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Chapter 2.

Chapter 3.

Chapter 4.




1841 Census

1851 Census

1861 Census

1871 Census

1881 Census

1891 Census

1901 Census 1911 Census Can You Help?


Chapter 1.

Families with the name “Glassby” originate predominantly in Yorkshire, and names such as Denaby, Mexborough, Hooton Roberts, Dewsbury, Pontefract, Doncaster, Sheffield, Rotherham etc crop up many times. But it is Denaby and Mexborough where the earliest concentrations of the family seem to have been. This work describes the life and times of the forebears and descendants of Robert Glassby (1835-1892), who started life as a humble shoemaker’s apprenctice in Mexborough and rose to become Queen Victoria’s sculptor.

Research has determined the family tree back to the beginning of the 18th Century, both from Parish Records and from two gravestones to be found in the grounds of St. John the Baptist Church in Mexborough.

The Glassby gravestones in St John the Baptist Church, Mexborough
Photo by M. J. Piper

Transcription of Gravestone 1


Of Mary the Daughter of
Richard & Bettey Glafsby
who died Novr 28th 1780 aged 7
Years Alfo  Ann their Daughter
died May 10th 1781 aged 3 years.
And of John their Son who died
Sepr 5th 1788 aged 7 Years.
Likewise Betty Wife of the above
Richd Glafsby who died March
the 14th 1791 aged 46 Years.
Alfo (father of?) Richard Glassby
who died ______ 1819 aged 70 years
And of William their Son who
died Augst 23rd 1797 aged 12 years.
Alfo the Remains of Richard
Glafsby Junr son of the above
Richard & Bettey Glafsby who
died May 18th 1814 aged 39 years.
Farewell vain World my Life is gone
I’ve left a tender wife to mourn
Not Health or Riches can Content her mind
I am gone and she is left behind.
Bettey the wife of John Lilford
Died May 19th 1830 Aged 57 Years


Transcription of Gravestone 2

In memory of
WILLIAM the son of
Who died Auguft 21ft 1811
aged 21 months.
Alfo MARY their Daughter who
died January 16th 1812
aged 2 months.
Alfo ROBERT their Son who died
Decr 9th 1820 Aged 21 years.
Also of Richard their Son
who died Augt 4th 1825
Aged 28 Years.
Also of Befsy their Daughter
who died Octr 31st 1827
Aged 20 Years.
ALSO of John their Son
who died Janry 6th1845
Aged 28 Years.
who died Febry 7th 1849
Aged 73 Years.
And he was the Parish Clerk 49 ½ years
ALSO Martha Glassby Wife of
Robert Glassby who died Novr 27th
1853 AGED 78 YEARS




Descendants of Richard Glassby b. ~1722

It is difficult to be certain about relationships before 1720, but there is quite good information starting with Richard Glasby, born circa 1722 in Mexborough. He married Esther Carr (who was baptized in Sheffield on 25th November 1724) in Wath upon Dearne on 2nd February 1747, and they had five children:-

Richard Glasby (b. ~1722 Mexborough) m. 2nd February 1747 Esther Carr
  L Richard Glasby, born 1748, Denaby
  L Ann Glasby, baptised 20th March 1751 in Wath upon Dearne
  L Thomas Glasby, baptized on 26th August 1753 in Mexborough
  L John Glasby, baptized on 6th September 1756
  L Mary Glasby, baptized on 1st May 1760.

Esther Carr died in 1767, and it is thought that Richard Glasby remarried to Martha Rigley on 21st January 1768 in Mexborough. The computerized IGI records have this marriage recorded under “Richard Clasby”.

Richard and Esther's first son, Richard Glassby (b 1748), married Elizabeth Darley (born in Doncaster in 1751) in Denaby on 15th June 1772. They had 6 children:-

Richard Glassby (b. 1748) m. 15th June 1772 Elizabeth Darley
  L Mary Glassby, baptised on 13th April 1773
  L Robert Glassby, baptised on 4th August 1775
  L Richard Glassby, born about 1775
  L Anne Glassby, baptised on 5th October 1777
  L William Glassby, baptised on 25th August 1785
  L John, (probably born in 1788) who died in 1788

All of the baptisms took place in Mexborough. No record of the birth or the baptism of Richard (b. ~1775) has been found in the IGI records. His existence is implied from National Burial Index data and the fact that two sisters from Mexborough, Martha and Elizabeth Jackson, married a Robert and a Richard Glassby from the same small town. The implication is that Richard and Robert were brothers; the chances of the two sisters finding prospective husbands of marriageable age with the same (unusual) surname in Mexborough without the two being brothers is quite small.

At about the same time two other children were born i.e.

  L Isaac Glassby, baptised on 28th September 1772 in Mexborough
  L Abraham Glassby, baptised on 28th September 1772, died 19th October 1772 in Mexborough.

At first sight it appears that Isaac and Abraham were also sons of Richard (b. 1748) and Elizabeth Darley. However they married on 15th June 1772 and Isaac and Abraham were born on 28th September 1772; Elizabeth would have been heavily pregnant at the time of her marriage if this were the case. It seems more likely that Isaac and Abraham were sons of Richard (b. 1722) and his second wife Martha Rigley. Martha would have been about 36 years old at the time Isaac and Abraham were born.

Robert was the second child of Richard and Elizabeth Glassby, and it is he and his descendants who are discussed below:-

A. Robert Glassby (b.1775 Mexborough d.1849 Mexborough) m. Doncaster 24 NOV 1796 Martha Jackson (b.1776 d.30 NOV 1853) - 9 Children
  L A1 Richard Glassby (b. Thryberg 1797)

A2 Robert Glassby (b. Mexborough 1799 died on 12th December 1820 at the age of 21, making his date of birth 1799).

A3 Martha Glassby (b. Mexborough 1802).
A4 Hannah Glassby (b. Mexborough 1805 married Thomas Middleton in Mexborough on 22nd April 1822).
  L A5 Bessy Glassby (b. Mexborough 1807 died on 3rd November 1827, aged 20, in Mexborough - National Burial Index).
  L A6 William Glassby (b. Mexborough 1809 died on 22nd August 1811 aged 15 months - Burial Record information).  
  L A7 Mary Glassby (b. 1811 died 17th January 1812) The Burial Index records show the death of Mary Glassby, daughter of Robert and Mary (but this could be an error and could be Robert and Martha as nowhere in the records have I come across a “Robert & Mary Glassby”) 17 JAN 1812 , aged 1, in Denaby.
A8 William Jackson Glassby (b. Mexborough 1813 d. 1864) - see next section.
  L A9 John Glassby (b. Mexborough 1817 and it is thought that he died at the age of 18, as there is an entry in the Burial Index data for a John Glasby who died on 8th January 1845. The interchange of the names “Glasby” and “Glassby” occurs frequently in the historical records.

Robert Glassby was born in Mexborough in 1775 and lived there until he died in 1849 at the age of 73. He married Martha Jackson on 24th November 1796 in Doncaster. Martha Jackson was the fifth child of Robert Jackson and Hannah Roebuck, who were married in Hooton Roberts on 22nd February 1764. As mentioned above, Richard Glassby (b ~1775) married Martha's elder sister, Elizabeth Jackson.

Robert was for 49½ years the parish clerk of Mexborough, and school master in the same village.

Robert Glassby, Parish Clerk, (60) and Martha (60) are shown in the 1841 Census under the listing for the Township of Mexborough, along with their grandson Robert (5). They are listed as “Glasby’s” rather than “Glassby’s”.

1841 Census - Old Mexborough
Whether born in same county
Robert Glasby
Parish Cl.
Martha Glasby
Robert Glasby

(Note that ages for people over 15 were rounded down to the nearest 5 in the 1841 Census, so although they were both listed as “60” they could have been between 60 and 64).

Robert Glassby appeared as a witness at Sheffield Intermediate Sessions in 1842 and was mentioned briefly in the press:-

The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent
21st May 1842



EDWARD BARBER was charged with feloniously intermarrying with Hannah Athron, at Mexbrough, his former wife being alive. Mr. PICKERING for the prosecution, and Mr. WILKINS for the prisoner. The sexton of Steeple Burkstead, in Essex, proved that the prisoner was married there, in 1834, to a young woman, named Rebecca Tarbun, now living there. About six years ago, the prisoner left the village, leaving behind him his wife and child. Some time after, she left the place, as he understood, to join her husband; but in about nine months, she came back again. The marriage certificate was put in, in which the first wife was called Tavener…….. Robert Glassby, parish clerk, of Mexbrough, proved he knew the prisoner and Hannah Athron, to whom the prisoner was married in December last. The mother of Hannah Athron also proved the second marriage; and in cross examination, admitted that she had turned her daughter out of the house, but denied that her husband said they had got her fine Edward into gaol, and would soon have her there too…. Mr. Wilkins argued, that the discrepancy in the name of the first wife must cause the case to fail. The indictment was for marrying Rebecca Tarbun, and such was the evidence; but the certificate gave the name as Tavener…. Mr. Hardy urged, that this was covered by the second count, which was for marrying Rebecca Tarbun alias Tavener; and then it was clearly proved that the woman was yet living, and that the prisoner was the man to whom she was married……The Chairman decided that the case must go to the Jury….. Mr. Wilkins proceeded to address the Jury for the defense, and alleged that, in all probability, the prisoner had married the second wife, because she had been turned out of doors by her parents for her attachment to him. The prisoner was found Guilty, and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment.


An entry in the Parish Vestry Minutes book dated January 1849 also refers to Robert Glassby:-

Courtesy of Mexborough and District Heritage Society

Whilst this is difficult to read it appears to say:-

  At a public meeting of the Ratepayers of Mexborough held this 4th day of January 1849 in the school room in Mexborough it was unanimously agreed that Mr. Robert Glasby be allowed one half doz of coals extra for the year ensuing for past services.
Thomas Hirst - Chairman

Robert’s death was reported in the Sheffield & Rotherham Independent on 17th February 1849:-

Martha was still alive in 1851 and appears in the 1851 Census aged 75; she died on 30th November 1853.

1851 Census - Mexborough
Name Rel Age Occupation Where Born
Martha Glassby Head 75 Pauper Hooton Roberts
Martha Schofield Dau 48 Washerwoman Mexborough
Robert Glassby Son 15 Shoemaker's apprentice Mexborough

A 1. Richard Glassby (1797-1825)

Richard was born in 1797 and died on 5th August 1825 aged 28.

A 2. Robert Glassby (1799-1820)

Robert Glassby, baptised on 21st July 1799, died on 12th December 1820 aged

A.3 Martha Glassby

Martha Glassby was born in Mexborough 1802, and married Joseph Hague on 4th December 1822. She remarried to John Schofield on 6th October 1828, presumably upon the death of Joseph Hague. In 1852 the then Martha Schofield married Edward Worrall, ref. Q2 1852 Sheffield 9c 230. Martha and Edward then appear in the 1861 Census:-

1861 Census - Lord Street, Municipal Ward of Park, Sheffield
Name Rel
Birthplace Occupation
Edward Worrall Head (M)
Sheffield Silversmith
Martha Worrall Wife (M)
49 (*)
Martha Glassby (**) Niece (Un)

(*) although her age is listed as 49 in the 1861 Census, this is inconsistent with her age of 68 in the 1871 census - she was probably 59 at the time of the 1861 Census but may have deliberately understated her age (**) the transcript shows Martha Glassley but the original handwritten sheet is definitely Martha Glassby.

1871 Census -100 Lord Street, Municipal Ward of Park, Sheffield
Name Rel
Birthplace Occupation
Edward Worrall Head
Sheffield Silversmith
Martha Worrall Wife
Mary Glassby Niece
Mexborough Servant Domestic

It seems that in 1861 Edward and Martha had Martha’s neice A 8.8 Martha Glassby (born in 1851) staying with them, but by 1871 Martha Glassby had left and her sister, A 8.9 Mary Glassby had moved in with Edward and Martha Worrall as their Domestic Servant. This would explain why the age is quoted as “16” which is consistent with Mary who was born in 1854. Mary only lived for 3 years after the 1871 census as described in A 8.9 below.

Martha Worrall died in 1873 at the age of 70 (Ref: Q2 1873 Sheffield 9c 258). Edward Worrall was shown as a widower in the 1881 Census, living with his housekeeper.

1881 Census - 3 Alexandra Road, Heeley, Yorkshire
Name Rel
Birthplace Occupation
Edward Worrall Head (Wid)
Sheffiield, Yorkshire Silver Brazier
Emma Hassler Servant
Batchworth, Hertfordshire Domestic Housekeeper

A 4. Hannah Glassby (1805- )

Hannah Glassby, born in 1805, married Thomas Middleton in Mexborough on 22nd April 1822 They had two children, Robert Glassby Middleton, baptised on 28th September 1823, and Richard Middleton, baptised on 23rd October 1825, both in Mexborough.

A 5. Bessy Glassby (1807-1827)

Bessy Glassby, born 1807, died in Mexborough on 3rd November 1827, aged 20.

A 6. William Glassby (1809-1811)

William, born 1809, died on 22nd August 1811 aged 15 months.

A 7. Mary Glassby (1811-1812)

It is possible that they had an eighth child, Mary born between William in 1809 and William Jackson in 1813. The Burial Index records show the death of Mary Glassby, daughter of Robert and Mary (but this could be an error and could be Robert and Martha as nowhere in the records have I come across a “Robert & Mary”) 17th  January 1812 , aged 1, in Denaby.
A 9. John Glassby (1817-1845)

John Glassby was born in 1817; the IGI records show John Glassby, son of Robert and Martha Glassby, being christened on 13th March 1817 in Mexborough.  The IGI records also show the marriage of John Glasby on 10th January 1836 in Rotherham, to Sarah Scholey. The 1841 Census shows John and Sarah Glassby, both aged 20, living at Fishponds, Mexborough. It is thought that he died at the age of 28, as there is an entry in the Burial Index Books for a John Glasby who died on 8th January 1845.


A 8. William Jackson Glassby (b.1813 d.1864) m. 19 JUL 1835 Elizabeth Gill (b. 1813 d.1856) - 9 Children
  L A 8.1 Robert Glassby (b. Mexborough 17 DEC 1835 d. 3 AUG 1892)
  L A 8.2 Thomas Gill Glassby (b. Mexborough 1838 d. ?)
  L A 8.3 Hannah Glassby (b. Mexborough 1840 d. ?)
  L A 8.4 Richard Glassby (b. Mexborough 29 DEC 1841 d. 9 MAY 1897)
  L A 8.5 John Glassby (b. Mexborough 1844 d. ?)
  L A 8.6 William Glassby (b. Mexborough 1846 d. ?)
  L A 8.7 Andrew Glassby (b. Mexborough 1849 d. 1894)
  L A 8.8 Martha Glassby (b. Mexborough 1851 d. ?)
  L A 8.9 Mary Glassby (b. Mexborough 1854 d. ?)

William Jackson Glassby, born 1813, married Elizabeth Gill in Mexborough on 19th July 1835. She was born in 1813, like William, and was 22 years of age. The Gill’s were quite a prominent family in Mexborough at that time. At the time of the 1841 Census, Elizabeth’s parents were shown as Thomas Gill (62), a mason, and his wife Hannah. Elizabeth’s brother Andrew Gill, christened on 30th July 1816, is shown in the Census aged 25 and also a mason.

Due to a transcription error in the computerized version of the 1841 Census, William, the head of the family, is listed as “William Geazbey”. Examination of the hand-written original shows it to be “William Glasbey”. He is shown with his wife Elizabeth and their second son, Thomas. (Their first son, Robert, was living with his grandparents in Mexborough) The record shows:-

1841 Census - Little Britain, Township of Swinton.
Whether born in same county
William Glasbey
Elizabeth Glasbey
Thomas Glasbey

“Little Britain” is next to “Upper Canada” in the 1841 Census list, and close to Don Pottery and Swinton Wharf. Giles Bearley of Swinton Heritage Society explains:-

These fanciful names were generated by the Canal people. The South Yorkshire Cut and the Dearne & Dove Canal were put through the town circa 1780. Employment on the canals was quite extensive with all the local industry. Some were short runs and some were long runs. Others used to set off on "the wander" where they would go anywhere they could get a cargo It was not as fanciful as being on the ocean wave but names from sea voyages filtered back as nicknames for different places. Particularly where there was a turning circle or a boatman’s mission where they could get religion and supplies. In Wath-on-Dearne (the next town) for example was the "Bay of Biscay". Families residing there used the same names to describe where they were which was picked up in early censuses.

William and Elizabeth were both born in 1813, and would have been about 28 years old in 1841; with the “rounding down” rule their ages would have been shown as 25. They are shown in the 1851 Census living at Quarry Lane, Mexborough, and their son Thomas is shown to be 13 i.e. 10 years older than he was in the 1841 Census which ties in. By 1851 they had had 4 other sons, Richard, John, William and Andrew. It seems that the “Robert Glassby” who was 5 in the 1841 Census and was living with his grandparents Robert and Martha, was William and Elizabeth’s first child, but why he was living with his grandparents is not known.

1851 Census - Quarry Lane, Mexborough
Name Rel Age Birthplace Occupation
William Glassby Head 37 Mexboro,Yorks Stone Mason
Elizabeth Glassby Wife 37 Mexboro,Yorks  
Thomas Glassby Son 13 Mexboro,Yorks Errand boy
Richard Glassby Son 9 Mexboro,Yorks Scholar
John Glassby Son 6 Mexboro,Yorks Scholar
William Glassby Son 4 Mexboro,Yorks  
Andrew Glassby Son 1 Mexboro,Yorks  

Of the 9 children, more is known about Robert (A 8.1), Richard (A 8.4), John (A 8.5), William (A 8.6) and Andrew (A 8.7), as detailed in separate sections below.

Nothing is known about Thomas Gill Glassby (A 8.2), except that he was baptized on 11th February 1838. There is an entry in the National Burial Index for the death of Thomas Glasby, aged 15, on 14th January 1854, St John the Baptist, Mexborough which is probably him.

It seems likely that Hannah died young. There is a death entry for Hannah Glasby aged 10 months who died in Mexborough on 12th January 1841, which could be her.

There is a John Glasby present in the 1871 Census for Doncaster, listed as a glass blower aged 26, which would make his birth year 1845. There is an entry for John Glassby, 46, in the 1891 Census who was shown as staying with the Belk family in Whiston. There is no record of him marrying.

Martha Glassby (A 8.8) married John White in 1871 in Sheffield. She is referred to as “Mrs. White of Crewe” in the obituary for Robert Glassby (A 8.1) in the Mexborough and Swinton Times in August 1892. She is also listed as a subscriber in William J. J. Glassby’s book, "Memorials of Old Mexboro'" (Sheffield 1893, John Fillingham, Printer & Bookbinder).

Mary Glassby (A 8.9) is mentioned under the section "A 3. Martha Glassby". Mary died in 1873 and her death was recorded in the press as follows:-

The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent
3rd May 1873


Elizabeth Glassby (née Gill) died in 1856 in Doncaster, and William Jackson Glassby married again in 1858. The marriage certificate shows the marriage solemnized in the Parish Church in the Parish of Sheffield on 29th August 1858. William Jackson Glassby is shown as a widower aged 45, a (stone) mason of Clarence Street and son of Robert Glassby, schoolmaster. His new wife was Hannah Barker, 42, a spinster also living at Clarence Street and the daughter of George Barker, a sailor.

It appears that, like his father Robert Glassby Snr, William Glassby was also Parish Clerk of Mexborough for some time. An article appeared in the press in 1934 making reference to an Elizabethan Bible, once owned by William Glassby and passed to the Epworth family.

The Times
Friday January 12th 1934

An excellent view of the Elizabethan Bible which, as reported in our last issue, is in the possession of Mrs. Epworth (in the picture), widow of Mr. John Epworth, Rose Villa, Park Road, Mexborough, into whose family it came over a century ago from Mr. William Glassby, then Parish Clerk of Mexborough. The imprint shows the Bible to have been printed in 1588.

William Jackson Glassby died in 1864 in Doncaster some 3 years before his son Richard married. His death is confirmed on Richard’s marriage certificate, where he is listed as “William Glassby (Deceased)”.

A 8.1 Robert Glassby (b.17 DEC 1835 d.3 AUG 1892) m. 1866 Maria M. Davis (b. 1851 d.1928) - 10 Children
  L A 8.1.1 William Jackson John Glassby (b. Chelsea 1867 d. 1932)
  L A 8.1.2 Robert Glassby (b. Chelsea 1869 - died at birth)
  L A 8.1.3 Claude Joseph Glassby (b. Chelsea 1870 d. 1958)
  L A 8.1.4 Robert Edward Cecil Fouracre Glassby (b. Chelsea 1872 d. 19 NOV 1908)
  L A 8.1.5 Eugenie Elizabeth Glassby (b. Chelsea 1874 d. ?)
  L A 8.1.6 Lillian Evelyn M. Glassby (b. Chelsea 1876 d. ?)
  L A 8.1.7 Harold Hastings Glassby (b. Chelsea 1877 d. 1879)
  L A 8.1.8 Vivian Harold Boehm Glassby (b. Chelsea 1879 d. 1884)
  L A 8.1.9 Irene Violet Yineni Glassby (b. Chelsea 1885 d. ?)
  L A 8.1.10 Gladys Vivien G. Glassby (b. Chelsea 1887 d. 1934)

Robert Glassby (1835–1892) is perhaps the most famous Glassby listed in this research, and carried the title of Queen Victoria’s sculptor in later life. Robert Glassby was born in Mexborough, Yorkshire, on 17th December 1835 in The White House (also known as Odd House Farm) Windsor Castle Hill, off Church Street, Mexborough which was the house of Mr. Gill, his maternal grandfather. His parents were William Jackson Glassby and Elizabeth Gill, both born in Mexborough in 1813, who married on 19th July 1835. Robert was baptized on 27th December 1835 and the International Genealogy Record confirms that his parents were William and Elizabeth Glassby.

The White House, Mexborough
Photo courtesy of Mexborough & District Heritage Society

The Gill’s were quite a prominent family in Mexborough. At the time of the 1841 Census, Elizabeth’s parents were shown as Thomas Gill (62), a mason, and his wife Hannah. Elizabeth’s brother Andrew Gill, christened on 30th July 1816, is shown in the Census aged 25 and also a mason.Robert was brought up by his grandparents, Robert and Martha Glassby.

Robert Glassby senior was for 49 ½ years parish clerk in Mexborough, and schoolmaster in the same village. Robert, aged 5, is shown living with them in the 1841 Census for Old Mexborough, whilst his parents, William and Elizabeth, are shown living a few miles away in Swinton, with their second son Thomas, aged 3. It is not known why Robert lived with his grandparents whilst his parents lived just a few miles away with their second son. He was educated at the village school by his grandfather.


Windsor Castle Hill is no longer there in Mexborough, but recently when land to the rear of the Alms Houses was being cleared the gable end of the “White House” was discovered. In September 2013 Mexborough Charity Trust, responsible for the administration of the Alms Houses, erected a plaque in honour of Robert Glassby.

The Commemorative Plaque and the White House gable end – September 2013
Photos by M. J. Piper



1841 Census - Old Mexborough
Birth Range
Robert Glasby
Parish Cl
Martha Glasby
Robert Glasby
Note: in the 1841 Census the age of people over 15 was rounded down to the nearest "5", so for example, someone aged 63 would be listed as 60

At a very early age Robert Glassby became friendly with John Reed of Rock Pottery in Mexborough and is thought to have had free access to his pottery works.

John Reed, owner of Rock Pottery, Mexborough
Photo courtesy of Mexborough and District Heritage Society

We learn that in his early days he was continually giving proof of his artistic talent, sketching, painting, or carving letters and designs in stone. One of his earliest works known to survive today is a “Grotesque” which is thought to have been done in 1845.

Frances Yeo, Senior Curator & Collections Manager, Museums, Galleries & Heritage, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council commented on the dating and attribution of this work to Robert Glassby in an email to the author of 4th July 2011:-


We have letter dated April 27th 1929 from W Glassby offering a number of items to the museum related to his father Robert.  Amongst these items he offers: 'two little models made at the Don pottery by my father, his first model a very small hand holding a pipe and glazed with the green glaze for which I believe the pottery had a certain amount of fame; (I have 3 dessert dishes from the Don Pottery with the same green glaze) and the model of a gargoyle in terra-cotta, about 3" long'.......'if they are to be shown and my father's name to be associated with them then I should be pleased to give them'

In another letter dated May 10th 1929 W Glassby goes on to say:
'I have now packed the small things I told you about and hope to send off the Box tomorrow....  Contents are as follows...... Medallion portrait in plaster of my father modelled by myself.  This needs framing.  Please see it is not damaged as there is no cast or copy of it.......Gargoyle in terracotta..... [This] modelled by my father when a boy at Mr Read's Pottery.'

In a further letter dated May 17th 1929 W Glassby says:
'With regard to the modelling of the little hand I should say about 1845 would be near enough, as although Mr John Read was my father's special friend, he was a great favourite with Mr Read's father and at the Pottery.  While at school he was allowed to go in and out of the Pottery as he liked and both father and son took delight in the little models he made'

We will have taken the 1845 date from this - although we have no further details or trace of the 'very small hand holding a pipe'.

After his grandfather died in 1849 at the age of 73, Robert remained with his grandmother and he is shown in the 1851 Census for Mexborough with her as a shoemaker’s apprentice, aged 15. In that year he became apprenticed to Joseph Barlow (listed as a quarry owner in Whites Directory of 1833), and stayed with him for about four years. He disliked his employer intensely and suffered from ill-health, but he finally obtained release from his apprenticeship and moved to Wolverhampton, where he became stonemason in the yard of his uncle, John Gill.

1851 Census - Mexborough
Name Rel Age Occupation Where Born
Martha Glassby Head 75 Pauper Hooton Roberts
Martha Schofield Dau 48 Washerwoman Mexborough
Robert Glassby Son 15 Shoemaker's apprentice Mexborough

Information relating to Robert Glassby’s time as an apprentice shoemaker appeared in the press in 1936:-


The South Yorkshire Times
17th January 1936


Sir, - Your notes in the current issue of the “South Yorkshire Times” on old Mexborough and the Glassby family were very interesting, but as you barely touched on the life of Robert Glassby, the Mexborough sculptor, and as it is generally not known that Mexborough, like Kilnhurst, has produced a sculptor of the highest talents, a few particulars of his life, as handed down to me by my late father, who was a co-apprentice of his as a shoemaker, may interest your readers.

A Mr. Joseph Barlow carried on a shoemaker’s business in the basement of the old Wesleyan Church in Bank Street, now known as the Wesley Hall. When my father was in his last year of apprenticeship to Mr. Barlow, young Robert Glassby was taken in to fill the coming vacancy. He was the son of Mr. J. G. Glassby, a mason, but was largely brought up by his grandfather, who filed the threefold office of schoolmaster, Parish Clerk and constable. The school which he conducted was on the site of the present National School, but was dismantled in 1845.

Young Glassby did not take kindly to the shoemaking business and as soon as his master had gone out on business Robert would run across the road to the Rock pottery and beg a lump of clay, or perhaps take up a piece of shoemaker’s wax and say to my father: “Now, John, what shall I make? A horse, cow or a dog?” The answer would be: “You had better get some work done or Mr. Barlow will want to know why I have allowed you to waste time.”  Then Robert would say: “But I want to be an artist or sculptor, not a shoemaker.” In a few minutes he would produce a clever model of an animal.

Robert twice ran away from his apprenticeship, a serious offence in those days. On the second occasion he was brought before the magistrates in Doncaster, but largely through the influence of Mr. John Reed, who owned Rock Pottery, his indentures were torn up in court and the lad was set at liberty.

Yours etc
Park Road


At that time there was a huge demand for stone masons in Doncaster. St George’s Church had been destroyed by fire in 1853 and masons were required for its rebuild. We learn from the Doncaster Minster website:-


Its destruction, by fire on the night of 28th February 1853, was seen as a great calamity for the town and the neighbourhood. Nevertheless, within seven days, a rebuilding committee had been formed and raised over £11,000. Unusually Queen Victoria broke her own rule not to contribute to local charities and contributed £100 to the fund. The Archbishop of York sent £500 and the Town Council donated a generous £5,000. It is a tribute to the determination of all concerned that it was possible for the Archbishop of York to lay the foundation stone for the new church exactly one year to the day after the fire. The new building to the designs of George Gilbert Scott took four years to build at a cost of £43,126   4 shillings and 5 pence. Great celebrations accompanied the consecration of the building by the Archbishop of York on 14th October 1858.”



All did not go well with the rebuilding and on 4th October 1854 it was reported in The Times that the stonemasons had been on strike for two months and that Mr. Ireson, contractor for the new parish church, “has, during the last week, obtained several new hands, and, although he has not got the number he had before the strike, he has sufficient to carry on the work quite fast as is desirable in its present stage.” The article goes on to say “With regard to the personal loss of the contractor, he is undoubtedly something out of pocket, from expenses incurred in obtaining workmen from various parts of the country; but as he has the support of the building committee, he will of course obtain proportionate indulgence with respect to the term of his contract. The loss of the operatives themselves will be much greater than that of the contractor, as many of them have remained in Doncaster since the commencement of the strike on the trade allowance of 10s per week.”

St George’s, Doncaster

At the same time, work was progressing on Hyde Park Cemetery, with its associated chapel and lodge, with the need for more stone masons. Robert Glassby went to work for a firm of stonemasons in Doncaster, Messrs Anelay & Co, where he assisted in the masonry work for the Doncaster Cemetery Chapel, Carr House Road.

Prior to 1856 almost all burials took place in the 10-acre churchyard at St. George’s, but there was increasing concern about the lack of space. The Metropolitan Internment Act of 1850 allowed for the provision of publically-funded cemeteries in London, and the subsequent Burial Act of 1853 extended this provision nationwide. The Doncaster Cemetery Act was passed on 3rd July 1854 made provision for a cemetery in Doncaster, and a site overlooking Doncaster Carr was picked. R. J. Johnson of Newcastle was chosen as the architect, and Messrs Anelay of Doncaster carried out the work. There were two chapels (one for the Established Church and one for the Nonconformists) connected by an arch, as well as a Lodge and boundary wall, also with an arch. Anelay were established as stone masons in 1747, and by coincidence it was the present day company “William Anelay Limited” which was appointed in 2004 to undertake £170,000 worth of repairs to the chapel. It is interesting that Robert Glassby was working on a project with arches, and this could have been where he got the idea and the skills needed to build the “Glassby Arch” for John Reed in Mexborough in 1859.

Chapel and Lodge, Hyde Park Cemetery, Doncaster
Photo by M. J. Piper

Arch at entrance to Hyde Park Cemetery, Doncaster
Photo by M. J. Piper

In September 1856 Robert Glassby left Doncaster to work for Joseph Hadfield, at the Norfolk Lane Marble Works, Sheffield. In March, 1857, he entered the Sheffield School of Art to study drawing, but the master chancing to see some modeling which had been executed asked for further specimens, and on being shown a portrait model and other work was convinced of the talent of the rising young sculptor. He was now advised to take a course of lessons in modeling, and made a copy from the antique, showing great ability in the modeling and exactness. While thus making much progress, one evening leaving his work he slipped while closing the door, his head striking the glass window of the door, and causing a severe wound. After a rest of two days his pluck and perseverance caused him to again set to work and compete for the prizes that he was trying for, and he received two bronze medals (the highest achievable) for his efforts.

