Our Schofield Family History
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Intro Letter


Edward Hudson

John Edward

George Turner

John Edward's
other children

Philip Edward

Richard Frank

Olive Mary

Scotts & Givens's


(George) Turner Schofield

Turner is your great grandfather. He was the local historian, most of these older pictures were collected by him and a lot of old documents found their way to the Leeds University and Yorkshire Genealogical Society from him. He didn't write very much down, however. Mary, his daughter, has preserved his lore and is a major figure in the local historical society documenting the history of our local Methodist Church (Farnley Hill which was founded in 1797) and the village of Farnley. She is the major source for most of this internet history of the Schofields.

Turner was born in 1883 at a house called 'Artists Mount' in Wortley - the next village toward Leeds. He was educated at the local school in Wortley but had to leave when he was fourteen years old. He went to work at a small bank in Leeds but had the foresight to go to night school to learn accounting. Eventually the local "Lord of the Manor" - Mr. Armitage employed him as a "Secretary". This meant that he did all the paperwork at the Armitage-owned Iron Works. The Iron Works produced various things made of Iron, and also produced bricks from a special local clay that had a white glaze. These can still be seen lining the underside of a tall bridge carrying the railway over the Ring Road by Wortley. Jim Scott (Maud's father) also worked there as a clay modeler making moulds on which baths, toilets and other iron works were cast.

Eventually Turner became indispensable to the Armitages in their personal and business life. When he was about forty, Mr. Armitage gave him some patents that were for a new process of drying coffee grounds - instant coffee. He was asked to 'make something of them' and after trips to Italy to see the inventor and trips to Germany to pick out large stainless steel boilers he founded Bantam Coffee in 1912 about fifteen years before Nescafe began. The coffee was called Bantam because Bantam is a breed of hen that is very small and very strong (like Bantam-Weight, the smallest men in boxing) and it was sold in very small tins. We still have demitasse coffee cups with the Bantam logo on them. He expanded by employing his son Frank in the 1930s and his daughter Mary to manage the plant and the people, and employed about 25 people. It was very much an equal opportunity employer and had quite a few crippled workers who could not get other jobs which was very modern thinking. Eventually, in 1952 the Labour Government interfered, as they were wont to do, and prices of raw materials increased from 20 pounds per ton to 126 pounds per ton for no apparent reason. Bantam decided to stop operating while it was still solvent.

As the business manager for the Armitages' personal life he had his fingers into everything. For example they owned an island just off Ireland (Dinish Island in Kenmore Bay about 35 miles west of Cork) and he often went there to make sure everything was being run properly. To get there he drove to the shore, honked the horn and waited for the caretaker to row across and pick him up. He numbered every tree on the island and actually managed their care by telephoning the gardener and telling him what to prune. Eventually Farnley Hall was too expensive to upkeep and he was able to negotiate a take-over by the Leeds City Council. As they were packing things up he came across a pile of parchment in the attic and was told to burn it. He didn't. It turned out to be a trove of old documents going back a few hundred years and documenting various meetings including the old Moot Court that held its last meeting in the Beulah Inn on Lane Side. The documents are now in the University collection. He was known by the family as 'the indispensable' because he was.

He was very active in the local Methodist church at Farnley Hill, a few steps from the house at Field Side that his father moved into when he was young. He more or less took over the administration and was Steward for many years. I remember finding some pennies from 1797 when I was with him in the vestry when I was probably five of six years old - the church was founded in 1797. The church is now a historic building and one of the crowns of the Methodist circuit in Leeds.

Pictures of Farnley Hill

His family life was quite rough at the start. He married Maria Emma Illingworth, known as Marie, a local girl. Marie's family were quite ordinary, but Marie went on to get a Master's degree and taught at West Leeds High School. She was quite a catch in the early 1900s when women did not get degrees. After being married for only a year, in 1912, they had twins and she died a few days after the birth from "milk fever". (see chapter X for the family disruptions that occurred from this) and is buried in Lane Side cemetery along with John Edward. During pregnancy she had said that she "only thought nice thoughts so the baby will have pleasant thoughts". The twins survived - Frank, the elder by five minutes, and Philip. More about them later. After three years he married again, this was to Florence Beales (Florrie) who I remember as "Grandma Schofield" and shortly thereafter Mary was born. Florrie came from Dereham in Norfolk and visited her sister Maude who had married a Leeds man and lived in Lower Wortley. She met GT at the local church in Lower Wortley and apparently were attracted to each other because she came back for another visit and stayed for life.

GT began life in Field Side House with his father John Edward and mother Elizabeth. When he first married he lived in a white two-story house at the "top of Whitehall Road" which is still there. It's called Hawthorne Cottage. Frank and Philip were born in the top left bedroom. He continued to live there and after his marriage to Florrie they also lived there and Mary was born in the same room. When Mary was born the Doctor said "I don't think she'll live!". The midwife was nurse Lightowler, who was making her very first delivery after training, and she responded "If it's up to me - she will!!!". Nurse Lightowler persevered and Mary lived. After this, the nurse became a family friend and when the time came for Peter to be born, she delivered me too.

In 1920 the family moved to Nutting Grove at the top of Farnley. The kids started school at West Leeds ( in those days, Form I started at age nine, so this was in 1921) with Mary in Kindergarten. At that time, kindergarten was ages 5-9 and 'big' school started around nine years old. To get there they had to walk down the hill, across the beck and quite a long way up the other side. The boys got into trouble for helping Mary to walk on the top of the parapet on the bridge and the family decided to move a little closer to school! They rented a house in Upper Wortley called 'Prospect House' from which the boys got married. This house was renamed 'Woodgarth' - the first of many with that name. After this, having more money and being Managing Director of Bantam Coffee he bought a splendid bungalow at Armley Hill Top which was called "Windy Ridge" and immediately renamed it to "Woodgarth". This had a wall all around the two or three acre garden, fish ponds at the front and back, a couple of summer houses, a greenhouse, a tennis court and lots of rockeries, flower gardens and trellis work. The house is still there, but the major part of the back garden was sold off and has houses built on it. The "hill top" has historic significance because the Romans had used it as a signaling point with beacons that they lit as a primitive telegraph system to quickly signal invasions. In 60 A.D. Roman coins were found there and at the Pub 'The Travelers' Rest' across the road.

One of the summer houses had been built by the Armitages for a relative who had to spend a lot of time outdoors, probably because of tuberculosis. It was double-glazed with a real tile roof and was mounted on a spindle and a circular track so it could be rotated to make the most of the pale English sun. Turner bought it from the Armitages.

Later, the garden got too much and Woodgarth moved to a detached house at 2 Gamble Lane along with one of the summer houses. The hilly terrain eventually became too steep when GT had a thrombosis and he moved Woodgarth again to 58 Butt Lane where he and Florrie eventually died.

Mary sold the house; it's still there, and moved Woodgarth to 5 Water Lane where she died several years later.

Continue on to John Edward's other children