The history of the Besfords

John Besford (1890-1916)

John Besford was born in 1890, the son of Thomas Besford and Elizabeth Besford (née Train). The 1891 Census records John aged 7 months and living with his parents at 5 Croft Street, Cowpen, Blyth, Northumberland.

At this point John had three older sisters, Mary (6), Catherine (5) and Annie (2). John’s father Thomas Besford was said to be 30 and working as a coal miner. 

The 1901 Census recorded the family at 3 Ann’s Row, Cowpen, Blyth. John was 10. Catherine, now 15, was recorded as Kate, Annie was 12, and John now had two younger siblings, Elizabeth (3) and Thomas (9 months). Their father Thomas Besford was working as a hewer.

The 1911 Census recorded the family still at 3 Ann’s Row, Cowpen. John Besford was shown working as a putter, aged 21. 

John Besford enlisted as a Private (1737) in the Northumberland Hussars and served in France in the First World War.

He sadly died on 7th March 1916 at the age of 25, and is buried in St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen↗.

The Morpeth Herald published a notice of his death:

Private John Besford, son of Mr Thomas Besford, a well-known Cowpen miner, has died in hospital in France from illness. He has only been a short time in France. He was recently visited there by his parents. Deceased was only 25 years of age, and was in the Northumberland Hussars.

Morpeth Herald, 17th March 1916

John Besford is remembered on a memorial in Blyth↗ and listed in the North East War Memorials Project↗.

John Besford’s father Thomas was the son of Ann Besford, the sister of John Besford (1826-1914). John was thus the great-grandson of Robert Besford (1792-1844) and his known ancestry therefore goes back to the marriage of James Besford and Margaret Robson (1679), his 5x great grandparents.

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