last update 30 May 2015



Recent Ancestors of Angela Williams (Fletcher) & Adrian Fletcher
















Name Links in this column lead to the ancestor tree for each of Adrian and Angela's  8 great-grandparents




Marguerite Aldous (Peggy) Fletcher (Sproule)



b 30 July 1917, Plymouth, Devon



Aug/Sept 1918 Peggy & Clare share Jimmy's brief (uniformed) leave from the Western Front at the beach at Bigbury-on-Sea



Clare & Peggy, shortly before setting sail for India in November 1920



First overseas trip - A stately drive to Peshawar - Christmas Day 1920



1930s, Fintona, Co Tyrone



Holiday at Clovelly, Cornwall, 1939



Early 1940s, Cairo, Egypt



m 21 May 1941 in the Anglican Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt.  The marriage ended at the end of the forties.



22 March 1944, Adrian's Christening in Cairo Cathedral



2 January 1947 Angela is christened in St Peters, Fremlington (Devon) - Adrian's not happy!



Late 1950s


l: Seabrook (nr Hythe, Kent) for over 50 years, where she brought up Adrian & Angela.  She is still remembered with great affection by all the young children she helped and supported at the local primary school where she played several roles over many years.  And later she was a wonderful granny, and a much loved participant in many many community activities.






Early 2000s


d 22 August 2005 (88) in Dover Hospital.  Ashes buried in St Peters, Limpsfield.



Clare Stewart Sproule (Aldous) 1891 - 1958 (67)


b 27 March 1891, Charlton House, Compton Gifford, Plymouth - christened but never addressed as "Claribel".



Clare Aldous aged 2 - 16 April 1893



m 28 July 1915 at Emmanuel Church,

Compton Gifford, Plymouth.



Big Game Hunter, India - Christmas 1930



Adventurer - River Nile 1930s


l: many places as an army wife, and did lots of expeditioning and photograph taking on the journey.  Retired in  1947 to Somerton (Somerset).



Studio Photo - 1930s



March 1943, Weybourne Cottage, Farnham



Clare and Sussex Spaniel Sam at Old Bell House, 1950s



mid 1950s, Old Bell House, Somerton - taken by Adrian on a Brownie 127 and encapsulating the essence of this lovely person.


d 1958 (67) Edinburgh, Scotland (living in Somerton (Somerset)).  Buried in Coldstream, Berwickshire.



Isabella Henderson Aldous (Stewart) 1865 - 1938 (73)



b  5 January 1865 in Fitzroy in Melbourne.



m. September 1887, Gloucester Road, London Where the Melbourne girl met George Frederick is presently a mystery!



c1932 at Harrow-on-the-hill with grandson Brian Sproule


d 5 July 1938 (73) Harrow-on-the-Hill, London.



Isabella's dad was James Cooper Stewart, son of a Scottish house painter,  sometime Mayor of Melbourne and a top Australian lawyer





James C Stewart and family - 1886, Melbourne




Link to illustrated story of the life and times of James C Stewart



Descendants of James Cooper Stewart



Dr George Frederick Aldous FRCS Edin 1861 - 1937 (76)



b  24 August 1861, his mother died of Scarlet Fever on Christmas day 1862.


Trained at Barts Hospital London, and  became LRCP & S & Apoth in 1885.  In 1897 became Fellow of Royal College of  Surgeons, Edinburgh.


l  All his working life as a doctor and surgeon in Plymouth, then on retirement in 1921 moved to Harrow (London).



Early 1900s, Plymouth - George Frederick Aldous photographed well, with a twinkle in his eye!  A territorial (not regular) RAMC soldier, our man liked a bit of uniform and in retirement titled himself "Major, RAMC" in the telephone directory.  This is one of the few photos we have of him "sans cigarette".


d  27 September 1937 in Harrow.



George's father, Alex Aldous (grog supplier to the Royal Navy, Portsmouth who was born in Harleston, Norfolk) married into the Seward yeoman tenant farmer family of Weston (nr Buriton, Hampshire).  They ran a major hop, sheep, milling, lime burning etc business there for nearly 150 years. 



