From the Thorley Archives

Reggie Newman of Thorley


Reginald Newman was a true Thorley country gentleman. He was born in 1887 at Moor Hall Farm and died in January 1988 aged 100. He farmed at Butlers Hall for many years, and following his retirement, lived at Finchcroft. He served for thirty years as the churchwarden at what he regarded as his church of St James the Great. In middle age he married Muriel and they enjoyed over 50 years of marriage. Muriel was also a mainstay of the church, playing the organ, arranging flowers and supporting the Mothers Union. During the Second World War Reggie, as he was more commonly known, was an ARP (Air Raid Precaution) warden and was one of those who used the church tower as a prime vantage point.

Reggie had many other interests based on his country upbringing. Geoffrey Ashwell remembers him as a keen Point to Point follower and in his youth he played football and cricket. He travelled everywhere on the farm on horseback or bicycle and when tractors arrived in the 1950's he let Muriel do the driving! Geoffrey says that 'he possessed that rare ability to communicate with a wide selection of his fellow beings'. He could engage in conversations with all ages on current affairs and sporting interests. In the 1950's Edward Miller was his doubles tennis partner and recalls doing most of the back court running! Predicting the weather was his speciality as he had an exceptional memory for past weather records.

Reginald Newman cleaning a horse harness at Moor Hall

As a result of our St James the Great churchyard details being available on the Internet, Reggie's nephew, also named Reginald, in Saskatchewan, Canada, made contact earlier this year. He has confirmed the following Newman family biographical details.

Reggie's parents Francis (1845 - 1935) and Sarah (Stock) (1857 - 1919) raised six children at Moor hall Farm.

Leslie Frank Newman (1883 -1973) after serving in the First World War as a Captain in the Royal Army Service Corps returned to Cambridge University and became a Professor of Agricultural Sciences.

Horace Parmentor Newman (1884 - 1940) enlisted in 1914 and was discharged in 1917. He became a draper in Bishop's Stortford.

Stanley Francis Newman (1886 - 1915) enlisted in 1914 in the Essex Yeomanry and rapidly rose to the rank of Sergeant. He was killed at Ypres on May 13th 1915.

Reginald William Newman (1887 - 1988) was also a graduate of Cambridge University. He spent his life farming at Moor Hall and Butlers Hall farms.

Gilbert Lawrence Newman (1889 - 1979) immigrated to Canada in 1908 to take up farming. He joined the Saskatchewan Light Horse Regiment and went to France in 1918. Returning to Canada he became a cook. He married Gloria in 1925 and they had eight children of which Reginald was the fifth.

Winifred Mary Newman (1890 - 194?) remained with her parents and moved to London Road with her father when he retired.

The Newman family at
Moor Hall Farm - early 1900s

Bill Hardy
July 2005

From the Archives