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Norman Wrighton

1879 - 1917
Actor, Author, Dramatist Playwright, Poet & Music Hall Artist.
Plus recruiter of men for the War Office.
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So what does Norman Wrighton mean to Mattishall?
Author of 'An Anglers Ode to Norfolk & Country Life'
The above hand written poem was found among the few personal effects of 'Private Sydney Marshall Cole.' They had been returned to the family after he paid the ultimate price, 'Killed in Action' on March 19th 1917.
As was the custom the ministry returned all personal effects to the family. Over the passage of time many of these effects have been lost but these three small pieces of paper containing a poem of ten verses were lovingly kept in a tin for nearly one hundred years. They are now treasured by his great niece who still lives in the village. It is a poem of Mattishall and from the appearance of the paper has been read many times. It is not hard to imagine young Sydney at a low ebb in the trenches pulling this poem from his wallet, maybe reading it by candle light in a hope of transporting himself back to much safer times. Sadly for Sydney those dreams were never to be. Although the poem is signed little has ever been known about the author or how he was connected to Mattishall as he was only ever known by his stage name' Norman Wrighton'. After much research and with the aid of the internet and military records we can now reveal his true identity earning him a place in Mattishall's Village History. I am sure it would give him much pleasure to know his few scribbled lines were read as part official opening day in 2014 of the new Mattishall War Memorial now situated on the village green opposite the doctors surgery.

Update: Since writing the above and following a lot more research it has come to light 'Norman Wrighton' had been more familiar with our area then first thought. Searching old newspapers and documents have confirmed he must have spent quite a lot of time here, maybe with his mother's family, of his wife's parents the Norton's. During one two week visit to Norfolk he hired a horse drawn caravan and spent the time traveling round local villages. He put his love for the area on paper in diary form, which he affectionately titled ''THE CALL OF NORFOLK'

NORMAN WRIGHTON was born on June 27th 1879 , his birth registered at Cannock Staffordshire in the September quarter.
Officially recorded as Frank Henry Wrighton – son of Thomas Henry Garland Wrighton (1845) a Chemist and Dentist born at Dublin, Ireland, although he was not of Irish decent, and his wife Mary Jane Gayford Abbott (1852) born at Shipdham, Norfolk.

Note: As his birth name is Frank Henry Wrighton this will be shown as all records state but for all other purposes we will refer to him on this page by his stage name: 'NORMAN WRIGHTON'

Norman married Winifred Bernice Norton on June 26th 1905 at Registrars Office. Broad Street, Bloomsbury, London, her sister Frances was a witness. Winifred was born on December 14th 1877, the elder daughter of Frederick Norton a Carpenter and Land Owner of Mattishall Burgh and his wife Martilda Ellen Harris born at Camben Town London.

Nothing is known of Norman's schooling but as his father was a professional man we could assume he was more privileged then most. In 1885 the Wrighton family had moved from Cannock to Buckhurst Hill, North London. By 1891 they were living at Bloomsbury Square, Bloomsbury, St Giles, London where Norman's father was described as a Dental Surgeon L D S Eng Registered. Norman was then 11 years old. Somewhere Norman became interested in the works of Shakespeare. It would be safe to assume it was possibly during some private schooling which would have been about this time in Norman's life.

In 1899 Norman joined the Imperial Yeomanry for military service in the Boer War (precise date unknown). Norman also said he spent a year on a cattle ranch in Western Canada - Nothing has been found to confirm this but we assume it was when he was in his youth before going to South Africa. It is wondered if he had family there. As mention he also states he spent four years in the South African Police. There is a service record to support this although in the notes it states 'Not detached to South Africa.' However in a newspaper interview he does confirm he spent four years as a South African Policemen and a medal has been found in an Ebay auction that could be his - Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902 medal inscribed 885 Tpr. F. H. Wrighton, B.S.A. Police.

More on the Imperial Yeomanry
On 13 December 1899, the decision to allow volunteer forces to serve in the Second Boer War was made. Due to the string of defeats during Black Week in December 1899, the British government realised they were going to need more troops than just the regular army, thus issuing a Royal Warrant on 24 December 1899. This warrant officially created the Imperial Yeomanry. The Royal Warrant asked standing Yeomanry regiments to provide service companies of approximately 115 men each. In addition to this, many British citizens (usually middle or upper class) volunteered to join the new regiment. Although there were strict requirements, many volunteers were accepted with substandard horsemanship/marksmanship; however, they had significant time to train while awaiting transport.

After Norman's Boer War military service ended it appears Norman tried the Police Force back home.
From National Archives records: - Register of leavers from the Metropolitan Police, as follows:
Frank Henry Wrighton – warrant number 88286 – Joined Feb 24th 1902, and left May 15th 1902 – Last posted to P Division as a PC

At the time of writing, it is thought that sometime at the end of the 1890's and early 1900 Norman met Winifred or maybe they new each other as children on a visit to Norfolk. They married in London however later several writings of Norman's were of Mattishall and is surround area. In 1901 Winifred and her sister's Frances and Matilda were staying with their mother's sister Eliza Harris who was a 46 year old spinster running a Lodging House at 7 Porteus Road, Paddington, now demolished. Winifred was then 23 and recorded as a Manageress in a Refreshment Depot, Frances was working with her.

It is not known how and when Norman got into theatre or where his desire for Shakespeare came from. Under his stage name ‘Norman Wrighton’ he is recorded as an actor, author, poet and playwright. He appears in the 1911 census using his stage name and gave his occupation as ‘Actor, Dramatist and Poet’ and his employer as Seymour Hicks, a prominent London performer and theatre manager. Norman was keen on making Shakespeare accessible to the public – including through open-air recitals in Hyde Park, and through recitals in the Music Halls (about which he wrote to the Times in 1910). He also wrote invasion plays – a genre designed to alert the British public to the threat of war in Europe and possible invasion of their country. The Stage Yearbook 1910 lists his sketch ‘Wake Up England’ being performed at the Empire in Leeds in February 1909. The previous year, February 1908 his play Britain’s Awakening (in which he also starred) appeared in the West End in London. Along side him was a Bernice Wrighton which we would assume to be Winifred. Perhaps Winifred also had an interest in performing on the stage. However as only one appearance has come to light so far it could be Norman talked her into it.

Norman's acting career appears to have been an on and off affair, we assume paid by performance so it would not have given him a steady income. During his career and from information taken from newspaper reviews he had supported and play alongside some very well known stage names of the time. The articles also shows a time when Norman reached rock bottom but it is apparent Norman had that show 'biz spirit' and adopted the attitude 'The Show Must Go On'. He took to street performing in the depth of winter to crowds queuing outside the London theatres. He did this for three months sometime giving seven performances a night before he was finally offered work.

When the First World War broke out Norman signed-up and became a strong recruiter for the army. It is said he alone recruited over 3,800 men. By joining the army it would have given him a steady income which must have been of some benefit to his everyday living. Norman suffered with lung problems and that time performing on the streets could not have done him much good. It is not known if Norman saw any military action but just over a year with the army he fell ill and was taken to a military hospital and sent to coverless near Cromer, Norfolk. After some period he was discharged from the army as being unfit for military service. Norman applied for an army pension which was approved and was transfered from Norfolk to a nursing home in Devon but within a few months he had a relapse and died on November 2nd 1917 age 38. He died in St. Barnabas’ Home for Incurables, Brocket hall, Haldon Road (under the care of the Sisters of St. John the Baptist) at Torquay, Devon. It is not clear if this was a military hospital at the time but it was possible that the south coast could give better air quality for TB. Norman's uncle Albert, who he wrote a play with, lived in Ifracombe although it is not clear if he visited as Ifracombe is many miles for Torquay. On Norman's army records was written:

'Well till a year ago, had Pleurisy and Pneumonia, following wet exposure. Improved, but Feb 1916 had another attack of Pneumonia. Thin and Wasted. Physical signs of older disease at upper lobe. Involvement left apex also. T.B found in Sputum. Not the result of but aggravated by exposure on ordinary military service.'

Norman and Winifred never had children. Winifred never remarried. In 1939 she is recorded as living in the Mitford Area. Then some 52 years after Norman's death her death is recorded at Norwich Outer age 92. Records have been found that following her death on December 8th 1969 her body was removed from Taverham (address unknown) and brought back to the 'Chapel of Rest' of 'Arthur Horne & Sons' (Funeral Directors) at Norfolk House, Dereham Road, Mattishall.

Winifred was laid to rest in St Peter's Churchyard, Mattishall Burgh, her ancestral home. For reasons unknown Norman's middle name is not correct. It could be that after 52 years no one actualy knew.

Headstone having a pointed top and lead infilled lettering, mounted on a plinth:

In Loving Memory of
WINIFRED BERNICE
Wife of the Late
NORMAN FRANCIS WRIGHTON
Born 14th December 1877, Died 8th December 1969
At Rest
Norman's name is incorrect - it could be that no-one actually knew as he had been dead 52 years

It was also found that Norman's brother's 'Roland Garland Wrighton' death in 1966 was also recorded at Norwich and Norman's sister 'Kathleen Mary Littlejohns nee Wrighton' also died there in 1961 - could it be that Winifred, Roland and Kathleen got together and were living locally?

TIMELINE & Newspaper articals regarding Norman Wighton.

1879: Birth record - Frank Henry Wrighton at Cannock - Sep quarter (6b 501)

Norman with his paprents
1881:
Census - Stafford Road Cannock, Stafford
Thomas H G Wrighton – Head – age 36 - Chemist & Dentist - Dublin, Ireland
Mary J G Wrighton – Wife – age 29 - Shipdam, Norfolk
Frank H Wrighton – Son – age 1 - Cannock, Stafford
Percy H Wrighton – Son – age 4months - Cannock, Stafford
Rosa Thrupp – Servant – single – age 23 – General Servant Domestic - Worcester, Worcester

Age 11
1891:
Census – 7 Bloomsbury Square, Bloomsbury, St Giles, London
Thomas H G Wrighton – Head – age 44 - Dental Surgeon L D S Eng Registered - Dublin, Ireland
Mary J G Wrighton – Wife – Shipdham
Frank H Wrighton – Son – age 11 – Cannock
May G Wrighton – Dau – age 6 - Buckhurst Hill
Kathleen M Wrighton – Dau – age 2 - Buckhurst Hill
Roland Wrighton – Son – age 1 - Buckhurst Hill
Anna Rusted – Servant – single – age 25 - Metfield, Suffolk
Jane Barnett – Servant – single – age 20 – Unknown

Age 19
This appears to be Norman

1898:
Jan 29 - Mr F H Wrighton, Passenger on board the ship 'Paris' departing Southampton for New York, USA with 253 other passagerd. Ships Master F Watkins.

Age 22 - Norman was home with family
1901:
Census - Bamford House, Harrow Weald, Hendon, Middlesex
Thomas N G Wrighhton – Head – age 53 – Dentist - Dublin, Ireland
Mary J G Wrighton – Wife – age 46 – Shipdham Norfolk
Frank H Wrighton – Son - single – age 22 - Cannock, Staffordshire
May G Wrighton – Dau – age 15 - Buckhurst Hill, Essex
Kathleen M Wrighton – Dau – age 12 - Buckhurst Hill, Essex
Rowland Wrighton – Son – age 11 - Buckhurst Hill, Essex
Lilian Colls – Visitor – single – age 22 – Lady Help – Ireland

Not sure if this is our Frank Henry Wrighton - year 1901
Stated his age was 23 years 5 months

First name(s): Frank Henry
Last name: Wrighton
Service number: 30299
Rank: Private
Regiment: Imperial Yeomanry
Literary references: The National Archives WO128. Imperial Yeomanry, Soldiers' Documents, South African War.
Notes: Did not deploy to South Africa
Units Unit: Imperial Yeomanry, Rank: Private, Number: 30299
Country: Great Britain
Record set: Anglo-Boer War records 1899-1902
Category: Military, armed forces & conflict
Subcategory: Boer Wars
 
The Queen's South Africa Medal (QSA) was awarded to Frank Henry Wrighton and Military Personnel who served in the Boer War in South Africa between 11th October 1899 and 31 May 1902. The QSA was the medal issued to all who served in South Africa until the end of the war in May 1902.

