First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Thomas Walter MADDEN (1898–1918)

Thomas Walter Madden was born in New Marston in1898, the son of John Madden (born in Oxford in 1871 and baptised at St Thomas's Church on 15 December) and Eliza Agatha Weller (born at 8 Jericho Gardens, Oxford in 1874/5 and baptised in St Paul’s Church on 11 March1875).

The 1891 census shows Thomas’s father John Madden (19) as a single man, living with his own mother (a tailoress) at 83 Friar Street, Oxford and working as a labourer.

His parents were married at St Nicholas’s Church (evidently in haste) on 20 August 1892: John (20) was then living at 83 Friars Street, St Ebbe's, and Eliza (18) at New Marston. They had thirteen children:

  • John Madden (born at Jericho Gardens, Oxford on 5 February 1893 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 11 March)
  • Eliza Agatha Madden (born in 1894 (reg. Headington district fourth quarter);
    died in Watford aged 4 in 1899 (reg. third quarter)
  • Charles Victor Madden (born in New Marston in 1896 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 7 June)
  • Thomas Walter Madden (born in New Marston in 1898 and baptised at St Mary’s Church, Watford, Hertfordshire on 4 January 1899)
  • Sarah Madden (born in New Marston on 24 January 1900 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church in St Ebbe's on 28 March, with her family's address given as 86 Friars Street.)
  • James Madden (born in New Marston on 25 April 1902 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 16 November 1902);
    died aged two, death reg. second quarter of 1904)
  • Alexander James Madden (born in New Marston on 24 March 1904 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 15 May 1904)
  • Albert Madden (born in New Marston on 27 December 1905)
  • George Madden (born in New Marston in 1907, reg. fourth quarter)
  • Mark Madden (born in New Marston in 1909, reg. third quarter)
  • William Madden (born in New Marston on 2 August 1911 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 2 August)
  • Mary Ann. Madden (born in New Marston n 14 August 1913 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 21 September)
  • Walter John Madden (born in New Marston on 30 May 1915 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church, Old Marston on 7 July).

Thomas's father was a bricklayer’s labourer, and after his wedding appears to have moved into his wife's parents house in Jericho Gardens.

By about 1894 he and his wife had moved to New Marston with their first child.

Thomas was born in New Marston before the end of June 1898, but soon after his birth the family moved to Watford in Hertfordshire, where he was baptised on 4 January 1899. His older sister Eliza died in Watford later that year.

They were back in New Marston at the beginning of 1900 when Thomas's sister Sarah was born, but when she was baptised at St Ebbe's Church at the end of March they appear to have been living at 86 Friars Street (possibly with John's parents).

By the time of the 1901 census Thomas (2) was living at Edgeway Road (then called Hedgeway Road) in New Marston with his father John (29), who was a bricklayer, his mother Eliza (26), and his siblings John (8), Charles (5), and Sarah (1). Their address was probably 6 Edgeway Road (the address for Thomas’s parents given in his war record).

By the time of the 1911 census five more boys had been born to Thomas's parents (of whom four survived), and Thomas (12), who was still at school, had been sent off to live in another house in the same street with his maternal grandfather James Weller, a widower aged 66 born in St Thomas’s, Oxford. Weller kept a shop in Edgeway Road, and three of his other grandchildren (all born in New Marston) were also staying over the shop with him: Sarah Jane Weller (14), Eliza Agnes Titcombe (11) and Alice Titcombe (10). Meanwhile his father John (39), who described himself as a builder's labourer for a brewery, was home in Edgeway Road with Eliza (36) and their seven other children: John (18) Charles (15), Sarah (11), Alexander (7), Albert (5), George (3), and Mark (1).

Thomas's mother gave birth to three more children between 1911 and 1915, bringing the total number to thirteen.

Poppy In the First World War Thomas Walter Madden served as a Private in the 1st/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 201697). He died of wounds in Italy at the age of 20 on 16 June 1918.

He is buried at the Monteccio Precalcino Communal Cemetery extension (Plot 2, Row D, Grave 3), and his war grave there has the added words “IN MEMORY OF OUR BELOVED SON / THY WILL BE DONE”. (Only 40% of war headstones bear an inscription such as this near their base: the main inscription was free, but families had to pay 3½d per letter for a personal message.)

He is remembered on the New Marston War Memorial on the Marston Road, Oxford.


Thomas’s parents

Both of Thomas's parents outlived at least five of their grown-up sons.

  • John Madden was described as a painter by 1921. He died in 1952 at the age of 80.
  • Mrs Eliza Agatha Madden became known as Granny Madden of Marston. She was living at 23 Edgeway Road in 1954 and at 13 Edgeway Road in 1958, and died near the beginning of 1959 at the age of 84.

New Marston War Memorial

Thomas’s brothers
  • John Madden (born 1893) died in 1918 at the age of 25 (death reg. Headington district in the fourth quarter)
  • Charles Victor Madden (born 1896) was described as a painter of New Marston when he married May Isabella Green of Headington at St Nicholas's Church on 23 July 1921. They settled in William Street, and their son Reginald Victor Madden was born on 18 March 1922 and baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 2 April. Charles died in 1925 at the age of 29 (death reg. in Headington district in the fourth quarter).
  • Alexander James Madden (born 1904) married Florence L. Saunders in the Headington registration district in the first quarter of 1926. They lived at 5 (later 16) Ferry Road and they had two children: John G. Madden (born 1926) and Beryl Madden (born on 8 May 1931 and baptised at St Nicholas Church, Old Marston on 10 May). They also brought up Georgina Elizabeth Madden, the daughter of Alexander's deceased brother George, and had her baptised at St Nicholas’s Church on 12 August 1933. Alexander died in Oxford at the age of 57 in 1961.
  • Albert Madden (born 1905/6) married Mildred Kate Edwards in the Headington registration district in the second quarter of 1930. They had two children: Michael J. Madden (born 1932) and Janet Madden (born 1937/8). Albert died in Oxford near the beginning of 1971.
  • George Madden (born 1907) married Elizabeth M. Braham in the Headington district near the beginning of 1932. George died a year later on 28 January 1933 at the age of 25, and his Georgina Elizabeth Madden was born on 29 June 1933, five months after his death. George is buried in Old Marston and has a gravestone put up by his wife.

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