James Richard Barton & Gracie Joan Ponting

James Richard Barton was born on 10 July 1897 in Warbleton, the son of John Henry Barton and Caroline Wood (Chapter 4). Although James was given precedence throughout his life he was actually registered as "Richard James" with the Registrar General (Reg Gen Sept Qtr 1897 Hailsham 2b 92). His father was a warehouseman. The birth was registered on 12 July 1897 by Mary Whiteman of Warbleton who was  present at the birth. 

James attended Warbleton School and in 1906 (aged 9) and 1910 (aged 10) was awarded prizes, namely "Boys of Priory School" by Florence Coomber and "Brightest and Best" for his "Regular attendance" and "Good Conduct" respectively. 

He also attended  Mount Hermon Chapel Sunday School and between 1908 and 1910 was awarded the following prizes. 

  • January 1908 - "The Realm  of The Ice King" by Thomas Frost
  • February 1909 - "Footfall on the Snow" by Constance Cross
  • January 1910 - "A Boys Adventure round the World"

Mount Hermon Baptist Chapel, Middle Lane, Turners Green, Warbleton was founded in 1865 by secessionists and remained open until 2005,   

In 1911, James Richard Barton was 13 years old, he was living with his parents at Rushlake Green and was working as a "house boy" for a farmer.

World War One began on 28 July 1914 when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and Russia came to the latter's defence. By 4 August 1914 Germany, France, and Britain, along with their respective colonies, had been drawn into the conflict. In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire, Germany, and Austria-Hungary formed the Central Powers, and on 26 April 1915, Italy joined Britain, France, Russia, and Serbia as the Allies of World War One.

According to his "demob" papers (below) James Richard Barton enlisted on 9 November 1914 for the duration of the War and served initially with the II HC (Home Counties) Brigade RFA (Royal Field Artillery). He would have been just 17 years old. The photos below suggest that he was in the 2/6th Sussex Battery RFA, was this the part of the Home Counties Brigade?  

The paperwork also suggests that James was transferred to 341 Battery of the Royal Field Artillery and that he was part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF) that commanded all Allied forces at Gallipoli and Salonika. It was formed in March 1915, under the command of General Sir Ian Hamilton, at the beginning of the Gallipoli campaign which lasted from 17 February 1915 to 9 January 1916. 

In April 1917 Gunner J Barton (905722) was given permission to be absent from his barracks in Canterbury between 17 April 1917 to 22 April 1917 for "the purpose of proceeding to Heathfield". 

The war ended on 11 November 1918 and Gunner (905722) James Barton was demobilized on 16 May 1919 having been furloughed on 19 April 1919. 

He was awarded the British War and Victory Medals receiving these on 18 March 1922.

In 1921 James Richard Barton, 23 years old, was a builders labourer for Mitchell Brothers, Vines Cross and he was back living with his parents, John Henry Barton and his wife Caroline at Rushlake Green, Warbleton. 

On 24 April 1926, James, aged 28, a bricklayer of Montague Hill, Wartling married Gracie Joan Ponting. Gracie is described as the daughter of Dudley James Ponting, independent. The witnesses were J H Barton and Dudley James Ponting, the bride and groom's fathers. (Reg Gen June Qtr 1926 Hailsham 2b 257). 

The wedding was recorded in the local parish magazine and in the local press.

"A pretty wedding took place at St Mary Magdelen Church, Wartling Hill on Saturday between Mr J Barton of Rushlake Green and Miss G J Ponting of London.

The Rev. E T Bird (Vicar of Wartling) officiated and about 80 people were present at the ceremony.

The bride, who was becomingly attired in a pale helitrope two-piece suit, the long coat having small pleats at the sides, carried a large bouquet of lilac. After the ceremony the guests were conveyed to Boreham Street, where, at the home of Mr and Mrs Bert Dawes (who kindly lent their house) a wedding breakfast was held.

Later Mr and Mrs Barton left for their honeymoon, which is being spent in Kent".

The article then goes on to list the presents received including from groom to bride, a Valor Perfection oil stove.

Gracie Joan Ponting's early life is detailed in Vol. 1 - Chapter 14. Her family had moved from London to Sussex around 1908 and seem to have remained there until the early 1920's. However, in 1921 Gracie was a 14-year-old schoolgirl living with her parents at 28, Castellain Road, Maida Vale. So it is unclear how Gracie Joan had met her future husband, but her half-sister Muriel Green Taylor had married Bertram Dawes on 22 April 1915 and they made their lives in Sussex (Appendix N). 

James Richard (Jim) and Gracie Joan Barton (Joan) started their married life at Elm Cottage, Puddledock, Wartling, 

This 1899 map showing the four cottages (now two) making up Puddledock in the parish of Wartling was provided by the Wartling & Herstmonceux Local History Group. The cottages were Grade II listed in 1981. 

They had two children:

  • John Dudley Barton
  • William Arthur Barton "Bill". Born 28 February 1931. 

They moved from Wartling to the newly built "Bywood", in Ninfield, on which Jim had worked in 1939, and were living there with their two children at the time that the 1939 Register was taken on 29 September 1939. Jim was a "journeyman bricklayer" and Joan was on "unpaid domestic duties". 

