First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Richard Alfred BRIDGEWATER (1878/9–1915)

Richard Bridgewater

Richard Alfred Bridgewater or Bridgwater was born in Oxford in 1878/9, the son of Richard White Bridgewater (born in Oxford in 1838) and Eliza Pope (born in Oldbury in 1840). He was the third child in the family to be given his father’s name, following the death of two older brothers also baptised as Richard. He was sometimes known as Alfred, probably to distinguish him from his father and grandfather.

His parents were married in London at St James's Church, Clerkenwell on 19 August 1860. They had fifteen children, twelve of whom died in infancy:

  • Alice Eliza Pope Bridgewater (born in Clerkenwell, London in 1861 and baptised at St Giles's Church on 1 September when the family was living at Observatory Street)
  • Mary Elizabeth Bridgewater (born in Rectory Road, Oxford in 1862 and baptised at St James's Church in Cowley on 2 November); died in Clerkenwell in the second quarter of 1863
  • Richard Charles Bridgewater (born in Clerkenwell, London in 1863 and baptised at St James's Church, Cowley on 8 November when the family was back in Rectory Road); died at Rectory Road at the age of five months according to the register, but in fact he was probably nearer eight months, and buried in Cowley St James churchyard on 24 June 1864
  • Ellen Eliza Bridgewater (born at Church Street (probably Marston Street) in 1864 and baptised at St James's Church in Cowley on 13 August); died at Church Street in infancy, and buried in its churchyard on 31 August 1864
  • Clara Bridgewater (born in Marston Street in 1865 and baptised at St James's Church in Cowley on 5 July); died a few days after her birth at “Church Street, New Cowley” (presumably Marston Street) and buried in that churchyard on 13 July 1865
  • Twin: Henry Andrew Lewley Armstrong Bridgewater (born at Rectory Road in 1867 and baptised at St James's Church in Cowley on 13 February); died at Rectory Road aged 4 weeks and buried at that churchyard on 17 March 1867
  • Twin: Agnes Bridgewater (born at 3 Iffley Terrace, Oxford in 1867 and baptised at St James's Church, Cowley on 4 March)
  • Rosa Bridgewater (born at Stockmore Street in 1868 and baptised at St James's Church in Cowley on 9 March);
    died at Stockmore Street and buried at Cowley St James churchyard on 31 May 1868)
  • Richard Frederick Bridgewater (born at Stockmore Street in 1870 and baptised at SS Mary & John Church on 29 March);
    died at Stockmore Street aged twelve weeks and buried at St James's churchyard in Cowley on 4 May 1870
  • Mary Ann Eliza Bridgewater (born in east Oxford, probably Alma Place, in 1871);
    died at Rectory Road aged nine weeks and buried at St James's Church in Cowley on 15 April 1871
  • [It seems likely that there were two more children in his eight-year gap, as otherwise it is not possible to account for two of the fifteen children declared on the 1911 census form. One of them may have been Edmund Stanley, born in the Headington registration district in 1878 and died shortly after birth
  • Richard Alfred Bridgewater (born in east Oxford in 1878/9, reg. first quarter of 1879)
  • Sarah Eliza Bridgewater (born in east Oxford in 1880);
    died at the Cowley Road aged four months and buried at St James's churchyard in Cowley on 11 October 1880. She probably died at her grandparents’ house, and a note was added in the register saying: “New Act 1880, Richard White Bridgewater had charge of the funeral”
  • Jessie Eliza Bridgewater (born at 19 Rectory Road, Oxford in 1882 and baptised at SS Mary & John Church on 30 April);
    died aged 22 months and buried at St James's churchyard in Cowley on 26 January 1884.

Richard’s father Richard White Bridgewater was a tailor from Oxford who went to work in Clerkenwell in London before his marriage. The Clerkenwell connection is probably explained by the fact that Richard’s uncle William Bridgewater (born in Oxford in 1815) was a tailor whose second marriage was to a girl from Lambeth, and they lived in Berwick Street, Clerkenwell.

Richard's parents began their married life in Clerkenwell, and the 1861 census shows them living there at 30 Garnault Place shortly before the birth of their first child.

Richard and his wife were living in Rectory Road, Oxford (then named Pembroke Street) when their second child was born near the end of 1863. They continued to spend some time in Clerkenwell, as their third child was born there in 1863 but baptised from Rectory Road.

By the end of 1864 they had settled permanently in East Oxford, but had a number of different addresses there: they were in Marston Street in 1865, back in Rectory Road in 1867, and in Stockmore Street from 1868 to 1870. Until SS Mary & John Church opened in East Oxford in 1870, east Oxford was in the parish of St James’s Church in Cowley; so eight of their children were baptised at that church, and nine buried there.

By the time of the 1871 census Richard's parents had moved to Alma Place off the Cowley Road with their three surviving children: Alice (9), Agnes (4) and Mary Ann Eliza (2 months). In the intervening ten years seven of their children had died in infancy, and baby Mary was to die too in a matter of a few days. They appear to have moved back to Rectory Road immediately after that census, as their daughter Mary Ann died there on 15 April.

Richard Alfred Bridgewater was born near the beginning of 1879, the only son to survive infancy.