1903: Nov 6 - Avenue Theatre
Today at 2.30 and 8.15 - THE LITTLE COUNTESS - Norman Wrighton and others

Norman's mother died
1904: Death record – Mary Jane G Wrighton at St Giles – Sep quarter (1b 363) age 52

Age 26
1905: Jan 19th - The Daily News - page 8
When Mrs Langtry opens Terry's Theatre on Wednesday next with "Mrs Dering's Divorce" her company will be composed of the following ladies and gentlemen.
A list of actors is displayed with her footman is played by Norman Wrighton - A light comedy in three acts by Percy Fendall - Mrs Dering played by Mrs Langtry.

1905: - Jun 26 - Marriage at Registrars Office. Broad Street, Bloomsbury, London.
Frank Henry Wrighton married Winifred Bernice Norton at St Giles - Jun quarter (1b 1079)
Norman married Winifred Bernice Norton on June 26th 1905, Winifred's sister Frances was a witness.
Winifred was born on December 12th 1877, the elder daughter of Frederick Norton a Carpenter and Land Owner of Mattishall Burgh and his wife Martilda Ellen Harris born at Camben Town London

1905: Oct 14th - The Era - page 12
New Ealing Theatre - "As You Like It" - Shakespeare's Comedy - The attraction here this week is Mr Langtry's popular and excellent company in As You Like It, which has been admirably presented. Mt Thomas Kingston appears as Orlando, and his many prowess in defeating the wrestler Charles (impersonated with effect by Mr Norman Wrighton) gains much applause. The play was well staged.

It appears Norman was having copyright issues with his play
1906:
Feb 6th - The Daily News - page 5
"Englishman's Home" - New Claimant to the Authorship - Mr Curson's Reply - No Record a Wyndham's Theatre.
We have received from Mr. Norman Wrighton, at the Vaudeville Theatre, a copy of the correspondence that has passed between him and Mr. Frank Curzon on the subject of the rights in, the patriotic play, "An Englishman’s Home," now running at Wyndham’s Theatre.

Mr Wrighton’s letter opens:
"I beg to point out to you that my drama ‘Britain’s Awakening a forecast dealing entirely with the modern invasion of England by one or more foreign Powers, having being duly passed by the Lord Chamberlin, and registered as a stage play, was produced by me at the Royal West London Theatre on February 8th 1906. A report on this production you will see in the ‘Era’ of February 15th 1908. My play open’s in a Coastguard Cottage upon the sea coast, and the enemy landed in the fog and darkness precisely as is described in “An Englishman’s Home.” My principle character was also a Lieutenant. Shortly after production I sent this play to Mr Curson and received a reply that it was unsuitable to him or words to that effect.
My play was received with great enthusiasm by an audience of 1,500 people, especially in the scene when we got to the burning of gunpowder. I can absolutely lay claim to be the original author, of this modern invasion play upon the English stage.
Granted I am not a well-known dramatic author, but I think you must admit upon making carful inquiry of my statements that I am thoroughly justified in my claim that I now bring forward, especially as “An Englishman’s Home” embraces and touches upon the whole backbone and construction of my play……
Mr Wrighton received the following answer to his letter:
Dear Sir’ In reply to your letter, Mr Curson begs me to inform you that the play “An Englishman’s Home” was submitted to him by Mr Gerald du Maurier nearly twelve months ago, and was produced at Wyndham’s Theatre in practically identically the same form as submitted. Your suggestion that Mr Gurson has annexed any of your ideas is entirely groundless – Yours faithfully, T B Vaughan.
Mr Wrighton rejoins:
I do not in any way question Mr Curson’s statement and the play “An Englishman’s Home” was submitted to him by Mr Gerald du Maurier twelve months ago; but my play was actually performed and copyrighted at about the same time, nearly a year before “An Englishman’s Home” was produced at all. It was actually in Mr Curson’s procession for about a fortnight at about this date at which “An Englishman’s Home” was first submitted to him, and he therefore had both plays before him simultaneously.
I am not questioning the bona fides of the author, who I understand wrote it when in South Africa, but it has been stated with some show of authority that it has been considerably been altered from it original form, and I maintain that the fact of my having copyrighted my play twelve months gives me priority of right, even if the many similarities which I have indicated are merely accidental. As Mr Curson refuses to acknowledge my position in any way, I shall take advice as to what legal steps I should take to vindicate my rights – Yours faithfully, Norman Wrighton.
Speaking last night to a member of our staff, Mr Vaughan, on behalf of Mr Curson, stated they had no record of any play of the kind being submitted to them. “We keep a most careful record.” He added, “and I cannot find the slightest mention of Mr Wrighton’s play in that record. I have found, however, from Mr Wrighton inviting us to see a ‘one-act play which was to be produced at the Royal West London Theatre for copyright purposes, and which he proposed to put on the halls. Whether it was produced I do not know."
It is not known how this was resolved.

1906: Jun 2nd - The Era - page 12
Kensington Theatre - The Drama in Six Acts by Charles Reade entitled "Drink" - The estimation in which Mr Charles Warner is held by playgoers in all parts of the metropolis is being fully proved by the large audiences. The Gouget of Mr Norman Wrighton is presented in straight forward fashion, and others........

Norman's father died
1906: Death record – Thomas Henry G Wrighton at St Giles – Jun quarter (1b 326) age 61

1906: Sep 29th - The Era - page 14
Terry's Theatre will be reopened this evening by Mr W H Nation with a compressed version of Holcroft's comedy He's Much to Blame and a ne musical play, entitiled Yellow Fog Island, the book of which has been written by Mr Arthur Sturgess. That admirable comedian Mr Charles Grove heads the cast of the first named piece, which also in cludes Messers Norman Wrighton and others.....

1906: Oct 6th - The Era - page 16
The usual weekly meeting of the Actors' Association was held - The council directed the secretary to to express their thanks to Mr Norman Wrighton for his gift of a framed engraving of Shakespeare for his study.

1906: Nov 10th - The Era - page 16
London Musical Club - At the London Musical Club, Hart-Street, Bloomsbury on Friday evening next, a musical and dramatic performance will be given, under the direction of Mr Gerald Stevens, who was for many years closely associated with the late Sir Henry Irving. The progamme consists of scenes from Shakespeare's plays, Mr Norman Wrighton, a clever young actor, who has for some time been zealously engaged in assisting to keep the gems of Shakespeare before the public, appearing as Shylock, and other roles. Mr Wrighton will be supported by Miss Daisy Murch. The proceeds will be devoted to one of the leading theatrical charities.

1906: Nov 24 - The Era - page 5
Advert Seeking Work - Mr Norman Wrighton, Shakespearean Character and Heavy Lead. The Actors Association. Agent: Blackmore.

1906: Dec 1st - The Era - page 21
British Empire Shakespeare Society - At the St James's Theatre Her Highness Princess Louise-Augusta of Schleswig-Holstein (Queen Victoria's Granddaughter) presented prizes for to several Ladies and Gentlemen who, in an elocution competition recently held under the auspices of the British Empire Shakespeare Society were adjudged winner by Mr George Alexander. Recipients - Mr Norman Wrighton and others.....

1907: Sep 7th - The Era - page 6
Aldershot - Royal Lesse and Manager Mr Clarance Sounes; Resident-Manager Mr J Gladwin - The Bondman is being presented in a capable manner by Mr Wenworth Croke's company. Mr Cecil A Collins is a talented actor, and his Jason is one of the successes of the proformance: Miss Grace Chambers is a capital Greeba; and Mr Arthur Bawtree depicts to role of Michael Sunlocks with good results; Mr H C Lanceley is an ecellant Adam; Whilst as Father Ferratt, Mr W H Rotheram is a great success. Messrs Norman Wrighton, F J Waller, and Scrope Quinton also do well.

1907: Sep 21st - The Era - page 14
Kings Theatre Hammersmith - The Bondman - Another Drury Lane drama in the shape of The **** has this week repeated its success at the King's to enthusiastic audiences. The tale of self sacrifice which which Hall Cane so powerfully and sympathetically tells has appealed to the suburban playgoers in no uncertain fashion with the result that the theatre has been crowed nightly. Mr Norman Wrighton made the most of the inhuman part or Governor Testa.

1907: Sep 30th -
Fulham Theatre - Norman Wrighton played in the cast of 'The Bondman' by Hall Caine at the Fulham Theatre and is Illustrated in the Journal Programme for the Drury Lane.

1907: Oct 5th - The Era - page 14
Grand Fulham - The Bondman - Mr Norman Wrigton played Govenor

1908: Jan 25th - The Era - page 16
A copyright performance will be given by kind permission of Mr William Bailey, at the West London Theatre, on Feb 4th of a new one act military drama by Norman Wrighton.

1909: Feb 13th - The Era - page 22
Negotiations are now pending between Mr Oswald Stoll and Mr Norman Wrighton for the immediate production of the sensational invasion sketch, entitled "Wake Up, England" which Mr Wrighton has adapted from his play Britain's Awakening, produced a year ago. An important feature of this stirring episode will be the singing of the national song "Wake Up, England!" by the same author, music by John Bull. The song, which is rapidly becoming popular, has been lately honored by the acceptance and acknowledgment of his Majesty the King and Earl Roberts. Mr Blackmore is negotiating all business for Mr Wrighton with reference to the above sketch.

1909: Mar 13th - The Manchester Courier - page 16
At The Hippodrome - Mr Norman Wrighton's patriotic Sketch, "Wake up! England" will be the principle item on an interesting programme.A fine, stirring piece of work, it is claimed for it that whereever it is played the recruting of Territorials is greatly helped. Madame Madelaine de Noce, prima donna from the Grand Opera, Paris, will also appear in excerpts form he repertory: while a scene called "Raindeers" promises to be a pretty affiar. Others engaged the clever Griffith Brothers: Neil Emerald comedienne: and Lydia and Amely's.

1909: Apr 3rd - The Era - page 9
The Olympia - Norman Wrighton and company afforded statisfaction with their playlet "Wake Up England."

1909: May 8th - The Era - page 18
The Paragon - Many excellent improvements have been made to perfectly conducted establishment in the East End of London. The house has recently tastefully redecorated throughout and the splendid seating accommodation and cosy lounge make of it one of the most comfortable houses in London - Mr Norman Wrighton and company present Wake up England! a dramatic sketch dealing with the possible invasion of our shores at some future time. Many exciting situation occur......

1910: Apr 8th - Sheffield Daily Telegraph - page 6
From the Streets to Boards Again - Mr Norman Wrighton did not play in vain to queues outside His Majesty's and other West End theatres. Finding himself hard pressed for legitimate engagements, the actor, a month or so ago, pluckily became a strolling actor. His Shakespeareans impersonations in the roadway at once invited the attention of waiting crowds, none of whom probably knew they were watching an actor who had played in companies associated with the late Sir Henry Irving, Sir Herbert Tree, Mrs Langtry, Mr Frank Curzon, and many others. Mr Wrighton now writes me to say his strolling enterprise has brought him several engagements the first being at Chelsea Palace on April 25th.

