First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Jesse LOUCH (1886–1917)

This man does not appear on the sparse list on the war memorial in St Andrew's Church, possibly because he had moved to Charlbury shortly before his death. He is included here because he was very much a Headington man

Jesse Louch

Jesse Louch was born in Headington in 1887, the son of William Louch (born in Old Headington in 1851 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 8 June) and his second wife Ellen Gardiner (born in New Headington in 1854 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 7 June).

Jesse’s father William Louch married his first wife Sophia Fitchett at St Andrew’s Church on 10 October 1875. They do not appear to have had any children, and after nineteen months of marriage Sophia (27) died and was buried in St Andrew’s churchyard on 26 May 1877.

On 27 December 1879 at St Andrew’s Church, Jesse’s father married his second wife, the widow Mrs Ellen Soanes, née Gardiner. Ellen, the illegitimate daughter of Anne Gardiner, had married Thomas Arnott Soanes at St Andrew’s Church on 6 June 1876, and so already had one child, who was Jesse's stepbrother:

  • William Soanes (born in New Headington in 1876 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 8 November); later known as William Louch.

Ellen’s first husband committed suicide in the garden of their New High Street house just four months after his son’s birth. William Louch brought up William Soanes and he took the surname Louch.

William and Ellen Louch then had another eight children together:

  • Arthur Henry Louch (born at Shotover/Wheatley on 18 September 1880 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 31 October)
  • George Francis Louch (born in Headington on 19 December 1884 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 25 January 1885)
  • Jesse Louch (born in Headington on 20 November 1886 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 30 January 1887)
  • Henry Louch, known as Harry (born in Headington on 18 September 1888 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 25 October;
    died in the Radcliffe Infirmary at the age of 12 and buried in Headington Cemetery on 22 December 1900
  • Harold James Louch (born in Headington on 18 October 1890 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 21 December)
  • Frank Louch (born in Headington on 29 November 1892 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 5 February 1893);
    died aged eleven months and buried at Headington Cemetery on 19 October 1893
  • Ellen Elizabeth Louch (born in Headington on 23 July 1895 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 13 September;
    died in New Headington aged two months and buried at Headington Cemetery on 21 September 1895
  • James Henry Louch (born in Headington on 24 August 1896 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 4 October);
    ;died in New Headington aged 10 weeks and buried in Headington Cemetery on 11 November 1896.

Jesse’s father was a carpenter, and he and his second wife Ellen evidently began their married life in Wheatley, where their first child Arthur was born in September 1880. The 1881 census shows the family of three at West Field Cottages, Wheatley, plus Ellen’s young boy by her first marriage. Jesse was born in 1887.

Jesse first appears in the census in 1891, at the age of three. He was already at school (almost certainly New Headington Infant School in Perrin Street) and was living at 36 New High Street with his parents and brothers Arthur (10), George (6), and Henry (2), as well as his half-brother. William (Soanes) Louch (14), who was working as an agricultural labourer.

Four more children were born before the next census, but only Harold James survived. In addition Jesse's older brother Henry died at the age of 12 at the end of 1900.

By 1901 the family had moved to Old Headington and were living at Stafford Terrace. Jesse (14) was now a painter’s apprentice; his older brothers Arthur (20) and George (15) were working respectively as a bricklayer’s labourer and a carter on a farm; and his younger brother Harold (11) was still at school.

6 St Andrew’s Lane

By 1911 the family were living in Church Lane in the listed building now known as Pumpkin Cottage at 6 St Andrew’s Lane (left)

Jesse’s father (59) was still a carpenter and his mother Ellen (57) worked at home as a laundress. Jesse (24) was a house-painter and Harold (20) was a general labourer. His brothers Arthur and George had left home to get married and already had children of their own.

Below: 6 St Andrew's Lane in c.1930, with Jesse's mother Ellen Louch standing outside

6 St Andrew's Lane

Jesse Louch does not appear to have married.

Poppy In the First World War, Jesse Louch served as a Private in the 1st/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 202367). He was killed in action in Belgium at the age of 31 on 16 August 1917.

Jesse Louch on Tyne Cot Memorial

He is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium (Panel 96 to 98). The photograph of his name on that memorial (left) was kindly supplied by British War Graves.

He is not listed on the roll of honour of St Andrew’s Church, possibly because (according to the Oxford Journal Illustrated) he was based in Charlbury at the time of his death.


St Andrew's memorial board

Jesse’s parents
  • William Louch died at 6 St Andrew’s Lane at the age of 75 and was buried in Headington Cemetery on 6 February 1926.
  • Mrs Ellen Louch died at 6 St Andrew’s Lane nine years later at the age of 80, and was buried with her husband on 8 January 1935.
Jesse’s brothers
  • Arthur Henry Louch (born 1880) worked as a plasterer. He married Ruby Herbert at St Clement’s Church on 3 June 1905. Their three children were born in St Clement’s and baptised at that church: Jessie Louch on 24 June 206; Nancy Kathleen Louch on 29 December 1908; and Philip Louch on 24 March 1912. Their fourth child, Helen G. Louch, was born in the Headington registration district in the fourth quarter of 1914.
  • George Francis Louch (born 1884) married Annie Elizabeth Whiting in the Headington registration district in the first quarter of 1910, and at the time of the 1911 census he was working as a cowman and living at Noke near Islip with his wife and their first child. Their four children were Mabel Louch (born in Headington in May 1910), George W. Louch (born Thame district 1911), Winifred A. Louch (born Headington district 1913), and Dorothy M. Louch (born Headington district 1916).

See also

Back to St Andrew’s Church, Old Headington roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website