His sister Cicely (15) was a dressmaking apprentice, and Margery (13) was working at home, doubtless helping her mother in the shop as well as in the house. Frank’s grandmother Lucy Pratt (77), who was described as working in the home, was still living with the family.

Jeffreys as a young manFrank Jeffreys with his younger sisters and parents in the back garden of 58 Windmill Road in c.1911

Frank started work as a waiter at Merton College soon after this census.

♥ On 17 February 1917 at St Andrew’s Church in Old Headington, Francis John Jeffreys married Harriet Kennedy (known as Hetty), a domestic servant living in Headington.

Wedding

Frank was to die just seven months after their marriage, but he had one child, born to Harriet at Tayford, Windmill Road after his death:

  • Irene Phyllis Jeffreys (baptised at All Saints’ Church on 20 January 1918).

Frank Jeffreys

PoppyIn the First World War Francis John Jeffreys joined as a volunteer in 1915. He went out with the Territorials, becoming a transport driver, and then served as a Private in the ill-fated 1st/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 200073). He came home on leave in January 1917 and returned three months later in April just after his marriage. His obituary states that he was fond of horses and won third prize in a Brigade horse show just before his death.

He died in Belgium at the age of 23 on 27 September 1917 and has no known grave.

He is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial (Panel 96 to 98) and the war memorial in Merton College, Oxford. He is listed on the Roll of Honour of both All Saints’ Church, Highfield and of St Andrew’s Church, Old Headington.

Frank Jeffrey memorial

Above: Photograph of Frank Jeffreys’s name on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium, kindly supplied by British War Graves; Below: his name on the Merton College war memorial (both spelt Jeffrey as on his war record)

Merton College memorial


All Saints' board

Postscript

Frank’s parents
  • Mrs Edith Jeffreys sold up the Windmill Road shop in about 1923 and the family moved to Portsmouth (216 Queen’s Road) so that her husband could benefit from the sea air. She died in 1953.
  • John William Jeffreys (Jack), despite his ill health, lived to be 92 and died in 1966.
Frank’s widow
  • Mrs Harriet (Hetty) Jeffreys married Martin Brown in the Scarborough registration district in the third quarter of 1920, and they lived at 124 Seamer Road, Scarborough.
Frank’s daughter
  • Irene P. Jeffreys married Charles Davis in the Petersfield registration district in Hampshire in the second quarter of 1943.

See also

Back to All Saints’ Church, Highfield roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website