my personal space on the web

Arthurs Family

Arthurs Family


The Arthurs line as I know it begins in Gloucestershire and Warwickshire and ends in Hampshire, England. Now that an index to most of the 1911 UK census is available (seehere), I’ve been able to find an entry for the family in Chipping Norton district. We now know that the family did not move to Hampshire until sometime after that census.

  • — Thomas ARTHURS / Ann Pilley
  • —— Thomas ARTHURS / Jane Hale
  • ——— William ARTHURS / Sophia Jane Godson
  • ———— Muriel Winnifred ARTHURS / Roy Wilfred McArthur
  • ———— Leonard William ARTHURS / Emily Jane Burrows
  • ———— Frances Mildred ARTHURS / Archie Jackson
  • ———— Stephen Godson ARTHURS

William Arthurs

My great-grandparents, William and Sophia Jane Arthurs (nee Godson):

William Arthurs and Sophia Jane (Godson) Arthurs

My mother tells me that when she was quite young she used to write to her grandmother, Sophia Jane Arthurs, in England.

Muriel Winnifred Arthurs

My mother has told me that her mother, Muriel Winnifred Arthurs, had a somewhat unhappy childhood and that Muriel’s father, William, may have been a harsh disciplinarian. It’s really hard to know where the truth lies as a child may have a completely different view of the way they were raised. My grandmother met my Canadian grandfather, Roy Wilfred McArthur, towards the end of World War I. I assume that Muriel kept in touch with her family in England, but, sadly, she never returned.

I believe this may have been where William and Sophia lived (perhaps in a small house at the back of the main house). Galley Hill Farm near Selborne seems to have been the home of their daughter Frances Mildred Arthurs and her husband, Archie Jackson:

Galley Hill Farm

My grandmother, Muriel Winnifred McArthur (nee Arthurs), in her 20s…

…and later in life:

I know also that William Arthurs was a postmaster and part-time Congregationalist minister. He was born circa 1868 in or near Longborough, Gloucestershire and died 19 Aug 1951 in Alton, Hampshire (the address is given as 39A Anstey Road), but he was probably a resident of Selborne.

Sophia Jane Godson

My great-grandmother, Sophia Jane Arthurs (née Godson) was born in Brailes, Warwickshire and died at “The Willows, Galley Hill Farm”, Selborne, 9 July 1943. Her death was reported by her daughter, Frances Mildred Arthurs.

William and Sophia’s marriage on 14 May 1894 was registered in the Chipping Norton district.

William, Sophia and their children must have lived for a time in Blackmoor. The registration of my grandmother’s 16 July 1919 marriage to Roy Wilfred McArthur indicates they were married at St. Matthew’s Church, Blackmoor and that Muriel’s residence was the Blackmoor Post Office.

The witnesses included Muriel’s sister, Frances Mildred Arthurs, but I cannot make out the name of the second witness, who may very well have been a soldier with Roy’s regiment. If I could discern the surname, I could at least do a lookup of the WWI Candian Expeditionary Forces records Here’s an excerpt from the registration; if you can pick out the name of the second person, please let me know. Upon further reflection, I think it’s quite possible that the signature is that of a Godson:

My mother’s father, Roy Wilfred McArthur, was a Canadian soldier stationed at Whitby Camp. Roy was born at Oro Station in Oro Township, Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada, but the family moved to the area near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan just before the turn of the century. There is a family story that suggests that grandpa Roy’s father, Samuel McArthur, was quite adept at raising horses, and that a jealous competitor may have poisoned all of them. It was at this point that Samuel may have decided to uproot the family and start over out West.

Oddly enough, my paternal grandmother was also born in Oro Township at Hawkestone, only a few miles from the birthplace of my maternal grandfather.

The first of my grandparents’ children was my aunt, Mildred, no doubt named after my grandmother’s sister, Frances Mildred. Another of my uncles was named Leonard, again probably after one of my grandmother’s brothers.

