Frederick William Linfield c1940

Part 2: The Descendants of Frederick Caesar Linfield

by Barry and Malcolm Linfield

This fascinating newspaper cutting, updating Bill Linfield’s story and his recent celebration of 50 years in aviation, is a great excuse to have another look at his branch of the family. Bill and his first cousin Barry have written about their family previously in our journal, and we apologise for any repetition. However, this is a good opportunity to bring everything up to date and fill in a few gaps. On top of that, we have tracked down some excellent family photographs to accompany the text.

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News from Zimbabwe

We have recently received an interesting newspaper cutting from Bill Linfield in Zimbabwe, recording his ‘50 years in Aviation’. Bill is a great-grandson of Liberal MP Frederick Caesar Linfield and first cousin of Barry Linfield, our membership secretary.  In 1999, Bill wrote an interesting article for ‘Longshot’ about his family and their long association with Zimbabwe and South Africa, which can also be accessed on this website. [1] Bill has also sent us some great photos of himself and his family, showing four generations, which also include his great-granddaughter, Lilly. Continue reading

Arthur Linfield 1965

A Short Biography: Arthur George Linfield 1885-1974

Arthur George Linfield was born in Worthing on 18 August 1885, eldest son of Arthur George and Edith Mary Linfield, who were married in 1883. His father was one of the Worthing pioneers of fruit growing under glass, and his mother, Edith was a daughter of a well-known fruit grower in Lancing, Frederick Young. The Linfields were to have seven children in all, five sons and two daughters. They were staunch Wesleyan Methodists and brought up their family in a strong Christian tradition. Continue reading

Emily Frances Linfield's 'respectable' Worthing cousins: William Henry Linfield, Relieving Officer for the Worthing Urban District and Registrar of Births and Deaths, Arthur George Linfield, Fruit Grower, and Frederick Caesar Linfield, pictured in his mayoral robes in 1906

A Black Sheep in the Family – The story of Emily Frances Linfield (1847-1931)

Every family has its ‘black sheep’, the wayward individual who doesn’t quite fit in, the person who has done bad things, who may have brought shame and embarrassment to his or her family. They are fairly rare in reality, on average appearing only once in every three generations. They may be completely ostracised by their families and cast out, or shown a modicum of restrained toleration – but everyone knows who they are.

One such individual, whom I have touched upon previously in an early Longshot article, was Emily Frances Linfield. She caused untold embarrassment to her family, mainly through her habitual drunkenness, and was even accused of murder when her elderly mother died after a fall. This article explores her life in more detail and updates her story in the light of more recent information. Continue reading

Eric Linfield – An Appreciation

It is with great sadness that I must announce the passing of Eric Linfield. Eric died peacefully in Bath Hospital after suffering a stroke on 16th August 2002. He was 81. Eric was, of course, the first President of the Lin(d)field One Name Group, from the moment of its inauguration in February 1992 until he stood down in 1999.

As family historians, we owe an enormous debt to Eric. His interest in family history was ignited by a newspaper article he read in 1963 describing the Golden Wedding celebrations of Evelyn May Page (nee Linfield) and Joe Page, who were caretakers of the Village Hall in Storrington. This article explained how Harry Stanford Smith had done some research on the Linfields during the 1950s, and had drawn up a detailed family tree going back to the time of the Anglo-Saxons. Eric duly wrote to May Page who provided him with a copy of the famous Stanford/Linfield tree. College work kept him very busy throughout the 1960s, but from the late 60s/early 70s, Eric began his research in earnest, spending many hours at the Public Record Office and at the West and East Sussex Record Offices.

After some early difficulties, Eric eventually managed to fit his branch into the Stanford Smith tree. He was able to show how he descended from Peter Linfield (1734-91), Farmer and Butcher of Storrington, through a younger son, Edward Linfield (1774-1861), who had a market garden at Sullington. I remember his immense pleasure when I was able to send him a photograph of his great great grandfather, Harry Linfield (1807-78), who was a farm labourer on the Sandgate Estate for over 50 years. This pictorial treasure, which shows Harry wearing a traditional Sussex smock, had been discovered by local historian Joan Ham in a book of old photographs belonging to the Carew-Gibsons of Sandgate House.

