John Bartholomew Aldwinckle

Name John Bartholomew Aldwinckle
Corps Royal Navy
Rank Able Seaman   
Service No. Bristol Z/5448
Date/Place of entry
Date of death 1955

John Bartholomew Aldwinckle was the only surviving son of William Edwin Aldwinckle and his wife Elizabeth nee Dixon.  John’s elder brother Cecil died in infancy but he had three sisters who reached adulthood. His sister Alice married John Wilden who was killed in action in 1918. His sister Lillie married Herbert Almond, licensee of the Royal George and wartime member of the Royal Army Service Corps. After the death of her husband, Alice Wilden married Herbert’s brother, Osborne Almond.

The Aldwinckle family was one of Cottingham’s oldest. One of my most distant ancestors was an Aldwinckle and his will shows the family was established in Cottingham before 1500. The 1524 Tax Assessment lists six Aldwinckles and the name remained prominent in village records well into the nineteenth century. Some Aldwinckles (not mine, sadly) were among Cottingham’s wealthier yeomen in Elizabethan and Stuart times. For example, a John Aldwinckle of Cottingham bought the manor of Nevill Holt near Drayton, in 1672;  it was sold a century later to the Watsons of Rockingham Castle.

By 1900 their number was considerably diminished but many individuals can be traced back to the village. Particularly relevant to this website, all but one of the fifteen Aldwinckle deaths listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for both World Wars can definitely be identified as descendants of the Cottingham family.

(In the 1770s the family of the remaining soldier, Albert Frederick Aldwinckle, lived in Drayton, a tiny village a couple of miles across the Welland Valley. He is highly likely to descend from Henry Aldwinckle of Cottingham who settled in Drayton earlier in the century but I have not seen a baptismal entry.)

The name in all its variants derives from the village of Aldwinckle near Thrapston and in the 1600s Cottingham had by far the highest concentration in Northamptonshire of people bearing it. Under Henry 1st the De Aldwinckles were a knightly family but lost this status, dropping the De from the name during the reign of Henry V.  

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, some of the Aldwinckles remaining in Cottingham were still substantial landowners and tradesmen. As well as many acres of farmland across the parish their properties included Stonepit Close, Cottingham corn mill, and twelve cottages in Barrack Yard. By comparison, other Aldwinckles had come down in the world.

John Bartholomew’s family was one of the latter. His father William Edwin (afterwards always listed as Edwin in official records) was born in 1853, one of ten children of Bartholomew Aldwinckle and his wife Eliza nee Reynolds. At that time Bartholomew was living in Church Street, farming sixty acres of land and employing two farm labourers. He had inherited the land upon the death of his father Henry in 1842. Henry’s substantial copyhold estate included a farmhouse, several cottages, various closes across the village from Rockingham to East Carlton, and the pasture land of the Dale.

The estate was broken up in 1845.  Bartholomew’s eldest brother Thomas lived in the Nook on Corby Road and farmed seventy five acres. Another brother, Henry lived close to Bartholomew on Church Street and described himself on the 1851 census as a retired farmer despite being just thirty three. Bartholomew’s twin Vincent was an innkeeper in Rothwell. Two of their surviving sisters got married by special licence, usually a sign of social standing.
So in 1851 this Aldwinckle branch looked prosperous. However, Bartholomew must have got into financial difficulties as ten years later he was himself a farm labourer and his eldest sons, aged nine and eight, were earning money as bird scarers.

In 1871 the family were living on Blind Lane near the top of Barrack Yard. Bartholomew was still a farm labourer and now had seven children. His sons William Edwin, Cecil and John were also farm labourers. In 1881 Bartholomew, his wife and the younger children were back in Church Street. William Edwin had got married in 1876 to Elizabeth Dixon from Corby and the young couple with their two daughters Mary and Lily were living next door to his parents.