The team working on the build are pictured below

(From left to right - Bob Sargeant, unknown, unknown (possibly one is Mr Walter's son), James Richard Barton, Declan Catt, Mr Walters, Jack Pont, Fred Streeter, Dave Catt (Robin's father), Mr Lowing, Robin Catt - see below)

The property cost £600 and was acquired from George Lowen, presumably the developer, with the help of two mortgages. The first from The Hastings and East Sussex Building Society of £480.00 requiring repayments of £3. 1s 8d per month for 20 years from 11 September 1939. The mortgage describes the property as

"All that piece or parcel of land situate at Standard Hill in the parish of Ninfield in the County of Sussex abutting on the North or North West of the High Road from Boreham Bridge to Catsfield and Ninfield and being part of the Standard Hill Estate all which said piece or parcel of land with the dimensions thereof (be the same little more or less) is for the purpose of identification only delineated on the plan drawn on the conveyance thereof to the Mortgagers dated the eighteenth day of August one thousand nine hundred and thirty nine and thereon coloured pink and numbered 11 together with the messuage or bungalow erected thereon or on some part thereof and known or intended to be known as "Bywood", Standard Hill, Ninfield aforesaid together. Also with the right of way more particularly mentioned in the said conveyance"

A second mortgage for £100.00 was with Mr Lowen and interest was to run at 4%. A statement at 11 August 1949 showing that interest was being added to the balance, payments totalling £2.10s 0d had been paid between 1944 and 1947 and suggests the balance outstanding £114.12s 8d was repaid in 1949. This seems to have taken place following the death of Joan's mother Grace Florence Ponting and the winding up of the trust created by her father in law, William Ponting (Chapter 10).

"Jim" and "Joan" lived in Bywood for the remainder of their married life. 

James Richard Barton died on 13 May 1958 at Bexhill Hospital (Reg Gen June Qtr 1958 Battle 5h 12). Probate was granted to Gracie Joan Barton. His estate was worth £2,181. 18s. 

After her husband's death "Joan" returned to a career in social care before moving back to live, initially with her son "Bill" and his family at Bywood, Ninfield, remaining there when he moved his family to Milton Keynes in 1972. In her later years she moved to be nearer her sons. Gracie Joan Barton died in November 1998 aged 92 (Reg Gen November 1998 Milton Keynes A21B 29). 

John Dudley Barton married Jean Mary Teresa Plummer on 2 April 1956 in Kilburn, London. 

They had two sons. They spent much of their married life in Richmond, Surrey, before downsizing to Kingston in retirement. 

William Arthur Barton "Bill" (my father) of Bywood, Standard Hill, Ninfield was called up for National Service on 7 June 1949, presenting himself at Moores Barracks, Shorncliffe. Kent for selection and basic training.  He was 5 ft 8 1/4 inches. fresh complex. brown hair & eyes. His distinctive features included an appendix operation scar and a scar on his right eyelid. 

In June 1945, the forces began demobilizing, allowing serving men and woman to reclaim their civilian jobs. As the Government needed to keep high levels of military, particularly in Germany, Palestine and India, National Service was introduced by an act passed in 1947. Adults aged 17 to 21 who were physically fit had to serve in the armed forces for 18 months and remain on the reserve list for another 4 years, when they could be called to serve with their unit, but for no more than 3 occasions for 20 days maximum. In 1950 the length of service was extended to 2 years. National Service ended in 1960 with the last of those on deferred service discharged in 1963

Bill qualified as a signaller on 20 March 1951. 

Bill spent part of his National Service in Berlin and was presumably there when he was granted special leave to return to the UK between 29 March 1951 and 14 April 1951.   

Fusilier William Arthur Barton was discharged from 1st Battalion Royal Fusiliers on 29 July 1951. Whilst on National Service aside from the Military tests, he completed a bricklayer's course. His discharge papers provide the following reference 

"Fus Barton has been a signaller for seven months. He has proved an exceedingly good worker and can work without supervision. he is capable of working quickly and with keenness and is recommended to any civilian employer. He is both smart and reliable". 

Following completion of his National Service "Bill" became a reservist with the Royal Sussex Regiment.  until 6 January 1955. During that period, it appears he had to continue to undergo training and in 1953 his then employer R E Catt writes to the Officer in Charge, 4/5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment confirming he will continue to pay Bill's National Insurance contributions whilst he is at the annual camp from 28 June 1953 to 12 July 1953, but bemoaning the loss of his employee and the delays it will cause in building a house. 

Bill married Barbara Joy Veness on 15 November 1958 at St Mary the Virgin, Ninfield. 

Barbara was the daughter of William Douglas Veness and Alice Emma Stranack who married on 9 March 1929 in St Mary's, Ninfield. To find out more about the Veness family click here to go to "Volume IV - Veness - A Sussex Family".

Bill and Barbara were 7th cousins (not that they knew it at the time) as illustrated by the chart below.

Bill and Barbara had two children:

  • Nicholas James Barton
  • Caroline Joy Barton (the compiler of this family history).  

They lived at "Bywood", Ninfield until 1972 when they moved to Milton Keynes where Bill helped to establish his employer "Walter Llewellyn & Sons Ltd" in the new town of Milton Keynes. Bill died on 10 December 2008 at home in Little Horwood, the family that the family had moved to in 1973.   

Click here to go to "Appendix A - The descendants of Jenny Sweetnam nee Barton"

To find out more about Gracie Joan Ponting click here to go "Volume I - Chapter 14 - The children of Dudley James Ponting and Grace Florence Pyne".

Click here to go back to "Chapter 4 - John Henry Barton and Caroline Wood"