Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Matthias Speight 1897-1940

Harborough Hills Road, showing James Street and Vernon Street to the bottom left,
with Redfearn Brothers' Glassworks at the top (from Digimaps)

Q3 1897 Barnsley, Yorkshire
Baptised on 06 Feb 1898 in Barnsley, St Mary, Yorkshire, England.

Son of:
Zachariah Speight b. Q3 1865 Swinton Yorkshire d. Q2 1917 Sheffield, Yorkshire West Riding
1911: Bottle Maker, 25 Vernon Street, Barnsley, Yorkshire West Riding
married Q1 1891 in the Doncaster area
Eliza Beech b. Q3 1869 Attercliffe Yorkshire West Riding d. Q3 1909 Barnsley, Yorkshire West Riding

Position in family: The 3rd eldest of 6 children
1.    Jane E Speight was born about 1891 in Mexborough, Yorkshire

2.    Charles William Henry Speight was born in Jan 1893 in Mexbro, Yorkshire. WW1 KILLED
3.    Matthias Speight was born about Aug 1897 in Barnsley, Yorkshire.  WW1 SERVICE
4.    Mirian Speight was born about 1900 in Barnsley, Yorkshire.
5.    Doris Speight was born about 1902 in Barnsley, Yorkshire.
6.    John Speight was born in Jan 1904 in Barnsley, Yorkshire.

Home address, age and occupation:
1901: 25 Vernon Street Age 4 Scholar
1911: 25 Vernon Street Age 13 Glass Hand
1915: 28 James Street Age 19 Glass Hand


He married Martha Blewitt, daughter of John Blewitt and Nancy Blewitt Q1 1920 in Barnsley, St Mary, Yorkshire, England. She was born about 1894 in Barnsley, Yorkshire.   She had previously been married to his brother Charles who was killed in the war.

1.    William Speight was born in Dec 1920 in Barnsley, Yorkshire West Riding.
2.    Nancy Speight was born in 1923.
3.    Doris Speight was born in 1925 in Barnsley, Yorkshire West Riding.
4.    Charles H Speight was born in Mar 1927 in Barnsley, Yorkshire West Riding.
5.    Ronald Speight was born in Jun 1930 in Barnsley, Yorkshire West Riding.
6.    Alfred Speight was born in Jun 1933 in Barnsley, Yorkshire West Riding.

Military Service:
Enlisted: 8th February 1915 at the age of 19 years and 184 days
Regiment and Battalion:   York and Lancaster Regiment 14th South Barnsley
Service number and rank:  537 Pte.
Transferred to R.A.M.C. 15/1/1918
Regiment and Battalion:   Royal Army Medical Corps
Service number and rank: 136466  Pte.
Served in Egypt, France and Russia

Discharged 2 November 1919

Personal information:   5’ 5 5/8” tall, 33 1/4” chest,
Awards: Victory and British War Medals

Death:     He survived the war.  He died in Sep 1940 in Staincross, Yorkshire West Riding.

Buried at: Barnsley Cemetery, (d) 619, along with his father, two of his children and his brother's son.

Barnsley, Redfearn Bros Ltd Roll of Honour

Thank you to Peter West for this story  - he also submitted a story for Charles Speight, Matthias' brother.
The address Matthias gave on enlistment, 28 James Street, was that of his sister in law’s parents. 

When he enlisted he claimed he was 19 years and 184 days old.  He was only 17!  He simply added two years to his age, or he was sent off to walk around the block "and come back older" as we hear often happened.

He married his brother's widow in 1920 (very probably). This did only become legal in 1921, but the Act that was passed had the effect of legalising all the marriages where a widow had married her brother in law which had occurred before that date.  This was in part brought about by the First World War, marrying the widow of your brother would have been one way of making sure she and her children were cared for. (Probert, R. (2012) Marriage Law for Genealogists, Kenilworth, Takeaway Publishing, p.66).  The marriage of a man to his deceased wife's sister on the other hand, had been legalised in 1907.

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