Tragically George's mother Elizabeth Aldous (Seward) died of Scarlet Fever when he was only 1.



Memorial to Elizabeth Haw Aldous in the Buriton Parish Church of St Mary (below).




Brig James Chambers (Jimmy) Sproule CBE LRCP&S Irl 1887 - 1955 (67)


b 28 August 1887 "Denamona", Fintona, Co Tyrone



28 August 1902 - on left - "first Day at Boarding School - Royal School, Raphoe" - aged 15


Trained at the Royal Colleges (of Surgeons and of Physicians) in Dublin, becoming a Licentiate and registered doctor in 1912, after which he was commissioned into the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC).



c1910 - Dublin Medical Student


m 28 July 1915 at Emmanuel Church, Compton Gifford, Plymouth.


Much of WWI spent at the Western Front, initially as MO of famous 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers (including in the Mons Retreat).  Latterly he commanded 131 Field Ambulance,  serving the 38th (Welsh) Division who in the final months of 1918 fought through Amiens, Albert & Bapaume. 



Where was he in France between 21 September 1915 and 24 February 1918




Royal autograph hunter - Jimmy with the Prince of Wales - Amiens, February 1919


More about Jimmy Sproule and WWI



At Jamrud just west of Peshawar, Christmas Day 1920


link to army service record 1912-47


l: Many places in India, England & Egypt as a regular army officer in the RAMC specializing in Hygiene.


Notes made on 1930 trip to visit his brother Harpur in South Africa (9 Mb)



Col J C Sproule in Cairo, Mid 1930s


Link to citation for Col J C Sproule's CBE (1941)


Retired in 1947 to live in Somerton (Somerset).



Jimmy & Clare c1950


d 15 May 1955 (67) Taunton (living in Somerton).


Link to Jimmy Sproule's obituary in the BMJ.



Matilda Sproule (Sproule) 1849 - 1918 (69)





Sproule family detail - "Denamona", Fintona - late 1890s


Jenny Sproule, Harpur Sproule, Alex H R Sproule, Matilda Sproule, Jimmy Sproule - a miserable looking lot



b 16 May 1849 Carrickamulkin, Co Tyrone


Probably emigrated to Canada c 1871.


m. February 1874 in Peterborough, Ontario, to first cousin and pretend photographer* A H R Sproule (we have record).


l. Back in "Denamona", Fintona (Co Tyrone) after hubbie was left house and 209 acre farm by his uncle.  Census entries in 1901 and 1911.


d "Denamona" 1918 (69).




*He described himself as a professional photographer in census returns etc but we are sceptical!  The real photographer was his brother George Buchanan Sproule.






Denamona, Fintona, Co Tyrone

"Denamona", Fintona (Co Tyrone) early 1900s, complete with "Monet" hay stack.




Late 1890s, Alex H R Sproule with wife and children at "Denamona", Fintona (Co Tyrone)





There is now a page for our Sproule Narrative and Document links.  These include discoveries in the Canadian census and BMD data bases, and also the 1901 and 1911 Irish censuses.




Alex Harpur Robinson Sproule JP 1846 - 1921 (75)




photo above


b 3 April 1846 Carrickamulkin, Co Tyrone


Emigrated to Peterborough, Ontario with family in May 1860.  In Canadian censuses 1861 1871 1881.


m Cousin Matilda February 1874


l Peterborough, working without trace as a professional photographer until at 35 he inherited (but only as trustee for his children) his uncle's Irish palazzo & 209 acre farm in 1881, redefined himself as a gentleman, and returned to live in "Denamona", Fintona (Co Tyrone).  He was soon made a JP, then in 1886 .....



One way or another all the inheritance money AHR was supposed to be looking after evaporated, until everyone was pushed into signing everything over to eldest son Jack.


l "Denamona" until his death in 1921 (75).  Census entries in 1901 and 1911.



By contrast on the photographer front, AHR's younger brother George Buchanan Sproule was a very successful photographer in Peterborough Ontario and then Helena Montana.  His works can still be found in Canadian galleries.