At the time of the 1881 census, Richard (2) was living at 19 Rectory Road with his parents and his two surviving siblings Alice (19), who was a milliner and Agnes (14), who was at school.

At the time of the 1891 census Richard (12) was at school and living at 57 St Mary’s Road with his parents and sisters: Alice (29) was still a milliner, and Agnes (24) was working as a shop assistant.

Richard’s grandfather, Richard White Bridgewater (who had the same name as Richard’s father and was also an East Oxford tailor) lived in the Cowley Road with his wife Eliza. Eliza died at the age of 78 in 1894 and Richard at the age of 80 in 1896: both are buried in Cowley St John churchyard.

On 1 July 1897 when he was 18 Richard enlisted in the Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Royal Berkshire) Regiment (regt no. 5061) under the name of Alfred Bridgewater. It is likely that he was abroad with the army at the time of the 1901 census.

Meanwhile in 1901 his family had moved yet again and were now at 42 East Avenue. His father was for the first time working as a tailor on his own account, at home, implying that he had hitherto been working at his father’s establishment. Richard's sisters Alice (39) and Agnes (34), both ecclesiastical embroiderers, were still living at home.

Richard's unmarried sister Agnes Bridgwater died at 42 East Avenue at the age of 36 in 1903 and was buried in Cowley St John churchyard on 4 March.

By 1906 Richard was a college servant, working for New College as a bicycle cleaner.

♥ On 17 December 1906 at St Clement’s Church in Oxford, Richard Alfred Bridgewater (27), who was still living at home at 42 East Avenue while working at New College, married Annie Eliza Blagrove (21). Annie, who was born in Oxford in 1885, was the daughter of the Headington waterworks inspector who lived in Reservoir Cottage at the top of Headington Hill. Richard's father was no longer a tailor but an assistant at the Hope Collection of the Bodleian Library.

The couple moved up to Piper Street (then called Cross Street) in Highfield parish. They had the following children:

  • Alfred Jesse Bridgewater (born at 3 Cross Street, New Headington on 17 November 1907 and baptised at St Clement’s Church on 22 December)
  • Samuel Richard Bridgewater, later known as Richard Samuel Bridgewater (born in Headington on 12 July 1909 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 1 August)
  • Agnes Annie Bridgewater (born in Headington in 1911 and baptised at All Saints’ Church there on 21 May)
  • Alice Evelyn Bridgewater (born in Headington in 1912 and baptised at All Saints’ Church there on 18 December);
    died at Lime Walk aged five months and buried at Headington Cemetery on 24 May 1913.

By the time of the 1911 census Richard (32) was living at a different address in Headington, 128 Lime Walk (then numbered 31) in Highfield parish, with his wife Annie (26) and their children Alfred (3), Richard (1) and Agnes (two months). He was still working as a college servant, and he recorded that he was a bicycle attendant. His children were now aged just 3, 1, and two months.

Meanwhile Richard’s parents in 1911 were living at yet another East Oxford address (13 Hurst Street) and his father (72) was still working at the Bodleian Library. They recorded on the census form the sad fact that of their fifteen children, only two were still alive: these were their unmarried daughter Alice Eliza Pope Bridgewater (49), who lived with them and worked as an ecclesiastical embroiderer; and Richard himself.

Poppy Richard Alfred Bridgewater was a volunteer in the First World War, and served as a Private in the Second Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 9409). He was killed in action in France at the age of 36 on 16 May 1915.

He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial (Panel 26) and on the roll of honour of All Saints’ Church, Highfield. As he worked at New College at the time he enlisted, he is also remembered with the college servants at the end of the list on the memorial on the wall of their chapel (below):

Bridgewater memorial in New College Chapel


All Saints' board

Richard’s widow
  • Mrs Annie Eliza Bridgewater moved to 24 Shelley Road in east Oxford soon after the war. She died in 1957 in Oxford.
Richard’s children
  • Alfred Jesse Bridgewater (born 1907) may be the Alfred G. Bridgewater who married Rose E. Weston in the Headington district in 1932: they had two daughters, both born in Oxford: Maureen R. Bridgewater in 1933 and Kathleen J. Bridgewater in 1947. Alfred Jesse Bridgewater died in Oxford in 1984.
  • Richard Samuel Bridgewater (born 1909) married Jessie K. A. Allaway in the Headington registration district in the second quarter of 1930, and their son John R. Bridgewater was born in 1931. Richard died in Oxford in 1985.
  • Agnes Annie Bridgewater (born 1911) married Leslie J. Wakelin in the Oxford registration district in the third quarter of 1934, and they lived at 50 Napier Road, Cowley. They had three children: Ann C. Wakelin (1937), Janet D. Wakelin (1938), and Roger A. Wakelin (1942).
Richard’s parents
  • Mrs Eliza Bridgewater died at the age of 77 in the second quarter of 1917.
  • Richard White Bridgewater died at the age of 90 in the third quarter of 1928.
Richard’s two surviving unmarried sisters
  • Alice Eliza Pope Bridgewater (born 1861) died in the Oxford registration district at the age of 85 (reg. first quarter of 1947).
  • Agnes Bridgewater (born 1866/7) died at the age of 36 and was buried at SS Mary & John churchyard on 4 March 1903. She was then living at 42 East Avenue.

See also

Back to All Saints’ Church, Highfield roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website