Coastguard Families

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In 1851, ten coastguard men and their families were living at the Warbarrow Coastguard Station. The Coastguard in charge was William Lidderdale. In total 43 people were living at the station.

In 1861, eight coastguard men and their families were living at the Warbarrow Coastguard Station. The Coastguard in charge was John Wingent. In total 36 people were living at the station.

In 1865, Charles Baker, Thomas Chope, William Dunn, John Hickey and ? Purnell were drowned. Each left a widow and a total of 19 children lost their father.

In 1871, eight coastguard men and their families were living at the station. The Coastguard in charge was George Blunden. In total 40 people were living at the station.

In 1874, William Skinner aged 41, William Bennett aged 38 and Henry Stroud aged 48 lost their lives. Each left a widow, two of whom were expecting, and a total of 18 children lost their father.

In 1881, seven coastguard men and their families were living at the station. The Coastguard in charge was Edward Newbery. In total 35 people were living at the station.

In 1886, Edward Newberry, William Marshall and James Sullivan lost their lives. Each left a widow and a total of 15 children lost their father. 

In 1891, seven coastguard men and their families were living at the station. The Coastguard in charge was John Peek. In total 30 people were living at the station.

On 2 February 1894 William Sparrow was appointed as Chief Boatman in Charge.

In 1901, seven coastguard men and their families were living at the station. The Coastguard in charge was John Johns. In total 30 people were living at the station.

A total of eleven coastguards were married at Tyneham Church with eight of these in the ten year period 1841-1850.

A total of 84 coastguard children were baptised at Tyneham Church.

  • 1841-1850 = 18
  • 1851-1860 = 23
  • 1861-1870 = 13
  • 1871-1880 = 13
  • 1881-1890 = 5
  • 1891-1900 = 10
  • 1901-1903 = 2

Grebbell


George Grebbell (1822-1900)

George Grebbell was born at Stonehouse in Plymouth, Devon in 1822 and joined the Coastguard Service on 19 July 1841 at the age of 19. He married Jane Moore (1828-1884) at Stonehouse in 1847.

In 1852, George and Jane were at Kimmeridge and had a son, Frederick John Grebbell baptised there. Unfortunately he died shortly after birth.

By 1855, George and Jane had moved to Kimmeridge Coastguard Station with their two children, George Moore Grebbell (1853-) and Edwin John Grebbell (1854-1931), both born in Devon. By the time of the 1861 Census, George and Jane had three more children, Francis William Grebbell (1856-), Emily Grebbell (1858-1941) and Frederick Grebbell (1861-). living in the Coastguard Cottages.  The 1861 census listed Francis William as Thomas William. George and Jane had three more children, all born at Kimmeridge: Harriett Grebbell (1862-), Phoebe Caroline Grebbell (1863-1872) and Annie Jane Grebbell (1866-).

George moved from the Coastguard Station at Kimmeridge to the Coastguard Station at Worbarrow Bay, and six of their children attended Tyneham School. The school log for 22 November 1872 notes that ‘one of the 3rd Standard girls died from brain fever after a fortnight’s severe suffering – much regretted by all’. Although not named, the 3rd Standard girl was Phoebe Caroline Grebbell. She was just 9 years old. She was buried at Tyneham on 28 November 1872 (see burial entry below).

Phoebe was the subject of an article that appeared in Dorset Life magazine in July 2010 entitled ‘A funeral at Tyneham’ written by Ivan Ruff.

George Grebbell left the Coastguard Service on 30 April 1873, less than six months after daughter Phoebe’s death. The family returned to Plymouth. George’s wife Jane died in 1884 and two years later George married Mary Ann Harris. George died in 1900 and Mary Ann in 1910.

George and Jane’s son George Moore Grebbell married Fanny Louisa Ridout, daughter of John and Elizabeth Ridout (nee Bartlett) of Tyneham. They had a daughter Annie Elizabeth Grebbell who was baptised at Tyneham on 30 July 1882. Fanny was widowed by 1891 and Annie died in 1893 aged 11.

George and Jane’s daughter Emily Grebbell married William James Geddes (1887-1939). Sadly Emily was killed in the bombing raids carried out on 29 April 1941 over Plymouth, along with her daughter Emily Elizabeth Glanville and son-in-law Arthur Charles Glanville.


Tripcony


Anthony Martin Tripcony (1820-1889)

My Great-Great-Grandfather Anthony Martin Tripcony (1820-1889) from St Keverne, Cornwall, was employed in the coastguard service in Worbarrow in the 1850s, just after marring Harriet Griffin on the Isle of Wight. The first four of their children were baptised in Tyneham Church: Seth in 1853, Elizabeth & Harriet in 1856 and my Great-Grandmother Susannah in 1858. Susannah married Alfred Tadd (1858-1895) in Chichester on Christmas Eve 1880 – she had 5 children: Edward, William, Ernest, Ellen (my Grandmother) & Rosa. Susannah died in Portsmouth on 11 Sept 1926. I found it an extra special place to visit a few years ago and must return soon.

Colin Adams, May 2015

Wickerson


Herbert Frederick ‘Bert’ Wickerson (1870-1942)

Bert was born on 6 December 1870 at Willingdon, Sussex and baptised there on 5 February 1871. His father Henry was a Rural Messenger. By 1881 the family were living at 5 Old Market, Caves Road, St. Leonards-on-Sea.

Herbert Frederick 'Bert' Wickerson, (1870-1942) formerly chief boatman at Worbarrow Coastguard Station near Tyneham

Unmarried men were rare at the Worbarrow [coastguard] station and caused a flutter in the Tyneham dovecotes when they joined the strength. One such disturber of the peace, Bert Wickerson, was Worbarrow’s chief boatman for a number of years.

Lilian Bond

Page last updated: 23 July 2021

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