WWI, James Sproule, 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 131 Field Ambulance and the 38th (Welsh) Division



Captain Jimmy Fletcher RAMC photographs WWI in Mesopotamia 1917-18



In Egypt 1935-1944








Recent ancestors of Angela Williams & Adrian Fletcher (continued)














Name Links in this column lead to the ancestor tree for each of Adrian and Angela's  great-grandparents




Col Michael James Rex Fletcher, MBE




b 23 April 1918, London





Michael in Clifden, Murree Hill (Rawalpindi) c1920



Murree Hill (Rawalpindi) c1921 - Michael and servants






Michael and mother Ethel at Folkestone Beach c1926



Michael and father Jimmy suited up - August 1928


1930s - Epsom School and Sandhurst Military College




1938 - Dene Court, Folkestone


From Jan 1938, 5 years in Egypt, latterly as decorated 8th Army Cipher Officer. 


Link to citation for MBE (1941-43)



Early 1940s, Egypt



Married Peggy Sproule 21 May 1941 in All Saints Cathedral, Cairo


Final years of WWII in France, Germany then Instow (Devon)



l: divorced and remarried later in 1940s, and lived in several places during career as a regular army officer (Royal Signals then General Staff), living in parents' home in Folkestone from early 70s and retiring there at 55 in 1973.






photo: Piers Fletcher

1993 Folkestone (75)


d 2007 (89)  in Ashford Hospital



Ethel Henrietta Florence (Em) Fletcher (Burton) 1890 - 1968 (78)


b 12 August 1890, Mangalore, SW India



Ethel (17) in Bedford 1907.  Her parents were still in India and we think there were some rels in Bedford, but no idea who!  Brother Charlie was at Bedford Grammar, and Ethel was probably at a Bedford school as well.  She said that she only saw her parents once during all her time at school in England.  Herne Bay features in some of her school girl pics - perhaps there were family / friends there as well ?



Ethel (18) in Herne Bay 1908


After her dad retired from the IMS in 1910, a  family home was established in Upper Norwood.  Future husband Rex (aka Jimmy) Fletcher used to visit as he was a friend (and fellow London Hospital medical student) of her brother Charlie.



1915 - Old Milton, Hampshire


m 15 August 1915 at St Mary Magdalene Church, Old Milton, Hampshire



Kashmir Expedition - May 1921 (the Fletchers were Based at Murree Hill / Rawalpindi)



Ethel - Studio photo - late 1930s?



1940s - "Mad Bess" Cottage


d 1968 (78) Folkestone, Kent



Georgiana Ernstin (Gem) Burton (Middlecoat) 1871 - 1953 (82)



24 December 1871, Great Malvern where her parents were on an extended furlough from India.  Her father Francis and grandfather George were officers in the Madras Army, and she was the only one of her siblings not to be born in India, though she was brought up there.


m. 25 April 1888 Pallavaram (suburb of Madras & hub of Madras Army), Tamil Nadu, India.



Gem (aged 36) at a Picnic in Bellary in 1907


l India mostly (except around 1901) before returning to UK permanently when John Adolphus retired in 1910.  Must have moved to Folkestone at some stage after the death of JAB in London in 1924.



"Gem" Burton (Middlecoat) 1920s


d 1953 (82) Folkestone




Gem's father, the awful Lt Col Francis Middlecoat

1839 - 1922 (83)



Gem's mother, the suffering Mary Middlecoat (Locke) (1850 - 1928 (78)) in 1912



Gem Burton's copy of the Madras Cookery (Pocket) Book by "An Old Lady Resident", originally published in 1874 and by 1901 into its 5th edition.  200 + receipts (sic) for English and Indian food (the latter woven around Crosse and Blackwell's Genuine India Curry Powder).



We have traced the Middlecoats back to CornwallNicholas Middlecoat jnr (1752 - 1844 (92)) and his dad Nicholas snr (1718 - 1801 (83)) came from Tregony, near Truro.  Further back still, Dr George Demonfryart was Mayor of Bodmin in 1700,




Nicholas Middlecoat  Jnr was an interesting rogue and political fixer in the dying days of rotten boroughs (and in fact died at the age of 92, after the death of the boroughs).


