THE EAST KNOYLE 1914-1918 TRAIL
To commemorate the centenary of the ending of the First World War in 2018, several events were planned in this village. The Trail started with the simple idea of finding the homes of the servicemen named on our War Memorial, marking them with a temporary notice . Keep it simple was our motto, but this project proved to be anything but simple.
So where to start? The obvious place we imagined would be the census, the nearest being 1911. This did give us some vague addresses but the illogical numbering and naming of houses was a mystery. The village archives provided clues, and certainly intriguing photographs of groups of people, some with the family names of current residents. We quickly discovered that a similar name didn’t necessarily mean they were related, and the habit of naming sons after fathers didn’t help our searches!
A request for information in our village newsletter was answered by the Jolliffe family who came forward with their sad story of three brothers lost in this conflict. Mrs. Rosalind Hall from Warminster contacted us about her grandfather Gerald Forward and provided photographs and useful information about this family. These documents will now be included in the village archive.
Naively we asked people to search through deeds for evidence of the ownership of their homes in 1914. However it became evident that at that time almost every home in East Knoyle was owned by the either the Fonthill or Clouds Estates. So in spite of much reading and researching, sometimes we had to admit that detailed accurate and verifiable information was not there. Although residents largely stayed in the village, they moved from house to house as their employment demanded and as family’s requirements changed. The mystery of the house numbers was solved after we had completed this project when we were told that the numbers referred to their acquisition on the Estates Registers!
At the beginning of November, in time for Remembrance Sunday, the plaques were placed in position on wooden stakes. The trail map was posted at the village shop by the War Memorial and on village notice boards with these words:-
This was their home. Young men who volunteered to leave this peaceful place. Most were born here, some came to work, but they were never to return.
Put on your wellie boots, and walk the streets and lanes, treading in the footsteps of our fallen servicemen. There are dots on the map to help you.
For each person named on the War Memorial or Memorials in the church there was a plaque near the place where they lived with their families. There is also a photo of their grave or memorial in foreign fields. All these can now be viewed on the website categorised by the main Village and its surrounding Hamlets.
"WE WILL REMEMBER THEM THEIR SACRIFICE AND THE LOSS TO THIS VILLAGE"
Many people walked those lanes following the trail, some more than once, and have remarked how the tragedy of the loss to those families and this village was brought home to them by these simple plaques. We could imagine these country lads who volunteered to fight, going off with no idea of what was to follow. The memorials to the three Jolliffe brothers at The Green, being within yards of the memorials to James and Tom Lampard was especially moving. In this close knit rural community every serviceman would have been known by name and the sorrow felt by all.
Here are some of the resources used which may be helpful for further research.
East Knoyle Village Archive
1891 Census & 1911 Census
The Wiltshire History Centre
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Parish Council Meeting Minutes
East Knoyle Village Newsletter Supplement -
“East Knoyle & The Great War” by Dawn Small
St. Mary’s Burial Register
The Nature of Knoyle by Anthony Claydon
Fillet of Place by Anthony Claydon
Clouds, The Biography of a Country House by Caroline Dakers
1936 Map and Sale catalogue of Clouds Estate
The Wiltshire History Centre history.wiltshire.gov.uk
Jan Oliver’s website www.wiltshirefootprints.co.uk
Ordnance Survey www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk