Poppy

First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Arthur Thomas (“Ferret”) TAYLOR (1877–1915)

Arthur Taylor

Arthur Thomas Taylor (known as “Ferret”) was born in Headington Quarry in 1877, the son of George Thomas Taylor (born at Shotover Hill Place in 1851 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 3 August) and his wife Jane Joyce (born in Headington Quarry in 1848 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church, Old Headington on 27 February).

His parents were Wesleyans and were married in the Headington registration district in the first quarter of 1871. They had eight children, of whom the following seven reached adulthood:

  • Albert William Taylor (born at Headington Quarry on 4 September 1871 and baptised at New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel on 17 October)
  • Emily Elizabeth Taylor (born at Headington Quarry on 11 November 1872 and baptised at New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel on 21 January 1873)
  • Walter George Taylor (born at Headington Quarry on 10 March 1874 and baptised at New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel on 5 May)
  • Frederick Charles Taylor (born at Headington Quarry on 10 November 1875 and baptised at New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel on 11 January 1876)
  • Arthur Thomas Taylor (born at Headington Quarry in 1877, reg. third quarter)
  • George Francis Taylor (born at Headington Quarry in 1880, reg. third quarter)
  • Reginald John Taylor (born at Headington Quarry in1886/7, reg. first quarter of 1887).

At the time of the 1881 census Arthur (3) was living at East View, Headington Quarry with his father George (29), who was a brick-burner at Shotover Brickworks, his mother Jane (32), and his siblings Albert (9), Emily (8), Walter (7), Frederick (5), Arthur (3), and George (nine months), and his father's sister Martha Taylor (13), who probably helped to look after the children.

Arthur (13) was out to work as a plough boy in 1891, and was still living in Quarry with his father George (39), his mother Jane (43), and five of his siblings: Albert (19) was a bricklayer's labourer; Walter (17) and Frederick (15) were carters; and George (10) and Reginald (4) were still at school.

By 1901 Arthur (23) had left home, and may be the Arthur Taylor (born in Headington Quarry) who was in a military prison in Alverstoke, Hampshire. His father George (50) now described himself as a brickmaker and farmer, and was living at Kiln Lane (then also known as Shotover Hill Place, which was in Holy Trinity ecclesiastical parish and Forest Hill with Shotover civil parish. Only their two youngest children were still at home: George (20), who was a bricklayer, and Reginald (14), who was a brick carter.

By 1902 Arthur had returned to his parents at Shotover Place and was working as a brickmaker's labourer.

On 25 January 1902 at Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry, Arthur Thomas Taylor (24) married Alice Emily Horwood (26) of Chiswick, daughter of the labourer John Horwood. The couple lived at 19 Quarry High Street, and had eight children:

  • Nellie Jane Taylor (born at Headington Quarry in 1902 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 28 December)
  • Kate Joyce Taylor (born at Headington Quarry in 1903 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 27 December)
  • Percival Arthur Taylor (born at Headington Quarry on 4 April 1905 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 23 April)
  • Elsie Ada Taylor (born at Headington Quarry on 24 March 1907 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 25 September)
  • Hilda May Taylor (born at Headington Quarry on 2 May 1909 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 30 May)
  • Alice Emily Taylor (born at Headington Quarry in 1911 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 28 May)
  • Reginald Frank Taylor (born at Headington Quarry on 19 June 1912 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 28 July)
  • Arnold Willilam Taylor (born at Headington Quarry on 28 January 1914 and baptised at Tyndale Street Methodist Chapel on 29 April).

At the time of the 1911 census Arthur Thomas Taylor (32), described as having formerly been a brickmaker’s labourer, was in Oxford Prison in New Road, while his wife Alice, pregnant with their sixth child, was at home in Quarry High Street looking after their first four daughters, while their son Percival (6) spent census night with his maternal grandparents John and Jane Horwood, who lived in the same street. Meanwhile Arthur’s parents George & Jane Taylor were living alone in an eight-roomed house at Shotover Brick Kiln.

The wife of Arthur Thomas Taylor had her seventh child, Arnold, at the beginning of 1914, which implies that Arthur may have been let out of prison in 1913. In any event, Arthur was certainly back in prison again by the outbreak of the First World War, as P. Phillips in Raphael Samuel, Village Life and Labour (page 242) recalls:

There was two inside, in jail, and when the war broke out they volunteered to go straight over. They let ’em out to go. They never come back. Old Dusty Wright, as we called him, and Ferret Taylor. Never come back. And they was blokes like – that when they was out there fightin’ – if they see a German, they’d be after ’im – wouldn’t wait to be told – they was that type of feller, and they both went west.

