Sussex


How shall I write of Sussex, who have known
No other home? Who grew to love her sandy shores
Pebble-guarded, and rock-pool studded – where the turned rock
Yielded the slippery elver – sliding through hands, knees, feet,
Eluding capture – yet thrilling still.


Who climbed upon the rolling bare-backed Downs
Sheep-grazed, and so flower-studded; Tiny orchids,
The Sussex rampion, harebells, scabious, and the fragrant thyme.
The wooded Weald to the north, and south the moving sea, misty or sparkling,
Blending salt air and downland breeze.


The hayfields, full of flowers, were served by men;
And massive, patient horses, swishing their tails against the flies.
There were wet places still, where one caught newts
With tiny human hands; tadpoles and minute toads;
Where moorhens clucked and circled like clockwork toys.
There were kingcups then, hugely golden; iris and water-lilies,
Tall rushes at the edge of the deeper pool, where cattle drank.


We’d drive out to the woods, parking the car and picnicking
To hear the nightingales singing their hearts out
In the growing dusk, oblivious of their human audience.


How little now remains of all this largesse –
Only what can be caught in memory’s net –
To be passed on to those who come after
Who doubtless feel
Their elders probably exaggerate the joys of their lost youth.


It’s true that as the century draws near its end
Those who remember its early years can see
Each generation has less treasures left to hoard –
Unless, maybe, as this old century dies, the trend
Can be reversed, and the next return some of the riches
That have gone – a rebirth of the treasures of the past
Valued, at last, by a new century.

The LONG Collection of Newspaper and Magazine Cuttings (Part 1)

In the very first issue of Longshot, I extolled the virtues of newspapers as a fascinating source of information to family historians (Ref: “Family History From Old Newspapers.”; Longshot Vol 1 No.1, May 1992). It is generally, of course, the local papers which are of most value to the average researcher. Although they started during the first half of the 18th century, local news as such did not feature prominently until the final decade or so. Nevertheless, the value of these early local papers is often attached to the advertisements, including those of businesses and of sales, and notifications of bankruptcies.

The mass development of newspapers during the 19th and 20th centuries means they are a major source for local and family historians. Not only did they report local events in detail, but they consistently recorded births, marriages and deaths. Unfortunately, few local newspapers have been indexed which means in practice they are generally consulted only when the researcher has some prior knowledge of the event he is searching for. However, random searches can provide some of the most rewarding and exciting finds, and I can thoroughly recommend browsing through old newspapers to anyone who wishes to undertake some research but doesn’t have a clue where to start! But some words of warning: you need a lot of spare time, and if you’re the type who is easily distracted, you’ll need to discipline yourself – it is so easy to get completely absorbed by the paper’s contents, that the original objective – family history – is completely forgotten!

Several major developments during the 19th century boosted the growth of the popular press, most notably the repeal of stamp duty in 1855, increasing literacy, improved printing technology, the growth of railways and the electric telegraph. These changes meant that 19th century newspapers could offer their readers a more thorough and wide-ranging coverage of local and national news than their 18th century forebears. In order to sell the papers, news of crimes, sudden deaths in mysterious circumstances, fires, problems with sewage and anything out of the ordinary were reported in great detail to satisfy the curiosity of an eager public. Such sensationalism as does occur carries with it the obvious risk of exaggeration, so beware!

Where can you find old newspapers? All the large public libraries and county record offices hold collections of newspaper archives, but they are usually only available on microfilm in order to preserve the fragile originals. Unfortunately, this can create problems for the researcher because long use of microfilm tires the eyes, especially when confronted with the small type so commonly used during the last century. Apart from the local collections, there is the British Newspaper Library at Colindale, North London, which is the single largest collection of newspapers, with 500,000 volumes and 90,000 reels of microfilm.

During the last year, I have compiled a collection of Lin(d)field newspaper and magazine cuttings and have begun the task of indexing them, which I hope to complete fairly soon. Surprisingly enough, they date from as early as 1773 (and I must thank Rosemary Milton for finding all the very early ones). As part of this article, I have decided to reproduce some of the more interesting items.

Index of Lin(d)field Cuttings Collection (newspapers, magazines etc)

Criteria:

  1. # : reference number
  2. Title of publication, if known
  3. Date of publication, if known
  4. Title of entry, article etc, if any
  5. Brief description of contents (including names)

#1. Sussex Weekly Advertiser 27 Sept 1773

To be Let; Relates to the butcher’s shop occupied by Thomas Lindfield of Ditchling.

#2. Sussex Weekly Advertiser 29 Nov 1773

To be sold at auction, by Robert Hannington, Horsham Nov. 29, 1773.

The effects of a London tradesman are to be auctioned at a house belonging to Mr Linfield, the lower part of the Market House.

#3. Sussex Weekly Advertiser 16 April 1781

“Last Monday a remarkably fine ox, fatted by Sir Cecil Bishopp, of Parham Park, weighing near 190 stone was killed by Mr. Peter Lindfield, of Storrington.”

#4. Sussex Weekly Advertiser 23 March 1807

“Thomas Linfield, in the service of Messrs Chitty and Willard, brewers of this town (Lewes) was much bitten on one of his hands, by a dog supposed to be mad. The dog was of the coach kind, and had been brought from the neighbourhood of the metropolis by a horse-dealer. The animal died in the night, apparently in great agony. We sincerely hope this, like many other alarms of a similar nature, will terminate without serious effects.”

#5. Sussex Weekly Advertiser 30 March 1807

To be sold by auction. By LINFIELD and STANFORD.

“Twelve couple of well-bred hounds” to be auctioned at the King’s Head Inn, Cuckfield, the property of Isaac Sayers of Cuckfield.

#6. Worthing Gazette 29 Nov 1883

Sad death of a Tradesman’s son.

Report of inquest held at Worthing into the death of a man found in the Broadwater Brooks. William Linfield, Assistant Overseer, was summoned to help retrieve the body and subsequently appears as a witness at the inquest.

#7. Worthing Herald 1885

To be Sold by Auction by Messrs Piper & Son at the Town Hall, Worthing on July 27th 1885…

Various properties to be auctioned, including nurseries in East Worthing let to Mr AG Linfield, fruiterer, for 21 years from September 1884.

#8. Worthing Gazette 1 April 1886

The Telephone in Worthing

“To our enterprising young townsman, Mr F C Linfield, corn merchant, belongs the credit of having been the first to introduce the telephone into Worthing.” Mr Linfield proceeded to give the reporter a demonstration of the wonders of this new form of technology.

#9. Worthing Gazette August 1889

Fire in Chapel Road

Fire badly damages the Chapel Road premises of Frederick C Linfield, corn merchant.

#10. Worthing Gazette 20 July 1892

Death of Mr W Linfield

After a long illness, Mr William Linfield died at his residence in Lennox Road, aged 69. Born in Surrey, and originally a tailor by trade, he later became Collector of Rates under the Local Board. He was also Assistant Overseer of the parish of Broadwater.

#11. Worthing Gazette 27 July 1892

Funeral of the late Mr. Linfield

The funeral of Mr William Linfield took place at the Cemetery, South Farm Road.

#12. Worthing Intelligencer 23 December 1893

“We congratulate Mr Alderman Linfield upon his well-deserved promotion…” Frederick C. Linfield is congratulated on his election as Alderman of the borough of Worthing.

#13. Worthing Gazette 1903

Before the Bench – A Female Inebriate

“A garrulous visitor, Emily Frances Linfield, was again charged with being drunk…”

#14. Worthing Gazette 1903

A Troublesome Visitor

“A visitor, named Emily Frances Linfield, was charged with being drunk in Chatsworth Road… She was now ordered to pay 10s, or in default to undergo fourteen days’ imprisonment.”