1910: Apr 9th - Sheffield Daily Telegraph - page 10
Norman gives an interview to the newspaper which gives us such a good insight of the man......

Actors Nobbing - Shakespeare at Theatre Door - A Courageous Struggle:
"Of course it was a terrible struggle. The whole thing has been to appalling for words. I don't like to talk about it a great deal." There was something in the voice as well as the mere words which told how deeply Mr Norman Wrighton felt his recent experiences as an actor playing Shakespeare to the queues outside the leading London Theatres.
It was not an old broken-down actor who was relating to a story of a courageous struggle against want to a member of our London staff yesterday. The man who to keep himself and his wife had given sketches in the open air at night, is only 30 and besides spending a year on a cattle ranch in Western Canada he has four years in the South African Police to his credit. That was before he became an actor, and during the subsequent nine years he played with some of our leading actors and actresses.
"I was unfortunately in the Strand Theatre fiasco in January" he stated, in telling how the dire need for his outdoor acting arose. "Previously to that I had a long spell of neuritis which knocked me out all last autumn but after I had secured the engagement in 'Richelieu' there I naturally thought things were going to be alright. When the theatre closed after only four nights, I left it with practically nothing in the world except what I stood up in, I had the large sum of twopence halfpenny to be quite correct. The next night I went out, and have done impersonations of Shakespearean characters in the open air on and off ever since until Mr De Groot, the well known agent, saw me, and is now taking me up."
Mr Wrighton has signed a contract to present Shakespearean sketches for a week from the 25th of the present month and if his performance archives popularity, as he confidently anticipates, a tour of the syndicates hall's managed by Mr Henry Gross will follow. Besides scenes from the "Merchant of Venice" "Henry the Firth" "As You Like It" "Richard the Third" "Othello" and "Hamlet" his repertoire will include a potted version of "Faust" done by himself.
Through The Mill:

"I've been through the mill" said the plucky young actor, relating his past engagements in London and the country. "I was at Drury Lane as an understudy in 'Becket' with Sir Henry Irving, first and best of all actors, and a master such as I have never served and never expect to serve again. Before that I had toured with Sir Herbert Trees company in 'Resurrection' and afterwards I played with Mrs Brown Potter, with the late Charles Warner in 'Drink,' Mrs Langtry, Charles Hawtrey, Mrs Patrick Campbell, and with Richard Flanagan at the Queens Theatre Manchester"
The bad state of trade coupled with the frightfully overcrowded of the theatrical profession stood in the way till now of the engagement which would have quickly allowed Mr Wrighton to quite the trying means of livelihood he adopted after the contretemps at the Strand Theatre.
"I played at night outside His Majesty's, the Hippodrome, Drury Lane, the Aldwych, Gatetly, Shaftesbury and Criterion," he said "Sometimes I gave as many as seven shows in the evening, lasting about a quarter of an hour each, and at the end of that time I was quite prepared to go home and kick myself. I've just managed to keep the wolf from the door, but it not the thing one would do if one could possibly avoid it. If it had not been for sheer necessity I shouldn't have. You have to face all weathers, and some nights especially in January, were pretty terrible, besides you've have all the noise of the traffic to compete against. I'm glad it's all over I can assure you."
He admitted it meant screwing up his courage pretty considerably to give these Shakespearean impersonations to the queues outside the theatres continuously for three months, except for a couple of breaks of a week each. But there was a wife to be kept from want. One of these weeks was spent at the Westminster Palace, where a performance offered by the manager, who had merely heard of his open-air sketches, promptly secured him a week's engagement.
"I found the public very nice indeed, attentive and appreciative," remarks Mr Wrighton, in relation to his out door experiences," "and I must say most of the police officers have been more than considerate in giving me a chance."

Visions of a Hit on the Halls:

With the opportunity which has after strees and trial presented itself, the young actor whose father, by the way, was a well-known dental surgeon practicing in Bloomsbury Square has visions of making a hit on the halls. "For several years I have been trying very hard" he said "In the interim between engagements endeavouring, mostly on concert platforms to popularise gems of Shakespeare, and the result I have had, although up to the present they have not been great, have proved beyond all doubt that there is a vast public for such a class of entertainment which the variety managers do not seem to have fully realised. I think there is a great desire for really good things not only excerpts from Shakespeare, but as has been proved by Barnsby Williams from Dickens, and not only that, but for material things as well. My absolute conviction is that the better the things you give them the better the music-hall audiences like them.

Never Played in Sheffield:
Sheffield one of the few town in which Mr Wrighton has not played has a big interest in the British Empire Shakespeare League and in the 1906 elocution competitions of that body Mr Wrighton was aware the prize by Mr George Alexander and Mrs Irene Vanbrugh. Besides being an actor he is also a playwright. Before his illness he ran a sketch of his own, entitled"Wake Up England" on the halls, and at present his dramatisation of Bulwer Lytton's novel, "Harold" is under the containerisation of Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree.

1910: Oct 23rd - The Era - page 23
Perils of The Mine - Sketch in one scene by M C Scott and H Saunders, Produced at the Chelsea Palace on October 18th. Playing the miner Mr Norman Wrighton

1911: - Whilst Norman was busy with his acting career Winifred was living back home at Mattishall Burgh. She shared a five room property with her sister Frances Norma Norton only a few doors from their parents. We can only assum that Norman spent his time going between London and Mattishall Burgh although all records show him in London....

1911: Census - 30 Paddington Green, Paddington, London
Evan Evans - Head - age 65 - Retire Dairyman - Tregaron Cardigan
Rosa Evans - Wife - age 55 - Boarding House Keeper - London St Abarystwyth Wales
Elizabeth Evans - Dau - single - age 26 - Female Assistant - St Georges London
William Evans - Son - single - age 22 - Clerk - St Georges London
David Evans - Son - single - age 20 - Clerk - St Georges London
Roas Evans - Dau - age 17 - Milliner Apprentice - St Georges London
Margaret Evans - Boarder - Married - age 92 - Landlady - Abertrenan Cardiganshire
Norman Wrighton - Boarder - Married - age 31 - Actor Dramatist And Poet - Cannock Staff
Cecil Marshall - Visitor - single - age 22 - Artist And Half Cricketer - Brisbane Oland
Henry Sencair - Boarder - single - age 27 - Physician - Pontypool Mon
Frederick Lovegrove - Boarder - Married - age 35 - Private Detective - Hanleck N Wales
Ethel Lovegrove - Boarder - Married - age 32 - Lincoln
William John Morris - Boarder - Single - age 27 - Student Of Medicine - St Clears Carmarthenshire
David Henry Griffiths - Boarder - Single - age 24 Student Of Medicine - Llangunnor Carmarthenshire

Meanwhile Norman's wife Winifred was living at Mattishall
1911:
Census - Mattishall Burgh, Norfolk
Winifred Bernice Wrighton - Head - Married - age 33 - St Pancras London
Frances Norma Norton - Sister - single - age 29 - Mattishall Burgh

1913: Jan 4th - The Era - page 16
Mr Norman Wrighton of Sir Herbert Tree's company, who has lately gone into poster and card designing, has had the honour of having his first published drawing, "The Spirit of Drake" accepted by their Majesties the King and Queen.

1913: May 24th - The Era - page 9
Mr Frank Henry Wrighton, an actor, was charged at the Hampstead Police Court on Wednesday with attracting a crowd of about 500 people on Hampstead Heath to hear him deliver Shakespearean recitations. A Policeman pointed out to him that he was causing an obstruction, but he would not go away, and was arrested. "I must live," he told the magistrate. He was fined 1 shilling.

1913: Dec - Norman Wrighton together with his uncle Alfred Wrighton wrote a play that foretold the First World War - To read some of the play click HERE

1914: Feb 21 - Thetford & Watton Times and People's Weekly Journal - HOCKERING
NAVY LEAGUE. - A meeting in support of the Navy League was held in the School on Friday. The chair was taken by the Rev Dr Kingsmill, who made some remarks on the changes since Nelson, and the equal need of maintaining our Navy. Mr Norman Wrighton, who represented the Navy League, gave an impressive address, after which he read a play, composed by him-self, to show the elect of a foreign invasion in an English village.

1914: Apr 25 - Thetford & Watton Times and People's Weekly Journal:
WHIST DRIVE – On Thursday 16th inst, a whist drive and dance was held at the Oddfellows’ Hall, in connection with the Women’s Unionist Association. Mr T Hoy, acted as MC. The accompanist for the dance was Miss Dunthorne (Long Stratton). Songs were sung by Mr Blyth and a recitation was given by Mr Norman Wrighton.

1914: Aug 29 - ENLISTED - Norman volunteered for military service in the 3rd Country of London Yeomanry and from all accounts was used for recruiting purposes as we see below.

Territorial Force: One year's Embodied Service at Home
Attestation of: Frank Henry Wrighton
Assignment: 3rd Country of London Yeomanry
Number: No: 1241
Born: Cannock Staffordshire
Age: 35 years 1 month
Trade or Calling: Author
Are you Married? Yes
Do you belong to any Special Reserve: Nation Reserve Class 1 X B.SA (British South African) Police.
Have you ever served in any other Armed Forces: Yes - Mid Norfolk Devision NR
Application: London August 29th 1914
   
Next of Kin: Winifred Bernice Wrighton
Address: 45 Warwick Street, Warwick Square, London SN
Particulars of Marriage: Winifred Bernice Norton, Spinster
Place: Registrars Office. Broad Street, Bloomsbury, London
Date of Marriage: 26/06/1905
Witness: Leonard G Balls and Francis H Norton

1914: Sep 9th - The Era - page 10
Profession with the Colors - Representatives of the professions, both theatrical and variety, have responded numerously to their country's call to arms. In accordance with a general desire, voiced by Sir Herbert Tree, Mr Cecil Maude, and others, we give below a list, of all ranks of those associated with the stage who have volunteered or been called up for sevice, or are aiding their country in other ways - Norman Wrighton Middlesex Yeomanry plus many others..........

Right - Recruiting in Armour: 11/12/1915
Daily Express - Sergeant Norman Wrigton dressed as a medieval knight, delivering a lecture on the war from the steps of Sir Irving's statue

Quite why he felt the need to dress in armour to deliver his recruiting speech in December 1915 is not clear, although he undoubtedly attracted greater attention that way (judging by a wider-angled photo of the scene, the crowd were mainly soldiers, though, which may have defeated the point somewhat). The statue in front of which he spoke is of Sir Henry Irving at the bottom of Charing Cross Road, behind the National Portrait Gallery. Earlier that year, another of his plays ‘Kultur’ was reportedly used by recruiting sergeants in the capital. Perhaps that is was what Wrighton was reciting in front of Irving’s stature, clad in armour.

We know from army records that Norman was a tall and slim man, being just short of six feet with a 36 inch chest. How long he actually lived in Mattishall is not known but judging by his poem (bottom of page) shows he had fond memories of the village and the surrounding area. He finishes with his name then His Majesty’s Theatre London S.W followed by Formally of Mattishall Burgh which seems to indicate he lived here for a while as apposed to just visits to see his wife's family.

 

 

 

 
Courtesy of
Look and Learn.com
- LINK
   

"Kultur"
If you attend any of the recruiting meetings which are being held all over the place just now you are bound to be impressed by the recital of a powerful play called "Kultur." The recruiting officers are reading this play to the public with fine dramatic effect. It was written by Mr Norman Wrighton.

Soldier-Author
I knew Mr Wrighton when he was a member of the theatrical profession. He has written several dramas and a number of ballads. He has seen quite a bit of soldiering, too, long before the present war broke out, as a member of the Rhodesian Police, which is a most military body.