Joseph Hadfield advertisement – 1871 Trade Directory

Robert Glassby was in good company whilst he was at Hadfield’s and the Sheffield School of Art. An article appearing in the press in 1899 following the death of sculptor Thomas Gregory gives an insight:-


The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent
9th November 1899


The death occurred at Heaton Mersey, near Manchester, on November 1st, of Mr. Thomas Gregory, a Sheffield sculptor. He was born in Sheffield, April 25th 1833. In his early boyhood he showed great ability as a carver of stone and marble. About this time, his uncle was building St. Marie’s Church, Norfolk row. Mr. Hadfield being the architect, and the carving of this church was done by a very clever stone carver, from whom Gregory received useful tuition. He was apprenticed with Mr. Hadfield, Marble Works, Norfolk Lane, where he executed many pieces of monumental stone carving. In the evening he attended the Sheffield School of Design when the late Young Mitchell was the master. He was one of the band of talented pupils which included Geoffrey Sykes, Henry Archer, Henry Hales, Reuben Townroe, James Gambles, Richard Plant, Robert Glassby and numbers of others who have distinguished themselves as craftsmen. The School of Design at this early date was considered the first in the kingdom, which reputation it has upheld. Mr. Gregory was awarded the second Montgomery medal for modeled panels applied to decorative work; he also received a medal from South Kensington for modeling flowers from nature and other awards. After his apprenticeship, his first studio was in Division street, where he executed some good monumental works; but not receiving the encouragement in his native town to which he thought himself entitled, he removed to Manchester and there opened a studio where he was very successful and received due recognition. Many of the public buildings in Manchester and district are adorned with his carving viz... Alston Hall, near Preston; the Town Hall, Pendleton; Rossall College, the Police Station, the Grosvenor House, Manchester and many other important buildings.  He executed some excellent busts and bas relieves in marble and terracotta, one being the bust of James Montgomery, another of Wright, the philanthropist. He composed a number of poems and published them, the title being “The effusions of a wandering pen”. Several of his poems were set to music by Stephen Glover, the title of one being “The Banks of the Don”.



Robert Glassby’s achievements at the School of Art in Sheffield were recorded in the press at the time:-

The Sheffield Independent
6th February 1858

During the following 18 months he executed no less than twelve portraits in his spare time, and in May 1858, commenced to study landscape painting under the direction of Mr. Christopher Thompson, of Division Street, Sheffield. His health now was very bad, and having a bad attack of inflammation of the lungs he returned to Mexborough in July, when he made a painting of Mexborough Parish Church, and a street scene in Mexborough, which was purchased by Miss Pearson, of Ackworth, for £1 2s., and four other paintings, which were purchased by Mr. John Reed, his first patron, who also commissioned the young artist to model 18 heads and other works. He now decided to study in Paris, and from the sale of his works to Mr. Reed he was enabled to leave home on 2nd November 1858. He spent a day in London at the National Gallery and South Kensington Museum, and the following day he arrived in Dieppe, en route for Paris. He studied there independently, modeling and copying the pictures by the great masters in the Louvre and elsewhere. On his return to England in 1860 he stayed for a week in London with Reuben Townroe, an old co-student of the Sheffield School of Art, then the principal assistant of Alfred Stevens, artist.

In 1860, at the age of 24 he carved the Glassby Arch as a garden ornament for John Reed. It stood in the garden of Prospect House (Mexborough House), Market Street, Mexborough until 1966 when the house was demolished. The arch was moved to Fern Villa, Church Road, Mexborough, where it stands today.

Front and Rear Views of The Glassby Arch at Fern Villa, Mexborough, circa 1991.
Photos courtesy of Cris Ruhen Caird, New South Wales, Australia

Detail of the carving on the Glassby Arch
Photos by M. J. Piper


Cris Ruhen Caird, now living in Australia, lived in Prospect House as a child, and from a letter written to Mexborough Heritage Society in 2004 we get a glimpse of the history of the property:-


“In 1935 my father, the late Dr. Carl X Ruhen, purchased Mexborough House in which grounds the (Glassby) archway had always stood and remained until 1966 prior to demolition of the house. The house had become the subject of a compulsory purchase order so that the then “new” road may be built – through the dining room! Many discussions were held with the then representatives from Wakefield. Numerous suggestions were made by my father for the road to be replanned so that it circumnavigated the house – architecturally and structurally a very innovative house when built.

All of these suggestions, sadly, were to no avail. Added to Wakefield’s lack of enthusiasm they held the trump card up their sleeve in the form of a 99 year lease about to expire. My father realized he needed to do some hard and rapid thinking if the archway were to be saved. Losing the house was a disaster in his eyes but to lose the archway also? “Cris, this is not going to happen!” I recall these words as he wasn’t a man with a great dedication to causes – they had to be extremely close to his heart, and clearly saving the archway was a cause with a #1 priority. He wrote to the Mexborough Council offering the archway as a gift to Mexborough – he had in mind it’s reconstruction in Clayton’s Park. Clearly, a hand delivered letter went astray! We were not to receive a reply. He had certainly not considered a donor’s plaque – not a man for leaving footprints my Dad!

The Wakefield representatives took their findings back to the office and, fortunately for us, mulled over things for a while prior to presenting any papers for signature. Agreement would be reached finally in a figure of 5,000 pounds for the house.

Originally built and known as Prospect House until 1911 when taken over by the Council as the offices for the issue of the first old age pensions, this dwelling was the dream, pride and joy of Mr. John Reed, owner of Rock Pottery. The grounds of the house went down to the canal where a fully equipped landing stage was in situ and remained so until demolition of the house. The horses would have made the trek up from the canal to the stables where they were cared for, amongst others, by a boy called Robert Glassby. This is the story handed to my father from Dr. Black, from whom he purchased Mexborough House….

Robert’s hobby was whittling tiny creatures from branches which fell from the many trees on the property. John Reed was fascinated by not only the talent which was obvious, but also the intensity with which Robert worked, trying to ensure every detail was as close as possible. “What would you really like to spend your time doing, Robert?” asked John Reed. “Sir, I’d like to be a stonemason….”The rest, as they say, is history.

Prospect House.
Photo courtesy of Mexborough & District Heritage Society


The Glassby Arch was then moved to Fern Villa, Church Street, Mexborough and actually appeared for sale on eBay in March 2004. The Doncaster Free Press reported on Thursday March 25th 2004 that the arch had been granted a preservation order:-

The Doncaster Free Press
25th March 2004

AN HISTORIC landmark has been granted a preservation order after being put up for auction on the internet. The archway, created by Queen Victoria's sculptor Robert Glassby in 1859 in Mexborough, had been given a starting price of £1,100 on the worldwide auction site e-bay. But Doncaster Council has placed a six month preservation order on the arch and members of Mexborough and District Heritage Society are now trying to raise enough money to keep the arch in the town. It has since been withdrawn from sale on the website. Chairman Cliff Blaydes admitted that he was "shocked and disappointed" when he found out it had been put up for sale. He said "We have already had two offers of money from anonymous Mexborough people. The council has put it under a six month preservation order so we have some time to raise the money". The arch currently in Church Way but was originally built in the grounds of Prospect House, Market Street - the home of John Reed who was the owner of Rock Potteries. It featured carved replica heads of gargoyles from churches within a 12-mile radius of the town. However when the house was demolished in 1966 to make way for the Mexborough bypass, it was moved to a private address on Church Way.


The arch was left in a derelict state and by 2013 it was in great danger of collapse.

The Glassby Arch, September 2013
Photo by M. J. Piper

Discussion had been ongoing for some time between the relevant authorities for permission to move the Glassby Arch to a more suitable position. Things came to a head rather suddenly in February 2014 when thieves were spotted dismantling the Arch and removing pieces. Fortunately the police became involved and tracked down the thieves, forcing them to return the pieces of the Arch that they had removed. The situation was reported in the local press:-

The South Yorkshire Times

27th February 2014

Efforts were made to save the arch, but the finances were not available and the owner, being on the Wanted List by the police for alleged drug offences had fled to Spain. Thieves broke into the house and started to dismantle and take away pieces of the stonework of the arch. Fortunately a neighbor realized what they were doing and alerted the police. The thieves were apprehended and virtually all of the stolen pieces were recovered. This led to a renewed effort to save the arch, and co-operation between Mexborough Charity Trust, led by Giles Brearley, Doncaster Council and the Economic Crime Command of the National Crime Agency resulted in the arch being dismantled and re-erected in a new position next to the Alms Houses in Church Road.

Photo courtesy of Mr. Ron James, Mexborough

Photo courtesy of Mr. Ron James, Mexborough

Photo courtesy of Mr. Ron James, Mexborough

Photo by M J Piper

  The initials “RG” for “Robert Glassby” carved into the Arch The initials “JR” for “John Reed” carved into the Arch  


From the sale of works to John Reed, Robert Glassby was able to study for a period in Paris. He travelled to London and spent a day at the National Gallery and the South Kensington Museum, and the following day he arrived in Dieppe, en route for Paris. He studied there independently, modeling and copying the pictures by the great masters in the Louvre and elsewhere. On his return to England in 1860 he stayed for a week in London with Reuben Townroe, an old co-student of the School of Art, then the principal assistant of Alfred Stevens, artist.

Mexborough Parish Church 1860 by Robert Glassby
Photo courtesy of The Clifton Park Museum, Rotherham

St John the Baptist Church, Mexborough
Photo by M. J. Pipe

From the 1861 Census we see that Robert Glassby was a “Boarder” at Backfields, Ecclesall Bierlow, Sheffield, and he was described as a “Marble Carver”.

1861 Census - Backfields, Ecclesall Bierlow, Sheffield
Name Rel Age Birthplace Occupation
David Wilson Head
Abt 1795 (66)
Worksop, Notts Coach Makers Trimmer
Martha Wilson Wife
Abt 1795 (66)
Sheffield, Yks  
Helen Elizth Wilson
Abt 1838 (23)
Brightside B, Yks At home
Robert Glassby Boarder
Abt 1836 (25)
Mexborough, Yks Marble Carver

After a short time with Hadfield’s in Sheffield, Robert Glassby advertised in a Liverpool paper for a position in a studio as an improver in carving. He was at once sent for a trial by Mr. E. E. Geflowski .

Emmanuel Edward Geflowski (1834 – 1898) was a Polish sculptor working in Liverpool. In 1863, about the time that Robert Glassby worked for him, he did an elaborate Gothic tabernacle for St George’s Church, Everton incorporating a portrait roundel to the memory of Walter Fergus MacGregor who died in 1863. Another of his works was the statue of Sir William Fairbairn which stands in Manchester Town Hall. But perhaps the best known of Geflowski’s work was the 1881 statue of Queen Victoria. A six foot high statue in Sicilian marble, which was given by the Chinese community in Singapore to Sir Cecil Smith, then Governor of the Straits Settlements, which is said to be one of the most life-like statues of Queen Victoria ever done. The statue was placed in the State Room until the 1960s. It was then moved to the Victoria Memorial Hall and subsequently to the National Museum store in the mid-1980s. When removed from the store in 1994 the statue was found to be damaged, and was subsequently repaired in 1995 by a specialist from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. It is now housed in a gazebo near a rectangular lily pond within the Istana grounds in Singapore.

Queen Victoria by E. E. Geflowski


As part of his trial, Geflowski put Robert Glassby to work at a marble recumbent figure. Mr. Geflowski said “After a few days’ absence from my studio on business I returned to find that the young man who wished to improve in carving should have advertised for a position as an accomplished carver. I was delighted with his excellent work, so much so that a month later, on his wishing to leave owing to the bad lodgings in Liverpool, I offered him a lodging free in my own home, where he was treated as a friend. He remained with me for 18 months, and then went to London, where had he obtained one commission to start, and enable him to work entirely on his own account he would have become one of the most celebrated sculptors of the day.

One wonders why Robert Glassby left Liverpool as he was obviously treated well by Geflowski, but it could have been due to Geflowski falling on hard times and being unable to afford to employ Glassby further. Geflowski went bankrupt in 1864, although he recovered and went on to do many important sculpture commissions.

The Liverpool Mercury
5th November 1864

But on his arrival in London Robert Glassby did not obtain his own commissions, rather he was at once engaged by Henry Weekes (1807-1877) of Pimlico. Weekes was born in Canterbury and became apprenticed to Behnes in 1822. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1823 and in 1827 became an assistant to Sir Francis Legatt Chantery. Weekes took over Chantery's studio in 1841 upon his death and finished some of his works, including "Wellington" by the Royal Exchange in London. Weekes specialised in portrait sculpture, doing the first bust of Queen Victoria (1838) after she became Queen. In 1864 Weekes won recognition for the "Manufactures" group of the Albert Memorial. The Albert Memorial was opened to the public in 1872 and the statue of Albert was installed in 1875. Robert Glassby obtained work as a carver for John Birnie Philip (1824-1875) and worked on the government buildings in Whitehall as well as the podium frieze on the Albert Memorial.

Sculptors, The Albert Memorial, by J. Birnie Philip
Image from old postcard in the possession of M. J. Piper

After a course of study in the North London School, he obtained a scholarship in the Royal Academy Schools in December 1864, where he was a student for nearly three years meeting with much success. Wishing for a better opening he applied to Baron Marochetti, and was immediately engaged by the Baron as a carver and modeler. The Royal Academy of Arts Library and Archive still holds the leather-bound hand-written ledger  “Students Admitted to The Royal Academy Since 1830” in which Robert’s entrance to the Academy was recorded as 22nd December 1864:-

The Royal Academy of Arts Student Intake Book
Photos by M. J. Piper
Courtesy of The Royal Academy of Arts Library and Archive


There is a story which has been handed down through the family that Robert modeled the Lions in Trafalgar Square. Bernard Collier, a descendent, recalls:-

  “My mother used to tell us that one of our ancestors was a sculptor and worked on the bronze lions in Trafalgar Square. We used to have a small oil painting of an artist’s studio with a girl’s head, sculptured in marble, in the background. We actually had this head and it was kept in my bedroom when I was a child. My mother said that it was the work of this ancestor, as was the painting,. Unfortunately the painting was old and dirty and thought to be worthless, so she threw it away one year while doing the annual “spring clean”. I was about 10 at the time (i.e. circa 1940). The head she gave away to the Church Jumble sale shortly afterwards. This now seems a great shame in view of the possibilities revealed in our family tree. The lions were designed by Sir Edwin Landseer and were sculptured and cast at the studio and workshop of Baron Carlo Marochetti. Baron Marochetti died before the Lions were completed”.  


The story of the plan for the “Lions for Nelson’s Monument” was reported in The Times on 25th August 1863 .  As Robert Glassby worked for Baron Marochetti between 1864 and 1868 it is quite likely that he was involved in the modeling and casting in bronze of the Lions. The Lions were modeled by Sir Edwin Landseer, but his model was a mere 6 to 7 foot long; it was Marochetti’s studio that had the job of building scale models in clay 20 foot long. It is quite possible that Robert Glassby was engaged in this.

The first Lion was completed in March 1866 and attracted a visit by Queen Victoria to Marochetti’s studio for an inspection, as reported by The Pall Mall Gazette:-

The Pall Mall Gazette
26th March 1866

A month later disaster struck in the form of a fire in Baron Marochetti’s studio, again reported by The Pall Mall Gazette:-

The Pall Mall Gazette
16th April 1866

The fire was not as serious as first thought, and Baron Marochetti commented in The Pall Mall Gazette the following day:-

The Pall Mall Gazette
17th April 1866

The first Lion was erected in January 1867:-

The Pall Mall Gazette
25th January 1867

The “Lion Project” had been controversial and lengthy from start to finish, and there was yet another sting in the tail as both Landseer and Marochetti were criticized:-


The Pall Mall Gazette
1st February 1867

THOUGH Austrian customs may generally be more honoured in the breach than in the observance, we might now and then condescend to take a leaf from the book of Ædiles of the city of Vienna. In that capital models or casts of sculptures intended for purposes of public ornamentation are temporarily exhibited on the place or pedestal which is to receive the finished work. Such trial gives the artist opportunities for experiment, and enables him to profit by the criticisms of the cognoscenti and the public. That this Swabian practice, usefully adopted last year in the case of the Asspern bridge, would improve the appearance of the British metropolis, it might be rash to assert. But it is at least worthy of mention and consideration that had Sir Edwin Landseer enjoyed a like opportunity, his bronze lions might have rivaled his painted stags and dogs. It was not unreasonable to make trial of his genius on a work of this sort. The analogies of artistic history are favourable to such a course. Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michel Angelo are great and successful cases in point. Then, to give the commission for these animals to Sir Edwin Landseer was to divert from them when finished that stream of public ridicule which never fails to flow at the expense of the embellishments, good or bad, of Trafalgar-square. The greatest painter who has appeared in England since the days of Reynolds, the only living Englishman whose pretensions are admitted by Englishmen and foreigners alike – the name of such a man is almost a shield against criticism at home, a warrant against contempt from abroad. While the lions were in their covered state fears were expressed lest they should turn out to be too colossal for their pedestal and their position. But it is now seen that these fears were unnecessary. The Nelson Column is too small for Trafalgar-square, or rather Trafalgar-square is too large for the Nelson Column, or for any column whatever; but the beats are well proportioned to their place. Their presence is so notable an improvement to the general appearance of the column and square that at the first sight of them the spectator feels a sentiment of satisfaction and admiration. But this sentiment he must analyze, and take care lest he localize in the sculpture impressions that do not necessarily pertain to it. It will, we imagine, scarcely be contested  that in these lions a pictorial style of treatment prevails. Hence certain peculiarities of effect which a professional sculptor, of however inferior abilities and experience, would probably have avoided. If we look one of the lions in the face, we find ourselves opposite a bronze area of almost triangular shape, nearly unrelieved by varieties of plane or irregularities of outline. Such surfaces may be congenial to the brush, which can break their monotony by devices of colour and chiaroscuro. But the chisel, if faithful to the tradition of Phidias and Michel Angelo, will try for effect by detaching and grouping masses. The lion’s mane seems one with his face, which does not wear the lordly look of the king of beasts, and if you retreat a few steps, his features appear to take an almost human expression, partly by reason of certain fortuitous effects of light and shade. Now it is true that the Greeks gave Jupiter something of the lion’s mien, but they did not give the lions the traits of  Jupiter, still less those of a man. The animal is not the monarch of the Libyan desert; he is rather the milder species of Asia. He is the friend of Androcles, not the beast whose fathers, as Ælian says, destroyed the population of a whole African province. Those are not the eyes and mouth of the lion of Trafalgar and of Pitt; they belong to the noisy and impotent carnivore of Sleswick-Holstein and the Polish six points – the British lion as edited by Earl Russell. Again, seen from the side, the animal’s profile projects beyond the mane as if from a sort of hood, we had almost said a wig. The hair of the forehead is gathered into a kind of curved spike, which cannot be described as happily in thought, while the lower lip is of a heavy, pendulous, Hapsburg build.

Taken in general side view, the air line of the animals cannot be called happy. One of the most striking characteristics of the genus is the apparent osteological capacity and muscular power of the head and shoulders as compared with that of the rear, which looks a distinct part of the body, just as the abdomen of the wasp is separate from the thorax. It is probably to this outward weight and importance of the intellectual regions that the lion owes some of the sublimity with which our imagination clothes him. Now the Trafalgar-square animals are not clearly mapped out. Pursuing the former illustration, we should say that they were almost built on the annulose or molluscous type. Their frame and flesh looks a heavy, uniform mass; their lines are nearly those of the hippopotamus and the bull. Then the slope of the back along the median line, from the loins to the tail, is positively ugly, and devoid of the local convexities and rugosities proper to the rear of felis leo. Such a creature can have little life, and without much remodeling his hinder parts could hardly be got to suggest activity and strength. But these same parts, viewed from the rear, are of imposing and even grand power. However, it is not easy to find the squares of pavement whence they can be conveniently seen. About the fore legs there can be but one opinion. They are stiff and lumbering, while the paws appear to be wrapped in the poultices or otherwise padded.

Another unsatisfactory detail is that the lion’s hip is separated from the  barrel by a strange groove or canal, which, if technically exact, is at any rate abrupt and strange in effect. That these animals surpass the average efforts of British sculpture must certainly be allowed; but whether we look at them as units or a group or as studies in plastic anatomy, we cannot feel convinced that some of our regular artists in this line might not have succeeded better. When we think of Canova’s lions at the tomb of Pius VI., with their nobility of posture and pathos of expression, of the basalt beasts of the Capitol, so full of the mystic divinity of “him who sleeps in Philæ,” we cannot but feel a little envy and regret.


The Pall Mall Gazette
9th February 1867



The Saturday Review complains that the country is asked to pay to Baron Marochetti for the casting of the Trafalgar-square lions about twice as much as Sir. E. Landseer receives for eight years’ labour in designing and modeling them. The Baron asks not less than £11,000 for the casting, although our best English firm offered to do it for £6,000. Besides, the casting is very badly done. What at Woolwich is known as rotten casting, and of the ingenuities practiced by the casters to conceal it, will have been heard by every reader. Well, then, let him inspect the lions in question. Whenever they are near enough to the eye, he will see that the surface is pitted by crowds of air-bubbles. If he chooses the light when sufficiently horizontal to bring out the side-planes of the figures, he will not only see these bubbles following the seam in long lines, together with a number of awkward-looking fillings-up in the metal, but he will become aware of a peculiar stratified structure in the animals, which extends over the flanks and the hind quarters alike, and has (it need hardly to be said) no reference to any natural organization. These strata appear to arise from careless juxtaposition of the lengths in which the piece-mould was built up, or from an undue multiplication of small parts in the separate castings. When the foundry-surface has gone, how is the London atmosphere likely to act upon such materials?


Landseer working on models for the Lions of Trafalgar Square by Ballantyne

Lion in Trafalgar Square

Robert Glassby was mentioned in a press report in 1867 for the Royal Academy exhibition:-


The Standard
3rd June 1867


Much has been said, and justly said, in condemnation of the place set apart for the reception of sculpture at the Royal Academy. Formerly it was a sort of coal-hole, now it is not much better. A chill and a gloom seize the visitor the moment he descends into it. Yet, mean as is the place, it is associated with great names. We may not approach its doors without recollections of many beautiful creations of the chisel by contributors from whom we have now no more to expect. There was the noble Gibson, greatly famous even in the classic land where he made his home; and Edward Hodges Baily, another academician and old contributor, whose death, at an extreme age, the public have recently learned. Both laboured hard to popularise the sculpture-rooms in the rear of Trafalgar-square. It was there that Baily, who was long associated with the Academy, sent his sweetest nymphes. Born himself in Bristol in 1778, he, like so many other young men of genius, made his way to London, and had the good fortune to find in the famous Flaxman a friend and an instructor. Under so good a master he made progress, and won silver and gold medals at the Academy school. The greatest work of his career was his "Eve at the Fountain." He, however, made many groups which possessed high claims to distinction. He had an eye for proportion quite rare, and a feeling for nice finish in the completion of his designs, which were classically chaste. Much of his time was spent in making public memorials, which was not likely to add to his own repute so much as to the fame of those whose virtues and deeds they were intended to commemorate. Like Gibson, he was more at home with the Graces. The school to which these two sculptors belonged is now fast dying out to make way fro another race of artists, who have resolved to copy nature with a resolute hand, and whose statues all partake of the realistic character of the well-known "Reading Girl". Gibson and Baily's quality of art did not admit of the deep lines and hard contortions which demote the play of passion in persons of strong individuality, nor could it deal in the ordinary and abrupt costumes of every-day life. Soft curves and flowing lines of beauty were nearly all their care. Their forms are exquisite, but not native to England - so say the rising generation. But at least they were masters of the kind of art which they preferred, and it may be long before others arise whose works will surpass in refinement, lofty aim, and high quality of executions the productions of the two great sculptors, Gibson and Baily.

This season the sculpture-rooms contain a greater number than usual of successful works. Mr. C. Bacon has executed a bust of "His Royal Highness the Duke of Edingburgh." for the Legislative Assembly of Nassau, in the Bahamas, and Mr. G. G. Adams, a very pleasing one of "His Serene Highness Francis, Prince of Teck." "The Young Mother," by Mr. P. McDowell, "holding a mirror up to nature," is in reality holding a mirror for her child to see his face in for the first time; and the curious and intelligent way in which the boy does it is the best part of the group. It is very likely that such a snake-like woman as Mr. W. C. Marshall entitles "Jael" would use the hammer and nail lying by her side. In Mr. C. F. Fuller's marble statue of "Europa", the lady lies with voluptuous grace on the bovine bed, formed by the back of the beast, moving through water, concious of the precious burden of beauty that he bears. "Lady Godiva" is represented by Mr. E. B. Stephens "unclasping the wedded eagles of her belt" and looking round her with bewitching solitude. Her hair unloosened, would never answer the traditional use ascribed to it if it was let down. "Cupid's Cruise," also by Mr. Stephens, represents that mischievous spirit of love bestride a swan which is sailing down the stream. "Olindo and Sohpronia," a subject taken by Mr. W. C. Marshall from Tasso's "Jerusalem Delivered." Both are chained to a stake and Olindo clasps Sophronia's hand. Tasso tells us;

One mourned aloud, and one in silence stood;
The weaker sex the greater firmness showed,
Yet seemed Olindo like a man to mourn,
Who wept another's sufferings, not his own."

The whole is a sorrowful scene, but the sculptor conveys a reverse impression to that of Tasso, and infuses the greater strength of purpose into Olindo. His unhappy companion seems in mere rapt insensibility. In Mr. C. Vanden Bosch's "Souci et sans souci," a marble group, the boy is simply foolish; the lady expresses an exquisite anxiety. In "Happy Days," by Mr. P. Vanlinden, the baby is almost as small and as light as a butterfly upon its mother's breast.

Foremost among the busts of merit must be placed Mr. Woolner's "John Henry Newmann." The subtle and corrugated lineaments of the great polemic are rendered with wonderful truth and power. An alto-relievo medallion, by the same artist, of "Alfred Tennyson," though admirable, is less notable. Next we should place Baron Marochetti's diploma work, on his election as an academician - a marble bust of "Sir Edwin Landseer." The eyes are seeing (in Woolner's Newman the eyes are dead"), and the work is one of great artistic interest. Three busts stand together of celebrated men, in different degrees. One is "William Makepeace Thackeray," by N. Burnard, who has made surprising progress in his execution. Another of the three is "Thomas Carlyle," modelled at Edinburgh , 1866, by Mrs. D. O. Hill which presents that peculiar pensiveness of expression so alien to the popular conception of the iconoclastic writer. The third bust is that of the "Right Hon, Robert Lowe, M. P.." by Mr. C. Bacon, in which the peculiar expression of the original is faithfully given. The head, however, is too small in proportion.

Near to these busts stands Mr. F. S. Potter's "Thor," a colossal head expressive of that state of mind when

"Wroth wax Thor when his sleep was flown,
And he found his trusty hammer gone."

Still "Thor" looks a serious person to meet, hammerless as he is. Mr. Potter's representation of him suggests a terrible master of that impressive instrument. Of rugged rage and power the artist has created a remarkable embodiment. Another of Mr. Burnard's works is a bust of "Professor Edward Forbes," intended to adorn Douglas, Isle of Man, his native town. The refined and thoughtful features of the late professor have been skilfully reproduced.

Death and grief are portrayed with striking power by Mr. S. F. Lynn, in his "Death of Procris." Dead in every limb, without any loss of that exquisite beauty the poet so well conceived. The dominion of decay has commenced, but its "effacing fingers" have as yet touched no charm. Mr. Lynn shows what immortal grace lingers in the contours of a dead beauty. M. J. E. Boehm's "Wilheim and Lenore," a design for a bronze group, exhibit on the other hand the delicate and cruel outlines of horror. The very swiftness of terror is impressed on the flying horse, as in the eager faces of the dead riders. The foot of the steed has an instinct for his skull-strewn way. It is a relief to turn from these images of pain and the grave to the light-hearted comedy with which the two ladies meet "Cupid's Messanger" - a grotesque and cowardly dwarf who presents one of them with a letter. The clever composition in terra cotta is by Mr. G. A. Lawson. Mr. R. W. Martin, in a medallion of Cupid, in which the airy urchin is darting like a sprite over a bank of flowers, illustrates Spenser's lines:-

"He is so wimble and so wight,
From bough to bough he lepped light."

Mr. E. Armitage's colossal "Head of an Apostle," fresco, painted in 1862, wears an expression of an impassionable piety and immense power of faith. Mr. R. Glassby's "Satan," in the act of addressing the sun in those memorable lines of Milton -

"O Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams
That bring to my remembrance
From what state I fell."

The moustache with which the artist has invested the fallen chief suggests artificiality of life difficult to associate with his past or present condition, and gives an affectation to a conception otherwise distinguished by power. The Royal Gallery of the New Palace of Westminster is to be adorned by two small statues of "James I." and "Charles I." by Mr. T. Thornycroft. That of James is a very kingly statue, that of Charles less so. "The Rainbow," from a medallion, is an exquisite gem by Mr. J. Rouca, whose late Dr. Livingstone, from a bust by F. M. Miller, is a fine cameo. "The Memorial Effigy of a Lady, to be placed in Warrington Cemetery, Edinburgh," by Mr. H. Leifebid, and "The Foundress of St. Saviour's, Clapham, to be placed in the new church near the Cedars," by H. Ross, are both remarkable for delicacy and grace - memorials which seem to wrest from death half his triumph.

It is easier to recognise and enumerate the busts of merit than estimate and apportion the degrees of excellence they display. Mr. W. Graham's "Thomson Hankey, M. P." is like, Miss S. D. Durant, a mistress in portraiture, has a large bust of the late "Woronzow Greig." "W. R. Ingram, sculptor," a bronze bust by C. Vanden Bosch, presents a picturesque subject appropriately rendered. "George Peabody," a marble bust, by Mr. W. Powers; "G. M. Levy," by Mr. C. Bacon, and "Matthew Davenport Hill," Recorder of Birmingham, by Mr. P. Hollins, are all examples of successful portraiture. We have nothing better of late years from Mr. Hollins's chisel than this bust of Mr. Recorder Hill. "John, Lord Romilly," a marble bust of the Master of the Rolls, by J,. Durham, is worthy of the place for which it is destined by the historical students of Great Britain, who have subscribed for it, that it may stand in the search-room of the Record Office. Among legal portraits is a very powerful one of the late "Charles Pearson," Solicitor of the City of London, by Mr. H. Weekes, and "Sir Willliam Lawrence,Bart.," by the same hand. The late "Daniel Boehm," terra cotta executed by Mr. J. E. Boehm, is intended to be placed in the National Museum of Pesth (Perth?), and is worthy to be placed there. "Beethoven, Mozart, Handel, Haydn, and Bach," portraits in one medallion, by Mr. A, Grass, are admirably executed. Mr. E. G. Papworth has avery clever portrait of "Samuel Turnbull," The fine thoughtfulness of the "Venerable Archdeacon Wordsworth" is seen in the bust by Mr. G. J. Miller. "Sir David Brewster" is rendered with the fidelity observable in the portraits of Mrs. D. O. Hill, which is of that quality shown by Mr. G. F. Watts in painting. The Duchess of Colonna Castiglione has imparted a stately and festive beauty to "her Majesty the Empress Eugenie," whose face is dimpled by a smile. The original is in the Hotel de Ville, Paris, for La Salle du Trone. "Colonel Loyd Lindsay," in military costume, which so often spoils the effect of a painting, is managed by Mr. J. E. Boehm, so as to increase the force of this excellent bust. There is manifest individuality in Mr. E. W. Wyon's "Robert Napier, C. E., Glasgow;" in Mr. Garland's "Miss C. Evans," in Mr. Foley's "Mrs. Otto Robinson," in Mr. A. Grass's "Mrs. Rabenstein" - a medallion, in Mr. W. G. Coutts's "Henry Pelham Clinton, late Duke of Newcastle." Mr. F. S. Potter's " J. L. Toole;" Mr. J. E. Boehm's equestrian bronze statuette of "Captain Anstruther Thomson," Master of the Pytchley hounds (on "Rainbow"); Mr. L. Castan's "Dr. Gottfried Kinkel," Miss M. Charsley's "Blenheim's Head," a medallion in terra cotta, are all noticeable in their several ways. If pure distressing painfulness is any merit in a subject of which there are abounding representations, it is to be seen is P. D'Epinay's "Head of Christ." Mr. J. Milo Griffiths, student of the Royal Academy, sends his study of "The Fiery Serpents," a work of promise. The subject is intricate, yet thoroughly conceived, and wrought out with an effect not often seen in the productions of young sculptors.

Neither Mr. Wills's nor Mr. Philip's bust of "Richard Cobden" are happy; and least so Mr. J. Adams's. This last named sculptor is far more successful with "Lord Brougham," whose face, however, wants breadth, a quality Mr. Adams is sparing in. Mr. Wiles's "Samuel Morley" inclines to pertness of expression; and that of Mr. E. Bennet, though happier, does not quite give a certain Puritan force, peculiar to the ex-member for Nottingham. Mr. Noble's "General Garibaldi" is a trifle too pretty- a certail rugged leonicity, if that be an intelligible phrase, is wanting to it. It is, however, satisfactory to say that the failures and mediocrities are fewer, and the works of undoubted thoughtfulness, and of successful patience and care, are more numerous than we have observed for years past in the sculpture-rooms of the Royal Academy.


Robert Glassby worked in the studio of Joseph Edgar Boehm at 76 Fulham Road (originally the studios of Carlo Marochetti) from 1870 until Boehm’s death in 1890. Boehm was one of the best know and best connected sculptors in England, and was famous in court circles for his statue of Queen Victoria installed at Windsor Castle in 1869.

It was common in those days to caricature people in the press, and a caricature of
Joseph Edgar Boehm with a bust of John Ruskin drawn by Leslie Ward (who signed
himself as “Spy”) appeared in Vanity Fair magazine in 1881

J. Edgar Boehm had also been commissioned for the sculpture of the "recumbent figure of the Duke of Kent, the fourth son of George III King of England and Queen Charlotte" completed in 1874 which stands in the Mausoleum at Frogmore. He was born on 4th July 1834 in Vienna. He studied at Leigh’s Academy in London between 1848-1851 before returning to Vienna to study medal design and modeling at Akademie der Bildenden Künste.

He worked in Paris for three years from 1859, and in 1862 he married Frances Boteler of Liverpool and settled in London. Boehm established a reputation for portrait busts, and his work attracted Queen Victoria's attention in 1869. He received over forty royal commissions, was appointed Sculptor-in-ordinary to the Queen in 1880.

Boehm's most famous work is his life-sized statue of Thomas Carlyle in marble for the Scottish National Portrait gallery, and a copy in bronze on the Embankment, London.


Thomas Carlyle by J. Edgar Boehm,
Cheyne Walk, The Embankment

Photo by M. J. Piper

Four years in to his tenure with Edgar Boehm, Robert Glassby was involved with the statue of John Bunyan, which stands in St Peter’s Square in Bedford which was erected in 1874.

J. Edgar Boehm's Statue of John Bunyan, Bedford
Presented to the Borough of Bedford by Hastings IX Duke of Bedford June 10th 1874

Photo by M. J. Piper

Christian losing his burden at the cross
P hoto by M. J. Piper
Christian fighting with Apollyon
Photo by M. J. Piper
  Christian at the wicker gate
Photo by M. J. Piper


Robert Glassby was involved with this statue, as we learn from The Bedfordshire Times, 25th May 1956:-


EIGHTY-TWO YEARS have elapsed since that wonderful day in Bedfordshire history when the magnificent bronze statue of John Bunyan presented to the town by the Duke of Bedford, was unveiled at the south-west corner of St. Peter’s Green. The simple yet impressive dignity of this conception of the face and figure of the Immortal Dreamer eloquently proved the genius of the sculptor, Mr. Edgar Boehm (afterwards Sir E. Boehm, Bt., R.A.); but no mention has hitherto been made of the man who superintended the difficult task of setting the statue in position and who must have played an important part in its actual preparation. He was Robert Glassby, for many years Boehm’s principal assistant, and in his own right a brilliant sculptor.

Among other honours Robert Glassby was sculptor to Queen Victoria. Born in Mexborough in 1835, he was apprenticed as a mason, but he also had a great talent for art. At 18 years of age he went to Sheffield, where he became a student at the School of Art for nearly three years, gaining two bronze medals. He studied in Paris and afterwards obtained a scholarship at the Royal Academy London. He next entered the studio of Baron Marochetti and at his death was entrusted with the completion of his unfinished works, including the marble recumbent figure of the late Prince Consort for the Royal Mausoleum, Frogmore.

Glassby was principal assistant to Sir Edgar Boehm for 21 years. During the time he was working in Sir Edgar Boehm’s studio six or seven other sculptors were also working there, including Lantéri, Van Techelt, Grass, Fienneli, and Fowler. It was a large studio full of talent and good humour. An astonishing amount of work was wrought by this splendid team of sculptors.

In Robert Glassby’s account book it is recorded that he came to Bedford on January 8, 1874 “to set out monument for Bunyan”. On May 5 and 6 he fixed the pedestal and statue. On January 8 the railway fare from London to Bedford etc was 8s 5d; on April 20 men loading pedestal for John Bunyan 2s 6d; May 4 men fixing pedestal 3s; expenses at Bedford £1 15s.

Here is our reporter’s story of the proceedings:-

“On May 5 the granite pedestal, weighing nearly five tons, was about to be drawn on a mason’s trolley by Mr. J. Hinton’s men up the slanting pathway in order that it might be hoisted upon the block forming the base, when one of the front wheels sank into the earth from which a tree was recently removed. The effect of this was to upset the balance of the pedestal, which fell towards the roadway on its front, forcing the trolley up on one end, and one man had a narrow escape from injury”

“After several hours the granite was raised by jacks, and although portions of the block had been chipped off it was fortunate that the bronze figure of Apollyon and Christian which formed one of the relieves placed in the recesses on the three sides (the fourth being reserved for an inscription) was not damaged.”

“On Tuesday morning, Mr. Henry Young of the firm Messrs H. Young and Company, bronze and iron founders, Eccleston Ironworks, Pimlico, where the statue was cast, came down with aid, and the pedestal was raised to its place, although another slight mishap caused by the weakness of the lifting tackle, delayed the placing until Wednesday.”

Apollyon by Robert Glassby

{Author’s note: In The Pilgrim’s Progress, Apollyon was an enemy of God
who tried to stop those walking along God’s path to the heavenly city.
He was able to change shape and when Christian met him he was in
the form of a dragon. When Christian refused to turn back and return to
his home, Apollyon attacked him.}

“On Wednesday evening the statue itself, which had arrived in the morning by the Midland Railway, and had been lying unnoticed in its robes of tarpaulin, was conveyed to St Peter’s Green, but not in time to attract much attention. On the Thursday (May 7) some thousands of persons visited the spot, but the figure was not uncovered more than was necessary for fixing it in position, which was completed the same day.”

But you will notice, not one word about the presiding genius, Mr. Robert Glassby. The statue was over 9ft in height and weighed about two tons. The sculptor selected by the munificent donor of the statue, the Duke of Bedford, had yet to win his R.A. and his knighthood. He was plain “Mr.” Edgar Boehm of The Avenue, Fulham Road, London, but for some time great things had been prophesied for him, and one of the Prophets was the Prince of Wales.

The statue was cast of bronze cannon and bells brought from China. The process of casting was set in action by Miss Boehm, young daughter of the sculptor, who by pressing a lever opened four valves which released the mass of molten metal to rush seething and hissing down the many apertures in the mould.

The operation of moulding occupied over eight months, owing to the vast amounts of undercuttings and intricacies which had to be contended with in the deep returning folds of the cloak and other party. The Duke of Bedford paid several visits to London to watch the progress of the moulding. No trouble, no cost, was to be spared to achieve a perfect result. The weekly wage of the sculptors in the studio was £4 per week – a good living sum in those days, if scarcely commensurate with the skill displayed by the team. Sir Edgar’s studio not only produced John Bunyan and other grand pieces. The design of the Jubilee coinage of Queen Victoria was designed there. From December 1890 until his death in August 1892, Mr. Glassby received four commissions from her Majesty Queen Victoria, one being a bust of the late Grand Duke of Hesse which is in the Royal Mausoleum, Frogmore.

Cupid and the Bee by Robert Glassby

Other works can be seen in the Mappin and Webb Museum, Sheffield. Also at Sheffield there is a bust of Mr. Glassby executed by his son Robert E. Glassby, who like his father was a fine sculptor, He finished all the unfinished works of his father. Unfortunately he died early in life. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1890 to 1893. Among the works he executed for Royalty were the equestrian statuettes of the Queen and the Prince Consort and the Duke of Wellington.

Now comes a family link with Bedfordshire. The brother of Robert Glassby, junior, the late Mr. W. Glassby, late agent of the Howbury Hall estate, although not a sculptor, was an expert in antique furniture, having been a buyer for Waring and Gillow. He was a keen antiquarian and was noted for his fine lectures on “Old Bedford”.

Before the Russian Revolution Mr. William Glassby’s mother and two sisters went to Russia and were there all through the Revolution. One sister married a doctor and the other a business man who had a factory in Moscow. Both their husbands died. The late Mr. W. Glassby tried to get them back to England. He was successful in obtaining the return of his mother and she was living with him till her death. The Russians would not release his sisters because they were Russian subjects. After long negotiations and at a cost of £40 they were allowed to return to this country but unfortunately their brother died a month before they arrived, so he never saw them.

Bedford has benefited by the important work in producing the statue of John Bunyan which was done by Robert Glassby, and Bedford Modern School museum by his son William Glassby’s collection of Palestinian and Egyptian antiques.



Robert Glassby in his studio
Photograph from The Bedfordshire Times 25th May 1956

Robert Glassby married in 1866. The marriage certificate states that the marriage was solemnized at the Parish Church in the parish of St George, Hanover Square on 1st July 1866. Robert Glassby, full age, a bachelor and a sculptor resident at Hobart Place, Eaton Square is listed as the son of William Jackson Glassby, a stone mason. Mearea Mercy Davis, full age and a spinster, also resident at Hobart Place, Eaton Square is listed as the daughter of John Blackburn Davis, a Job Master. The certificate was issued in the presence of J.B. Davis and Ellen Sophia Bentley. The origin of the name “Mearea” is not clear, but in subsequent years it was recorded as “Maria M.” They resided in London, where they had 10 children between 1867 and 1887.

In the 1871 Census Robert and Maria are shown living at 80A George Street, London with their two sons:-

1871 Census - 80A George Street, London
Name Rel Age Birthplace Occupation
Robert Glassby Head 36 Mexborough Sculptor
M. M. Glassby Wife 23 London, Middlesex  
W. J. Glassby Son 4 Chelsea, Middlesex  
C. J. Glassby Son 8m Chelsea, Middlesex  
W. J. C. Sutton Grandson 7 London, Middlesex Scholar

What is interesting here in the 1871 Census is that 80A George Street was shared by two families, the second being Maria M Glassby’s parents and her sister:-

1871 Census - 80A George Street, London
Name Rel Age Birthplace Occupation
John Davis Head 53 Huntingdonshire Job Master
Catherine Davis Wife 46 Tooting, Surrey  
Elizabeth Davis Dau 18 London, Middlesex  

In 1875 Robert Glassby was proposed and accepted as an Associate Member of the Sheffield Society of Artists, as reported in the press at the time:-

The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent
19th June 1875

Robert was elected as a full committee member of the Society at their second annual meeting:-

The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent
26th January 1876

Robert and Maria are shown in the 1881 Census with 6 children and a servant, living at 15 Hobury Street, Chelsea:-

1881 Census - 15 Hobury Street, Chelsea
Name Rel
Birthplace Occupation
Robert GLASSBY Head
Mexboro,Yorks Sculptor
Pimlico, Middlesex.  
William J. T. GLASSBY
Chelsea, Middlesex Scholar
Claude J. GLASSBY Son
Chelsea, Middlesex Scholar
Robert E. C. F. GLASSBY
Chelsea, Middlesex Scholar
Eugenie E. GLASSBY
Chelsea, Middlesex Scholar
Lillian E. M. GLASSBY
Chelsea, Middlesex Scholar
Vernon H. B. GLASSBY
Chelsea, Middlesex  
Tottenham, Middlesex Genl Serv

The Daily News, London, 2nd April 1883, published an article “IN THE STUDIOS” describing art being prepared for exhibiting in the various studios, including a section on Robert Glassby i.e.

The Daily News
2nd April 1883

The article goes on to mention the work of many other accomplished sculptors and artists such as Mr. Hamo Thorneycroft, Mr. E. J. Poynter, Mr. C. E. Halle, Mr. Luke Fildes etc

The Nursing Record, 9th August 1888 reported that the Women’s Jubilee Group had commissioned a statue of the Prince Consort for Windsor Park, which Robert Glassby was involved with the modeling and casting:-


The Belfast News-Letter, 13th May 1890 reported the unveiling of the statue by Queen Victoria, and the statue can be found today adjacent to the Smith's Lawn Polo Field, Great Windsor Park.

The Belfast News-Letter
13th May 1890




LONDON, MONDAY - The unveiling of the women’s jubilee statue of the late Prince Consort took place at Windsor to-day. The Prince and Princess of Wales, accompanied by Prince Albert Victor, Prince George, and Princesses Victoria and Maud, left Marlborough House at one o’clock for Paddington. The Princess and her daughters drove in a closed carriage, but the Prince of Wales, Prince Albert Victor, and Prince George occupied an open carriage, and were each dressed in the uniform of his respective rank. The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh left Clarence House about one o’clock, the duke wearing a naval uniform; the King of the Belgians, attended by General Gardiner and Baron de Ros, left Burlington Hotel in Royal carriages, supplied from Buckingham Palace, for Paddington, where the Royal party met and travelled by the 1-50 p.m. train for Windsor. They were met at Windsor Station by an escort, and conducted to the castle, where they lunched with her Majesty. The streets of the Royal borough were decorated with flags. The weather was very fine.

Shortly before four o’clock the Queen, accompanied by the Royal personages who had come from London, and by Prince and Princess Henry of Battenberg, the Marquis of Lorne and Princess Louise, the Duchess of Albany, the Duke and Duchess of Teck, Prince and Princess Christian, and the Duke of Cambridge, left the Castle with an escort for Smith’s Lawn, where the statue had been erected. On reaching the place her Majesty was received by the committee of the Women’s Jubilee Memorial, and Lady Strangford and Major Tully, the secretaries of the fund. The Queen was then conducted to the dais, covered by a red and white pavilion, which had been erected alongside the statue for the use of the Royal party. The Royal Standard was hoisted behind the pavilion, and the ceremony commenced immediately. There were various enclosures reserved for the committee, for the Press, and for distinguished strangers, and the public, of whom a large number were present, were kept back by deer hurdles. The lines were kept by the Windsor and Great Park companies of the Berkshire Volunteers and by the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards, while a battery of horse artillery from Aldershot were stationed on the other side of the road, and fired a Royal salute on the arrival of her Majesty. The ceremony was a very brief one. The Queen unveiled the statue, and the principal members of the committee were presented to her. Her Majesty then reviewed the whole of the troops on the ground, which included the Royal Horse Guards and detachments from various regiments of which the late Prince Consort was honorary colonel. This over the Queen and the Royal guests re-entered their carriages, and they returned to the Castle. The statue, which is a copy of the one in Glasgow, has been erected on Smith‘s Lawn, which is close to Cumberland Lodge and Virginia Water. The figure stands sixteen feet high, and the pedestal of Aberdeen granite, is over thirteen feet high, so that the whole memorial measures about thirty feet from the ground. The inscription placed on the front tablet of the pedestal reads – “Albert, Prince Consort, born August 26th, 1819; died December 14th 1861. This statue was presented to Victoria Queen and Empress as a token of love and loyalty from the daughters of her empire in remembrance of her Jubilee, 1887, and was unveiled May 12th, 1890” On the remaining three sides the same sentences are repeated in Latin, Gaelic, and Sanskrit. The replica, alike the original, has been carried out by Sir Edgar Boehm, which itself is a guarantee of correct reproduction.


Prince Albert, the Prince Consort, in Great Windsor Park
Photo by M. J. Piper

Robert and Maria appear again in the 1891 Census, listed in the computerised records as "Robert Glarsby" due to a transcription error from the handwritten original, and living at 28 Lamont Road, Chelsea.

1891 Census - 28 Lamont Road, Chelsea
Name Rel Age Birthplace Occupation
Robert Glassby
Head 54 Mexboro’, Yorks
Maria M. Glassby
Wife 40 London Pimlico
Claude J. Glassby
Son 20 London Chelsea
Barristers Clerk
Robert E. C. F. Glassby
Son 19 London Chelsea
Eugenie E. Glassby
Dau 17 London Chelsea
Art Student
Lilian E. M. Glassby
Dau 14 London Chelsea
Ivy V. Glassby
Dau 6 London Chelsea
Gladys V. G. Glassby
Dau 3 London Chelsea
Ellen Giles
Serv 16 Molworth
Domestic General Servant

15 Hobury Street, Chelsea
Photo by M. J. Piper

15 Hobury Street is an end property on the corner of Hobury Street and Lamont Road, and abutts 30 Lamont Road. By the time of the 1891 Census Robert and his family had moved three doors down the street to 28 Lamont Road. Later we will see a letter written by William J.J. Glassby in December 1892 from 15 Hobury Street, so it is possible that the Glassby's move to 28 Lamont Street was a temporary one. It is also possible, however, that with Robert's poor health the family became financially stretched and were forced to move to cheaper accommodation.

Corner of Hobury Street and Lamont Road, Chelsea
Photo by M. J. Piper

Boehm died suddenly on 12th December 1890, and was duly reported in the press:-

The Times
13th December 1890


We announce with much regret the sudden death yesterday afternoon, in his studio in the Fulham-road, of the eminent sculptor Sir Edgar Boehm, R.A. The body was first discovered by her Royal Highness Princess Louise (Marchioness of Lorne). The Princess, who formerly studied the art of sculpture with Sir Edgar at his studio, has since paid him occasional visits, and yesterday evening arrived at a quarter to 6 o’clock, having given previous notice of her intention. Her Royal Highness walked straight to the studio, and was horrified to see the apparently lifeless body of her late instructor. The Princess immediately summoned Mr. Gilbert, A.R.A., who occupies and adjoining studio. Sir Edgar was then in a comatose condition. He was kneeling on the floor, with his hand resting on a couch. He was laid upon the couch, where he expired, apparently from heart disease. Mr. Gilbert sent at once for Dr. Norman M’Caskie, of Sydney-place, South Kensington, and for the deceased’s solicitor, Mr. John Guscotte, of Onslow-square. Dr. M’Caskie found that life was quite extinct. The resident commissionaire at the studio, John Parker, who usually took Sir Edgar’s lunch, spoke to the deceased at about 4 o’clock, when Parker was lighting the lamps. Sir Edgar then appeared in his usual good health, and said to Parker as he entered his studio, “I am expecting Princess Louise, and will wait here for her Royal Highness.” Sir Edgar had been previously working on a horse which was to have been completed for one of the Rothschilds. Only last Monday he completed a statue of the late Emperor Frederick, which is expected to be erected at Windsor. Sir Edgar was not known to be in bad health, but he had lately experienced more than one severe shock; last summer the death of his wife, and only a fortnight ago in that of his brother, an inspector at the Museum, Berlin. Blows of such a kind, and so sudden, are not borne with impunity by man whose mental energies are habitually strained, as were his, to the uttermost by hard and trying work.

Joseph Edgar Boehm was of Hungarian parentage, and was born at Vienna in 1834. His father was a medalist and Director of the Mint, and was in his day a well-known collector of works of art. The boy was trained as an artist from the beginning, deriving no little help from his father’s collection and being much stimulated by his father’s keen interest in art. Together they travelled much in Italy, and there the lad’s taste for sculpture definitely declared itself. He came to England in 1848, and remained here three years, deriving immense advantage from the daily study of those Parthenon marbles in the British Museum which some sentimental people are now so anxious to give back to Greece. In 1853, at the age of 18, he received his first Imperial prize in Vienna, and from that time worked hard in designing and executing coins and medals. In 1859 he went for three years to Paris, and there, in the capital of modern art, he lived a life that was full of interest and that had the most beneficial effect upon his talent. Then came the London Exhibition of 1862, at which Boehm, then becoming well-known, was a successful exhibitor. He had now abandoned coins and medals, and was giving his mind to portrait busts and statuettes, chiefly equestrian. It was these that most attracted the attention of the Queen, and Boehm rapidly rose in favour with the Court. He rapidly became known to the general public also, where the very qualities with which artists found fault – especially the somewhat too pictorial quality of his art – gained him notice and favour. His success may be said to have been established in the year 1869, when he was commissioned to place a colossal statue of the Queen in Windsor Castle, together with a monument of the Duke of Kent in St. George’s Chapel; and to execute bronze statuettes of all the Royal Family for her Majesty. His first very important public work was the statue of John Bunyan for Bedford (1872); then followed a colossal “Duchess of Bedford,” in gilt bronze, for the park at Woburn, and his first London statue, that of Sir John Burgoyne for Waterloo-place.

In 1878 Boehm was elected an A.R.A., and if any justification could be required for this election, it is to be found in the magnificent statue of Carlyle which was exhibited soon afterwards. The fine character of this statue attracted notice at once, and Mr. Ruskin only echoed the general opinion when he pronounced it a work of genius. Cast in bronze, it is now placed on the Thames Embankment at Chelsea, not far from the little house where Carlyle lived and died. By the time that this statue was exhibited it may be said that Mr. Boehm’s place in the estimation of the public and of his brother artists was assured. Commissions poured in upon him, from the Royal Family, from the Government, and from private persons. Among many works which he executed after this date it is enough to name a few; colossal statues of Lord Napier of Magdala and of Lord Northbrook for Calcutta; a marble statue of King Leopold I. of Belgium for St. George’s Chapel; a recumbent figure of Princess Alice and her child, for the mausoleum at Frogmore and for Darmstadt; and a statue of the Prince Imperial. It was at first intended to place this in Westminster Abbey, but as will be remembered, great opposition to the idea was expressed in Parliament and elsewhere, and the matter was settled by the removal of the statue to St. George’s Chapel. Of Boehm’s outdoor statues in London, executed about this time, it is enough to mention that of William Tyndale, the Reformer, for the Thames Embankment, and that of Lord Lawrence for Waterloo-place. In the latter case, being dissatisfied with the effects of the first statue, Mr. Boehm, at his own expense, replaced it by another. In 1882 he became full Academician; in 1881 he was appointed Sculptor in Ordinary to the Queen; the Academies of Florence and Rome had already elected him a member; and he received medals at Vienna and elsewhere. On the death of Dean Stanley he was charged with the making of his tomb; and the result, a recumbent statue, was one of the most admirable pieces of portrait sculpture that our age has produced. This beautiful statue was repeated for Rugby chapel.

More recently, Mr. Boehm (who was created a baronet in 1889) has been prominently before the public as maker of the new Wellington statue at Hyde Park-corner, and of the jubilee coinage. We will not attempt to say that either of these is successful; but it is well known that in the case of the coinage he was greatly hampered by his instructions. The Wellington statue is a good portraiture, and the horse is true to life; but the whole work is a failure from the point of view of design, the four soldiers at the base being mere excrescences, and forming no part of the pedestal. The sculptor has been better seen in many of his animal studies: such as the sea-lions in Sir J. E. Millais’s house, Lord Leicester’s lion and lioness, and the life-size bull with its leader which was in the Royal Academy a few years ago. We must not omit to mention his medallions and medals, several of which have been extremely successful.

Sir Edgar Boehm will be greatly missed both in the world of art and in society, where his genial manners and great conversational gifts made him a general favourite. He married, in 1860, Frances Louisa, daughter of Mr. Boteler, of Liverpool, and was left a widower this year. His son, Edgar Collins, born 1869, succeeds to the title.


Sir Edgar Boehm’s funeral was reported in The Times on 22nd December 1890. The newspaper reported that the cortege comprised of five mourning carriages and several private carriages, and Robert Glassby, along with two other professional staff of Sir Edgar were in the fifth mourning coach:-

The Times
22nd December 1890


On Saturday, in accordance with the special request of the Queen, the late Sir Edgar Boehm, R.A., was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral, in the south aisle of the crypt, the spot being known as “The Painters Corner.”

The funeral cortége left the residence of the deceased at about 11 o’clock, there being five mourning and several private carriages. In the first carriage were the chief mourners, Sir Edgar Collins Boehm, the only son of the late baronet, and Mr. Conrad Herapath. The second and third carriages were occupied by Sir Frederic Leighton, P.R.A., Sir Nigel Kingscote, Mr. Richard Mills, Colonel Francis Baring, Mr. Alma-Tadema, R.A., Sir R. H. Collins, Mr. Edward J. Poynter, R.A., and Mr. Duncan MacGregor, all of whom subsequently, at the cathedral, acted as pall bearers. The fourth carriage contained representatives of the Council of the Royal Academy – Mr. Edwin Long, R.A., Mr. J. B. Burgess, R.A., Mr. F. Goodall, R.A., and Mr. Beavis. In the fifth carriage were the following members of the professional staff of the deceased – Mr. R. Glassby, Mr. E. Lantéri, Signor Finili, and Herr Gross. The cortége stopped for a few moments at the Royal Academy, in order that it might be joined by two carriages containing other representatives of the institution. Leaving Piccadilly, the route taken was Waterloo-place, Pall-mall, Cockspur-street, the Strand, Fleet-street, and Ludgate-hill, the cathedral being reached about noon.

The procession was met at the great west door by Canon Gregory, the Archdeacon of London, the Rev. Dr. Baker, Minor Canons Milman, Russell, and Kelly, and the choir, who had a few minutes previously left the vestry; by Major Bigge, Equerry to the Queen, representing her Majesty; Colonel Stanley Clarke, who attended on behalf of the Prince and Princess of Wales; and Colonel W. J. Colville, representing the Duke of Edinburgh. The Princess Louise (Marchioness of Lorne) attired in deep mourning, and accompanied by Lieut.-Col. Arthur Collins and Lady Sophia Macnamara, arrived at the cathedral a few minutes before 12 o’clock, and was conducted to a seat in the south side of the nave, close to the late Sir Edgar Boehm’s two daughters, upon whom her Royal Highness had called earlier in the morning. As the procession came slowly up the nave towards the chancel, “I am the resurrection of life” and other sentences of the burial service were chanted to music by Dr. Croft. The coffin, which was completely hidden by splendid wreaths, was preceded by the choristers and the clergy. Then followed Sir E. C. Boehm, with Mr. Conrad Herapath and Mr. Alfred Gilbert, A.R.A., the officers and council of the Royal Academy, and members of the deceased’s studio. The coffin was deposited upon a bier, which had been placed under the dome in front of the opening into the crypt, through which the body was subsequently lowered. The mourners having been conducted to the seats which had been reserved for them, and the clergy and choir having proceeded to their places in the chancel, Psalms xxxix. and xc. Were sung to music by Purcell and Felton, followed by Spohr’s anthem, “Blest are the departed,” and the lesson 1 Cor. Xv. 20, which was read by Canon Gregory. Whilst the hymn “Days and moments quickly flying” was being sung the Archdeacon of London and Minor Canon Milman proceeded from the chancel and took up positions by the side of the coffin. The remainder of the service preceding and following the lowering of the body into the crypt was read by Minor Canon Milman, and the collect was impressively recited by Archdeacon Sinclair. The late Dr. Newman’s beautiful hymn, “Lead kindly light,” was afterwards sung by the choir, and the service was brought to a close by Beethoven’s Funeral March, which was played in compliance with the special request of her Majesty, at whose desire also Chopin’s Funeral March had preceded the service. Dr. Martin was the organist.

While Beethoven’s march was being played the son and daughters of the late “Sculptor in ordinary to her Majesty,” together with other mourners, descended the crypt by the door near Howard’s monument, and saw the coffin for the last time. It bore the following inscription:- “Joseph Edgar Boehm. Born July 6, 1834; died at his work December 12, 1890. Thy will be done.” The coffin had already been deposited in the brick grave prepared for it, which is next to that of Sir Edwin Landseer. Immediately around it lie the remains of painters and sculptors of bygone days – Sir Joshua Reynolds, James Barry, Benjamin West, Henry Fuseli, Sir Thomas Lawrence, J. M. W. Turner, and John Henry Foley, while within half-a-dozen yards is the tomb of the great architect of the cathedral, Sir Christopher Wren. The coffin as last seen was covered by the floral tributes of loving friends, the symbolic laurel wreath forwarded by her Majesty surmounting them. This bore the inscription, “A tribute of gratitude for many beautiful memorial works executed for her. From Victoria, R. I.” Attached to the beautiful wreath sent by the Prince and Princess of Wales were the words, “A token of sincere regard and friendship.” Wreaths were forwarded by other members of the Royal Family, by Sir John and Lady Millais, Lord and Lady Reay, the Countess Sydney, Lord and Lady de Vesci, Mr. Henry Irving, Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft, by members of the council, students and officers of the Royal Academy, the Society of Artistic Sculptors (Vienna), and by the London Hungarian Association.


Alfred Gilbert's involvement in the aftermath of Edgar Boehm's deat endeared him to the Queen, but at the same time this led to bad feeling between Rober Glassbyand Alfred Gilbert. The details of this disagreement are reported in Richard Dorment's book "Alfred Gilbert" published by Yale Uiversity Press in 1985:-


What really happened in Boehm's studio on the night of 12 December 1890 was twice the subject of highly satisfying gossip between the Prince of Wales's former mistress Catherine Walters ("Skittles") and Wilfred Scawen Blunt. When on 4 June 1909 they fell to talking again about the death of Boehm, Blunt recorded in his diaries "I cross-questioned her pretty closely so as to test (her story's) accuracy and found that in all essentials it held well together and was the same as that she had given to me a long time ago.

The story, briefly, was that in 1869 or 1870 Boehm spent three months at Balmoral,during which time he became friendly with Princess Louise, then a beautiful young girl and aspiring artist. They did not become lovers, but the Queen learned of the attachment and packed her daughter of to Germany, to her daughter, the Empress Frederick. Suitable husbands were sought for Louise in Lords Cowper and Hartington, but in the end she married Lord Lorne. The marriage however was not a success, as Lorne was unsatisfactory as a husband, and the Princess took other lovers. Among them was Boehm, with whom she renewed her intimacy, going to visit him constantly at his studio in London. It was during one of these visits that while he was making love to her Boehm broke a blood vessel and died actually in the Princess's arms. There was nobody else in the studio or anywhere about.... and the Princess had the courage to take the key of studio out of the dead man's pocket, and covered with blood as she was and locking the door behind her, got into a cab and drove to Laking's (Sir Francis Laking, the Queen's physician), whom she found at home and took back with her to the studio. Boehm was dead and they made up a story between them to the effect that it had been while lifting or trying to lift one of the Statues that the accident had occurred..... [Skittles] knew of his liaison with the Princess from himself [Boehm] and as I understand her, about his death from Laking "and the King [Edward VII}," she said"knows all about it". He was fond of his sister and says he and she were of the same temperament. So all has been hushed up.

If any part of Blunt's story is true, this hushing up involved Alfred Gilbert. Certainly in later news he took responsibility for finding the body and this in itself contradicts Louise's story to her mother. What the Princess told Queen Victoria, incidentally, appeared in no newspaper accounts, and this tends to verify Skittles's version of these events.

Year's later, when both were old men, M. H. Spielmann was still sniggering in a letter to Alfred, recalling how he learned of Boehm's death....... in circumstances which were fully related to me....But here I am wasting your time with an old gossip's gossip.

Boehm's death had far reaching effects on Gilbert's career, but its immediate importance was purely practical. At the death of any important Victorian sculptor, the unfinished commissions in his studio would normally be finished by the sculptor's assistants - in this case Robert Glassby, a nonentity (but Boehm's confidential man), and another assistant, George Wade. Gilbert, however, although he was in no sense part of Boehm's atelier, might be said to have inherited the master's mantle. Boehm's secretary and executor Henry Morris wished Gilbert and another former assistant of Boehm's, Lanteri, to take over the unfinished studio business. In the ensuing wrangle, Boehm's son came down on Glassby's side.

The struggle to take over Boehm's practice was a bitter one in which Glassby, who had been friendly with Gilbert, acted treacherously. Negotiations for the dispersal of the studio started smoothly enough with young Boehm presenting Gilbert with his father's scarf pins and cigarette case. But by January Gilbert had discussed the activities of young Boehm and Glassby with Morris, and "neither shine in my estimation henceforth......[I] have discovered that Glassby and Wade are in treaty together!!!! To Gilbert's amazement, Glassby had actually gone down to Osborne to see Queen Victoria, or I should beard him at once. On 17 January he did see Glassby, with whom I had a terrible scene!!!!"

On the 21st, Gilbert's diary reads "Went to [Kensington] Palace saw Princess Louise and Col Collins [her equerry] long talk with former about Glassby and Queen and his behavior. I listened was as discreet as possible.... Princess said little, possibly annoyed, and was not pleased at the news that Wade had [the commission for the] Connaught Statue."

Gilbert's fury over Glassby's action cannot have had to do with his manoeuvring to secure Boehm's unfinished commissions - indeed, when offered one of the most important of these, the tomb of Bishop Lightfoot in Durham cathedral, Gilbert undertook to be responsible for finishing the work, but recommended Lanteri to do the carving. Rather, one stark fact emerges from this dispute - Glassby was after the one thing that Gilbert really did care about. A second-rate assistant who had never executed a major monument on his own for the royal family, Glassby emerged from his visit to Osborne with Boehm's old title of Sculptor in Ordinary to the Queen. He thereupon disappeared from history, dying a year later in 1892. What he said to the Queen, why he was given this honour, and what made it necessary for Gilbert to speak with Princess Louis about Glassby's behavior we do not know.

At the end Gilbert's discretion and loyalty to the Princess stood him in good stead. In her gratitude she presented him with a pencil sketch of Boehm she had mad in 1879, inscribing it now with the the date of Boehm's death. Through her, Gilbert's name was constantly brought before the Queen ("Gilbert the sculptor is Louise's gt. friend, she wrote to the Empress Frederick on 27 January 1892, and the pupil of Boehm, it is Wade who also studied with Boehm & who is cleverer whom she dislikes"). Even more important, it was to his sister Louise that the Prince of Wales would turn when seeking advice on the choice of a sculptor to execute the great royal memorial he would require a year later, in January 1892.

A second aspect of Boehm's death, but one closely related to the first, had to do with the amount of work that actually did come to Gilbert from Boehm's executors. One, the memorial to Earl Sydney in St Nicholas Church, Chiselhurst, illustrates the awkwardness of Gilbert's position vis-a-viz his rival. Henry Morris told Lady Sydney that Gilbert would take charge of the unfinished commissions, and she therefore put the commission in Gilbert's hands. On hearing this, Glassby wrote to her expressing his surprise that she had contacted Gilbert, who "knew nothing" of the statue, saying that he, Glassby, had worked for Boehm for almost twenty one years.

But the commission went to Gilbert anyway - it was worth £1,500 and Boehm had already completed the portrait in plaster, so Gilbert's task was to see that it was craved and put into position (unveiled 8 August 1891). This was also the case with the bronze of Lord Napier, unveiled 8 July 1891. And under Arthur Blomfield's direction Gilbert worked on the completion of Boehm's elaborate memorial to the Duke of Buccleuch in Edinburgh.






We know from William J. J. Glassby’s “Sheffield Miscellany” that his father Robert had been engaged on the marble statue of Emperor Frederick, and this had just been completed at the time of Sir Edgar Boehm’s death.

The Graphic, 20th December 1890

Robert Glassby was put in charge of mounting the statue in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, and by command of Queen Victoria he attended the unveiling ceremony on the 18th December 1890. The event was recorded in The Times the following day:-
The Times
19th December 1890


The Queen unveiled at Windsor Castle, yesterday, the memorial of the late Emperor Frederick which she has had placed in St. George’s Chapel. The ceremony took place shortly before noon in the presence of the Court and an assemblage of ladies and gentlemen connected with the Palace. The mournful interest in the function was heightened by the recent sudden death of Sir. Edgar Boehm, who was to have been present at the uncovering of his last work, the mounting of which he had never seen. The memorial is of white marble, and about 10 ft. high. It stands under the Canon Pearson window in the south aisle, and is in close proximity to the subway leading to the Royal vault beneath the famous Albert Chapel. The statue had been draped with blue cloth previous to the ceremony, and in the space immediately opposite chairs had been arranged for the Queen, the Royal Family, and suite. A small table stood near her Majesty’s chair, and from this a light cord was carried to the covering of the memorial. Several floral gifts had been forwarded to the Castle, and these were laid near the Lincoln Chapel. The Queen’s wreath consisted of tastefully arranged white camellias, chrysanthemums, and other blooms and foliage, and was tied with broad white silk riband. That sent by the Empress Frederick was formed of palms and flowers. The Empress Augusta Victoria, wife of Kaiser Wilhelm, sent a wreath similar to the Queen’s, its white silk bows bearing her name and the Imperial Crown stamped in gold. The largest and most noticeable wreath was that from the Emperor William. It was made of thickly-woven laurel leaves, interspersed with innumerable bunches of golden berries, and bound with broad white silk, the words “Weissenburg,” “Worth,” “Koniggrätz,” and “Sedan” being embossed in gold letterings upon the folds of the riband, and the bows adorned with a monogram and crown. The Queen, and the Prince of Wales, the Duke and the Duchess of Connaught, and Prince Henry of Battenberg, attended by Lady Churchill, General Lynedoch Gardiner, and Colonel the Hon. W. Carington, drove from the Castle to the Albert Chapel, and on alighting at the cloister entrance, proceeded to the east aisle, where they were received by the Very Rev. Randall Davidson (Bishop Designate of Rochester). The Prince of Wales placed himself on her Majesty’s left hand, the Duchess of Connaught being on the right, while the Duke of Connaught, Prince Henry of Battenberg, and Prince Arthur and the Princesses Margaret and Victoria Patricia of Connaught occupied positions close at hand. Princess Beatrice, who has only just recovered from the severe cold which has confined her for several days to the Palace, was not present. Seats immediately behind the Royal party were provided for the Court, a special place being reserved for General von Wittich, who wore a German military uniform and several decorations, and had been specially deputed by the Emperor William to represent his Imperial Majesty. The members of the Royal Household included General Sir H. F. Ponsonby, Major General Sir John Cowell, the Earl of Romney, Viscount Bridport, Sir Fleetwood Edwards, Dr. Reid, Miss M’Neill, the Hon. Rosa Hood, the Hon. Miss Lambart, Major Holmes, Mr. Muther, Colonel Egerton, Lady Cowell, Lady Biddulph, Mrs. Randall Davidson, and others. Major Burslem, the Governor, and the military and naval knights of Windsor were stationed in the east aisle. Mr. R. Glassby, Sir Edgar Boehm’s principal assistant, under whose supervision the statue had been mounted, was also present, by command of her Majesty. The Very Rev. Randall T. Davidson officiated, and was assisted by Canon Eliot (Dean Designate of Windsor) and Minor Canons Gilbert, Edwards, Tahourdin, Treherne, and Marshall. The choral portions of the service were sung under the direction of Mr. Walter Parratt, by the choir of St. George’s Chapel. The ceremony opened with the hymn, “Praise my soul the King of Heaven,” after which the Dean read a lesson consisting of several verses selected from the book of Ecclesiasticus, and the prayers.

The Queen then pulled the cord and the drapery fell, disclosing the statue, which was clearly discernible in the pale noonday light streaming through the windows. Then floating through the aisle came the soft voices of the surplice choristers singing, to Gounod’s beautiful music, the anthem, “Send out Thy light,” which brought the brief ceremony to an end.

The Queen, who had been visibly affected by the sad recollections aroused by the service, waited till the anthem was over, and then, assisted by the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, Princess Margaret, and General von Wittich, proceeded to dispose the wreaths about the pedestal. Her Majesty, before leaving the chapel, took leave of General von Wittich, and then returned with the other members of the Royal Family to the Palace.


Statue of the Emperor Frederick III of Germany
(The Graphic, 20th December 1890)
(Although originally placed in St. George’s Chapel,
Windsor, it was moved to the Royal Mausoleum,
Frogmore, in 1950.)

In January 1891 Queen Victoria commissioned Robert Glassby to make a bust of the late Sir Edgar Boehm, and the completed bust was delivered to Windsor Castle in July of that year. Both events were recorded in the press:-

The Daily News, London – 20th January 1891

Lloyds Weekly Newspaper – 5th July 1891


Robert Glassby died in Chelsea on 3rd August 1892, and a short Obituary appeared in The Times on 5th August:-

Queen Victoria's statue, Windsor Castle,
by Sir Edgar Boehm for the Golden Jubilee in 1887
Photo by M. J. Piper

We are fortunate that a much more detailed write up of Robert Glassby’s life appeared in the Mexborough and Swinton Times in August 1892, extracts of which are given below:- (Courtesy of Mexborough & District Heritage Society)


"I much regret to record the death of Mr. Robert Glassby, one of the most celebrated sculptors of the day. The deceased, who was a native of Mexborough, had resided in London many years, and during his life had executed many important works. Just prior to his death he received a commission from Her Majesty the Queen to execute in marble a bust of the late R.H. the Grand Duke of Hesse, to be placed in the Royal Mausoleum.

Robert Glassby was born at Mexborough on 17th December 1836. He was educated at the school by his grandfather by whom he was brought up until 1849, when his grandfather died at the age of 73, and having then remained with his grandmother till 1851. In that year he was apprenticed to Joseph Barlow,of Mexborough, with whom he served about four years. He moved to Wolverhampton, where he commenced to learn to be a stonemason under his uncle, John Gill. As a boy at school Robert Glassby had shown great talent for drawing, and now for the first time he attempted painting. He had now to return to his apprenticeship, but his love for art was not to be destroyed. He had but three colours – red, blue and yellow – and at night while lying in his bed in the dim light, with a book cover as his palette he made a painting of a group of flowers. Soon after he was enabled to leave the master to whom he was apprenticed, and went to work for a firm of stonemasons in Doncaster, and assisted in the mason work for the Cemetery Church. While in Doncaster he made his first sculptural attempts, showing great talent in this direction, and receiving much encouragement from Mr. John Reid, late of the Rock Pottery, Mexborough, and other admirers of art. In September 1856 he left Doncaster to work for Joseph Hadfield, at the Norfolk Lane Marble Works, Sheffield, spending all his leisure time in modeling. In March, 1857, he entered the Sheffield School of Art to study drawing, &c., but the master chancing to see some modeling which had been executed asked for further specimens, and on being shown a portrait model and other work was convinced of the talent of the rising young sculptor. He was now advised to take a course of lessons in modeling, and made a copy from the antique, which work he completed, showing great ability in the modeling and exactness. While thus making much progress, one evening leaving his work he slipped while closing the door, his head striking the glass window of the door, and causing a severe wound. After a rest of two days his pluck and perseverance caused him to again set to work and compete for the prizes which he had decided to obtain. Success attended his efforts, and he gained two bronze medals, his success being all the more gratifying, as with the exception of but a few days he was entirely self-taught. During the following 18 months he executed no less than twelve portraits in his spare time, and in May 1858, commenced to study landscape painting under the direction of Mr. Christopher Thompson, of Division Street, Sheffield. His health now was very bad, and having a bad attack of inflammation of the lungs he returned to Mexborough in July, when he made a painting of Mexborough Parish Church (now in the possession of his family), and a street scene in Mexborough, which was purchased by Miss Pearson, of Ackworth, for £1 2s., and four other paintings, which were purchased by Mr. John Reid, his first patron, who also commissioned the young artist to model 18 heads and other works. He now decided to study in Paris, and from the sale of his works to Mr. Reid he was enabled to leave home on November 2nd, 1858. On his return to England in 1860 he stayed for a week in London with Reuben Townroe, an old co-student of the Sheffield School of Art, then the principal assistant of Alfred Stevens, artist. After a short time with Hadfields in Sheffield, Glassby advertised in a Liverpool paper for a position in a studio as an improver in carving. He was at once sent for an trial by Mr. E. E. Geflowski, who put him to work at a marble recumbent figure. Mr. Geflowski says “After a few days’ absence from my studio on business I returned to find that the young man who wished to improve in carving should have advertised for a position as an accomplished carver. I was delighted with his excellent work, so much so that a month later, on his wishing to leave owing to the bad lodgings in Liverpool, I offered him a lodging free in my own home, where he was treated as a friend. He remained with me for 18 months, and then went to London, where had he obtained one commission to start, and enable him to work entirely on his own account he would have become one of the most celebrated sculptors of the day.”Arrived in London he at once was engaged by Weekes, of Pimlico, and obtained work as a carver in the studio of Phillips, assisting in carving the sculpture over the Government offices, Whitehall. After a course of study in the North London School he obtained a scholarship in the Royal Academy Schools in Dec, 1864, where he was a student for nearly three years meeting with much success. Wishing for a better opening he applied to Baron Marochetti, and was immediately engaged by the Baron, remaining in his studio as carver and modeler for nearly four years, when on the Baron’s death was entrusted with the completion of a monument of the late Mr. Beckett, of Leeds, and the marble recumbent figure of H.R.H. the late Price Consort for the Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore.

Tomb of Victoria and Albert at Frogmore Mausoleum


As this work had to be finished at Windsor, Mr. Glassby was brought under the notice of Her Majesty the Queen, and by a strange coincidence his first and last acquaintance with Her Majesty was while engaged in works for the Royal mausoleum. In 1867 Mr. Glassby was engaged by Phillips to assist in carving the marble relieves round the Albert Memorial, and in March 1870, entered the studios of Mr. Edgar Boehm, then fast rising in his profession. In this, service as principal assistant, Mr. Glassby continued for 21 years, and in
letters from the celebrated sculptor was spoken of as a kind and true friend. He assisted in the modeling and carving of all the works which has made the name of Boehm celebrated throughout the world, and was made a confidant of, in the most important and private matters, and his advice as a sculptor was continually sought by Sir Edgar Boehm and many other celebrated sculptors.
Three months previous to his death in December, 1890, Sir Edgar, in answer to a letter of condolence on the death of Lady Boehm, writes:- “My dear Glassby, - Many thanks for your very kind letter of sympathy. You have always been a good friend to me and one whom my dear wife thought highly of, “ &c., &c. In January 1891, H.M. the Queen commissioned Mr. Glassby to execute in marble a bust of the late Sir Edgar Boehm, Bart, R.A., to be placed in Windsor Castle, and shortly afterwards purchased a terra cotta copy of a new bust of Sir Edgar by R. Glassby to be placed in Balmoral Castle. Another private commission in marble for Her Majesty was followed by one for a marble bust of H.R.H. the late Grand Duke of Hesse to be placed in the Royal mausoleum at Frogmore. Upon this work and a bust of Carlyle Mr. Glassby was engaged prior to his last illness. An internal rupture in July of 1891 brought on an attack of ascites in June last, which resulted in the death on Wednesday, the 3rd inst., at 1.25p.m. Mr. Glassby was highly respected by a very large circle of friends both in London and all parts of the world. He was a faithful and practical friend, ever ready to assist others to rise in life, both by advice and assistance. Among the sculptor’s principal works not already mentioned were statues of Medusa, Satan, Cupid, &c., reliefs of “Death and the Lady”, “The Shrine of Death”, “Death and the King”, &c., &c., and a large number of busts and other works, landscapes in oil and water colours &c., He exhibited in the Royal Academy and other London and provincial exhibitions for nearly thirty years, receiving many medals and other recognitions of his talent as a sculptor. It should be stated that at Mexborough the greatest regret was expressed on all hands at the news of Mr. Glassby’s death. It will be of interest to know that the splendid arch in the grounds of Dr Twigg’s residence in this town was carved by the deceased, and will ever remain a splendid testimony of the ability of the executor. The work was done for the late Mr. John Reid during his residence in the town of Mexborough".

Bust of Sir Edgar Boehm, Bart, R.A., by Robert Glassby


The Mexborough & Swinton Times article above makes reference to the fact that Robert Glassby completed the memorial to Mr. Becket of Leeds upon the death of Baron Marochetti. This refers to William Beckett (1784-1863) who was the principal partner in the banking firm of Beckett & Co. He was M.P. for Leeds from 1841 to 1852 and for Ripon from 1852 to 1857. He married Frances Adelina, the sister of H. C. Meynell Ingram, in 1841 and eventually retired to live in Brighton. He died on 26th January 1863 at the age of 78, and was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery. The sculpture in his memory was completed in 1865 and was placed in St Peter's Church, Kirkgate, Leeds. The monument, over 16 feet in height, rests upon a grit-stone pedestal, which has let in to it a marble medallion and inscription, and consists of a group of figures. Chief in this group stands a dignified, beautiful and graceful figure representing Charity, with two small boys looking up at her face.


Charity by Carlo Marochetti c 1865
Photo by M. J. Piper


William Beckett
Photo by M. J. Piper



Robert Glassby
Photo courtesy of The Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield

About this time, 1870, Robert Glassby completed another important work, a 20 inch high marble bust of child, which has recently been repatriated from the United States. This is a very fine piece of sculpting and from the delicate carving of the emblems for England, Scotland and Ireland on the blouse of the child, it is thought to have Royal connections. It is interesting to note that Robert Glassby exhibited a marble bust of a “Young Boy” at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1870, and this could well be the exhibit.


Marble bust of a Young Child, by Robert Glassby (1870)
Photo by M. J. Piper courtesy of Peter Weller

Royal emblem detailing on the blouse
Photo by M. J. Piper courtesy of Peter Weller

An obituary for Robert Glassby also appeared in The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent on 15th August 1892:-

A detailed profile of Robert Glassby appeared in 1897 in “The Sheffield Miscellany” edited by William J. J. Glassby under the heading “Some Sheffield Worthies”. Although this repeats some of the information about Robert Glassby presented above, it is such a comprehensive description that it merits inclusion in full:-


GLASSBY, ROBERT, Sculptor to the Queen, was born at Mexborough, a village near Rotherham, on December 18th, 1835. In his early days he was continually giving proof of his artistic talent, sketching, painting, or carving letters and designs in stone. Having come under the notice of Mr. John Reed, then owners of Rock Pottery in the village, opportunity presented itself for practice in modeling, in which he received encouragement from Mr. Reed, who, in the succeeding years of an uphill fight, amply assisted the young artist by purchasing all the models and paintings which were the outcome of his genius. One of the most important of the works then executed is the beautiful Gothic arch in the grounds adjoining the house now occupied by Dr. Twigg, of Mexborough, which was designed and carried out for Mr. Reed in 1860, this being Mr. Glassby’s first attempt at large works of this kind. It was, however, in 1853 that the first practical step was taken so far as sculpture was concerned, for in that year Mr. Glassby commenced a three years’ apprenticeship to masonry in Doncaster, among other work being employed on the masonry for the Cemetery Church in that town; his spare time being devoted to the carving of small heads in stone, which ultimately swelled the collection of his Mexborough patron. Leaving Doncaster in 1856 he obtained employment as a mason at Hadfield’s marble works in Sheffield, utilizing the whole of his spare time for self-improvement and practice in modeling. In 1857 he became an evening student at the Sheffield School of Art, studying under Mr. Young Mitchell, Head-master, and Godfrey Sykes, and making such progress that in December of the same year he gained two National bronze medals for modeling wild flowers and drawing foliage, etc., from nature. Although severely handicapped by the necessity of attending to his employment, he persevered in the face of every difficulty, rising with the sun for a sketching expedition into the country, at his daily toil from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and then at Art School in the evening. Such was the usual routine, a plan of unswerving perseverance which characterized his whole life, causing him to rise from a humble position, to that of one in Royal favour, the enviable position of sculptor to Her Majesty. Leaving Sheffield in 1860 for a course of study in Paris, he finally settled in London, where he served as assistant to Phillips, whom he assisted in carving the marble relievos on the Albert Memorial. Mr Weekes, R.A., was his next employer, and it was while acting as assistant to that gentleman in 1864, that he obtained the honour of a Royal Academy Scholarship, he being the first representative of the Sheffield School of Art to gain this distinction. He then entered the studio of Baron Marochetti, at whose death he was commissioned to complete the unfinished works, including the marble recumbent figure of the Prince Consort for the Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore. This work being finished at Windsor, Mr. Glassby was almost daily brought under the notice of the Queen. In 1870 he entered the studio of Sir. J. E. (then Mr.) Boehm, R.A., with whom he continued as principal assistant until the latter’s death in 1890. A few days after Sir Edgar Boehm’s death Mr. Glassby received the Royal command t appear at Windsor, when at a private audience with Her Majesty he was commissioned to execute a marble portrait bust of the late Sculptor for the Royal collection at Windsor. This was followed by other like commissions, the last being for a marble bust of the late Grand Duke of Hesse, for the Royal Mausoleum, this work being still in hand at the time of Mr. Glassby’s death on August 3rd, 1892; the bust by Her Majesty’s command being ultimately completed by the Sculptor’s youngest son, Mr. R. E. Glassby, of London.

The esteem and respect in which Mr. Glassby was held was testified to by many letters and expressions of regret at his untimely death from Her Majesty the Queen, the President of the Royal Academy, and many other friends among the nobility and in artistic circles; the Queen expressing her ‘deep regret at the decease of one for whom Her Majesty entertained a sincere regard’. At the funeral, which took place at Brompton Cemetery, close to the resting place of Godfrey Sykes, Her Majesty was represented by Captain Philips, who placed upon the coffin a magnificent wreath inscribed, “A mark of respect from Queen Victoria.” The Court Journal contained the following reference to the deceased, - “The death of Mr. Robert Glassby, the sculptor, and successor to the late Sir. J. E. Boehm, removes a well-known figure from the world of art and society, as the important part he played in the studio of the Queen’s favorite sculptor made him well known to many distinguished people. Mr. Glassby took an active part in the production of the admirable statue of the Queen, which stands at the foot of Castle Hill, Windsor, and that of the late Emperor Frederick, in St. George’s Chapel, as well as the equestrian statue of the Prince Consort, on Smith’s Lawn, Windsor Forest.” Among the numerous works executed by Mr. Glassby may be mentioned the marble statue of “Medusa” purchased by the Queen, and now at Osborne Palace, the marble statue of “Cupid”, purchased by the Corporation of Sheffield for the Mappin Art Gallery, the statue of “Satan” also in the Mappin Art Gallery, busts of “Medusa” and “Sir J. E. Boehm in Weston Park Museum, a marble relieve, “Angel of Prayer”, in the Upper Chapel, Sheffield,and numerous others, as well as many landscape paintings in oil and water colours. – See also the Times, Court Journal, and other London papers, August 5th 1892, and the Doncaster Review for November, 1896.

Upper Chapel, Norfolk Street, Sheffield
Photo by M. J. Piper


"Angel of Prayer" Memorial at Upper Chapel, Sheffield by Robert Glassby
Photo by M. J. Piper



The Angel of Prayer was actually sculpted by Robert Glassby for the Upper Chapel in 1872, and was used in 1889 as a memorial for John H Hunter, as evidence by William J. J. Glassby's "The Old Churchyards of Sheffield" published in 1896.

Robert Glassby (1835-1892)
Drawing courtesy of Mexborough & District Heritage Society


Robert Glassby is buried in Section AC of Brompton Cemetery, the South-East corner of the 39 acre burial ground, and his grave is marked by a simple marble top enscribed:-











Robert Glassby's Grave in Brompton Cemetery
Photo by M. J. Piper

Robert’s death was sudden and left the family insecure financially. Friends of the family launched an appeal to raise money for them through the sale of works of art, and the appeal was published in The Pall Mall Gazette of 14th November 1892.

In the announcement of Robert Glassby’s death in The Times, 5th August 1892, it was mentioned that he was working on another commission for Queen Victoria, a marble bust of H.R.H. the late Grand Duke of Hesse which was to have been placed in the Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore. This was completed by his son, Robert Edward Glassby and its completion and delivery to Frogmore was recorded in the press:-

The Leeds Mercury – 16th December 1892


The Grand Duke of Hesse
Photo by M. J. Piper

Frogmore Mausoleum
Photo by M. J. Piper

Robert Glassby
Photo courtesy of Mexborough & District Heritage Society

A list of Robert Glassby’s works is given by Algernon Graves in his dictionary of art. Algernon Graves was taking three bottles of wine to his uncle, Robert Graves, who was ill, on 24th February 1873 when he slipped on ice, badly injuring his knee in his attempt to prevent the bottles of wine from breaking. As a result he was laid up for eight weeks and could not bend his leg. Having copies of the catalogues of the Royal Academy at home, he began the Herculean task of compiling an alphabetical list of artists and their works. The work became of value to his father’s business and was eventually published. The entry for Robert Glassby, however, seems to be a compilation of Robert Glassby’s work and that of his son Robert Edward Glassby. Certainly the works and addresses from 1865 to 1892 tally (the date when Robert Glassby died). It seems likely that the last two entries under the address “10 Elm Park Road” were for those of Robert Edward Glassby, his son.


Robert Glassby was responsible for taking a death mask of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, at the time of his death and this is confirmed by an article that appeared in The Times, 6th April 1934.

It is interesting to note that one piece of work is held in the National Portrait Gallery, item NPG 2655 which is described as:-

Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield
By Robert Glassby, cast by John Theodore Tussaud
Wax cast of death mask (1881) 368mm high Given by Theodore Tussaud 1934.
Courtesy of National Portrait Galley

Death masks were frequently taken of famous people in the late 18th Century, and an article appeared in the New York Times on 8th July 1894 describing the death mask of Thomas Carlyle and Glassby's involvement:-

This death mask of Thomas Carlyle is currently held in Kensington Central Library:-

Thomas Carlyle death mask
Courtesy of Kensington Central Library
Photo by M. J. Piper

A short anecdote about Robert Glassby appeared in The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent on 28th September 1896. Although the article mentions "Charles Glassby" it is clearly referring to Robert:-

It is interesting to note the social circles that Robert Glassby moved in during the time (1870-1890) that he was employed by Sir Edgar Boehm and lived in Chelsea. Sir Edgar was famous in court circles for his statue of Queen Victoria installed at Windsor Castle in 1869. He had also been commissioned for the sculpture of the "recumbent figure of the Duke of Kent, the fourth son of George III King of England and Queen Charlotte" completed in 1874 which lies in the mausoleum at Frogmore. He had taught sculpting to Princess Louise, Queen Victoria's daughter, at the National Art Training School in South Kensington and she was allegedly his lover. The Queen was so concerned about Princess Louise's relationship with Boehm that she sought out a suitable husband for her, and she agreed to marry the Marquess of Lorne, heir to the title of "Duke of Argyll", who was a Member of Parliament at the time. They married on 21st March 1871 in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. They went to Canada on 14th November 1878 when the Marquess was appointed Governor General. Louise was popular in Canada and "Lake Louise" was named after her. On 14 February 1880, she was seriously injured when the vice regal sleigh overturned on the streets of Ottawa, Ontario, and Louise, though she made a full recovery, returned to England, leaving Lord Lorne to discharge the Vice-Regal duties alone for another two years. They had no children and the marriage broke down and Princess Louise consoled herself with Sir Edgar Boehm's company. The relationship continued throughout the 1880's until Sir Edgar Boehm died on 12th December 1890 in his studio. It is generally believed that Boehm was alone with Princess Louise, burst a blood vessel and died in her arms. The matter was brushed under the carpet with the story that he was lifting a marble statue at the time of his death. So, throughout the 1880's, Robert Glassby must have known Princess Louise very well as she visited the studio where he was working to further her liaison with Sir Edgar Boehm.

Robert's wife Maria's family had Royal connections also. Maria M ("Mercedes" as her second name “Mercy” was referred to) Davis was the daughter of John Blackburne Davis, who provided bloodstock for the Royal Stud. Maria was the sister of Elizabeth (”Lela”) Blackburne Davis who is listed living with John and Catherine Davis at 80A George Street, London in the 1871 Census, as mentioned earlier. Lela rose to fame through the "Wild West" show of Franklin Samuel Cody. Franklin Samuel Cowdery was born in Birdsville, Texas on 6th March 1867. He was an imposter. He adopted the name "Samuel Cody" and led people to believe that he was the son of the famous William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody of the Wild West Show fame. Samuel Cody married Maude Lee in 1888. The marriage failed but there is no record of a divorce. Samuel fell for Lela, who was 15 years his elder and had four children (Leon, Vivian, Lizzy or Liese & Edward) by a previous marriage to Edward King, a "licensed victualler”, whom she had married at the age of 21 in 1873. Lela and Samuel were devoted to each other, and Lela and her children participated in his Wild West show, billed as "S. F. Cody and Family Champion Shooters of America" throughout the U.K. and Europe. Lela took part allowing Samuel to shoot at 20 glass balls around her body, she wearing blood-red tights so that if she was grazed by a bullet the blood would not show!

Samuel was a real entrepreneur and show man. Whilst in Paris he organised a race between French cyclists and him on horseback; he won the 10,000 franc prize money with ease. On returning to England he tried to sell the patent rights to a rapid fire pistol he had invented to the War Office. He demonstrated the pistol by shooting holes in coins thrown up in to the air, but his only reward was a letter from the War Office threatening him for defacing "coins of the realm"! Undaunted he returned to the stage with a show in the summer of 1898 called "Klondyke Nugget" featuring trick shooting and Indian battles. By 1902 Samuel Cody had turned his attention to flying kites, his designs enabling a man to "fly" 300 foot in a basket suspended beneath the kite. In 1906 he became the chief kite instructor at the Military Balloon School at Farnborough and became involved with the design of airships. He turned his attention to building an aero plane similar to that of Orville and Wilbur Wright's design, and in 1908 his "Army Aeroplane #1" flew for 27 seconds covering a quarter of a mile. He entered a design in the competition sponsored by Lord Northcliffe of the Daily Mail, and in 1909 his "Flying Cathedral" went to the air. One of the first passengers was his wife Lela with her dress taped up to stop it billowing! In 1911 he became the hero of Lord Northcliffe's " 1,010 mile Circuit of Britain Challenge". Although he did not win the £10,000 prize he was praised for his courage and determination. Samuel Cody was becoming one of the most famous men in the country, and was dubbed "Colonel" Cody by King Edward VII who was an admirer, although the rank was fictitious. An improved version of his "Flying Cathedral" came top in Army aircraft trials with entries from Britain and Europe, and the Royal Aero Club awarded him their highest honour, the Gold Medal. King George V telegrammed his congratulations and requested a command performance. In 1913 Lord Northcliffe offered new prizes of £5,000 for a race around the coast of Britain and £10,000 for a flight across the Atlantic. On 7th August 1913, whilst testing his newly built plane, Cody was killed when it fell from the sky. He was 46. His funeral was held in the garrison town of Aldershot with the Black Watch escorting his coffin on a gun carriage, with a cortege a mile long and 100,000 people lining the streets. George V sent a personal telegram to Lela expressing his grief.

The Times
12th August 1913



Amid every sign of sympathy and regret the remains of Mr. S. F. Cody were buried yesterday afternoon in the Aldershot Military Cemetery. All military honours possible were paid in recognition of the services the dead airman had rendered to military aviation. The band of the pipers of the 1st Battalion of the Black Watch headed the funeral cortége to the cemetery. The coffin was borne on a Horse Artillery gun and covered with the Union Jack, the team of horses for the gun being provided and ridden by the Royal Engineers. The route to the cemetery, a distance of over two miles, was lined by thousands of sympathizers, and in the cortége were representatives of most of the regiments in the Aldershot Command. The Royal Engineers and the Army Service Corps had very strong detachments present. The parades were quite voluntary, and the numbers present were evidence of the popularity Mr. Cody enjoyed among the soldiers. The floral tributes numbered over a hundred, and were taken by motor lorries of the Royal Flying Corps to the cemetery. Among these were floral models of aeroplanes, propellers, and war-kites sent from airmen at the Brooklands Aerodrome, Hendon Aerodrome, the Royal Aero Club, the Reigate Aero Club, and members of the naval and military wings of the Royal Flying Corps.

The chief mourners were Mrs. Cody, the widow, Mr. and Mrs. Vivian Cody, Mr. and Mrs. Leon Cody, and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Cody, sons and daughters-in-law; Mrs. Whittall, cousin, Mr. and Mrs. Hoefftcke, Mrs. W. Glasby, cousin, and the Misses V. and L Whittall, nieces. Eight warrant and non-commissioned officers of the naval and military wings of the Royal Flying Corps acted as bearers, and all the members of the naval and military wings stationed in Aldershot followed in six coaches which carried the chief mourners. Colonel F. H. Sykes, commanding the military wing; Commander E. A. D. Masterman of the naval airship wing; Lieutenant and Adjutant B. H. Barrington-Kennett, Major A. D. Carden, R.E. Major, E. M. Maitland, and all the officers of the Royal Flying Corps followed. Mr. T. O’B Hubbard, R.F.C., represented the Aeronautical Society, General Arbuthnot and Colonel H. E. Massy the Aeronautical Union of the British Empire, and Mr. H. E. Perrin the Royal aero Club. At the cemetery the procession was joined by Major General F. S. Robb, Brigadier-General F. J. Davies, Brigadier-General S. R. Rice, Colonel H. J. Du Cane, and Colonel T. D. Foster, of the Aldershot Command Headquarters Staff; Mr. R. Giffard, R.A., representing Major-general S. H. Lomax, Commander of the First Division; Brigadier-General N. D. Findlay, Commanding the R.A.; Lieutenant-General H. E. Belfield, Mr. Heckstall Smith, representing Mr. Mervyn O’Gorman, superintendent, and the staff of the Royal Aircraft Factory; Mr. A. H. Evans, uncle of Mr. W. H. B. Evans; and many other officers.

The burial service was conducted by the Rev. J. Blackbourne, senior chaplin to the Forces (Church of England), of the Aldershot Command, and the Rev. Basil Phillips, Vicar of St. Mark’s, Farnborough, the pipers of the Black Watch playing the lament “Lochaber no more” after the coffin had been lowered into the grave.

The secretary of the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain desires us to mention that it was the silver, and not the bronze medal of the Society which was presented to the late Mr. Cody in 1909, “in recognition of his services to aeronautics.”


Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West Show had been invited to England in 1887 for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee celebrations, and performed to the delight of Queen Victoria. But Queen Victoria was displeased that the sister of the wife of her official sculptor had left her husband for an "American Wild West Cowboy", and refused to allow Samuel Cody to perform for her.

Robert Glassby's wife, Maria, lived until she was 80, dying in Bedford in 1928. Her own life had been interesting and eventful, but what must she have thought of the life led by her sister Lela?

A 8.1.1 William Jackson John Glassby (b.1867 d.1932) m. 1894 Marion Lucy Green (b.1870 d.1959) - 1 Child
A Marion Evangeline Glassby (b. Kingston 1898 d. 1928)

William Jackson John Glassby was born in 1867 in Chelsea.

We have from the Keeper of Social History, Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and Bedford Museum, a photograph of “Fred Williams with Mr Glassby in Brighton dated 27th July, year unreadable”. Judging from the school uniform he appears to be wearing and the fact that he was born in 1867, the date of this photograph is likely to be 1881/2.

Fred Williams with Mr Glassby Brighton 27th July
Courtesy of Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and Bedford Museum

He was still single and living at home in Chelsea at the time of his father’s death in 1892. At that time he wrote to Mr Harrop, a family friend and solicitor in Mexborough (Courtesy of Mexborough & District Heritage Society):-


Bognor House
15 Hobury Street,
December 6th, 1892

Dear Mr. Harrop,

Many thanks for your letter which I could not answer earlier as I have been so pressed for time. I am glad you had such a successful Bazaar and only wish I could have been present to see it. I suppose the photos I sent were not all sold as they were such poor specimens. I received the photos of White house and wrote to thank Mr. Shields for them. Of course I did not like to mention the house near Church after all his kindness but I suppose he will do it later when less busy. My brother is working at the little figure of the Saint for the Church. And as he ought to be at Royal Academy everyday he is neglecting his studies in order to finish it. The 17th of this month is the anniversary of my father’s birth and my brother wants to finish the figure and get it to Mexbro’ in time for it to be fixed in its place on that day Saturday. Of course the fixing is no trouble whatever, and can be done in 10 minutes or so. It does not matter if one or two friends know about this affair but do not let it be known too widely for fear an accident will occur. My brother has had such little time to devote to the above lately as the R. A. took most of his time and then the bust for the Queen must be ready in a few days before the Court removes from Windsor .I see from the Mexbro’ Times that my father’s portrait is to appear in the Book Almanac. I suppose however it will be the same as appeared in the Mexbro’ Times and which we did not care for. I am getting several portraits of my father and propose writing to the Commissioners of Woods and Forests to whom the statues of London belong, for permission to make a cast of my father’s portrait by Baron Marochetti on the bas-relief on pedestal of Richard Coer-de-Lion Monument near House of Parliament. I do not know whether they will allow this but if not I must try to get a squeeze without permission which will not be easy owing to the number of Police about there. There is always so much red-tape about these matters and the affair has to pass through so many hands. See from Mexbro’ Times that Mexbro is waking up a little and that there is a likelihood of your having a Free Library and I think that it would be a grand thing to have such a place. We have a splendid building in Chelsea and all districts around have each one, and as the Library has Sculpture and Pictures given the place has a fine appearance within. I shall be writing again in a few days and will let you know how the figure is progressing. I am sorry to say that my mother is very ill suffering from her heart. Doctor has just gone and says she is very ill indeed. I trust that all of you are well and with affectionate regards to you all. Believe me

Yours sincerely

Will Glassby


This letter gives us several insights. The reference to his brother is to that of Robert Edward Glassby (A 8.1.4) who was also a sculptor, like his father. The second reference is to the statue of Richard the Lion Heart by Baron Marochetti which stood in the Old Palace Yard, Westminster (since moved to a position close to the Chancellor’s Gate).

I have researched the work of Baron Marochetti and in particular with the bas-relief on the Coeur de Lion statue. In brief, the statue was in position in Old Palace-yard, Westminster by November 1860 as reported in The Times on 7th November 1860. It was a version in bronze by Baron Marochetti of his Richard the Lionheart statue produced for the Great Exhibition of 1851. To be in situ by November 1860, the work on the bronze statue must have been underway through 1859 and 1860. Robert Glassby worked in Baron Marochetti’s studio between 1864-1869; Baron Marochetti died in 1867 and his obituary appeared in The Times on 4th January 1868. If the bas-reliefs on the pedestal of the statue were completed and installed at the same time as the statue in 1860, then one of the images would not have been modeled on Robert Glassby’s likeness. Perhaps because Robert Glassby worked for Baron Marochetti some years later, and because one of the images resembled Robert Glassby, it became family-folk-law that it had been modeled on him. William J. J. Glassby may well have believed that it was a likeness of his father, but perhaps he was mistaken. The only other plausible explanation is that the bas-reliefs were added at a later date, perhaps when the statue was moved from Old Palace-yard to its present location, and at a time when Robert Glassby was working for Baron Marochetti, but this seems very unlikely.

Statue of Richard the Lionheart by Baron Marochetti
Photo by M. J. Piper

Detail of the bas-reliefs on the pedestal of the Richard the Lionheart statue
Photos by M. J. Piper

William J. J. Glassby appears to have moved to or visited Sheffield after his father’s death, and we know that he visited Mexborough in 1893. He described it as a “bustling thriving town” having undergone “wondrous change”. He speaks with regret of the removal of many old landmarks and places of interest, but nevertheless he published “Memorials of Old Mexborough” in 1893 after his visit.

William J. J. Glassby married Marion Lucy Green, the daughter of sculptor Charles Green, in Sheffield in 1894. They had one daughter, Marion Evangeline Glassby born on 13th February 1898 in Kingston upon Thames. Marion’s birth certificate confirms that William J. J. Glassby’s third name was “John”, and that he was a Journalist living at 32 Nelson Road, Wimbledon, with his wife Marion. He moved to Renhold, Bedford, where he lived until he died.

William J. J. Glassby wrote a second book, “The Old Churchyards of Sheffield” in 1896, published by Pawson & Brailsford of Sheffield. My copy of this book is dated 11th July 1896 and was sent to Thomas Bradbury of Westbourne Road, Sheffield, a contributor.

By way of introduction, William Glassby wrote:-

After several months’ wanderings among the tombs in Sheffield churchyards, culling from the inscriptions on the time-worn stone memories of past ages, I have at the request of many friends prepared a short history of our Parish Churchyard, with gleanings from other old burial-grounds in Sheffield; and a collection of such epitaphs as, by reason of their quaint or pathetic reading, will prove of interest to all those who revere the sacred places of our city. Having in preparation a full and thorough history of the burial-grounds of Sheffield, I shall be grateful for any information relating to the subject, or items of interest connected with the lives of those there interred.

W. J. J. G.,
13 Binfield Road,
Meersbrook Bank,
12th March 1896


  The publication of his book was reviewed in the local press by "Flaneur":-


The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent
9th January 1896



In an article on “Men and Things” a writer has sufficient scope allowed to him to traverse the universe in search of a subject. There are , of course, men who are mere “things”, although they are real live entities, possessed of the requisite number of limbs, wanting only that minimum of intellectual capacity which separates the brainless man from his more clever, and therefore more fortunate, brethren. I suppose that I am not at liberty to discuss “men or things”, and therefore I will adhere to my original intention. Epitaphs – like the tombstones placed above the mere shells of men who have departed ages ago in quest of a better and more congenial climate than may be found in this rainy England – cover multitudes of sins of omission and commission, and I take it are eminently worthy of a place in this column. They are things that point to perennial stores of wit, and though like the jester at the funeral of his patron, their presence appears at times to be an unwarrantable intrusion upon the solemnity of the burial place, they have their uses. My readers will forgive me if, on this occasion, I leave the short, symmetrical, paragraphic form in which these notes have hitherto appeared, and marshal my battalions of words in less scattered and more warlike array. “Unprecedented!” say my conservative friends. Perhaps! But reserve your judgement until the end. I cannot well cut an epitaph off in the middle, like a long grenadier who wears a tight waist belt, so I prefer heterodoxy on this occasion.

I think I began this article with a reference to epitaphs. There are many excellent examples of the pathetic grave and gay epitaph in Sheffield. We can afford to laugh at the little graveyard witticisms of our fathers, even though any amusing references to the dear defunct would in this year of grace be followed by the stern displeasure of the multitude, perhaps by social ostracism. Among the many who have had their day and generation under obligation because of their assuidity in the direction of epitaph-reading, appears the name of Mr. William Glassby, son of the late Mr. Robert Glassby, sculptor to the Queen. This gentleman has been engaged during the past eighteen months in copying the inscriptions carved upon the interesting but formidable array of tombstones in the churchyard of St. Peter’s, the mother church of Sheffield. In the course of his wanderings amongst the tombs he has deciphered more than eight thousand inscriptions, and what is more , he has measured each of the stones and mapped out the churchyard with considerable accuracy. All the inscriptions on the stones in the churchyards adjoining and within the Parish Church, St. Paul’s, the Attercliffe Chapel of Ease, and the Upper, Nether, and Mount Zion Chapels, have been copied by Mr. Glassby, who is now copying those at Norton Church and Beauchief Abbey, and will shortly commence a similar work in St James’s Church and churchyard. I believe that in the course of time he will publish an interesting volume or pamphlet which will contain a digest of his work. The dates of the tombstones already dealt with go back to the year 1456. This, the most ancient inscription met with, Mr. Glassby discovered in Norton Churchyard. In cases of difficulty he has treated the stone to a rubbing with black lead and paper, but Mr. Glassby assures me that he has become an expert at this task that inscriptions which are to the uninitiated eye as mysterious as the chisel-marks on an Aztec monument are to him tolerably clear. The work was originally undertaken by Mr. Glassby at the request of Mr. Arthur Jackson and that portion of his task which is already completed was in the hands of that gentleman some months before he died, ready for the hands of the binder. I believe I am right in saying that Mr. Jackson, had he lived, would have published these interesting records of the past, or left them to the city.

That Mr. Glassby found some amusement in the course of his researches to compensate him for the dreary nature of his task will be seen on glancing at the queer rhymes that appear below. The first has references to the inevitable grinder. The rhymester made a gallant attempt at poetic harmony in the first two lines, but failed ignominiously in the third and fourth. Here is the precious effusion:-

Beneath this stone a grinder lies.
A sudden death ath closed his eyes.
He lost his life by the breaking of a stone.
We hope his soul to Heaven’s gone.

The pathetic, after a struggle with the humorous, came in an easy winner at the finish. Here it may be interesting to mention that five grindstones were found by Mr. Glassby. One of these was in the graveyard of the Parish Church, two were in St. Paul’s churchyard, and two in Attercliffe old churchyard. Three of the inscriptions have great interest to Sheffielders. The first, in the Parish churchyard, runs thus:-

In memory of
Who departed this life Dec 10th 1839
in his 80th year

This Mr. Rhodes was the talented author of “Peak Scenery”. At one time the majority of the gravestones stood upright, keeping silent guard over those who’s virtues were commemorated, but there came a day of levelling and all save a few were placed in a horizontal position. At this time, among those which disappeared was one on the north side of the church to the memory of Richard Smith, who died in April 1737, which bore the following lines:-

At thirteen years I went to sea,
To try my fortune there.
But lost my friend, which put an end
To all my interest there.
To land I came as ‘t were by chance.
At twenty then I taught to dance,
But yet unsettled in my mind
To something else I was inclined
At twenty-five laid dancing down
To be a bookseller in this town.
Where I continued without strife
But death deprived me of my life
Vain world, to thee I bid farewell
To rest within this silent cell
Till the great God shall summon all
To answer His majestic call
Then, Lord have mercy on us all.

The man who ordered that the gravestones should be laid flat with their inscriptions staring mutely at the sky must have held similar ideas respecting beauty, for a more unlovely, desolate place than the churchyard of St. Peter’s can scarce be found. A stone to the memory of “Josh Taylor, aged 81” who died in 1811, shows that this worthy was a teacher of music. The inscription, which is probably true as the records on gravestones usually are, runs thus:-

To praise his Maker was his joy
To teach the same was his employ.
Great Handle’s notes he forward brought
Messiah was the first he taught.
Following this a bar of music from the last-named oratorio, to the words:-
If God be for us who can be against us

“Great Handle” is distinctly good, and but for the mention of the “Messiah” one might imagine that Mr. Taylor was an organist, wishful to perpetuate the memory of his organ-blower. Quaint as are the lines:-

A loving wife in prime of life
Death soon did snatch away
Now such a call bids one and all
Prepare without delay

They are distinctly outdone in interest by a conundrum asked on another stone by a sorrowing one whose grief was too deep for words:-

Sarah Oliver, 1818, aged 30
She was _______________
But words are wanting to say what.
Think what a wife should be.
She was that!

Although there is very little blank verse or rhyme in the tribute to the worth of Sarah Oliver, there is sound common sense. Let us hope that Abraham Glossop was a better artist than the genius who placed these lines over his remains:-

Here lieth the body of Abraham
Glossop, that marksman brave
who was an artist of great skill,
when alive all sorts of game
did kill, beloved he was by rich and
poor, and when he died all friends
lamented sore. Died 1757, aged 55.

Joseph Newton lived in days when heirs apparent had better, and monarchs worst, prospects than at present, if we may believe the legend on his tombstone:-

Here is interred
Joseph Newton, who wished to live
peaceably with all men
Born 12 July 1682 died 19 Jan 1767
He lived in the reigns of 12 crowned
heads of England
Learn O deluded man before too late
Short is the day of youth, of life the date
Fix on the grave as the goal on your Eye
And think each Day you live you live to Dye

The last line was obviously written in a spirit of prophecy, and might with better effect have been dedicated to a society beauty. A very interesting record appears on another stone in the Parish Churchyard:-

Here lyeth the Body
of John Justis Senior
who dyed Feb’y ye
23, 1731 Aged 51 years
who was Razor Maker
to King George ye

Mr. Justis lived in the happy, prosperous days when the Germans used Sheffield razors. The virtues of Thomas Ramsden, a sailor who died in 1844 are thus recorded:-

Our friend has gone before
To that celestial shore
He hath left his mates behind
He hath all the storms outrode
Found the rest we toil to find
Landed in the arms of God

An epitaph commemorating Sarah Gregory (1713) clearly proclaims her calling:-

The Hebrew’s Midwives was No Better Blest
than was this woman that lies here at rest
Both rich and poor to Her Did make address
And Heavy did Her Good Indevours Bless

As will be familiar with the upright stone facing the eastern gate of the churchyard “To the memory of Richard Walker, of the Horse Guards, who died in 1801”. It bears the inscription:-

Within this dark and silent grave
Here lies a soldier just and brave
And when the awful trump shall sound
He is for settled quarters bound

Among the many other stones above the ashes of England’s defenders is one on the north side of the churchyard to Isaac Wardley, late Quarter Master in the 15th or Queen’s Hussars, who after a life of more than twenty years devoted service of his King and Country, died universally regretted, in 1825:-

A pale consumption gave the fatal blow
The stroke was certain, the effect was slow
His pain was great, Death saw him sore opprest
Pitied his sighs and kindly gave him rest

In more than one instance the locality which saw the birth of the deceased is placed on record, as in the case of Thomas Priest, who closed this round of earthly toil in 1796:-

From Lincolnshire I came
Industrious I was called by all who knew my name
A kind husband and father dear
Me with many crosses whilst in this worldly here

Of amore ludicrous nature is the legend attached to a gravestone in memory of a dame who found rest and retirement she needed in 1839:-

Sarah Ann Muggleton
Is my name. England
was my Nation.
Liverpool was my
Place of Birth. And
Christ is my Salvation.

Among the epitaphs on the tombstones which were removed when the widening of Church street was carried out is the following:-

Lieth the body of
Thomas Dewsnap
of Hallam, a noted Hunter
who died June 4th, 1820
Aged 63 Years
O’er Moorlands and Mountains
o’er vallies and rocks
None so eager in chasing
the Hare or the Fox;
When over, he’d banish
his sorrows in smoke,
He’d join the dance,
In the song, or the joke.
But death that great Hunter
has laid low his head,
When he hears the last – ‘Hallo’
he’ll rise from the dead.

This exhausts the curious epitaphs in the Parish Churchyard. That there is a rich field for research in the villages immediately outside Sheffield is shown by the selection which Mr. Glassby has obtained from Norton:-

My glass is run, my time is spent
no earthly care could me prevent

Is a pretty but out-used simile. Over the remains of Mark Tyzack, aged 71, who died in 1795, appears these lines:-

My scythe and hammer lie reclin’d
My bellows too has lost their wind
My iron is spent, my steel is gone
My scythes are set my work is done
My fire’s extinct my forge decayed
My body I the dust is laid

Joseph Binney, stone mason (1787), aged 73, is thus endeared to his successors:-

A speedy summons called me soon away,
From this vain world where beauty doath decay;
In hopes to shine among the saints in light,
Graced with the joys of heavenly glories bright.
The lettr’d stons which in this place doath stand
Where many of them cut by mine own hands.
Now mine is one among the rest you see,
What I for others did is done for me.
Here is another quaint legend:-
The Body of
William Atkin Silkleman and Farmer
And of his two wives
Cut down by the sharp sickle of Death
Lie here
Like sheaves from the thrashing floor
the contents thrashed out
and stripped of their beauty and verdure;
but as seed cast in the ground
the grain shall not be lost
but shall as they believe spring up
Once More
In fresh vigour and beauty
Thoroughly purged from their chaff
to be gathered into the garner
of God
Obit. 14 Octr 1793

The most remarkable inscription found by Mr. Glassby at the Attercliffe Chapel-of-Ease was that placed over the grave of Thomas Youle, aged 62, who died in 1817. It runs:-

Who’er thou art that read’st these lines,
Resolve upon this clod;
To catch the moment as it shines,
And make thy peace with God.
The old, the young, the brave, the base,
The wise man and the fool,
Must all submit to death at last,
As well as Thomas Youle
In Upper Chapel yard may be found this inscription:-
Michael and Elizabeth Hunter
Parents of Joseph Hunter
Historian of Hallamshire
Are here interred

In St Paul’s Churchyard, the burial place of Joseph Mather, the local ballad composer, was found. But enough has been said to whet the appetite of my readers for more. At some future time I may be in a position to gratify their curiosity.


The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent referred to William J. J. Glassby's book on four further occasions in editorials in 1896 i.e.

The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent
23rd January 1896


The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent
27th February 1896


The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent
11th July 1896

The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent
16th July 1896

William J. J. Glassby also complied "The Sheffield Miscellany" in 1897 published by John Fillingham, Sheffield.

The contents included articles on Broom Hall,Thrybergh, Shrewsbury & St Leonards Hospital, Trade Tokens, Treeton, Ecclesall Church, Coleridge in Sheffield, Montgomery and James Cawthorne, plus considerable material on the family of Bright of Banner Cross Whirlow Dore etc. Plus biographies of over 50 Sheffield and neighbourhood Worthies. Contributors include Armitage, Addy, Jewitt, Leader Freemantle Sykes etc.

How, we might ask, did William J. J. Glassby end up in Renhold, Bedford, employed as Estate Manager at Howbury Hall working for its owner Mr. Cecil Polhill, and being a part time Minister at the Bedford Gospel Mission? William J. J. Jackson died in 1932 in Bedford at the age of 64, and we learn from his obituary that he became estate manager 20 years prior to his death when he succeeded Mr T. B. Othen (i.e. in 1912).


The Bedfordshire Times and Independent.
Friday, 11th March 1932



Mr William Glassby, whose death took place at “Ladyfield”, Renhold, on 4th March, was leader of the Costin Street Mission Hall, Bedford, and he held the respect and esteem of a large circle of friends in Bedford and in Renhold, where he was agent to Mr. Cecil Polhill, of Howbury Hall, succeeding Mr T. B. Othen in that position about twenty years ago. Mr Glassby’s cheery bearing and sincere preaching made him greatly loved at the Costin Street Mission Hall, and news of his death was received there with much regret. Mr. Glassby, who was 64 years of age, was the son of the late Mr. Robert Glassby, sculptor to Queen Victoria, and Mr. Glassby was always fond of relating his experiences at Buckingham Palace when he was taken there by his father. The family came from Sheffield, and Mr. Glassby married Marion, the daughter of the late Mr. Charles Green, sculptor, of Sheffield. Mr. Glassby has written books on the St Paul’s Churchyard, Sheffield and the Cathedral,Sheffield.His great interest in life, however, was his work for the Jews in Palestine, and he was a prominent member of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews. Under his leadership the Costin Street Mission has raised large amounts of money for this work. Mr. Glassby also took a keen interest in the work to help Chinese slave girls. He was a seeker of curios, and his collection is always a source of interest to visitors at the Costin Street Mission Hall. About twelve months ago Mr. Glassby received a great shock by the death of his intimate friend and colleague in the Jewish mission work, Dr. Rohold. This was followed by the death a few weeks ago of another Hebrew Christian, Dr. Gold-Levin, and it was while Mr. Glassby was preparing to attend a memorial service to his friend in London that he was taken ill. The greatest sympathy is felt for his wife and daughter. A funeral service took place at Costin Street Mission Hall on Monday afternoon. The Rev. F. J. Exley, of London, secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews, and a personal friend of Mr. Glassby, officiated. Among those present at the service were: the Rev. A. O. Cheney, the Rev. J. K. Cowburn, the Rev. H. P. Ellis, the Rev. A. S. Cook, Mr. Andrews (Mr. Glassby’s colleague at Costin Street Hall), Adjutant Beynon, Commandant Walker, Major Fletcher (Salvation Army). The Hall was crowded, and the Rev. F. J. Exley, in a moving address, paid tribute to Mr. Glassby’s useful career at Costin Street and to his work for the Jews. The mourners were: the widow, Miss Green (sister-in-law), Miss Gray, Miss Spindler, Mr. H. F. R. Andrews (leader of the Bedford Gospel Mission) and Mrs Andrews, Mrs. Barker, Miss Millard, Mr. Cecil Polhill and Miss Polhill, of Howbury Hall, the outdoor staff of Howbury Estate – Messrs. Clarke, Cochin, Hardwick, Kempster, Maddon, Wooton, and Wooton, junior, and Mr. And Mrs. Othen. Floral tributes were received from the following: Mrs. Glassby; Dot, Florrie, Jessie and Eva; Miss Walters; Cecil Polhill, Esq.; Jennie and Noel; “Floss”; “Win”; Mr. and Mrs. Andrews; Members of the Bedford Gospel Mission; Phyllis and Bob; Mr. Perriss; Mr. And Mrs Hardwick; Mr. and Mrs. Kempster; Hilda and Harold Kempster; Mr. and Mrs. T. B. Othen; Outdoor staff of Howbury Estate; Renhold Band of Hope; Bedford United Evangelistic Council; Mr. and Mrs. Gray and Keren; Mr. And Mrs. Shorley; Mrs. Sheriden and Ivy; Mr. and Mrs. Harry Gray; Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Gray; Mrs. and Miss Hyslop; Mr. and Mrs. H. Joyce; Mr. and Mrs. D. Joyce; Maskell Bros.Messrs J. and A. Lindley, 43 Gwyn Street, Bedford, carried out the funeral arrangements. A memorial service will be held at Costin Street Mission Hall on Sunday.


It seems likely that William J. J. Glassby met Cecil Polhill when he was living in London at Gloucester Place, and became influenced by his evangelism. It is likely that William J. J. Glassby returned with Polhill to Bedford, where he became his Estate Manager at Howbury Hall and part time Minister at the Bedford Gospel Mission.

Howbury Hall

William J. J. Glassby
Photo courtesy of Mexborough & District Heritage Society

Due to a transcription error in the computerized records of the 1901 Census, William J. J. Glassby is entered as “William Glersby”. Examination of the original handwritten records shows:- 

1901 Census - Hastings, Sussex (38 Athelstan Road)
Name Rel Age Birthplace Occupation
William Glassby Head 34 Pimlico, London Commercial Clerk
Maria Glassby Wife 31 Kimberworth, Yks  
Marion Glassby Dau 3 Wimbledon, Surrey  

By the time of the 1911 Census William J. J. Glassby and family were back in Wimbledon:-

1911 Census - 227 South Park Road, Kingston, Wimbledon, Surrey
Name Rel Years Married Age Birthplace Occupation
Glassby, William Head Married 16 44 London, Chelsea Commercial Correspondence Clerk
Glassby, Marion Wife Married 16 40 Yorks, Kimberworth  
Glassby, Marion Dau Single   13 Surrey, Wimbledon At school

We know that William J. J. Glassby was in Bedford in 1914, so he must have moved there between 1911 and 1914. He is referred to in an article in the Bedfordshire Times & Independent, 14 August 1914, relating to Cecil Polhill’s offer to soldiers from Renhold :-

William J. J. Glassby trained as a minister and we are fortunate that another letter from him to Mr. Harrop dated 18th July 1930 has survived (Courtesy of Mexborough & District Heritage Society) :- 



Minister: Mr. W. Glassby

Private Address: “Ladyfield”, Renhold, Bedford.

July 18th, 1930

Dear Mr Harrop,

It was specially good of you to so kindly send me that notice from the Sheffield paper; and I appreciate your kindly thought just as much as if I had not had a copy from another source.

I am wondering whether I shall get to Sheffield this year for a few days; but I am so packed with work always. This mission work is my so-called spare time work; and takes more of my time than the average clergyman or minister has to give to similar work. Then private matters and office work fills up my days, and consequently I am never straight with work, and always working at high pressure. At 63 this is telling on me, but I think I should break up if I slowed down now to idle days. But if I can I want to have a few days early in September. I wonder if you go away now at that time; but I must drop you a line if I come north and arrange to have an hour or two with you.

I think I told you I sold my father’s portrait in oils, and his bronze medallion like the copy you have, to the Mappin Art Gallery & Weston Park Museum.

I have two sisters in Russia, both Russian subjects as they were married to Russians. One, now a widow, I am hoping to get back home again and our Ambassador is using his interest to this end.

I trust you and yours are all well. I guess I should not know any of them now. My kindest regards to any of them who may remember me after 28 years.

Best of good wishes for yourself. I hope you keep well.

Sincerely yours W Glassby

By the way I found the photograph of the ancient decorations and inscriptions which were on the old Church walls at Mexborough. I think you told me you had not seen them. Pity they were never published.


Ladyfield House, Renhold

Letters written by William J. J. Glassby during his days at Howbury Hall have survived. Some refer to day-to-day affairs of Howbury Hall, but others concern his interest in John Howard and the Howard Congregational Church.

William J. J. Glassby’s mother Maria M. Glassby moved to Bedford later in her life to be with him, and she died there at the age of 80 in 1928.

After William J. J. Glassby’s death in 1932, his wife Marion Lucy returned to Sheffield and died in 1959 at the age of 89.

William J. J. Glassby in later life
Courtesy of Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and Bedford Museum

A Marion Evangeline Glassby (b.1898 d.1928)
William J. J. and Marion Glassby had one daughter, Marion Evangeline Glassby, born in Kingston in 1898. She died a spinster at the age of 39 in 1928 in Sheffield.
A 8.1.2 Robert Glassby (b.1869 d.1869)
Robert was the second son of Robert and Maria Glassby and was born and died in the same year.
A 8.1.3 Claude Joseph Glassby (b.1870 d.1958)

The third child, Claude Joseph Glassby was born in Q3 1870 in Chelsea. He was listed aged 20 in the 1891 Census and was described as a “Barristers Clerk”.

1891 Census - 28 Lamont Road, Chelsea
Name Rel Age Birthplace Occupation
Robert Glassby
Head 54 Mexboro’, Yorks
Maria M. Glassby
Wife 40 London Pimlico
Claude J. Glassby
Son 20 London Chelsea
Barristers Clerk
Robert E. C. F. Glassby
Son 19 London Chelsea
Eugenie E. Glassby
Dau 17 London Chelsea
Art Student
Lilian E. M. Glassby
Dau 14 London Chelsea
Ivy V. Glassby
Dau 6 London Chelsea
Gladys V. G. Glassby
Dau 3 London Chelsea
Ellen Giles
Serv 16 Molworth
Domestic General Servant

In the 1901 Census he is listed as “Head of Family” in what appears to be a subdivision of 30 Lamont Road, Chelsea. He is 30 years old, single and a “Clerk at the Bar”.

Claude is listed again in the 1911 Census as follows:-

1911 Census - 13 Camera Square, Chelsea
Name Rel Years Married Age Birthplace Occupation
Glassby, Claude J. Single   40 London, Chelsea Clerk

Claude Glassby wrote a condolence letter to Mr. Leon Cody, Lela’s son, at the time of Samuel Cody’s death in 1913:-

Courtesy of Drachen Foundation, Seattle, U.S.A

The above letter is not easy to read, and it says:-


My dear Leon,

How much I wish that I could be at dearest Uncle’s Funeral on Monday. It grieves me when I know that the journey is so long. I finished my work at Mr. Boxall K.C.’s last Thursday the 7th of August/13. Mr. Boxall K.C. and all the Temple are heartbroken at the terrible sad death of Colonel Cody.

Fondest love & Kisses to all
Ever your loving cousin
(P.S. – at the top) Kindly try and enter my name as attending


This tells us that Claude was working for the law firm Boxall and Boxall, and information on Mr. W. P. G. Boxall was given in his obituary in The Times, 7th December 1931:-


There is no sign of Claude Glassby marrying, and he died in Surrey in Q1 1958 at the age of 87.

A 8.1.4 Robert Edward Cecil Fouracre Glassby (b.1872 d.19 NOV 1908) m. 1898 Agnes McLean (b.1873 d.1960) - 2 Children

A Robert McLean Glassby (b. 1900 d. 1 NOV 1933)

  L A Una McLean Glassby (b. 1902 d. 1990)

Robert and Maria’s fourth child, Robert Edward Cecil Fouracre Glassby was born in Chelsea on 3rd January 1872. His birth certificate shows that he was born at 5 Anderson Street, Chelsea to Robert Glassby, sculptor and Mearea Mercy Glassby formerly Davis. He married Agnes McLean in Headington in 1898.

Robert Edward also trained as a sculptor, and when his father died he finished some of his father’s work. William J. J. Glassby’s letter to Mr. Harrop of 6th December 1892 (Courtesy of Mexborough & District Family History Society) made reference to My brother is working at the little figure of the Saint for the Church”. The St John the Baptist Church website (www.stjohns.doncaster.sch.uk) mentions “Above the entrance of the porch is a niche containing a gothic figure dedicated to the patron of the Church – St John the Baptist. The figure, in Roche Abbey stone, was carved and presented by Mr. R. E. Glassby of London in February 1893”. The article goes on to say “As you step out of the church into the quiet of God’s acre you are impressed with the perfect seclusion on the burial ground that spreads around like a sweet fragrance of the olden times; as we linger round the tomb stones and read the inscription you see the old names of old Mexbor’ people like Kilham, Lockwood, Varah, Harrop, Turner, Tyas, Axe, Frost, Sutton, Dickinson, Hoyes, Ford, Beevers, Barker, Jackson, Gill, Glasby, on the east side of the churchyard is a monument to the owner of the Rock Pottery- John Reed deceased on Jan 22nd A.D. 1870. And close by is the priest’s door which leads to the chancel are two tombs to the memory of the Glassby family, on one “ Robert Glassby who died 7th February 1849, he was Parish Clerk for 49 years”.

