All text and images © Helvellyn Consulting 2016
Newton Kirkup was born in April 1891 at Greenside Mine in Glenridding where his father James was working as a carter. James was born in Penrith and had married Hannah Kirkup, who came from Matterdale, in 1882. Newton was their fifth child, their first, Mary, having been born in 1883. She was followed by another daughter Sarah, in 1884, a son John in 1887, and another daughter Annie in 1888. After Newton another son William was born in 1893, followed by a daughter Elizabeth in 1896, and another son, George, in 1898. All the children were born whilst the family lived at Greenside mine. The children would all have attended Patterdale School, and it is quite likely that both May and Sarah are shown in the photo we have of the children at Patterdale School in 1889. Newton would have attended with contemporaries from the Dale such as John Hicks and John Routledge, who were both born in the same year.
After leaving School Newton starting working at Greenside and by 1911 he was employed there as a general labourer, alongside his father and elder brother John, who was also working as a carter. They were both still living with their parents at Greenside, alongside their eldest sister Mary who was working as a confectionary shopkeeper and who gave birth to a son, Frank, in 1911. Sadly two of Newton’s brothers died around this time, William, in October 1910 aged just 17, and his eldest brother John, who died on the 14th June 1912 aged 25.
On the 5th May 1917 Newton married Gertrude Bell, the daughter of Robert Henry Bell who lived at Croft House. At the time his occupation was given as being an Engineman at Greenside, where he was still living. He must have been mobilised shortly after this as a driver into the Royal Field Artillery. He is likely to have served in France from shortly after his marriage until the end of the war.
We are currently not sure where Newton and Gertrude settled after the end of the War. They eventually settled at 83 Hope Avenue, Goldthorpe, Rotheram in Yorkshire. Newton died on the 24th February 1958 at the age of 66, at the Montagu Hosptial Mexborough. He is remembered alongside his younger brother George Kirkup, and school friends such as John Hicks and John Routledge.
In terms of the rest of his family, his father James was working as a Horseman in 1917, and by 1922 as a Labourer. He and Hannah eventually settled at 8 Stybarrow Terrace. James died in March 1944 aged 85, and Hannah less than a year later in 1945 at the age of 87. What we know of his younger brother George is detailed below, and descendants of George’s family still live to this day in Stybarrow Terrace in Glenridding.
We’re not sure what happened to his eldest sister Mary, although she was still in the Dale in 1922 when she was a witness at the wedding of her sister Elizabeth (see below) and we know her son Frank died in 1977 at the age of 66 in Hereford. Newton’s sister Sarah had left the family home by 1901, when she was working for the Kidd family as a servant in Brunswick Square Penrith. By 1911 she was a housemaid in Darwen, Lancashire, alongside Jane Newbigging, the step sister of William and Thomas Hodgson. We believe she may have returned to Glenridding and been living with her parents at Stybarrow Terrace by 1939, but we’re not sure what happened to her after. She died in May 1984 in Carlisle at the ripe old age of 99. His sister Annue was working as a 22 year old servant for the Withers family in Cheshire in 1911, but after that we have so far found out nothing further. Newton’s youngest sister Elizabeth married William James Webster, a gardener from Burscough in Patterdale.
If you can add any further details to the story of Newton or his family please contact us.
Driver Newton Kirkup
229903, Royal Field Artillery
Born April 1891 Glenridding. Died 24th Feb 1958 aged 66 in Rotheram, Yorkshire
Son of James and Hannah (nee Newton) Kirkup, of Greenside and 8 Stybarrow Terrace Glenridding
Husband of Gertrude Bell
George Kirkup was born on the 17th September 1898 at Greenside, Glenridding -
Unfortunately we have not been able to find any trace of George’s detailed service records online, meaning they were probably destroyed in the Second World War when the records office was bombed by the Lutwaffe. What we do know is that he is shown on the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour as having served as a Private in the Border Regiment.
The only medal index card we can find for a “George Kirkup” in the Border Regiment is one for a George R Bennett (see below) who served in the 11th Battalion. The 11th Battalion was universally known as the Lonsdales after Hugh Lowther, the 5th Earl of Lonsdale, who raised the unit in September 1914. Nearly all the men came from Cumberland and Westmorland and it was one of the many so-
It fought on the opening day of the Battle of Somme on 1st July 1916 and suffered over 500 casualties out of the 800 who went into action, including 23 out of the 26 officers, and including the commanding officer -
If the medal card below is indeed that our “our” George Kirkup then it would mean that he had gone to France when he was 17 years and 2 months old, and been discharged at 17 years and 11 months. This was by no means as young as many who volunteered, and indeed one boy who tragically lost in life in Flanders, John Condon, was just 14 years old. However, his age would have been enough reason for him to have been discharged early -
We hope to find out for certain one day, but for now it is an intriguing possibility. After the war we believe George married Sarah Arnison in 1919. One of their children, James, went on to marry Freda Hebson in Patterdale in April 1953. At the time James was a lead miner living at Leeming Lodge with his father, who was a Gardener there. George died in Penrith in February 1985 at the age of 86, and is remembered on the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour alongside his brother Newton. His son James’ family continue to live in the Dale today.
If you can add any further details to the story of George or his family please contact us.