William Maunders

178110 Private William Jesse Maunders, Labour Corps

Born on 8th January 1880 in Ringshall
Died on 4th January 1950 in Ringshall

Family and Home 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

William Jesse Maunders was born in Ringshall, Buckinghamshire, the third of the 4 children of Joseph Maunders and his second wife Emma née Ward. He was baptised at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 29th February 1880. His father was a Farm Herdsman.

His brothers were:

William’s father’s first wife was Emma née Ing, who died aged 31 in June 1872. They had one daughter, Ellen, who was born in 1870 (1st Quarter) but died aged 1 year in July 1871.Both Ellen and Emma were buried at Edlesborough.

In the 1881 Census, the family’s address was recorded as Ringshall Top Row. One year old William was living at home with his parents and his brothers Walter, 5 and Joseph Maunders, 4.

Education 3

William attended Little Gaddesden School.

On 5th May 1890, the School Log Book recorded that:

for more than a month (11) boys have had regular employment on the Home Farm and it is more than likely that this will be continued for an indefinite time as the summer advances. Such being the case, their names will be removed from the Registers.

10 year old William was one of the boys named; others included Arthur Fowler, aged about 11, and 10 year old Stephen Oakins.

Death of his Mother 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9

William’s mother Emma née Ward died aged 45 in June 1887; she is buried in the old churchyard of St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden.

William’s father then married Sarah Willmore. They had 4 children, who were William’s half-siblings:

  • Ethel, born 30th October 1888
  • Maude Ellen, born 24th June 1890
  • Sidney Ernest, born 11th October 1891
  • Arthur Thomas Maunders, born 7th August 1894

Education (continued) 3, 7

On 25th March 1891, William Maunders was issued with his “Ticket of Proficiency”, which enabled him to leave school and go to work. He was 11 years 2 months old.

However, the 1891 Census, taken on 5th April 1891, shows William as a Scholar, living at 15 Ringshall Road, with his father and his step-mother Sarah. Also living at home were his brothers Walter, 15, a Domestic Coachman, Joseph Maunders, 13, an Agricultural Labourer and Alfred, 6, a Scholar and his half-sisters Ethel (age recorded as 6 but actually 3) and Maud, 9 months. 15 Ringshall may well be the cottage referred to only as “Ringshall Top Row” ten years earlier.

On 20th April the Headmaster noted:

The following boys have been employed stone picking on the Estate since Easter last. (I presume they will turn up at school again when they have nothing else to do, & be a drag on our hands through the winter months, & have a try at the next examination).

10 names are then listed, including William Maunders. On 11th May, nine of these boys, including William, had their names removed from the Register. There is no evidence that William returned to school that winter.

Employment 3

In the 1901 Census, 21 year old William was a Bricklayer, living at home, 21 Ringshall,  with his father, step-mother, his brother Alfred, 16 a General Agricultural Labourer and his half-siblings Ethel, 12, Maud, 10, Sidney, 9 and Arthur Maunders (recorded as 7 but actually 6), who were all at school. 21 Ringshall was the cottage which had been numbered 15 Ringshall in 1891.

Marriage 9, 10

On 13th February 1904, William Jesse Maunders married Ada Kipping at St John the Baptist’s Church, Aldbury. Their Banns had been read on January 17th, 24th and 31st and they were recorded to be “both of this Parish”.

The 1911 Census shows 31 year old William and Ada, 34, living in William’s former family home, 21 Ringshall; they had no children. William was a Bricklayer on the Ashridge Estate. His father and step-mother and their children Ethel, 22, and Sidney, 18, a Farm Labourer, had by then moved to 18 Ringshall. 16 year old Arthur Thos. Manders, born in Ringshall, was a patient at the Hertfordshire Convalescent Home for Adults at St Leonard’s-on-Sea, Sussex. 18 Ringshall later became Arthur and Sidney’s home; William moved there after his wife Ada died in 1937.

