The Mitchley family in Stanhoe

Angie Kitcher writes from Canada:

I am a descendant of the Mitchleys who lived in Stanhoe and Barwick since before 1734. I go back six generations at least.

Many of the Mitchleys stayed in the area, where they married and had children. My line comes from Thomas who was born in 1734 (Barwick) and in 1756 he married Mary Chapman.

Without listing all the children, I will give a shortened version of my line of the family tree:

  • John Mitchley born 1763, married Mary Whiteside in 1784 at Bircham.
  • John Mitchley born 1791, married Frances (maiden name and marriage details unknown).
  • Jabez Mitchley born 1824, married Fanny Rout(e) in 1849 at Stanhoe.
  • John Thomas Mitchley born 1851, married Sophia Elizabeth Pygall ? in Stanhoe.
  • George Pygall Mitchley born 1886, married Matilda Newman April 1912 at Poole, Dorset, England.

Several of John Thomas and Elizabeth (Pygall) Mitchley’s children left Stanhoe to go to Derbyshire and London.

My grandfather George Pygall Mitchley followed his aunt, Mary Johnson, and his brother Jabez to Dorset.

George met Matilda Newman and they married in April 1912. A daughter Mary (my mother) was born March 1913.

During the First World War, when George was away in what is now Iraq, Matilda joined the Women’s Air Force and was stationed for a time at Bircham. Mary and Matilda lived with John and Elizabeth at this time.

Matilda also worked at the naval cordite factory at Holton Heath in Dorset.

George came home to a very unhappy situation: his wife was very ill with a brain tumour, and died in October 1919. George was left to bring up a six-year-old daughter, who because of war circumstances he hardly knew.

Mary went to live with her paternal grandparents in Stanhoe, a place she loved; she went to school there and made friends. She would go to church with her grandmother and sometimes to chapel with her grandfather.

When Granny went to church she would tell Grandad and Mary to “watch the vegetables for lunch”. While doing this they would get the hymn book down and sing together.

George married again in 1922 and Mary went to live with her father and stepmother in Parkstone, Dorset.

In 1951 Mary and her four daughters came with her husband Bill Kitcher to British Columbia, Canada, to live with relatives of Bill.

On a visit to England in 1987 Mary had the chance to visit Stanhoe again. Her words to me were: “It hasn’t changed much since I was here in the 1920s”. She met two cousins at a WI meeting, took photos of family graves, and had a drink in the Crown (now the Duck Inn). She also saw the house where she spent many happy times.

I imagine the Stanhoe area still has many of the names I know from Mitchley marriages, such as Route, Lake, Bone, Johnson, Polley and Pygall.

It seems that Angie is also related to the Scales family of Stanhoe. Derek Scales’s maternal grandmother was born Barbara Pygall; her father Robert Pygall was the brother of Elizabeth Sophia Pygall, who married John Thomas Mitchley in Stanhoe (see above).

If anyone wants to contact me about the family, please do or write to:

Angie Kitcher
8102 Whetzell Drive
Coldstream, BC
Canada V1B-1P6