Henrietta Steward came from Saxlingham Nethergate. She was a member of a wealthy family who from the late nineteenth till the late twentieth century played an important part in village life. They owned many farms, houses and cottages.
On 1st April 1891 aged thirty five years she married Walter Stilwell Long in Saxlingham Nethergate Church. He was the son of Frederick Edward Long, the Rector of Woodton, a village about six miles away. Walter was a solicitor living in Windsor; he had lived there for some years originally boarding with a family whilst he did his training. He was twenty nine years old. They spent their honeymoon in Penzance, Cornwall. Their son Frederick Edward Long was born on 8th March 1892 in Windsor. He was named after his grandfather. He was known as Edward by his family.
When Edward was four years old his father died on 15th May 1896 aged thirty four years. He is buried in the churchyard of Woodton Church, Norfolk. His grave is next to those of his parents. In the probate records he is described as being a solicitor in Norfolk and was living in Woodton at the time of his death. By 1901 Edward, aged nine was living with his mother in Happisburgh on the Norfolk coast. Her brother Campbell Steward was also living there.
Between September 1904 and March 1908 Edward attended Abbotsholme School, Rocester, Staffordshire.
This school, started in 1889 by Dr Cecil Reddie, was a progressive innovative school. The pupils at the school were expected to work in the garden, on the estate, to care for farm animals and to learn to ride and drive. They were encouraged to study poetry, ballads and songs but they also did carpentry, metal work and drawing. The school considered the learning of French and German more useful than classical languages. Health, hygiene and sex education were important elements of the curriculum. The boys were encouraged to cooperate with each other rather than compete. (For more information about this school and its philosophy then and now visit www.abbotsholme.co.uk )
Being concerned about the boys’ health they were weighed and measured at the beginning and end of each term. On September 22nd 1904 Edward weighed 4 stones 12 lbs and was 4 feet 8 inches tall., when he left on 30th March 1908 he weighed 7 stones 12lbs and was 5 feet 5 inches tall. On 19th March 1908 he was confirmed along with three other boys at Sudbury Church.
Just before Christmas 1907 the school held an exhibition of articles made in the workshop during the previous term “ the items displayed attracted a considerable amount of attention, chief amongst which being a tea tray by F.E. Long…….” During the Spring term he was also mentioned as having been using the printing press along with another boy “ and have turned out a list for hockey sides, a ‘Table of Elements’, and several notices for the Matron’s department.” Edward was a member of the Rifle Club where he achieved the highest score of 63 which was a school record. An article written by one of the teachers about the club appeared in the April 1908 edition of the Rifleman together with a diagram of Edward Long’s record target.
Edward left the school in March 1908. In 1914 he obtained a B.A from Magdalene College, Cambridge, it is thought he studied either classics or mathematics. It is not known if he went to another school prior to going to Cambridge.
Sometime before 1911, Henrietta and her son had moved to live at Moorlands, Hyde, Fordingbridge in Hampshire. Hyde is a tiny village in the New Forest surrounded by moorland.The village is only 13 miles from Salisbury where Henrietta’s eldest brother Edward was a Canon at Salisbury Cathedral.
However in April 1911 at the time of the census Henrietta was acting as housekeeper for her brother Campbell Steward who lived at Harford Hills, Keswick, Norfolk and Edward, a student, was with her. Campbell along with his fiancee, Elise, was visiting his brother Edward in Wiltshire. Three weeks later Henrietta was a witness at Campbell’s wedding in Southgate , Middlesex. Henrietta’s house in Hyde, Fordingbridge at the time of the census was listed as being in her name but as her being away.
Edward enlisted on 10th August 1914 in Fordingbridge as a private in the 7th Hampshire Regiment. He is recorded as being the first to sign up in Fordingbridge. He was twenty two years old and he was 5 feet 9 inches tall with good vision. He was not employed but of independent means. He transferred to 11th Battalion.,The King’s Liverpool Regiment (Pioneers) on 26th August 1914. By the end of 1915 he is recorded as being a 2nd Lieutenant, he later became a Temporary Captain. The regiment landed in France on 30th May 1915.
On 9th August 1916 he was admitted to 20th General Hospital, Camiers as he was slightly sick. He was transferred on the same day to 39th General Hospital in Le Havre. He was not discharged from hospital until 5th October 1916.
