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, Warwickshire 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, near Griffithstown, Monmouthshire, with their first daughter Sarah (five 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 there (including Hubert himself, who was 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, 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, Oxford, 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, his brother Jonathan (16), and 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, and forty years his junior).

At the time of the 1911 census Hubert (24) was boarding at Seven Sisters, Glamorgan and working as a coal miner hewer. Meanwhile his father Henry (68), now a pensioner, was living with his new wife Constance (28) and just one of his children, Arthur Joseph (28), who was exactly the same age as his stepmother and was working as a coal porter.

 

Soon after the 1911 census Hubert’s father and new young stepmother moved up to Headington: they lived at 121 London Road (now Headington Food 'n' Wine). This was then numbered 8 Westbourne Terrace or 43 London Road, and was in St Andrew’s parish. The photograph below shows Westbourne Terrace to the west of Bury Knowle Park when it was a row of homes rather than shops.

Westbourne Terrace

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

  • Henry Hazell Langham (born at 121 London Road on 19 September 1913 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 12 October 1913)
  • Dorothy Constance Langham (born at 121 London Road on 24 September 1920 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 17 October 1920).

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

Poppy In the First World War Hubert Langham enlisted at Neath as a volunteer on 24 December 1915 and served as a gunner in the “B” Battery, 121st Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery (Service No. 4011). He was transferred to the Cheltenham V.A.D. Hospital after the Armistice and died of wounds there on 1 December 1918.

Grave of Hubert Langham

 

 

He was buried at Osney Cemetery, probably because he grew up in St Frideswide’s parish. The photograph of his grave (left) was taken in 2010. The inscription 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]

 

He is remembered on the roll of honour of St Andrew’s Church in Old Headington.

Frederick Peter Peverell Hazell, the brother of Hubert Langham’s stepmother, probably also lodged with the Langhams at 121 London Road. He too was killed in the First World War, and is remembered 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 had by the early 1920s moved into a neighbouring house at 113 London Road (the former 4 Westbourne Terrace or 35 London Road), and he remained there until his death at the age of 95 in April 1943.
  • Mrs Constance Charlotte Langham is listed at that house from 1945 to 1954. She died in the Abingdon registration district at the age of 83 near the beginning of 1966.
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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