Nicholas' jnr's son George (Capt George Middlecoat, b1802 and Georgiana's grandfather) was number 11 in a 12 children Cornish family, and escaped to be an officer in the Madras Artillery.  He married Susannah Palmer Hampton, granddaughter of Col Samuel Hampton  (first commandant of Fort William in Calcutta) in Madras in 1826.  He was one of the few men in these family pages to die relatively young (42) - of sunstroke.


George's son Francis Middlecoat (b in Hackney 1839 and not a nice guy), had a large family including Georgiana, and retired as a Madras Army Lt-Colonel in 1891 to live in London with wife and remaining family until his death in 1922 aged 83.  His unhappy wife, Mary Locke, whom he married in St George's Cathedral, Madras, in 1866, was the daughter of Samuel Richard Locke, a civil servant and magistrate who had married a Danish woman with a lot of Christian names who was 11 years' older than him.  The Dane died in India, the others all died back in the old country!  The Lockes had emerged from a Taunton brewing family in the mid 1700s.  



John Adolphus Burton's father was a writer (=clerk) called Charles Benjamin Burton who married Priscilla Burton (Webber).  His paternal grandfather was another John Adolphus Burton (married to Susanna) from Dublin.  John Adolphus Snr (who transited from Dublin labourer to the Madras Artillery) and all Charles' siblings had died by the time he was 6, and Charles was brought up as an only child by his widowed native mother.


Priscilla Webber's father, Henry Webber, was the illegitimate son of Maj Gen Henry Webber  who hailed from Braunton / Barnstaple in North Devon.  We have traced his ancestry back a long long way - ironic as he is the only known bastard in the family!



Surgeon Lt-Col John Adolphus Burton LRCS&P Edin 1854 - 1924 (69)



Surgeon Major J A Burton c1900 aged 46


b Madras 10 December 1854 & educated there


Attended Doveton College for Anglo Indian boys (Madras).


LRCS & LRCP (Medical degrees) Edinburgh 1879


m. 25 April 1888 Pallavaram (suburb of Madras & hub of Madras Army), Tamil Nadu, India.


Officer in the Indian Medical Service (IMS) from 2 October 1880.  Served in various places in British India (which then included Burma and Pakistan) until retiring aged 56 in December 1910 with the rank of Lt Col.  Awarded China Medal 1900.


Returned to UK with wife and 3 adult children in 1910 to live in SE London.  Rejoined British Army for war service 1914-16 and ran a rehab hospital for Indian troops in Barton-on-Sea.


A lovely man with a gentle sense of humour.





d 1 January 1924 (69) in Wallington, London


Link to obituary in BMJ - a nice guy and a "real gent".



Dr Frank Rex (Rex then Jim) Fletcher MD MRCP 1890 - 1974 (84)


b 9 January 1890 Folkestone, Kent



FRF and sisters Gwen and Doris 1890s


Dover College School - First XV, and shooting team which won the Ashburton Shield.


MB BS 1913 London Hospital Medical College.  Whilst a student he became London Hospitals' Heavyweight Boxing Champion. 


m 15 August 1915 at St Mary Magdalene Church, Old Milton, Hampshire




Durban Swimming Pool - October 1917 - on the way to Mesopotamia


RAMC doctor during WWI, firstly as Medical Officer in UK then with River Sick Convoys in Mesopotamia (Iraq) in 1917, followed in 1919 by Clifden in the Hill Station of Murree (nr Rawalpindi) with Ethel and Michael to 1923.



Home at Clifden, Murree Hills (Rawalpindi) - Aug 1922


Then two spells in Sierra Leone between 1925 and 1928.  During this time he also returned to London Hospital and undertook a doctorate (MD + MRCP 1928).  "Retired" from RAMC as a Major in 1931. 