Eric was born on 25 April 1921 in the Sussex village of Henfield, son of George Mark Linfield and Annie Knapp, who were married in 1916. His sister Eileen followed in August 1922. Unfortunately, his father had a serious accident whilst tree-felling at Woodmancote Place in December 1922, and he never worked again. His childhood was far from easy, but Eric was an intelligent and very able child who was able to do extremely well for himself at school. Between 1928 and 1931, he attended the Henfield (CE) Elementary School, before moving to Steyning Grammar School as a rural scholarship boy. He was called up to serve during the Second World War, spending the latter part of the conflict in France. On returning to England in 1945, he went to university, initially at Oxford for a year and then to Cambridge, where he read Moral Sciences, specialising in Psychology in Part II. Later on, he took a second degree, a M.Ed. in Curriculum Theory, at Bristol.

After graduating, Eric decided to become a teacher and after a number of appointments around the country, he moved with his wife Sheila (they were married in December 1956) and their young family – they had two daughters, Janet and Julia – to Saltford in order to take up a new post as a Senior Lecturer in Education at the City of Bath Teacher Training College at Newton Park. This was in August 1963. Here he remained until retirement in 1984, a well-liked and approachable figure, with an irrepressible enthusiasm for knowledge across a wide range of subjects – family history being just one of them! He continued his part-time tutoring for the Open University until 1988, something he had started in 1975.

I first made contact with Eric in 1973, to answer a letter he had sent to the West Sussex Gazette (which my grandfather had noticed and passed on to me). This was just before he sent out his mailshot to every Linfield in the UK telephone directories, appealing for others to help him in his quest to build upon the original researches of Stanford Smith. His eventual aim was to write and publish a pamphlet or book about the Linfield story. In his letter, Eric asks to hear from any readers who might have remembered his grandfather George Linfield, who married Katherine Leach at Clapham in 1885. Katherine was in service at Castle Goring, whilst George was a cowman. I wrote to Eric, stating my interest in family history, and so began a regular correspondence which continued for the next 29 years!

Eric’s letters were always very helpful, full of encouragement and useful tips on how to proceed with a particular piece of genealogical research. We would often up-date each other with our successes, and I was most pleased when I was able to tell him that I had finally found the link connecting my own particular branch with the Stanford Smith tree. This resulted from his suggestion that I ought to have a detailed look at the Nuthurst parish registers, where I discovered the baptism of my great great great grandfather, Henry Linfield on June 12th 1796. I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that Eric knew I would find this link, since it was rather odd that he had recorded the baptism of Henry’s sister Ann in 1792 but had apparently ‘missed’ the entry for Henry! I first met Eric and Sheila in person when I was invited to meet them at their home in Saltford towards the end of 1978. I was immediately struck by Eric’s infectious enthusiasm, as all these boxes of books and papers were miraculously produced and their contents duly scattered about the living room floor. Poor Sheila!

Eric enjoys himself at the Group’s 10th Anniversary event at the Old School, Storrington on June 1st 2002

Eric enjoys himself at the Group’s 10th Anniversary event at the Old School, Storrington on June 1st 2002.

When we both met Alan Lindfield for the first time in July 1991, the whole business of the Linfield family history was suddenly transformed into the computer age. Alan explained how he had set up a database of Lin(d)field records and we were both mesmerised with the new possibilities that this modern technology could offer. One of the outcomes of this fruitful meeting was the decision to set up of a Lin(d)field One Name Society, something which greatly appealed to Eric because it represented a new and exciting phase in the development of the family history. It would bring together many more people who would be able to help with the research, whilst the publication of a members’ journal fulfilled Eric’s hopes that parts of the family story would be properly recorded for future generations.

Eric contributed regularly to ‘Longshot’, mainly with articles about his Sullington ancestors and his thoughts on possible avenues for future research. He was aptly appointed the first President of the group, and his letters of encouragement were a great support to Alan and myself as the project gradually unfolded. We were both very pleased that he was able to attend the 10th anniversary of the Group at Storrington on June 1st, when he thoroughly enjoyed himself and was able to meet many of the people with whom he had corresponded over the years.

Eric was also a very generous benefactor of books from his extensive collection, at one time, I believe, numbering some 20,000 volumes! We reported in an earlier edition of this journal how he donated his collection of books on humour to the library at the University of Kent in Canterbury.1 He also gave his fascinating collection of books on Sussex – some 98 volumes – to the recently established Storrington and District Museum, and this forms the nucleus of their fledgling library. A condition of this gift was that members of the Lin(d)field One Name Group can borrow any of these books to help them with research work. 2

Needless to say, we are going to greatly miss Eric’s words of wisdom and encouragement. He achieved so much in the field of family history as, indeed, he did in so many other areas. It was a privilege to have known him, and I shall always fondly remember the times when we enjoyed a pint or two in one of the local hostelries as we animatedly discussed some of the finer details of this strange hobby that had brought us together. Eric was unique, a loyal and kind friend and on behalf of us all, I would like to express our condolences to Sheila and their two daughters, Janet and Julia and their respective families.

