Tag Archives: Gilliat Hatfeild

Lance Corporal Frederick Rexstrew

Frderick Rexstrew, was born 19 May 1914.

He married, aged 26, on 13th June 1940 to Gladys Ayling, 24, of 7 Ravensbury Cottages, Morden Road, Mitcham, at the parish church of Beddington. He was a soldier living at 47 Bute Gardens West in Beddington. His father, Henry Marshall Rexstrew, was deceased. Gladys Ayling’s father, Albert William Ayling, was a cowman. Source: Ancestry.com. Sutton, Surrey, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1940, London Borough of Sutton; Sutton, London, England; Reference Number: 2813/1/5.

The 1939 register shows Frederick Rexstrew as a Motor Driver, Baker’s Roundsman, and he lived with his mother Alice, housewife, and brother George R., born 29 Sept 1918, foreman stock keeper, munitions. Source: The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/1318E

The 1939 register shows Gladys Ayling as working as a newsagent assistant, her mother Katie was listed as a housewife. Source: The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/1374B

The Ravensbury Cottages were on a part of the road called Ravensbury Grove, which later was renamed Hatfeild Close, as shown in this 1953 OS map.

1953 OS map

Hatfeild Close was named after Gilliat Hatfeild, the owner of the nearby Morden Hall (house and gardens now owned by the National Trust).

Frederick Rexstrew was a Lance Corporal, service number 179420 with the 253 (Airborne) Composite Company Royal Army Service Corps.

He died on 20th September, 1944, and was re-interred at Arnhem Oosterbeek Cemetery, grave 29. C. 8. Source: Commonwealth War Grave Commission.

He was an air dispatcher on a Stirling IV LJ829 aircraft with RAF Squadron 190. All crewmembers were killed when the aircraft crashed in Doorwerth. Source : Harrington Museum – Aircraft lost on Allied Force’s Special Duty Operations & Associated Roll of Honour, page 382. Note that this pdf is 3 megabytes and has 583 pages.

A memorial to all the RAF crew and air despatchers like Frederick Rexstrew is in a side street in Doorwerth:

“Here, during the Battle of Arnhem, Stirling LJ928 crashed on 21 september 1944, after having been hit by fire from enemy fighters, killing the crew and the air despatchers. This memorial is not only to commemorate these men, but to remember all those of the Royal Air Force who flew between 17th and 25th September 1944 over this area. Flying on low level through German anti aircraft fire and attacking enemy fighters, they towed gliders and dropped supplies for the men of the 1st British Airborne Division.
During those days 229 crew members and air despatchers from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa lost their lives in a brave attempt to help the men on the ground.”

In his will, his address was 7 Ravensbury Cottages, Mitcham, Surrey and he left £215 5s. to his widow Gladys. Source: Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995

See also the ParaData website.

Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

1906 Death of Mr Hatfeild at Morden Hall


On Saturday last there died at his residence Morden Hall, Merton, at the age of 79, one of the best known men in the tobacco world, Mr Gilliat Hatfeild.

Mr Hatfeild, who was reputed a millionaire, was senior partner in the famous old firm all Taddy and Co., Minories, whose establishment dates as far back as 1730.

The firm of Taddy has been closely associated with the snuff trade. Snuff was its staple product. Although of late years this has ceased to make the old appeal to the public taste, “Taddy’s” “Tom Buck” “Black Rappee” and “Brown Rappee” are well known to and largely affected by snuff takers.

Attached to the fine park which Morden Hall stands are snuff mills. Hither the raw material is brought from London, manufactured, and carted back in its manufactured state to town. It is doubtful whether large fortunes are to be made in the snuff trade now, but more recently thhere is said to have been a certain revival of the snuff habit.

Mr Hatfeild’s funeral Took place on Wednesday at Kensal Green Cemetery at ten minutes to two.

One of the deceased’s daughters is a well-known dog fancier, and another daughter it will be remembered is the wife of Mr T.A. Meates, formerly chairman of the Wimbledon Bench of magistrates.