William Edwin and Elizabeth’s first son Cecil Edwin lived only months. Their second son John Bartholomew was born in 1883, followed by another daughter, Alice in 1888. In 1891 they had moved round the corner into a cottage in Water Lane, sandwiched between carpenters Lewis Binley and Edward Binley, where they lived for the next twenty years.

In 1901 John Bartholomew was employed as a labourer like his father. He got married in 1909 to Flora Gudgeon of Heyford, a blast furnace man’s daughter, and the couple moved to Dag Lane (now School Lane). The marriage was short lived as Flora died in the late spring of 1914, shortly before the start of the war. He married Alice Lewis in the autumn of 1917. No children have been traced from either marriage.

The only reference to a John Bartholomew Aldwinckle in World War I records is in the Medal Rolls, where he is listed as Able Seaman in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve on HMS Bristol. There is no other service record but equally I can trace no other man in the UK with this set of names so it must refer to the Cottingham man.

HMS Bristol was a light cruiser built for the Royal Navy in the 1910s and intended to be used as a long range cruiser. When the First World War began the ship was in the West Indies where she engaged the German raider Karlsruhe. Then in early December she formed part of the squadron sent to hunt down Admiral Maximilian von Spee and avenge the defeat at the Battle of Coronel; Arthur Stokes of Drayton was one of those who died when his ship went down at Coronel. Whether John Bartholomew was already serving on the ship we don’t know.

HMS Bristol was transferred to the Mediterranean the following year and then served in the Adriatic from 1916 to 1917. She returned to the coast of South America in 1918 was then put into reserve in June 1919. She was scrapped two years later.

John Bartholomew’s father William Edwin died in February 1918 and left a will which described him as a farmer. Probate of his estate, which totalled just under £350, was granted to the recently married John Bartholomew and to William Reynolds, another farmer whose wife was an Aldwinckle. John Bartholomew’s brother in law John Wilden was killed in action in France three weeks later leaving a widow and infant daughter, and his mother Elizabeth died in September. Probate of her estate of £698 was again granted to John and William. It must have been a tumultuous few months.

John Bartholomew is listed in the1939 census as a hay brusher living in Middleton Main Street. He died in on 23rd December 1955 in Kettering Hospital. Letters of administration of his estate of four and a half thousand pounds, a substantial sum in 1955, were granted to a George William Lewis of Leicester, presumably a relative of his wife Alice Maud. His address was given as the Vine House, Middleton. Alice Maud died four months later in Loughborough.

The following list gives the names of all known servicemen who were descended from Aldwinckles living Cottingham and Middleton in the nineteenth century.

(I also have information on a further five servicemen descended from the Aldwinckle family of Drayton in Leicestershire whose ancestors moved there from Cottingham in the eighteenth century. They are Ernest Aldwinckle, George Harry Aldwinckle, William Harold Aldwinckle, Herbert Aldwinckle and William James Aldwinckle. Please contact me <> if you would like to know more.)

Servicemen descended from Thomas Aldwinckle (1816-1899):
William Augustus Aldwinckle, Ralph Aldwinckle and Ernest Henry Aldwinckle.

Servicemen descended from Henry Aldwinckle (1770-1842):
John Bartholomew Aldwinckle, Charles Henry Aldwinckle, Arthur Edwin Aldwinckle, Frederick Wade Coles, Albert Edward Aldwinckle, Archibald Aldwinckle, Frank Aldwinckle, Harry Aldwinckle, William John Aldwinckle,  Harry Aldwinckle, George Robert Aldwinckle, Thomas Aldwinckle and Walter Aldwinckle.

Servicemen descended from William Aldwinckle (1807-1891):
Bartle Essex Aldwinckle, Charles Reginald Burdett, Alfred Norman Burdett and William Edward Burdett.

Servicemen descended from John Aldwinckle (1817-1884):
John Aldwinckle, Percy Aldwinckle, Henry Aldwinckle and Bernard Aldwinckle.