1 The Linfield Library of Humour, by Malcolm Linfield in ‘Longshot’ Vol. 4 No. 1 (June 1995) p. 25.

2 If any member would like a copy of this list of books, please contact me directly.

An Update on my Family History Researches

This millennium year 2000 has enabled me to extend my family history in several ways and briefly I review the main elements.

The publication of two fascinating books by the Horsham Museum Society in January, “The Shelleys of Field Place” – the story of the family and their estates – and “The letters of Bysshe and Timothy Shelley” and other documents put me in touch with Mr George Bason of Hove. Mr Bason has researched the history of Castle Goring for many years, and I am extremely grateful to him for sending me a file of notes and photographs, including one of the gamekeeper’s cottage where my grandmother, Katherine Leach lived with her father Noah Leech, gamekeeper in the mid-19th century. The gamekeeper’s cottage remains an architectural gem, as does Castle Goring itself, originally built for Sir Timothy Bysshe Shelley in 1790-1810, the poet Shelley’s grandfather (see Pevsner’s account on pages 125/7, The Buildings of England: Sussex , Penguin 1965).

My father often talked to me of his mother’s domestic service at Castle Goring and it had obviously affected her greatly. As she only married when she was 35 on July 18th 1885, she registered her first child Frederick in 1887 as resident at Castle Goring, so the connection obviously continued after marriage for a while. Castle Goring near Worthing is now a language school! Unfortunately, my grandmother died before I was born and Uncle Fred, too, had been killed in 1917 whilst near Arras in the First World War.

We spent a delightful week’s holiday at Eastbourne in June. Whilst there I visited Summerdown Road to find the large house, Muskoday, where my aunt Elizabeth Linfield was in domestic service at the time of her tragic death – she was found drowned at Pevensey Bay on November 12th 1924 (see Longshot Vol 5 No 2 p.52). Unfortunately we failed to find the house – no wonder, it had been destroyed by a German bomb. In a recent letter from Vera Hodsoll (formerly Hon. Secretary of the Eastbourne Local History Society) she told me that the house was destroyed in a heavy raid by Focke-Wolfe FW 190s in the afternoon of June 6th 1943, exactly one year before D-day. So it is sometimes impossible to see the houses where one’s family has had connections in the past, despite my suggestion in a previous Longshot (see Vol 1 No 2, p.42, “Starting a Picture Story of One’s Own Family”.)

However, I have been able to build up a collection of photographs where my father, grandfather and his grandfather’s grandfather, Peter Linfield (1734-91) lived. They make a very colourful and interesting album and I am adding a copy of the Gamekeeper’s Cottage, Castle Goring shortly!

Jomo Kenyatta

INTRODUCTION

I recently sent a letter of enquiry to the West Sussex Gazette, which appeared in the edition of June 6 1996. It reads as follows:

“Dear Sir: On behalf of somebody who is researching the life of Jomo Kenyatta, I have been asked to find out what I can about the wartime years he spent in West Sussex before he returned to Kenya in 1946. The knowledge I have is fairly limited, and I am hoping to appeal to readers who may have known him during his time in this county.

The sum of my knowledge is this: Kenyatta came to England in 1929 as official spokesman for his people, the Kikuyu, to try and redress their grievances against the colonial government. He stayed in England for the next 17 years, during which time he studied anthropology at the University of London and wrote his acclaimed book ‘Facing Mount Kenya’, which was published in 1938.

The outbreak of war prevented Kenyatta returning home. In 1940, he came down to Sussex where he found work at AG Linfield and Sons, market gardeners, at Thakeham. He was initially put to work in the tomato hot-houses.

During this time he lived in the neighbouring village of Storrington, where I believe he married a local girl. They had a son, Peter, who eventually went to live in Kenya. He was something of a novelty to the local people, who affectionately called him ‘Jumbo’. I also believe he travelled up to London one day a week to continue his studies.

I remember my grandfather telling me years ago that he had Kenyatta over to lunch on a number of occasions, when they discussed politics among other things. I don’t expect they always agreed on everything! My grandfather gave me a book which Kenyatta had written and given him – it is called ‘My People of Kikuyu’ and is inscribed inside the front cover: “To AG Linfield. With best wishes, Jomo Kenyatta. 17-4-42.

If any of your readers have any interesting recollections of Kenyatta, then I shall be delighted to hear from them.”