3 generations at Folkestone Beach c1928

Elizabeth (Procter) Ethel (Burton) Frank Edward Frank Rex and young Michael




Late 1930s, Folkestone doctor


l: back in civilian Folkestone from early 1930s where he was a G P then consultant general physician until retirement in 1956, except for WWII which he spent back with the RAMC in British Hospitals in France, England, Egypt and Gambia.  After retiring from National Health Service in 1956, he worked for Pfizer Ltd until 1962.


More about his RAMC career.



c1940 (50) in Cairo as a Lt Colonel, RAMC



d 18 May 1974 (84) Folkestone, Kent





Frank Edward Fletcher 1864 - 1946 (82)



b  28 February 1864 in Oxenhope (West Yorkshire), where his dad John Fletcher (1823 - 1894 (71)) had risen from a very lowly woolcomber family to become a plumber & fitter, then later moved to Scarborough to be an ironmonger.  Frank, number 6 of 14 or 15 children,  helped his dad as apprentice plumber (Oxenhope) then ironmonger (Scarborough), but his real passion was organ playing, and lots of study and practice was rewarded when in 1886 (aged 22) he was appointed Organist and Choirmaster at Christchurch, Folkestone,  Kent.


m 24 April 1889  in the Queen Street Wesleyan Chapel of his home town Scarborough.



c1913 Frank Rex, Frank Edward Fletcher, Jack,

Doris, Elizabeth Fletcher (Procter), Hugh, Gwen

in Folkestone


Folkestone was the major embarkation port for troops leaving for the hell of the trenches in France in WWI, many of them stationed beforehand at the huge Napoleonic war Shorncliffe Garrison just up the road from where Peggy Fletcher later lived.


The troops used to march down the steep hill in Folkestone from the Leas to the harbour (now called Remembrance Hill), and the unwounded survivors later marched back again - as others did during the Dunkerque evacuation only a quarter of a century later.


Frank Edward's life revolved around his family, his church and the Folkestone Philharmonic Society, and it is said that this gentle man never recovered after the church (Christchurch, Folkestone) was hit and destroyed by a German bomb on Sunday 17 May 1942.  The church tower has been restored as a memorial.



Folkestone had also been a victim of bombing in WW I on May 25 1917.


d 1946 (82)




Shaw Lane (Oxenhope) - Brooksmeeting Mill & Coldwell (in middle distance) were Fletcher Country in the mid 1800s, but none remained in 2009 (or even 1909)!



Elizabeth Stringer Fletcher (Procter) 1865 - 1953 (88)




Elizabeth Fletcher (Procter) - 1890s


b 26 December 1865 in Scarborough - her mother's maiden name was Dobson, and her maternal grandmother was a Stringer - we have traced back a further 3 generations of Stringers in Scarborough, and those who were direct ancestors were cordwainers.


l  Brought up living over parents' large drapers' shop at 108 Westborough (Scarborough's main shopping drag) where the building remains in a well preserved state (see below right)  surrounded by worse-than-bland late c20 shopping centre "architecture".


m Frank Edward, 24 April 1889  in the Wesleyan Chapel, Queen Street, Scarborough.  Frank's father John Fletcher's ironmonger shop was in North Street, just round the corner from the Joseph Procter drapery shop. 


l After the marriage they moved to Folkestone for the rest of their lives. 



September 1917 - Ethel, Elizabeth, Jimmy,

Gwen (Jimmy's sister)



Elizabeth Fletcher (Procter) & great grandson

Adrian Fletcher late 1940s


d  near Folkestone in 1953 (88).


Think she was someone very special as well!






Barnard Castle - Grave of Mary Procter (d1795)

Adrian's 4xGrt grandmother


The Procters descended from a farmer in Staindrop near Barnard Castle (Robert - early 1700s) ...



... who begat another farmer Robert, who begat a Chemyst (Joseph) in Barnard Castle (husband of the above tombed Mary), who begat another chemyst (Robert) who ended up dying early in a slum in Walmgate (York), who begat a very successful draper (Joseph) in Scarborough who had a daughter named Elizabeth (left) who married an ironmonger turned music professor called Frank Edward Fletcher (Adrian's great-grandfather). 



Distant Left - Shop front at 108 Westborough, the Procter shop & home in Scarborough c1900 and below - the same facade in 2011.