First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Percival James EVANS (1892–1916)

Percival James Evans was born in New Marston in 1892, the son of George Evans (born in Wallingford in 1863/4) and Elizabeth Jane Hands (born in Wallingford in 1860/1).

His parents were married at St Peter’s Church, Wallingford on 1 June 1886 and had nine children:

  • Thomas William Evans (born in St Leonard’s Lane, Wallingford in 1889 and baptised at St Leonard’s Church there on 24 March)
  • George Herbert Evans (born in Market Place, Wallingford in 1890 and baptised at St Mary Le More Church there on 15 February 1891)
  • Percival James Evans (born in New Marston in 1892 and baptised at St Leonard’s Church in Wallingford on 27 August 1893)
  • Minnie Dorothy Evans (born in New Marston in 1894 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 3 March 1895)
  • James Eldridge Evans (born in New Marston in 1896 but not baptised at St Clement's Church until 11 May 1899, at the same time as his younger sister Nellie)
  • Nellie Maud Evans (born in New Marston in 1898/9 and baptised at St Clememt's Church on 11 May 1899)
  • Violet May Evans (born in New Marston on 25 June 1901 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 15 September);
    died aged 4 in 1905, reg. fourth quarter
  • Lily Beatrice Evans (born in New Marston on 25 January 1903 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 20 September)
  • John Henry Evans (born in New Marston in 1906/7, reg. first quarter of 1907).

Percival’s father was described as a builder at the time of his marriage, and as a decorator when his first son was baptised in Wallingford in 1889. At the same time he was also the licensed victualler at the Oxford House pub in Market Place, Wallingford, where he lived at the time of the 1891 census.

By the end of 1892 Percival’s father became the licensee of the Somerset House pub in New Marston (which was on the same site as the present building, at the junction of Marston Road and Ferry Road), and Percival was born there. His father also appears initially to have run a shop at the pub, as at the baptism of his daughter Minnie in 1895 he was described as a shopkeeper.

At the time of the 1901 census Percival (8) was at school and living at the Somerset House pub with his father George (39), who was described as a paper-hanger and publican, his mother Elizabeth (39), and his siblings Thomas (12), George (10), Minnie (6), James (4), and Nellie (2).

Percival's brother Thomas William Evans (18) died in the Headington district at the age of 18 in 1907 (reg. second quarter), and is probably buried at Marston.

In 1911 Percival (18), who was working as a self-employed gardener, was still living at the Somerset House pub with his parents and his six surviving siblings: George (20), who was a house decorator; Minnie (16) and James (14), who assisted at home; and Nellie (12), Lily (7), and John (4).

Percival’s father died soon after the 1911 census, and he is probably the George Evans (49) whose death was registered in the Wallingford district in the third quarter of 1913. Percival’s mother Elizabeth Jane Evans continued to run the Somerset House pub on her own.

Poppy In the First World War Percival James Evans served as a Private in the 8th Service Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment (Service No. 27723) He was killed in action at the Somme in France at the age of 24 on 18 November 1916.

He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 5A and 5B) and on the New Marston War Memorial on the Marston Road, Oxford.


New Marston War Memorial

Percival’s mother
  • Mrs Elizabeth Jane Evans was still running the Somerset pub on the Marston Road in 1936.
Percival’s siblings
  • George Herbert Evans (born 1890) was working as an electrical engineer in Norbiton, Surrey when he married Ethel Clara Webb of Headington at St Andrew's Church on 24 August 1918. They had two children in the Headington district: Cecil Roy Evans (1920) and Pamela F. Evans (1921/2). George Herbert Evans died in 1942 and his wife Ethel in 1967, and they are both buried in St Nicholas’s churchyard, with a remembrance on their grave of their son Sgt Pilot Roy Evans, who went missing in the Second World War at the age of 20 on 23 March 1941.
  • John H. Evans (born 1906/7) married Elsie L. Taphouse in the Headington registration district in the third quarter of 1930.

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