Although the number of letters I received was small, they were all of interest, so my appeal to the WSG had not been in vain. They certainly added to my knowledge of this fairly controversial figure. His connection with my family has always fascinated me, and since he is therefore a part of my family history, I have decided to write this article about him.

Perhaps the most interesting letter came from the daughter of Roy Armstrong, with whom Kenyatta lived as a paying tenant during the war years. I went to see her and she showed me where Jomo had his vegetable plot in their large garden. I had always thought that Jomo actually lived in the village of Storrington, whereas, in fact, he lived in the Sandgate area, some 2 miles to the east of the village – heathland and beautiful wooded countryside, with spectacular views of the South Downs. Apparently, Jomo felt quite at home here, since the similarities with his homeland were quite striking. During his visit to England in 1963 when he attended the Lancaster House Conference in London, now as prime minister of Kenya, Jomo made a special trip with his cabinet to visit the Armstrongs.

Apparently I made a couple of mistakes in my letter to the WSG. Kenyatta’s English wife came from Ashington and was called Edna Clarke. She was a fellow lecturer in the WEA, which is how she came to meet Jomo. They had a son, Peter, born in 1943, but he never settled in Kenya, as I incorrectly stated, and works as a researcher/journalist for the BBC. Jomo had another son in Kenya, whom he also called Peter, which is what led to my confusion!

1929-46

As general secretary of the Kikuyu Central Association (KCA), Kenyatta was sent to London as their official representative on 17 February 1929. Despite the reports of a number of Royal Commissions sent to Kenya in the 1920s, the KCA still felt strongly that their grievances had not being properly addressed. By sending their official spokesman to the very heart of the British Empire, they now felt that they possibly stood a better chance of obtaining concessions. Incidentally, Jomo may well have been introduced to my grandfather’s uncle, Frederick Caesar Linfield (1861-1939) who, as a Liberal Member of Parliament, was a member of the Parliamentary Commission sent to East Africa in 1924.

Since colonisation in the 1890s, the deprivation of their land in ever increasing amounts was to become the major grievance of the Kikuyu. By 1904, large numbers of white settlers had been allocated farm areas in central Kikuyuland, and by 1905 some 11,000 Kiambu Kikuyu alone had lost 60,000 acres. Many were forced to work as cheap labour on the European farms, which was particularly degrading for a traditionally independent people. White settlement in Kiambu effectively blocked the possible expansion of the Kikuyu and closed the southern frontier. The closing of the frontier was of great importance in the 1930s, when population pressures, limited resources and opportunities led to a growing sense of despair among the people. Their inability to redress their economic, social and political grievances through their political organisations (the Kikuyu Association was formed in 1920) only added to the intensity of their frustrations.

Evicted Kikuyu were forced to migrate to the towns, where growing unemployment aggravated their problems and sense of despair. Barriers were also erected to stifle all African aspirations to advancement and to positions of prestige and status in the white market economy. Thus the African was forbidden to cultivate cash crops like coffee, tea, sisal and pyrethrum. The role of the African was essentially limited to that of a low wage earner.

Throughout the colonial period in Kenya, the cultural traditions of the Kikuyu were also challenged by the whites. The Kikuyu had their own religion, superstitions and ceremonial circumcision or initiation rites; they also believed in the spiritual presence of ancestors. But the Europeans made little effort to understand Kikuyu customs and condemned them out of hand. The missions were a major source of Kikuyu resentment because they demanded a total transformation without compromise. But from about 1923, the aims and motives of the missionary churches were increasingly questioned by the Kikuyu people – their authority was no longer regarded as sacrosanct.

This was the background to Kenyatta’s visit to England in 1929, his objective being to take his people’s complaints to the very top. His trip was financed by a group of Indian merchants, who saw the potential of sending the articulate and persuasive Kenyatta to the centre of British politics. Unfortunately, perhaps not surprisingly at the time, Kenyatta found himself facing something of a brick wall; while there were plenty of people who were sympathetic and interested, the colonial office refused to even see him. Nevertheless, a meeting with Drummond Shiels (British colonial under-secretary) in 1930 proved particularly prophetic; he argued that to “refuse to see or hear emissaries of the discontented” would only drive them towards “violent methods” (Ref. 1) Kenyatta returned briefly to Kenya in October 1930, since the Indians were no longer willing to support him. Since he could do more in London than back home, the KCA raised the necessary money to send him back and he left towards the end of 1931, but this time he was to stay away for the next 15 years.