Robert Edward Glassby at work in his studio
Photo courtesy of Gary Barker

St John the Baptist Church, Mexborough
Photo by M. J. Piper

Statue of St John the Baptist by Robert Edward Glassby
Photo by M. J. Piper

In 1893 Robert Edward Glassby did a bust in terra cotta of his father, Robert Glassby, which is held by Museums Sheffield today. The execution of this bust was reported in The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, 5th October 1893:-

The above report was followed by another short entry in The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent on 11th November 1893:-


Terra Cotta bust of Robert Glassby by Robert Edward Glassby
Courtesy of Museums Sheffield

In 1894 Robert Edward Glassby was a winner of the Landseer Scholarship for sculptor, and the award was reported in the newspapers of the time (abbreviated report shown below):-

The Morning Post
11th December 1894


Robert and Agnes are recorded in the 1901 Census living at 14 Gunters Grove, Chelsea with their 5 month old son, Robert.

1901 Census - 14 Gunter Grove, Chelsea
Robert Glassby
London N K
Artist Sculptor
Agnes Glassby
Robert Glassby
London Chelsea

Robert Edward Glassby died in Chelsea at the age of 36 on 19th November 1908, and is buried in Brompton Cemetery with his father. His obituary appeared in The Times on Monday 23rd November 1908:-


St Mildred's Church, Whippingham, is closely associated with Osborne House, and within it is the Battenberg Chapel. Queen Victoria made the Chapel into a shrine on the death of Prince Henry of Battenberg. The Prince was married in the church on 23rd July 1885 to Princess Beatrice, the Queen's ninth and longest surviving child. He was the 3rd son of Prince Alexander of Hesse and Rhine, and his wife Countess Julia von Hauke. Prince Henry contracted malaria while campaigning on the Gold Coast in the Ashanti war, and died at the age of 38 in 1896. The Prince lies in a huge marble sarcophagus surmounted by a sword, and in August 1945 his widow, Beatrice, was buried there with him. During WW1 there was a lot of anti-German feeling, and Kind George V anglicised Royal names, "Battenberg" becoming "Mountbatten".Robert Edward Glassby’s administration details have been obtained from the Probate Office, but reveal little extra information:-


Robert Edward Glassby of 14 Gunter Grove, Chelsea in the County of Middlesex
Died on the 19th day of November 1908
At 14 Gunter Grove aforesaid
AND BE IT FURTHER KNOWN that at the date hereunder written Letters of Administration of all the Estate which by law devolves to and vests in the personal representative of the said intestate were granted by His Majesty’s Court of Justice at the Principal Probate Registry thereof to Agnes Glassby of 14 Gunter Grove aforesaid the lawful widow and relief of the said intestate
Dated the 10th day of December 1908
Gross value of Estate £32-0-0

Due to a transcription error in the 1911 Census, Agnes was shown as “GLASSLY” , but a search of the address “14 Gunter Grove, Chelsea” reveals:-

1911 Census - 14 Gunter Grove, Chelsea
Name Rel Years Married Age Birthplace Occupation
Glassby, Agnes Head Widow   39 Oxon, Oxford  
Glassby, Robert McLean Son   10 London, Chelsea  
Glassby, Una McLean
Dau   9 London, Chelsea  
McLean, Mary Mother Widow   82 Scotland, Dumfries Independent
Jowett, Percy H
Boarder Single   28 Yorks, Halifax Artist Painter
Trent, Newbury A Boarder Single   25
Essex, West Ham
Artist Painter
Exton, Marian E
Visitor Single   29 London, Chelsea Pattern Modeler
Caven, Marian Visitor Single   79 Scotland, Dumfries Private Means

Robert's wife Agnes lived to the age of 88, and died in 1960.

The Dictionary of Sculptors in Bronze by James Mackay (Antique Collectors Club – 1977 – ISBM 1 85149 1104) has the following entry, which although it refers to “Roland Glassby” is actually Robert Edward Glassby:-

"Glassby, Roland c. 1870-1908. Born in London about 1870, he died there in 1908. He specialised in portrait busts of European royalty and aristocracy. His best known work is the portrait of Grand Duke Ludwig of Hesse for the Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore" - this being reference to the fact that he completed his fathers work upon his death in 1892.

A Robert McLean Glassby
Robert McLean Glassby was born in Chelsea in 1900 (Ref: Q4 1900 Chelsea 1a 370) and died at the age of 33 in 1933. Initial inspection of the death record shows he died on 1st November 1933 in Tankerton, Kent (Which is close to Blean, Canterbury where his sister’s daughter was born in 1929). However probate enquiries reveal a very sad story:-
In His Majesty’s High Court of Justice
The Principal Probate Registry

BE IT KNOWN that Robert McLean Glassby of 46 Tankerton Road Tankerton in the County of Kent who was last seen alive on the 1st day of November 1933 and whose dead body was found on the 25th April 1934 in the River Ouse at Fulford in the County of York died intestate a bachelor leaving Agnes Glassby widow his lawful mother and the only person entitled to his estate who has renounced Letters of Administration thereof and consented
AND BE IT FURTHER KNOWN that the date hereunder written Letters of Administration of all the Estate which by law devolves to and vests in the personal representative of the said intestate were granted by His Majesty’s High Court of Justice at the Principal Probate Registry thereof to
Una McLean Frost of 46 Tankerton Road aforesaid (wife of Frank Frost) the lawful daughter of the said Agnes Glassby
And it is hereby certified that an Affidavit for Inland Revenue has been delivered wherein it is shewn at the gross value of the said Estate in Great Britain (exclusive of what said deceased may have been possessed of or entitled to as a Trustee and not a beneficiary) amounts to £387-15-7 and that said Affidavit bears a stamp of £2-10-0
Dated 18th day of July 1934

Further research revealed three very sad press articles:-

Yorkshire Evening Press
Thursday November 3rd, 1933, page 5


Since the finding of a bag bearing the name
“R. McL. Glassby, the West Yorkshire
Regiment,” on the bank of the River Ouse
near Terry-avenue, York, on Thursday,
extensive inquiries have been made by the
police, but no trace of Mr. Glassby has been

Mr. Thomas Air, son of the pleasure boat
proprietor, and members of the police spent
this morning dragging the river near Terry-
avenue. Owing to the bad weather the
grappling had to be discontinued at noon.
No body had then been discovered.

It is understood that Mr. Glassby, an ex
officer of the West Yorkshire Regiment, left
London on Wednesday to visit some
regimental friends in York, but they have
had no news of him, though the discovery of
the bag suggests that he had arrived in York.

The police are pursuing their inquiries.

Yorkshire Evening Press
Thursday April 26, 1934, page 7


Body Believed To Be That Of A
Former Officer

The body recovered from the River Ouse at
Fulford, on Wednesday, has not yet been
definitely identified, but it is believed to be
that of Mr. R. McL. Glassby, formerly an
officer in the West Yorkshire Regiment,
who was reported missing from York in
November of last year.

The City and District Coroner (Lieut.
Colonel Innes Wares) will hold an inquest
on Saturday afternoon.

A bag bearing the name “R. McL. Glassby,
The West Yorkshire Regiment,” was found
on the bank of the River Ouse near Terry-
avenue on November 2, and it was found out
that Mr. Glassby has traveled from London
the previous Wednesday to visit regimental
friends in York. Since then all trace of him
had been lost until the recovery of his body
at Fulford.

Yorkshire Evening Press
Saturday April 28, 1934, page 8



A verdict of “Suicide while of unsound
mind” was returned by the York City
Coroner (Lieut.-Colonel Innes Ware) at the
inquest this afternoon on Captain Robert
McLean Glassby, formerly of the West
Yorkshire Regiment, whose body was
recovered from the River Ouse on

He had been missing since November 1, 1933.

A bag bearing his name and containing a
man’s wearing apparel was found on the
river bank next day. Ernest Thompson
described how he saw the body floating in
the River Ouse near Bishopthrope Palace on

P.C. Bowkett, who recovered the body
stated that when he examined the clothing
he found in a pocket a return railway ticket –
York to Kings Cross – issue on November 1,
1933. A card in another pocket bore the
address, 2, Broomhouse-road, Fulham, S.W.6.

From information in his possession he knew
that to be Captain Glassby’s London address.

Owing to advanced decomposition the body
was unrecognisable. Dr. R.H. Draper
expressed the opinion that the body had been
in the water five months. From his
examination he could not come to a
conclusion as to the cause of death.

The Coroner : It was pretty obvious it
would be drowning.
Dr. Draper : Yes, I think so.

Eric Stanley Welch, of 10, Drapers Gardens,
London, E.C. 2, a solicitor and a cousin of the
dead man, said he saw Captain Glassby, in
London on October 31, the day before he
came up to York.

Dealing with Captain Glassby’s military career,
Welch said he gazetted in 1920 to the
West Yorkshire Regiment. For some time he
was on foreign service, returning to England
in March 1933. By the end of April he was
attached to the Army Pay Corps, and at the
beginning of July, 1933, took his first
examination with a view to transferring to the
Army Pay Corps. Between then and the end
of July he was working very hard for his
second examination, and he had a nervous
breakdown. He was admitted to the York
Military Hospital and later sent to the Netley
Military Hospital.

On August 18 he appeared before a Medical
Board and was found permanently unfit for
general duty on account of ill-health. In
September he went as a voluntary patient to
Camberwell House, leaving there in the
middle of October to go and stay with his
mother and friends in Broomhouse-road, Fulham.

He seemed to have recovered and appeared
quite normal, expressing the wish to visit his
regimental depot at York. He talked to
witness about his future in civil life.

In reply to the Coroner, Welch said that
Captain Glassby was offered the choice of a
pension or a lump sum gratuity when
declared unfit for Army service, but at the
time of his death had not exercised his choice.

In returning his verdict the Coroner said that
he had come to the conclusion that Captain
Glassby went into the river on his own accord
and that he was not of sound mind at the time.

Reference is made to Netley Military Hospital in this press article. During the Crimean War the need for a military hospital became obvious, and one was planned at Netley, Southampton. Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone on 19th May 1856 and it opened in 1863. It became Britain’s largest military hospital with 138 wards and 1000 beds, and had its own 170-yard pier on Southampton water so that ships could unload war casualties straight to the hospital. The pier did not stretch out far enough into deep water, so a railway spur was built to Netley in 1900 to handle the casualties of the Second Boer War (1899-1900). Queen Victoria visited the hospital by sea from Osborne House on the Isle if Wight. The main site of the hospital was closed in 1958 and was destroyed by fire in 1963.

There is a World War I Memorial Plaque to the Officers of the West Yorks Regiment in York Minster :-



Col. G. Grant-Dalton 23rd Aug. 1927
Lieut. Col. R. Isacke 1st Feb. 1928
Brig. Gen. H. O'Donnell, C.M.G. 31st Oct. 1928
Brig. Gen. C.S. Gordon-Steward, C.B.E. 25th Mar. 1930
Lt. Col. P. Lingpen, D.S.O. 25th Aug. 1930
Lt. Col. G. Barry Drew, D.S.O. 27th Oct. 1930
Maj. T.M. Robinson 2nd Dec. 1932
Col. T.R.R. Ward 13th Sept. 1933
Capt. R. McL. Glassby 1st Nov. 1933
Lt. Col. A.M. Ross, D.S.O. 15th Nov. 1933
Lt. Col. L. Hume-Spry, D.S.O. 24th Jan. 1934
2nd Lt. T.G. Barrington 9th Ap. 1934
Lt. Col. A.A.W. Spencer 21st Oct. 1934
Maj. P.T. Gardner 10th May 1935
Maj. C.C.B. Tew 21st Oct. 1935
Lt. Col. H.F.C. Hobbs 21st June 1936
Maj. Gen. A.C. Daly, C.B., C.M.G. 28th Aug. 1936
Col. J.C. Yale, D.S.O. 22nd Oct. 1936
Col. A.J. Price, C.M.G. 5th Oct. 1937
Col. E.A. Porch, C.I.E., C.B.E., M.C. 15th Nov. 1937
Capt. C.E.Steveni 15th Dec. 1937
2nd Lt. W.R. Weller [Killed in Action] 20th Oct. 1938
Maj. Gen. O.H.L. Nicholson, C.B., C.M.C., D.S.O. 26th Nov. 1938
Maj. E.C. Mills 19th Oct. 1939
Maj. E.C. Butler, O.B.E., M.C. 24th Dec. 1939
Maj. W.S. Careye 18th Feb. 1940



A Una McLean Glassby
Una McLean Glassby was born in 1902 (Ref: Q2 1902 Chelsea 1a 358) and married Frank W. Frost in 1924 (Ref: Q4 1924 Fulham 1a 674). A search from 1924 – 1936 indicates that they had one daughter, Una M. Frost born in 1929. She died in Bath, Somerset, aged 88 in Q3 1990 (Ref: Q3 1990 Bath Somerset 22 207).

A 8.1.5 Eugenie Elizabeth Glassby

Their fifth child was a daughter, Eugenie Elizabeth Glassby, born in Chelsea in Q2 1874. She appears in the 1881 Census aged 7 and the 1891 Census aged 17. Eugenie Elizabeth married Carel August Hoefftcke in 1893 in Chelsea. Carel Hoefftcke came from Leiden, the Netherlands, where the Hoefftcke’s had a business manufacturing surgical instruments. Surgical instruments manufactured by the Hoefftcke’s are presently on display at the Boerhaave Museum, Leiden (National Museum of the History of Science and Medicine), and the Museum lists the following information about the family:-

Julius Theodoor Leopold Hoefftke, born in 1800 (Berlin) – died in 1875 (Leiden).
Carl Franz August Hoefftcke, born in 1838 (Leiden), son of Julius Theodoor Leopold Hoefftke
Carl August Hoefftcke, born in 1867 (Leiden), son of Carl Franz August Hoefftcke

1826 Leiden: Nieuwstraat 895 operated then under the name: Hoefftke
1827 Leiden: Nieuwstraat 905
1828 Hoefftke became Academic Iinstrumentmaker of the University of Leiden
1837 Changed the name Hoefftke to: Hoefftcke
1839 Moved to: Breedestraat 221; later numbered into 94; official name then: Hoefftcke
ca.1858 Son Carl Franz August Hoefftcke joined the firm
1871 Carl Franz Hoefftcke took the firm over; name is changed in: J. Hoefftcke & Zn. Chirugale instrumentmakers (J. Hoefftcke & Sohn Churgical Instrumentmakers)
1875 Julius Theodoor Leopold Hoefftke died; no changes till 1900.
1900 Son Carl August Hoefftcke takes over the business. Name of the firm is changed into: C.A. Hoefftcke Jr. voorheen J. Hoefftcke en zoon.
1904 The firm moved to England.

Eugenie and Carel had three daughters, the first two being born in England and the third being born in The Netherlands:-
A Una Augusta Hoefftcke b. 1895 (GRO Q2 1895 Kingston 2a 328) d. 1967
A Gertruida Augusta Hoefftcke b. 1897 (GRO Q1 1897 Kingston 2a 329)
A Vivien Irene Hoefftcke b. 1899 (The Netherlands) d. 1989

It is interesting that Eugenie chose “Vivien” and “Irene” as names for their third child, these being the names of her two younger sisters.

Carel returned to Leiden around 1899 to run the family business, hence is absent from the 1901 Census. The family moved back to London in 1904.

Carel Hoefftcke continued the family business in London and in 1908 obtained a U.S. patent, #882,312, entitled “APPARATUS FOR FACILITATING THE PUTTING ON OF INDIA RUBBER GLOVES”. The patent specification is interesting in so much as it gives information about Hoefftcke and his invention:-

Be it known that I, CAREL AUGUST HOEFFTCKE, a subject of the Queen of the Netherlands, residing in London, England, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Apparatus for Facilitating the Putting on of India-Rubber Gloves which the following is a specification.


India-rubber gloves which are now commonly used by surgeons during the performance of surgical operations, are formed of very thin elastic india-rubber and closely fit the hand of the wearer when applied. There is consequently difficulty experienced in inserting the hand into the glove, and particularly is this so, in view of the fact that the exterior surface of the glove should not be touched by hand, because if the hands were allowed to come into contact with the outer surface of the glove, their aseptic condition would be detrimentally affected and the advantage of the employment of such gloves would be nullified.


Carel returned to Leiden around 1899 to run the family business, hence is absent from the 1901 Census. The family moved back to London in 1904, and were shown in the 1911 Census as follows:-

1911 Census: Willow House, Weston Green, Thames Ditton
Name Rel
Years Married
Birthplace Occupation
Hoefftcke, Carel August Head Married
The Netherlands Hollander
Orthopedic Instrument Maker
Hoefftcke, Eugenie Elizabeth Wife Married
London, Chelsea  
Hoefftcke, Gertrude Augusta Dau
Surrey, Wimbledon School
Hoefftcke, Vivian Irene Dau
The Netherlands School


Eugenie and Carel's third daughter is mentioned in entries referring to “Nationality and Naturalisation” in 1915, so presumably she was born outside the United Kingdom.

From the Netherlands
HOEFFTCKE, Carel August
HO 144/1383/267830
Resident in Thames Ditton, Surrey.
Certificate B1 issued 27th January 1915
Hoefftcke, Vivien Irene
Child of Carel August Hoefftcke
Certificate B 1.1915

Hoefftcke, Carel August
4th February 1915
Instrument Maker
Willow Cottage, Thames Ditton, Surrey

Una was not at home at the time of the 1911 Census, in fact she was listed as a “Visitor” in the household of Henry and Agnes Cooker (“Cooper?”) in Matlock, Derbyshire. She is shown aged 15, at School and born in Wimbledon, Middlesex.

1911 Census -Derby Road, Cromford, Matlock Bath
Name Rel Years Married Age Birthplace Occupation
Cooker, Henry Head 43 64 Nottinghamshire, Eastwood Retired Draper
Cooker, Agnes Wife 43 67 Derbyshire, Matlock Bath Retired Draper
Cooper, Ada Henrietta Woolls Daughter   41 Derbyshire, Matlock Bath Retired Draper
Hoefftcke, Una Augusta Visitor   15 School Middlesex, Wimbledon
Swindell, Ruth Servant   18 Domestic Servant General Derbyshire, Bonsall

Mr & Mrs Hoefftcke were listed as mourners at the funeral of Samuel Cody in Aldershot on 11th August 1913.

Eugenie died at the age of 44, and her death is recorded in the GRO as “Hoefftcke, Eugenie E (44) Dec 1918 Kingston 2a 1101”. With daughter Una having married in 1917 and daughters Gertruida and Vivien marrying in 1919, in a short space of time Carel’s life would have changed dramatically with the death of his wife and his daughters leaving home. Carel A. Hoefftcke died at the age of 70 in 1937 (Ref: Q3 1937 Marylebone, London 1a 466)
A Una Augusta Hoefftcke

Una Augusta Hoefftcke married Eric S. Welch in Q3 1917 (Ref: Q3 1917 Hatfield 3a 1677) and they had three children:-

A Jean Welch b. 1918 (Ref: Q4 1918 Hertford 3a 1070)
A Alan R. Welch b. 1922 (Ref: Q2 1922 Bromley 2a 942)
A John M. Welch b. 1929 (Ref: Q1 1929 Wandsworth 1d 884)

It is interesting to note another entry in the records which gives the marriage of “Hoefftcke Una A. Sep 1936 Bromley 2a 2468 (Comins)” i.e. Una A. Welch née Hoefftcke remarried to Charles J. Comins.

Una A. Comins died in 1967 aged 72 (Ref Q2 1967 Tonbridge Kent 5f 812).

A Gertruida Augusta Hoefftcke

Gertruida Augusta Hoefftcke married Frank Hubbard (Ref: Q1 1919 Kingston 2a 383 or 883). (Note that she is listed as "Gertrude" in the GRO marriage listing) A search between 1920 and 1928 failed to reveal any children.

A Vivien Irene Hoefftcke

Vivien Irene Hoefftcke was born on 6th August 1898, and she married Francis M. A. Hughes in 1919. (Ref: Q2 1921 Kensington 1a 365).

It is interesting to note two entry in the records which gives the marriage of “Hughes Vivien I. Jun 1937 London C. 1c 30 (Laws)” and “Hoefftcke Vivien I. Jun 1937 London C. 1c 30 (Laws)” i.e. Vivien I. Hughes née Hoefftcke remarried to Frederick P. Laws in 1937.

A further entry records the birth of a son “Robert F. Laws (Hoefftcke) Jun 1939 Surrey N. E. 2a 125”

Vivien died at the age of 90 in February 1989. (Ref: Vivien Irene Laws (90) Feb 1989 Hastings and Rother, East Sussex 18 960)

A 8.1.6 Lillian Evelyn M. Glassby (b.1876 d. 1952)

Lillian Evelyn M. Glassby was born in Chelsea in Q3 1876, and was Robert and Maria’s sixth child. She is mentioned aged 4 in the 1881 Census, and aged 14 in the 1891 Census, but is not present in the 1901 Census. There is no evidence of her marrying in England, and she went to live in Russia along with her mother and her sister Gladys. Both Lillian and Gladys married Russians and became Russian citizens. We learn from Gladys’s death certificate in October 1934 that he sister’s married name was “Smirnoff”, and we know from other information that she returned to England as a widow in 1932. At the time of Gladys’s death Lillian was living at 69 St. Stephens Road, Hounslow, Middlesex.

Lilian E. M. Smirnoff died at the age of 77 in 1952 (Ref: Q4 1952 Ealing Middlesex 5e 202)

A 8.1.7 Harold Hastings Glassby (b.1877 d.1879)
Harold Hastings Glassby was born in Chelsea in 1877, but died at the age of 1.
A 8.1.8 Vivian Harold Boehm Glassby (b.1879 d.1884)

Vivian Harold Boehm Glassby was born on 10th August 1879, and was baptised at St John’s, Chelsea on 19th October 1879. He was living with his parents at 15 Hobury Square, Chelsea aged 1 in the 1881 Census (although he is listed as Vernon H. B. Glassby). He died at the age of 5 in 1884.

A 8.1.9 Irene Violet Yineni Glassby (b.1885 d. 1954) m. 1920 Bertram Sutton

Their ninth child, Irene Violet Y. Glassby was born in Chelsea in Q1 1885. She was baptised at St Luke’s Church, Chelsea on 22nd April 1885 and the entry, although not clear, suggests that the “Y” in her name stood for “Yineni”.

She appears in the 1891 Census as Ivy V Glassby aged 6. From the Mexborough and Swinton Times article of 12th August 1892 it appears that she used the name “Ivy” from the initials of her three Christian names. She married Bertram Sutton in Q2 1920 in Wandsworth.

Irene V. Y. Sutton died at the age of 69 in 1954 (Ref: 1954 Q4 Ealing, Middlesex 5e 188)

A 8.1.10 Gladys Vivien Glassby (b.1887 d.1934)

Gladys Vivien Gilbert Glassby was born in Chelsea in Q2 1887, just 5 years before her father Robert died. She appears in the 1891 Census as Gladys V G Glassby aged 3. It appears that she went to Russia with her mother and sister, and that she married Anotolie Volfart, a newspaper editor. She returned to England as a widow in 1932, and she died in Shepton Mallet on 27th October 1934, at the age of 48. He death certificate shows that she died of a thrombosis of blood sinus of the skull due to acute sepsis from a small boil on her face. The informant on the death certificate was “L. Smirnoff, sister, 69 St. Stephens Road, Hounslow, Middlesex”.

A 8.2 Thomas Gill Glassby (b.1838 d. ?)

Thomas Gill Glassby was born in 1838 and was baptised on 11th February 1838 in Mexborough.

He would have been 3 at the time of the 1841 Census, but there is no sign of him and his parents in that Census. His younger brother is shown living with his grandparents, Robert and Martha in Mexborough. However, William and Elizabeth Glassby and family reappear in the 1851 Census living at Quarry Lane, Mexborough, along with Thomas and 4 younger brothers.

1851 Census - Quarry Lane, Mexborough
Name Rel Age Birthplace Occupation
William Glassby Head 37 Mexboro,Yorks Stone Mason
Elizabeth Glassby Wife 37 Mexboro,Yorks  
Thomas Glassby Son 13 Mexboro,Yorks Errand boy
Richard Glassby Son 9 Mexboro,Yorks Scholar
John Glassby Son 6 Mexboro,Yorks Scholar
William Glassby Son 4 Mexboro,Yorks  
Andrew Glassby Son 1 Mexboro,Yorks  

There is an entry in the 1861 Census which could be Thomas above; the location seems right, he was born in Yorkshire, but the age is slightly out at 20 instead of 23.
1861 Census - Kimberworth, Rotherham, Yks
Where Born
John Shortridge
Farmer 150 acres
Liverpool, Lancs
Elizabeth Shortridge
Hoyland Nr Thos, Yks
Jane Green
Home Maid
Darfield, Yks
Hannah Swallow
Home Maid
Gainesboro, Lincs
Thomas Glassby
Harry Ellis
Sunderld, Sleaford

There is no sign of his date of death in the records.

A 8.3 Hannah Glassby (b.1840 d. ?)

Hannah Glassby was born in Mexborough and was baptised there on 19th March 1840. It seems likely that she died young. There is a death entry for Hannah Glasby aged 10 months who died in Mexborough on 12th January 1841, which could be her. Hannah Glassby was not in the 1851 Census which lends credence to the possibility that she had died by then.

A 8.4 Richard Glassby (b.1842 d.1897) m. 20 MAR 1867 Clara Rebecca Cock (b. 1842 d.1877) - 4 Children

A 8.4.1 Victoria Mary Elizabeth Glassby, b. Crowle 1868

  L A 8.4.2 William Gladstone Glassby, b. Crowle 1870
  L A 8.4.3 Percy Livingstone Glassby, b. Crowle 1873
  L A 8.4.4 Robert Wilberforce Glassby, b. Crowle 1876

Richard Glassby was born in Mexborough and was baptised there on 23rd January 1842. He moved to Crowle in 1861 where he spent 30 years in the employ of the railway company, 14 years as Chief Clerk and 16 years as Station Master. In 1867 he married Clara Rebecca Cock,the daughter of William Cock, a Solicitors Managing Clerk and Local Methodist Preacher, and his wife Mary. The marriage was solemnized in the Wesleyan Chapel in Tenterden, Kent on 20th March 1867, between Richard Glassby, 25, a bachelor, a railway clerk living at Crowle, Lincolnshire, son of William Jackson Glassby (deceased), a railway inspector and Clara Rebecca Cock, 24, a spinster, living at Tenterden, Kent, the daughter of William Cock, Gentleman.

The Cock family appeared in both the 1851 Census and the 1861 Census as shown below:-

1851 Census: Residence East Crop Left, Tenterden
Name Rel
Occupation Birthplace
William Cock Head
Solicitors (Managing Clerk)
Willoughby, Warwickshire
Mary Cock Wife
  Daventry, Northamptonshire
Henrietta J Cock Dau
Scholar Banbury, Oxfordshire
Clara R Cock Dau
Scholar Daventry, Northamptonshire
William Wesley Cock Son
  Tenterden, Kent
Victoria Eliz Cock Dau
  Tenterden, Kent
Harriett Phebe Cock Dau
  Tenterden, Kent
Martha Checksfield Servant
Servant Tenterden, Kent

1861 Census: Residence East Crop Left, Tenterden
Name Rel
Occupation Birthplace
William Cock Head
Solicitor’s Managing Clerk & Local Methodist Preacher Willoughby, Warwickshire
Mary Cock Wife
  Daventry, Northamptonshire
Henrietta J Cock Dau
Pupil Teacher Banbury, Oxfordshire
Clara R Cock Dau
Pupil Teacher Daventry, Northamptonshire
Victoria E Cock Dau
  Tenterden, Kent

William Wesley Cock is not shown living at home in the 1861 Census. In fact, he was a pupil, aged 14, at Christs Hospital, Christchurch, St Botolph without Aldersgate, and St Sepulchre, London City, North West.

Between 1868 and 1876 Richard and Clara they had four children, and at the time of the 1871 Census they were living at Zilpha Terrace, Crowle.

1871 Census - Zilpha Terrace, Crowle
Name Rel
Birthplace Occupation
Richard Glasby Head
York, Mexboro Railway Clerk
Clara Rebecca Glasby Wife
Northampton, Daventry  
Victoria M E Glasby
Lincoln, Crowle  
Wm Gladstone Glasby
Lincoln, Crowle  

He was also involved in the founding meeting for the establishment of a “BRITISH WORKMAN PUBLIC HOUSE” in Crowle, as was reported in The Hull packet and East Riding Times of 24th January 1873:-


An interesting article appeared in The Derby Mercury of 15th May 1872 outlining the history of the “BRITISH WORKMAN” :-


On Wednesday evening a meeting was held in the Lecture-hall, Derby, to inaugurate the opening of a public-house in Derby without drink, to be called the “British Workman , No. 1”. There was a large attendance. Mr. Alderman Longdon, in the absence of the Mayor, presided, and there were also present Miss Newton and several ladies, the Rev. W. J. M. Ellison, Rev. M. K. S. Frith, Rev. E. S. Rodd, Mr. J. Jones, Revs. B. Brasher, Mr. S. Court, Mr. R. Wilson, &c.

The movement, which has become known as “The British Workman Movement”, was commenced at Leeds four or five years ago by a lady who did much in the town to ameliorate the condition of the lower classes. The success which attended the opening of the first “British Workman” was even greater than anticipated; other houses of similar character were afterwards opened in various parts of the town, and the movement has spread to larger and smaller towns of industry. In these houses working men are enabled to have social gatherings every evening, without being under any obligation or temptation to spend money in intoxicating liquors, the use of which is not permitted. Tea, coffee, and similar refreshments are provided at nominal prices. Fire, gas, newspapers, and periodicals are supplied free of charge, and a separate room is assigned for smokers. Through the benevolence of a lady of this town, who has been instrumental in promoting the moral and social; well-being of the working classes, a house lately occupied by the Misses West, in William street, has been procured, and the premises having undergone a thorough repair. If this institution succeeds it is intended to open similar houses in other parts of the town. The premises are spacious and convenient, and in addition to the reading and smoke rooms, there is a room upstairs, which it is intended to use occasionally as a class-room, and for lecture discussions, and tea meetings. The formation of the classes will be left to the men themselves. The room will also be used for clubs, or as a “free-and-easy” on Saturday evenings, when men and their wives can attend. A man and his wife reside on the premises, and every effort will be made to render the place attractive and agreeable, and to win persons who frequent beershops for sake of social intercourse, and to place the drunkard out of reach of temptation. The house will be open on weekdays from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., and on Sundays from 1 p.m. until 10.

The meeting having been opened with prayer by the Rev. S. B. Brasher.

The CHAIRMAN said no one knew better than the magistrates of this or any other important borough how likely the establishment of such an institution as this was to further the sobriety and morality of a town; and none knew better than the magistrates to what an extent the consumption of intoxicating liquors was the means of filling their gaols and their workhouses, and how directly it was the means of adding to the pauperism and crime of the country (Applause). None could feel more strongly on this question than himself, for he had been an eye-witness for some time of the good work which had been so successfully carried on in this direction in Leeds, and, on several occasions, he had suggested the idea of an establishment of similar institutions in this town to the magistrates and others, all of whom had expressed their confidence in the scheme, and promised to afford their support, should it be started in the town. It was, however, his pleasant duty on this occasion to take part in the inauguration of the fruits of a movement originated by others, which, in the first instance, had not been to some extent anticipated, he should have been only too glad to support (Applause).

Mr. Jones apologized for the absence of Mr. H. H. Bemrose, and read letters of apology from the Rev. M. H. Scott, incumbent of St Andrew’s, Litchurch, the Rev. E. H. Abney, and the Rev. J. E. Hargreaves, all of whom expressed their hearty concurrence with the movement.

Mr. JOHNSON, of Leeds, who has had charge of a “British Workman” in that town, then gave a lengthened address, in which he stated that the first British Workman in Leeds was established about five years ago by Mrs. Hind Smith. Now there were 16 in full work, 11 of which were self-supporting (Applause). The difference between British Workmen public-houses and Working Men’s Clubs, was that in the first-named intoxicating drink was excluded, religion was admitted, and they were free of charge; whereas a charge was made for admission to Working Men’s Clubs, and in some cases drink was admitted, and religion excluded. But it had been found that the British Workman was the most successful. Having referred to the cause which led Mrs. Smith to establish the movement in Leeds, he said much of the success depended, as was the case with beer-houses, upon the persons who were selected to manage the places, and although there might be some persons who differed with them as to the utility of the movement, all were agreed that something was wanted to remedy the amount of drunkenness which was prevalent in the land (Applause). The Derby British Workman was to be conducted on the same principles as those in Leeds. If a man was a drunkard they tried to persuade him to become a moderate drinker. They did not exclude people because they took intoxicants, neither did they exclude drunken men, but admitted them, and by good counsel many of them had become sober men and attained respectable positions in life. British Workmen were open on Sundays, to which some people objected, but it was known that Sundays were the hardest days for working men to get over, and therefore they provided them with a place where they would be kept from temptation (Applause). In upper rooms, similar to that at the Derby British Workman, Bible classes were held on Sunday afternoons, to which all who went to the house were invited but if they did not think well to join them they were allowed to remain downstairs. They did not want the men to spend their money at the British Workman; they could attend all year round if they chose without spending but they could have refreshments if they desired. Although religion was introduced they had one broad platform, and were composed of all denominations, and when a man had been reformed and wished to attend a place of worship, they advised him to go where he could feel most at home. There was, therefore, no proselytism. He stated that the movement in Leeds had been instrumental in suppressing drunkenness, for in one year between 800 and 900 men had signed the pledge. Some of the houses in Leeds had become self-supporting. The managers had opened them and although persons frequented the houses they were not asked to contribute towards the maintenance of them, many did so voluntarily, and subscribed a penny per week, or as much as they could afford or felt inclined. Working-men did not always like to be drinking, and many frequented public-houses for the sake of social intercourse only. The latter could be obtained at British Workmen public-houses, which were in reality public-houses, the only difference being that swearing and gambling were not allowed, and intoxicating drinks were excluded. It had been said that Workmen’s Institutes offered similar objects to the British Workman, but he knew from experience that working men did not attend them. He gave many interesting examples of the beneficial effects produced by the Leeds British Workman houses, in producing happiness in the houses or working men, sobriety, religion and morality, and appealed to the audience to show their gratitude to the promoter of the Derby scheme, and that they appreciated the efforts of philanthropists in their behalf by attending a house which had been opened that evening, and doing their utmost to promote the success of the institution.

A vote of thanks to the chairman was then passed, on the motion of the Rev. E. S. Rodd, and a similar compliment having been paid to Mr. Johnson, the meeting terminated. Several persons of both sexes then proceeded to the house in William-street, and after a short prayer had been offered up by Mr. Johnson, the house was declared to be open for use of the public, and three heart cheers were given for the promoter.


Clara Rebecca Glassby died in 1877 at the age of 35. Her death was reported in The Hull Packet and East Riding Times of 24th August 1877:-

It is interesting to note an article in The Epworth Bells, 29th December 1877, shortly after Clara's death, which gives some insight to Richard’s work as Stationmaster:-


Richard Glassby was involved in many of the civic activities in Crowle. He was Honorary Secretary of the “Crowle Poultry, Pigeon and Dog Show”, which from the long and detailed write-ups in the local newspaper was a major event in Crowle. He was specifically mentioned in the following articles:-

1st June 1877 – The Hull Packet and East Riding Times “The committee of management with their honorary secretary, Mr. R. Glassby, deserve well of the town and district of Crowle and of all lovers of the beautiful of natural history and of domestic pets”.

31st May 1878 – The Hull Packet and East Riding Times “The arrangements of the Committee and the secretary (Mr. R. Glassby) were most complete and satisfactory”.

6th June 1879 The Hull Packet and East Riding Times “Mr. Burtonshaw is president of the society, Mr. J. Watson vice-president, and Mr. Robert Glassby honorary secretary”. (Note it says”Robert” here but I am assuming that this is an error and should have been “Richard”)

2nd June 1882 The Hull Packet and East Riding Times “Great credit is due to Mr. Glassby, the hon. sec. for his great exertions in promoting the success of the show”

Richard is shown on his own with four children in the 1881 census.

1881 Census - Station House, Crowle, York, England
Name Rel
Birthplace Occupation
Richard GLASSBY Head
Mexboro, York Station Master (Rly)
Victoria W.E. GLASSBY Daur
Crowle, Lincoln Scholar
Willm. Gladstone GLASSBY Son
Crowle, Lincoln Scholar
Percy Livingstone GLASSBY Son
Crowle, Lincoln Scholar
Robert Wilberforce GLASSBY
Crowle, Lincoln Scholar

Richard is shown in the 1891 Census, still resident at Station House, Crowle.

1891 Census – Station House, Crowle
Name Rel
Occupation Birthplace
Richard GLASSBY Head
Station Master Mexboro, York
Victoria Mary Elizabeth GLASSBY
  Crowle, Lincolnshire
William Gladstone GLASSBY Son
Railway Clerk Crowle, Lincolnshire
Percy Livingstone GLASSBY Son
  Crowle, Lincolnshire
Robert Wilberforce GLASSBY
Scholar Crowle, Lincolnshire

A 8.4.1 Victoria Mary Elizabeth Glassby (b.1868 d. 1919) m. 29 JUN 1904 John Harwood Parker

Victoria Mary Elizabeth Glassby was born in Crowle in 1868, and she is shown in the 1901 Census as single, and a visitor at 142 High Street, Crowle, at the home of Charles and Sarah Peck.

1901 Census
Name Rel Age Birthplace Occupation
Charles Peck Head 74 Lincs Scawby Butcher
Sarah Peck Wife 62 Yorks Thorne  
George Peck S 34 Lincs Crowle Butcher
Frank Peck S 27 Lincs Crowle Fancier Poultry etc
Victoria Glassby Visitor S 33 Lincs, Crowle  

Victoria Mary Elizabeth Glassby’s marriage reference is Q2 1904 E Retford 7b 49. The marriage took place in the Church in the Parish of Sturton (Sturton le Steeple) on 29th June 1904 between John Harwood Parker, 30, a bachelor, a farmer of Willingham by Stow, son of George Parker (deceased) a farmer, and Victoria Mary Elizabeth Glassby, 36, a spinster, of Sturton, the daughter of Richard Glassby (deceased) a Station Master. The “in the presence of” section lists William Gladstone Glassby amongst others.

She is shown in the 1911 Census with her husband and two children and a nephew:-

1911 Census - Willingham, Gainsboro, Lincolnshire
Name Rel Years Married Age Birthplace Occupation
Parker, John Head Married 7 37 Lincoln, Willingham Farmer
Parker, Victoria Wife Married 7 43 Lincoln, Crowle  
Parker, Winifred Dau   4 Lincoln, Willingham  
Parker, Frances Dau   1 Lincoln, Willingham  
Parker, George Nephew   17 Lincoln, Willingham On Farm Waggoner

Victoria M. E. Parker died at the age of 51 in 1919 (Ref: Jun 1919 Gainsbro' 7a 788)

A 8.4.2 William Gladstone Glassby (b.1870 d. 24 APR 1949) m. 1901 Agnes Sarah Kirke (b. JUN 1861 d.1915) - 1 Child

A. Madge Kirke Glassby, b. East Retford 1904

William Gladstone Glassby was born in 1870 and he is shown in the 1871, 1881 and the 1891 Census as described in the earlier section. He is listed in the 1901 census as 30 years of age, a railway clerk born Crowle, Lincs and living in Clee, Grimsby, Lincs.

1901 Census - Grimsby, Civil Parish of Clee, 291 Cleethorpe Road.
Name Rel
Birthplace Occupation
Agnes Sarah Kirke Head
34 (*)
Lincs, Grimsby Shop Keeper. Grocer & beer off-license. Own account at home.
Clara A Kirke Sister
33 (*)
Lincs, Grimsby  
William Glassby Visitor
Lincs, Crowle Railway Clerk
Ethel Lock Serv
Lincs, Grimsby
General Servant Domestic

(*): The ages of Agnes and Clara reported in the 1901 Census are incorrect. Their GRO birth references are Agnes Sarah Kirke Q2 1861 Caistor 7a 583 and Clara Augusta Kirke Q4 1862 Caistor 7a 560. Agnes and Clara are both shown in the 1881 Census under the name “Kirk” aged 19 and 18 respectively. Hence their ages in the 1901 Census should be 39 and 38 respectively.

He married Agnes Sarah Kirke in 1901 and they had one daughter Madge Kirke Glassby who was born in Sturton-le-Steeple in Q2 1904.

Agnes Sarah Kirke 1862-1915
Photo courtesy of Bernard Collier


Their marriage was reported in the Crowle Advertiser (?) on 12th December 1901:-

On Wednesday afternoon, at Crowle Parish Church, in the presence of a large number of relations and friends, Miss Agnes S Kirk, of Grimsby, and Mr W. G. Glassby, Stationmaster, Sturton-le-Steeple, near Gainsboro', were united in the holy bands of matrimony.The ceremony was performed by the Vicar, the Rev. F. G. White. The Bride was given away by Mr. J. Tippett, of Crowle Wharf and the bridesmaid was Miss (Victoria) Glassby, sister of the bridegroom. The bride was attired in a becoming costume of dove grey, with toque to match and carried a choice bouquet of flowers.

After the ceremony, a large number of relations and friends gathered together at the South Yorkshire Hotel, Crowle Wharf, where the wedding breakfast was provided, and from whence the bride was married. During the evening "the health of the Bride and Bridegroom" was proposed in complementary terms by Mr. Tippett, who was ably supported in his remarks by Mr. Cedric Sinclair. After the speech the bridegroom responded.

The presents were valuable, useful and numerous, and testified to the high esteem in which both Mr. and Mrs. Glassby are held. The happy couple spend their honeymoon in Bradford. The wedding equipages were supplied in first-rate style by Mr. W. Hill of the White Hart Mews.

William Gladstone Glassby was promoted to station master at Reddish, between Stockton and Manchester, and stayed in the area after his retirement.

William Gladstone Glassby (far right, seated) at Sturton Le Steeple Station, circa 1905
Photo courtesy of Bernard Collier


William Gladstone Glassby
Courtesy of Bernard Collier

William and Agnes are shown in the 1911 Census as follows:-

1911 Census: North Reddish E, Nr Stockport, Reddish
Name Status
Yrs Married
Birthplace Occupation
Glassby, William Head Married
Crowle, Lincolnshire
Station Master Railway
Glassby, Agnes Wife Married
Grimsby, Lincolnshire  
Glassby, Madge Dau
Sturton, Notts  

William Gladstone Glassby died on 24th April 1949, and Agnes Sarah Glassby died in 1915 in Stockport at the age of 54.

A Madge Kirke Glassby (b.12 MAY 1904 d. 18 FEB 1966) m. 1926 George Kenneth V. Collier (b. 3 AUG 1901 d. 11 JAN 1974) - 2 Children

A Harry W. Collier, b. 1927

  L A Bernard Collier, b. 1930

Madge Kirke Glassby married George K. V. Collier in Stockport in 1926. George Victor Collier was a soldier, a bandsman from a long line of bandsmen, in the Manchester regiment like his father. He joined the Salford police force when he left the army. They had two children, Harry William Collier born in Manchester in 1927 and Bernard Collier born in Salford in 1930.


A 8.4.3 Percy Livingstone Glassby (b.1873 d.1949) m. 1899 Sarah Mary ????? (b. 1875 d.1958) - 1 Child

A Kathleen Mary Glassby, b. 1900

Percy Livingstone Glassby married a Sarah Mary ? in 1899 and had one child.

Kelly’s 1900 directory shows "Percy L. Glassby - coal, potato, grain, straw and salt merchant" at Crowle Wharf, and he is listed as a Coal Merchant in the 1901 Census.

1901 Census
Name Rel
Birthplace Occupation
Percy L Glassby Head
Lincs Crowle Coal Merchant Own a/c
Sarah Mary Glassby
Lincs Crowle  
Kate Glassby Dau
Lincs Crowle  

A Kathleen Mary Glassby (b.1900 d. 1970) m. 1922 Thomas Vincent Healey (b. SEP 1899 d. 1954)

Kathleen Mary Glassby was born on 21st January 1900 in Thorne, and married Thomas Vincent Healey in Stockport in 1922.
They had two children; Joseph Healey was born in Stafford in 1925, but was killed in action during WWII; Timothy Healey was also born in Stafford in 1932 and emigrated to America.

Kathleen Mary died in 1970 (GRO ref Q1 1970 Stamford 3b 457).

A 8.4.4 Robert Wilberforce Glassby (b.1876 d.1895)
Born in Crowle in 1876, Robert Wilberforce Glassby died in 1895 at the age of 19. Four family members are buried in Crowle and are remembered on one gravestone, shown below

Crowle Cemetery
Photo by M. J. Piper

Photo by M. J. Piper

Affectionate Memory of
WHO DIED August 14th 1877


A. 8.4 Richard Glassby (2nd Marriage) m. 10 DEC 1877 Anis Wells (b. 2 AUG 1850 d. 6 JAN 1938)

The death of his wife Clara Rebecca must have left Richard in a dilemma with a busy job as the Railway Station Master and four children aged between 1 and 9 to look after. In December 1877 he married for the second time, to Anis Wells and this led to a completely new branch of the Glassby family as we will see later. The marriage was reported in The Hull Packet and East Riding Times of 14th December 1877:-

The Primitive Methodist Chapel, Crowle, no longer stands and has been replaced by houses, although the original sandstone sign has been incorporated in the new building.

Replacement building for the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Crowle
Photo by M. J. Piper

Photo by M. J. Piper

Anis worked in service in Crowle, and late one night when her employer had failed to send a pony and trap to meet he off the train, she was escorted home by the then Station Master, Richard Glassby. Hence the relationship started. Richard and Anis married on 10th December 1877. He was 35 at the time, and she 27. But it appears that things did not work out. Anis was so unhappy that she ran away, throwing her wedding ring over the hedge.

Anis applied for separation from Richard some 22 months after the marriage, and The Hull Packet and East Riding Times of 24th October 1879 gave the outcome:-


Although they separated, it does not appear that they ever divorced. Anis lived with William Christopher Travis and they had seven children together. As her surname was still "Glassby" all of the children were christened as "Glassby's" and a new branch of the family was created. Richard Glassby continued as Station Master at Crowle until he retired in 1891. He is shown in the 1891 Census living with his four children:-

1891 Census – Station House, Crowle
Name Rel
Birthplace Occupation
Richard Glassby Head
Yorkshire, Mexbro Station Master
Victoria Mary Elizabeth Glassby Dau
Lincolnshire, Crowle  
William Gladstone Glassby Son
Lincolnshire, Crowle Railway Clerk
Percy Livingstone Glassby Son
Lincolnshire, Crowle  
Robert Wilberforce Glassby Son
Lincolnshire, Crowle Scholar

Town Station, Crowle

Richard Glassby was mentioned in a court case in 1895, two years before his death, relating to the case of George Robinson going bankrupt:-

The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent
22nd February 1895

Richard Glassby died on the 9th May 1897 in Thorne. We are fortunate in that he prepared a Last Will and Testament in 1894. It is interesting to note that Richard described himself as a Coal Hay and Potato Merchant in 1894. His son Percy Livingston Glassby was a Coal merchant so presumably was carrying on his father’s business.

BE IT KNOWN that at the date hereunder written the last Will and Testament of Richard Glassby of Crowle Wharf in the parish of Crowle in the County of Lincoln deceased, who died on 9th day of May 1897, at Crowle Wharf aforesaid and who at the time of his death had a fixed place of abode at Crowle Wharf aforesaid within the District of the County of Lincoln was proved and registered in the District Probate Registry of Her Majesty’s High Court of Justice at Lincoln and that Administration of the personal estate of the said deceased was granted by the aforesaid Court to William Gladstone Glassby of Kirton Lindsey in the County of Lincoln, Railway Clerk, and Percy Livingstone Glassby of Crowle Wharf aforesaid, Coal Merchant, the sons of the said deceased the surviving Executors named in the said Will they having been first sworn well and faithfully to administer the same.

Dated the 20th day of September 1897.

Gross value of Personal estate £446 No Leaseholds
Net value “ “ “ £204 8 3

Extracted by Thomas Charles Bowen Solicitor Lincoln

On the twentieth day of September 1897 Probate of this Will was granted at Lincoln to William Gladstone Glassby and Percy Livingstone Glassby the surviving Executors

I do hereby certify this to be a correct copy
Lincoln 30th September 1897

I Richard Glassby of Crowle Wharf in the Parish of Crowle in the County of Lincoln Coal Hay and Potato Merchant hereby revoke all Wills and testamentary dispositions heretofore made by me and declare this to be my last Will I devise All my real estate Unto and to the use of my Sons William Gladstone Glassby Percy Livingstone Glassby and Robert Wilberforce Glassby their heirs and assigns in equal shares as tenants in common Subject nevertheless to the payment thereof of the Legacy or sum of Two hundred pounds to my Daughter Victoria Mary Elizabeth Glassby and I bequeath such Legacy accordingly and direct the same to be paid to her at the end of six calendar months next after my decease I also bequeath to my said Daughter my piano and also my best bed and bedstead Also my mahogany dining table or in lieu thereof my Best round Walnut Table as she may prefer I also bequeath to her such other articles of my household and domestic use and ornament as she may select such selected articles not to exceed in value the sum of Ten pounds All the rest residue and remainder of my personal estate I bequeath to my said three sons in equal shares And I appoint them Executors of this my Will In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this twenty second day of September one thousand eight hundred and ninety four

Signed published and declared by the
Said Richard Glassby the Testator as
And for his last Will and Testament in
The presence of us who in his presence at
Richard Glassby
His request and in the presence of each
Other have hereunto subscribed our
Names as Witnesses
F. A. Savage Crowle
B. E. Savage Crowle

The local newspaper, the Epworth Bells carried the following notice on 22nd May 1897 and 29th May 1897 :-

Mr. Richard Glassby – deceased.
All persons having any claims or demands against the estate of Richard Glassby, late of Crowle Wharf, Merchant, deceased, are hereby requested to send forthwith particulars thereof to us and all persons indebted to the Estate will oblige by paying their Debts to us the undersigned without delay.
William Glassby
Percy Glassby
“Rose Villa” Crowle May 18th 1897.

A 8.4 (#2s) Anis Glassby (b. 22 AUG 1850 d. 6 JAN 1938) Liaison with William Christopher Travis (b.1850 d. 11 NOV 1893) - 7 Children

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 1 Harry Travis Glassby, b. Fishlake 1881

  L A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 2 George William Glassby, b. Stainforth 1883
  L A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 3 George William Travis Glassby, b. 1885
  L A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 4 Zillah Travis Glassby, b. 1888
  L A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 5 Arthur Travis Glassby, b. 1889
  L A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 6 Annie Amelia Glassby, b. 1891
  L A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 7 Teresa Glassby, b. 1893

At the time of the 1881 Census Anis was in a relationship with Mr. William Christopher Travis, and was carrying his child who was born in December of that year. The 1881 Census shows William Travis, 31, unmarried, a ship’s carpenter and the son of William Travis of the Black Swan pub in Stainforth in Thorne.

1881 Census: Black Swan, Stainforth in Thorne, Yorks
Name Rel
Birthplace Occupation
William Travis Head
Bramwith, York Innkeeper
Fanny Travis Wife
Pigburn, York  
William Travis Son
Stainforth, York Ship Carpenter
George Travis Son
Stainforth, York Ag Lab
Henry Travis Son
Stainforth, York Ship Carpenter
John Travis Son
Stainforth, York Farmer

It appears that William Travis and Anis lived together as “Mr & Mrs Travis” and three of their children have taken the “Travis” name as a middle name. They appear in the 1891 Census living in Thorne :-

1891 Census: 3 Market Place, Thorne, Yorkshire
Name Rel
Birthplace Occupation
William Travis Head
Stainforth, Yorkshire Ship Carpenter
Anne Travis Wife
Thorne, Yorkshire  
Harry Travis Son
Stainforth, Yorkshire  
George W. Travis Son
Stainforth, Yorkshire  
Cecily Travis (i.e. "Zillah") Dau
Stainforth, Yorkshire  
Arthur Travis Son
Stainforth, Yorkshire  
Amelia Travis Dau
2 mnths
Stainforth, Yorkshire  
William Travis Lodger (Widr)
Stainforth, Yorkshire Boat hauler

The children are described below, but first we should complete the story of Anis. William Christopher Travis died on 11th November 1893 at the age of 44. His death certificate shows that he was a ship’s carpenter, and died of chronic phthisis pulmonalis at Foundry Lane, Thorne, in the presence of Annie (“Anis”) Glassby. His death left Anis with her five children and without any means of support. She was forced to go into Thorne Workhouse, where she worked as a cook. The children stayed with her at the Workhouse until they were apprenticed. So, at the time of his death he made no provision for Anis, still legally his wife, and she was in Thorne Workhouse with her five children. But Richard’s death allowed Anis to move on in her life.

A 8.4 (#2s) (#2s) Anis Glassby née Wells (2nd marriage) m. 2 NOV 1898 Richard Fish (b. 17 APR 1852 d. 6 JUL 1944)

Anis Glassby met Richard (“Dickie”) Fish, and they married in Thorne on 2nd November 1898.
Dickie Fish was born on 17th April 1852 at The Green, Thorne, and was the son of John Fish and Hannah Barton Fish nee Teeson. They were shown in the 1901 Census as Richard Fish (51), Market Gardener, Annie Fish (50) wife, Arthur Glassby (11) son and Annie Amelia Glassby (10) daughter.

Anis was fortunate in that in Dickie she found a man with whom she could live and grow old in contentment. This is apparent from a newspaper article that appeared on 30th August 1934 in the Doncaster Chronicle:-





In the centre of Thorne live two people have found even greater happiness with age. They enjoyed their youth, but it is now that they are experiencing the benefits of the hard work they did in the early days. They are Mr. and Mrs. Fish of Lock Lane. Mr. Fish is 82. Mrs. Fish was 85 last week, and when I visited them (writes a “Chronicle” representative) they were both hard at work. Independence is the secret of their happiness. Mrs. Fish proudly asserts that they have never been paid wages since she left service years and years ago. Mr. Fish has an orchard and market garden, and has toiled there daily for over 30 years. Mrs. Fish cooks and does her weekly washing at home.

Both have always lived somewhere near Thorne. Mrs. Fish’s grandfather was a saddler in the town, and used to play the organ at the Church in the days when it had to be blown by hand.

One of the things that they miss most of all is the old-fashioned Thorne fair, which disappeared some years ago. In days gone by, it was a grand “do” and people flocked from miles around to join in the simple festivities. There was another fair at Keadby – and thereby hangs a tale. Mrs. Fish made the trip to Keadby Feast when she was six years old.

On “The Ark”

There were no trains and no buses to provide easy journey in those days; if they were not the owners of a pony and trap, people had to travel by the canal. There was one old boat in existence – “Noah’s Ark” they called it, because whenever it went on a journey, it seemed to contain at least two of every family in Thorne.

They went to Keadby on the “Ark” – and what a trip it was. Firstly, a stiff wind blew up, and even on the canal, the water became rough. The boat tossed and slewed round. To add to the trouble, a couple of farmers who had looked on the wine when it was red started to fight. Soon the Noah’s Ark was in an uproar. Women and children were hustled into the little cupboard of a room that did service for a cabin. Men on deck were shouting and fighting, and by the time they reached Keadby, there was little left but shattered nerves and black eyes. For a girl of only six, it was an adventure with the lid off.

Mr. Fish was a baker with his father when he was a youth, and the two used to make all the biscuits for the boats as they came up the canal. They had to work most of the night preparing them, for the boats had to have all their supplies absolutely fresh. Mr. Fish’s father used to make funeral biscuits. They were large and black, and were given to everybody who attended a funeral, and frequently had the initials of the departed worked on the top. Actually they were not so much like biscuits as small sponge cakes for they had a soft centre.

Comfort of Wireless

We had been chatting for quite a while, when suddenly I received a shock. Without any trace of embarrassment , Mrs. Fish remarked “Of course, you know I am practically blind, don’t you”. I did not. She walked around the room so naturally and chatted so convincingly that the thought had never entered my head. Mrs. Fish is not quite blind, but she could not, for instance, distinguish me against the dark background of the wall. On the other hand she could see the white sheet of paper on which I was making notes.

One of the most treasured possessions in the house is a wireless set presented by the Wireless for the Blind Fund - without that, Mrs. Fish would indeed be miserable for it provides her with endless amusement and recreation.Her first thought is for the morning service. But what comes after that in her estimation? Chamber music? Orchestral concerts and talks? Not a bit. Give Mrs. Fish the sports results.

She revels in that half hour when descriptions of tennis, football, cricket or swimming come to her over the ether. She cannot see these events – the next best thing is to hear about them from authoritative sources.

Mr. and Mrs. Fish both are fit and well: both work every day, and at the end of their day’s toil partake of their simple pleasures.


Anis died in Thorne on 6th January 1938 aged 88.

Anis Fish
Photo courtesy of Brian Lewis


Richard Fish died on 6th July 1944 aged 92.

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 1 Harry Travis Glassby (b. 11 DEC 1881 d. 1948) m. 28 NOV 1906 Ellen Bayes (b. JUN 1883 d. 1915) - 2 Children

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 1.1 Jessie Glassby, b. 1911


A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 1.2 Dorothy Glassby, b. 1914

Harry Travis Glassby
Photo courtesy of Brian Lewis

Harry Travis Glassby was born on 11th December 1881 at The Nab, Fishlake. His birth certificate lists “Annie Glassby formerly Wells” as his mother with no father being listed. A cross marks the spot where Anis Glassby was to sign, so we may assume that she could not write. In the 1901 Census Harry Travis Glassby was 19 and was working for farmer John Fish as a “Ploughman Ag Horse”, and was living in Sluice Lane, Thorne. Harry Travis Glassby married Ellen Bayes on 28th November 1906 at the Parish Church in Thorne. He was 24 at the time and a laborer, and she was 23, the daughter of Harrison Bayes, a farmer. No father is listed for Harry Travis Glassby. The address given for both Harry Travis and Ellen was Bankside, Thorne. Fred Bayes and Zillah Travis Glassby were listed “in the Presence of” section. Harry Travis and Ellen had two children.

Jessie Glassby married John Whawell, and had three children (Hazel,Doreen and John)

Ellen Glassby née Bayes died in 1915 in Goole at the age of 31, following the birth of Dorothy, who also died. Harry Travis Glassby married Bertha Dawson in Thorne in 1921. There were no children from the second marriage.

Harry Travis Glassby was a milk roundsman at the time of Amelia Annie Glassby’s marriage in 1915. He eventually sold his business and it became part of Oates Dairy with premises at the Old Mill on North Eastern Road.

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 2 George William Glassby (b. 24 SEP 1883 d.1885)

George William Glassby was born on 24th September 1883 in Stainforth. His birth certificate shows his mother to be “Alice Glassby formerly Wells” (again, another minor error in the records) and there is no name present for his father. George Willie Glassby died in 1885 aged 1, the GRO reference being Q1 1885 Thorne 9c 468.

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 3 George William Travis Glassby (b.1885 d. ?) m. 30 DEC 1907 Catherine Prior (b. 18 Feb 1880 d.1974) - 6 Children

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 3.1 George W. Glassby, b. Doncaster 1910

  L A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 3.2 Clifford P. Glassby, b. Doncaster 1913
  L A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 3.3 Phyllis Glassby, b. Wharfedale 1915
  L A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 3.4 Kenneth Glassby, b. Wharfedale 1917
  L A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 3.5 Stanley P. Glassby, b. Wharfedale 1920
  L A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 3.6 Bessie Glassby, b. Wharfedale 1921

George William Travis Glassby is thought to have been born in 1885, although there is no mention of his birth in the records. At the age of 22, on 30th December 1907, he married Catherine Prior, then 27, at the Wesleyan Chapel in Thorne. George William Travis Glassby is listed as a “Railway Shunter” living in Thorne, but there is a dash in place of a father’s name on the certificate. Catherine Prior was the daughter of William Prior (deceased) who was a Lock Keeper. Nellie Tate and Zillah Travis Glassby were listed “in the Presence of” section. George William Travis and Catherine had 6 children in all.

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 3.1 George W. Glassby (b. 2 OCT 1910 d.1970) m. 1939 Emily Chester (b. 28 SEP 1910 d. JAN 1993)
George W. Glassby was born in Doncaster on 2nd October 1910, and married Emily Chester in Wharfedale in 1939. George died in Bradford in 1970 at the age of 59, and Emily also died in Bradford January 1993 at the age of 83. They had no children.
A 8 .4 (#2s) (Travis) 3.2 Clifford P. Glassby (b. 1914 d. 1915)
Clifford P. Glassby was born in Doncaster in 1913, and died at the age of 1 in Wharfedale in 1915.
A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 3.3 Phyllis Glassby (b.1915 d.?) m. 1941 Wilson or Brown
Phyllis Glassby was born in 1915 in Wharfedale, and married a Wilson or Brown in 1941 in Doncaster.

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 3.4 Kenneth Glassby (b. 30 JUN 1917 d.1982) m. Marjorie M. Riley (b. 16 NOV 1919 d.1993) - 1 Child
  L A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 3.4.1 Keith G. Glassby, b. 1946

Kenneth Glassby was born in Wharfedale on 30th June 1917 and married Marjorie M. Riley in 1940 ( Q4 1940 Don Valley 9c 2670). They had one son, Keith G. Glassby born in 1946. Kenneth died in 1982, and Marjorie died in December 1993.

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 3.5 Stanley P. Glassby (b.1920 d.2004) m. Cynthia G. Pringle - 1 Child

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 3.5.1 Cynthia S. Glassby, b. 1941.

Stanley Prior Glassby was born in 1920 in Wharfedale and married Cynthia G. Pringle in Q2 1941. They had one daughter.

Stanley appears to have had a relationship with Doris Marie Lloyd in 1944 which resulted in the birth of Elizabeth Marie Glassby on 24th January 1945. Her birth certificate shows us that Stanley was soldier # 1460614 in Bdr R A of H M Army (Bricklayer) and was living at 34 Manor Road, Hatfield (near Thorne) as was Doris M. Lloyd. There is no sign of the death of Cynthia G. Glassby prior to 1945, so presumably they separated or divorced. No record of Stanley P. Glassby marrying Doris Marie Lloyd has been found. The death of Stanley P. Glassby was reported in Notices dated 25th July 2004 for St. Mary’s Church, Wheatley, Doncaster.

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 3.6 Bessie Glassby (b.1921 d.?) m. 1944 George H. Hague
Bessie Glassby was born in Wharfedale in 1921 and married George H. Hague in 1944. Bessie Hague, as she was then, remarried in 1969 to William N. Templeman.

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 4 Zillah Travis Glassby (b. 19 JAN 1886 d. 2 FEB 1972) m. 31 DEC 1913 Maurice Keighley (b. 12 NOV 1888 d. 13 NOV 1918) - 1 Child

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 4.1 Hilda Dorothy Keighley, b. Bramley 1914

No trace of Zillah Travis Glassby’s birth registration has been found, but records in the Doncaster Archives show that Zillah Sophia Matilda Glassby, daughter of Anice Glassby, was baptised at Stainforth St Mary on 4th December 1887.

She is to be found in the 1901 Census listed as “Gillah S M Glasby, aged 14, born abt 1887 in Thornes, Yorkshire” due to a transcription error. Examination of the hand written she confirms that it is in fact Zillah S M Glasby and that she was working as a “Servant (Domestic)” in the house of Isaac and Annie Watson, a woollen manufacturer, in Morley. It is also interesting to note that Harriet A Steers, 32 years of age and born in Thorne, was also a servant for Isaac Watson. The 1901 Census shows that the Steers family lived two doors own from Richard and Anis Fish in Thorne. It is likely that they introduced Zillah to Harriet’s employers.

Annie Steers and Zillah were good friends, and Annie presented Zillah with a bible inscibed:-

Courtesy of Brian Lewis

Zillah also appears as a witness on the marriage certificates of Harry Travis Glassby in 1906 and George William Travis Glassby in 1907.