He was admitted to 12th Stationary Hospital at St Pol with a slight temperature on 31st December 1916. By 5th January 1917 he was well enough to return to his unit.
He was awarded a military cross whilst acting as a Temporary Captain. This was reported in the supplement of the London Gazette on 4th June 1917. This was awarded in the King’s Birthday Honours for his pioneer work. His Commanding Officer later wrote about him” he was a brave man, who was always ready to do any piece of work given to him, and he always did it”
The type of education he had received at Abbotsholme school may have prepared him well for being an officer in the Pioneers. He was used to working with his hands as well as using his brain.
Frederick Edward Long was killed on 24th August 1917, south of the Menin road, Hooge, Belgium. He is buried in The Huts Cemetery Ieper, Belgium.
His mother wrote to the War Office on 15th September 1917 asking that his effects be sent as soon as possible as she wanted his cap and spurs for a memorial service that was to be held on 20th September. The effects had been dispatched on 6th September 1917 to a shipping agency in London. These included the following; a silver cigarette case, photo wallet and photos, papers and stamps, pocket wallet, chequebook, photo case and photo, wrist watch and strap, fountain pen and clip, identity disc and chain, cigarette holder in case, advance book and a small strap. She also eventually received, when probate had been granted in April 1918, £156. 19s. 11d in back pay. Edward’s estate was worth £1220. 5s.1d and was left to his mother.
Henrietta ,Long wrote again to the War Office requesting that her son receive the 1914-15 Star as he had served in France in 1915. He was awarded the 1915 Star as well as the British and Victory medals.
In August 1920, Dr Reddie, the headmaster of Abbotsholme, visited Mrs Long in Fordingbridge and a letter which he wrote her in 1922 thanked her for her kindness
It had been decided in June 1919 that a war memorial should be made at the school in the form of an altar-piece. However strikes in Italy at the marble quarries and the docks had meant that they were unable to obtain a large enough piece of marble until 1922. In April 1922 Dr. Reddie wrote to Mrs Long asking which of her son’s names should be put on the memorial as there would not be enough room for both. Unfortunately the letter was returned to the school as Henrietta no longer lived at that address. Contact must however been made with her as in September 1922 she made a donation of £5. 5s. 0d towards the cost of the memorial. Her address was then given as Shipton Wood near Tidworth. There must have been a change in the design of the memorial as the finished one records both of his names.
In 1924 Henrietta Long married her cousin Letitia’s son, Alfred Ernest Swann. She was 68 years old and he was 44 years old. She died in Christchurch Southampton in 1937 leaving an estate of £7,502.
Frederick Edward Long is remembered in Saxlingham Nethergate because of his mother. She not only lived there as a child but was the sister of both Reginald and Campbell Steward who both at times owned and ran the estate in the village. She seems to have been very close to her brother Campbell and his wife Elise. His widow, Elise Steward, donated the Roll of Honour in Saxlingham Church at the same time as she gave the Chancel Screen in memory of her husband.
Frederick’s cousin Arthur Amyot Steward is also on the Roll of Honour.
Not only is Frederick Long on the Church war memorial but his name is also on memorials in Hyde, in Fordingbridge, in the school chapel at Abbotsholme, in the college chapel at Magdalene College, Cambridge and on a bronze plaque in Woodton church. The bronze plaque is also in memory of his grandparents Frederick and Sarah Long.
Census records: 1861,1871 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
UK soldiers who died in the Great War 1914-18
British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards 1914-1920.
Papers from Saxlingham Nethergate Church Chest now deposited at Norfolk Record Office.
Transcripts of Saxlingham Nethergate Marriage Records by Mary Muir
Service Records of Frederick Long; National Archives. www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
The inheritance of Cecil Reddie. The proceedings of a Symposium held on board HQS Welllington, London 1st September 1988.
Cecil Reddie and Abbotsholme; Giesbers, J.H.G.I. 1970
Abbotsholme School Archives. www.abbotsholme.co.uk
Grateful thanks to Natalie Wood, librarian at Abbotsholme School 2013 and Ian Housley-Tatton, librarian at Abbotsholme School 2014, for copies of letters, magazines, records, photographs and other information concerning Frederick Edward Long and his family.
Thanks to Dr. Hyam, College Archivist, Magdalene College, Cambridge for information about the Military Cross.
Photograph of Fordingbridge war memorial, courtesy of Anthony Light and Councillor Ann Sevier.
Cemetery photographs- Jeff Fox