Kenyatta found odd jobs to finance his mission and lived as cheaply as he could. He continued to bombard the Colonial Office with petitions, all of which were ignored. He must have lived a thoroughly frustrating existence, with little to show for his efforts. He achieved some success in 1932 when he managed to persuade the Carter Land Commission to offer compensation to those evicted from their lands by the settlers, although Africans were still to be barred from the choice highlands area. In 1936, he embarked on a course of anthropology at the University of London under Bronislaw Malinowski, at that time arguably the leading expert in his field in England. Malinowski was struck by Kenyatta’s intelligence and true understanding of his people’s culture, and helped prepare his book, mentioned earlier, “Facing Mount Kenya” which came out in 1938. The book was a bestseller, and helped to establish Kenyatta as something of a celebrity who people wanted to meet and talk to. But the book was more than a history of his people’s culture- it was also full of propaganda and attacked the whole colonial system in Kenya.

Kenyatta was now ready to return to Kenya, having at least done much to publicise the grievances of his people to the outside world. Unfortunately, the outbreak of the Second World War put paid to his plans, and the world lost interest in African politics as the activities of Hitler and the Nazis dominated the world stage. Unable to return home, he was persuaded by his friend Dinah Stock that they should leave London and stay with friends in the relative safety of the country. They set out to stay with friends near the village of Storrington in West Sussex, and so they arrived at the home of Roy Armstrong, a Southampton University lecturer. The peaceful countryside was, in many ways, a home from home to Kenyatta, with its view of the rolling South Downs, its bracken and silver birches, its woods and farmland. He certainly felt comfortable here, and stayed throughout the duration of the war.

Roy Armstrong rented out the flat in his house to Dinah Stock and Kenyatta in 1939. He was given his own area of scrub to clear where he successfully cultivated his own supply of vegetables and kept some chickens. Armstrong’s daughter, who was a small girl at the time, clearly remembers her fascination for the sweet corn he was growing – it was the first time she had ever seen it! When I went to see her recently, she showed me the site of Kenyatta’s vegetable plot, as well as the silver birch which was his “sacred tree”, through which he communicated with the spirits of his people during his more reflective moments. Mysteriously, perhaps, this tree survived the batterings of the 1987 Hurricane whereas all the trees surrounding it were brought crashing to the ground.

Soon after moving to Sussex, Kenyatta found a job as a farm worker in the locality. In 1940 or 1941, he took a job as a nursery worker at AG Linfield’s Chesswood nurseries in the neighbouring village of Thakeham. He was initially put to work in the tomato glasshouses, although he also worked in many other areas. The shortage of manpower throughout the war years meant he would have done many different jobs during the four or five years he was employed at the family business. Although AG Linfield, under the Chesswood label, has become synonymous with the production of mushrooms, the war years saw a complete cessation of mushroom growing since they were regarded by the Government as a “non-essential luxury devoid of food value”. (Ref. 2). So the cultivation of mushrooms was an area Kenyatta would not have experienced. The strive to produce as much home grown food as possible meant that companies like Linfields had to devote all their energies to the production of vegetables; indoor and outdoor tomatoes were one of their most important crops during this period.

Kenyatta apparently got on well with everybody, and proved to be a helpful and kind worker, willing to come to the aid of anyone who needed a helping hand. He even cooked the beetroot before it was sold. During his time in Sussex, he became friendly with a family in Ashington and it was through them that he met Edna Clarke, a teacher. When her parents were killed in an air raid in May 1941, Kenyatta instinctively offered his help and sympathy and within a year they were married. On 11 August 1943, their son Peter Magana was born in Worthing Hospital. He was named after Kenyatta’s grandfather.

Kenyatta was something of a novelty in the Storrington area. Affectionately known as ‘Jumbo’, he soon settled into Sussex life and was well known in the village. But he was definitely an extraordinary character – flamboyant and gregarious, a showman who delighted in mimicry and whose powers of imagination would hold an audience spellbound as he pretended to stalk and kill a lion. No doubt these exceptional talents helped him to persevere through the long years of frustration and disappointment which he must have endured in England, trying to put the case of his people to a largely unreceptive governing class. He never gave up, and despite numerous setbacks, somehow or other he always managed to keep his dream alive. No doubt, the peaceful Sussex countryside and its close resemblance to his homeland must have been a comfort as well as a reminder of his single-minded purpose. He managed to keep cheerful throughout his wartime exile, a man convinced of his destiny and confident that one day the aspirations of his people would be realised. It was only a matter of time.