1915: Jun 8th - The Western Daily Press - Page 9
Lord Roberts Too Optimistic - Trooper Norman Wrighton of the 3rd Reserve County of London Yeomanry, an actor, read a play by himself entitled "Kultur" at a recruiting meeting of the 6th City of London Rifles, at Trafalgar Square, on Saturday afternoon. The play deals with the invasion of this country and the atrocities committed on the people. Lord Roberts wrote to him and told him that he could hardly believe that any invader could be be guilty of such atrocities as were outlined in the play, "but," added Trooper Wrighton, "events have proved that these atrocities have been understated rather than exaggerated." One of the officers of the battalion said that the statement that recruits were being obtained faster than their equipment did not apply to the 6th City of London Rifles, for they had everything ready for a larger number of men than they could obtain.

1915: Jun 23rd - The Era - page 11
To Stimulate Recruiting - To The Editor of The Era - Sir, I beg to inform you that the scheme I have the honour to inaugurate, appertaining to the women of London weaving the flag and ancient standard of England, viz the Red Cross of St George, for their men folk to march under, has received the official sanction and patronage of the Royal Society of St George, of which as you know, their Majestic's the King and Queen are patrons.
The scheme is this, that every women in London and throughout England shall be asked to contribute 1d (one penny) to the weaving of this banner. Any money over and above of the cost of the actual banner to be divided as follows:- Half the balance to be utilized into providing little luxuries for our gallant comrades in the firing line, and the other half to raise a very necessary statue of St George for England in the heart of our capital city.
I am not asking your most potent aid for any self-glorification but you will, I am sure, readily realize in this hour of stupendous and supreme effort how much this emblem that has stood good throughout the ages means to the men and women of England to-day. yours faithfully Norman Wrighton - 3rd Reserve County of London Yeomanry

1915: Jul 1st - The North Devon Journal - page 2
Ilfracombe - Some interesting pictures appeared in the Daily Mail on June 16th of a young soldier addressing recruiting meeting in London. The speaker was Private Norman Wrighton, who, previous to enlisting, was an actor and dramatist. Private Wrighton has associations with this town, being the nephew of Mr Alebert Wrighton, Florence Villas, Toors Park

1915: Jul 17 - Daily Mirror
KULTER - If you attend any of the recruiting meetings which are being held all over the place right now you are bound to be impressed by recital of a powerful play calls "Kultur” The recruiting officers are reading this play to the public with fine dramatic effect. It was written by Mr Norman Wrighton, Soldier - Author. I knew Mr Wrighton when he was a member of the theatrical profession. He has written several dramas and a number of ballads. He has seen quite a lot of soldiering, too, long before the present war broke out, as a member of the Rhodesian Police, which is a most military body.

1915: Oct 23 - Thetford & Watton Times and People's Weekly Journal
Trooper Norman Wrighton, of the County of London Yeomanry, the writer of the above article, was formerly of the Rhodesian Mounted Police, and late of His Majesty’s Theatre, Drury Lane, Vaudeville, and Coliseum Theatres, London. He is also the author of the invasion plays “Wake Up England!” and “Kultur” or “Too Late” the play that foretold the great war or 1914-15 and the German atrocities, as well as of many well-known ballads, including an “Ode to Shakespeare” accepted by Queen Alexandra. Trooper Wrighton is a Mid-Norfolk man, and is at present engaged in recruiting in Norwich and the county. He has rendered excellent services in this capacity in Norwich where he was a familiar at the dinner hour in the Market Place.

1915: Nov 6 – Thetford & Watton Times and People's Weekly Journal
THE PLAY THAT FORETOLD THE WAR – This week we publish an interesting sketch of travel in Norfolk, by a Norfolk man, a native of Mattishall, who is now a trooper in the 3rd Country of London Yeomanry. Trooper Wrighton, who in his lifetime has played many parts, is just now busy recruiting up and down the country. Amongst other occupations he has both written and acted plays notably “Wake Up England” a production that did much to stir the latent patriotism where ever it was exhibited. Yet another play is entitled “Kultur” dedicated to the men and women of England by its authors, Alfred* and Norman Wrighton. Curiously it was written in December 1913, almost two years before the war broke out, and foreshadowed, with lifelike reality, many of the incidents that befell unhappy Belgium in the early stages of the struggle. Below we give and extract from the play which will give an idea of its forceful quality. The play was set in Mattishall
*Alfred was Norman's uncle (his father's brother)

To see what they printed of the play click HERE.

1916: May 29 - reported for being medically unfit for active service due to exposure and was discharged on June 14th 1916. Norman then applied for a war pension which was granted but on November 2nd 1917 he died aged 38. On his records was written - Well till a year ago, had Pleurisy and Pneumonia, following wet exposure. Improved, but Feb 1916 had another attack of Pneumonia. Thin and Wasted. Physical signs of older disease at upper lobe. Involvement left apex also. T.B found in Sputum. Not the result of but aggravated by exposure on ordinary military service. Although Norman was not killed in action I can't help but feel that he was another victim of this most appalling wasted of life and should be recognized for his service.

1916: May 31st - The Era - page 8
Theatrical Gossip - Sergeant Norman Wrighton, of the 3rd County of London Yeomanry, who has been seriously ill with lung trouble since February, has been discharged medically unfit for further military service, and is going to a convalescent home near Cromer. Sergeant Wrighton saw early active service in South Africa, and has obtained through his war lectures 3,800 recrutes for the Services. He hopes to return to the stage in the autumn.

Rank: Acting Sergeant (Private)
Regimental No: 1241
Name: FRANK HENRY (NORMAN) WRIGHTON
Regiment: County of London Yeomanry 2/3rd Bn. T.F
Date of Discharge: 14/06/1916
Age of Commencement of Pension: 36
Trade: Music Hall Artist
Address: Mattishall near East Dereham Norfolk
Character: Very Good
Born: Cannock Staffordshire
Pension District: War Office
Boards Decision: 15 shillings per week
Status: Married – No Children
Date of Enlistment: 29/08/1914
Cause of Discharge: Physically Unfit – Tubercle of Lung
Report of Medical Board Dated: 29/05/1916 – TOTAL DISABLEMENT
Chelsea War Pension Application: 15680

1916: Jun 19th - The Daily Mirror - page 10
This Mornings Gossip - A Fine record: Mr Norman Wrighton, the actor, writes to me from a sanatorium in Norfolk, where he is now staying. He has broken down in health and has been discharged from the Army as medically unfit. He tells me, however, that he hopes to return to the stage in the autumn. During the recruiting campaign Mr Wrighton secured the services of over 3,800 recruits by his lectures and recitations.

1916: Jun - Awarded medals -

First name(s) F H Norman
Last name Wrighton
Service number 1241
Rank Sergeant
Corps County Yeomanry
Service record Soldier Number: 1241, Rank: Sergeant, Corps: County Yeomanry
Archive reference WO372/22
Archive reference description Campaign Medal Index Cards and Silver War Badge Cards
Country Great Britain
Image link http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D6032128
Record set World War One British Army medal index cards
Category Military, armed forces & conflict
Subcategory First World War
Collections from Great Britain

Silver War Badge Roll Transcription

First name(s) F.H. Norman
Last name Wrighton
Service number 1241
Rank Sergeant
Badge number 161708
Enlistment date 29-Aug-1914
Discharge date 14-Jun-1916
Unit from which discharged 3rd Cnty. Yeo.
Cause of discharge Para 392 xvi King's Regulation Sick.
Record set Silver War Badge Roll 1914-1920
Category Military, armed forces & conflict
Subcategory First World War
Collections from Great Britain

1916: Sep 27 - The Era - page 8
CARRY ON! - A Ballard of the Somme by Norman Wrighton, Ex-Sergeant. Third County of London Yeomanry
Dedicated to his friend, Lieutenant, Nelson Ellis, Late B. E. Force, France.

Somewhere down along the Somme,
Way out there along the West,
There’s two magic words that tell,
Even ‘midst that worst of Hell,
They are neither very long,
But they make that grim, sweet song.
That echoes by the Somme,
Carry on!

When the corporal strikes a reef,
Of some rag-time bully beef,
Which, as its punctured, sings “loves old sweet song,”
Then, without a bit of fuss,
Hurls it to some German cuss,
Says – “He needs it more than us,
Carry on!”

When they lay out froze o’ night
In some ‘ole what’s got the blight,
And relief seems ‘twill never come along
Lord luv us! Don’t they pray
For the blighters who would stay
At home till judgment day.
Carry on!

The officers, all but one,
Have gone-beyond:
The sun sets grim and red above the Somme.
Than-that one shakes hands with death,
Tho’ with his last life’s breath,
To the sergeant on his left cries:
“Carry on!”

Tho’ ‘alf of ‘ems laid out,
There’s no thought-but ‘oldin out
Amongst the throng
Straight thro’ Hell, ‘cross “No mans land”
The others need a hand
To bust the German band.
Carry on!

Tho’ the earth with craters gape,
Ann all ‘ells knocked out of shape,
Where the five-nines roar the burden of their song,
Firm and steady thro’ the breeze,
From the orchard where stood trees,
Comes a voice. “Damn fate’s decrees!
“Carry on!”

 

1916: Army Records: - Latest address: 22 Alma Square, St John's Wood, London.
Alma Square is behind Abbey Road, which became famous in the 1960's when 'Beatles, Pink Floyd, the Hollies, Badfinger and others' used number 3 (formerly known as EMI Studios), now Abbey Road Studio's as their recording studio.

1917: Jan 31st - The Era - page 10
Mr Norman Wrighton writes from the Norfolk Ward, Albert Gallery, of the Brompton Hospital:- The above address speaks for itself "Am rather badly strafed" All will wish this popular young actor and enthusiastic recruiter a speedy return to health. (Royal Brompton Hospital London is the largest specialist heart and lung centre in the United Kingdom).

According to records Norman was admitted as a patient to St. Barnabas’ Home for Incurables, Brocket hall, Haldon Road, Torquay, Devon. St Barnabas was a T.B. home (one of many in Torquay) It was run by the same Order of Nuns as St Lukes & St Raphaels, Torquay was chosen as it was widely believed that the climate and clean air was a cure for TB. How he was transported from Cromer to Devon is still unknown. However he never recovered and died in the November 2nd 1917.

1917: Death record – Frank H Wrighton at Newton Abbott, Devon – Dec quarter (5b 162) age 38
Frank Henry Wrighton was buried on November 6th 1917 in grave number 2303, section K. Consecrated grounds of Torquay Cemetery, Devon.
He was the 4th of five people to have been interred in the grave which means it is a paupers grave with no headstone - What a sad end.
What is make it worse, Norman does not appear on 'The Commonwealth War Grave' records
In other words he slipped below the radar and missed out on the recognition and commemoration he rightfully deserve .
UP-DATE. I have given the CWGC, Norman's details, as his death does fall within their qualification period for inclusion - Here's hoping it will be successful.

Details from Death Certificate:
Died: November 2nd 1917 at St Barnabas Home, Torquay
Name & Details: Frank Henry Wrighton - an Actor, age 38 years
Registered Address: 45 Warwick Road, Warwick Gardens, London
Cause of Death: [1] Right Pleurisy 3 years - [2] Pulmonary & Laryngeal Tuberculosis
Informant: Katherine Peacock, Matron, St Barnabus Home, Torquay
 
Burial Details
First name(s) Frank Henry
Last name Wrighton
Age 38
Birth year 1879
Residence St Barnabas Home, Torwood, Torquay
Death year 02 Nov 1917
Burial date 06 Nov 1917
Parish & Place Grave No: 2303 - Torquay Cemetery, Devon
Cemetery location Consecrated - Section K
Document reference 4241-C-PR-1-7
Repository Devon Heritage Centre
Entry number 14734
Page no. 1843 - Devon Burials
 
Attached to the bottom of Norman's Pension Application: 15680

Man died: 02/11/1917
Origin and place unknown.
Well till a year ago, had Pleurisy and Pneumonia, following wet exposure.
Improved, but Feb 1916 had another attack of Pneumonia.
Thin and Wasted.
Physical signs of older disease at upper lobe.
Involvement left apex also. T.B found in Sputum.
Not the result of but aggravated by exposure on ordinary military service.

