MORE details have come to light about the Mandeville family for this week’s Peeps into the Past, whose 15 children grew up in small weather-boarded cottage by the River Wey Navigation at Pyrford.

A story about the family featured in Peeps in 2021. And now David Mandeville, who lives in Canada, has been in contact with facts about his ancestors.

Using the genealogy website Ancestry and his own family records, David found that his great grandfather, James Mandeville, was born in 1844 and died in 1918. He was to married Elizabeth, née Collyer (1851-1903).

David said that at one time he heard in family legend that James worked as a lock keeper on the Wey Navigation and was drowned when he fell into a lock.

He wonders whether any records are kept of lock keepers. The National Trust’s River Wey Navigations, with its headquarters at Dapdune Wharf in Guildford, may be able to help.

David’s grandfather was Ernest Henry Mandeville, who was also known as Mandy. He was born on 27 April 1890. After leaving school, Ernest worked for three-and-a-half years as a labourer for HW Page Phillips.

In 1907 he enlisted in the 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment and served for 21 years, rising to the rank of Company Sergeant Major. Ernest then joined the Royal Parks as a keeper at Hampton Court Palace and Richmond Park.

He died in the Royal Star & Garter Home in Richmond upon Thames, in 1971.

Ernest had married Mabel Gladys, née Greathurst (1892-1974) and they had two children: Irene (Rene) May (1915-2005), who had no children herself; and Ernest George (Ernie) (1917-1981), who was David’s father.

Ernie married Rita, née Bateup (1919-2008). David was their only child and grew up in the Kingston-upon-Thames and New Malden area.

David emigrated to Canada in 1969 and married Rhea Ann, née Bielby, and settled in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They have two children, Geoffrey and Carla.

David said: “Any family contact would be most appreciated, as my son Geoff is the last of the Mandeville name from this branch.”

He can be contacted via email at [email protected] or by post to: 112-105 Willis Crescent, Saskatoon SK. S7T 0Z3 Canada.

Recapping on the previous story, it is thought that the four-room Pigeon House Cottage took its name from a medieval pigeon house or dovecot that was at nearby Pyrford Place.

The Mandeville family can be found at the cottage on the 1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses.

Whether or not David’s family story of James Mandeville being a lock keeper is accurate, James’s occupations on the censuses are listed either as agricultural labourer or carter on farm.

Wife Elizabeth bore her 15 children from 1869 and 1902. They were William (1869), Ellen (1871), Alice (1873), Emily (1874), Elizabeth (1877), George (1880), John (1882), Alfred (1884), Edith (1886), Albert (1888), Ernest (1890), Thomas (1893), Kitty (1895), Adda (1898), and Maud (1902).

Although it is not yet known which year the Mandevilles first occupied Pigeon House Cottage, the censuses reveal that some of the siblings who were occupants had left by the time others had been born and were living there.

If you have some memories or old pictures relating to the Woking area, call David Rose on 01483 838960, or drop a line to the News & Mail.

David Rose is a local historian and writer who specialises in what he calls “the history within living memory” of people, places and events in the west Surrey area covering towns such as Woking and Guildford. He collects old photos and memorabilia relating to the area and the subject, and regularly gives illustrated local history talks to groups and societies. For enquiries and bookings please phone or email him at: [email protected]