#15. Worthing Gazette 1903

An Aged Lady’s Fatal Fall/Accusation against a Daughter/The Inquiry Adjourned

An inquest was held into the death of Mary Emma Linfield, aged 90, who came from Brighton to live in Worthing the previous October. Witnesses at her lodgings in Warwick Road claim to have heard her arguing with her daughter, Emily Frances Linfield, and that during the altercation she was heard to shout “take that” and her mother had fallen down. She had broken her leg, and one of the witnesses claimed she had told her that her daughter had done it. Mary Linfield died soon after, and the doctor who attended attributed death to bronchitis and heart failure, which was undoubtedly accelerated by the injury and by lying in bed. The inquiry was adjourned so that Emily Frances Linfield could be brought over from Lewes Prison.

#16. Worthing Gazette 1903

In the Coroner’s Court/An Old Lady’s Fall/Her daughter’s story of the occurrence.

Emily Frances Linfield gives her version of events on the night her mother broke her leg. Her mother had knocked her in the chest on the way to bed, and, being annoyed at this, Emily had jerked her with her elbow. Since her mother was very weak on her left leg, the jerk was sufficient to make her fall over. But they had not been quarrelling, and she had not said “take that” at any time.

The Coroner asked the jury to decide whether the fall was accidental or inflicted by assault. Another daughter of the deceased, who had been staying with her mother since the fall, was called in the hope that she could throw more light on the cause of the accident. She said that her mother had made no statement to her of any kind.

The Jury rejected the contradictory evidence of the landlady and her nephew, returning the verdict: “Death from heart failure and bronchitis, accelerated by the fall.”

#17. Worthing Gazette 1903

No Means of Subsistence

Emily Frances Linfield was charged with wandering about without any visible means of subsistence.

#18. Sussex Daily News 21 August 1908

Wedding at Chichester/ Mr A. Linfield and Miss L. Ballard

Wedding of Arthur George Linfield (junior), son of Mr AG Linfield of the Laurels, Chesswood Road, Worthing and Miss Lena Ballard, fourth daughter of Alderman A. Ballard of East Pallant, Chichester.

#19. Paper unknown date 1926 or 1927

Who’s Who Today/ Mr. F C Linfield

Brief biography of Frederick Caesar Linfield.

“Mr Linfield… was the member of Parliament for mid-Bedfordshire before the last General Election, at which he was opposed by a Conservative, although at the time he was out of the country as a member of the Parliamentary Commission to East Africa. Mr Linfield is strikingly young for his age, and was a particularly active member of the Commission, afterwards publishing a separate report of his own. He advocated the creation of a Board, National or Imperial in status, for the development of colonies that are not self-governing…”

#20. Worthing Gazette January 1933

A Glasshouse Pioneer/Mr and Mrs A G Linfield’s Golden Wedding

Golden Wedding celebration for A G Linfield and E M Linfield who were married on January 1 1883. Mr Linfield is one of the two surviving pioneers of the glasshouse industry in the district, having started with his first block of glasshouses 53 years ago, when a young man of 20.

#21. Worthing Gazette June 1938

Exemplary Public Servant/The Late Mr AG Linfield/Tributes at the Funeral

Funeral of AG Linfield (1859-1938). Includes list of family mourners and others. Also list of floral tributes.

#22. Worthing Gazette or West Sussex Gazette? June 1939

Former Mayor who became MP/Funeral of Mr F C Linfield

Funeral of F C Linfield (1861-1939), former Mayor of Worthing (1906-08) and Liberal MP (1922-24). Interment at Broadwater Cemetery. Includes list of mourners.

#24. Worthing Herald 9 March 1956

Death of a Church

The Methodist Church in Chapel Road is for sale. The first foundation stone was laid by Miss Linfield, daughter of Councillor F C Linfield, in August 1892.

#25. Evening Argus 27 Feb 1957

Church will give way to shops now

The future of the Methodist Church in Chapel Road has almost been settled. It has not yet been decided whether the church will be converted to shops or be pulled down and new property built.

#26. Paper unknown 1957 or 1958

Church sold in aid of another

The Methodist Church in Chapel Road is now being demolished. The money raised from its sale to Hall & Co Ltd is to be used towards the building of a new Methodist church at Offington Park.

#29. Worthing Gazette 1953

Death of Mrs EM Linfield

The death has occurred of Mrs EM Linfield (91), the widow of AG Linfield, a pioneer in glasshouse growing. Her son is Mr AG Linfield, head of the firm of AG Linfield Ltd, growers, of Chesswood nurseries, Thakeham.

#30. Worthing and West Sussex Growers Magazine Vol III 1957

Leading Growers and their Views

The interview is with AG Linfield, head of the firm of AG Linfield Ltd. Includes an interesting brief history of the business founded by his father in 1882, as well as information about his own interests and activities.

“Mr Linfield began work on his father’s nursery at an early age. One of his first memories is of standing on a market box to enable him to reach up to the packing bench to trim mushrooms during school holidays…”

#31. Worthing and West Sussex Growers Magazine Vol 1 No1 1955

Pioneers of growing under glass in the Worthing District, by HW Hollis

Reprint of an article which first appeared in 1929. This brief history of the early days of the Worthing glasshouse industry mentions AG Linfield, who erected his nurseries in Ham Road in the 1880s.

#32. Worthing Herald 21 December 1956

Linfields buy Sompting nurseries

The firm of AG Linfield (Sompting) Ltd have purchased Lyons Farm Nurseries at Sompting from H and A Pullen-Burry Ltd. The nurseries extend to some 140 acres, of which seven and a half are glasshouses.

#33. Worthing Herald or Gazette? 1959

Death of Mr WF Linfield at age of 68

Mr William Frederick Linfield has died at his home in Worthing. He was a younger brother of Mr AG Linfield, head of the large firm of growers, AG Linfield Ltd.

#34. Worthing Herald? November 1963

‘Aunty May’ and Husband Joe Celebrate Today

Golden Wedding of Evelyn May Linfield and Joe Page, who have been caretakers of the Storrington village hall for the past 47 years. May Linfield is a member of what is almost certain to be the oldest Storrington family; the family tree, carefully prepared by Mr. H. Stanford Smith is a remarkable document. Joe was one of the great’s in the history of the Storrington Cricket Club.

#35. Worthing Herald 9 October 1964

Linfields’ million pound company

A holding company with a capital of 1 million in 1 shares has been formed in connection with the AG Linfield group of companies. It is AG Linfield (Holdings) Ltd., a private company registered on September 21 .

#36. Worthing Herald 1967

The Queen Mother’s Visit

Visit of the Queen Mother to Gifford House, a home for disabled ex-Servicemen at Worthing. Several photographs also picture the home’s chairman, Mr AG Linfield.

#38. Worthing Herald or Gazette May 1969

Death of Mrs G. Linfield

Mrs Gwendoline Linfield, wife of Mr Arthur Linfield, chairman of AG Linfield Ltd., the market gardeners and growers, died on May 9. The Linfields were married in 1943 when the then Miss Gwendoline Brown was matron of Worthing Hospital.

#39. Worthing Herald or Gazette May 1969

Obituary notice for Gwendoline, beloved wife of Arthur Linfield. Funeral at Thakeham Church on May 15.

#41. Worthing Herald c 1970

Retiring: Mr AG Linfield, who has spent the best part of a lifetime in voluntary work for hospitals and the health service, gives up another appointment at the end of this month, that of the chairmanship of the West Sussex Health Executive Council.

Tributes were paid to Mr. Linfield’s work at the Chichester meeting of the executive council last week…

#42. West Sussex County Times 3 April 1970

One of the biggest specialist horticultural concerns in Europe

Starting in Worthing in 1882, AG Linfield Ltd have since become one of the largest specialist horticultural concerns in Europe, centred in Thakeham, with branches at Worthing, Ashington and Sompting…

#47. Worthing Herald January 1974

Knighthood for Arthur Linfield

Mr Arthur Linfield, Worthing born and head of AG Linfield Ltd., the big mushroom growing concern has become Sir Arthur with the conferring of the title Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in the New Year Honours List.