Permanent Prevents Totally for 1 year then ¾ Permanent. 10/01/1916 - Expires 14/12/1916
Letter from Man 04/07/1917 applying for an increase in pension
Pension increased to 27s 6d from 04/07/1917 - Exspires 01/01/1918

Was this refering to Norman?
1918:
May 3 - Wells Journal - BENEFTED BY SANATORIUM TREATMENT.
The work of the Wells Care Committee was reviewed in the following report submitted by Mrs. Crosse, the secretary:-
"During the year 21 new cases have investigated. Of these four received financial help from the Board of Guardians, five received milk from the Guardians, two refused to go sanatorium, three have been sent to Shepton Mallet Sanatorium, three to Cranham Lodge Sanatorium, three received help from private sources, one received help from the War Pensions Committee, and one was sent by them to St. Barnabas Home, Torquay. One patient died. - Was this Norman?

Footnote: We do know he had an uncle (Alfred Wrighton a retired chemist) who lived at Ilfracombe. However this is many miles from Torquay.

The following year his uncle would lose his son (Norman's cousin) also
Ilfracombe War Memorial.
Josiah Garland Wrighton (TF/200628) of the 9th Battalion, the Royal Sussex Regiment.
Son of Alfred and Martha Wrighton of 3 Florence Villas, Torrs Park, Ilfracombe. Born in Ilfracombe in the December Quarter of 1894. Died 24 March 1918 aged 23 - Josiah was a Journalist And Photographer.

Norman's brother Roland Garland Wrighton
1966:
Death record - Roland G Wrigton at Norwich - Sep quarter (4b 686) age 76 - Appears to be Norman's brother
Norman's wife
1969:
Death record – Winifred Bernice Wrighton at Norwich Outer – Dec quarter (4b 2281) age 92

The poem found in the personal effects of Private Sydney Marshall Cole

An Anglers Ode to Norfolk & Country Life.

Green Bowers that bend their glories to the brook
Where charmed with quite content I bait my hook
Far from the worlds tumultuous toil and strife
I quaff the joyous elixir of life
Nor envy no man while I yet may hear
The tuneful music of the rushing weir.

Oft by the rustic bridge at Mattishall
I’ve listened to the rivers gentle fall
And ever more its echoes back to me
Have borne the mystic voices of the sea
For those I loved who understand to rest
Have passed the golden floodgates of the west.

And that majestic landmark whose grey spires
No pilgrim passes but his heart and mires
Where get the curfew bell doth still resound
Ah could those stones but utter they’ve seen
Oh what a book of knowledge might have been

Within the circle of that little O
God ordained man to play his part and go
Natured the earth with human joys and tears
And left the echoes of a thousand years
To still instruct the busy passer by
The way to live and then the way to die

And when the Orb of day has passed the hill
Hockering church, have we not paced the rill
Started the sparrows from growing born
Or played a game of bowls upon the lawn
Or after labour idly sat at ease
And quaffed a measure at the old Cross Keys.

Within that famous hostel many a night
Have we not met each other to delight
Sung of John Barleycorn and pledged his health
Ten fathoms deep the source of England’s wealth
Their foreign wines and German beers are pale
Give us our measure of the nut brown ale.

Old and familiar friends so often met
And hope to meet again, some sad regret
For those we loved who shall be found no more
To dance a frolic on the homely floor
Let us then hold them dear while yet we may
Burying unkindness with dead yesterday.

To the dear Norfolk, till my soul forsake
My thought must lead me sleeping or awake
A little moment from the world to steal
And all the freedom of sweet nature feel
Dear homeland, my land where is there a pen
Can half disclose they grace to mortal MEN.

So for a while dear land farewell
Nor pen nor tongue my love for thee can tell
Exile has taught me in the crowded street
To seek they peace wherein my end to meet
Thy rural charms do far outré for me
Ambitions greed and social vanity

And this at least I ask of fickle fate
To quite this turmoil are it be too late
But if too late I fain would be interred
By some still pool, the speckled trout hath stirred
Where oft with reel and line tapering rod
I’ve been alone and nearest unto GOD

Norman Wrighton
His Majesty’s Theatre London S.W
Formerly of Mattishall Burgh

Courtesy of
Florence Buxton & Geraldine Sacker

 

Written in the December of 1913
The Play that foretold the First World War
by
Norman Wrighton
1915: Nov 6 – Thetford & Watton Times and People's Weekly Journal
THE PLAY THAT FORETOLD THE WAR – This week we publish an interesting sketch of travel in Norfolk, by a Norfolk man, a native of Mattishall, who is now a trooper in the 3rd Country of London Yeomanry. Trooper Wrighton, who in his lifetime has played many parts, is just now busy recruiting up and down the country. Amongst other occupations he has both written and acted plays notably “Wake Up England” a production that did much to stir the latent patriotism where ever it was exhibited. Yet another play is entitled “Kultur” dedicated to the men and women of England by its authors, Alfred* and Norman Wrighton. Curiously it was written in December 1913, almost two years before the war broke out, and foreshadowed, with lifelike reality, many of the incidents that befell unhappy Belgium in the early stages of the struggle. Below we give and extract from the play which will give an idea of its forceful quality. The play was set in Mattishall
The characters in the play are:
Andrew Warren, a retired merchant.
Karl Gottz, a German spy.
German Officer.
John Bullard, a yeoman farmer and lieutenant in the Yeomanry.
Mr Squarem, a working farmer.
Violet Warren, Andrew Warren’s daughter.
*Alfred was Norman's uncle (his father's brother)
Keep in mind the times this play was written in. It was meant to shock and stir up the emotions.

The opening scene is laid in Warren’s house at Mattishall. The characters concerned are discussing the merits of patriotism, and the possibilities of the realisation of the schemes which at which Gottz has diligently laboured for the cause of Liberty. Equality, and Fraternity, as exemplified presumably in the domination of Kutur. The conversation at length take the following turn:-

Warren (addressing John Bullard); this constant scaring of the community with a lot of wicked talk about German invasion in absolutely criminal! That’s what it is sir criminal. Mark my words young man, you are doing a lot of harm and making a terrible mistake. Wait and see, and you will have good cause to remember my words to-night. England will never be invaded by a Foreign Power in your lifetime or mine

(Distant boom of guns heard of. Buzzing of aeroplane is heard again, a flash of light illuminates the now open doorway, and shell bursts outside.)

Bullard: Mr Warren we have waited too long; we are now going to see, and God help us.

(The booming of guns. Two more shells burst.)

Violet: John! Father! all of you! The whole village is swarming with foreign soldiers. Already they have battered in doors of the church, seized the post-office, and set firs to the old malt-houses. Even now they butchering out men. Bar the doors and windows, quick, for your lives.

German Officer: Not yet, pretty one. You English have opened your great front door, and paid our satellites to usher us in. We’ve come in answer to your invitation; now we will keep it open for ourselves.

Bullard: Here is your passport dog!

(He rushes on the German Officer, Square with him, Bullard hits the officer in the face and snatches his sword, but falls riddled with bullets from the rifles of those outside. Gottz is captured and bound, so is Violet. Old Warren is knocked over the head and falls back where he is sitting.)

German Officer (to Gottz): Well, what have you done that you still live, eh?

Gottz: I have laboured day and night to help you. But for me you could not have got so far.

German Officer: Where were you born?

Gottz: I was born here in England but I hate her. I have helped to sell her. I have worked with you and yours for this hour. Sir officer, I now claim my just reward.

German Officer: And you shall have it. I promise you on my word of honour as a soldier. Once a traitor, always a traitor. Escort! Take this cur and shot him; but not here – outside.

Violet: Sir officer, as you have hope of mercy hereafter I beseech you to order your men to end my misery.

German Officer: Oh! no, my daughter of an English churl. You shall have a regiment of lovers, and everyone a foreigner. Ha! ha! ha.

(Violet moans and faints away.)

(Quick Curtain)

(Between scene 1 and 2 the distant guns are heard hoarse shouts, and the wild, terrified shrieks of the women and children, gradually dying down to absolute stillness.

SCENE 2

(The morning after: The dawn breaks on desolation. Broken furniture is strewn about. The ashes lie cold in the fireplace. Old Warren is discovered still laying back in the chair where he was beaten senseless.)

Warren (He stirs and mutters): Violet, my child, my daughter, Bullard! Gottz! Where are you all. No! no! it is not real, I dream! I dream! Ah!

(Warren relapses again over the arm of the chair. The single boom of a gun is heard far away. Enter Violet. She staggers into the ruined doorway, and looks straight ahead of her with a mad unseeing look of despair, then she rushes to the body of John Bullard.)

Violet: Speak to me, my beloved, for pity’s sake speak. Tell me you still live? No answer? Too well the murders have done their work. (She places her hand inside her tunic.) Ah! what is this? The flag of our dear country, the silken trophy I gave you on our plighted troth, steeped in your heart’s dear blood. (She raises and takes up the flag.) God save the King! God save England! God give me strength to still live on for England and for you. (She kisses the blood stained flag)

Warren revives a little and moans. Violet starts round and rushes to him.

Violet: Father! Father! Father!

Warren: Is that you my child?

Violet: Yes it is I, Violet your daughter.

Warren: What has passed, my child?

Violet: The invaders have passed; they have struck in the night, and England is invaded.

Warren: Ah yes I seem to remember. But are they not beaten back? What of our Army and Navy – are they not in the field?

Violet: Alas our all too little band of gallant defenders have been taken by surprise and un-prepared, and the invaders have swept over East Anglia, from the coat to Ely, almost unchecked.

Warren: where is you lover, John Bullard?

Violet: John is no more.

Warren: Dead!

Violet: Aye! Dead! Murdered by the Germans.

Warren: And our friends in Mattishall, where are they?

Violet: The men and children have all been shot or put to the sword, and the women violated by the soldiers.

Warren: And you, my child, my daughter? You have been spared.

Violet: From death, yes. But even death itself had been a mercy compared with the unspeakable horrors I have lived to see and suffer this night.

Warren: And this is the end of it all. Violet my daughter, my hour has come in ruin and desolation. Should God see fit for you to live on, live on for England; live on to avenge this hour. Should God give you a son, teach him before all else, to love his country and honour his King. Let his motto be – “Lest we forget”

Violet: Father I will.

Warren: England, my England! We have awakened at last. Sons of the Blood match on. For God, for Britain, and the Right.

(Old Warren falls back dead in the chair)

(Curtain slowly descends)

The acticle finised with the following:
[Note - This play cannot be performed in any hall of theatre without the authors permission.]

Norman penned the following on what was a two week fishing holiday in Norfolk.
It is penned in his usual poetical manner.
This has been copied from a very poor quality article so there could be some typo's
 

THE CALL OF NORFOLK - (Eldorado)
BY NORMAN WRIGHTON.
Author of 'Norfolk Ballads' 'Our Village' and 'Round About It'.

Many have from time to time sung and written the praises of Devon's glorious vales, of Scotland’s gorse-covered moors and the undoubted virtues of the Great Sothern Downs.

