1917 July

Percy Farr
Edward Snow Fordham
'North London' by Spy for Vanity Fair

1917 July


In an editorial it was reported that Mr Edward Snow Fordham, of Elbrook House, had retired from his duties as Police Magistrate due to ill health. As reported in September 1916 he was taken ill while sitting at the West London Court and on doctor’s orders was told not to work for a month. Things had not improved so by July he had decided to retire. As the illustration by ‘Spy’ first published in Vanity Fair shows he was a very colourful character on the bench who was not afraid to speak his mind.



The newspaper said very little about The Annual Feast except that the weather was fine, and the event was enjoyed by all. This is surprising as although it was much diminished by the war it still held much delight for the remaining villagers. In 1915 it went ahead as usual with brass bands and recruiting marches but in 1916 it was cancelled due to mechanical failure of the fairground machinery.


There had been four annual feasts in the past but this was the last survivor. It was held early in July which was the near to the Feast of the Visitation. It stretched over several days and was much looked forward to by children because the school was usually closed for three days to allow them to enjoy it.


The celebrations for ‘Ashwell 1100’ which are being held in 2017 are having a street party on 9th July which is coincidently reviving this old custom.


Other parish news included details of the Wesleyan Sunday School Anniversary and the deaths of at Ashwell of George Brown, 73, and Rebecca Macbeth, 44.

At the Parish Council Meeting the purchase of the burial ground land at Baldwins Corner was approved and arranged.  Mr E O Fordham, the present owner, generously offered £6 worth of shrubs and trees for the plot on completion of the transaction.


On to military matters Sir H George Fordham, former temporary Captain in the Territorial Force Reserve, was promoted to be temporary 2nd Lieutenant.


And there was yet another month where the long shadow of the war with its awful consequences and harsh conditions were brought home to the village. Under the headline ‘Soldier dies in Mesopotamia’ we find that Trooper Percy Farr, aged 25, succumbed to sunstroke on the 11th July. He was the nephew of Mr & Mrs E Mole of Ashwell End and had been brought up by them from an early age.  The report says that he had two other brothers who had died for their country but we are not sure if this refers to two blood brothers who we are not aware of or to other cousins.


Percy was a private in the Household Cavalry and the Cavalry of the Line Regiment, Hertfordshire Yeomanry. He joined the army in November 1915 and after completing his training was posted to the Middle East in October 1916.  


He was buried in Baghdad and is commemorated at Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery, Iraq, Grave ref XX.M.7 and on the Ashwell Village Memorial.


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