#49. West Sussex Gazette 24 January 1974

‘Fever year’ inspiration

Mr
Arthur George Linfield, of Oast House, Ashington, who was knighted in the New Year Honours, and who is the subject of Juliet Pannett’s drawing on this page, told the WSG it was the example of his father in the “fever year”… that inspired him to engage in social work.


Arthur George Linfield; drawing reproduced by
kind permission of Juliet Pannet

#51. National paper? Daily Express? 1974

The Queen knights the mushroom man: Perhaps the most unusual award in the New Year Honours List tucked away in the Royal Victorian Order section – is a knighthood for mushroom grower Arthur Linfield.

#52. West Sussex Gazette 25 April 1974 Death of Sir Arthur Linfield

Sir Arthur George Linfield, chairman of AG Linfield Ltd., a former West Sussex County Council member, and a Worthing magistrate, died at his home, the Oast House, Ashington, on Easter Sunday, aged 88.

#59. West Sussex Gazette August/Sept 1973

The Linfields of Clapham: Letter from Eric George Linfield of Saltford, Bristol – wondering whether any readers of the WSG may have memories of his grandfather George Linfield, who married Katherine Leach at Clapham in 1885.

#61. Worthing Gazette or Herald May 1974

Sir Arthur – ‘Man of Achievement': Representatives of the Queen and the Duke of Norfolk attended the memorial service on Tuesday (April 30) at St. Paul’s Church, Worthing, for Sir Arthur Linfield, KCVO, CBE, JP, who died on Easter Sunday, aged 88.

#63. Worthing Gazette 1 May 1974

Methold House to open in Autumn: Worthing’s new Methold House will open its doors officially in October… Mr Robert Cushing, presiding, paid tribute to the council’s president (Worthing and District Council of Social Services), Sir Arthur Linfield, who died on Easter Day.

“Since he became our president Sir Arthur took a continuing interest in all our affairs,’ said Mr Cushing. ‘He was one of nature’s gentlemen. He was a quiet, unassuming man and his Christian ideals were reflected in everything he did and we are all going to be that much poorer without him.”

I hope to continue this review of our newspaper and magazine archive in the next issue of Longshot. In the meantime, I would like to appeal to all our members to please send in any cuttings they may have to further enrich our collection. One of the stated objectives of our society when it was originally set up in February 1992 is “to collect and publish all records relating to the names Linfield and Lindfield, and to make them available to all members.” Newpapers and magazines are very important documents for purposes of family and local history. Although they are printed, they are still primary sources and are just as valuable as parish registers and census returns. So please send me whatever you have (copies will do), so that we can build up a truly comprehensive collection of printed source material.

Further reading: Newspapers and Local History by Michael Murphy (British Association for Local History, 1991).

Links

The LONG Collection of Newspaper and Magazine Cuttings (Part 2)

Miscellany (1)

Reflections from the President June 1996

Our journal Longshot represents the most essential and interesting form of communication open to us at present. It enables us to expand our Lin(d)field horizon so that we can appreciate the significance of all the branches of the tree. As Professor Steve Jones is showing in his current BBC 2 series, In the Blood, both Genealogy and Genetics have a common linguistic link, the gene. During the last few years, I have lectured on the Human Genome project and Genetic Engineering, as it seems necessary for us all to understand the significance of scientific research and its technological application. I wonder how many genealogists share my search for this understanding. Finally, on this topic, it gives me great pleasure that I live next door to the parents of Dr Richard Roberts, whom I have known since he was completing his PhD at Sheffield University. Richard shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1994 for his pioneering work on the split gene. Perhaps it would interest our members if I produced a short reading list to encourage reading on the fascinating story of Human Genetics!

Writing as a Hobby

So Communication in all its channels – the media – must depend ultimately on words. Indeed, forty or more years ago at university, I spent some time studying symbolic logic because I had been inspired by Bertrand Russell’s writings and FP Ramsey’s ‘Foundations of Mathematics.’ However, the work of the Viennese logician Carnap and some of his contemporaries seemed so arid that I became more interested in the work of Russell’s famous pupil, Ludwig Wittgenstein than symbolic logic. So I decided that statistics and experimental psychology were more appropriate in part II of the Tripos, as I really wanted to communicate as an educator with “all sorts and conditions of people.” Writing, like lecturing, has always attracted me, and whether it’s a personal letter, a book review, a magazine article or a press report, I enjoy the process. Sometimes words fail me and I look for some mathematical measure like opinion polls but our individual thoughts and feelings seem infinitely more important than marks on a scale. Every Lin(d)field has a unique story to tell and if anyone would like any help in its shaping with words on paper, I would be pleased to help.

Mary Offer’s delightful article “How did it all begin?” in the last issue of Longshot (Vol 4 No 2) seemed an excellent beginning. Even if your linkage with any of our known branches has not yet been fully established, write down some personal family history, especially memories of your own grandparents or interesting family friends or places you may like. There are vast areas of our Lin(d)field family heritage still to explore and every field is interesting. You might find the new journal ‘Family History Monthly’ useful to inspect as it aims to make family history more popular.

Field Name and Place Name Research

Until early 1994, when I had my slight stroke, I was alternately Secretary and Chairman of our Keynsham and Saltford Local History Society (1981-1994), although I had no academic qualification in History. However, both as an evening class student in Archaeology and Local History in Essex, Hertfordshire, Hampshire and here in the West Country, I have probably heard more lectures on historical subjects than on any other!!

Place names and field names fascinate me as much as family names, for research on names involve similar methods, as they all have connections. Anyone having the word FIELD as their whole surname or part thereof, as with us Lin(d)fields, must have an ancient connection with the land and/or farming. Field is derived from FELD (Old English) and corresponds to FELD in Old Frisian and Old Saxon, VELD (Dutch) and FELD (Old High German and German). LIN(D) is more difficult to identify as it can be any of the following in its origin: 

  • LINN, a waterfall, obsolete variant.
  • LIN, made of flax.
  • Variant of LITHE from the Old High German word LINDI, German LIND meaning soft and agreeable (of things) and gentle, meek (of persons).
  • Old English LIND or LINDE was the lime tree and also Old English LINDEN, LIND also meant made of the wood of the lime tree.

Whatever the historical origins of our family name, I will settle for gentle, meek, growers of flax in some Saxon fields!! (The Sermon on the Mount in the A.V. New Testament tells us “Blessed are the Meek”.)

Research on place names is often more disappointing; for instance, in recent years I have tried to trace two cottages mentioned on early Census Returns but I have been unable to locate their sites as so many cottages do not last more than a hundred years. One was at Hammerpot between Crossbush and Clapham, the home of NOAH LEACH, gamekeeper, my father’s maternal grandfather (1851 Census) and Granary Cottage in the parish of Shermanbury, where my maternal grandfather, GEORGE KNAPP is recorded as a nine year old scholar in the 1861 Census. However, I was delighted to find in recent research that my maternal grandfather, George Knapp, lived at Shermanbury from 1851 to 1877 when he married and moved to Woodmancote. My grandfather, GEORGE LINFIELD, and his two sons, my father George, and Uncle Fred, lived and worked at Ewhurst Farm, Shermanbury from the late 1890s until 1918/19, the end of the First World War. This discovery of links with the same place from both my maternal and paternal grandfathers has explained my fascination with this really rural tiny Sussex parish beside the upper reaches of the River Adur.

The Tragic Life of Julius Caesar

JULIUS CAESAR was the youngest child of BENJAMIN CAESAR (1797-1867), baker of Godalming and ANN BOWLER (1796-1880) who were married in 1816. He was the youngest of six brothers and one sister, Annie (1822-95), who married WILLIAM LINFIELD, a tailor at Brighton, in 1850. I have already related in a previous article (Longshot May 1993, “William and Anne Linfield of Worthing”) the rather strange circumstances of their marriage, and how they falsified the 1851 Census to hide this information from prying eyes. I also conjectured that part of the reasoning behind their decision had something to do with Julius, but more of that later. This article is an attempt to provide a detailed account of his life, which started so full of promise when he excelled at the game of cricket but came to a premature end after he suffered some cruel personal misfortunes.