Source: Wimbledon Boro’ News, 17th February, 1906

His son, Gilliat Edward Hatfeild, refused to sell his estate to property developers. He died in 1941 and left Morden Hall Park to the National Trust.

1906 Surrey Tobacconist’s Huge Estate

Surrey Mirror – Friday 09 March 1906

Surrey Tobacconist’s Estate.

Mr. Gilliat Hatfeild, of Morden Hall, Morden, and of the firm of Messrs. James Taddy and Co., tobacco and snuff manufacturers, who died on the 10th of February last, aged seventy-nine, left estate of the gross value of £1,321,821, of which the net personalty has been sworn at £1,020,560. Probate of his will, dated the 18th of November, 1897, has been granted to his son Mr. Gilliat Edward Hatfeild, of 45, Minories, and 5, Albemarle-street. The testator bequeathed £1,000 each his said son, Gilliat Edward Hatfeild, his cousin, Mr. Charles Taddy Hatfeild, his son-in-law, Mr. Robert Sydney Bacchus, and Mr. Charles Robert Rivington. All his estate at Burghfield and elsewhere in Berkshire he left to his daughter, Mrs. Jesse Norah Bacchus, free of all duties. He left the following sums to be settled upon his daughters in addition to sums already secured to them by marriage settlement, viz.: £75,000 for his daughter Ethel Florence, £67,000 for his said daughter Mrs. Jesse Norah Bacchus, £65,000 for his daughter Mrs. Jesse Norah Bacchus, £65,000 for his daughter. Beatrice Alice, and £30,000 for his daughter Ellen Gertrude. in each case upon trust for their benefit for life, with remainder to their issue. He left £30,000 upon trust for his grandson, only child his late daughter, Ida Blanche, on attaining majority. All other his estate, amounting ever £1,000,000, left his son, Mr. Gilliat Edward Hatfeild absolutely. The late Mr. Hatfeild’s estate will pay the Exchequer death duties (in addition to possible succession duty settled estate) over £119,000.

Gilliat Hatfeild – Obituary 12th February 1941

Daily Express
12th February, 1941

Man refused £500,000 to live on 5 pounds a week and three texts

Gilliat Edward Hatfeild refused half a million and lived on five pounds a week in a cottage. He didn’t need a half million. He was rich; and he was giving away practically all his income. Gilliat Edward Hatfeild has just died in his cottage. He was 77 years old, and had never married. He spent his life fulfilling three passages from the Scriptures:-

1. It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts XX, 35)

He received much. His father was head of 180-year-old tobacco and snuff firm James Taddy and Co. in the Minories whose Myrtle Grove Brand used to be a popular smoke before the firm shut down in 1920. From his father, Gilliatt Hatfeild inherited a fortune and Morden Hall at Morden Surrey along with 700 acres.

He set to work to give much.

In 1920 he turned the 60-room hall into a convalescent home for the London Hospital. He lived in his cottage on the estate, and patients from London’s East End lived in the hall, recovering health and strength.
He paid for everything. It must have cost him at least £150 a week

2. Take heed that you do not do your arms before men (Matthew six, one)

That figure of £150 a week is an estimate. Even the secretary of the hospital does not know the real amount. He said yesterday: “Officials at the hospital visited Mr Hatfeild about once a week but he never discussed money with them.”

Gilliat Hatfeild hated anyone knowing about his generosity. He wore inexpensive clothes till they were threadbare, ate simply, drank no alcohol, did not smoke.

When he gave the estate staff Christmas gifts each year he made a little speech to thank them for their loyalty.

3. Whoso shall receive one such a little child in my name receiveth me (Matthew XVIII 5)

Always there with children when the patients at the hall. Every day he played with them – they went to his cottage to fetch him into the sunshine, and hung on arms, laughing and chattering.

His estate was a sanctuary for sick children and a sanctuary the songbirds – both his friends. That was why, when offers totalling half a million came along in the Morden land boom of the 1920s he simply said “No”