War Service 11

Very little is known of William’s War Service as the only relevant records found for him are the Autumn 1918 and Spring 1919 Absent Voters’ Lists. These show him working in the 331st Home Service Works Company of the Labour Corps and billeted at 49 Hatfield Road, Ipswich. That, combined with his lack of a Medal Record indicating overseas service, suggests that he was not fit enough for front line service. It is also possible that his bricklaying skills were being put to good use.

Photo of William Maunders in uniform
Billy Maunders. Photo from Mrs Harmon’s photo album, courtesy of Lyn Hyde.

Men who have answered their country’s call in defence of a “Scrap of Paper”

William Maunders is named on the Roll of Honour, which hangs in St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden and lists 119 men from Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Hudnall who served in the 1914 – 1918 War. No service details are listed on the original Roll of Honour, which is the case for several of men who did not serve overseas. On the Centenary Revision of the Roll his unit has been added. His brother Joseph Maunders and his half-brother Arthur Maunders are also named on both Rolls.

Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver

Return to Ringshall 3, 12, 13, 14

Once demobilised in 1919, William returned to 21 Ringshall and continued to work as a Bricklayer, initially on the Ashridge Estate. However, on 28th March 1937, his wife Ada died, aged 60. On 31st March, she was buried in the old churchyard of St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden.

William then moved to 18 Ringshall to live with his brother Arthur Maunders’ family, where their unmarried brother Sidney also lived.

The 1939 Register 4

In the 1939 Register, William is shown as a Bricklayer, and Sidney as a Gardener. Arthur Maunders is a Master Painter and Decorator whose wife Vera had “Unpaid Domestic Duties” and whose 9 year old daughter Betty was at school. The family’s 1939 Register entry is not entirely accurate; all three of William, Sidney and Arthur Maunders have their Christian names reversed, so William is recorded as Jesse W, Sidney as Ernest S and Arthur as Thomas A. In addition, William’s year of birth is recorded as 1879 rather than 1880 and Sidney’s as 1892 rather than 1891.

Death 13, 14

69 year old William Jesse Maunders of 18 Ringshall died on 4th January 1950. Three days later he was buried with Ada.

Probate was then granted to his brothers Arthur Thomas Maunders, Decorator and Sidney Ernest Maunders, Gardener.

Postscript: Sister Maud’s War Service 15

Between 12th October 1917 and 26th November 1919, Arthur’s sister Maud Ellen Maunders served with the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, later re-named Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps. She worked as an Army Baker in Dieppe and Boulogne and reached the ‘rank’ of Forewoman. Her War Certificate of Employment noted that Forewoman Maud Maunders had completed a “thorough course of Army Bakery” and had been an exemplary worker. In September 1919 she opted to extend her service in Q.M.A.A.C. and was willing to serve until 30th April 1920.  However, her services were only required until late November 1919.


1. https://www.findmypast.co.uk England & Wales births 1837-2006 Transcriptions

2. Little Gaddesden Baptism Register 1813 – 1947

3. https://www.findmypast.co.uk 1881 – 1921 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcriptions 

4. https://www.ancestry.co.uk The 1939 Register

5. https://www.findmypast.co.uk Buckinghamshire Marriage Index, Edlesborough, Buckinghamshire

6. https://www.findmypast.co.uk England Deaths & Burials 1538-1931 Edlesborough, Buckinghamshire

7. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906

8. Little Gaddesden Burial Register

9. https://www.findmypast.co.uk Hertfordshire Banns & Marriages. Aldbury

10. https://www.findmypast.co.uk England & Wales marriages 1837-2005 Transcriptions

11. 1918-21 Absent Voters’ Lists Parliamentary County of Hertford, Hemel Hempstead Division, Little Gaddesden

12. https://www.findmypast.co.uk Electoral Registers 1832 – 1932

13. https://www.findmypast.co.uk England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007

14. https://www.ancestry.co.uk National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations) 1858 – 1995

15. https://www.findmypast.co.uk British Army, Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps 1917-1920 Transcription

Do you have any questions about the information recorded here? Or do you have any further information that you can share with us about those from Little Gaddesden who died or fought for their country? In either case, please contact Jane Dickson at war-remembrance@littlegaddesdenchurch.org.uk.

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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson