First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Ernest SCHOFIELD (1877–1916)

Ernest Schofield appears to have been born Ernest Land at the Victoria Foundry, Wakefield in 1877 and was privately baptised by St Michael's Church, Wakefield on 3 May 1877.

He was the son of George Henry Land and his wife Mary Ann. His father died in Wakefield at the age of 26 near the beginning of 1878.

On 10 May 1879 at West Parade Parish Chapel in Wakefield, Ernest's mother Mrs Mary Ann Land (born in Wakefield in 1855) married John Alfred Schofield (born in Wakefield in 1848/9): they were both living at Alverthorpe near Wakefield when they married. They had three more children, the first born soon after the wedding, who were Ernest's half-siblings:

  • Jane Elizabeth Schofield (born in Wakefield in 1879, but not baptised at Alverthorpe until 7 September 1884)
  • Thomas Alfred Schofield (born in Wakefield in 1881, but not baptised at Alverthorpe until 7 September 1884)
  • Eliza Letitia Schofield (born in Clerkenwell, London in 1883 and baptised at Alverthorpe on 7 September 1884).

At the time of the 1881 census Ernest (3) was living near Wakefield at Oxford Street, Belle Vue, Sandal Magna with his stepfather John Schofield (30), described as an unemployed cabinet maker, his mother Mary Ann (25), and his half-sister Jane (1).

The family evidently came down south soon after the census, perhaps looking for work, as in 1883 their youngest child was born in Clerkenwell in London. They were back at Alvethorpe in Wakefield the following year.

Ernest’s stepfather John Alfred Schofield died at Alverthorpe at the age of 41 in the fourth quarter of 1889.

By the time of the 1891 census Ernest (13), was already working as an assistant at a printing works, and was living st Scarborough Street in Alverthorpe with his widowed mother Mary Ann (35), who was working as a charwoman, and his half-siblings Jane (11), Thomas (10), and Eliza (7). A young female mill-hand was also lodging with them.

By the time of the 1901 census Ernest (23) was a printer’s compositor, living at 1 Hanover Street, Wakefield with his mother Mary Ann (45), who no longer went out to work, probably because all four of her children were now in employment: Jane (21) was a milliner, Thomas (20) was a butcher’s shop assistant, and Eliza (17) was a wool winder.

Two of Ernest's three half-siblings were married before the next census:

  • On 24 October 1904 at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel at Westgate End, Wakefield, Thomas Alfred Schofield, who was a master butcher still living with his mother at 1 Hanover Street, married Rowena Netherwood;
  • On 13 July 1907 at West Parade Chapel in Wakefield, Eliza Letitia Schofield married Francis William Eden Cotton.

Shortly after the census, Ernest’s mother moved to the Oxford area, and from 1903 Ernest worked in the Bible Composing Room of Oxford University Press, where (according to his obituary) he was known as “Sunny Jim” because of his disposition. He was a member of the Clarendon Press Musical Society and the Y.M. Glee Club, and of the Wesleyan Choir in Headington.

OUP staff in c.1914Oxford University Press printer compositors just before the First World War.
Ernest Schofield is likely to be in this group


By 1911 Ernest (33), who was still unmarried and described as a printer compositor, was living with his mother Mary Ann (55) in Bateman Street (then called East Street), which had just become part of the new parish of All Saints. Also with them on census night (probably just visiting) was Stanley Schofield (5), the son of Ernest’s half-brother Thomas, who was then still up in Wakefield. Ernest's unmarried sister Jane (31) was living at 72 Dewsbury Road, Wakefield with her aunt, Miss Letitia Schofield (64) and assisting her in her grocery business.

Ernest Schofield’s grave



Poppy Ernest Schofield volunteered to serve in the First World War, enlisting in the 4th Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 5034) on 4 June 1915. He trained in England in the 3rd Reserve Battalion, and was drafted to France as a Private in the 1st/4th Battalion on 22 May 1916.

He died from gastroenteritis (or pneumonia) in hospital in Rouen at the age of 39 on 20 December 1916.

He was buried at the St Sever Cemetery extension in Rouen (O. III. J. 9). The photograph of his grave (left) was kindly supplied by British War Graves. The inscription reads:

[Emblem of the OBLI]

20TH DECEMBER 1916. AGE 39


Administration (with Will) was granted in Oxford to his widowed mother, Mary Ann Schofield, on 12 July 1917. He left £115 8s. 11d.

Schofield on OUP war memorial

Ernest Schofield's is remembered on the Oxford University Press war memorial (right) and on the Roll of Honour of All Saints’ Church, Highfield

All Saints' board


Ernestís mother

Mrs Mary Ann Schofield lived at Ashwood Villas, Banks Avenue, Pontefract after the war. She died in Pontefract at the age of 65 in the first quarter of 1919.

Ernest’s half brother Thomas

Thomas Alfred Schofield (born 1881) originally remained in Wakefield with his wife Rowena when his mother moved to Headington. Their two children born there: Stanley Schofield (1905) and Stella Schofield (1909).

Thomas Schofield

At the time of the 1911 census Thomas was a butcher, living at 74 Dewsbury Road.

In 1915 he too moved his family down to Headington, where he spent the rest of his life running a much-loved shop at 24 New High Street that was known as Scho’s and “sold everything”. He continued to run this shop until the 1950s, when he retired to Old Road. He died in Oxford at the age of 75 in 1956.

On 9 June 1930 at St Andrew's Church, Headington, his son Stanley Schofield, who was a coach builder, married Maud Phyllis Pearson of Barton. They emigrated to Auckland, New Zealand in the 1950s.

Left: Thomas Alfred Schofield in 1923

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website