Poppy Arthur Thomas Taylor served in the First World War as a Private in the ill-fated 2nd Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 8967). He was wounded in May/June 1915 but went back to fight again and was killed in action in France on the first day of the Battle of Loos on 25 September 1915 at the age of 39.

He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Loos Memorial (Panel 83 to 85) and on the stone plaque in the porch of Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry.


Postscript

Quarry memorial

Arthur’s widow
  • Mrs Alice Emily Taylor died at 19 Quarry High Street at the age of 63 and was buried in Holy Trinity churchyard on 30 December 1939.
Some of Arthur’s children
  • Kate Joyce Taylor (born 1903) married William Joseph, a labourer of 15 Beaumont Road, at Holy Trinity Church on 26 December 1925
  • Elsie Ada Taylor (born 1907) married Edgar James Holton, a sheet metal worker of St Aldate’s, Oxford, at Holy Trinity Church on 29 September 1928. Their son Clifford C. Holton was born in the Headington district in 1929 (reg. second quarter).
  • Alice Emily Taylor (born 1911) married William George Palmer, a trimmer of Horspath, at Holy Trinity Church on 23 December 1933.
Arthur’s parents
  • Mrs Jane Taylor died in 1914 at the age of 67 and was buried at Headington Quarry Methodist Chapel on 19 July.
  • George Thomas Taylor died at 34 Kennett Road (then called New Road) in 1930 at the age of 79 and was buried at Headington Quarry Methodist Chapel on 6 December.
Arthur’s siblings
  • Albert William Taylor (born 1871) married Lizzie Haynes in the second quarter of 1896 in the Headington registration district. They remained in Quarry and had the following children: Jane Taylor (born 1896/7), Arthur Taylor (born 1897/8), George Francis Taylor (born on 9 July 1900 and baptised at New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel on 20 August 1900), Lizzie Emily Taylor (born on 3 December 1903 and baptised at New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel on 26 January 1904), Walter William Albert Taylor (born 8 January 1906 and baptised at Tyndale Street Wesleyan Chapel on 1 August 1908; died age 8, buried Headington Quarry Methodist churchyard on 5 January 1918), Tom Taylor (born 22 July 1908 and baptised at Tyndale Street Methodist Chapel on 1 August 1908, Alfred John Taylor (born 1910), and Ellen Joyce Jane Taylor (born 27 February 1913 and baptised at Tyndale Street Methodist Chapel on 23 April 1913.
  • Emily Elizabeth Taylor (born 1872) married John Frederick Gurden at Holy Trinity Church on 31 August 1895. They lived in Quarry and had five children baptised at Holy Trinity: Thomas William Robert Taylor Gurden (born before the wedding and baptised 30 December 1900); Richard Thomas Gurden (born on 22 April 1906 and baptised 21 March 1907); and the last three were all baptised together on 12 April 1914: Dorothy Mary Gurden (born on 16 December 1904), Frederick Charles Gurden (born on 20 October 1907, and Frank Richard Gurden (born on 4 August 1911).
  • Walter George Taylor (born in 1874) married Mary Wright at Holy Trinity Church on 31 August 1895. They had two children baptised at New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel: Walter Joseph George Taylor (born on 8 November 1899 and baptised 9 January 1900) and John Frederick Taylor (born on 19 November 1902 and baptised 3 February 1903. Walter George Taylor died in mid-1903 at the age of 29 in an explosion and cave-in at the Vicarage Pit in Quarry, and was buried at Headington Quarry Methodist Chapel on 19 July.
  • Frederick Charles Taylor (born 1875) married Annie Sarah Matilda Hedges at Holy Trinity Church on 2 April 1899. They lived at Shotover Hill Place and had the following children: Frederick Charles Taylor (born on 27 January 1901 and baptised at New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel on 24 September); Mary Ann Taylor (born on 25 November 1903 and baptised at New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel on 26 January 1904); Ewart Taylor (born on 30 August 1910 and baptised at William Street [Tyndale Road] Methodist Chapel in St Clement's on 22 February 1911); Walter Taylor (born on 30 December 1908 and baptised at an unspecified Methodist Church on 30 March 1909); Louisa Taylor (born on 29 October 1912 and baptised at St Clement's Methodist Chapel in St Clement's on 20 May 1914); and Lucy Taylor (born on 21 February 1914 and baptised at St Clement's Methodist Chapel on 20 May).
  • George Francis Taylor (born 1880) married Clara Ward in Oxford in 1901 (reg. third quarter), and their daughter Esther Louise Taylor was born on 5 November 1901 and baptised at New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel: on 11 March 1902).
  • Reginald John Taylor (born 1886/7) married Ada Collins at Holy Trinity Church on 10 May 1913. He was a police constable at the time of his marriage.

See also

Back to Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website