Poppy

First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Hubert John Whittingham LANGHAM (1887–1918)

Hubert John Whittingham Langham was born at Griffithstown near Pontypool in Monmouthshire in 1887, the son of Henry John Langham (born in Rugby near the end of 1847) and his first wife Eleanor Crump (born in Liverpool, reg. second quarter of 1847).

His parents were married in the third quarter of 1869 in the Pontypool district, and had the following children:

  • Sarah Kate Langham, known as Kate (born in Griffithstown, Monmouthshire in 1870, reg. third quarter)
  • Charles William Langham (born in Griffithstown, Monmouthshire in 1872, reg. third quarter)
  • George Henry Langham (born in Griffithstown, Monmouthshire in 1874, reg. fourth quarter)
  • Eleanor Hilda Langham, known as Hilda (born in Griffithstown, Monmouthshire in 1876, reg. third quarter)
  • William Edwin Langham (born in Griffithstown, Monmouthshire in 1878, reg. third quarter)
  • Ida Jane Langham (born in Griffithstown, Monmouthshire in 1880, reg. fourth quarter)
  • Arthur Joseph Langham, known as Joseph (born in Griffithstown, Monmouthshire in 1882, reg. fourth quarter)
  • Jonathan Alphonso Langham, known as Alphonso (born in Griffithstown, Monmouthshire in 1884, reg. fourth quarter)
  • Hubert John Whittingham Langham (born in Griffithstown, Monmouthshire in 1887, reg. second quarter).

The 1871 census shows Hubert’s parents living at Langham Villa, Upper Llanfrechfa (or Llanvrechfa), Monmouthshire, with their first daughter Sarah (5 months). His father worked for the Great Western Railway, and was then a fireman. His grandparents were living in the other half of the villa that bore their surname: Hubert’s grandfather was an engine driver, and his brother a fireman.

By 1881 Hubert’s father was himself an engine driver, and the family’s address was 4 Oxford Place, Upper Llanfrechfa. There were now six children, and Hubert’s grandfather, now a retired widower, was living with the family. Eleanor gave birth to three more children, including Hubert himself, the youngest, in 1887.

When Hubert was just three years old his mother Eleanor Langham died at the age of 45 (reg. Pontypool district in the second quarter of 1890).

His father Henry moved to Oxford with most of his children shortly afterwards. At the time of the 1891 census Hubert (4) was living at 31 Arthur Street in Osney with his father Henry (43), who was an engine driver, and his siblings (Sarah) Kate (20), who probably kept house, and George (16), who was a railway engine cleaner, and (Eleanor) Hilda (14), William (12), Ida (10), (Arthur) Joseph (8), and (Jonathan) Alphonso (6). Also living with them was young Henry's niece, two-year-old Mildred Langham

They were still at that address when Hubert’s eldest sister Sarah Kate Langham was married in December 1893.

On 29 July 1900 at St Frideswide's Church, Hubert’s father Henry Langham (52), who was now living at 8 Mill Street in Osney married his second wife, the widow Mrs Elizabeth Clara Lewis née Phasey, who was born in Hereford and then living at Chorleywood.

The 1901 census shows Hubert (14) living at 8 Mill Street, Osney with his father and stepmother, his sister Hilda (24), who was a dressmaker, and brother Jonathan (16), as well as his stepbrother, Henry Lewis, also 14. The occupation of the three boys is not stated.

Hubert’s first stepmother Mrs Elizabeth Clara Langham died at 1 Hill View Road at the age of 50 and her funeral was held at St Frideswide’s Church on 2 May 1908.

On 1 January 1910 at St Michael & All Angels Church in Summertown, Hubert’s father Henry Langham, who was now living at 54 Stratfield Road in Summertown, married his third wife, Constance Charlotte Hazell (born in 1882/3 in North Moreton, Berkshire). The 1911 census shows Henry (68), now a pensioner, living with his new wife Constance (28) and just one of his children, Arthur Joseph (who at 28 was exactly the same age as his stepmother, and was working as a coal porter). Hubert (24) himself had left home and was boarding at Seven Sisters, Glamorgan and working as a coal miner hewer.

113 London Road

 

Soon after the 1911 census Hubert’s father and new young stepmother moved up to Headington, and lived at 113 London Road (right), now Finders Keepers. This was then numbered 35 Westbourne Terrace, and was in St Andrew’s parish.

 

Below: Westbourne Terrace in about 1916, when the present shops were still houses with front gardens

Westbourne Terrace in 1916

Hubert’s father had two more children with his third wife (the second born when he was 77):

  • Henry Hazell Langham (born in Headington on 19 September 1913 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 12 October 1913)
  • Dorothy Constance Langham (born in Headington on 24 September 1920 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 17 October 1920).

Hubert himself probably never lived in Headington, but his father remained his next of kin.

Grave of Hubert Langham

 

Poppy In the First World War Hubert Langham was a gunner in the “B” Battery, 121st Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery (Service No. 4011).

He died of wounds back in England in the Gloucester registration district at the age of 31 on 1 December 1918, and is buried at Osney Cemetery, probably because he grew up in St Frideswide’s parish. He is listed on the roll of honour of St Andrew’s Church in Old Headington.

Left: Photograph of Hubert Langham’s grave in Osney Cemetery. The text reads:

4011 GUNNER
H. J. W. LANGHAM
ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
1ST DECEMBER 1918 AGE 31


[Emblem of the
Royal Field Artillery and motto:
Quo fas et gloria ducunt]

 

Frederick Peter Peverell Hazell, the brother of Hubert Langham’s stepmother, probably also lodged with the Langhams at 113 London Road. He too was killed in the First World War, and is listed on the same memorial in St Andrew’s Church.


Postscript

St Andrew's memorial board

Hubert’s father and his second stepmother
  • Henry John Langham remained at 113 London Road until his death at the age of 95 in April 1943.
  • Mrs Constance Langham is listed at the house from 1945 to 1954.
Hubert’s siblings
  • Sarah Kate Langham (born 1870) married James William Taylor, an engine cleaner of 19 Blackfriars Road, on 13 December 1893 at St Frideswide’s Church. Their daughter Oriel Gladys Axton Taylor, born at 43 Bridge Street, Osney, was baptised at St Frideswide’s Church on 8 November 1896.

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