According to her death certificate she was born on 19th January 1886, but there is some doubt about the veracity of this. Her full name was Zillah Sophia Matilda Glassby, and it is not clear why she sometimes used “Zillah Travis Glassby”. The marriage of Zillah Glassby to Maurice Keighley was solemnized at the Parish Church of Thorne in the County of York on 31st December 1913. Maurice Keighley, 25, a bachelor and Tram Car Conductor, living at 12 Ross Grove, Bramley and the son of Heber Keighley, Road Man, married Zillah Sophia Matilda Glassby, 25, a spinster of Lock Lane , Thorne, with no name shown for her father. It is interesting to note that the name was originally written as Zillah Glassby, and “Sophia Matilda” was added as an afterthought. Zillah and Maurice had one child, Hilda Dorothy Keighley born in 1914.


Zillah and Hilda Dorothy Keighley, circa 1916
Photo courtesy of Brian Lewis

Maurice Keighley fought in World War I in France, but died of a flu epidemic just two days after peace was declared in 1918 and a day after his 30th birthday. He is remembered on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and is buried at Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille. How ironic that he survived the war only to die of flu. 1918-1919 saw a pandemic of Spanish flu centred in Bombay, India. Over several months 228,000 people died in Britain, and worldwide the number of dead was estimated at 20 million.

Maurice and Zillah Keighley with daughter Hilda
Photo courtesy of Brian Lewis

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 4.1 Hilda Dorothy Keighley (b. 21 JUL 1914 d. 27 NOV 1995) m. 1935 Stanley Lewis (b. 24 DEC 1912 d. 24 DEC 2000)- 3 Children

A 8.4 (#2s) Travis 4.1.1 Maurice Lewis, b. Thorne 1935

  L A 8.4 (#2s) Travis 4.1.2 Brian Lewis, b. Thorne 1941
  L A 8.4 (#2s) Travis 4.1.3 Carole Lewis, b. Thorne 1944


A 8.4 (#2s) Travis 4 Zillah Glassby (2nd Marriage) m. 1920 Fred Bayes - 2 Children

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 4 (#2s) 1. Philip Harrison Bayes, b. Thorne 1923


A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 4 (#2s) 2. Kathleen Bayes, b. Thorne 1925

 Zillah Glassby married Fred Bayes, the brother of Ellen Bayes (Harry Travis Glassby’s wife) in 1920 in Thorne, and they had two children

Zillah Sophia Matilda Bayes died on 2nd February 1972 at Oldfield House, Oldfield Lane, Stainforth. She is listed as the Widow of Fred Bayes and the death was reported by her son, of 49 Station Road, Hatfield near Doncaster. The death certificate lists Zillah’s date of birth as 19th January 1886, Stainforth, Yorks.


A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 5 Arthur Travis Glassby (b. 19 APR 1889 d. ?) m. Mary Alice Hulse (b. 1886 d. circa 1983) - 4 Children

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 5.1 Eva Glassby, b. Rotherham 1908

  L A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 5.2 Vera Glassby, b. Doncaster 1912

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 5.3 Arthur William Glassby, b. Doncaster 1914

  L A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 5.4 Jean Freda Glassby, b. Australia 1928

Arthur Travis Glassby was born on 19th April 1889 at Stainforth. His mother is listed on the birth certificate as “Annis Glassby formerly Wells, Housekeeper”. The sections of “Father” and “Occupation of father” are blank. Arthur Travis married Mary Alice Hulse in the Parish Church, Wath on Dearne on 13th June 1908. Mary Alice Hulse, born in 1886, was eighth of the thirteen children of Henry Hulse (b 1853) and Martha Brooks (b 1855). Arthur and Mary were both listed as 21 years old, and both living at “Factory Yard”. Arthur is listed as a “plate layer”, but strangely his father is listed as “William Glassby (deceased) shipbuilder”. It is difficult to understand how this can be, unless Arthur said that his father’s name was “William” and the Registrar assumed the he meant “William Glassby”. We know that his father was William Christopher Travis, a ship’s carpenter. Mary Ann Hulse’s father is listed as Henry Hulse, an Engineer. It is interesting to note that “George Willie Glassby” is mentioned in the “in the Presence of” section, and presumably this was George William Travis Glassby. Arthur and Mary Alice had three children in England, and a fourth child in Australia after they emigrated.

Arthur fought in the Army in World War I, and returned home safely.

Arthur Travis Glassby
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Montgomery

Arthur and Mary’s story is told by Yvonne Montgomery, his grand daughter who has made notes on the family history from conversations with her mother Vera and her mother’s sister Eva.

Yvonne writes:-

“Arthur Travis Glassby and Mary Alice Hulse were married on 13 April 1908 in the county of York. Arthur was then a Plate-Layer with the Railway.

Arthur’s parents (editor’s note: i.e. referring to Dickie Fish, his step-father, and Anis) had orchards in Yorkshire and he grew up on the orchards which gave him some experience of farming albeit fruit growing. He was employed as a railway worker until he was called up to World War I. He served in France, was away for 3 years and had very little leave.

After the war the men could not find work and Arthur went to work in the coalmines, and he became a foreman for 8 men. 12 months later, after Arthur had emigrated to Australia, those 8 men back home were drowned with the walls collapsing when the pumps stopped pumping.

Mary had worked as a governess, as described by Eva, and hospital nurse, as described by Vera.

Mary gave birth to a boy, Fred Hulse prior to her marriage. Born 1899, Burslem, Staffordshire

Arthur and Mary Alice married as per details above, originally resided in Doncaster but moved to the little village of Thorne in 1920, when Arthur started work at the coal mine. Their house was close to Arthur’s parents, who had a beautiful big fruit orchard. It was in the orchards that Eva and Vera earned pocket money by helping to pick the fruit.

Eva was born in Yorkshire England on 15 Oct. 1908. Eva left school at 12 years of age due to illness and worked on her grandfather’s orchards and then in a pharmacist in Thorne prior to her departure for Australia.

Vera was born in Doncaster, Yorkshire, April 5, 1912, just a few days before the sinking of the Titanic. The family had a comfortable home, had wonderful Grandparents and holidays were always spent with them. (Mary’s parents lived in Ticknell, Derbyshire and Arthur’s in Thorne, Yorkshire)."

Quote by Vera, “ I can remember during the war that Doncaster was a very dangerous area. The town was a target, as troops had taken over our school in the next street from our home. I can remember a German Zeppelin coming over our street, one very dark night, we were called to get out of bed and told to stand in the street, and it was very frightening. Mother had on a very long skirt under which we were told to hide. I feel sometimes that I can hear that drone. The plane was trying to find the army barracks which was just over the next row of houses and in our old school."

"In 1923 one of Mary’s brothers, Arthur Hulse, and his wife Wilhemina, came back to England from Melbourne, Australia, with a their child Max intending to stay in England. In 1925 he decided to return to Australia and persuaded Arthur and Mary to join him to pursue share farming in West Australia. He said the opportunities of advancement were greater and it would be a better climate for the children. They didn’t take long to decide and the family, Eva (16), Vera (13) and Arthur (11), (Arthur William born July 18, 1914) were selling their home. The last few days in England were spent with Mary’s family, in Derbyshire. On June 3, 1925 the family went by the Flying Scotsman to London and then on to the Tilbury docks where the Moreton Bay was waiting to take them to Australia."

The Moreton Bay

Vera Glassby with Max Hulse aboard the Moreton Bay
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Montgomery

"This was a Maiden voyage for the ship to Australia. Musical Bands were playing on the wharf for a special farewell to 40 YAL (Young Australian League) boys who had been visiting England. The family was to thank those boys later. They were aged between 14 – 18. The ship travelled through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea and with no air conditioning on the ship in those days the passengers were very distressed and could not take the heat. The boys took control of standing for hours waving wet towels; they were also very good at arranging games and concerts to keep everyone happy. Being teenagers Eva and Vera had a great time on the ship, with the boys teaching them to dance

They were just 4 weeks at sea, arriving Fremantle July 3 1925. As they tied up to the wharf, once again a brass band was playing Home Sweet Home, this time to welcome the YAL boys. You can imagine how the family felt after leaving their mother country.

They stayed 3 weeks in a rented house in Rutland Street, Mt Lawley, while the two Arthur’s travelled by train to look for a farm to purchase, this they found at Hines Hill. The family left Perth by train and landed there at 4 a.m. and with no transport to greet them they had to walk down a bush track for 3 miles in the dark.

Shortly after there arrival they realized that it was too late in the season to put in a crop of wheat. Mary, like many others battled with the heat and trying to get the bread to rise, realized that enough was enough. Arthur read how Sir James Mitchell was offering to immigrants, 150 acres of virgin bush free, as long as you cleared it. Arthur did not think he would be lucky enough to be accepted for the scheme, as they were not classed as immigrants, they had come paying full passage, however his luck was in. The two families separated and Arthur Glassby took his family to Busselton in December 1925 to a Group Settlement farm.

The journey to Busselton was by train, took 9 hours. They stayed the first night at the Ship Hotel, what a sleepy town it was then. Next day a truck was loaded with their belongings and they were taken 15 miles out to their block at Group 124, Walsall, and location 760. Vera recalls how her father, after unloading the truck, decided to go and find his boundary pegs, and was lost for hours. Their new home was a tin shack, with two bare rooms and earth floors; this dampened their spirits to say the least.

Group Settlement House – Group 124, Walsall, Location 760
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Montgomery

The young girls white stockings were soon covered with black fleas rising out of the sand. To cope with the fleas the family took the advice of fellow settlers and stood the legs of the beds in small tins of kerosene. Mary had no kitchen and had to cook outdoors and wash the clothes in kerosene tins over an open fire.

Mary Alice Glassby digging potatoes in 1925
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Montgomery

One of Mary’s greatest challenges was to make yeast out of boiled potatoes and hops for the home made bread. There was never a real shortage of food, flour was bought by the bag, plenty of rabbits and the occasional kangaroo added variety to the diet. In the hard conditions into which they now found themselves in, Mary’s long skirts soon gave way to more appropriate dress. While Eva and her younger sister Vera cleared the scrub and small trees from around the shack, using just a shovel, mattock and a rope, the men from 124 camp faced the challenge of clearing the bush in preparation for the 20 acre farms with the bare minimum of implements, mattock, cross cut saw and a kangaroo jack. The foreman would pick the men up by horse & cart and take them to whichever block was being cleared, in readiness for a ballot of the blocks/locations.

Arthur Travis Glassby clearing the land with a sickle.
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Montgomery

Supplies for the family had to be bought from the town, so it was a regular 15 mile trip by horse & cart. Many a time Arthur would arrive home late with the lantern swinging under the cart carriage.

Mary Alice Glassby and Mrs Spence
off to Busselton shopping (15 miles) Group 124 1926.
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Montgomery

One day while Eva & Vera were working three young youths came down the track, they had heard that there were two teenage girls in the camp. Xmas was drawing near and there was to be a party at the little old school, they were invited by them to attend. They arrived with a horse and cart to get them. One of those boys was George Pitts, who became Vera’s husband after 6 years of courting and were married for 61 years until his death in 1995.

The Glassby’s were allocated location 855 at Group 124, but when the opportunity arose they moved to group 28, location 1848, next to the Acton Park Hall, this was much closer to town. An original settler vacated this location with its four-room cottage - the group house was a big improvement on the tin shack, especially the kitchen with its Meters wood stove and a copper for washing on the veranda. They all worked very hard and made their homes quite comfortable.

Group Settlement House – Group 28 Location 1848 next to Acton Park Hall.
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Montgomery

The Glassby’s had a small income from the cream cheque, they grew vegetables and bartered for supplies. Gradually the family built up a small Jersey herd and separated cream twice a day in the little dairy, which was provided with the house. The cream was collected regularly and Eva doesn’t recall any spoilage although she vividly remembers the day when the cat fell in the cream and had to be pulled out by the tail. This lot of cream was tested as choice, which of course was the best grade and paid the top price even so the return of butterfat was very poor.

Eva was offered a job the day they arrived at Busselton as a housemaid for 2/6 pence a week and keep. She accepted this as it helped with the family finances. At first she worked for the butcher then Whiteland’s Greengrocery where she had a room at the back of the shop and took her meals with the family.

Vera never went to school in Australia as she was going on to 14 years and you were not compelled to go if you lived three miles away from the school. They were. She worked along side her father till she was 21, she kept herself busy with sport tennis, badminton & bowls. She always found herself on Committees, work she loved.

Arthur went to school until he was 14 then left home to work in the wheat belt.

Mary had another child, a daughter, Jean born October 7, 1928.

Birth of Jean Glassby, in 1928.
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Montgomery

With the effects of the depression being felt the Glassby’s left the group settlement in 1933 they went to the wheatbelt for a short time to Korbel. Later they moved to Maddington where Arthur did sustenance work on the roads. When Mary inherited some money from her mother in 1937, the family purchased a farm near Busselton on Jalbaracup Road location 1439, previously owned by a Mr Blinkersop. In a house built for them by Mr Falkingham they lived in moderate comfort until 1954 when the farm was sold. Arthur and Mary retired to a house at 28 Reynolds Rd, Busselton, Arthur lived well into his 80’s and Mary to the great age of 97.”

The Last Will and Testament of Martha Hulse, Mary’s mother, reproduced below, makes fascinating reading.

In His Majesty’s High Court of Justice
The Principal Probate Registry
BE IT KNOWN that Martha Hulse of High Street
Ticknall in the County of Derby Widow
died there on the 28th day of April 1937
AND BE IT FURTHER KNOWN that at the date hereunder written the last Will and Testament (a copy whereof is hereunto annexed) 0f the said deceased was proved and registered in the Principal Probate Registry of His majesty’s High Court of Justice and that Administration of all the Estate which by law devolves to and invests in the personal representative of the said deceased was granted by the aforesaid Court to
Harry Harrison of Pennwyche House High Street Ticknall in the said County Retired Schoolmaster and Albert Swann of High Street Ticknall aforesaid Painter the Executors named in the said Will
And it is hereby certified that the Affidavit for Inland Revenue has been delivered wherein it is shown that the gross value of the said Estate in Great Britain (exclusive of what the said deceased may have been possessed of or entitled to as a Trustee and not beneficially) amounts to £4556-14-5 and that the net value of the personal estate amounts to £3874-12-1
And it is further certified that it appears by a receipt signed by an Inland Revenue Officer on the said Affidavit that £134-9-4 on account of Estate Duty and interest on such duty has been paid.
Dated the 31st day of May 1937
High Street, Ticknall, Derby
This is the last Will and Testament of me Martha Hulse made this fourteenth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and thirty six (1936). I revoke all former wills made me and appoint Harry Harrison of “Pennwyche” House High Street Ticknall Derby and Albert Swann of High Street Ticknall Derby to be the Executors of this my last Will.
I direct my Executors to pay my Debts and Funeral and Testamentary Expenses.
I give and bequeath to my two sons Joseph Henry Hulse and Archibald Hulse my two sets of Threshing Machinery comprising engines, drums, chaff cutters, binders and all tools and apparatus pertaining thereto for their sole use and benefit and direct that they shall jointly carry on the business which I have established under the name of “Hulse Brothers” each to have an equal share in all profits accruing from the said business. I further direct that at my decease at an early convenient date my executors do cause to be sold all my household goods and chattels, also the six houses owned by me situate in Station Road Melbourne and that the proceeds realized by such sale together with all monies standing to my credit in the Derbyshire Building Society and in the Westminster Bank (Melbourne Branch) and in my personal possession at time of death, shall be divided as follows
To my daughter Martha Ann Earp I bequeath fifty pounds (£50)
To the following six of my children I bequeath equal shares viz (1) Samuel Brooks Hulse (2) Arthur William Hulse (3) Sarah Elizabeth Smith (4) Lilian Dallman (5) Mary Alice Glassby (6) Albert Edwin Hulse, while to my daughter (7) Florence Agnes Gregory I bequeath fifty pounds less than to the former six, she having formerly received that amount from me. Should any or either of these last mentioned children pre-decease me I direct that their share of my estate shall be equally divided among their surviving children or to their surviving child (if only one) excepting in the case of my son Arthur William Hulse whose share shall fall to the child or children of his second marriage.
Martha Hulse
Signed and declared by
the said Martha Hulse the Emily Jane Harrison
Testatrix as and for her High Street
Last Will and Testament Ticknall
in the presence of us who at
her request in her presence Ellen Smith
and in the presence of each Glebe Farm
other (all being present at the Ticknall
same time) have hereunto
subscribed our names as witnesses February 14th 1936

Melbourne is 7½ miles south-south east of Derby, and Ticknall is 3 miles west- south west of Melbourne.

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 5.1 Eva Glassby (b. 15 OCT 1908 d. 30 OCT 1999)m. 5 JUN 1935 Leslie Arthur Hogg (b. 1905 d. 30 JAN 2000)

Eva with her parents, Arthur & Mary.
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Montgomery

Eva Glassby was born on 15th October 1908. She met her husband Les Hogg, at a function at the Busselton Brass Band. They were engaged on her 21st birthday and soon after Les went to look for work in Perth and Eva followed later on. Eva had various jobs before she married, child minding and house keeping for Lady Lathlain. By 1935 Les had regular work as an electrician and they were able to purchase a house in Croydon Street, Shenton Park and were married. They had no children. Their second house was in a neighbouring suburb, Park Road, Hollywood, from there they moved into the Salvation Army Hostel. Eva died October 30th, 1999; Les died January 30th, 2000.

Eva Glassby's 90th Birthday celebration October 1998.
L to R Seated: Vera, Les, Eva, Arthur Standing: Jean, Irene and Eric
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Montgomery

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 5.2 Vera Glassby (b. 5 APR 1912 d. 20 DEC 2007)m. 2 MAR 1935 Samuel George Pitts (b. 1910 d. 15 OCT 1995) - 2 Children

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 5.2.1 George Henry Pitts, b. Busseltown 1935

  L A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 5.2.2 Margaret Yvonne Pitts, b. Busseltown 1941

Vera Glassby was born on 5th April 1912 in Doncaster. At 16 she started dating George Pitts and at 21 became engaged. Vera left home to work in Perth to earn money and George went to the wheatbelt and they were married 2 years later. They had a dairy farm at Yoongarillup near Busselton and had two children.

Vera and George moved around the south west, with George working at Millars Timber Mills. Jarrahwood & Jarrahdale. They finally settled in the city. In Perth they built a house at Wilson and stayed 28 years. In those years Vera went to work in the city as an assistant and a buyer of clothing at Chas Moore Dept store, whilst George worked for Chamberlain John Deere, until he retired due to ill health (due to war causes). Vera also worked in a bowls shop for 10 years but still found time to give 7 years to the Western Australian Bowling Assoc. She was a foundation and Life Member of the Riverton Rossmoyne Bowling Club and was President for 4 years and on the committee for 17 years. After George retired they moved to a unit at Rockingham. Both of them were involved in various clubs, George belonging to the Masonic Lodge and Probus, with both of them involved in Legacy, played mah-jong and belonged to a Friendship Club. They were married for 61 years; George died on October 15th 1995 at 85 years of age. Vera continued to live at Rockingham until 2003, when she moved closer to her family, to the RSL Retirement Village

Vera died on 20th December 2007.

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 5.3 Arthur William Glassby (b.1914 d. 21 SEP 2002) m. 1941 Irene Hopper (b.1921 d. ?) - 4 Children

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 5.3.1 Arthur Glassby, b. Newcastle 1942

  L A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 5.3.2 George Ronald Glassby, b. Newcastle 1944
  L A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 5.3.3 Irene Glassby, b. 1947

A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 5.3.4 Kevin Glassby, b. New Guinea

Arthur William Glassby was born in 1914 in Doncaster and married Irene Hopper in Newcastle in 1941.

Arthur William Glassby went to Australia with his parents when they emigrated, but he returned to England in WWII, and married in Newcastle. Arthur left school early to work on the family farm and at a later date his Uncle’s farm in the wheatbelt. Then came the outbreak of WW2 and he joined the Army. The army took him to Northern England where he met and married Irene. He was then transferred to New Guinea, he loved it so much there that after the war in 1948 he took his English bride and three young children back there to establish a Government sawmill. They had another child whilst in the country.They left New Guinea in 1972 and returned to Western Australia. He retired in 1977 and died 21 September 2002.


A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 6 Annie Amelia Glassby (b.1891 d. ?) m. 1915 William R. Wraith
Annie Amelia was born in1 1891 in Thorne and is shown in the 1901 Census living with Richard Fish, whom her mother married in 1898. Annie Amelia married William R. Wraith in Thorne in 1915, but the marriage did not last and she returned home. She worked as a nurse.

William Wraith and Annie Amelia Glassby on their wedding day
Photo courtesy of Brian Lewis


Annie Amelia Glassby
Photo courtesy of Brian Lewis
A 8.4 (#2s) (Travis) 7 Teresa Glassby (b. 27 JUN 1893 d. 1894)
Teresa Glassby was born in Foundry Lane, Thorne on 27th June 1893. Her mother is shown as “Annice Glassby, Housekeeper” and the section for the father is left blank. Teresa died in 1894 in Thorne.
A 8.5 John Glassby (b.1844 d. ?)
John Glassby was the fifth child of William Jackson Glassby and Elizabeth Glassby. He was born in Mexborough in 1844 and baptised on 22nd June 1844. Not much is known about him. There was a John Glasby (26) shown in the 1871 Census for Doncaster, who was a glass blower. There was another John Glasby (36) in the 1881 Census, an unmarried stonemason, lodging with Reuben Fletcher in Sheffield. There was also a John Glassby (46) shown in the 1891 Census staying with the Belk’s in Whiston. There is no John Glassby of the right age in the 1901 census so it is presumed that he had died by that time.
A 8.6 William Glassby (b.1846 d. ?)
William Glassby was born to William Jackson Glassby and Elizabeth Glassby in Doncaster in 1846, and was baptised on 24th November 1846. In the 1881 Census, William Glassby is listed as an unmarried stonemason living at 31 John Edward Street, Barnsley, as a lodger, with William Squire (stonemason) and his family.

A 8.7 Andrew Glassby (b.1848 d.1894) m. 1870 Annie Thompson (b.1848 d. 1898) - 10 Children

A 8.7.1. John Thompson Glassby, b. Ecclesall Bierlow 1872

  L A 8.7.2. Elizabeth Glassby, b. Ecclesall Bierlow 1874
  L A 8.7.3. Mary Ann Glassby, b. Ecclesall Bierlow 1876
  L A 8.7.4. Clara Victoria Glassby, b. Ecclesall Bierlow 1878
  L A 8.7.5. Andrew Glassby, b. Ecclesall Bierlow 1881
  L A 8.7.6. Robert Glassby, b. Ecclesall Bierlow 1883
  L A 8.7.7. Ernest Glassby, b. Ecclesall Bierlow 1885
  L A 8.7.8. Nellie Glassby, b. Ecclesall Bierlow 1888
  L A 8.7.9. Martha Annie Glassby, b. Ecclesall Bierlow 1891

A 8.7.10. Irene Glassby, b. Ecclesall Bierlow 1895

Andrew Glassby was born to William Jackson and Elizabeth Glassby in 1849 in Mexborough, and was baptised on 11th November 1849. He married Annie Thompson in Rotherham in 1870. The marriage was reported in the local press at the time:-


The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent
7th January 1871

GLASSBY - THOMPSON --Dec. 26, at Kimberworth, Mr. Andrew Glassby, stomemason, to Ann, the eldest daughter of Mr. John Thompson, steel-chaser, Burgyne road, Walkley


In the 1881 Census Andrew and Ann were living in Nether Hallam, Yorkshire, with five of their children. It is interesting that they named their eldest son, John Thompson Glassby, after Ann's father, which was quite common in those days. They had 10 children in all.

1881 Census 207 Burgoyne Rd Nether Hallam, York
Name Rel
Birthplace Occupation
Andrew Glassby Head
Mexborough, York Stone Mason
Ann Glassby Wife
Sheffield, York  
John T. Glassby Son
Sheffield, York Scholar
Elizabeth Glassby Daur
Sheffield, York Scholar
Mary A. Glassby Daur
Sheffield, York  
Clara V. Glassby Daur
Sheffield, York  
Andrew Glassby Son
3 m
Sheffield, York  

He and his wife Ann are shown in the 1891 Census, still in Nether Hallam, Yorkshire, with 8 of their children living with them. By this time they had moved from 207 to 213 Burgoyne Road.

1891 Census - 213 Burgoyne Road, Nether Hallam
Name Rel
Birthplace Occupation
Andrew Glassby Head
Yorkshire, Mexbro Stone Mason
Ann Glassby Wife
Yorkshire, Sheffield  
John T Glassby Son
Yorkshire, Sheffield File Warehouse Lad
Elizabeth Glassby Dau
Yorkshire, Sheffield Casemaker
Mary A Glassby Dau
Yorkshire, Sheffield  
Clara Glassby Dau
Yorkshire, Sheffield Scholar
Robert Glassby Son
Yorkshire, Sheffield  
Ernest Glassby Son
Yorkshire, Sheffield  
Nellie Glassby Dau
Yorkshire, Sheffield  
Martha A Glassby Dau
2 mnths
Yorkshire, Sheffield  

Andrew Glassby, 3 months old in the 1881 Census, is not shown as he died in 1883 aged 2.

A 8.7.1. John Thompson Glassby (b.1872 d.1946) m. 1898 Constance Nelly Oakley (b.1876 d.1959) - 1 Child
  L A Cyril Tasker Glassby, b. 1903

John Thompson Glassby was born in 1872 and married Constance Nelly Oxley in 1898 in Sheffield. In the 1901 Census they are listed as boarders with Ellen Oxley, Constance Nelly’s mother, at 112 Burgoyne Street, i.e. further down the road from where Andrew and Annie Glassby lived prior to their deaths.

1901 Census -112 Burgoyne Road, Nether Hallam
Name Rel
Birthplace Occupation
Ellen Oxley Head (W)
Yorks Sheffield Lodg Ho
Constance Nelly Glassby
Boarder (M)
Yorks Sheffield  
John Thompson Glassby Boarder (M)
Yorks Sheffield File Hardener
Martha Glassby Boarder (S)
Yorks Sheffield  
John E Peacock Boarder (S)
Yorks Leeds Stained Glass Artist
George Presswood Boarder (S)
Yorks Anston Police Constable


1911 Census -103 Dykes Hall Road, Hillsborough, Sheffield
Name Status Yrs Mar.
Birthplace Occupation
Oxley, Ellen Head Widow
Sheffield, Yorkshire Sick Nurse
Glassby, Constance N Dau 13
Sheffield, Yorkshire Domestic
Glassby, John Thompson Son In Law 13
Sheffield, Yorkshire Steel Warehouseman
Glassby, Cyril Tasker Grandson  
Sheffield, Yorkshire  
Glassby, Martha Annie Boarder Single
Sheffield, Yorkshire Shop Assistant Wall Paper

John Thompson Glassby died in 1946 in Sheffield; Constance Nelly Glassby died in 1959, also in Sheffield.

John Thompson and Constance Nelly Glassby had one son, Cyril Tasker Glassby, born in 1903.

A Cyril Tasker Glassby (b. 16 DEC 1903 d. JAN 1984) m. 1932 Nellie Earnshaw (b. 17 SEP 1905 d.1976)- 1 Child

A Brian Glassby, b. 1934

Cyril Tasker Glassby was born in 16th December 1903 in sub district Hallam in Registration District Ecclesall Bierlow in the County of Sheffield and married Nellie Earnshaw in 1932. They had one son, Brian, born in 1934. Cyril Tasker Glassby died in January 1984, and his wife Nellie died in 1976 aged 65.


A 8.7.2. Elizabeth Glassby (b.1874 d. ?) m. 1895 either Senior or Wilcockson

Elizabeth Glassby was born in Ecclesall Bierlow district in 1874. She married in 1895, to either a Senior or Wilcockson.

A 8.7.3. Mary Ann Glassby (b.1876 d.1903) m. 1900 William Allison
  L A William Allison b. 1895
  L A Rosena Allison b. 1901
  L A Doris Allison b. 1905
  L A Harold Allison b. 1906
  L A Annie Laurie Allison b. 1908
  L A Clara Allison b. 1911
  L A George L Allison b. 1913
  L A Jack Allison b. 1915
  L A Earnest Allison b. 1918
  L A Jean Allison b. 1920

Mary Ann Glassby was born in Ecclesall Bierlow district in Q3 1876 and married William Allison, a stone mason, in 1900 (Ref: Q4 1900 Wortley 9c 530). William had one son from a previous marriage to Winifred Wragg, William Allison born in 1895. William and Mary Ann had nine children between 1901 and 1920.

A 8.7.4. Clara Victoria Glassby (b.1878 d.1903)
Clara Victoria Glassby was born in Ecclesall Bierlow district in 1878 and is seen with her parents in the 1881 Census (aged 2) and the 1891 Census (aged 12) at Burgoyne Road, Nether Hallam. She did not marry and died at the age of 24 in 1903 (Ref: Q2 1903 Oldham 8d 444).
A 8.7.5. Andrew Glassby (b.1881 d.1883)
Andrew Glassby was born in Ecclesall Bierlow district in 1881 and died at the age of 2 in 1883 (Ref: Q2 1883 Ecclesall B 9c 190)
A 8.7.6. Robert Glassby (b.1883 d.1904)
Robert Glassby was born in Ecclesall Bierlow district in 1883, and died there at the age of 21 in 1904. (Ref Q2 1904 Ecclesall B 9c 225)
A 8.7.7. Ernest Glassby (b.1885 d.1917)
Ernest Glassby was born in Ecclesall Bierlow district in 1885, and died there at the age of 32 in 1917. (Ref Q2 1917 Ecclesall B 9c 444)
A 8.7.8. Nellie Glassby (b.1888 d.1901)
Nellie Glassby was born in Ecclesall Bierlow district in 1888, and died in Sheffield at the age of 12 in 1901. (Ref Q2 1901 Sheffield 9c 273)
A 8.7.9. Martha Annie Glassby (b.1891 d. 1920) m. 1917 Ernest Woolhouse

Martha Ann Glassby was born in Ecclesall Bierlow district in 1891 and was shown in the 1901 Census and the 1911 Census staying with Ellen Oxley and John and Constance Glassby.

1901 Census - 112 Burgoyne Road, Nether Hallam
Name Rel
Birthplace Occupation
Ellen Oxley Head (W)
Yorks Sheffield Lodg Ho
Constance Nelly Glassby
Boarder (M)
Yorks Sheffield  
John Thompson Glassby Boarder (M)
Yorks Sheffield File Hardener
Martha Glassby Boarder (S)
Yorks Sheffield  
John E Peacock Boarder (S)
Yorks Leeds Stained Glass Artist
George Presswood Boarder (S)
Yorks Anston Police Constable

1911 Census -103 Dykes Hall Road, Hillsborough, Sheffield
Name Status Yrs Mar.
Birthplace Occupation
Oxley, Ellen Head Widow
Sheffield, Yorkshire Sick Nurse
Glassby, Constance N Dau 13
Sheffield, Yorkshire Domestic
Glassby, John Thompson Son In Law 13
Sheffield, Yorkshire Steel Warehouseman
Glassby, Cyril Tasker Grandson  
Sheffield, Yorkshire  
Glassby, Martha Annie Boarder Single
Sheffield, Yorkshire Shop Assistant Wall Paper

She married Ernest Woolhouse in 1917. Her death was recorded at the age of 29 as "Woolhouse Martha A (29) Jun 1920 Ecclesall B 9c 440". What is strange and so far unexplained is a second entry in the death records "Woolhouse Martha A (0) Sep 1923 Ecclesall B. 9c 342". It is possible that Martha died in childbirth and that the death of the child was not recorded until 1923.

A 8.7.10. Irene Glassby (b.1895 d.1895)
Irene Glassby was born in Ecclesall Bierlow district in 1895, and died at birth. (Ref Q3 1895 Ecclesall B 9c 246)

A 8.8 Martha Glassby (b.1851 d. ?) m. 1871 John White

Martha Glassby was born in Mexborough in 1851 and was baptised on 28th December that year. She married John White in Sheffield in 1871.

It is possible that she died in 1916 aged 65, as there is an entry in the death records for "Martha A White Sep 1916 (65) Ecclesall Bierlow 9c 441"

A 8.9 Mary Glassby (b.1854 d. ?)

Mary was baptised in Mexborough on 4th May 1854.

A 9. John Glassby (b.1817 d.1845)

John Glassby was born in 1817 and was baptised on 13th March in Mexborough. He died in 1845 at the age of 28.