To supplement his farmworker’s wage of 4 per week, he was in much demand as a lecturer. Not only did he lecture to British troops under the Forces Educational Scheme, but he also lectured for the Workers Educational Association (WEA), usually about colonial issues. Two of my correspondents had attended some of these lectures: one remembers a meeting which took place at the White Hart, Queen Street, Arundel when Kenyatta was introduced by Arthur Johnson of Coldwaltham, a local NUPE organiser. On this occasion, his lecture was about India and its struggle for independence. On another occasion, on June 24 1942, his theme was “What does Europe want of Africa?” His line, as usual, related to land, oppression and the hardship and misery of the native peoples.

1946-50 Nationalist leader

In September 1946, Kenyatta sailed from Southampton, leaving behind Edna and their child at Thakeham. Once home, as the unquestioned leader of the new nationalism, he soon became fully immersed in Kenyan politics. He had spent sixteen years abroad, mostly in England, campaigning for his people, during which time he wrote a powerful critique of the whole British occupation in Kenya. When he returned home, it was only natural that he was given the leadership of the new Kenya African Union (KAU), a nationalist association which sought to incorporate all the tribes in Kenya. Therefore, he was not solely concerned with the grievances of the Kikuyu. His immediate concern was to build up mass support for the aims of the new party: freedom of speech; universal franchise; equal rights with Europeans; to “defend” all Kenya Africans; and to “fight” for African education, labour, housing and freedom of the press. Obviously, after repeated failure to gain concessions before the war, he now realised that show of strength was the most likely way of achieving reform. So he embarked upon the most intensive political effort of his life: building up the strength of the KAU. In these early post war years, he secured his Kikuyu base first and then worked from it. An early attempt was made to extend his political message to the independent schools. Kenyatta spent much of his time touring the country, addressing meetings, and attracting audiences of some twenty to thirty thousands. These enormous meetings exemplified his personal magnetism and charisma as a leader; he stirred the very emotions of his audience often to a fever-pitch which threatened to explode into action. Yet he always had full control over the situation; essentially, he was an orthodox nationalist leader who wanted to avoid violence as far as possible. Kenyatta’s primary objective was to show the colonial authorities the dangerous consequences of ignoring the new nationalist movement. However, this is not to deny that he was probably prepared to tolerate a certain amount of violence should the government not come to its senses and fail to grant concessions to the nationalists.

1950-61 Kenyatta and the “Mau Mau” rebellion

Kenyatta’s alleged involvement with the “Mau Mau” rebellion during the 1950s has effectively tainted his reputation ever since. Although the meaning of the term remains obscure, we identify “Mau Mau” with “the militant nationalism and the violen
e that characterised the politics of central Kenya before and during the early years of the Emergency
” (Ref. 3), which was declared by a frightened government in October 1952. It first made its appearance in 1948, and it was officially proscribed in 1950.

It is important to realise from the start that the phenomenon of “Mau Mau” was restricted to one tribe, the Kikuyu, not surprisingly because they were the most seriously affected by colonisation among the various tribes in Kenya. They had most to complain about; but their many attempts to redress their grievances through the machinery of the colonial state had always failed. The failure of Jomo Kenyatta to gain any concessions after World War II enabled the militants to come to power, and the result was the tragedy of the “Mau Mau” rebellion: with the enormous loss of 13,547 lives (of whom 13,423 were Kikuyu alone).

A typically European interpretation of “Mau Mau” – especially among the colonial government, the missionary leaders and the white settlers – was that it was a fanatical collective madness. Such people were convinced that Kenyatta was the mastermind of a secret tribal cult, led by unscrupulous extremists who stirred up the primitive masses to further their own ambitions. For LSB Leakey, “Mau Mau” had the evil power of “turning thousands of peacekeeping Kikuyu into murderous fanatics.” (Ref. 4). The widespread use of oathing and oathing ceremonies were taken by Kenya’s Europeans to signify an irrational rejection of modernity; due to their primitive intellect, the Kikuyu were considered unable to adapt to rapid change. In reality, “Mau Mau” was the logical outcome of years of mounting frustration and deterioration of life conditions. Allowed no outlet, these frustrations boiled over into the violence that was “Mau Mau” – all European values were turned upside down, and the tribe found “its mystical unity in the re-formed figures of the past.” (Ref. 5)

In effect, “Mau Mau” can be regarded as a post-political type of social movement because it grew out of the repeated failure of the Kikuyu political organizations to gain any reform through the constitutional channels of the colonial government. The younger Kikuyu became increasingly impatient with the lack of progress, especially after World War II. These were the men who formed the backbone of “Mau Mau.” The resort to a post-political solution to their problems seemed the only hope for salvation; and it was reinforced when Kenyatta and the other main Kikuyu political leaders were arrested in October 1952.

Kenyatta’s responsibility for “Mau Mau” has been the subject of a great deal of debate. Was he a moderate forced to take a militant line by the extremists, or was he committed to violence or the threat of violence to gain reform? Certainly, there needs to be a firm distinction drawn between his responsibility for “Mau Mau” and the position bestowed upon him during the rebellion. But far from being responsible for “Mau Mau”, Kenyatta could hardly have supported it even. Its inherently tribal orientation not only threatened to destroy the solidarity he had helped to build up among the Kikuyu but also the years of hard work he had put into building an all-tribe nationalist movement. For fear of domination by a single tribe threatened to break apart the all-tribal unity which Kenyatta sought to pitch against the colonial government.

It is this consideration, I think, which explains Kenyatta’s open condemnation of “Mau Mau” on a number of occasions in 1951 and 1952; many of his opponents said he had his tongue-in-cheek. But he feared that a violent tribal confrontation would destroy what he had already achieved, and his condemnation of “Mau Mau” was probably a warning to the militants to step into line. In all probability, he was not fool enough to believe that an individual tribal revolt could achieve anything like as much as a rationally conceived confrontation which included all the tribes of Kenya. Events proved him wrong; but he was not to know that they would. Kenyatta wanted to coerce the colonial authorities into granting concessions; solidarity among the Kenya Africans was a crucial weapon in his armoury. But a rebellion among the Kikuyu would be easily suppressed, and would lead the government to take immediate action against the nationalist movement as a whole; in effect, extinguishing what he had achieved, and setting back the nationalist movement by years. These were probably his fears.

Unfortunately, Kenyatta lost the initiative to the militants. The evidence tends to suggest that “Mau Mau” evolved from the militant infiltration of Kenyatta’s all-tribe KAU by the old members of the KCA and the young militants of the “Forty group”, who were simultaneously leaders of the new underground movement. In the early post-war years, it was a highly select secret organisation with limited membership. But with the failure of KAU to gain any reform, it underwent a dramatic transformation beginning in 1950 into an underground mass movement. By 1950, the young extremists had given up all hope of finding compromise with the Europeans, and despite his hold over the masses, Kenyatta lost his initiative to the less patient militants. He was powerless to prevent the tragedy of “Mau Mau.” In effect, the government was a major precipitant of “Mau Mau” by failing to grant concessions when it was absolutely necessary.

Kenyatta’s position in the movement is a very interesting one, because whether he liked it or not, he was the acclaimed leader of “Mau Mau.” Oaths were administered in his name and he was claimed to possess divine powers. But he was elevated to this position by the militants who administered the oaths. In effect, he was the figurehead and not the real driving force behind the movement. Kenyatta was a name to be used because he was the most widely known and revered of the Kikuyu nationalists – he had shown his magnetism as a leader at the vast meetings he addressed, and he was surrounded by a mystical aura. So, with or without his approval, he was the “leader” of “Mau Mau” even after his detention.

Even though Kenyatta must have condemned the violence of “Mau Mau” because it essentially involved the horrors of a Kikuyu civil war, he was still regarded as the spiritual leader of the movement. But there was no central direction of operations; “Mau Mau” became the rebellion of semi-educated or illiterate peasants who expressed their frustrations in almost indiscriminate violence. It was not so much directed against the European settlers than against Africans considered to be loyalist to the government. While only about 95 Europeans were killed by “Mau Mau” terrorists, nearly 2000 “loyalist” Kikuyu lost their lives. It would seem that the embittered Kikuyu were more incensed towards the loyalists among their tribe than the people who were directly responsible for their adverse conditions. The tragedy of “Mau Mau” is that it need never have happened – an enlightened government would have seen the folly of continuing to suppress all African aspirations, which made some sort of revolt inevitable.

Of course, in a state of confusion and with no central leadership, it was only a matter of time before the might of the British Army defeated “Mau Mau.” By 1956 the rebellion was over; more than 11,000 Kikuyu had been killed by the security forces. But all had not been in vain; the revolt ensured that change was inevitable in Kenya. The complacency of the colonial government was shattered beyond repair. In 1961, Kenyatta and the other detainees were released; three years later he was President of an independent African state: the Republic of Kenya.

1961-78 Kenyatta the Statesman

Soon after his release, Kenyatta once again set about building the bridges of national unity. As a tribally diverse country, his first imperative was to unify all the tribes of Kenya to fight against the colonial government’s desire to put off the inevitable. Soon he would be back in London again, attending the Kenya Constitutional Conference. It was during these negotiations, that he took time off in October 1963 to revisit old friends in West Sussex. He visited Roy Armstrong at his wartime home at Highover, Bracken Lane, Heath Common, Storrington, complete with limousine, his cabinet and bodyguards! Politics was apparently not one of the subjects they covered. Arthur Johnson of West Chiltington, who knew Kenyatta well during the war years and who lectured with him on anthropology and colonial administration, stated that he “could never believe that he was responsible for those atrocities in Kenya.” His wife said: “We remember him as he was here. We thought he was a very friendly and very nice charming man who was very fond of children and of animals.” (Ref. 6) Mrs FW Eddolls, in charge of the Linfields’ canteen during the war, also said how she found him to be “a very nice and likeable chap” and how she would be very pleased to see him again.

In 1964 Kenya became a republic within the British Commonwealth with Kenyatta its first president. He had come a long way from his days as the friendly, helpful nursery worker at Linfields’ nursery! His first act was to welcome the frightened whites to stay in the country. Despite the nine years he had been kept in detention by the colonial government, he was able to forget his own suffering and offer the hand of reconciliation. He also knew the importance of maintaining stability in Kenya if foreign capital was still to be invested in the new state. Despite the years of violence of “Mau Mau”, Kenya soon became a model of harmony and stability. Foreign investment boomed and the economy flourished.

During 1965, my uncle, Jim Linfield and his family went on holiday to Kenya to stay with his brother-in-law, who had a farm there. During their visit, they were all “summoned” to Nairobi to meet the President and I have a signed photograph of them with Kenyatta. It is dated November 11 1965. Kenyatta had also invited them to his home, but at the last moment it was cancelled by a political crisis when UDI was declared by Ian Smith in Rhodesia.

Kenyatta guided his nation for fourteen years. Although there were several scandals, and he was supposed to have amassed a large fortune, the people of Kenya remained loyal to him and grateful for the lifetime of devotion he had given to the cause of their freedom. His legacy was enormous: when he died on August 22 1978, he left behind a prosperous and peaceful nation, and certainly one of the most stable of the newly independent African states.

Conclusion

The overall picture I have gained about Kenyatta during his wartime years in Sussex is something like this: he was respected as a popular and good lecturer and I have found little evidence of any racism against him. My cousin remembers him as a very cultured and intelligent man who loved children and animals. It would seem that he was generally accepted by his fellow employees and the local people; of course, there was a war on at the time, and people were very much pre-occupied with the national effort to defeat the Nazis. Jomo was undoubtedly a charismatic figure who earned the respect and even affection of the many local people with whom he came into contact.

As for his personal involvement with the “Mau Mau” rebellion, I feel that the evidence speaks for itself. He was essentially a nationalist leader who had spent decades pursuing a peaceful and patient policy to obtain concessions for the people of his homeland. But his apparent lack of success in the face of protracted opposition meant that he lost the initiative to a younger generation of militants unimpressed with his gradual approach and also more determined to achieve change as quickly as possible. As the unquestioned leader of the new national movement and with a charismatic presence, he was effectively elevated to the position of leader of “Mau Mau” whether he liked it or not. The tragedy of “Mau Mau” is that he had long predicted the dire consequences of ignoring the aspirations of the African, but the authorities chose to ignore him. They really should have listened.

References

1. Jomo Kenyatta by Dennis Wepman (1985), p. 61.

2. History of the MGA (1945-1980) by FC Atkins OBE in The Mushroom Journal, May 1983, p. 164.

3. The Myth of Mau Mau: Nationalism in Kenya by Carl G. Rosberg and John Nottingham p. xvi Introduction.

4. Defeating Mau Mau by LSB Leakey, p. 43.

5. Comment on Corfield Makerere College, Kampala November 1960, p. 37.

6. “Kenyatta invited to West Sussex” in Worthing Herald, 1963.

Bibliography

1. Kenyatta by Jeremy Murray-Brown, 2nd edition 1979.

2. The Myth of Mau Mau: Nationalism in Kenya by Carl G. Rosberg and John Nottingham

3. Jomo Kenyatta by Dennis Wepman, 1985

4. Defeating Mau Mau by LSB Leakey, 1954

5. The Mushroom Journal, May 1983.

6. Comment on Corfield Makerere College, Kampala November 1960.

7. Kenyatta and the Politics of Kenya by Guy Arnold, 1973

8. Worthing Herald, October 1963

9. West Sussex County Times, March 5 1976

10.Kenyatta’s Country by Richard Cox, 1965

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.