Julius Caesar 1830-1878

‘Juley’ was born on March 25 1830 at Godalming, Surrey. When he died, in straightened circumstances, on March 5 1878, he was only 47 years of age. Nevertheless, during his short life he became one of the most well known players in the world of cricket. He was lucky, of course, to have been brought up in a family who were devoted to the game, so much so that they fielded their own team in a celebrated match in August 1850 when Twelve Caesars vied with Eleven Gentlemen of Godalming & District.

Julius’s name began to appear in newspaper reports of local matches when he was a mere lad of 16 years of age. A reporter on the Surrey Gazette of July 7 1846 concluded, with remarkable foresight, that Julius promised “to be as noted in the game of cricket as his ancient namesake was in the art of war.” Undoubtedly, he was very lucky to have the support of his family whose love of the game must have been a tremendous boost to someone with such natural talent. His father, uncles, brothers and cousins all played; in fact, on September 8 1846, the Godalming team at home to Shillinglee Park included five Caesars: George, Benjamin, Richard, William and Frederick.

It wasn’t too long before Julius’s talents far surpassed his relatives, although his brother Fred was quite good and he still appeared for the Godalming team for a number of years. A carpenter by trade, Julius was not tall (5ft 7in) but very strong which showed in his powerful batting. He hit hard and clean, and was soon renowned for his excellent batting. But he was also a very useful fielder, especially at point where he made some superb catches. His scoring for Godalming at the Oval in 1848 against the Surrey Club caught the attention of the county hierarchy, so much so that he was selected to play for the Players of Surrey XI against a team of the county’s gentlemen in June 1849. His performance was good, with 30 runs and 3 wickets in a stint at bowling. With William Caffyn and Thomas Lockyer, he joined the professionals at Surrey later that year. No doubt, the extra money would come in very handy.

Julius played his first game for Surrey on June 28 1849, when they played against Sussex at the Oval. Opening the batting for his new team, he scored 15 out of a total of 79. Sussex achieved a lead of 23 runs, but Surrey ran up 144 in their second innings. Sussex were out for 106 in their second innings, to leave Surrey winners by 15 runs.

In May 1850, he played his first match at Lord’s when he faced the bowling of the legendary William Lillywhite, who was then nearly 59. Julius opened the innings, and scored 13 and 22 not out in a 9 wicket victory for Surrey over Middlesex. It was about this time, in June 1850, that Julius married Jane Brewser, daughter of a local carpenter. But the marriage appears to have taken place without parental approval – for instead of marrying in their local church, they were married at Stoke Church, Guildford which was 4 miles away. Two months later, their first child, FREDERICK WILLIAM was born – which gives a clue to the nature of the suspected complications surrounding the event. Two more sons followed (JULIUS in 1859 and CHARLES BENJAMIN in 1862), while a daughter (ANNE JANE), born in 1857, died two years later.

As revealed previously, the problems surrounding Julius’s marriage had important implications for the matrimonial plans of his only sister, Annie. When they were married at Brighton on September 30 1850, both William Linfield and Anne Caesar were far from home, and sharing cheap lodgings, no doubt to satisfy the obligatory three week banns period before they could get married in the local parish church. But the deadly serious nature of their efforts to conceal their marriage is revealed six months later when both of them falsified the 1851 Census, each declaring they were ‘unmarried’. Annie was living back in Godalming, whilst her husband was a ‘visitor’ at the Spaniard Hotel in Worthing, where they eventually settled.

The most likely explanation for these odd events is that Anne’s parents strongly disapproved of the match. Knowing the family obsession with the game of cricket, her father probably had his own plans for her matrimonial future. Perish the thought that she might possibly want to marry someone who had never even played the game in his life! Julius’s behaviour no doubt infuriated her parents, thereby adding to the predicament she found herself in. The solution: to get married in secret, and then to tell her parents when the dust had settled. We will never know when she plucked up the courage to break the news, but their first child (WILLIAM HENRY LINFIELD) wasn’t born till 1854, some four years after they secretly wed in Brighton. I suspect it was mainly her father who was the problem. Some years after his death in 1867, her mother came to live with them in Worthing and is buried in the cemetery in South Farm Road. She died in 1880, aged 84.

It was in August 1850, on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th, that Julius was involved in the famous family match in which Twelve Caesars took on Eleven Gentlemen of Godalming. Whatever the animosity between father and son, no doubt their differences were put aside – his presence in the family team was crucial. Julius took 5 wickets in the Gentlemen’s first innings of 123. The family were all out for 95 when their turn came to bat. In the second innings, Fred Caesar took 8 of the Gentlemen’s wickets and they were all out for 42, setting the scene for a famous family victory. Unfortunately, though, some unexpectedly brilliant bowling by the opposition had the Caesars all out for 54, and they lost by 16 runs. Nevertheless, it was still a remarkable achievement – and must have been the main topic of family conversation for years!

The 1850s were an outstanding decade for Julius’s cricketing career. But what do we know of the man himself? He was undoubtedly a complex character, full of nervous energy; and with a strange form of pessimism which had convinced him that a poor score would lead to his automatic suspension from the Surrey team. He had a terrible fear of fire, once waking the whole household at Hereford by ringing a bell and shouting “Fire!” after being disturbed in the night by a noisy reveller. But he was popular with his fellow cricketers, whom he kept amused by a constant flow of witticisms. Another amusing anecdote is related by Richard Daft in his book ‘Kings of Cricket’ which was published in 1893: “One of the liveliest members of our team was Julius Caesar, of Surrey. He was one of the smartest men altogether I ever came across. His scores for All England Eleven, Surrey, The Players, &c., were for a great number of years very large. His hitting was as smart and clean as anything that could be witnessed. He always travelled with a huge portmanteau, and like George Parr with the hat-box, he was extremely fond of it. He was always particularly anxious to let us know that it was “solid leather.” It was a great deal too large for his needs evidently; for whenever any amount of luggage was put on the top of it, it used to go down as flat as a pancake, so that sometimes he used to have a difficulty in finding it amongst the rest of our baggage.”

Another contemporary, William Caffyn, has also left a revealing glimpse of this rather strange character:

“The word ‘brilliant’ may be used very appropriately when describing the batting of my fellow countryman, Julius Caesar. He was one of those clean, hard hitters, whom it is so delightful to watch. Although only about 5′ 7″, ‘Juley’ was very powerfully made. He may be described as “a big man in a little room”. He had a wonderful knack of timing the ball, which had a great deal to do with his success as a batsman. He was not much of a cutter – those who set themselves out for a driving game seldom are – still, he had a good hard cut past cover-point, which he often made use of. The on-drive was his best hit, and he was also noted as a leg-hitter. He appeared at Lords in 1850, and I believe was engaged by Clarke for the All England Eleven at the end of the following year, with which he remained until Clarke’s death, and continued to play under the captaincy of George Parr, when he succeeded to Clarke’s office. ‘Juley’ was a first-rate boxer, and exceedingly fond of the noble art. He was of a peculiarly nervous temperament, and, laughable as it may appear, was always afraid of sleeping in a room by himself in a strange hotel, for fear someone might have died in it at some time or other…”

He then relates the story of Julius’s fear of fire and how he rang the bell violently in their hotel in Hereford, rousing the whole house (see above). Caffyn continues:

“As I said before, ‘Juley’ was of a very peculiar temperament, being always very elated when successful, and terribly dejected after getting a small score. Both ‘Juley’ and George Parr used to make a point of taking a certain amount of liquor before retiring to rest when they were in the thick of the cricket season. Once, it is said, they each agreed to lessen the quantity by half. They were both unsuccessful on the following day, but nevertheless agreed to give their new regime a trial the following night; but alas! the result was the same as on the previous day – viz., small scores in both cases. “George”, said ‘Juley’ to the famous leg-hitter as he came into the Pavilion without having troubled the scorer, “It is evident that we must take our usual quantity tonight.” “Right you are, my lad,” promptly replied ‘George’, “and we’ll make up for what we went short of last night and the night before as well!”

Not only did Julius play for the Surrey team during the 1850s, but he also played regularly for William Clarke’s All-England XI. The players travelled all over the country, and during the 1851 season they played 35 matches – in fact, the last 14 were played in 8 weeks! Somehow Julius and the other players managed to survive all the travelling, but Clarke paid badly – only some 4 to 6 per week – and the players were required to cover their own expenses! In September 1852, a meeting of rebels, indignant at the way they had been treated, decided they would never play for him again. So came into being the United England Eleven, in opposition to Clarke’s outfit. But Julius remained loyal to Clarke and continued to appear for the team on a regular basis for another ten years, finally withdrawing his allegiance when he joined the United South team in 1864.

In 1853, now aged 23, Julius made his first appearance for England. He was not terribly successful, but in August he was selected again, to play against Kent at the Canterbury ground. Batting at number 5, he completed a brilliant innings to score 101. His score was the highlight of an England total of 324. England were the winners by an innings and 179 runs. At this time in his career, Julius was landlord of the “Cricketers” beerhouse in Godalming; however, his applications in 1853 and 1854 for a spirit licence were unsuccessful.

But, according to Caffyn, “for one who played so much first-class cricket, Caesar was the worst thrower I ever met. Oh, the looks of unspeakable rage I have seen poor Tom Lockyer bestow on him when ‘Juley’ dashed the ball in so far out of reach as to cause an over-throw. I shall never forget, too, his once having an excellent chance of running-out a batsman from cover point. ‘Juley’ fielded the ball as brilliantly as could have been desired, and threw it towards the wicket with great force, but instead of going into Lockyer’s hands, it unfortunately struck poor old Clarke – who was at point – smartly between the shoulder-blades. “Confound you, you clumsy idiot!” yelled the infuriated veteran, turning savagely on poor ‘Juley’. “I don’t believe you could hit a haystack broadside if you stood ten yards from it!”

On August 25 1856, William Clarke died at his London home. George Parr took over as secretary and captain of the All-England XI, and soon organised the election of a new management committee, to which Julius was elected as one of the members. During 1857, the All-England XI played two matches against their arch rivals, the breakaway United England XI. The AEE won both matches, the first by 5 wickets, and the second by 133 runs.

In 1859, Julius was selected to play in the first England team to tour overseas – to Canada and the United States – which departed from Liverpool aboard the ‘Nova Scotia’ on September 7. George Parr assembled a very powerful professional side, which included six players from each of the All-England XI and the United England XI, and they won their five matches very easily. The team included Parr, Lillywhite, Diver, Caffyn, Lockyer, Hayward, Carpenter, Wisden, Jackson, Caesar and Stephenson. It was during this trip that Julius found himself facing a revolver! Richard Daft related the incident:

“There was then not such good feeling between the Old Country and America as there is at the present time, and ideas of revolvers and bowie knives were indulged in by the Englishmen, probably without the slightest foundation. George Parr, the most nervous of men, resolved to make himself very agreeable to the Yankees; and during the whole of his sojourn in the States he did nothing but laud everything American and decry everything English. Caesar did the same; but unfortunately getting one night to a bar where London porter was sold, he managed to pick a quarrel with one of the natives, and, after a good deal of strong language, threatened to punch the Yankee’s head if he would but step outside.

The American told him that sort of thing was not in his line, but said, “Here is my card!” and at once held the muzzle of a revolver close to Julius’s nose; he was terribly alarmed, and immediately began to make friendly overtures to the American, pretending to treat the whole affair as a joke, and presently succeeded in smoothing matters over. He, however, took the earliest opportunity of getting out of the place, when he fled like the wind to his hotel, fancying that he could feel at every corner he turned a bullet in some part of his body, as he said afterwards. “The first Yankee I meet on British ground,” said Julius the next day, “I will give a hiding to, if I get three months for it.”

Presumably we shall never know whether Julius fulfilled his wish. Each man made 90 from the tour, a useful sum in those days. In 1861-62, the first England side was selected to visit Australia, under the captaincy of HH Stephenson of Surrey. However, it was not a particularly representative team since many players (including Julius) refused to go. They were unhappy with the terms, but in 1863 George Parr took out a much stronger side which included Julius. They set sail aboard Brunel’s ‘SS Great Britain’ from Liverpool on October 15 1863, arriving in Australia 63 days later. They played a total of 14 games in Australia and 5 in New Zealand, all against 22 man sides, but were undefeated throughout. Each man received 250, a considerable sum for a professional sportsman.

Once again, the tour was not without its incidents. William Caffyn was also in the England team and recorded the following story from the tour:

“On the evening of the 7th April (1864), we went aboard t
e steamer ‘Wonga Wonga’ bound for Melbourne, after a farewell luncheon in Sidney. When we had got a few miles outside the ‘heads’, we were in collision with a small vessel called ‘The Viceroy’. We were at tea when this occurred, and were much alarmed when we felt the shock of the collision. The little Viceroy was sunk almost immediately. A boat was lowered, and we succeeded in saving the crew. Poor George Parr was dazed and paralysed with alarm. Tarrant quite lost his head – rushed down below to get a collection of curios – then when the boat was lowered, he tried to get into it, and was told by the sailors to keep out of the way, in no very choice language. Julius Caesar, on the other hand, behaved in a manner worthy of his name, keeping very cool and collected, and doing all he could to assist the crew. It being quite dark, our situation was no very enviable one… as it was some time before we could make out the extent of the injust to our own vessel. We had a considerable number of ladies aboard, most of whom were naturally very excited and nervous. We had a good laugh afterwards at old Jackson – he had done very well at the farewell luncheon, and went fast asleep. We found him sleeping peacefully when the excitement was all over. Soon we were on the way back to Sidney, and he had not the least idea that anything had happened. We put back to Sidney for repairs (where our arrival caused the greatest astonishment). We were not able to start again till two days later. Mosquitoes were so troublesome on the voyage to Melbourne, that we had to sleep on deck – and caught bad colds. Some piece of machinery gave way a few miles from our destination, and caused a further delay of several hours. Eventually we arrived at Melbourne at about 2 am on April 11th.”

Back in England in the Summer, Julius made his highest score (132 not out against Sussex at Hove in July, 1864). ‘The Sporting Life’ said it was ‘as finely a played and truly artistic innings as we have had the pleasure of witnessing for a very long time.’

Unfortunately for Julius, however, at the peak of his success as a cricketer, things started to go badly wrong for him. He liked to go shooting and was apparently a very good shot, according to Caffyn. But on October 18 1865, whilst engaged on a pheasant shoot near Godalming, he accidentally let off his gun whilst negotiating a stile. The charge of shot shattered the spine of a beater, William Foster, who died several hours later. Julius was inconsolable. According to Caffyn, “Poor ‘Juley’ was in a terrible way; and I truly believe his mind never got over the shock till the day of his death.”

The shock undoubtedly affected his cricket. After two shaky seasons of occasional appearances, he retired as a professional player in August 1867. He began trading from his home in Godalming as a cricketing outfitter, but the offer of a rewarding job in 1872 promised to secure him a much brighter future. He took up the post of cricket professional at Charterhouse School, which had recently moved there from London. In addition to his duties as coach and groundsman, he was also appointed official supplier of all cricketing materials to the school. But Julius was not to enjoy the benefits of his new career for long.