Galley Hill Farm

In the late 1970s, I visited “Galley Hill Farm” just outside Selborne, Hampshire and stayed with the Jackson family. The man who opened the door when I arrived was Archie Jackson, the husband of the late Frances Mildred Arthurs. Archie’s son and daughter-in-law were wonderful hosts and took me on a great excursion around the countryside. I remember place names such as Upper and Lower Slaughter, so I assume we drove quite a distance up into the area where the family had once lived. I really need to thank Archie’s daughter-in-law, who is still alive. I also recall meeting my great-uncle, Leonard William Arthurs and took a photograph of him, his wife, Emily Jane (née Burrows) and Arthur Jackson (Frances Muriel’s son). I recognized Leonard instantly as a brother of my grandmother’s:

If someone who is studying this family can explain their move from the Long Compton area to Hampshire, I’d greatly appreciate hearing from them.

A view of Long Compton. My grandmother, Muriel Winnifred Arthurs, was born in or very near Long Compton 18 Dec 1895:

More details to follow…

1911 UK Census

Schedule type Last names First names Sex Birth year Age in 1911 District/other County/other
HOUSEHOLD ARTHURS WILLIAM M 1869 42 Chipping Norton Oxfordshire

Mystery Postcard

In February of 2006, I received an email from a very kind lady whose mother used to run an antiques shop in Alton, Hampshire. She managed to find me on the Internet after coming into possession of the following postcard, which she later mailed to me:

The postcard is dated 23rd May 1918 BIRMINGHAM 3pm, was written in a kind of purple pencil and was addressed to Mrs Arthurs, Blackmoor, East Liss, Hants. It says:

Dear Mother

Just a card to let you know that we have arrived back from our holiday which we enjoyed very much. I wish we could have had a bit longer but still we must be thankful.

Love from Len and Violet

The photo on the front of the card is of an entrance to the church in Long Compton, and also includes a cobblers shop over a gateway. The picture has a thatched roof with old stone walls. Under the archway there is an old man who is the cobbler carrying a pair of boots. Credit for the photo was given to Percy Simms, 22 High Street, Chipping Norton.

Stephen Godson Arthurs

From a Spokane, Washington, USA newspaper, July 4, 1924

This is an account of the death of my grandmother’s youngest brother, Stephen Godson Arthurs; his name was misreported as Arthur Stevenson, but his death certificate correctly identifies him. I had a very difficult time tracking him down. There had been some family stories that he had been killed in a motorcycle accident, but no one knew where. It wasn’t until a Godson researcher found him via a research site developed by the Mormons ( that I learned of the details of his death. Here is a very recent quote from the funeral home that is still doing business in Spokane, Washington:

Stephen Godson Arthur, born April 6, 1901 in England, Father William Arthur of England, mother Sophia Jane Godson of England. He was a laborer-baker. The bill was rendered to Mrs. Muriel McArthur, Briercrest, Saskatchewan, Canada Hopefully this will help. The records are very sketchy from back in those days.



Arthur Stevenson, age 25, crushed by his truck when brakes failed to hold.

Caught between his truck and a barn when the brakes became released yesterday Arthur Stevenson, age 25, employed at a ranch south of the city limits on the Marshall road, was crushed to death before fellow workmen could rescue him.

Stevenson has been working but two weeks for Paul Paulos, proprietor of the Athens bakery. He was driving the truck for the hog ranch, south of the city.

Fellow workmen heard the crash and found that Stevenson was caught between an upright on the truck and the side of the barn. His chest was so badly crushed that he was dead when he was removed.

Engine Left Running

Coroner Baker, Stewart Dare of the emergency hospital and Deputy Sheriffs McEwen and Wilch investigated. They believe Stevenson had set the brakes and left the engine running when he opened the gate. The car ran down the hill and crushed him.

Stevenson is believe to be a Canadian from the province of Saskatchewan, according to Officer McEwen. The body is at Smith’s.

I’m told by staff at the funeral company that the bill for the company’s services was sent to Stephen’s sister, my grandmother, Muriel Winnifred Arthurs. I also know that my grandparents didn’t have two nickels to rub together.

Written by Doug

January 24th, 2012 at 7:03 pm