Many there are for whom the Continental retorts, such as for instance Nice, Monte Carlo, and the Riviera, spell the absolute Mecca.
To those that posses but limited means and who have as yet explored neither, as well as to the regular globe-trotter, satisfied with much journeying, do I, so particular pen these lines.

How very little the average Englishman really knows the beauties of his own fair country is a remarkable, but painfully obvious fact. Those who are fortunate enough to possess an abundance of the necessary wherewithal, and those possessed with the happy knack of acquiring it ad-lib, are inclined to follow the fashionable mania of travel here, travel there, travel almost everywhere to the uttermost corners of the earth, and in so doing, more often than not, quite over looked and ignore the fact that some of Natures most glorious handiwork lays as it were within a stone's throw of their own doorstep. To the world-worn voyager and the uninitiated I venture to extend this humble invitation to follow me through the heart of our dear Norfolk, to those gently undulating hills end valleys of Eldorado, so loved by Cowper the poet. George Borrow, and the late Dr Jessopp.

What human heart can e’er portray thy charms?
Far from the busy world's distressed and alarms;
There is a land a mortal may explore,
As well might sigh to leave thee never more;
Where Will o' Wisp at even doth delight,
To lure the angler into shades of night.

So gentle friends and piscatorial confreres, having two previous weeks before us in which to make our tour in Eldorado, and a moderate store of the necessary, hardly won, after twelve solid and dreary months of toil and blood-letting in the squalid environs of Babylon, we shall know bid farewell with joyous hearts to the enervating dinginess of dreary streets, and having taken our tourist tickets at Liverpool Street Station speed away per the Great Eastern Railway from the soul-crushing wilderness of bricks and mortar to Wymondham and the fields of light.

We are doubly fortunate in having been able to get away in June, for though at all times beautiful, even in the grip of winter, fair Eldorado appears now at its very best. The land and hedgerow are blithe with song as we speed on our way through Essex and Cambridge to glorious Ely.

We are leaving lovely Thetford Heath away to the right, and are well over the border into our fair and gentle Norfolk. The lantern tower of Wymondham Abbey sentinel like in its imposing grandeur, challenges our arrival. Eldorado is reached at last. We will an' it will please you, take a measure of John Barleycorn's good brew and luncheon with our worthy host and company at the Green Dragon and after a stroll round ancient Wymondham proceed upon our way in the caravan which is to be our home for two weeks. Our treamman and his horses are fresh and ready for the road, and wait upon our pleasure.

Since thou friend Orpheus dust process the happy art of conjuring sweet melodies, and as thou good Thespian const warble like the nightingale, we have promise of most excellent entertainment en route to while away the long night watches. I can assure you that your talents will meet with warm appreciation in Eldorado, for if there is one thing a Norfolk bor revels in, it is a good sing-song or a harvest frolic (to say nothing of a needle-pointing-deal or a stubborn fight.

But come, friends, it is time to inspan and be on the trek as they say in South Africa, so we will nay our footing and depart up-country. And now having left Wymondham in our wake and got fairly underway we approach the area-dian groves and beautiful woods of Kimberly.

You see now that my praise of our dear Norfolk was no exaggeration of a disordered brain for here Divine Nature greets us with the cup of life and bids us freely drain it to the dregs. We must pull up for a few moments by the bridge that spans the stream, for from this point of vantage we obtain a fine view of the lake and Kimberly Park, and since we possess a permit may, an’ it please you, angle awhile for trout.

Having made good progress we have arrived at Gregcraft on the outskirts of good old Mattishall, and beyond the bridge and under the shelter this high hedgerow and these friendly trees, we here will outspan and make our camp for the night. Always choose your halting places where you can obtain shelter from the wind, with an abundance of wood and good water if anyhow possible, and now as it is but an half an hour past eight o’clock, what say you to a stroll through Clint Green, and a visit to our old friend and worthy host Peter Reeve, at Ye Jolly Olde Cross Keys. Here I shall have the honour of introducing you to as excellent a company of sturdy and merry yeomen as you could find from Lands End to John o' Groats.

To you my good companions of the great white road, and to you true loving friends of old, I raise my glass and give you a toast.

“Here’s to a red, red Norfolk Rose,
Here’s to the men in buskin and brown,
Here’s to the land the good barley grows,
And here’s to the maid at the Crown,
Here’s to the John Barleycorn’s brave and strong
Here’s to a Norfolk bor’s pleasure,
Here’s to the frolic, and here’s to the song,
And here’s to the step of a measure,
Here’s to the day a’hunting we go,
Here’s to the gun whose praises we sing,
Here’s to the trout where the deep pools flow,
And here’s to a brace on the wing,
Here’s to the old friends of yesterday,
Here’s to the friends of to-morrow,
Here’s to dear Norfolk’s good old-fashioned ways.
And here’s to the drowning of sorrow.”
(Quoted from Norfolk Ballads)

Arise! Mes amis for it in a perfect day; look around, and you will observe that far down and away and over to our right, as we come to the top of the Long Drift lies that dear heart of Eldorado, of which you have often heard me speak in hours of long and weary exile. That garden of the Gods from which arise those famous and ancient landmarks the ivy clad towers of Mattishall, North Tuddenham and Hockering churches. But list! thou friend Thespian, and gentle Orpheus to the awakened droning of the bees and sweet carolling of the souring lark, to the seductive ripple of the brook to the great whisper of zephyr breezes rustling the hedgerow flowers and bending corn. Lend thine ears awhile to the perfect chorus of feathered life that so divinely blends each sweet sentence in the world of sound. Not here the sordid confines of brick and mortar wilderness, but the great soul inspiring expanse of Eldorado's loveliest scene, that priceless freedom of our dear England’s superb and matchless already by the very Gods beloved. Well may we ask:

“Breathless there a man with soul so dead,
That never to himself hath said,
This is mine own, my native land,”

But we must move to Swanton Morley. We are now crossing the main road to Norwich: And here we turn to left to right and are moving once again, so to speak, over the high veld. I have in days gone by tramped hundreds of miles over the South African veld and across North America from Quebec to the Rockies, but for simple homely loveliness, have in any part of the world beheld any scene to half compare with the one now spread out before us dotted as it is with those enchanting rustic homesteads so dear to an Englishman’s heart. May God for ever prosper agriculture, the gentle mother of all industries and shower His enternal blessing on the yeomen of our dear England. Another hour and we shall make Swanton Dial where we shall linger under the magic spell of sparkling eyes and sweet voices, to while away a merry hours with song and cheer. For here at Swanton and let me utter it in relevant whisper, shall your eyes behold two of the fairest maids in all Norfolk.

Ah, well: The best of friends must part, and I am, like you, more then sorry to bid farewell to such sweet company, but time bids us once more to be moving, if you would make where you may wet your lines like honest piscators before sundown. We are now passing down the hill beneath the shadow of Swanton Belfry Tower. Does it not seem the very home of sweet echoes and voices? For me this monument to the dust of past centuries always wears a lonely grandeur awe inspiring in its ancient nobility.

“So fare thee well lone sentinel of time,
That keepest watch through rain and shine,
The hands that moulded thy proud bust,
Long since crumbled back to dust,
Yet here have left for man to see,
An emblem of eternity.”

Since last in our dear Norfolk I have lost a friend in the late lamented Rev Cannon Hunter. a most kind and courtroom gentleman, one who will be greatly missed in our world of Eldorado in which he laboured, and which he loved so well. I would fain linger another hour or two at Swanton, but we have yet many miles to cover, and must pass on. Our road now dips into Lyng River Valley, where we will halt our caravan and enjoy some hours of sport with rod and line.

Yonder, nestled away amongst those trees over to our right is quaint and charming Elsing Church, and Just below it in the lovely park-lands, Elsing Hall of great historic fame and interest, for it was here that a gallant Norfolk Knight, Sir Hugh Hastings set forth to do battle many a time and oft during the reign of the third Edward.
I shall always feel deeply grateful to the ladies of Elsing Manor for the honour and privilege afforded to a lone disciple of Isaac Walton in granting him the joy of many a day's delightful fishing in this lovely land of romance.

Elsing Mill! and hard by our camping ground for the night. Could mortal man desire a better. Let us with our tackle to the stream. They are rising well to the fly. A lucky cast, friend Thespian, and by the Lord Harry a fine trout, sir. I have seldom seen a fish so game and full of defiance so well angled for.

Well friends, we have had excellent sport, and as the evening shadows are falling fast across the river, what say you to dinner, and after, a stroll up to the Mermaid? The moon has raised her lamp above, and I should point out to you an exquisite moonlight effect. Stand yon here by the portal of our hostelry, look now through the great window of the church, silver rays have illuminated its sacred aisles, for therein shall you observe some of the mysteries of romance land and catch perchance a reflection of unknown worlds.

Some rain has fallen in the night, but we have promise of another lovely day, for the showers have laid the dust, and will make our long trek through to Western and Ringland Hills all the more pleasant

No marvel our spirits and blythe and jocund, to be living in such a garden of endless charm and gladness. The very dewdrops on the leaves and hedgerows, glistening in the morning sun, outvie the rarest jewels of the East. What wonder our late King Edward, of blessed memory, so dearly loved his Norfolk, for is not this fair county the very soul of England.

“Dear land of endless pure delight,
What words can tell of my love for thee,
My Mecca through the darkest night,
My fondness, sweetest memory.”

We are coming to the charming little village of Western, where, at the famous White Hart, dear Mrs Bates our kind and worthy hostess has ever a cheery welcome for weary travellers.

And now, good Orpheus we have come to Ringland’s fairy country of hills and dales, to the very cradle as it were of sweet lullaby, in which thou mayest, an’ and thy soul be attuned, find solace and immortal inspiration. It is ever difficult in amidst so much that is exquisite to which particular spot one would award the term fairest and best of all, each possessing as it does so full a measure of superb and entrancing loveliness.

Here we descend the past Ringland’s wonderful old church and pass on through the village till we arrive at our camping ground beside the swift flowing waters of the winding river Wensum. Hard by us is the Swan, which for the next five or six days will is to be our rendezvous and house of call. Here of an evening you may take your class of John Barleycorn's excellent nectar, and with good rustic and convivial company, lend your ear to the tragic history of poor Mary Worm, and other blood-curdling and ghostly legends connected with the past and present mysteries of this-out-of-world village.

From here to the fine old city a Norwich Man is an easy cycle ride, if so be you feel disposed to spend a day its ancient boundaries. For myself, I shall be content to remain by the river with rod and line, as far from the busy throng as it is possible to be.

“Ah! thou fair Wensum that my heart adores,
I know not loneliness beside thy shores,
For thy sweet solitude, spells all for me,
Of life’s best gift and true fraternity,
Here have I friends who know and understand,
Who offer me the beat at their commend,
Here could I ever dwell and be content,
From all the world, and love my banishment.”

Having spent a delightful six days amidst the hills, we now set out for one of the last stages of our interesting and memorable trek, this time uphill most of the way, and across a grand stretch of county towards the historical and lovely old town of Hingham. But we shall make no further to-day than the gorgeous vale of Honingham, now opening out before us, where at that immortal relic of olden times, the Buck, where we enjoy an hour or two with our worthy host Mr William Grand, farmer John, and a host of noted celebrities that find within its historic precincts a world of merry fun and consolidation.

There many a four-in-hand has waited in days of old, and many a highwayman risked detection for a stirrup cup and a stolen kiss. I half believe fair mistress Fanny often regrets that in these prossie days there are no knights of the road left bold and gallant enough to claim so precious a toll.

Time our only task master upon this happy jaunt, reminds us know with painful exactitude that another sun has risen, and our days in Eldorado are now but few, so we must bid our good friends at Honingham farewell, and move on in our caravan across the lovely vale to Hingham Tower.