In 1874, he lost his wife, Jane from cancer. Two years later, on October 3 1876, the body of his second son, Julius Jnr. was found on the railway line between Guildford and Godalming – he was 17. The subsequent inquest revealed that letters found on the mangled body included one to his father from ‘your unfaithful son’ and made references to his girlfriend, whom he had ‘ruined’. The inquest jury decided that Julius junior had thrown himself in front of a train and returned a verdict of ‘suicide while of unsound mind.’

Julius, racked with grief, never recovered from the pain of his son’s death. Of particular poignancy was the knowledge that young Julius was a very good cricketer and likely to make the grade as a professional. Julius rapidly declined, drinking more than was good for him and gradually sank into poverty. The President of Surrey CCC, Frederick Marshall initiated an appeal on his behalf, declaring that Julius, once a ‘plucky, straightforward, honest man, full of fun,’ was now in ‘the depths of poverty’ caused by ‘illness and family troubles.’

In his last years, Julius lodged at the Railway Tavern in Godalming, where he died on March 5 1878 at the age of 47. He was buried in Godalming Cemetery in Deanery Road, but no headstone marks his grave.

‘The Sporting Life’ summarised his life and contribution to cricket, adding that ‘a series of unlooked-for misfortunes, coupled with bad health and domestic affliction, broke up the once strong and jovial-hearted man.’

Julius Caesar was undoubtedly one of the early cricket ‘greats’ who played his part in popularising the game before it achieved the widespread following which developed soon after his death. He was a complex character, who experienced ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ in his general temperament, but who was well liked by his fellow players. Unfortunately, a series of personal tragedies, beginning with the shooting accident in 1865, eventually destroyed him which is sadly reflected in his premature death. Nevertheless, he made an important contribution to the early development of the game of cricket, and he should be remembered for his part in that.

Bibliography

‘Seventy-seven Not Out’ by W. Caffyn ‘Kings of Cricket’ by Richard Daft (1893)

‘Godalming Cricket 225 not out’ by PJ Mayne (Godalming Cricket Club,1992)

‘The English Cricketers Trip to Canada and the United States in 1859′ by Fred Lillywhite (1860)

‘The tragedy of Julius Caesar’ by Geoffrey Amey (1980)

Article in cricketing journal “Is yours an SS Great Britain Family?”

Full passenger lists of all 14,000 people who travelled on the England-Australia route between 1852 and 1875.

The Life of John Allin Linfield

I’ve always said that Dad was born in the wrong century. He would have been a great Courier de Bois, back in the early seventeen hundreds. He lived for hunting and shooting. He loved the outdoors, canoeing, tenting, opening new hunting frontiers in Northern Ontario and telling “windies” with his hunting partners. But all this came about after a hard existence on a small farm in Southern Ontario.

Dad was born on July 2nd, 1910, on a small farm outside of a small hamlet called “The Nile” (notice it’s “The” Nile, not Nile. I’ve never heard it called anything but The Nile. You never hear of The Goderich or The London or The Stratford (45 miles east of Goderich). However, the sign at the town limits says “Nile”, but maybe the sign makers don’t know any better). The Nile is located 6 miles north east of the Port of Goderich. (Dad’s sister, Ann, was also born there in September, 1913.) Dad’s father, JOHN PETTON LINFIELD (August 3, 1872 – June 5, 1945), along with his father SAMUEL LINFIELD (September 12, 1839 – February 19, 1913), and the rest of his family, moved from Twillingate, Newfoundland around 1878 to settle on the farm site. Samuel was the second child of George Edward Linfield (February22, 1817 – ? 1898) who was the third child of Robert Linfield #2219 (? 1774 – January 18, 1860) who migrated to Newfoundland from Marnhull, England in 1793 (see Longshot Vol 4 No 2 December, 1995). Samuel farmed the land as did John. During his lifetime on the farm, John held the position of assessor for the township for many years, and for fifteen years, was secretary and treasurer of school section No. 1, Colborne. Dad’s mother was ANNIE SARAH ALLIN, daughter of WILLIAM ALLIN and DIANA ASHTON. Annie’s brother WESLEY ALLIN was well known in Huron county for his awesome strength. I remember a story Dad told me about a barn raising. Three men were struggling with a major structural beam and Wesley brushed them aside and lifted the beam by himself! Dad inherited some of the Allin strength as I’ve seen him take some stupendous lifts.

The red brick school house where the farm kids from the Nile, Carlow, and Dunlop area of Colborne Township went to school, was about five miles from the Linfield farm; a long walk, especially in winter. This is snow-belt country and I remember driving these back concession roads with snow banks six to eight feet high. If you met an oncoming vehicle, someone had to back to the nearest farm laneway as the snowplough could keep only one lane open. One of Dad’s chores upon entering the school in winter was to fill the wood burning stove at the rear of the school with dry wood and make it thump. By the time the rest of the kids arrived, the one room school house was acceptably warm.

Unfortunately, Dad’s mother died when he was only seven or eight. His father’s sister, GRACE HARRIETT LINFIELD (May 16, 1880 – June, 1966) came to live with her brother and his two children, young John and Ann, to take care of them. She remained for approximately three years, leaving when John remarried as he needed some one more permanent to help raise his two children. The stepmother, MARY RAYMOND, despised children! This was soon obvious from the way she treated Dad and Ann, particularly Dad. Dad would never say too much about her, but I learned from talking to neighbouring farmers that she would beat Dad about the legs with a broom handle on any pretence.

While growing up on the farm, Dad eventually acquired a .22 calibre rifle and a double barrel 12 gauge shotgun. At every opportunity, he would be out shooting groundhogs (which he sold to a local mink rancher for a few pennies each) and wild game birds to supplement the food larder on the farm.

When the time was right, Dad left the farm as a young man and moved into Goderich. He tried various jobs before his professional career began. He dug graves in the Colborne Cemetery, assisted in harvesting farmers’ crops at a dollar a day and had a milk route utilizing a horse drawn wagon. During these start-up days, he never stopped hunting. He became well known in the hunting community as a leader of hunting groups. By now, he was known as “Al” Linfield. His two hunting buddies from local farms were Harvey Baxter and Joe Freeman. I have a photograph of the three of them standing in hunting regalia holding shotguns and bagged Canada Geese. Eventually, Dad and Harvey obtained a lessee’s license to operate a Shell Canada gasoline service station on Kingston Road, in Goderich. They specialized in vehicle lubrication, replacement autoparts and tire repairs. Dad always found time to hunt and would organize jack rabbit hunts, deer hunts and the local farmers would notify Dad whenever a flock of ducks or geese flew into their cornfield or wheat stubble in the evening. Dad would be out there at the crack of dawn and come back with his daily quota before opening for business.

Around 1937, Dad met my future mother. VELMA MARY BROWNLEE was a beauty and a real catch for a handsome young man like Al Linfield. Dad taught “Vel” how to shoot his .22 rifle, but at targets only. On June 30, 1939, Al married Vel in Goderich in a double ceremony (Velma’s sister Mabel married Tom Gray) and honeymooned in Niagara Falls. Over the years, they raised four sons; WILLIAM JOHN (known as Bill), born August 12, 1940; yours truly (known as Jerry) born February 10, 1943, BRIAN BROWNLEE, born July 15, 1949 and BRENT MICHAEL, born April 30, 1952.

Over time, Dad became a crack rifle shot. He could take three flat rocks, throw them up in the air and pulverize them with three shots from his .22 rifle which he called “Betsey Ann”. As a youth, I watched Dad throw a pebble the size of his thumb nail up in the air and send it flying with one shot. I possess a large one cent coin (pre 1921 vintage) that has a hole in it made from Betsey Ann after Dad sent it spinning through the air. Dad continued his hunting and became exceedingly well known in Huron County for his hunting exploits.

Besides hunting upland game, Dad also hunted pigeons for food. He and friends would drive to a farm where pigeons were sitting on the barn roof, get permission from the farmer to shoot some, throw stones at the birds to make them fly off the roof and commence to shoot them in flight. He always offered the farmer a share of the downed pigeons. One story Dad told repeatedly was the day a farmer’s son gave Dad’s hunting party permission to shoot the pigeons providing he could join in the shoot. Dad immediately agreed. The young man went into the farm house to get his double barrel shotgun, came out, loaded it and immediately shot at the pigeons while they were still sitting on the barn roof. When he turned around to receive Dad’s praise, all he saw was the dust of Dad and his party! The son answered solely to his Father for the dozen or so holes in the corrugated tin of the barn roof!

In those early days before urban sprawl and excessive land clearing, Dad would often go out at night to locate deer herds for the next day’s deer hunt. He told me some apple orchards would have as many as 50 deer in munching away on apples. Today, those orchards are long gone, replaced by subdivisions or ploughed fields.

By the early 1950s, Dad met and became a life long friend of Rollie Day of London, Ontario. Rollie was a salesperson for storm windows and siding and had dropped into Dad’s Service Station looking for business. Naturally, the talk turned to guns and hunting and the two found out they had something besides business in common. Dad and Rollie would head north every fall for either a deer or moose hunt. They literally trail blazed parts of Northern Ontario in their search for new hunting grounds. At one time, Dad shot the largest deer ever bagged in the Kapaskasing area. The local police chief gave Dad and Rollie a hero’s welcome and paraded them through the town along with the trophy deer.

At one point, Dad and Rollie actually constructed a cabin-cruiser like boat to take moose hunting into parts of Ontario’s undisturbed north. They named the boat the “Ottawasian” and I have a picture of the boat with a large bull moose head mounted on the bow. When they bagged that animal and drove through the small rural Ontario towns coming home, people actually thought the complete moose was standing in the boat. Dad and Rollie would live in the boat during their hunt. They had their propane coleman stove for cooking, a small wood stove for heat and bunks built for sleeping quarters. I remember having a ride in the Ottawasian with my brother Bill from our cottage beach property north of Goderich at Shepardton to Goderich harbour. Bill turned a few shades of green by the time we reached Goderich.

When I was in Secondary School, I would skip school, much to my teachers’ annoyance, for two weeks every fall and operate Dad’s Service Station/Tire Shop (more of this later on) so Dad and Rollie could head north once again. Usually, they were successful in bagging a moose and came back with some vivid and embellished stories of their hunt.

Unfortunately, Rollie eventually succumbed to cancer and went to the “Happy Hunting” ground. Since Rollie was from London, 60 miles south of Goderich, Dad and Rollie’s hunting excursions were infrequent, other than their annual fall hunt. Over the years, Dad had made friends with the Taylors who resided in The Nile. Anyway, Stewart Taylor was a blacksmith, metal/wood worker and could make literally anything with his hands. He was also a hunter of local fame. Dad and Stewart would arrange deer hunts every fall. Following Rollie’s death, they would go moose hunting together, complementing each other as two experienced hunters. They also did a lot of hand reloading. Dad was always trading in old guns, primarily those of the 1880’s vintage. They bought original hand reloading tools, melted lead and made the bullets and experimented with the guns. Dad could quote ballistics better than anyone around.

When I was sixteen, Dad and Stewart invited me to join their deer hunting party for a local hunt. It was “shotgun” season only for which you used slugs. On day three, I was fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time and bagged two deer. When the party gathered together to do the eviscerating, Dad’s eyes caught me and they spoke volumes. I remember someone saying “he’s a chip off the old block!”. That was one of the proudest days of my life! Needless to say, Dad was also extremely proud.

I also recall getting up early Sunday mornings with my brother Bill and Dad and heading out to a local trout stream or creek. We’d quietly approach the murmuring waters, bait the hook and lightly cast the worm into a overhang. The redwing blackbirds would be trilling and we’d stand perfectly still. We would take the occasional trout, but usually ended up with just a chubb.

Other times Dad would take Bill and me bass fishing on the Maitland river in a canoe. We had much better success on those expeditions. Most memorable were the spring smelt runs at Port Albert. Dad, Bill and I would leave Goderich about dark and when we arrived in Port Albert, there would be tires burning along the shore of the river and scores of people of all ages fishing with long handled scoop nets. We’d find our spot and scoop up the fast running smelt and empty the net into a potato sack. On a good night, we would get greedy and almost fill the sack. The next day, Bill and I would clean smelt until neither of us could look at another one. Then we’d take the remaining ones and try to find people to take them off our hands. We would never just throw them away. We always found willing takers. Then we would eat smelt for the next two or three weeks and say “never again!” Next spring, away we’d go again to Port Albert.

I especially remember the licorice we’d buy at the local general store. We’d call them plugs, named after chewing tobacco plugs. Bill and I would eat this licorice as we filled our potato sack. Two cents for a plug or one cent for a licorice pipe.

I should mention sucker fishing. Suckers are ugly and bony and are the darnest fish to scale. After a successful sucker fish, I ended up scaling and cleaning the suckers. For obvious reasons, Bill never assisted me. I’d get a short board, nail the suckers’ tail to the board, and start scaling. Scales would fly in every direction and I’d have more on me then the fish ever did! Then came the eviscerating. When I look back, I can see how much smarter my brother was than me. Boy, was I a sucker!


Al Linfield in about 1983

Enough of hunting and fishing for now. Going back to about 1952, Dad purchased property just across from his Shell Service Station and had his first “Shop” built for him. He was his “own man” now. No more being a lessee for Shell Canada. He learned the vulcanizing business which is almost a lost art today. He hired Hughy Davidson from the Benmiller area (a hamlet just south east of Goderich) and taught Hughy to vulcanize. Dad would drive all around Huron County to various service stations picking up tires (both car and truck) that needed vulcanizing and bring them back to his Shop. Then, he and Hughy would literally remake the tire through the vulcanizing process. The method involves cutting out the damaged part of the tire, rebuilding the cut out section using nylon or rayon reinforced rubber squares and gluing each square together, applying air pressure to the inside of the tire while being heated in the vulcanizing machine and having the added reinforced rubber repair melted under pressure to form part of the original tire. Thus, you have a permanent repair. Dad also repaired car batteries, sold sports equipment, and replaced muffler and exhaust parts of vehicles. From that shop, he moved into his own Tire Shop in the village of Saltford, just north of Goderich. There, he sold tires, vulcanized tires and tubes, pumped shell gasoline again and sold confectioneries. During our high school day, my brother Bill and I worked at the Tire Shop each night after school, weekends from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm, and every day through out the summer holidays. We became very proficient at changing car, truck, tractor and grader tires and we both learned to vulcanize tubes. We left the tire vulcanizing to Dad.

From Saltford, Dad bought larger premises in Goderich and brothers Brian and Brent followed Bill’s and my footsteps in working at the Shop. Following a double hernia operation (from lifting all those tires for years) Dad retired in 1973. None of his sons wanted to continue in the tire/service station business preferring to do our “own thing”. Bill was a school teacher and retired in 1994 from a Principal’s position. I had joined the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in 1962 and today I manage the Bank’s Insurance Department in Head Office, Toronto. Brian is a computer programmer and Brent works part-time in a law office in London.

In 1977, my wife Marie and I had the opportunity to buy a cottage on six acres on Georgian Bay. Over the years, Dad and I built a 16 ft by 20 ft shed (with the help of brother Bill), replaced the roof of the cottage (with the help of brother Brian), built a wrap-around front deck, and a privy, even though we had hot and cold running water. Dad always said every cottage must have an outhouse. Dad even supplied an old walnut toilet seat. To this day, the privy, built in 1984, has yet to be christened. Dad had gained a great deal of carpentry experience through out his life and the cottage improvements reflect his abilities. Dad and Mom had purchased a 16 ft travel trailer shortly after retirement and they stayed in this when helping me at the cottage. Every summer, Dad eagerly anticipated a new cottage project. I took Dad fishing, along with my son, at every opportunity.

