All text and images © Helvellyn Consulting 2022
Brothers Joseph and Thomas Edward Greenhow grew up in Glenridding, but in separate households. They were both illegitimate sons of Mary Greenhow. Mary was the daughter of Joseph and Catherine Jane Greenhow. Joseph was a general labourer and lived with his family at Glencoin Cottages in Glenridding, alongside the family of John Wilkinson. Mary herself had been born in Martindale but by 1881, aged 9 years old, was living with her parents and the siblings at 3 Glencoin Cottages.
Just 7 years later in September 1888 she gave birth to her first child, a daughter Annie. The Parish Register does not record who the father was, and in the 1891 census Annie was living with her grand parents at Glencoin, but without her mother Mary , for whom we can find no trace in the 1891 census. A year later, on the 1st June 1892 Mary gave birth to another illegitimate child, Joseph. Again no fathers name was recorded on the parish register, and it appears that Joseph ended up living with his grandparents at Glencoin. His grandfather Joseph died in 1893, leaving Catherine as head of the household.
It appears that Mary moved away after the birth of Joseph to Shap, for it was there that she gave birth to Thomas Edward in September 1894. Again we have no clue as to the identity of the father as there was no entry on his baptism record. By 1901 6 year old Thomas Edward had moved to Glenridding and was living with Isabella Nicholson and her son Joseph at Number 1 Glenridding. Catherine Greenhow’s maiden name was “Nicholson” and we believe that Isabella’s husband was Catherine’s brother. Sadly we can find no trace further trace of Joseph and Thomas’ mother Mary on either the 1901 or 1911 censuses or in any of the other records.
Joseph and Thomas would therefore grown up together in Glenridding, attending Patterdale School together. By 1911 Thomas had moved and was working as a farm labourer at Fisherbeck Farm in Ambleside, run by William Leck, who was born in Patterdale and who grew up at Braesteads Farm. Joseph was at this time living at Seldom Seen with his grandmother and Uncle, Thomas Greenhow. Both he and Thomas worked as Lead Miners at Greenside Mine.
Unfortunately we do not have the detailed service of either Joseph or Thomas, but we do have copies of their Medal Index Cards (see below), and from these it looks as if Joseph joined the 1st Battalion of the Border Regiment, possibly enlisting first. His card shows that he first entered a theatre of war on the 31st December 1914, entering theatre “5L”. This refers to the Kachin Hills in Burma, where the 1st Battalion were based at the time. However they quickly moved back to the UK and were subsequently involved in the ill-
His brother Thomas joined later in 1914 and was assigned to the 7th Battalion of the Border Regiment, alongside the likes of Joseph Boustead, who was born in Glencoin and grew up alongside Thomas at Glencoin and Seldom Seen. William Stockdale and Abe Routledge was also members of the same Battalion. The 7th Battalion was raised in Carlisle on the 7th September 1914 as part of Kitchener’s Second New Army. They trained at Andover and moved to Bovington in January 1915 and then to Winchester in June 1915. William would have embarked to France with the Battalion in July 1915, landing at Boulogne. The Battalion set up near St Omer and and underwent trench familiarisation then took over a section of front line in the Southern part of the Ypres Salient. It appears Thomas served with the Battalion throughout the war until his demobilisation in March 1919. The Battalion saw action throughout including at the Battles of Fricourt and Delville Wood in 1916, and at the Battle of Arras, and Third Battle of Ypres in 1917, and finally at the Somme and Battle of Amiens in 1918. For more information on the 7th Border Regiment in the first war please see this site.
After the war Joseph returned to the Dale to work at Greenside and in July 1920 married Alice Rebecca Banks, who was originally from Newcastle (where they married) but had moved to Glenridding to work as a District Nurse. We believe that Alice may well have also served in the war in the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps from November 1917 to October 1919, and awarded both the War Medal and Vicotry Medal for her service. Alice and Joseph lived for a time at Memorial Cottage, alongside Joseph’s Grandmother Catherine Jane Greenhow, who died there in June 1924 at the age of 83. We are very grateful to Alice’s family who contacted us in May 2015 and provided the wonderful photos we have of her and her family, including the one of Joseph above and family photos below. They also provided a wonderful story about Alice’s time as a nurse, saying “I do recall a story whereby my Great Aunt Alice took a pregnant lady up Helvellyn in order to try to induce labour. I am sure such practices would be frowned upon today!”. By 1930 we know from the Electoral Rolls that Joseph and Alice were living at High Glenridding, where presumably Joseph was still working at the mine. According to the family soon after this they took on the Queen’s Head pub at the bottom of Kirkstone (now the Brotherswater Arms). They eventually retired to Milnthorpe in Westmorland. Alice died in 1956 at the age of 69, and Joseph died in June 1966 at the age of 74.
Currently we know no little about the life of Thomas after the war. We know he married Martha H Swindlehurst in Kendal in 1921, but have no further information about him until his death in March 1966 at the age of 71. Both brothers are remembered on the Glenrdding Village Hall Roll of Honour.
We believe their sister Annie married Albert E Benson in Kendal in 1920. It appears their Uncle Thomas Henry moved to the North-
Joseph was featured in the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald article profiling the work of this project in May 2015. If you can any further details to the lives of Joseph, Thomas or their families please contact us.
Joseph’s Medal Card
Private Thomas Edward Greenhow
14826 , 7th Bn Border Regiment
Born Sept 1894, Shap
Died March 1966 aged 71
Son of Mary Greenhow
Husband of Martha H Swindlehurst
Private Joseph Greenhow
1301 & 200138, 1st Bn Border Regiment
Born 1st June 1892, Glencoin
Died June 1966 aged 74.
Son of Mary Greenhow
Husband of Alice Rebecca Banks
Thomas’ Medal Card
Photos kindly shared by the family of Alice Banks, showing we believe Joseph and Alice on their wedding day in 1920, presumably with Alice’s sister Sarah, and below Alice in her Nurses’ uniform in the garden of Memorial Cottage in the 1920s.