Once again as we claim the hills a gorgeous panorama, unending in its many and various charms, spreads out to us an irresistible invitation to linger, but we must perforce press on, and as we put up at the White Hart, the curfew from the grand and imposing clock tower of Hingham’s noble church tolls for all things living, the knell of parting day – a reminder to all men of their littleness and inevitable destination. Therefore, good comrades, let us while yet we may, drink deep of life’s golden cup, and appreciate to the full the bountiful gifts an all wise and merciful Creator hath showered upon our path.

Now we are moving off upon the final stage of our journey, wending our course around by Barford and Barnham Broom, where at the Bell we may enjoy yet another pause, and refresh under the spell of fair Norfolk’s magic influence. From Hingham to Barnham Broom the course of the country is one grand feast of beauty to the eye. I have purposely set out course hither to that we might spend and hour or two before leaving Norfolk with that best of good fellows, John Edwards, at the Crown and Anchor, Mattishall, under the shadow of Eldorado’s superb and most picturesque landmark.

As we near our enchanting village from the Thuxton Road, how exquisitely beautiful is this noble specimen of man’s handiwork. Posed in its graceful and perfect setting, it has always appeared to me to be potently symbolical of our dear England’s noble destiny, a silent witness to her past and present greatness.
Behold, good friends, the Mecca of an exile’s heart, the lovely sanctuary of a storm-tossed soul upon the ragging sea of life.

Within the sphere of it’s thrice charmed and blessed environment, where Echo hath drawn together the harmony of six hundred years, will we now pause in our journeying, to pledge a toast to England’s patron Saint, amidst such good fellowship, as you in after years shall happily recall while yet memory holds a seat.
Here, once more, we have known the keen delight of meeting our gallant and beloved old friend Sir Frederick, of Rockery Farm, and the happy fraternity of dear companions within the exclusive Cavaliers Club.

But, alas! the candles are burning low, and already the grey streaks of dawn are breaking across the Eastern sky.

Would it were our lot to abide forever in this oasis of unmatchable charm and rustic loveliness, but we to Dereham, for after a final loving cup at the Cock, we must perforce part form our good teamman and his caravan, and return by train to the hub of the world.

At least we will take back with us to the dull grey city the happiest of memories, and above all, the one great hope in our hearts, that we may in the days to come return to Eldorado.


Though, if perchance, Fate decrees otherwise, if perchance one of us here shall have passed th’ the portals of this battered caravanserai and but you are left, then do I request of a fellow cavalier –

“Lay me at last beneath some shady tree,
Midst Eldorado’s fair and beauteous dells:”
“Tis all I ask, so friends do this for me,
Here let me rest where silence only tells,
Then if perchance some ask, who fell asleep,
Within the garden that his soul adored,
Tell them: that one, for whom none need to weep,
Merely a player whom none need applaud:
And should thy ask, if any golden store,
He left? say none! but plenteous riches found,
If they ask where? and want to know some more,
Bide them pause here awhile and look around.”

Norman Wrighton.

Norman's Family & Census Information
NORMAN WRIGHTON - born Frank Henry Wrighton and his family

Ancestral Line highlighted in RED

Norman's grandfather
1810:
Dec 26 - Baptism at Aston Cantlow Warwickshire
William Parry Wrighton son of William Wrighton and his wife Maria Anne

1842: Marriage record - William Parry Wrighton married Ann Mary Garland at Birmingham - Dec quarter (16 465)

Ann Mary Garland was born in 1812 and baptised on December 28th 1813 at St Phillips Church Birmingham. The daughter of Thomas Garland a Clerk of Handsworth St, and his wife Susanna Edwards - they had married at St May's Church Handsworth December 27th 1808.

1851: Census - Cowick Street, St. Thomas Devonshire
William Wrighton - Head - age 39 - Wholsale Druggist - Stratford On Avon-WAR
Anne Mary Wrighton - Wife - age 39 - Handsworth-STF
Maria Anne Wrighton - Dau - age 15 - Dublin
William Frank Wrighton - Son - age 13 - Scholar - Dublin
Amy Wrighton - Dau - age 10 - Scholar - Dublin
Alfred Wrighton - Son - age 7 - Scholar Dublin
Henry Wrighton - Son - age 5 - Scholar Dublin - This is Thomas Henry Garland Wrighton, Normans father
Charles Edward Wrighton - Son - age 2 - London
Thomas Garland FatherLaw - Widower - age 69 - Retired Manufacturer - London

1851: Aug 13 - Baptism at St Thomas Church Exeter - Entry 413
Thomas Henry Garland son of William Parry Wrighton a Wholesale Druggist of *Cowick and his wife Anne Mary Garland
Other siblings were baptised on the same day Alfred (412), Charles Edward (413) Anne Mary (415)
* Cowick is a suburb of the City of Exeter Devon

1871: Census - 17 Bull Street, Birmingham, Warwickshire
John Reeves - Servant - single - age 27 - Chemical Assistant - Staffordshire
Thomas H G Wrighton - Servant - single - age 25 - Chemical Assistant - Ireland
Charles Shubottom - Servant - sigle - age 30 - Chemical Assistant - Ireland
Thomas Pattison - Servant - single - age 25 - Chemical Assistant - Shropshire, England
Elizabeth Newbold - Servant - single - age 61 - Domestic Servant - Leicestershire, England

National Archives: Dental Surgery and Pathology - Pass List - date unkonwn.
The following gentlemen having undergone the necessar examinations, were admitted Licentiates in Dental Surgery at a
meeting of the Board of Examiners on the 17th ult: - Thomas Henry Garland Wrighton

1877: Marriage record – Thomas Henry G Wrighton married Mary Jane Gayford Abbott at Cannock – Dec quarter (6b 697)
Mary Jane Gayford Abbott was the daughter of Jonathan Abbott born at Wretham, Norfolk in 1806 and who in 1851 was farmer of 174 acres, employing 6 men at Wood Farm, Church Lane Shipdam and his wife Charlotte Gayford born at Hockham in 1810.

MORE on Mary Jane Gayford Abbott

Mary Jane Gayford Abbott was born on May 14th 1852 and baptised July 11th 1852 at All Saints Church Shipdham, Norfolk, entry 475. The daughter of Jonathan Abbott a Farmer and his wife Charlotte Gayford

Mary Jane and her family
1861:
Census - Farm House, Near Church Shipdham, Norfolk
Jonathan Abbots - Head - age 54 - Farmer 174 Acres Employing 4 Men and 2 Boys - East Wretham, Norfolk
Charlotte Abbots - Wife - age 51 - Great Hockham, Norfolk
Dennis Abbots - Son - age 15 - Scholar - Shipdham, Norfolk
Woodley Abbots - Son - age 11 - Scholar - Shipdham, Norfolk
Mary Abbots - Dau - age 9 - Scholar - Shipdham, Norfolk
Hellena Abbots - Dau - age 7 - Scholar - Shipdham, Norfolk
Sophia Page - Servant - age 17 - Housemaid - Shipdham, Norfolk

Ten years on, Mary Jane's parents had moved to Hingham, Norfolk - No record of Mary Jane in this census
1871: Census - 1 Garden Street, Hingham, Norfolk
Johnathan Abbott - Head - age 65 - Retired Farmer - East Wretham
Charlotte Abbott - Wife - age 61 - Great Hockham
Dennis H Abbott - Son - age 23 - Shipdham
Anna E Abbott - Dau - age 22 - Shipdham

Thomas and Mary had children:
1879:
Birth record - Frank Henry Wrighton at Cannock - Sep quarter (6b 501)
1885: Birth record - May Garland Wrighton at Epping - Mar quarter (4a 291) - May was deaf & Dumb
1889: Birth record - Kathleen Mary Wrighton at Epping - Mar quarter (4a 308)
1890: Birth record - Roland at Epping - Mar quarter (4a 334)

1881: Census - Stafford Road Cannock, Stafford
Thomas H G Wrighton – Head – age 36 - Chemist & Dentist - Dublin, Ireland
Mary J G Wrighton – Wife – age 29 - Shipdam, Norfolk
Frank H Wrighton – Son – age 1 - Cannock, Stafford
Percy H Wrighton – Son – age 4months - Cannock, Stafford
Rosa Thrupp – Servant – single – age 23 – General Servant Domestic - Worcester, Worcester

1891: Census – 7 Bloomsbury Square, Bloomsbury, St Giles, London
Thomas H G Wrighton – Head – age 44 - Dental Surgeon L D S Eng Registered - Dublin, Ireland
Mary J G Wrighton – Wife – Shipdham
Frank H Wrighton – Son – age 11 – Cannock
May G Wrighton – Dau – age 6 - Buckhurst Hill
Kathleen M Wrighton – Dud – 2 - Buckhurst Hill
Roland Wrighton – Son – age 1 - Buckhurst Hill
Anna Rusted – Servant – single – age 25 - Metfield, Suffolk
Jane Barnett – Servant – single – age 20 – Unknown

1892: March - The following were nominated before the Society: —
Thomas Henry Garland Wrighton, L.D.S.Eng., 7, Bloomsbury Square. W.C. (resident)

1901: Census - Bamford House, Harrow Weald, Hendon, Middlesex
Thomas N G Wrighhton – Head – age 53 – Dentist - Dublin, Ireland
Mary J G Wrighton – Wife – age 46 – Shipdham Norfolk
Frank H Wrighton – Son - single – age 22 - Cannock, Staffordshire
May G Wrighton – Dau – age 15 - Buckhurst Hill, Essex - Deaf & Dumb
Kathleen M Wrighton – Dau – age 12 - Buckhurst Hill, Essex
Rowland Wrighton – Son – age 11 - Buckhurst Hill, Essex
Lilian Colls – Visitor – single – age 22 – Lady Help – Ireland

Norman's parents die
1904: Death record – Mary Jane G Wrighton at St Giles – Sep quarter (1b 363) age 52
1906: Death record – Thomas Henry G Wrighton at St Giles – Jun quarter (1b 326) age 61

1905: Marriage record - Frank Henry Wrighton married Wininfred Bernice Norton at St Giles - Jun quarter (1b 1079)
Norman married Winifred Bernice Norton on June 26th 1905 at Registrars Office. Broad Street, Bloomsbury, London, her sister Frances was a witness.
Winifred was born on December 12th 1877, the elder daughter of Frederick Norton a Carpenter and Land Owner of Mattishall Burgh and his wife Martilda Ellen Harris born at Camben Town London

Sadly this appears to be Norman's sister
1911: Census Kings Langley Hertfordshire Watford
Mary Wrighton – Patient – single – age 26 – Imbecile
Mary G appeared to have died in Dec quarter of 1915 at Watford age 30

Norman's other sister married
1911: Marriage record - Kathleen Mary Garland Wrighton married Claude Septimus Frank Littlejohns at Paddington - Mar quarter (1a 127)
Kathleen and Claude appeared to had three children
Gilbert R F W Littlejohns born 1911 at Paddington - Gilbert was adopted by Kathleens brother Rowland Wrighton.
Kathleen I B Littlejohns born 1913 at Willesden
Patricia M G Littlejohns born 1915 at Willesden
Claude appeared to have died in the Jun quarter of 1916 at Paddington
There is another birth record with mothers name Wrighton - Marjorie J Littlejohns born 1923 at Marylebone - not sure of relationship is any
Kathleen appeared to have died in the Jun quarter of 1961 at Norwich age 72 - Kathleen's brother Rowland was also living at Norwich.