In 1983, I was able to reciprocate in the hunting department by taking Dad moose hunting to a fly-in hunting camp. We had a successful hunt bagging a bull moose. Dad and I went duck and grouse hunting after the moose was shot and I have some very prized pictures of the two of us in the northern bush. Then in 1984, I invited Dad along with my son Kevin to go deer hunting near our cottage. K
vin was 16 and shot his first deer on that hunt. I have a picture of Dad, myself and Kevin with the trophy. Three generations of deer hunters! That hunt sure brought back memories to my first deer hunt. I told my son that he was a “chip off the old block”. I was so very proud of him!

On August 24, 1985, Dad died after an eighteen month bout with cancer. He loved the life he pursued. He will always be remembered as a great hunter. I’m sure he and Rollie share the same camp site and tell the same stories in the “Happy Hunting Ground”!

Full Circle

My great great grandfather, WILLIAM LINFIELD (1822-1892), moved to Worthing from Croydon in the 1850s. I imagine that the south coast was becoming a booming area in those days, shortly after the railways had been built.

He had three sons and a daughter, and I am descended from the youngest son, FREDERICK CAESAR (1861-1939), who became Mayor of Worthing in 1906-1908. He was mentioned, with the rest of his family, in Malcolm’s recent article on the typhoid epidemic in Worthing.

F C Linfield had two sons and two daughters. Sadly the daughters died in infancy but the two sons, W F and H J, survived and both served in World War I. My great grandfather, F C Linfield, had political ambitions and unsuccessfully stood as a Liberal candidate in Horncastle on two occasions. He eventually became MP for Mid Bedfordshire in 1922. Because of these ambitions F C Linfield, together with his eldest son and family, moved to the London area around 1916. I am not sure whether this move was entirely due to politics or whether F C Linfield’s business interests were not going well. He lived in a large house in Worthing which my father said was called The Grange but I believe it was known later as Woodside.

When they moved to London they took a house in Balham. My great grandparents lived upstairs and my grandparents with their three children lived downstairs, in somewhat smaller accommodation than The Grange.

My grandfather, W F LINFIELD, married MARY ROY in 1909 and they also lived in Worthing where their three children, FREDERICK ROY, PHILIP CAESAR (my father) and PAULINE MARY were born in 1910, 1911 and 1916.

I believe my grandfather worked for his father in the family business whilst they were still in Worthing. But when he came home from World War I he went into the restaurant business on his own account. Originally one restaurant was opened which provided hot lunches for office workers in London and this was followed by a second. My grandfather’s brother, Uncle Jack, came up from Worthing with his family to run this. Unfortunately, probably due to the Depression, the business failed and my grandfather had to get a job with the London County Council. My grandmother also went to work as the restaurant manageress of Selfridges. Presumably she had picked up the required skills in the family restaurant! Due to the failure of their own business my grandparents were very keen for their children to gain secure employment and my father was persuaded to join the Midland Bank in 1928. Around this time my father met Lloyd George at a dinner he attended with his grandfather.

His brother, Roy, was more adventurous and joined the Merchant Navy. I believe F C Linfield’s father-in-law had been a mariner so perhaps it was in the blood! Roy’s career at sea did not last long, probably due to the aftermath of the Depression. He then joined the British South African (Rhodesian) Police and went to live there of course. However he soon fell out with his superiors because he wanted to marry and they refused permission. He did marry though and left the service. I am not sure what he did in South Africa at this time but he and his wife, Alice, had two children, Pauline and Bill, born in 1938 and 1939. Roy joined the Royal Navy at the outbreak of war and obtained a commission straight away due to his Merchant Navy training.

My father’s career in the bank proceeded without any mishaps and he married my mother, Joyce, in 1937. She was the daughter of a prominent local shopkeeper, William Chapman, and my father went to school with her brother. When they were married my parents went to live in Purley only a stone’s throw from Croydon, the town my great great grandfather had left nearly a century before, although I do not think they realised this at the time. Purley was chosen because new houses were being built there and my parents liked that particular location. My sister, Christine, was born in 1939 and my great grandfather F C died aged 78 years in that year too.

Shortly after the outbreak of war my father joined the Royal Navy as an ordinary seaman and after initial training was put on a convoy going to South Africa! Here he was able to meet Roy’s wife and family who were living in Durban together with some of my mother’s relatives. I think he found South Africa a marvellous place after wartime Britain with its shortages. His ship returned via Egypt where luckily he was able to meet Roy for the last time in Alexandria. Shortly after, Roy’s minesweeper went missing. My father always believed it was a victim of a submarine. Just before Roy’s death and my father’s trip to Africa my grandfather died of natural causes at home. So you can imagine how my grandmother must have felt when she lost her eldest son too.

In Egypt my father’s ship collected prisoners of war and on the way home to England they rioted armed with kitchen cutlery. Fortunately the incident was put down quickly. After his return from Africa my father was sent to King Alfred at Hove to train as an officer. He was commissioned shortly afterwards and went onto minesweepers, initially as a navigator and later his own command. During this time he went to Iceland where he bought some chickens (oven ready) and some curtains, presumably my mother had given him instructions! Food was easy to transport as his ship was a converted trawler with a freezer!

D-Day saw my father stationed in Weymouth with orders to sweep the American beaches just before they landed. My mother and sister were allowed to go down and visit him just beforehand. On his return to Weymouth, after carrying out the required sweeping and picking up some wounded Americans, he was told that they did not have a berth for him as they had not expected him to return!

After this he went back to his old base, Harwich, and saw the rest of the war out minesweeping round the British coast. Some of his colleagues went to Germany in 1945 but his old coal burner could not make it. He told me one of the flotilla’s ships came back from Germany with a Mercedes car on the deck and enough carpet for an entire house. My father’s only souvenir was a name board made for our house out of

the timber of his ship when it was broken up in 1946. Our house was called Little Grange, after my great grandfather’s Worthing house. My father returned to the bank and I was born in 1947. Apart from having me it must have been a bit of a culture shock, having had his own ship, to go back to being a bank cashier. The pay was a lot less too. My father did try to stay in the Navy but they were not interested. He managed to serve in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve though and thoroughly enjoyed his two weeks naval training each year.

His sister, Pauline, who I have only briefly mentioned, worked originally for the Daily Herald up to and during the War and then went to South Africa where she worked for the South African Argus as a journalist. She returned to the UK with my grandmother in 1952 and worked for the Argus in London. She remained in Britain until she died in 1986 having never married.

My father eventually became a bank manager in the 1960s and was a keen Rotarian and Member of the Chambers of Commerce in the Merton and Cheam areas. He was also Chairman of the Board of Governors of Merton Technical College. He retired in 1971 and died soon afterwards in 1978.

After my father’s death my sister and I kept in touch with our Uncle Roy’s family in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and in 1992 my wife, two children and I went for a superb holiday in Zimbabwe as guests of my cousin Bill.

I digress though as the point of this story is that back in 1976, having spent all my life in the Croydon area, I relocated to Worthing with the company I was employed by. By chance I returned to the town my great grandparents had left sixty years earlier. What I did not know then was that I had retraced my great great grandfather’s journey when he went to the south coast one hundred and twenty years earlier.

Longshot Vol 5, No. 1

Full Circle, by Barry Linfield
The Life of John Allin Linfield, by Jerald Allin Linfield
The Caesar Connection, Part 3, by Malcolm Linfield
Miscellany (1): Reflections from the President June 1996, by Eric Linfield
The L.O.N.G. Collection of Newspaper and Magazine Cuttings, by Malcolm Linfield
Sussex, by Peggy Champ

Front Cover: John Allin Linfield, pictured at the Shell Service Station, Kingston Road, Goderich, Ontario in about 1938. See article on page 5