1911: Census - 30 Paddington Green, Paddington, London
Evan Evans - Head - age 65 - Retire Dairyman - Tregaron Cardigan
Rosa Evans - Wife - age 55 - Boarding House Keeper - London St Abarystwyth Wales
Elizabeth Evans - Dau - single - age 26 - Female Assistant - St Georges London
William Evans - Son - single - age 22 - Clerk - St Georges London
David Evans - Son - single - age 20 - Clerk - St Georges London
Roas Evans - Dau - age 17 - Milliner Apprentice - St Georges London
Margaret Evans - Boarder - Married - age 92 - Landlady - Abertrenan Cardiganshire
Norman Wrighton - Boarder - Married - age 31 - Actor Dramatist And Poet - Cannock Staff
Cecil Marshall - Visitor - single - age 22 - Artist And Half Cricketer - Brisbane Oland
Henry Sencair - Boarder - single - age 27 - Physician - Pontypool Mon
Frederick Lovegrove - Boarder - Married - age 35 - Private Detective - Hanleck N Wales
Ethel Lovegrove - Boarder - Married - age 32 - Lincoln
William John Morris - Boarder - Single - age 27 - Student Of Medicine - St Clears Carmarthenshire
David Henry Griffiths - Boarder - Single - age 24 Student Of Medicine - Llangunnor Carmarthenshire

Meanwhile Norman's wife Winifred was living at Mattishall
1911:
Census - Mattishall Burgh, Norfolk
Winifred Bernice Wrighton - Head - Married - age 33 - St Pancras London
Frances Norma Norton - Sister - single - age 29 - Mattishall Burgh

Norman's brother was here living with his future wife (Ivy Susannah) and her family
1911: Census – 4 Buckingham St Strand WC, St Martin in the Field, London
Richard James Bennett – Head – age 48 – Parish Clerk – London
Susannah Bennett – Wife – age 50 – London
Elizabeth Mary Bennett – Dau – age 22 – Dressmaker – London
Ivy Susannah Bennett – Dau – age 20 - Educational Student – London
Charles Theodore Bennett – Son – age 18 – Clerk – London
Louisa Maria Bennett – Dau – age 16 – Milliner – London
Gertrude Mary Bennett – Dau – age 14 – Scholar – London

Rowland Garland Wrighton – Boarder – single – age 21 - Clerk, Shipping - Buckhurst Hill Essex
Edith Jennie Nash – Boarder – single – age 32 – Florist – London
Blanche Madeline Morton – Servant – single – age 35 – London

Norman's brother married
1915: Marriage record - Rowland Garland Wrighton married Ivy Susannah Bennett at St Martins - Dec quarter (1a 1611)
Marriage date: November 6th 1915

Rowland and Ivy Susannah had children:
Richard Henry Roland Wrighton born on January 22nd 1918 - Richard joined Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and was killed in action June 22nd 1941
- age 23
Rowland and Ivy also adopted his nephew (sister Kathleen's daughter) Gilbert Roland Littlejohns born October 19th 1911 - (information from army records) - It appears Gilbert (Gilbert R F Littlejohns) died in the June quarter of 1959 at Islington age 47 - no marriage record has been found.
Ivy died in the Sep quarter of 1957 at Hendon age 67
Rowland died in the Sep quarter of 1966 at Norwich age 76 - It is also noted that Rowlands sister (Kathleen) also died in Norwich as did Norman's wife Winifred. So maybe they spent the later stages of their lives together or close by.

1917: Death record – Frank H Wrighton at Newton Abbott, Devon – Dec quarter (5b 162) age 38
Frank Henry Wrighton was buried on November 6th 1917 in grave number 2303, section K. Consecrated grounds of Torquay Cemetery, Devon.
He was the 4th of five people to have been interred in the grave which means it is a paupers grave with no headstone

Winifred died on December 8th 1969 and is buried in St Peter's Churchyard Mattishall Burgh
1969:
Death record - Winifred Bernice Wrighton at Norwich Outer - Dec quarter (4b 2281) age 92

 

 

WINIFRED BERNICE NORTON and her family

Ancestral Line highlighted in RED

Winifred's Grandfather
1828:
Sep 29 – Marriage at St Peter Church - Mattishall Burgh - Entry 26
Robert Norton a Bachelor married Frances Francis a Spinster
Witness: Ann Norton & Robert Bush

1839 – 1846: Robert Norton was landlord/Inn Keeper of the Crosskeys Public House on Burgh Lane, Mattishall

1849: Birth record - Frederick Norton at Mitford - Sep quarter 913 219) - Winifred's Father

1851: Census - Mattishall Burgh - Recorded as Nouton
Robert Norton – Head – age 47 (1804) - Farmer 100 Acres Empl 3 Lab - Mattishall-Norfolk
Frances Norton – Wife – age 43 (1808) - Mattishall Burgh-Norfolk
Mathew Norton – Son – Single – age 21 (1829) – Shoemaker - Mattishall Burgh-Norfolk
Robert Norton – son age 18 (1832) - Farm Lab - Mattishall Burgh-Norfolk
Mary A Norton – Dau – age 14 (1836) - House Serv - Mattishall Burgh-Norfolk
John Norton – Son – age 12 (1838) - Farm Lab - Mattishall Burgh-Norfolk - Twin
William Norton – Son – age 12 (1838) - Farm Lab - Mattishall Burgh-Norfolk – Twin
Linden/Lindoe Norton – Son – age 10 (1840) - Farm Lab - Mattishall Burgh-Norfolk
Clement Norton – Son – age 8 - At Home - Mattishall Burgh-Norfolk
George – Norton – Son – age 6 - At Home - Mattishall Burgh-Norfolk
Thomas Norton – Son – age 4 - At Home - Mattishall Burgh-Norfolk
Frederick Norton – Son – age 1 - Mattishall Burgh-Norfolk
Sarah Wilkerson – Serv – Single – Age 25 - House Serv - Mattishall Burgh-Norfolk

1861: Census - Norton Farm Mattishall Burgh
Robert Norton – Head – age 57 (1804) - Farmer 90 Ac Emp 2 Men 1 Boy - Norfolk – Mattishall
Frances Norton – Wife – age 53 - Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh
Robert Norton – Son – Single – age 29 - Farmers Son - Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh
Mary A Norton – Dau – single – age 24 - Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh
Lindoe Norton – Dau – single – age 20 Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh
Clement Norton – Son – age 18 - Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh
George Norton – Son – age 16 - Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh
Frederick Norton – Son – age 11 – Scholar - Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh
Frances E P Norton – Dau – age 8 - Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh

1871: Census – Norton’s Farm Mattishall Burgh
Robert Norton – Head- age 66 (1805) - Farmer 90 Ac - Norfolk – Mattishall
Frances Norton – Wife – age 62 - Farmers Wife - Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh
Lindoe – Norton – Son – Married – age 30 - Farmers Son - Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh
Frederick Norton – Son – Single – age 21 - Farmers Son - Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh
Martha Norton – Daulaw – Married – age 26 - Farmers Dau - Norfolk - Little Melton
Frances Norton – Dau – age 18 - Farmers Dau - Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh

1877: Marriage record – Frederick Norton married Matilda Ellen Harris at Kensington – Mar quarter (1a 235)

Winfred was born December 14th 1877 at Camden Town London – Daughter of Frederick Norton and Matilda Ellen Harris
1878: birth record – Winifred Bernice Norton at Pancras – Mar quarter (1b 157)

1881: Census - Low St Mattishall Burgh
Frederick Norton – Head – age 31 - Carpenter & Land Owner - Matt Burgh, Norfolk
Matilda E Norton – Wife – age 31 - Carpenter & Land Owner Wife - St Pancras, Middlesex
Winifred B Norton – Dau – age 3 - St Pancras, Middlesex

1891: Census – The centre Mattishall Burgh
Frederick Norton – Head – age 41 - Carpenter(Notem) - Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh
Matilda Norton – Wife – age 41 - London - Camden Town
Winifred Norton – Dau –age – 13 - London - Camden Town
Frances N Norton – Dau – age 9 - Scholar - Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh
Matilda E W Norton – Dau – age 7 – Scholar - Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh
Elizabeth E Norton – Dau – age 1 - Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh
Robert S Norton – Nephew – age 11 - Scholar - Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh - Fredericks brother George's son
William Norton – Visitor – Married age 52 - Shoemaker(Notem) - Norfolk - Mattishall Burgh - Fredricks brother

Winifred and her two sisters was staying with her mother’s two sisters in London
1901: Census 7, Porteus Road, Paddington, London
Eliza Harris – Head – single - age 46 - Lodging House Keeper - St Pancras, Middlesex, England
Elizabeth Kennedy – Sister Widow – age 42 - St Pancras, Middlesex, England
Arthur L Kennedy – Nephew – age 16 - Office Boy - St James, Middlesex
Lena M Kennedy – Niece – age 11 – Scholar - St James, Middlesex
Nora Kennedy – Niece – age 9 – Scholar - St Pancras, Middlesex
Winifred B Norton – Niece – single – age 23 - Manageress (Refreshment Depot) – Mattishall Norfolk
Frances N Norton – Niece – age 19 - Counter Hand (Refreshment Depot) – Mattishall
Matilda E W Norton – Niece – age 17 – Mattishall

1905: Marriage record - Frank Henry Wrighton married Wininfred Bernice Norton at St Giles - Jun quarter (1b 1079)
Norman married Winifred Bernice Norton on June 26th 1905 at Registrars Office. Broad Street, Bloomsbury, London, her sister Frances was a witness. Winifred was born on December 12th 1877, the elder daughter of Frederick Norton a Carpenter and Land Owner of Mattishall Burgh and his wife Martilda Ellen Harris born at Camben Town London

1911: Census - Mattishall Burgh, Norfolk
Winifred Bernice Wrighton - Head - Married - age 33 - St Pancras London
Frances Norma Norton - Sister - single - age 29 - Mattishall Burgh

Meanwhile Winifred's husband Norman was living at London
1911: Census - 30 Paddington Green, Paddington, London
Evan Evans - Head - age 65 - Retire Dairyman - Tregaron Cardigan
Rosa Evans - Wife - age 55 - Boarding House Keeper - London St Abarystwyth Wales
Elizabeth Evans - Dau - single - age 26 - Female Assistant - St Georges London
William Evans - Son - single - age 22 - Clerk - St Georges London
David Evans - Son - single - age 20 - Clerk - St Georges London
Roas Evans - Dau - age 17 - Milliner Apprentice - St Georges London
Margaret Evans - Boarder - Married - age 92 - Landlady - Abertrenan Cardiganshire
Norman Wrighton - Boarder - Married - age 31 - Actor Dramatist And Poet - Cannock Staff
Cecil Marshall - Visitor - single - age 22 - Artist And Half Cricketer - Brisbane Oland
Henry Sencair - Boarder - single - age 27 - Physician - Pontypool Mon
Frederick Lovegrove - Boarder - Married - age 35 - Private Detective - Hanleck N Wales
Ethel Lovegrove - Boarder - Married - age 32 - Lincoln
William John Morris - Boarder - Single - age 27 - Student Of Medicine - St Clears Carmarthenshire
David Henry Griffiths - Boarder - Single - age 24 Student Of Medicine - Llangunnor Carmarthenshire

Winifred died on December 8th 1969 and is buried in St Peter's Churchyard Mattishall Burgh
1969:
Death record - Winifred Bernice Wrighton at Norwich Outer - Dec quarter (4b 2281) age 92

Headstone having a pointed top and lead infilled lettering, mounted on a plinth:
Norman's middle name is not correct - maybe no one actually knew

In Loving Memory of
WINIFRED BERNICE
Wife of the Late
NORMAN FRANCIS WRIGHTON
Born 14th December 1877, Died 8th December 1969
At Rest

For more on the Norton family click HERE

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